Rock to raise the dead

Bulletproof Convertible, above, play a Dead Rockers Ball at Hampden tonight, while Mea Culpa,...
Bulletproof Convertible, above, play a Dead Rockers Ball at Hampden tonight, while Mea Culpa, below, play The Crown.


Bulletproof Convertible are a local three-piece band who play original songs with a ’50s influence, which they claim are "danceable as all hell".

The band is Silas Waring on guitar, Alex Ramsay on drums and Paul Southworth on double bass. Together they produce an original sound, which is familiar, driving and relentless.

The band and their team have also developed a unique way to get their music to the masses — the Dead Rockers Ball. These are an ongoing series of gigs at small communities all over Otago, in fact anywhere that has a hall with a stage and a kitchen, for which people are encouraged to come along dressed as their favourite dead rock star. The band isn’t just out to line its own pockets because most of the gigs work hand-in-hand with fundraising efforts for local causes.

The band brings all their own gear, lighting and decorations, and their capable crew promote the gig and help community groups to sell tickets. The audience gets an excellent band playing three sets, a bar selling beer, wine and cider, with snacks and food.

Plus, a goodly percentage of the proceeds go back towards supporting the local community, who often use the balls to do their own fundraising via raffles and auctions and transport. A recent gig at Ōwaka raised about $3000 for Owaka Going Forward.

Bulletproof Convertible is playing the Hampden Hall tonight, where the school will be doing the fundraising.

You can also catch the band at Moon’s in Dunedin on June 29 and at the inaugural Dead Rockers Ball at Port Chalmers Hall on July 27, which will fundraise for the Dunedin Fire Brigade Restoration Society. Any community groups keen on having a Dead Rockers Ball fundraiser can get in touch with the band at or via their Facebook page.

The gig

 • Bulletproof Convertible plays Hampden Hall tonight. Check them out on YouTube.


Mea Culpa are a new local band formed last year by two singer-songwriters, Emma Wells and Leigham Fitzpatrick, with Ari Van Eerten on bass and Nashoba Addai on percussion.

Leigham describes their sound, which is a mixture of covers and originals, as "folk music, but with heavy blues leanings". Leigham (22) only started playing in public about five years ago and in that short time they’ve built up a quite a fan base, who are as much enchanted by their unique sartorial style, as their music. You might have seen them on George St, dressed to the nines in a sharp men’s suit, with a fedora on their head. Like most musicians, they have a rich life outside of music and I first met Leigham in 2019, when we were both protesting outside the National Minerals Conference in Dunedin and they had their hands glued to the doors of the Town Hall so they couldn’t be opened. In fact they may well have been the first person to use glue on their hands at a climate protest in this country. Needless to say this stylish young musician eventually managed to detach themselves and you can see them and their band playing at the Crown Hotel tonight along with Leo, Lilly and J.R and Sol Wyatt.

The gig

 • Mea Culpa plays the Crown Hotel tonight with Leo, Lilly and J.R and Sol Wyatt.


Pearl Diver is a new local bar, pizza joint and venue which only opened a couple of months ago. It’s open six nights but only has live music on Saturday nights.

The venue provides a PA and lighting for local and visiting bands and has the capacity to fit 100 people.

Most venues with live entertainment have a separate charge for entry but Pearl Diver is experimenting with a new approach where you can usually get in for free on band nights and the musicians are paid by the venue from their own takings. However, you may have to buy a ticket if it’s a touring band. They hope the free door policy will mean that people feel freer just to drop in and out rather than spending the whole night.

Local bands are welcome to apply for a gig but special events such as recording release parties are preferred. Your friendly hosts are Jenny Duncan and Andy Frost. If you’d like to book your band in for a gig you can talk to their sound tech, Danny Brady at