Manufacturing the Perfect Storm
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]landage.co.nz
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.