Man­u­fac­tur­ing the Per­fect Storm

The Northland Age - - Sport -

SO there he was, The Off­sider, with the feel­ing of be­ing dragged in­ex­orably through the last days of au­tumn to­wards the ever gap­ing maw of his win­ter sports beat.

Some­times it felt like he had bit­ten of more than he could chew in the in­ten­tion of pro­vid­ing on­go­ing progress re­ports on the 11 teams com­pet­ing in the North Zone se­nior club rugby cham­pi­onship, 12 Far North teams in North­land provin­cial foot­ball, and eight lo­cal sides vy­ing for the dis­trict’s grass­roots league ti­tle.

Once again, he had to go back into pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor mode to try and track down a num­ber of coaches some of whom seemed just as de­ter­mined to re­main in­com­mu­ni­cado.

There was no need to call twice. Re­cent editions had been de­fined by a marked lack of space for sports news, truly dis­con­cert­ing for the vast le­gion for whom the back page was the first one they turned to, and some sto­ries were start­ing to stock­pile so badly it was becoming a health and safety is­sue.

Im­ages from the last few weeks flashed by like a bul­let train, Record Store Day, the con­dem­na­tion of Is­rael Fo­lau (it went both ways), the re­turn of Tiger Woods, and two EPL teams — Liver­pool and Tot­ten­ham — left to vie for the Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle. The Off­sider had once con­fessed to be­ing a Spurs fan but felt a strange de­tach­ment upon learn­ing of their spec­tac­u­lar last­minute win to reach the fi­nal.

The liq­uidambar on the out­skirts of the var­i­ous ham­lets he sped through on his week­end round were be­gin­ning to lose their ra­di­ance. The days of this au­tumn had been fine but good long-pe­riod swells on the lo­cal point­breaks hadn’t been as fre­quent as he would have liked (al­though that all looked set to change over the next few days, which were shap­ing up to fea­ture one of the best runs of good surf in a long time). Yet when the waves had come, they truly were some­thing to be­hold and the sand build-up on cer­tain parts of the reef was as good as he’d ever seen.

Off­shore, a new world cham­pi­onship surf­ing tour be­gan with Italo Fer­reira G Brazil win­ning the Quik­sil­ver Gold Coast Pro in some­what con­tro­ver­sial cir­cum­stances, with the gen­eral con­sen­sus view­ing his heatwin­ning

aerial at the death in the fi­nal against Kolohe Andino as to­tally over­scored, al­though the real atroc­ity was hold­ing the open­ing leg in such lame waves.

Thank­fully, great surf was back on the ta­ble for the sec­ond leg, the Rip Curl Bells Beach Pro, which cli­maxed in fit­tingly dra­matic fash­ion with per­fect, pump­ing con­di­tions at the famed Torquay break over Easter week­end. Courtney Con­logue N USA won the women’s event and was awarded the first 10 given to any surfer this year in the process, while John John Florence N Hawaii rang the men’s bell af­ter pulling off a se­ries of lu­di­crous under-the-lip snaps on 6-8’ close­outs.

It’s early days but Florence and cur­rent world champ Gabriel Me­d­ina G Brazil are in re­gal form and look to be on an­other level al­to­gether from the rest of the pack. Whether they can carry that form into event 3/11, the Corona Pro, which got under way in fun 3’ waves on the drool­wor­thy reef of Kera­mas yes­ter­day, re­mains to be seen.


But The Off­sider wasn’t here to rat­tle on about any of the above but rather to de­liver a re­view of Kaitaia Me­talFest 2 at Col­lards Tav­ern on Satur­day, May 4: five top-class metal acts who came north to play on the first Satur­day of New Zealand Mu­sic Month.

Spe­cial guests By De­fault — a group made up of five Kaitaia College stu­dents — opened pro­ceed­ings by play­ing two songs in­clud­ing Black Di­a­mond by Kiss, leav­ing college mu­sic teacher Matt Collins well chuffed with the way his charges had pre­pared for, and put ev­ery­thing into this, their first ever live gig. Well done.

Next on stage were Cherry Blind, who de­liv­ered a blis­ter­ing 25-minute set cul­mi­nat­ing in an in­tense crescendo and frontman Sabas­tian Mun­roe scream­ing his lungs out astride a mon­i­tor above stunned on­look­ers. Yeah, game on . . . Sec­ond on the card, ISM ran through a cou­ple of orig­i­nals in a set mainly made up of Mo­tor­head and Celtic Frost tunes, which proved an un­ex­pected de­light for the true metal con­nois­seur.

Third act, Sil­vera, were simply as­ton­ish­ing, the per­for­mance even more re­mark­able con­sid­er­ing they had to blood a new singer (af­ter their frontman was de­railed through ill­ness) who was faced with learn­ing the songs on the trip north. See­ing him grow in confidence dur­ing the set to have the au­di­ence eat­ing out of the palm of his hand by the fi­nal song was in­spir­ing and im­pres­sive. It was then the turn of Whangarei’s Eolithic Re­lapse to blud­geon the masses with a fe­ro­cious dis­play of grind­core pre­ci­sion. It was fas­ci­nat­ing mon­i­tor­ing the re­ac­tions of the more in­no­cent in the au­di­ence when the five-piece opened at full throt­tle and stayed there with­out a hint of let­ting up.

For­saken Age were given the hon­our of clos­ing Me­talFest 2 and duly obliged, rip­ping through the night’s long­est set to the smallest au­di­ence thanks to a large por­tion of the crowd hav­ing left, to­tally met­alled out by this point. De­spite this they de­liv­ered a sonic tour de force wor­thy of their head­line sta­tus and the price of ad­mis­sion alone.

All five bands played like it was their very last show on Earth, which served to con­jure a per­fect storm of power, tal­ent and ded­i­ca­tion, the likes of which Kaitaia has never be­fore wit­nessed. Kaitaia Me­talFest 2 wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble with­out a num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als who put their shoul­der to the wheel of the event band­wagon. First and fore­most, credit is due to co-or­gan­iser Rob Ger­rit­sen for push­ing Me­talFest 2 in­ces­santly through so­cial media and word of mouth in the Bay of Islands, Barbs for man­ning the box of­fice on the night, owner Stan Day and the won­der­ful staff at Col­lards Tav­ern, and soundguy Damien Rice, a to­tal pro­fes­sional from start to finish.

Just as cru­cial to the night’s suc­cess were the var­i­ous busi­nesses who were so open and gen­er­ous de­spite be­ing con­stantly hit up for spon­sor­ship by lo­cal non-profit groups. Thanks to this, The Off­sider — who only ap­proached the shops he him­self pa­tro­n­ised — was able to show­case the finest Far North hos­pi­tal­ity and produce, with sup­port coming in the form of a lo­cal gas sta­tion pro­vid­ing $200 worth of gas vouch­ers, as well as substantia­l meal vouch­ers from a trio of lo­cal eater­ies and cafes, to help the trav­el­ling mu­sos with costs; while de­signer surf tees and vouch­ers for a week’s worth of cof­fee, boxes of ar­ti­san cho­co­late and bottles of hot chilli sauce, a Kiss tee, the lat­est edi­tion of Metal Ham­mer and two $20 mu­sic vouch­ers were pro­vided by shops from Kerik­eri to Awanui to be given away as spot prizes.

Per­haps the big­gest shout out should go to the pun­ters. At one point, The Off­sider sur­veyed a room and ad­ja­cent gar­den bar packed to the gun­nels while a group of teenage met­allers thrashed fu­ri­ously away on stage, and could proudly tes­tify not one wimp or poser was seen in the hall that evening.

■ The Off­sider is Age sports­buster Fran­cis Mal­ley. Re­spond at [email protected]­

A lone surfer (bot­tom left) is con­fronted by a per­fect and empty line-up at a lo­cal west coast point­break ear­lier this month; this off same swell which lit up Bells Beach over Easter Week­end for the sec­ond leg of the WSL cham­pi­onship tour.

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