The Celibate Rifles.
The Celibate Rifles.

Celibate Rifles keen for Mazstock

ROCK ’N’ ROLL, punk, raw power – such terms were invented for bands like The Celibate Rifles. And they’ve repaid the favour by living them at 10,000 roaring, sweat-soaked shows.

One of Australia’s longest-lived and most beloved punk-rock outfits, named in honour of the immortal Sex Pistols, the Celibate Rifles are coming to Lismore to play Mazstock, alongside the New Christs, on May 22.

The last time The New Christs played the Winsome Hotel in 2009, the line-up went around the block, traffic was stopped and the bar was inundated worse than in times of flood.

When they return to co-headline Mazstock this May 22, it’ll be in the company of 16 other elite local and national rock ’n’ roll bands. Mazstock, named after Maz Schofield, the former publican of the Winsome, a music fanatic who put her life on the line to revive Lismore’s moribund scene, will be the biggest rock ’n’ roll show the town has ever experienced.

The New Christs are, of course, heirs apparent to the Radio Birdman mythos. Rob Younger, frontman of that internationally renowned heavy rock band, was the man personally selected by Iggy Pop to support him on Australian tours, and the band he recruited were known, aptly, as The New Christs.

And devotees from all over the district are bound to religiously flock to see them again, in the august company of The Celibate Rifles and such cult acts as psych-rockers Pineapples from the Dawn of Time and Triple-J phenomenon The Shake-Up. Add the cream of the North Coasts punk and alt-rock outfits and you have a world-class festival in your own backyard.

This time it’s at larger premises – The Italo Club in North Lismore. Promoter, Darren ‘Sideshow’ Bridge, reckons it’s the best venue in town.

“It’s awesome,” he says.

“It has two stages, a smaller one downstairs and the huge ballroom. All in all there are 16 bands playing over nine hours. That’s a whole lot of action. The very amiable chaps at the Italo have welcomed us with open arms and we anticipate a massive response.”

Sideshow is ecstatic about his latest coup.

“We weren’t expecting the Rifles, but a late call from (guitarist) Kent Steedman came in. They want to play Mazstock.”

Meanwhile, the local contingent is a who’s who of the local independent rock ’n’ roll community. From Nimbin’s Antibodies and Lennox Head’s infamous Booze Hag, to the fiendish Skeletons of the Devil and the self-described Beer Junkies.

Lismore’s very own Tourette’s-afflicted Blurter will be contending with the likes of The Tendons, the voracious Slug and The Claymores.

Brown Esky import raw Sydney punk-rock, while Arcane New Year and Biocide keep it hardcore. Black Ghost Party and Birdbrain will take it out of the swamp and into the alt-rock stratosphere.

“We’ve got a tight-knit musical community here,” says Sideshow.

“The demise of the Winsome as a venue set us back but we’ve been working hard to keep it alive and, if everyone gets into it as much as at the inaugural Mazstock, it’ll be a memorable day.

“The mere presence of The Celibate Rifles and New Christs is certain to galvanise the Northern Rivers into a frenzy. You’ll never see more people on the streets of North Lismore outside flood season.”

Tickets to Lismore’s bona fide rock ’n’ roll carousal are selling fast at Music Bizarre in Lismore – $22 pre-sale/ $25 at the door.

The Lismore Late Nighter Bus service will run special Mazstock services. Call 1300 878 387 beforehand to arrange your lift home.

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