Ben Sinclair, July 2017, Darkroom
Following transportation issues which resulted in a reduced (but still, excellent) Darkspace festival (Ed’s note: see Issue #9) I was feeling the thirst for another excellent night at the Darkroom. Christchurch’s premier band competition, the RDU Round Up 2017 Grand Final was the excellent quencher, featuring five bands (Nervous Jerk, CONTACT ROCK, Sunset Synth, Mako Road and EgoValve).
Sunset Synth kicked off the event with a dedicated tribute to the synth-pop sounds which dominated airwaves in the 1980s, complete with digital drum pads and an air aerobics routine (!). Channeling equal part Ultravox and Flight of Conchords, Sunset Synth started the night with unmatched enthusiasm. Egovalve followed with a howling set of blues inspired garage-rock with effortless precision. Fans of Ty Segall, the White Stripes and the psychedelic-garage revival owe it to themselves to catch this band at the next opportunity. The middle act of the night was none other than UC’s Mako Road. Mako provided an excellent mix of classic covers and originals all in their distinct brand of tightly focused reggae rock which won them direct entry to RDU finals as winners of the TuneSoc Battle of the Bands. In juxtaposition to UC’s favourite durry boys, Control Rock followed with an open jam set. Comprised of alumni of the Christchurch scene including members of Brian Tamaki and the Kool Aid Kids and Salad Boys the band’s pedigree shined through despite their minimal amount of rehearsal. The final band and winner of 2017’s Round Up were the ear shattering trio Nervous Jerk. Tight song structure, distinct attitude and a bit of crowd/band aggression seemed to be the winning formula on the night. The moral of the night being: if you see any of these bands on the bill in the future – catch them. And bring ear plugs.