It was just before the riots and I wrote Lily and I
Steve Hanify was organizing protests against the Springbok tour and the concert was part of it
I wore my granddad’s leather jacket
There was a large swarm of people there at Thistle Hall – nomads and skinheads, punks and Rastas
They weren’t sure what to make of us – Caroline on drums, Rob with his fretless bass and me with my Ovation acoustic
I had my Rockit amp by then and a Shadow pick-up for the guitar so I got a huge sound
The early Spines were quite angular and in your face and then I kicked in the distortion
We played Simple Things – a song about the way your stomach goes in and out
I remember that we sounded nothing like how we looked
Another one wanted my jacket
I could see the cops enter from the stage
We played Like a Chainsaw and Sideways then got off
Milling around in the crowd afterwards an ex-girlfriend put something in my mouth and poked her tongue down my throat
I asked her what it was but she wouldn’t say
After that things got a little murky
Then the Gordons came on so loud that you couldn’t hear them and I believe I got lost.
I put the word out on social media and here is a kind of oral history from others that were there…
John Halvorsen: Yeah I do remember that show Jon. We drove up from ChCh in the old Commer van, all 3 of us (Gordons) had the worst flu ever, but it was a great show, it was actually recorded on a reel to reel by Steve Hanify who had organized the gig. And of course being the Muldoon years and during the Springbox tour riots, the riot police showed up in force and made their presence known. Luckily no-one was hurt and the show went on.
Erin Hanify: My brother Steve organized it (we lived across the rd. above Steve’s Frontline Records) & along with Neill Duncan (sax) & I (harp) were in Ukiah (Black Power band) & I was on the door, with Bumper & Gaz security. There’s a good pic of them in the Thistle hall book from that night.
Jennifer Ward-Lealand: Am glad John can remember. Unfortunately for me, it is lost in the mists of time. Loved Thistle Hall though and went there all the time. Was a HUGE Gordons fan.
Susan Forbes: I remember Sam Swan getting thrown down the Thistle Hall stairs and being arrested at this gig (along with a few other people) for no reason except how she looked. The police used gigs and parties to practice their moves with their new batons prior to the Springbok Tour. Total bastards. I do remember it was a great gig up until the time they showed up.
Mark Crawford: I remember the gig too. Partly because of the heavy handed police actions but mostly for the unusual music. Steve had organised the most disparate group of performers one could imagine. The primitive art group played (iirc), a band of gang associates, The “band” Ukiah” who were, I think, a loose group of performers from Tonks Ave. What was truly surprising was that such a motley group of bands could “successfully” play a gig together without any trouble…from the punters anyway…
My final memory of that night was waking up in the bath at my home on Hawker Street and coming to the realisation that I needed a proper electric guitar.