Muscle Car Madness
Sure it’s supposed to have a much longer name, but I can’t remember it off the top of my head, and everyone calls it MCM anyways, so get over it. So, what is it? Well, let me tell you. It occurs in Rangiora in the South Island of NZ, and It is hands down one of the best car shows you could hope to attend, that’s what it is. I had been lucky enough to been once before many years back when I served time writing for NZV8 magazine. I had a blast then, but didn’t get the opportunity to really take in the show as I was there in job capacity.
This year was a little different. First off, event promoter Craig Stare, had contacted me to ask if my band The Voodoo Kreepers could play. Unfortunately the band doesn’t really exist anymore, so I was unable to accommodate his request. However, I did have a bass player (Steve) and drummer (Skot) whom I used to play with many moons ago in a band called Loose Unit. And as it so happened, they both now live in Christchurch, a mere 20 minutes from Rangiora. I put forward the idea to Craig that maybe I could throw together a set of songs with them in order to play the one-hour performance, and the sucker agreed. Hahahahaha
The bonus to playing down at the MCM, was that The Red Shift crew would be there filming also, so it was a double whammy weekend for me, that I knew would see me get very little sleep, but would be a lot of fun.
I arrived into CHCH on Thursday morning were my limo and driver awaited me (actually it was Craig in his piece of crap late model Ford, lol). We hit the road and he showed me around a bit whilst we discussed the ins and outs of the weekend and what was required of me etc. It was all too easy. Actually it wasn’t, not for Craig anyways. How that guy doesn’t have a heart attack I will never know. At a glance, anyone would think he’s a mad scientist with a million things running through his head at any one time. For me, it was plain amusing, and a pleasure to watch him work. And as a consequence, I have offered him my services to help out with certain areas of the show for next year to try and take some weight off his shoulders. He’s a good man.
Thursday night was a planned practice to run through songs with Steve and Skot, and their new guitarist Matt. We nailed through the songs quickly, and I was stoked that the boys had taken time to even learn two Voodoo Kreepers songs for me. Thanks lads. I knew we were ready for the following night of rock n roll mayhem.
Friday dawns, and its off to help piece a few final things together and meet up with some fellow forumites from the NZ Mopar Forum that had been arranged by forum member Daryl Morris. He's a good bastard and i joined him in his 1969 Dodge Polara convertible, which is a mint ride. there were about 6 cars all up, and we cruised out to some place that i cant for the likes of me remember the name of (and i was only drinking coke that day). lucky for me, daryl decided to have one beer too many, so i got the keys to the 69, it was one sweet ride. ah the benfits of being sober driver.
we made our way to the showgrounds to enjoy the ‘show before the show’ aspect of MCM as most entrants arrived early to set up camp spots etc. The layout is awesome, it’s basically a few massive fields, one for camping and cruising cars around a marked loop, one for the show cars on the sat and sun, and one for general parking and go kart racing on the grass etc.
I spent all day walking around getting dusty and just meeting some awesome people. I ran into some friends that I had only made the week prior to heading down to MCM. I was fortunate enough to meet BJ and his lovely missus Raney at Danny Doolans (my place of work) the Sat night of Kumeu Show. They had come to town to simply have a pint and look around Auckland city, and ended up listening to me sing all night (poor buggers). They came up and said gday afterwards and we talked briefly and I noticed that BJ was wearing a ‘Reno’ t-shirt. I pointed out I had been there in August 08, and it turned out they had also.
“You’re not filthy hot rodders are you?” I probed. It turned out, they were. Awesome. Even better, they were from CHCH and were up for Kumeu. “Oh, well I’m heading to CHCH next week for MCM” I explained. Well, from there I gave them my business card and said ‘keep in touch’. I had gotten a text from them Thursday arvo asking if I had landed yet? A few texts back and forth and we agreed we would meet up on Friday at the campgrounds, and through the wonders of technology we ran into each other on the fields and hung out for a while.
As the night rolled on I was mentally preparing myself to do a gig with a band that I had jammed with for only a matter of two hours. I wasn’t nervous about playing, I rarely ever am, but I was really excited about how it would sound to play with a band again after so many years of mostly playing solo and duo work. Midnight arrived and we hit stage, I need not have worried, it kicked ass. The guys did and awesome job and the crowd really got into it. They even danced during the four original tunes we performed (two old Loose Unit tunes and two Voodoo Kreepers tunes). And heck, when we played ‘sex is on fire’ by Kings Of Leon, some girls up the front obliged us by lifting their shirts to show us bits that we really weren’t supposed to see. Best part of all, a few rather large men in the crowd decided to do the same, and they had bigger racks than the chicks. Hahahahaha.
With gig completed we had a celebratory beer and made tracks for home, well, skots’ home actually. It was 3am by time head hit the pillow, and a mere 4.5 hours later, my alarm was doing its job. I had to get out to MCM early and catch up with Cal and Stu and work out what was required of me that day for The Red Shift. I found them hard at work making their way round the cars, and we hatched our plan of attack. Some quick filming of some introductions etc, we grabbed some interviews with people and their cars and then he headed for the burnout competition.
The atmosphere at MCM is hard to describe. Simply, to me it’s one of the best shows of the year, and the people (both entrants and public) are just awesome. There is a huge variety of people and cars, and for some reason, they all just seem to get along and all appreciate each other’s cars. Not like up north where you have to own cars within certain year brackets to be considered ‘cool’ in their books. Jerks. haha
The clock hits 5pm and the public is sent home and the Poker Run begins. For those who don’t know, a poker run is where you are given directions to 5 locations and at each location you pick a card from a deck of cards. When you reach your destination, your five cards are your poker hand. And usually you win prizes etc based on your hand. There were no prizes that I know of, but it was kool cruising around in the 1958 Chev Impala that was kindly thrown my way by BJ and Raney. Yes, the same two people I had only met the week before threw me the keys to one of their cars. Again, you will hardly find this happens in the North Island, even if you’ve known the people for years.
The poker run concluded at the local Museum in Rangiora and we joined the cue to get our dinner. And what an awesome dinner it was. With food in the belly, we went for a walk through the museum. This was no ordinary museum either; this was decked out with some of the coolest old stuff I had ever seen. And it was all jumbled together as if it had all just been piled in as it arrived, so you could find all sorts of weird and wonderful things in nooks and crannies everywhere.
The best thing I found was an electric mobile chair for old people. And it worked, so I jumped on and made my way through the narrow isles. People looked at me funny, so the only way I knew to get away with my actions was to act slightly handicapped (although most people would argue that I was still normal, haha). I reached a section of ramp, which was about 1.5 meters long with very gradual incline. As there was no way to fit around me, I only very lightly touched the ‘forward’ button on the chair. I was moving so slow it wasn’t funny. Well it wasn’t funny to the people behind me anyways. There was a cue of around 12 people behind me and I could hear them getting a little frustrated, but I wouldn’t turn around to look at them, but instead just make some ‘nnnggg nnnggg nnnggg’ noises.
When I reached the top of the ramp I perked up and said ‘oh wait, I can just do this’ at which point I pushed the button to full speed and off I went. I then stopped, stood up and looked at the now rather annoyed crowd. From amongst the crowd my friends (yes, I have friends) started shouting ‘It’s a miracle, he can walk again, Hallelujah’. It amused us immensely. With our joking completed we headed back to campgrounds and I said my goodbyes and headed for the gate. Ah sweet sleep, how I was looking forward to you.
I awoke Sunday morning and made my way into Skot and Karen’s kitchen and caught up with current events in their neck of the woods. I jumped through the shower and made tracks yet again for Rangiora. This time it was to be a shorter day for me, as I had planned to make the 4.5 hour journey south to Dunedin to go and see my son Danya, and daughter Nika, who live their with their mum and step dad (that’s another blog)
The show was yet again packed to the brim, and if I had to guess, I would say around 800 to 1000 cars rolled through the gates that day. It is just mind blowing to be able to walk around a show ground that boasts such variety. Top show cars sitting next to projects that still have a long way to go, Aussie muscle cars, street machines, hell, even a couple of jap imports were on display. It just has everything.
So in conclusion to the event, I have to say that my second visit was even better than my first time there. And my third visit will be 2010 as it will be MCM’s 21st birthday. That’s right, its been going that long. It’s a real testament to Craig Stare and his loyal subjects (volunteers) who make it all happen year after year. I would highly recommend getting your ass down to Rangiora next year, cause I guarantee you, it will be huge.