Melbourne’s north is home to a wide network of punk bars. There’s the Brunny, the Tote, and even the fond memory of the now defunct Blue Tile Lounge still shines bright. On a local map, you could probably draw a perfect pentagram between five punk hangouts. Every night is an adventure, so we asked some local musos for their anecdotes.
When Brunny regulars The Murderballs found out a musician was talking smack about them, they wore it with pride. The band says he compared them to the biggest poser he knew.
As drummer Lenny tells it, “So we found out through some mutual friends online that this guy was talking shit about the Balls and comparing us to Avril Lavigne. Not guys to miss an opportunity, we found the next gig we were playing where we thought he might be in attendance and we all wore matching home made Avril merch.”
They made shirts with iron-on patches and played the show in their new clothes. This was a change for the band, especially singer Jesse, who occasionally plays naked.
Lenny says they played no Avril covers, “but we probably should have.”
Terrestrials bassist Lee once left Blue Tile Lounge and entered Yah Yah’s to find a man dancing furiously. Then, Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks began playing and the man transformed.
“He seemed to have choreographed moves and had a manic look in his eyes.
Lee describes him mentally becoming a bird and confusing other dancers.
“You know the shadow thing you do with hands to make a bird? That with stomps. And crazy eyes.
“Then twirling backwards with his head tilted back and eyes rolled back and arms spread wide like a bird. All while screaming the lyrics.
“Then he Mick Jagger-esquely walked and pointed at people to get them to join. Then got all fabulous and emphasised the Jagger when they didn’t join.”
By the time dancers began warming to him, it was too late.
“There was a mix of weird looks and pure enjoyment at his style. Eventually another guy joined but the song had pretty much ended.”
Such snippets from the punk scene are fitting of a genre that has a long history of the anti-establishment, youthful rebellion, and of one that takes it’s roots in local scenes that reject the mainstream. Whether it is a ‘f**k you’ to criticism or a willingness to publicly express yourself without fear of humiliation or rejection, the punk spirit shines bright in Melbourne’s north. And while some might suggest we are lightyears away from the cultural phenomenon that erupted in the UK during the 1970’s, others would argue that the social and political catalysts of that time are very present today. Regardless of your opinion, one thing is for sure: there is never a dull moment in punk.
Feature Image: Terrestrials Facebook