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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 17. 19th July 1972

The Rock Concert Idea

The Rock Concert Idea


For the U.K. equivalent of a N.Z. dollar, the average idle English youth could, on a Saturday night, go and see a double (perhaps Who and Hendrix) buy a hot dog and get home again on the train—all inclusive. His American counterpart could wander into a performance of perhaps Jefferson Airplane, or Grateful Dead, or if he was in the right place could clamber in over a broken fence and experience the Woodstock spectacular.

And what does the bored NZ teenager get? For a dollar he would witness a double-bill-pop-spectacular featuring top groups, Space-farm (that jarring confusion of disparate cultures) and Human Instinct (starring Martin Hope between keys).

Lets leave our top groups alone for a while, what does an average long-hair get on the Wellington scene? Again for a dollar he may be allowed into top 'Nitespot' Ali Baba's (Provided he has suitable attire,) he has the privilege of meeting some of Wellington's top thugs, of being deafened by rather 'creative' version of pop music, or perhaps of scoring with a teeny-bopper befor she has to go home to Dad on the 1.05 unit.

Or should he go to Lucifer's - that attic where city money grabbers have made a huge-hearted gesture to students (to gain their patronage) in knocking 50c off the admission fee. Unfortunately the enjoyment value has slipped a little since Highway shipped their charisma off to Australia, and there dissipated it. They were a good group (if a little boring), and if you wanted a laugh you could observe the cliquey groupies and hangers-on maintaining superiority over any casual patron. (Yet I found it hard to believe that the joke was on me.)

How about the University's contribution? Previously, the standard of Varsity music was consistently abysmal yet it seems to be improving. That whole welter of musicians that circled around, Gut Bucket, Rick and the Rockets, and Simon and the Mammals seems to have stabilised itself into Mammal, and they are putting out what I consider to be enjoyable music, Varsity concerts are cheaper, quality of music is still variable, but the concert idea is very bad for getting across the enjoyment factor of music. The idea behind Collusion tends towards a more appropriate mode of getting this form of culture, but even so, the effect of the last weekends show was not what it could have been. The interior of the Union Hall was somewhat akin to a freaked out artist's impression of a clothesline. (And I suspect that much of that was designed to keep non-paying eyes out. With very little additional expense, huge sheets of calico could have been spread all over the walls, and into these all sorts of things (other than blotches of colour) could have been projected. Even the movies may have been projected onto an uneven surface, thus realising to a greater extent the advertising catch phrase that was plastered up all over the university. As it was, one found it very hard to get away from the pervasive utilitarianism of the Student Union building so the total effect was nothing more than the usual teenage dance.

The university perhaps has the opportunity to show ideas in the field of rock music to the more commercially oriented promoters down-town. It will be very easy to also make university concerts (I recoil at the word) commercially successful, but I must emphasise that this is not done by simply raising door-charges.

Mike Butler.

[And when are you going to do something to help the situation then, Mr. Butler —Ed.]