The D4 & Schizophonics – Powerstation: March 18, 2023

The D4

The D4 are back and they rocked The Powerstation with some serious help from The Schizophonics. Andra Jenkin and Ivan Karczewski bring you words and pictures.

After an hour of no farking parking I finally settle into a spot forever away from the gig. This is the second time this week I’ve come out to the PowerStation to listen to a band I loved in my youth.  I’ve snuck into the alcove behind the smoking area to take a few notes about the general vibe. So civilised that the PowerStation still has somewhere to indulge in vice.

The D4The crowd looks like any that graced the Big Day Out in its early 2000s heyday. The same long-haired lout look, coupled with the plaid shirts made popular by grunge bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana can be spotted, with the women wearing their punk rock best, black eyeliner, hair flying.

At the merch stand the T-shirts proudly cuss at me, RockNRoll Motherfucker and the walls sport the ever-popular vinyl rerelease of 6twenty, dubbed 6 twenty One, a reference to the 21st anniversary since the original came out to rave reviews.

The Schizophonics

But first up is The Schizophonics, an American outfit from San Diego, California. Lety and Pat Beers are married and joined by new bass player Tommy Lambert Granger. They are punked by the equipment, with screaming squeals emanating from the speakers, foldback speakers clearly killing Pat as it screeches every time he approaches the mic. Despite the feedback, they make us forget there’s any issue at all because they are beyond freaking amazing.

They are playing songs from their critically acclaimed album, Hoof It, and I can see why it was lauded. High energy doesn’t do their dynamic justice. The energy is smashing through the sound barrier on its way into the upper atmosphere. Pat Beers leaps, thrashes, rolls around the stage. I’ve practised this move myself in martial arts and it’s no mean feat to roll on a narrow stage covered in equipment, let alone doing it without getting tangled in your guitar chord.

Beers doesn’t let up. He throws the mic stand into the audience, tipping it back at the last second, dropping smooth groovy moves in a tribute to James Brown, Chuck Berry and Little Richard as well as a large dose of Iggy Pop whose look he resembles, right down to the dripping sweat and dangerous immersion in the audience.

We are treated to an up close and personal encounter with Beers who climbs down among us, dancing like a whirling dervish, spinning and leaping and moshing with us. He slams into me as I try to back up, spins to grin in my face as he sees I too am smiling from ear to ear. It’s the vibe of the mosh, to enjoy the fierce slamming of muscle and bone hardened by many years of rock and roll.

A great showman, Pat kneels down, brings the crowd with him till we surround him on the floor, the eye of a storm made flesh. He serenades us with a rhythmic chant, “Shake, baby, shake,” we sing along, and then he rises, to spin and dive into the crowd, churning us up like an electric beater until we’re all dancing and the mosh has started proper. Satisfied he leaps back up onto the stage.

Lety is a dynamo on the drums, keeping pace with the screamingly fast beat, and looking very cool as she does so. She looks like she belongs in New York, like a cool goddess from a bygone era her black hair and vintage clothes reminds me of our very own Labretta Suede, but it’s her husband who ricochets around the stage with legs in the air.

The D4

The D4

We are amped like never before, the relentless freight train pace of the Schizophonics is something to behold. The D4 will have to be epic to wrestle our attention from this hard partying punk pop garage band that reminds me of surf punk band The Hardons or FireShark, but impossibly, with more chaotic energetic. They leave it all on the stage and exit to a baying crowd of new fans.

The D4 enter to the sound of 12 bar blues. After the technical issues during the Schizophonic’s set, they carry out a thorough sound check, the necessity delaying the start till 10.30. Then the familiar sound of “Uh, Uh I don’t know what I want,” hits me in the hindbrain, throwing up flashes of summer nights at the Piha Surf Club and sunburn at the Big Day Out.

There’s not enough coke in the world to increase the energy left by The Schizophonics, but The D4 don’t need it.

They’re playing solid, straightforward dirty old rock and the mosh pit is swinging. The mosh is a little sloppy, the first couple of songs instigating a stumblemosh you can still stand up in, with only a few bad actors jealously guarding the front and centre despite not moving at all. The kids shove them aside, ignoring the glares. This is the point. The rough, wild, tribal pulse of strangers slamming into each other violently and rhythmically. Its RockNRoll Motherfuckers!

I’m getting classic southern rock and roll vibes reminiscent of Johnny B. Goode with distorted top notes on guitar. The drummer, Beaver Pooley, is phenomenal. Solid and thrashing, creating a full sound.

There’s variety with a more poignant Heartbreak, and Running on Empty being a song you have to feel from the mosh pit. They end it tight and begin another. The incredible pace a testament to the skills and stamina of Pooley.

The first time around The D4 were instrumental in creating a renaissance in garage punk, and tonight they might just provide a repeat performance. Everything comes around again if only you wait and they are worth it. They play Exit to the City, a pure rock song, enthusiastic and dare I say it, optimistic. The D4 are a great time and give no quarter. Dion Lunadon sings, “I got nothing,” but he sure sounds happy about it. Like the video game, Invaders Ace is relentless, with guttural screams stretched to their limit, sounding like they’ll rip apart the vocal cords.

These are not the only things destroyed.

Dion’s guitar strings are unable to withstand the onslaught. The crowd is going nuts for Sake Bomb, which also took Japan by storm. The guitar is trashed and another is needed for the last song which we sing along to as we smash against one another.

I could happily listen to this all night, except my bones feel like they’re going to snap like twigs trying to match the pace of the bands on stage. I fully recommend you try it and see how brutal it feels. They’re playing at Whammy on Wednesday and you’ll kick yourself if you don’t go check them out. Go on, get along and Get Loose!

Andra Jenkin

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Ivan Karczewski

The D4:

The Schizophonics:

Andy Baker