Five NZ Bands We Would Have Loved to Play Laneway

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at eight classic, now defunct Australian bands we would have loved to play Laneway. Now, with NZ Laneway upon us, it's time to look at a few of the many awesome bands to have sprung from across the Tasman.

New Zealand has long been home to a remarkably fertile music scene, and has produced a pretty astonishing list of great acts over the years. Here, in no particular order, are five we would have loved to grace the Laneway stage.







The Scavengers

Formed in 1976 at Graphic Design school, the Scavengers were one of New Zealand’s most influential early punk bands.

Their best-known song, 'Mysterex', was written about departing band member Mike Simons and featured on seminal local punk compilation album AK79. Replacement singer Brendan Perry later left New Zealand and went on to form Dead Can Dance.






Toy Love

Hailing from Dunedin, Toy Love weren’t New Zealand first punk band, but they were definitely one of the best.

Fronted by Chris Knox, their live shows were legendary. Their debut album (which at the time they weren’t happy with) is an important landmark in local music. Knox went on to form Tall Dwarfs with fellow Toy Love member Alec Bathgate. Despite suffering a serious stroke in 2009, Knox appeared at Laneway in 2010, and we were honoured to have him perform.






Danse Macabre

Influenced by the powerful post-punk sounds of UK groups like Joy Division, Danse Macabre explored darker, bleaker tones over two great EPs/mini albums. Key member Nigel Russell was also in two other excellent Auckland bands: The Spelling Mistakes and Car Crash Set.








Snapper released their first EP in 1989 and its opening track, ‘Buddy’, has gone on to become a bonafide local alternative classic. Bands ranging from Stereolab to Wooden Shjips have acknowledged a musical debt to the band – the latter covering the song when they last played in Auckland.

Fronted by Peter Gutteridge (who had also been in the Clean and The Chills), the band went on to record two great albums.






The Skeptics

From farming town Palmerston North, the Skeptics can rightly claim the prize as New Zealand’s most intense (and probably loudest) band. From their beginnings in 1979, right through to their last album in 1990 – which was released shortly after singer and founding member David D’Ath passed away from leukaemia – they were determined to create their own unique and experimental sound.

Their video for the song AFFCO, which you can watch at left, was filmed at a meatworks and created considerable controversy at the time.


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