Babeez began gearing up for what was to be their finest hour;
a function called Punk Gunk, set for New Year's Eve at a church
hall in St Kilda. At nearly the last minute, the church refused
use of the hall. The excuse being, they didn't know Punk Gunk
was to be a dance! As it happened, the solution to this problem
ended better than the original plan could have. Gavin organised
the night with Phillip Brophy, who had recently set up a Punk
band called TchTchTch, always written as the symbol .
The two knew the show had to go on so they decided to run it outside La Maison Babeez, at Faraday street. It was a momentous night and it belonged out in the street.
Four bands played. First up was Spred, a new outfit from suburban Northcote including Peter Kidd and Graham Schiavello (later of La Femme), with Sean Kelly and James Freud. They were followed by a slightly more experienced bunch of ex-Caulfield Grammar chaps, The Boys Next Door. Next were , playing one of their first gigs. As midnight and 1978 drew near, Babeez" took the stage (or footpath) to see it in.
Being New Year's Eve, many curious bystanders hung in to be entertained and the punk faithful were out in force. It was remarkably trouble free; no fights, no incidents. Police came by, but "we convinced them it was good clean fun and they drove off" [Gavin]. There were scattered complaints from locals about noise later, but other neighbours supported their local punks. Ram magazine even received a letter from 'Housewife' of Carlton, who assured readers that "all it was, was a bunch of well behaved bunch of kids having a good time. It was a bit loud, but nonetheless harmless" [Jan 1978]. The first punk 'Festival' in Melbourne attracted no attention at all from the mainstream. As Julie suggested in an interview for the local weekly Melbourne Times not long after, "Punk Gunk didn't get into the big papers because there wasn't any violence" . Still, Juke gave Punk Gunk a whole page with pictures. Reviewer Ross Stapleton, while having mixed feelings about the other three bands, was glowing in his praise of Babeez": "Here finally was a band doing original material of a consistent standard that could take this band to London's famed Marqee Club, where they could rate as a top rate (sic) support band" (14/1/78).
Babeez incidentally, were also happy with their effort. As Jarryl said: "Without being modest, we were amazing" [Truth, Jan 1978]. While Punk Gunk was not quite the birth of Melbourne punk, it was an highly significant event. In his review for Juke, Ross Stapleton declared: "Australian punk has a viable musical future and Punk Gunk will have played it's part in the future". Gavin Quinn agrees: "That was one of the most hopeful periods. It proves that in the most conservative times (which these were) you could still get out there and do it".
It was also John Murphy's first gig with Babeez and Henry Vyhnal's
last. He immediately took up months of session work with Ash Wednesday,
usually on film sound tracks. Jeff Rule was also fading out about
now. It was a hopeful period through, as John had given Babeez
more foundation and the creative efforts of Quinn and Wirth continued
apace. The 3XY battle loomed closer and the E.P. was given some
air play on test transmissions of Melbourne FM station 3PBS. It
had already sold around a hundred copies in Sydney.
As anticipated, Babeez did not fare well in the Battle of the Bands. They played their ten minutes bracket on January 20th, in front of teeming thousands at the Exhibition Buildings. They lost out to two very 3XY style bands, John Brown and Southbound. Otherwise, January was a thin month for live work.