Tour blog: THE BUMPUNCH TOUR – Napier and Gisborne


I joined a new band a month and a half ago: The Bravo Uniform Mikes. Pottsy – the guitarist and singer- had organised a tour about 6 months ago, so I had to learn a set fast.

I drove to his place most weekends so we could rehearse, and before long we had put together a decent set. Pottsy and I worked together to organise the gigs, creating posters and material to promote the tour. We even spent an afternoon at Massey Studios last week, recording two songs to be used as singles once they have been mixed.

Joining us for the five-date tour was fellow local band Cherry Punch, a pissed-off punk band with plenty of energy and aggression.

Paisley Stage, Napier
w/ Mirrored Walls
Friday 26 May 2023

The first date of the tour was Napier. I met up with Pottsy’s mate Adrian and we drove to Pottsy’s place in Shannon to pick him up. Adrian is off work with a bust ankle so was keen to come along to escape the boredom of bumming around at home as he recuperates. He is also a keen lighting tech, so was eager to use his skills to enhance our shows during the tour.

We arrived in Napier without a hitch. Our venue for the night was The Paisley Stage, a homely space filled with rugs, couches and an assortment of memorabilia. The walls were lined with books, which served both to at to the homely feel of the room, and also help with acoustic treatment. I also enjoyed the countless lava lamps dotted around the place.


Our sound tech tonight was named JR. He looked the part, with long hair and a big beard, and was very friendly. The stage was generously sized with loads of lighting options. I played a cool green Pork Pie branded drum kit.

Mirrored Walls Paisley Stage by Will Not Fade

Mirrored Walls with Sophie the Skeleton. Photo by Will Not Fade

First up was local act Mirrored Walls. I had some great chats with them before the gig, finding out that two of the members were teachers, like myself. Their sound took me back to my teenage years. Remember when that emo/metalcore style was all the rage? You’d hear bands with one clean singer, and another vocalist who did the screamo bits. They were very tight and technical, all playing to a metronome. I was especially impressed with the lead guitarist, who was a great singer, but also a real wizard on the guitar, adding nice mathy elements to the music. One member, Sophie, couldn’t play because she was unwell, so the band dressed up a life-sized skeleton in their band merch to represent her as her prerecorded singing parts played through the backing tracks.

Cherry Punch Paisley Stage by Will Not Fade

Cherry Punch at Paisley Stage. Photo by Will Not Fade

Our tour mates Cherry Punch were up next, delivering a sear punk rock set. Front woman Cherry was all over the stage, climbing the rigging, throwing herself on the floor… JR even had to ask her to climb down off some speakers. They’d released their debut single today, and were on fire as they played.

I felt that Pottsy and I played well. It was only our second gig together. It was incredibly hot work and I think we will need to request fans for our future gigs. But we pushed through it, and I feel it went well. Two pretty girls got up onstage to dance during our last song, the aptly titled “Boogie Song”, and the locals gave us great feedback after the gig. One guy requested the stick that I’d broken during the set, and looked so chuffed when I handed it to him.

We were unable to find affordable accommodation in the Napier area. Most places were booked out because the Warriors were playing a game there on the Saturday. So we figured we could do a late drive and find somewhere to stay in Gisborne – the town that we were playing next. I was nervous about this drive – everyone I’d talked to had said that road was hard to navigate at the best of times.

Well the East Coast had been impacted badly earlier in the year by severe cyclones. Many bridges had been badly damaged or washed away by rivers swollen with detritus, and the roads had also been impacted in places. The road from Napier to Gisborne had been closed for months, and only recently reopened.

Turns out it still needed repairs however, and the road was closed from 9pm-5am. Not that either band realised this…

We arrived at the road closure and had to figure out our next step. Cellphone reception was limited so loading online maps was proving difficult. The alternative was about a 7 hour drive to Taupo and right around to Gisborne. We opted to just camp out in the cars overnight. It made sense just to wait until the road reopened at 5am, and take the shorter route. We were due to arrive in Gisborne around the same time either way.

The road was indeed treacherous, but we were rewarded with a gorgeous sunrise. The Bravos arrived at our accommodation at 7.30am, and went straight to bed.


Sunrise whilst driving to Gisborne

Smash Palace, Gisborne
w/ Spikey
Saturday 27 May 2023

I’d hoped to go to the nearby Rere Rock Slide, a formation in the river that served as a natural water slide. I even had a boogie board in the car. But we needed sleep after such a big night of driving, so didn’t have the time to go there.

We ventured into town for some kai, and then to the venue for load in.

The Bravo Uniform Mikes. Joseph (l) and Pottsy (r)

The Bravo Uniform Mikes. Joseph (l) and Pottsy (r)

Smash Palace is awesome! It’s like a cross between PICA in Melbourne and 5Tapped in Blenhiem. Situated in an industrial area, near metal scrapyards, it’s a great wee bar with a local community feel. The inside is littered with interesting bits and pieces, and the outdoor stage has a plane over the top of it!

Darryl the owner is a legend, according to everyone I’d spoke to over the past few weeks. Smash Palace is a local institution, and was well set up for live music. They even have a radio station and livestream performances when bands play.

Our opening act tonight was Spikey – the new solo project from Cory Newman. Cory is best known as the frontman of Sit Down in Front. He’s done a lot for someone so young, and was sharing stories about touring with the likes of The Chats and Jimmy Barnes. He’d roped in local musos Ryan and Ali to join him for his Spikey project.

Spikey Smash Palace by Will Not Fade

Spikey at Smash Palace. Photo by Will Not Fade

Interestingly enough, Spikey featured two bass players. Ali the drummer had recently injured his right hand so was playing with just one hand, which I found especially impressive. The three of them are clearly well known in the local music scene and had a bunch of friends and family show up to catch their debut. My favourite song was a catchy one entitled “Don’t Touch Stuff On My Desk!”

Joseph drumming for the Bravo Uniform Mikes

Joseph drumming for the Bravo Uniform Mikes. Photo by John Flatt

Cherry is from Gisborne, so we thought that they’d like to headline tonight. I’m pleased with how the Bravos are playing, considering we have been together for such a short amount of time. Tonight went well, although we played some songs exceptionally fast, and I’m surprised that I could keep up with the speed.

Cherry Punch rounded off the night with more of their furious music. They’re a force to be reckoned with and I’m glad that we didn’t have to follow their set.

Cherry Punch Smash Palace by Will Not Fade

Nathan drumming for Cherry Punch at Smash Palace. Photo by Will Not Fade

The return drive to Wellington was largely uneventful, although we did get a better glimpse of the cyclone impact during the daylight. I was well and truly ready for bed by the time I got home.

A bridge that had been destroyed by a cyclone

We play New Plymouth on Friday 2nd June, and Palmerston North on Saturday 3rd.

Planet Hunter Northern Tripping – Auckland and Kaitaia

Planet Hunter Northern Tripping Poster

Recently I’ve been reading breakfastandtravelupdates, the tour blog from The Beths bassist Benjamin Sinclair. It reminded me of the joys of tour blogs, so I decided that I should document the Planet Hunter Northern Tripping tour in May. They released debut album Moscovium late last year (review from Craig Leahy), and are finally heading out on the road to bring their music to the masses.

I consider Planet Hunter the best band in Wellington. It’s an easy choice, as far as I’m concerned. Few bands come close in terms of entertaining live performance or musicianship. Their songs have such strong groove that they’ll get people dancing, while moving in an out of weird time signatures.

They’ve been around for a long time now, and three of them have history playing together in previous band Mangle and Gruff. Years of experience writing and performing together have melded them into a tight unit who excel as a musical force to be reckoned with.

Northern Tripping Whammy Backroom Auckland poster

Whammy Backroom, Auckland

w/ Thousand Limbs and Empress

Cormac had created an itinerary with times, destinations, stops, addresses etc… We had a lot of driving ahead so it made sense to have all this planned. I did find it funny that Cormac had included “drop kids at school”.

Cormac has a Toyota Voxy, a big van that fit the five of us, our music equipment and our personal gear. It’s been named “The Mothership”, and is spacious and smooth to drive.

Van life

L-R: Me (Joseph), Will (guitar), Jed (bass), Cormac (vocals, guitar), Dave (drums)

We created a driving playlist to listen to. The rule was that no band could be repeated, although there were work arounds eg Ozzy Osbourne featured both solo and in Black Sabbath. The playlist is called “Tanks and Rainbows”, named after things we saw whilst driving Desert Road. It’s a pretty wild mix, but it was a lot of fun to listen to during our many hours on the road.

The drive to Auckland went well. We stopped at Taihape for the obligatory photo in front of the gumboot. Tokoroa had impressive looking wharepaku, underneath a taniwha-looking cover.

Auckland traffic sucked, which is to be expected. But we got to the venue around the time we had planned for. Parking also proved difficult, but isn’t that an intrinsic part of any Auckland experience? I asked an Auckland based friend for kai recommendations close to the venue. He suggested Sneaky Snacky, directly across the road. I ordered a fried chicken burger with a donut for a burger bun, and fries with MSG. My arteries weren’t happy about it, but my mouth was in heaven.

Sneaky Snacky

A heart attack in food form. A delicious one, at that

Whammy Backroom was an interesting space. Three venues: Whammy, Whammy Backroom and The Wine Cellar all come off St Kevin’s Arcade in the Auckland CBD. They’re fairly small spaces, all connected and run by the same people. Paddy the sound tech told me that sometimes there will be a mini festival event, with three stages running concurrently, and attendees able to move between them.

One of the disadvantages of the three venues being so closely connected is that lots of people got confused and went to the wrong venue. One of my friends accidentally went to the other Whammy, and the guy on the door was difficult to deal with when we explained the mistake, and refused to refund her until I really put the pressure on.

Empress at Whammy Backroom


Empress opened the night, a duo from Kirikiriroa. The two of them have played together for a long time, previously in a trio named Cheshire Grimm. Lora the vocalist used looping pedals with her guitar to build the sound up while Craig maintained the beat on drums. My favourite song’s lyrics were quotes of things people had written on community Facebook pages, which I found very funny. It reminded me of Housewitches.

Post-metal Thousand Limbs took the stage next, a post-metal quartet. Two of the guys are highschool music teachers, and some of their students were playing next door at Whammy, with a handful of their other students also attending our gig. This is super wholesome and indicates that they must be awesome teachers. Thousand Limbs were great, and they reminded me of some of the acts I’d seen at dunk!USA in Vermont.

Thousand Limbs at Whammy Backroom

Thousand Limbs

Anyone who knows Planet Hunter will know that Cormac always comes up with crazy visuals. He’d specially made a new mask for this tour, which featured the face from a CPR dummy. He looked glorious onstage, with a silvery flowing poncho, and elongated head with the creepy dummy face. It was hilarious to see him twerking to the music in this get up, but I tell you what, it adds a certain je n’est ce quoi to the performance.

Planet Hunter at Whammy Backroom

Planet Hunter Whammy Backroom

We had been told not to start the gig before 10pm, we think possibly so it wouldn’t disrupt the gigs at the two connected venues? So it went late. Planet Hunter started at 11.45pm. We were spent by the end of it, but the set was great. We stayed with Cormac’s dad on the North Shore.

Kaitaia MetalFest 3

Kaitaia Metal Fest 3

w, Teraset, FNA, The Shard

We got up early for the drive to Kaitaia. We knew the far north had been hit hard by cyclones earlier in the year, and weren’t sure what to expect about the roads. I don’t know those roads, but to be honest, other than a small detour and lots of potholes, the drive was pleasant and easy.

Will told me that this animal is a zebra.

On the way up we stopped at an exciting South African shop that had animal sculptures and biltong. But the most exciting stop was Kawakawa. It has the famous Hundertwasser toilets (visually appealing, but very smelly), a train going through the middle of town, and a painting of a cat anus on a public bench. All three of these things made me very happy.

Kawakawa, home of the famous Hundertwasser Toilets

Kawakawa, home of the famous Hundertwasser Toilets (near this location)

cat butt

Arriving in Kaitaia, we had to take the obligatory photo in front of the Kaitaia Metal Fest 3 billboard. Frankie the promoter came out to great us and gave us a wee care package that included Kaitaia Fire hot sauce, honey, and a voucher for a breakfast at a bakery the following morning.

Kaitaia MetalFest3 Billboard

The Kaitaia MetalFest3 Billboard. L-R: Jed (bass), Will (guitar), Dave (drums), Cormac (vocals and guitar), me (Joseph)

Collards Sports Bar was a cool space. There was a small stage in the corner, and it was suitably sized for the audience we were anticipating, along with a covered outdoors smoking area. After soundcheck we dropped our things at our accommodation and had a rest. It’s weird that after having sat in the van all day, it felt so good to just sit down on the couch.

The Shard Kaitaia MetalFest3

The Shard

Arriving back at the venue, we were pleased to see a great turn out. Ticket sales weren’t a great gauge of how many people to anticipate, lots of people just rocked up on the night. A few people had mentioned to me that the Northland music scene was monopolised by reggae, but it was a solid turnout and clear that many metalheads resided in the area.

The Shard started the night off with a bunch of metal and rock covers. It was a short but fun set. I was particularly impressed with how well the Rob the vocalist nailed his impressions of the singers of each band that they covered.

FNA at Kaitaia MetalFest


FNA stands for Far North Automotive. Again, the vocalist proved to be the stand out member of the band. I’ve been teaching myself to sing while I drum in recent years, but my skills are nothing compared to what we saw from Grant the drummer during the FNA set. I was in awe of his abilities, holding down the beat as he belted out the vocals. They roped in a mate for guest vocals during a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name of”, which was extremely well received, as you’d imagine.

Teraset at Kaitaia MetalFest3


Teraset were a last minute addition, stepping up to fill in for Teeth and Nails, who had to pull out. You may recognise drummer Will Stairmand, who hosts The Distorted Transmission. They were easily the heaviest band of the night, and the dancing was replaced by more headbanging.

And Planet Hunter finished off the night. I loved seeing the looks of surprise on everyone’s faces when Planet Hunter started. Their sound is impressive enough – Grant from FNA could not get enough of our Dave’s drumming- but Cormac’s crazy outfit was enough to make people do a double take as well. Cormac does lots of squatting and big movements as has dances to his music, and I got a real kick out of seeing the entire front row reflect his movements, almost like an aerobics class.

All in all it was a fantastic night. Good turn out, and everyone had loads of fun. Props to Frankie for doing such a stellar job of organising and promoting the event, and hopefully Kaitaia MetalFest 4 is ever bigger and better!

Planet Hunter Kaitaia MetalFest3

Planet Hunter at Kaitaia MetalFest3


Sunday. Time for the biiiiig drive home. We’d been up pretty late but the partying hadn’t affected anyone too much, and we were still buzzing from the successful night before. We stopped into Coast to Coast Bakery and grabbed some pies for breakfast – Frankie had generously arranged for a voucher – before hitting the road. Thankfully the roads were still passable and we missed the crazy weather that hit not long after we left. I don’t have too much to report on the drive. It was a long way to go and we tried to minimise stops. I did insist that we stop at Matakana in Kerikeri for the guys to buy treats for their better halves. You know how it is: happy wife, happy life. This hopefully ensured that we have ongoing permission to do of these weekends away in the future. We enjoyed adding songs to our Tanks and Rainbows playlist, talking rubbish, taking in the scenery and throwing metal salutes to every herd of cows that we passed.

Planet Hunter are playing Moon1 in Wellington on Saturday 20th May

The Bum Punch Tour 2023

The Bum Punch Tour Poster

Wellington bands The Bravo Uniform Mikes and Cherry Punch have teamed up for a tour!

The Bravo Uniform Mikes

The Bravo Uniform Mikes at Snails. Image:

The Bravo Uniform Mikes at Snails. Image: Cole Dunweg

The Bravo Uniform Mikes are a two piece rock n roll band from the Wellington region. With their main influences being The Datsuns and The Queens Of The Stone Age, this duo offer an energetic live show. After forming early 2023, this band has amassed thousands of video views, booked a tour for May/June 23 and are looking to release music to all platforms later in 2023.

The Bravo Uniform Mikes:

Cherry Punch

Cherry Punch

Cherry Punch. Image: Jechtography

We are Cherry Punch, a Wellington 4 piece punk band, and we’re here to fuck shit up!

Cherry Punch:

The Bum Punch Tour Banner


Local support from Spikey


Local support from The Groundsmen


Local support from Old Man Pine


Local support from Adoneye


Thanks also to Neuron Percussion and MuzicNZ for supporting the tour.

Planet Hunter Northern Tripping Tour 2023

Planet Hunter Northern Tripping Poster

Wellington’s greatest live rock band is taking their show round the North Island this May, with their Northern Tripping Tour. Having released their incredible album Moscovium in September, they’re finally taking it around the North Island and treating music fans with their unmissable shows.

Come check out their hypnotic grooves, infectious riffs, and witness their out-of-this-world sci-fi stage presence!

Planet Hunter Northern Tripping Poster

Whammy Backroom, Auckland

Friday 5th May

with Empress and Thousand Limbs


Kaitaia MetalFest 3

Kaitaia MetalFest 3

Saturday 6th May

Also featuring:

The Shard


Northern Tripping Moon Wellington

Moon, Wellington

Saturday 20th May

with BXRT and Mana Mushroom


Planet Hunter’s website:

What’s In the Making of A Signature Sound?

Alan playing bass with Tides of Man at dunk!festival 2018

In an era of music streaming and randomized auto-generated playlists, one can easily get lost in the millions of musicians and groups and their discographies. However, one thing that helps us seek out the songs we love is an artist’s signature sound. The book This Is What It Sounds Like by writer Susan Rogers delves into what makes us love the music we love, in which Rogers explains the seven “sweet spots” we all use to determine whether we like certain music or not. Rogers’ list includes a song’s melody, lyrics, rhythm, and timbre — as well as its novelty, authenticity, and realism.

All of that, combined with the rawness of listening to music live, still doesn’t answer the question: What’s in the making of a signature sound? Our “Will Not Fade’s 2022 in Review” post highlights the many bands across different genres, from the prog and post-rock The Prog Alliance Tour to Avantdale Bowling Club’s jazzy hip-hop set. Part of the joys of listening to live music is enjoying a band’s sound, the live instruments, the vocals, and their energy. In this post, we’ll attempt to look at certain aspects of music that can help musicians create their signature sound:



It is not possible to talk about The Beatles’ signature sound without mentioning the Fenders, the Gibsons, and all the amps and pedals used throughout their different tracks. Case in point, Far Out Magazine‘s feature on iconic George Harrison moments noted that his use of the sitar in “Norwegian Wood” marked a shift in the latter half of the Beatles’ discography.

Later, this inspired the Rolling Stones to start featuring sitars in their song “Paint It Black.” Jimi Hendrix also decided to use a Fender Stratocaster — upside down. This not only created a signature sound but a signature look as well. Guns n Roses’ Slash has an inseparable image from his Gibson Les Paul, but like Hendrix, it’s because of how he plays it as opposed to what he played. Clearly, the instruments a musician utilizes are a starting foundation for their overall sound.


Aside from the instruments, a musician’s equipment is equally important to creating the sound we eventually hear. Over the years, musicians have come to rely on specialized equipment to help create their music. Jimi Hendrix’s iconic guitar tone results from his pedal setup—a wah pedal, a fuzz pedal, a Uni-Vibe pedal, and an Octavio pedal. All of these helped create Hendrix’s odd-sounding, hypnotic swirly guitars. Like pedals and guitar amps, an artist’s microphone can affect their sound. Shout4Music demonstrates how many microphones available today can serve different purposes depending on the sound you want to produce.

Still, some microphones—like the Shure SM58—are such classics that they have become an industry standard and a favorite among music’s iconic names, from The Who to Paul McCartney, for their clear and crisp audio. Indie bands, meanwhile, may use equipment you may have never seen before. A notable example is Julian Koster and his singing saw — a bow on a traditional handsaw — for Neutral Milk Hotel. The equipment the artists use can be considered the unsung heroes of signature sounds.



Certain artists have a particular sound that you quickly associate with them a few seconds into a song. Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees didn’t know he could sing in falsetto until he did it in “Nights on Broadway,” eventually establishing the Bee Gees’ trademark falsetto sound. And when you think of Mariah Carey, you may think of her whistle tones, the same applies to Freddie Mercury’s belting and use of the mixed voice. Not everyone has a signature vocal sound, but the ones that do will often stick out to you because the technique is present throughout their music.

Of course, it’s not all stylistic. Ray Charles’ music is known for his growls and shouts, stemming from his gospel and jump blues background from the 50s—a time associated with emotional, soulful songs. Often, vocal techniques such as improvisations can transcend the importance of lyrics and may be why we can quickly identify certain songs. Overall, an artist’s vocal technique establishes their color as performers, creating music that is unique to them.


Guest post written exclusively for by Amy Cayenne

Photo of Tides of Man at dunk!festival 2018 by Will Not Fade