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March 15, 2004 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

(Live Review) Alien Ant Farm, 48 May and Stylus

Union Hall, Saturday 6th March

Ah, what a pleasant evening! Strolling down Kelburn Parade, the air is cool and crisp. There isn’t a single drop of summer rain on my jacket, and the total cessation of sound could not be further from what’s happening in the loud, noisy, sweat-soaked Union Hall. For many first-years this is the place where dreams come true, as they bear witness to their favourite band Alien Ant Farm. And oh my gosh girlfriend! May I add? They are just like… the raddest band in town ever!

As I enter the venue I’m told security is tight and access to the band is a no-go. Denied. My heart sank as my photographer friend and I floated down the stairs to the bar and proceeded to get merry on Coruba & Cola. It turns out Stylus, another rap-rock outfit from Auckland, have finished their set. They were granted only four songs so that Alien Ant Farm would be on stage at the right time. They were pissed off.

Next up is 48 May. And the name says it all! Think one-syllable word and digit combinations, e.g. Sum 41, Blink 182, and you’re on the right track. To their credit, 48 May are tight as fuck and they’re practically a Hamilton super-band, with ex-Mama Said and Tadpole members joining the ranks. And I’m sorry to sound oh so cliché, but they are really good at what they do…. “Holy shit. Thanks,” yells 48 May’s front man. They obviously enjoyed being here and the crowd went from warm to hot during their set. Still, they play the kind of music you liked when you were 12, and I quote some lyrics I vaguely made out: ‘nose bleed, making my heart sink, losing sleep at night.’ They’re like Green Day without the smut.

And now ladies and gentlemen, the moment I know I’ve been waiting for…. “How’s it going? We’re Alien Ant Farm from Riverside California!”

I’m going to stop joking now girlfriend! Alien Ant Farm are shite. From the moment they took the stage I hated them even more than I used to. The bass player looks like an extra from the Godfather movies and they’re so fucking ho-hum. All night I sat there thinking these guys probably designed and maintain their own website. They tend to shun the rap-rock vibe of their contemporaries for a singing kind of approach. But they literally have the social skills of a turd. Here’s an example of the little audience banter the band kindly provided. “Hey, how do you get a faggot to fuck a chick?” For those of you who desperately want to know the punch line I suggest you ask someone who was present… It only gets worse!
The most exciting part of the night was their power-trip tour manager man-handling a crowd surfer. Or when I ducked out for a cigarette and I heard a security guard ask his co-worker, “Hey, are we allowed to mace people if they try break in?”

For a band with two albums and four years in the limelight, they only played an hour-long set. Alien Ant Farm’s main claim to fame is their cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’, and yet they still finish their set with this song several years later.

The band finally let me in their backstage room but I couldn’t interview them. They sat smoking weed, surfing the internet and playing hang-man with a group of 18 and 19 year old girls they had let in previously. Perhaps I should have suggested they play a new game called ‘go-home stay-home, I don’t like you, fuck off.’


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