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Written & photographed by Max (they/them) | @theundeadllama | Contributing Writer

Dartz, you know them? Nah? Congratulations - now you get to. A Kiwi Garage Punk Band which formed as a joke, hitting up The Chats to open for them without actually having a band. You've gotta shoot for the stars, right? Well, thank fuck Danz (Daniel Vernon, Vocals) and Crispy (Christan Pianta, Guitar) did. Confirmed two weeks before the gig they were set to play, mates Clark (Clark Mathews, Bass Guitar) and Rollyz (Hakopa Kuka-Larsen, Drums) were wrangled in and songs for a set list were chucked together. 

Since then, the boys have hit venues all over Aotearoa -  not only for releases of their albums: ‘The Band from Wellington, New Zealand’ and ‘Dangerous Day to Be A Cold One’ - but also in celebration of the controversial yet arguably more important; Crate Day. In 2022, the band hit Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and Hamilton, playing a mixture of flat gigs and venues across the motu, all within 12hrs. That gives you a pretty good idea of the kind of shenanigans the boys get up to.

At the end of April, they hit Tāmaki Makaurau to finish off their NZ tour for their new album, just before jetting off to the UK for the beginning of an EU tour spanning May & June. As soon as I stepped into Whammy, Dangerous Day-Lewis aka 'The Beer' (Jake Love) of DARTZ's music video for 'Dangerous Day To Be A Cold One' fame was on the decks providing tunes for the gathering crowd. Late To Chelsea (@latetochelseasuckz), ‘The Number One Certified Worst Punk Band in Tāmaki Makaurau’ and the incredible noise-makers Memory Foam ( got the crowd hyped before Dartz hit the stage. This was the best crowd I've ever seen at a gig. A wide range of faces, all ready to have a good time, while making sure everyone else does too. If you know Whammy, you'll know it ain't often that the crowd isn't getting squished against the pillars and the stage, but this crowd managed to have a sick time while still making sure everyone went home with all their teeth intact, which isn’t always the case. 

I was lucky enough to be let on the stage for the first two songs, ‘Bush Weed’ & ‘Earn The Thirst’, to take photos and seeing the crowd go wild from song one was an experience I won't soon forget. Straight away I was keen to jump in, even with my camera in hand. I told myself it would be worth the risk, and fucking hell was I right. The entire set was filled with violent vocals from Danz, Crispy hitting those solos like a champ while flipping around like an acrobat, and Clark keeping us all safe and warm with his bass and sultry voice providing banter and checking in on the crowd between songs. Last but far from least, Rollyz - I love Rollyz so fucking much. His insane skills are a testimony to how professional the boyz are without taking things too seriously. 

When my personal favourite, ‘Steal From The Supermarket’ started up with Danz teaching us about the only truly ethical way to shop at the big two (my opinion, not Debates). I knew I had to get in the crowd and go for a surf. I chucked my glasses to a friend and gripped my camera tight as I jumped up. I managed to get some shots off before the swell died down, damn what a wicked time! After that, all I remember is smiling and screaming my lungs out while jumping about like a maniac, not caring if none of my shots came out good, because the vibes were on point. If it wasn't for the photographic evidence, I would have thought that it was a fever dream but at some point Dangerous Day-Lewis joined them on stage, shredding the axe while Danz hit the bar to scull down a beer in seconds. He had without a doubt earned the thirst.

Ending the night with not one, not two, but three more songs, the crowd dispersed onto Karangahape Road with smiles on their faces and giving hugs to old friends and new. Thanks Dartz for yet another best gig of my life.

Check out their new album on all major platforms, and follow them on Instagram @smokedartz.

1 Comment

May 16


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