En route

Aqua Velvet has proven itself to be not only the best live venue in Raglan, but the best live venue for people in Hamilton. It’s fun for Hamilton gig-goers to venture over the hills and spending some time in Raglan.

Sadly tonight’s gig at Aqua Velvet will be the last for a while. There have been all sorts of noise complaints. It’s not a simple matter of Aqua Velvet playing too loud music. There’s all sorts of politics and money coming into play, and it’s meant that Aqua Velvet have to shut up or lose their liquor license.

Fortunately it was a really good gig: Bob Log III supported by The Shrugs.

I was a bit late (I need to work on my gig-going timing) and only saw a handful of Shrugs songs, but they ended with “Mustang Song” which is one of my favourites. It starts off slow and mellow, then builds into a rockin’ guitar explosion.

Bob Log III is a one-man blues band from Tucson, Arizona. Interestingly enough, he’s the third one-man band I’ve seen at Aqua Velvet this year, Pumice and Nodrog being the two others. Bob Log sits down wearing a studded shiny jumpsuit and a motorcycle helmet. The helmet has a telephone receiver attached to it which is what he sings into. This set up allows him to focus on his guitar and his killer blues playing.

Aqua Velvet, with the windows and doors closed to keep the sound in, was getting hot in therre, and the packed venue soon became all sweaty, which was just what was needed. Bob did mean things with his guitar and did please the crowd with his scorchin’ guitar skills. I liked his styles so much I bought his CD.

Oh, I should mention the naughty stuff. Bob Log III has two tricks. One involves getting to girls from the audience to sit on his knee while he plays. He managed to get two ladies to participate. All the guys in the audience moved forward to take a look at the special lap dance.

Bob’s other trick – and he has t-shirts dedicated to this – is the boob scotch. This is where he gets a lovely young lady to dip her boobie in a glass of scotch on the rocks. He reckons it tastes better. After the show (and he had changed into a shirt and jeans and had transformed into an ordinary looking, really nice, friendly guy) I asked him what his success rate was.

While a number of chicks gravitated to the front of the stage, no one did the boob scotch at Raglan, but he’d been lucky the night before in Auckland with one chick who did double boobing with two glasses. In America, he has a fairly high success rate. I think he said only four towns where he’s toured have resulted in no boob scotching. He said he knew which towns they were and planned on going back to try again.

In Europe I think he only got about a quarter of the gigs with a boob scotch, and in Japan no one would do it. He said the Japanese were too nice. Instead they’d just hold the glass up against their chest. That’s as good as it gets there.

The problem with doing the boob scotch is that there’s always going to be a bunch of people with digital cameras, so you’d home from the gig and find your boobs all over the internet. Yeah, like that.

Y’know, with the current body part of choice in popular music being the big ol’ butt, it’s nice to find a musician who still likes boobs.

The Grinders in Raggiz

I drove to Raglan and saw The Hollow Grinders play at Aqua Velvet.

Pumice was the support act. I’m not sure if Pumice is always just Stefan Neville, but tonight it was. He played drums, a guitar, sometimes keyboards and various other stuff that made interesting noises.

I could see that there were a few people coming in and immediately thinking “what the fuck?”. Someone tried heckling him, but it didn’t work because he was really, really good. He played sitting behind the drum kit, and would intensely play, then look up at the end of each song and look happy that people were applauding. He did a really nice version of “Sunshine on Leith”.

But the exciting thing is Pumice is one of the bands playing support for the Breeders concert. I’m guessing he’ll be on before the Brunettes. It’s hard to guess what the audience reaction will be, but I suspect it might be like when the Shrugs opened for the Datsuns at the St James. I was talking to StfnNvll after the show and said I was planning on going to the Breeders show. He said he was a bit nervous because all he really knew of them was “Cannonball”. Ha!

Hey, the Hollow Grinders were great. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Hollow Grinders show as good as this one. The sound was good, and the atmosphere was as well. There were plenty of people dancing (not just the Hamilton fans). I think it might have worked because it makes sense for a band that plays surf instrumental to be playing near one of the best surf beaches in the world. There’s even a few songs about Raglan-related surf stuff.

I had a couple of beers, I danced along, I had a great time.

Pink? Punk?

Apparently when Molasses was sold and became Aqua Velvet, none of the staff was kept. So the head coffee guy started his own coffee place. It’s located down the alley between Right Up My Alley and the ever-excellent GAg. There’s no menu board, just an espresso machine. So I went up there and ordered a takeaway latte and – oh my God – it was made in a normal-sized latte cup, not the usual big-ass bowl o’ latte that someone has become the way that lattes are served in New Zealand. There was no price list and the dude said I should just pay whatever I think a latte is worth. I gave him $2.50, but in retrospect I think I should have given him $3.00. It was a good latte.

I’m going to Hammo for New Years. There’s going to be a barbecue and beers, which is a good way to celebrate. Damn, I’ve spent the last month being all like “OMG! I will be spending New Years Eve on my own! No one loves me!!!” etc. So now I can officially tell myself to STFU.

I still haven’t figured out how to not scare guys, but I’m working on it. More pink, perhaps?

To the bridge

One takeaway latte, made by the bass player in one of my favourite bands of all time. So now everything is ok. Cranky-ass bitch? She’s gone. I’m happy and inspired now!

Raggiz:

1. Browsing around Raglan Dealers brings up all sorts of dilemmas. Should I buy the collection of bridge scoring pads and folders? Or what about an old cigarette tin? Or maybe I should get those leather shorts?

2. There used to be a cafe called Molasses. It was sold and the new owners have called it the Aqua Velvet Ballroom. This is troublesome for various reasons. First, naming a cafe after Aqua Velva, that cheap aftershave, is kinda weird. And it’s not a cafe anymore, it’s now a ballroom. Except I doubt that there would ever be a ball held there. It’s like ballrooms in hotels that only ever seem to house conferences and motivational speakers. But the worst bit is that they’ve taken down the cool metal Molasses sign and replaced it with a couple of boring painted signs with the new name.

Also: I hate TV news. Tonight there was an item about a question on “Who wants to be a millionaire” that had two possible correct answers. OMG OMG OMG!!! I know that news is typically slow at this time of year, but, really.