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.

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.

Live Review: Frank Turner at Meow, Wellington

Frank Turner Meow

Frank Turner (show 2745)

w/ DEE
Meow, Wellington
Monday 27 March 2023

This was an unexpected gig. Counting Crows announced a tour late last year. They’re a band that I’m neutral on. I don’t mind them, but wouldn’t choose to listen to them either. But when Frank Turner was announced as the support act I decided I was going immediately. Part of me winced as I dropped $150 on a ticket so I could see someone play a 30 minute support slot, but hey, money comes and goes, my love for Frank Turner is forever.

So imagine my delight today when I hear that Counting Crows have cancelled their show at Michael Fowler Centre, but Frank Turner has arranged a consolation gig at Meow. My condolences to Counting Crows fans, but that wasn’t the band I wanted to see. And this Meow show was free! I would have happily paid, but I won’t complain. This way I got to see a full Frank set!

I made sure to arrive at Meow early, wanting to avoid the risk of missing out if the venue hit capacity. When I got there around 6.30pm, there was already a queue snaking down the alleyway. We were let inside at 7pm and the venue was close to full at that point.

DEE opened the night with sweet, shimmering folky music. She was glowing under the blue light, with a sparkly sheer shirt and glittery make up. Her music was pretty sleepy, but her voice was stunning and carried plenty of personality. She was clearly chuffed that she’d been called in to open last-minute, but if she was nervous it didn’t show.

Frank Turner came onstage to rapturous applause. I think it’s fair to say that many people were like myself, and actually glad about the turn of events that led to this. Nothing against Counting Crows, but this sure beats only getting a short 30 minute opening set.

Always one to please his loyal fanbase, he touched on eight of his nine albums out to date, as well as playing the title track to his forthcoming album, Undefeated, and an obligatory Counting Crows cover, which made perfect sense. He shared how he grew up on metal and punk music, but learnt to play every song on his sister’s Counting Crows record because the guitar playing was easier to learn than Megadeth solos. 

This is the second time I’ve seen Frank play solo. There were times that it seemed as if something was missing – obviously the music sounds better fully fleshed out by a band. But Frank had us help out, humming lines that would usually feature guitar solos, or clapping where a strong drum beat was needed.

He’s clearly a master at what he does. I guess you can’t help but attain excellence after playing 2744 shows. He knew how to play dynamically, where to invite crowd participation, and had great banter.

I’m always surprised by how much of Frank’s music is shouted – as opposed to sung – in a live context. But this is perfect for a fired up crowd wanting to join in. I’ve listened to these songs hundreds of times and I made sure to belt out the words along with everyone else. The energy was contagious. 

I think one of the things I find most appealing about Frank’s music is that he can articulate feelings that I find incredibly relatable. I remember last time I saw him, he started his set with “Don’t Worry”. And as corny as it sounds, it felt like all the stress I’d been carrying just melted away. I love the fired up songs about the power of punk rock, about rejecting Nazis, about but I also love the sincerity of some of his more vulnerable moments. Tonight, “Get Better” and “Haven’t Been Doing So Well” struck a chord. Frank doesn’t know me at all, but I felt seen, and somehow supported, knowing that I’m not always alone in how I feel. It’s powerful.

And as soppy as it sounds, I think it is because Frank genuinely cares. He’d spent the day working on his pronunciation so that he could say “Aotearoa”. He played the song “Miranda” at special request from a 6 year old fan in attendance. And also mentioned how this song was topical, in light of the recent protests around Nazi anti-feminist figure Posie Parker visiting New Zealand to spread a message of hate.

And he put on this free show for us tonight.

Because he cares about his fans.

I came out of that show feeling revived. I was energised and refreshed and willing to take on the world. Now who’d have thought that after all, something as simple as rock ‘n’ roll would save us all?


Joseph James

Live Review: The D4 at San Fran, Wellington

The D4 tour poster

The D4

w/ Dartz
San Fran, Wellington
Saturday 4 March 2023

It’s awesome to see the rise of Wellington punks Dartz. They’re fast gaining momentum as a band to be reckoned with, especially with the recent release of their debut album, The Band from Wellington, New Zealand.

They are fast witted and forthcoming with the banter, and their songs are relatable, capturing a slice of NZ life. Drinking beers, driving crap cars, living in substandard housing, struggling with the cost of living… These are things that almost everyone in our country has experienced. Somehow they ride the line between being both silly and fun, and authentic.

I especially enjoyed their cover of Deja Voodoo’s “Beers”, which proved fitting within their repertoire. “Dominion Road (Dumpling House)”, a reworking of The Mutton Birds song, also proved endearingly nostalgic, with a breath of fresh life breathed into it.

Dartz San Fran Dartz San FranDartz San Fran Dartz San Fran  Dartz San Fran Dartz San Fran Dartz San Fran

The press release for this tour details how The D4 created a world of recklessness and high octane energy, touring the world relentlessly with incredible rock and roll bands. Their big album 6Twenty came out in 2002, so they’ve re-released it as 6Twenty One and given it the vinyl treatment for the twenty-first anniversary, along with this tour.

My first exposure to The D4 was the song “Sake Bomb”, on a CD sampler. I know that I’m showing my age here, but I didn’t have a have clue what Sake Bomb actually was. I thought it may have something to do with warfare. My exposure to alcohol at that stage was limited to the scrumpy, Speights and awful RTDs that we drank at highschool parties. It certainly didn’t extend to Japanese spirits.

I guess that I’m just slightly too young to have known The D4 when they were big. I do remember Jimmy Christmas’ next band Lugar Boa having a strong presence on The Rock radio station and at many gigs during my later teenage years.

I have actually seen them play before, at this same venue in 2018 with The Datsuns. But in all honesty, the only memories I have of that night are reduced to remembering that it was extremely hot, and of being concerned for my friend Conor, who got knocked out during The Datsuns’ set.

Well it’s a shame, but nothing felt especially knockout about tonight’s set. The musicians were all clearly weathered players, but it lacked that feeling of danger or excitement that I’d want from a band who writes so many songs about partying and drinking. They have a history of sharing the stage with Guitar Wolf – one of the most exciting rock bands I can think of. But this just felt pedestrian.

Dion Palmer appeared to put the most into the performance, with a bit more movement and plenty of guitar solos. He really should have been centrestage. “Out of my Head” had a bit more oomph, and the aforementioned “Sake Bomb” was fun – possibly because it was a lot faster and more energetic than many of the other songs.

They finished up with the encore of “Exit to the City”, “Feel Like It” and “Invader Ace”.

All in all it was fine, but lacking the energy that I expected from a band of their reputation. Many bands do anniversary tours these days. One punter was wearing a tour t-shirt from when Shihad played Killjoy and The General Electric albums in full. I remember those being killer gigs. In recent years I’ve seen David Dallas play The Rose Tint, and Jakob play Solace. Both were incredible nights. But sometimes these anniversary tours just feel like stale cash grabs and tarnish treasured memories about music that used to feel vital.

The D4 San Fran Wellington The D4 San Fran Wellington The D4 San Fran Wellington The D4 San Fran Wellington The D4 San Fran Wellington The D4 San Fran Wellington The D4 San Fran Wellington

Words and photos by Joseph James

Scattering The Rats: An Interview with Donita Sparks of L7


Mina Perniskie (lead signer of Wellington’s own Secrets of the Sun) chats on the phone with the indomitable DONITA SPARKS of LA band L7. Mina is a longtime fan of L7, first hearing them as a teenager. Her 14 year old self was fan-girling hard during this interview.

Having formed in 1985 with raucous genre defying blend of metal, punk and pop, L7 are back with new album Scatter The Rats. L7 are in their element as a live band, and have a tour of Australia and New Zealand lined up for May. Make sure to get along to one of the shows to get your face ripped off.

Mina Perniskie: I was really excited to see that L7 were coming to NZ, and I believe this is your first time coming to NZ with L7 is that correct?? I know you have been to Australia in the past.

Donita Sparks: I think we were in NZ in either 1992 or 1993, we’ve been there once.

It’s been a while obviously, are you excited to be coming here?

We’re very excited to be coming to NZ.  We were really disappointed that last time we went to Australia, we did not come to NZ, and we thought you guys hated us! We were like, why aren’t we playing Auckland at least? So we’re happy to be playing there now.

And you have two shows, Wellington and Auckland! After a long hiatus you’ve been playing together again now for about 6 years?

I think we reformed in 2016, yeah those were our first reunion shows so this will be our fifth year back, which is crazy!

You are obviously a very influential band, so how does it feel over the last couple of years in particular to be able to write new music, get out a new album Scatter the Rats and tour again after kind of a long hiatus?  Do you feel that this is a great climate for a comeback if you will? With your legacy as well?

Well, it’s been amazing.  There’s a documentary on us that’s out called Pretend We’re Dead.  That was coming out, and then we were thinking about doing some reunion shows, and then that kind of happened. And then we were thinking about well let’s do some new music, because if we want to keep touring, none of us wanted to be like an ‘oldies band’ or something, you know what I mean?  You can’t just keep on doing a reunion tour forever, you know! So that’s why last year we put out Scatter the Rats and we’re super happy about the way it came out.  And it’s great, because we’re still touring that record, and there are spots in the world that we haven’t hit yet with it. It’s exciting again.

You can probably find new fans as well as reminding your older fans that you’re around as well with new music, so that’s great.  Your music has always been great and to me really aggressive but in a fun way. It’s soo heavy hitting and I think in the current political and general climate of the world it’s great to have L7 back out there and touring.

We’ve always been heavy hitting and we’ve always had melody in our heavy hitting as well so we’re not just a metal band, we’re not just a punk band and we’re not just a pop band, we’re like all three combined you know? (laughs).  We like a good catchy melody, and we also like aggression and we also like to slow it down every now and then too and play something a bit more introspective maybe.

Absolutely. It’s quite hard to pin down L7 down to one genre, it covers multitudes. Do you like talking about genre, or is it kind of annoying?  I personally hate talking genre, it’s like people have to pin you down to one box. Alternative rock kind of covers it but people want something more specific.

Well I suppose it’s important if your readership or your listening audience has never heard the band.  Most bands that I love are sort of genre defying. You might think “oh you may think they’re this, but then argh there’s this curveball and I never expected them to do this  kind of a song”! Those are the most interesting bands to me. So we’re cool if people wanna talk about it. Listen some people think we’re a heavy metal band you know? But we’re actually from the art punk scene in mid 80s Los Angeles. So we are not even from a metal scene  So we’re cool discussing genre and all that stuff. It’s a valid train of thought I suppose

With having multiple style and taste and influence as a band, you’re quite a collaborative band with all of you contributing to the music.  Is that kind of fun, do you all have different tastes and things that that you bring into the music?

What brings us together is the music, and I think that we all like the different corners and pockets of our band musically.  So any one of us can bring in a song that’s gonna sound like L7. As long as we’ve got Dee playing drums, and us with distortion.. just the way we play is very L7.  It’s almost like anything that comes in is gonna sound like an L7  song. So it works you know. And If we have to make some additions or changes to it we’ll do that too.   But we’re not afraid to play any genre of music. We’ve played songs that just have reverb guitar, no distortion at all.  I’m a sucker for hand claps, and for bongos! Some people think we’re just metal but it’s like what are bongos then? I like surf music. So..there’s that.

True. I was listening to one of your songs and noticed it has a surf element, I think it was “Mr Integrity”.

Yeah and that has bongos! And hand claps. And surf guitar. So it’s like you know (laughs).. and it rocks.

I think that’s what makes L7 fun.  Because you do all these things and it’s surprising and interesting, you know?

I think we feel pretty free to kind of just throw in whatever elements.  I think maybe some bands are afraid to do that, because they are in a very tight narrow genre.  And my God if they fucking break that genre well they’re fucked! Because their fans will not forgive them. But with us it’s like ‘OK whatever, you’re not gonna forgive us you don’t have to be our fan anymore’.  OK fine, you don’t dig it? Go listen to…whatever’.


There’s plenty of stuff out there and they don’t listen to you …but hopefully they do! My next question.. so this is around the whole gender issue and you guys probably get sick of talking about this to a point, but I’m gonna ask the question. And quoting from the documentary as well,  you said you ‘wished the whole gender thing would go away’ and ‘please recognise us for our rock’. Do you feel that you’ve achieved this on the whole or is this still an issue today? I feel as women in rock we have achieved some measure of respect now, it’s not as bad as it used to be. But I still think it’s a thing.  What’s your view on that?

Well, we had respect from the get go, from our peers and from rock audiences.  Pretty much. It was sort of the guys with the power, the money guys, the business suit guys who were really kind of for whatever reason afraid to let go of the power.  I think we’ve always transcended our gender. I don’t think anybody really fucking cares.

My objective with the band when we started out, I didn’t want a name that revealed our gender. I was like ‘L7’.  I didn’t want The ‘blah blah blah Girls’ or anything like that. I was just like No. I want people to hear our music and not be able to tell what gender we are. And we definitely achieved that. So yeah I feel great.  Listen, if you were a Doctor 100 years ago, you were a ‘Lady Doctor’ didn’t matter if you were the best doctor on the fucking planet. So you know, it’s all growing pains and its all you know, somebody’s gotta be the fucking avant garde, in terms of you’re out there first, or second, or third..whatever.  I think in the rock circles we hold our own, and yeah.

I definitely think so.  I’m really looking forward to the show.  When I heard that you were coming and there were tickets  I was like, I’m in there! Done! It’ll be a great show. I’m sure you rock just as hard as ever.  Watching the documentary I was just like…the raw power, the’s soo rock. So I’m really looking forward to seeing that in person, with my own eyeballs and my own ears!

I feel and I think the whole band feels this way too, that we’re a better live band than on record. We’ve had producers and engineers spend like a month on one of our records and then they go see us live and they say ‘What the fuck have we been doing for the last month!?’.  Because there is this connectivity when we’re on stage together and you feel the power of the band that you just can’t capture sometimes in a recording studio.  So if you want to see us in our element, come see us live.

See you live.  Absolutely. Excellent. Well I think that’s about our time up isn’t it?

Hey, I do wanna tell you one thing though.  We did a collaboration with Joan Jett. We did a cover of her song ‘Fake Friends’ and she’s on our version, singing and playing guitar. We’re going to be releasing that just for the Australia & NZ tour.  So that’s gonna be available just in that market as a single. So you can throw that out there!

Oh wow! Awesome, I will definitely be throwing that out there.  That’s a little tidbit just for Kiwis, I guess. And Australians. That’s awesome news!

That’s exactly right.  Cool!

Was great to speak with you, thank you so much.  I’m really really looking forward to the show when you’re here!

Thanks! We will see you in NZ, finally!


Here’s a playlist of Mina’s favourite L7 songs:

Ticket link for L7’s upcoming Australia and New Zealand tour:

L7 Poster