Friday night in Christchurch

02:25, Sep 17 2012

I wandered down to the Dux Live on Friday night to see former Christchurch group Clap Clap Riot in town as part of their nationwide tour.

It ended up being one of the best nights I've had in a long time. I laughed so much my sides were actually sore on Saturday.

The stars of the night for me, however, were the other Cantabrians at the gig. I love people watching and on Friday night it was prime viewing - such a wide range of people and characters to observe.

Entertainment-wise the night started with duo Two Cartoons who make a hell of a racket considering there's just the two of them, some of the vocals were a bit off but it was still a good set.

Clap Clap Riot (I know they moved to Auckland aaaages ago and changed their name from Band Theft Auto but I still think of them as BTA) performed songs off their EPs and gave tracks from their new album a spin. Highlights were old favourites I Don't Want Your Baby (not what you think - it was spawned by a guy who thought one of the band was trying to nick his girl) and Thief.

But the best part of the night was the random, very colourful, characters we met.


It's always fun to pretend to be someone else for a while (and it stops people ranting at me as they do when I say what I really do for a living) so on Friday night I was Lola, a Spanish singer by day, by night I had some sort of dubious job dreamed up by my friend 'Ricardo' - who, for the evening at least, was a yoga instructor by day to pay the bills so he could indulge his true passion ''salsa dancing''.

A Samoan bloke with swinging dreads plonked himself down next to me. My compadre asked him his name. Without saying a word he rolled up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo which said Fatman.

Fatman was a hardcase. There with his posse of four, he was a plasterer with his own business and, from what I could gather above the music, a bit of a problem with the Queen.

On the dancefloor a man in his late 70s, maybe early 80s, complete with walking stick, granddad jersey and brown slippers was busting out a few moves - when he wasn't hitting on women a third of his age and twice his height. He was in action alongside a man who looked like Flea, if Flea had eaten all the pies and decided to knit himself a blue, yellow and red tea cosy and wear it as a beanie.

A man in a brown Swanndri that reached the floor, with a thick grey beard and busy grey hair that engulfed his head like a halo,  didn't leave the dancefloor all night. He looked like he'd just stepped straight off a fishing trawler but he busted out some moves to Clap Clap Riot and, later, some crazy old-school jungle music courtesy of the DJ.

It was hilarious.

During the course of the evening a woman in a wheelchair tried to steal my drink (what is the etiquette in this situation?), a bloke who looked about 17, wearing a white shirt and red tie lunged for my breasts before falling over backwards in slow motion onto the sleazy grandad, a tall woman Ricardo named ''big bird'' did some dirty dancing and, at one point, time seemed to slow to a complete stop, as she gyrated around the 80-year-old like the sun orbiting a tiny planet.

At around 2.30am things ground to a halt Granddad, as Ricardo and I had nicknamed him, tried one last time to pull a 20-year-old before heading home.

I asked him why he'd come to a gig.

Waving his cane in the air he replied: ''What else am I going to do on a Friday night? Go and play bingo?''


The Press