Christchurch Monster Gig – Media Club, 29 December 2008

The AXMIN minus one plus many come together as fate brings Steve McCabe, Stu Kawowski and Dragan Stojanovic to Christchurch at the same time, in the same place; it takes 6 additional players to substitue for Bob.
After inviting Dragan home for coffee, grilling, debriefing and a spot of waterboarding for old times sake, Stu reported the happy news that Dragan was not only alive but very musically (if not sexually) active, AND had recently purchased a Hard Disk recorder which he was using to record Vas Deferens and Doodlebugs songs to send to Steve in the Coromandel.

During the discussion they realized they were both (Stu and Steve) heading down to Christchurch at Xmas to visit their respective family elders, and a plot was deftly hatched to get Dragan and Bob to come down too and organize a gig or two in the garden city, C-town, the city that never sleeps but seemingly has ‘Sleeping Beauty’ – type lapses where upon waking everything is as it was 20 years ago, apart from the ridiculous chalice in the square, the Wizard being retired, no radio guy strutting about, Costa’s not being the only great souvlaki place in town (we chomped down on dmitris in colombo street – mama mia that was good souvlaki), band-members having cellphones and not being able to put up posters anywhere except record shops.

Monopolising the poster market in ChCh
Phantom Bill Stickers: Monopolising the poster market in ChCh

Unfortunately for the others, Bob had prior gig arrangements over the traditionally busy and lucrative holiday period (as usual his schedule was filled months in advance, to such an extent that Kiri Te Kanawa was known to be trying to poach his agent) and pronounced himself out of the running.

Eventually they ground Dragan down and goose-stepped him down to the travel agent to ensure tickets were purchased and he didn’t end up simply charming the pants off the travel agent and forgetting about the trip.Then there were three.

Deniro: unavailable to step in for Bob on this occasion; sent his apologies

Realizing what a monumental task it would be to provide a Bob substitute for the evening, the lads immediately began formulating a list of potential stand-ins, from which they thought they may be able to boil down to a shortlist of two or three worthy candidates. Within a short time however, they realized this would be no easy task, and they resigned themselves to the fact that it would require multiple personalities to fill the wooly-mammoth-sized hole in the lineup, but thankfully many such specimens resided, and were currently active, in Christchurch.

After much debate, many txts, Facebook scrawlings, phonecalls and sleepless nites, a shortlist was nailed down and the full candidate band lineup for the nite was posted to all prospective participants.

The list read as follows:
Steve McCabe (vox, guitar, computer)
Stu Kawowski (primary drums)
Dragan Stojanovic (lead guitar)
Mick Elborado (bass)
Lisa Prestoni (SK1 keyboards)
Alan Wright (sax)
Joanne Billesdon (bass)
Sharon Billesdon (bass)
Rustle (auxilliary drums)

Stu Kawowski, Steve Mccabe, Dragan Stojanovic
Stu Kawowski, Steve McCabe, Dragan Stojanovic
Dragan Stojanovic sleeps like a log after working like a dog
Dragan Stojanovic sleeps like a log, after working like a dog
Dragan snorts a lolly wrapper, his shortsightedness convincing him it is a rolled up US$100 note
Dragan snorts a lolly wrapper, his shortsightedness convincing him it is a rolled up US$100 note

Insensitive local wags take advantage of Dragans deep sleep proclivity to play a cruel prank
Insensitive local wags take advantage of Dragans deep sleep proclivity to play a cruel prank
Gig Planning: From Whoa to Go – Concept and Execution

Planning for this event was a textbook study in collaborative working and the use of modern communications,

Back in 1983 it would have taken weeks if not months of telegrams and overpriced tollcalls to plan such an event; in 2008 a few deft txts, a couple of pointed Skype conference calls, som Facebook Wall action and the game was on – Joanne and Sharon picked up the ball and ran with it in what would be, to continue the rugby analogy, a success of epic proportions, the equivalent of the Crusaders beating Australia 100-0 at Jade Stadium.

Using these newfangled communication media it was swiftly agreed the old Clockwork Orange motif could be leveraged in gig promotion and the twins set about lining up suitable symbiotic acts to complement the Axemen while Stu and Steve set about producing poster sketches.

Ultimately the lineup used on the posters was as follows:

Shadow of the Valley
Ritchie Venus
Minus Two (the Terminals less 2 members)
Stephen Cogel

Bill Phosby; Joanne and Sharon Billesdon (Loliners, Axmin)
Bill Phosby; Joanne and Sharon Billesdon (Loliners, Axmin)

On the gig nite Mr Cogel yielded the floor to Bill Phosby who used his Freddy Mercury moustache for good rather than evil and, rather than breaking into “I want to break free” (as some feared he may),  invoked the spirit of his haunted fuzzbox to channel Jimi Hendrix in an electrifying low-slung whammy-bar intensive performance of epic proportions, and the lineup was further enhanced by the Hi-Tones (coincidentally in town for a few days) and a rare live appearance by the Doodlebugs – a stellar lineup if ever there was one.

Honorable mention is due to Mick who played in 4 of the bands consecutively…

Media Club Christchurch NZ December 29 2008
Media Club Christchurch Monster Gig - NZ December 29 2008

A Christchurch Gig - Dec 29 1008
A Christchurch Gig - Media Club, Dec 29 2008

Dragan Stojanovic - Hired Gun
Dragan Stojanovic - Hired Gun

Pre-arrival of the out-of-towners, practices and organization were managed thru Facebook and various other internet connections – on arrival of Stu, Dragan and Steve the first face-to-face practices were possible, after the first of many group hugs for the well-oiled team who hadn’t seen each other for about 20 years in some cases.

Loliners / Axemin Rhythm Section - Sharon/Lisa/Rustle/Joanne/Stu
Loliners / AXMIN Rhythm Section - Sharon/Lisa/Rustle/Joanne/Stu

Rehearsals were held in the Loliners garage-band lockup in Waltham on a fantastic Christchurch day, the first of many which continued till New Years Eve.

Loliners - Joanne Billesdon, Lisa Prestoni
Loliners - Joanne Billesdon, Lisa Prestoni
Volcano Radio : Lyttelton

Ros Dixon - Sam Swan Show - Radio Volcano
Ros Dixon - Sam Swan Show - Volcano Radio

Blue Smoke (Ruru Karaitiana, 1940) – axemen – Volcano Radio Dec 2008

Where R U? – axemen Volcano Radio Dec 2008

Droopy Drawers – Axemen – Volcano Radio Dec 2008

Steve McCabe, Al Right, giant mic, Radio Volcano
Steve McCabe, Al Right, giant mic - Volcano Radio
Rustle, Stu Kawowski, Radio Volcano
Rustle Covini, Stu Kawowski - Volcano Radio

Steve McCabe, Ros Dixon, Radio Volcano
Steve McCabe, Ros Dixon - Volcano Radio

Volcano Radio - Lyttelton
Volcano Radio - Lyttelton
Ritchie Venus

My Precious Thing (live)


Where R U ? (live)

Droopy_Drawers (live)

Be My Slave (live)

Ritchie Venus
Ritchie Venus

3 thought on “Christchurch Monster Gig – Media Club, 29 December 2008”

  1. kawowski Post author

    Great story writing Steve, I look forward to part 2. I probably have some new pics for you from ChCh. I’ll upload some asap.

  2. G Washingtoon

    That wasn’t ‘well oil’ with which the team appeared well-oiled — must I remind thee of 0800-2TANME?, and don’t mention ‘the spherical citrus’ or colours derivative therof, even if it means not being able to sing Kamahl’s ‘orange and green make a dirty kahki, but nuffink i’ve senior makes much sense to me’ or ‘home, home o’range’ and other truncated ditties. Even the rainbows in CHCH are forbidden that particular shade of the ol’ spectrum (damn’d near killed ‘im) due to pro spray-tan legislation.



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