Brace yourselves – in the second ever Kiwese tour, Wellington outsider punk duo mr sterile Assembly are making their way to China to freak some people out and devour various vegetarian fry-ups.
Last month I found myself waiting for some friends outside Baobab Cafe. Despite a two year absence from Wellington, everything was overwhelmingly familiar – the tangy scent of South Indian curries in the breeze, rows of faceless mannikins posing in op-shop windows and bright yellow public buses trundling past with a mechanical groan. Lofty signs for QUICK AND EASY PERSONAL LOANS remained latched to the sides of cheap bakeries. Not much had changed in Newtown, an inner-city suburb dotted with ethnic restaurants and a growing number of hipster hangouts.
After work traffic kept me waiting by the side of the road. Conversation floated by among those clasping fish n’ chips or Keep Cup lattes to their puffer-jacketed chests. A cold wind blew as gutters were scoured for cigarette butts and spare change by the chapped hands of the less fortunate.
The income gap in New Zealand has continued gape wide open in the two years since I’ve been gone. A suit scrolls through his iPhone while a homeless man rolls a used durry. This is the reality of urban Aotearoa – no glossy tourism pamphlets, no rare and endangered birds, no hobbits or wizards.
There is, however, a pair of performance punk musicians whose music speaks to the experiences of the poor, marginalised and ignored members of our society, who believe in telling stories that belong to the current cultural conversation, who believe “indifference is the death of the heart.” They are mr sterile Assembly, dubbed as one of the most unusual live acts in New Zealand, a band who have reached out to Kiwese seeking a way through China.
At a little past half five, my ride arrives.
Three years since the last break, not a single day off since
Paradise is busy by the bay
In orbit of the corner store, seven days a week
Seven through to seven every day
Upper flat, inner city, such a long, long way from home
Double cleaner’s wages pay the rent
In a tiny condensed world, make do in a single room
Quiet touch only, beside the daughter’s bed
Living third world in a first world city
Employer brands the loyalty, keeps the manners nice
The old bloke at the front desk, bites down the bitterness
Stress value first impression, try to smile with missing teeth
Fight for slight promotion and pass the urine test
Living third world in a first world
A state house by the motorway, a tiny condensed space
How many can camp down, into a single double bed
Fever likes the company, attracted by rheumatic heart
Win the prize of penicillin, or a surgeon on your chest
Loud hear them
Who were there
And who got out
Don’t hear them
Who are there
Who can’t get out
– ‘Othering Heights’ from It’s All Over
by mr sterile Assembly
A car pulls up in the middle of the road and a man with the most fantastic moustache in the South Pacific gestures for me to hop in. It’s the ringmaster Kieran, the drumming and singing mr sterile himself, with the other half of the Assembly, bassist and vocalist Chrissie, behind the wheel. Car troubles aside, we are soon cruising around the South Coast as the sun sets behind the hills, tinted orange and pink.
We soon arrive at their Happy Valley home – mr sterile gets to work on reheating a veggie curry for tea and Chrissie fires up the brazier. Their kids have all grown up and moved out, leaving the cat to prowl around the cozy living room stacked with a staggering array of books, CDs, records, cassettes and paintings. A drum kit and bass amp sit next to the sofa. It is a home full of music and information.
I’d received an email from mr sterile Assembly several months prior, who had seen the Orchestra of Spheres Rockumentary on YouTube and were themselves long intrigued by the possibility of touring China. A few more emails, a Skype and a serendipitous trip back to New Zealand for Going Global, I was now sitting in their living room hearing tales of Levin bogan basement gigs, the touring circuit in Indonesia and the travels of DIY punk duo Sabot.
It is with much pleasure that I announce the mr sterile Assembly China Tour 2016, kicking off this Friday in Shanghai.
MR STERILE BIO:
The mr sterile Assembly is a bass and drum duo of explosive proportions from Aotearoa New Zealand. With one foot in the world of punk, and the other dancing between noise, math rock, free-form squall, they are not easy to box, and are quite happy about that. Known as much for their wordsmithing as for their impressive live performance, sterile’s fierce delivery has been described as “oppressive and delightful both at the same time.” Organ Magazine, UK.
After 15 years, five albums, and several excursions to Central Europe and South East Asia, Sterile are looking forward to this 20 date tour across 2 continents.
The band will be traveling with their latest album, It’s All Over released through the band’s label skirted Records. International distribution is through Portland based Metal Postcards. Take a listen on Bandcamp to “A jolt of pure creative spirit married to social commentary, and damn good fun!” NZ Musician.
KIWESE PROUDLY PRESENTS: MR STERILE ASSEMBLY CHINA TOUR 2016
Shanghai @ Space-631
NOIShanghai LXXIV X Space-631 Vol.8
Support: Torturing Nurse, 反方向的钟(上海) 白梦薇(上海))
Guangzhou @ Loft 345
In Collab With: QiiiSnacks Records
Guiyang @ 劲Power Livehouse
Chengdu @ NU SPACE
Support: Don Trash
Chongqing @ Nuts Livehouse
In Collab With: 珊瑚坝
Support: You Come Twice
Wuhan @ Coastline
In Collab With: Imaginary Person
Support: Panic Worm
Beijing @ Red Gate Gallery
In Collab With: Dan Beban
Beijing @ Caravan
In Collab With: AWEH
Support: Death Narcissist and DJ Fido
10.23 (SUN) 4pm
Beijing @ fruityspace
In Collab With: Sound and Exploration Society
Support: Dead Corner, DINGCHENCHEN
mr sterile Assembly是来自新西兰惠灵顿富有爆发性的贝斯和鼓二人乐队。他们一只脚踏在朋克世界，另一只脚则在噪音，数字摇滚，自由即兴的世界中起舞，他们难以被人贴上某种风格的标签，而他们则很满意这种状态。mr sterile Assembly因其伶俐的歌词和神奇的现场出名，他们激烈的演出风格被描述成一种“压迫感和愉快同时存在”的体验。
乐队经过了十五年，在发行了五张专辑，好几个在欧洲和东南亚的巡演之后，mr sterile Assembly非常期待今年的跨两大洲二十个站的巡演。他们要把最近的在自己的skirted records厂牌发行的专辑《It’s All Over》带上。而这张专辑的国际发行则是美国波特兰Metal Postcards厂牌负责。在Bandcamp可以听一下他们的音乐，被NZ Musician网站形容为“纯粹的创新精神与社会评论的联婚，好玩死了！”
– mr sterile
Kiwese will be joining the tour from Guangzhou, will try and post updates on the road, see you there!