A punk gig is the antithesis of a poignant Anzac dawn service: anti-establishment battle cries screamed over machine-gun speed guitar riffs.
But on Monday evening, punk music will roar out of a subterranean Hamilton bar in the name of our fallen.
Hamilton band BattleCat has organised a ‘Punk for Anzac’ gig, with all proceeds going to the RSA.
The idea was something of an accident. The organisers were keen to capitalise on a public holiday, but Easter weekend was booked out.
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The night before Anzac Day was free.
“We knew we had to make it all about Anzac, not just milk the fact that everyone’s got a day off,” guitarist Chris Vallett said.
BattleCat plays “quite nuts” punk – it’s fast, loud and calamitous. Otherwise, only a few tattoos betray the punk nature of these clean cut thirty-somethings.
“We call ourselves a punk band, but we’re not sporting mohawks or anything.”
Hamilton bands Sugarleaf and Recently Deceived are on the bill, alongside Tauranga’s Liberated Squid, who have a song about local body politics.
“It’s the kind of music where people have a rant,” Vallett said.
There won’t be any Anzac-related ranting on Monday night, though there might be a few words spoken for the occasion.
Doors open at Nivara Lounge at 8pm, with a gold coin donation cover charge for the veterans.
It’s not going to be a lot of money raised, a couple of hundred at a guess, but the organisers are happy it will go to a good cause.
“Get the boys some beers, man. Flick it to the old fellas so they can get free drinks for a while,” drummer Jared Constable said.
“War sucks, and we’re anti-war,” Vallett said, acknowledging that veterans might consider Punk for Anzac unusual.
That said, both punks feel a connection to New Zealand’s military history.
Vallett and his grandad, an Army digger, would visit the Ngaruawahia RSA when he was a toddler, and Constable’s grandfather served in post-war Japan.
Constable expected some fans would stay up after the gig and head to the dawn ceremony.