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Wellington punk band to reunite for one gig after 30+ years

Wellington punk band to reunite for one gig after 30+ years

Neoteric Tribesmen / Condemned Sector, with guests Kosmo-0
San Francisco Bath House, Cuba St, Friday 27th December, 8pm

Wellington city had a lively music scene in the later 70s to early 80s. Punk bands in the Capital were not content just to ape the recent UK movement; they had their own creative vibe going, blending the energy, anger and politics of UK punk with a degree of musical experimentation. Condemned Sector, formed by Richard Watts and James Gilberd from Onslow College, and Jenny Whyte from Wellington East Girls College, emerged into this scene in 1980. Nigel Elder, also an Onslow old boy, joined the band on guitar in 1981 and the Neoteric Tribesmen took up where Condemned Sector left off.

The bands’ practice room, in the basement of Clyde Quay School in Mount Victoria, was shared with The Mockers and was also the scene of the famous jam session with The Cure in 1981 see

While in 1980-81, Condemned Sector played support for the likes of The Wallsockets, The Gordons, and The Mockers, the Neoteric Tribesmen developed their own following over 1981-82, and played well-attended gigs with Riot 111, The Skeptics and other punk bands. Some of the later gigs were marred by violence, which led to the Tribesmen ceasing playing.

Most of the venues the two bands performed at have since been obliterated (The Rock Theatre/Billy the Club, The Last Resort), and pubs like The Clarendon, Terminus, and Cosgroves disappeared or the buildings were altered beyond recognition. The only surviving Wellington band venue of the time is Thistle Hall.

With former frontman Richard Watts briefly visiting Wellington from Oxford, UK, the idea of a reunion gig formed. James Gilberd says, “We have limited rehearsal time with Richard, as he gets into town the day before the gig. So Nigel, Jenny and I have been re-learning the old songs as a three piece band, getting ready for Richard to jump in. The challenge is in playing the songs with the necessary edge and aggression – a little harder to mine when you’re 50 and somewhat content with life. We play through at what we think is up to tempo and then listen to the old recording and find we’re 20% too slow! We’ll have it down by the gig though.”

The San Francisco Bath House in Cuba St is happy to host the gig, which will be on Friday 27th December. Drummer James Gilberd’s current band Kosmonought a.k.a Kosmo-0 will make its debut appearance, playing a set of original material, another local punk act (tbc) will also perform. It will be the one and only opportunity to see Condemned Sector and Neoteric Tribesmen. “We’re all really looking forward to it. It’ll be a blast.”


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