Finn McLennan-Elliott: Punk It Up returns to the Bluestone Room in May for two nights

Punk It Up are one of the best collection of new and classic punk acts.

Friday night brings you the classic sounds of The Bludgers, The Barbs and perennial crowd favourites Proud Scum, some ‘in your face’ shenanigans from current noise merchants Dick Move, and a band who hasn’t graced a stage for over a few decades, especially reforming for Punk It Up V only, The Instigators.

Saturday night continues the stellar lineups, with performances by The Bombers, one of Hamilton’s current finest bands – Contenders, the well known yee haa, yippee-aye-yay of The Johnnys, and one last final appearance from Auckland’s very own No Tag.

Closing out both nights, as every year, will be bankRobbers, the all star covers band, featuring Andrew Boak from No Tag, Jed Town and Chris King from X-Features and Shamus O’Brien from The Bombers. They will get the crowd ‘bopping’ to well-known covers from home and overseas, and will be joined by any number of special guests from the punk scene, including those performing over the weekend – Sonya Waters and Ed Geddes from The Instigators, Nick Hansen from Spelling Mistakes and Dean Martelli and Chris Orange.

More still to be announced, Punk It Up V is going to sell out before the weekend, as it always does. It’s highly recommended you get a ticket to both nights, because how could you choose which night to attend?

Ponsonby News had a chat with Jed Town, X-Features/Fetus Productions musical guru, and long-time performer and attendee of Punk It Up.

“It could be the last one,” he starts by telling us. “He always says it will be.” Town speaks of Andrew Boak, member of No Tag and brains behind the organising of Punk It Up, all the way from his new home in California.

One reason this year’s Punk It Up was sure to happen was due to a remarkable discovery last year. Dean Martelli, of the Terrorways, had spent four decades with no knowledge of what happened to his beloved Burns Flyte guitar. The guitar became famous for its appearance on the cover of iconic, award-winning album AK79, an album that Flying Nun have reissued this year. It wasn’t until Punk It Up in May 2019 that he discovered he’d sold the guitar and it was sitting in a cupboard in West Auckland. Martelli will be performing at Punk It Up V with his signature guitar after a four-decade long search.

Punk It Up always strives to pull bands from retirement and bring punk bands back to the stage after many decades of silence.

“Proud Scum came on board a few years ago,” Town tells us. “They very rarely play so they pull in a huge crowd of people.” This year, The Instigators take to the stage for the first time in nearly forty years, since being a regular on the pub and club circuit in 1981 and 1982 and performing at Sweetwaters in 1982.

“bankRobbers are the only constant in the lineup. All the rest change each year. Initially, it was a Clash covers band that Andrew Boak liked, and he got the drummer and guitarist out of that band and I joined them. That’s how it became bankRobbers. We do all the popular covers; generally it’s around the hub of punk rock.”

Ensuring the local and current punk scene is represented is important, with Dick Move taking the stage this year. Punk It Up had Cave Men at the first iteration, and the Bombers last year.

“Andrew likes to cover all bases. Generally, the vibe when you get there is,” Town pauses, “how do I put this? It’s a bit like trying to recapture your youth should we say, there’s an excitement about the music still there.” (FINN MCLENNAN-ELLIOTT)

Punk It Up takes over the Bluestone Room on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 May. Kicking off New Zealand Music month in style. Tickets can be found on or through their website