Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Dead C, Alastair Galbraith, Plagal Grind - Live at the New Zealander Tavern 1988

I raided James Greig's tape box recently and found some pure gold. He made some awesome recordings in the late 80's including this one. This tape was probably the best of the bunch though so I had to get it done quickly... gonna hand you over to James now. He has something to say....... Artwork above courtesy of Lynton. Something to throw on your ipod.....


When I was three years old my grandparents took me to some kind of wildlife park in Africa. They duct-taped me to the back of a lion, which I thought was fuckin' bullshit, because I was hangin' to see some bands instead. I sparked up furiously and forced them to take me to see Dead C. and Plagal Grind at the Subway. It took us a while to get there though as my grandparents chose to travel by pedalo (peddle boat, for you non-Mexicans). I was eighteen when finally I arrived. The gramps left me to it and headed back offshore. Luckily (and incredibly) I'd picked up my trusty SONY walkman to record the event on the way through the Galapagos islands. Miracles do happen.

Although I hate the kind of people who say stuff like 'Oh, I saw them before they were popular!'
I'm gonna say: 'I saw them before they were popular. Fuck you'.
There were only 25 to 30 people in the entire bar.

Alastair Galbraith got things going with a solo set that floored me (well, the whole night did).  At one point, halfway though a song, he yelled out 'Its gone out of tune!'. He tuned that fucking guitar up faster than you could speed-read The Hungry Caterpillar! Carried on the song like nothing had happened, and chugged on through his set with astounding beauty.

Next up: Plagal Grind.
Plagal Grind for this concert were: Alastair Galbraith, Peter Jefferies, Robbie Muir and Jono Lonie.
I missed the first night of this extravaganza (they played two shows....I was still in the pedalo at the time...) when some skinheads managed to nick Jono's effects pedals. An employee of the Subway used some kind of muscle and got them back, but not until the end of the weekend, so he didn't get to use them on the night I showed up on the red carpet. Didn't matter - well, it would have to Jono, I'd imagine - but they played a blinder! Not sure if Jono used someone else's pedals for the night, but Alastair's apologies for not sounding the same, due to the theft, were unrequired. I only saw them about three times over their scant existence (once every twenty years) but Alastair's songs augmented with a band... well, you just have to hear them; I can't describe the intensity, but hopefully Rob's upload refects it.

And then Hell comes along.

I CAN, on the other hand, at least TRY to describe Dead C. that night. One word: Fuck.
And I don't mean sex; I mean it in the sweary way..
As much as I'm looking forward to Bob's uploads with this shit, my memory of this night is still insanely present. Much like a when you're a kid and you remember the first time your parents bought you your first island for Christmas.
A band that have NEVER given a shit about what you think of them, they've swayed between 'songs' and pure improvisation for their 30 year tenure. The first time I saw them was at the Old Star in Addington, supporting Bailter Space (I was smuggled in by older types). Bruce Russell had taken me under his wing when I was 16, stuffing vinyl into covers and making coffee at Flying Nun Records after school. Having said that, Dead C scared the shit out of me that night. Bruce's version of 'The Wheel' was harrowing, to say the...but I digress.....
At the Subway they were slightly less nightmare-ish, and certainly more funny, possibly due to the banter between 'songs'. Out of the few people who were present that night there were a few divisive shout outs, but they were (hopefully) yelled in jest. For example, when they finished 'Bad Politics' someone yelled out 'Ah, bullshit!!' Bruce's answer: 'Bitchen', I believe is the expression.'
I still can't really describe Dead C. to anybody, and that's their fault, to be perfectly Francis with you. You'll just have to listen to what Bob's put up on his blog. So I'll address the banter between 'songs'.
Michael: 'This next song is called "Fire".'
Bruce: ' Which is what we'd like to use on the bastards who stole Jono's fuckin' foot pedals last night.'
Audience: 'Gaffaw!'
After another 'song', Dead C style: Bruce: 'From one head-long pop song to another'
Audience: 'More gaffaw than before!'
Before their closing 'song', a version of T Rex's 'Childen of the Revolution' (and I mean a cover version in the loosest possible way):
Alastair: ( from the audience) ' Where's the party?!'
Bruce: (on stage) 'I'd rather have a cup of tea.'
Alastair: 'Well I'd rather have a party, so where is it?!'
It's a great recording. No skill or talent on my part, outside of buying a good recording machine and punching the record button.
Dead C. change all the time, and this recording is just a slice of their life, but it was a very important one for me (slightly reflected in the Into The Void Documentary); you don't need to to 'learn' how to play an instrument, ya just need to plug it in and go for it. If you want to be Eric Clapton, fine. You won't see me at any of your shows though. But I'd still welcome you around for a cup of tea. Unless you're a dick.
By the way: Don't ever write Dead C. without the full stop. Your period could come on when you least expect it.....

James Greig. Dec 2015.

Divided into three downloads:
1. Dead C.
2. Plagal Grind.
3. Alastair Galbraith.


  1. Sound is pretty amazing. Having a bit of trouble downloading the Dead C. one, but the others sound great. Will try again later. Thank you.

  2. Amazing time capsule...would've loved to be there. Makes for some wonderful listening.