Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 33, Number 13. 1970
The task of arranging rock concerts through Arts Festival week must have been a difficult one, what with the number of personnel and the amount of equipment involved. For a lot of people, however, the blues and rock music was the highlight of the Festival, and controller John Hannan must take credit for a generally well organsed presentation.
If the music was for the most part of a high standard, it was also generally a mite samey; most of the groups were big and loud, playing heavy rock ad nauseum, while some built their whole report one around a succession of Cream-inspired bass riffs. Wellington trio Tricycle and Dunedin outfit Anthras came into the category—their music without the redeeming quality of good vocalising. Nonetheless, some excellent groups performed—notable Dunedin group Pussyfoot who roared through a succession of rock'n'roll standards, Highway, a local four piece who moved from soft rock to heavy blues with amazing ease, and Vic group Gutbucket who avoided established blues patterns and concentrated on a style of brassy rythm'n'blues that promises a lot. Local rave Mammal failed to impress, but at least looked as though they were enjoying whatever they were doing. Capel Hopkins and Mad Dog had their moments, the latter providing the best take-off of the week with their sober "Blue Moon of Alabhamy" Throughout, however, audiences were generally unreceptive, possible because this music for the paranoic 20th Century city man was too heavy to penetrate to anybody's musical sensibilities. The light shows didn't help—a good attemps, but hardly enough to provoke a simultaneous blossoming of the senses, especially when groups were plunged into total darkness on stage.
Lectures and workshops were as a rule informative and well presented, with Midge Marsden in his element illustrating the differences between Chicago and Texas style blues. Announcing and compering throughout was inadequate, and why it was all laid on the shoulders of one man was beyond me. Nevertheless, the organisers and the artists themselves worked hard providing entertainment, and what faults did show through were generally taken in the spirit of the Festival.