ROBERTS 20th ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL PUNK FEST featuring 7
of New Zealand's finest punk bands at the Jet Set Lounge,
Southlander Hotel, on the evening of Saturday, 16 November.
bands started early at 9pm, with the line-up consisting of Nelson
bands Johnny Christ and the KnuckleDraggers,
capably backed up by Christchurch favourites Stout,
Monk and RSI.
Also on the bill are latecomers Flesh
D-Vice from Wellington, one of New Zealand's oldest punk bands
who missed out being on the poster but confirmed that they would
play at the Punk Fest as they didn't want to miss out on being part
of this truly memorable
turned out to be a wild night of blazing punk rock energy and a good
chance for all punks, past and present, to catch up with old
friends. It was decided
to use this date as a focal point for a reunion of the old 1980's
crowd and anyone else who ever had an interest or involvement in the
punk underground over the last 25 years.
Five of the bands have members who were playing in various
groups during the 1980's and they will be playing songs or sets that
reflect this. All this
is backed up by a punk DJ who played
all your favourite New Zealand and overseas songs from the era.
Roberts, for those who don't know or are too young to remember, is
the anarchist punk rocker who attempted to blow up the Wanganui
Computer Centre and lost his life in doing so on 18 November, 1982.
Roberts, the son of a wealthy Auckland family, was a popular
and respected figure in the early punk scene playing in several
bands. Far from being a
"mad bomber" he was a peaceful and non-violent person
driven to his final act by what he saw as the inevitable
"police state" with the Computer Centre as it's
the atmosphere was vastly different in New Zealand in those days; a
relatively conservative country in the grips of Muldoonism and its
"Think Big" policies, suffering a crippling economic
depression. We had just
witnessed unprecedented displays of police brutality and violence
during the Springbok Tour of 1981.
All this was going down at the height of the Cold War with
Russia and the ever present threat of nuclear war… and Orwell's
"1984" was just around the corner.
Neil Roberts died for his beliefs and his final words
graffitied on a concrete wall opposite the Computer Centre were also
to be his epitaph, as relevant today as back in 1982… "We
have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity".