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If you were to look at the New Zealand music charts anytime in the mid 80s Kiwi band The Narcs were consistently riding high. In the golden age of touring bands, The Narcs filled pubs and concert halls, opened for overseas acts like Queen and Elton John, toured relentlessly up and down New Zealand and across Australia with bands like Dave Dobbyn and Midnight Oil - and they were in the vanguard of bands who made music video hip.
After years pursuing individual careers, the four members of The Narcs are reforming for a one-off reunion show at Backbeat in Auckland. They will be joined for the night by emerging upstarts Royal Jackets.
The Narcs’ big year was 1984 when they stormed the New Zealand Music Awards broadcast nationwide from Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre and owned the night claiming 5 RIANZ music awards on the back of the release of their album “The Great Divide” and the single “(You Took Me) Heart and Soul”. A CBS record deal at the time saw “Heart and Soul” released in 9 countries around the world. Apart from Split Enz, no other New Zealand band had achieved a global reach before the rise of the internet.
The band started as a 3-piece in Christchurch in 1980, scoring a residency at Doodles Night club. It wasn’t long before their brand of hard-edged Australasian rock, in the tradition of The Angels and the Oils, had The Narcs filling Friday nights at the Hillsborough Tavern with 800 people. Their first recordings “Over My Head”, “Stay Away” and “No Turning Back” helped define the Kiwi pub rock sound which flowered with the rise of Hello Sailor, DD Smash and Pop Mechanics.
The mainstay trio of Andy Dickson (guitar), Tony Waine (bass) and Steve Clarkson (drums) moved from Christchurch and were joined in Auckland by keyboardist Liam Ryan. The band had a slew of radio and video hits including “Heart and Soul”, “Lazy Susan”, “Diamonds on China”, “Abandoned By Love”, “Missing In Action” and “It’s Got To Be Love”.
The Narcs’ legacy includes three studio albums – “The Great Divide” (1984), “The Narcs” (1986) and “Push The Boat Out” (1996). The band had a reputation for highly successful national tours and dynamic live performances.
Members of the band have collaborated on projects from time to time over the last 15 years. but the upcoming Backbeat gig will be the first time since 1997 the band have played in public. Australian lead guitarist and vocalist Andy Dickson will travel from Brisbane for the Auckland show. “We are genuinely excited” he says. “Something special happens when The Narcs get together - a chemistry that only this band has.”
The Narcs + Royal Jackets
Saturday February 23rd
$22 Tickets through www.eventfinda.co.nz
Limited - 120 tickets only
Doors open 9pm
Royal Jackets 9.30pm
The Narcs 10.30pm
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