Canberra Punk and Beyond

Electric Eighties @ The Croatian Club. Sat 28th Sep, 2013
by Stephen Harrison

Let me preface this with the fact that I was one of the Canberra punks of old, so my perspective may or may not be more relevant than someone new to these bands. I don’t know.. The old punk times were the times of bands like The Triffids, at the Uni Bar (when it was upstairs), The Ramones at the Hellenic Club (of all places) and many more iconic acts that graced Canberra shores. But there were also the Rock Against Boredoms, mainly at the Griffin Centre: these were mainstay events in the Canberra Punk scene and a chance to see the bands that have reformed and replayed the other night at the Croatian club.

Vacant Lot were fun and boppy still, lotsa talent there: sort of reminded me of Sham 69. There were intermittent words scattered throughout their set. Words like scum, fuck this and that etc. Good to see them maintaining the rage. They finished up on a high with a song that had the chorus ‘Up Shit Creek’.

Hell Yes had a great Radio Birdman feel (then they played one of their songs): good solid, catchy, guitar-driven rock n roll. They finished with Now I Wanna Be Your Dog: classic Iggy Pop. Even Iggy didn’t play this one when I saw him and the Stooges several months back.

Lastly, the headline act, The Young Docteurs (they used to be the Young Doctors, when we used to sit around watching them rehearse in various garages around Canberra: then that TV series came out and hence the name change.) Like most of this year (for us old punks) there’s a real sense of nostalgia that goes on with the Docs. One song they played we were told they hadn’t played since 1979, and there were more I recognised than I thought I would. Again, fantastic band, fast and clever paying. Good to see Chris and his troops again, and loads of familiar faces, albeit us all a bit wider and greyer.


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