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The Vigilantes

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The Original Vigilantes  —  Bob Wilcock (Saxophone), Lin Holstein (Drums), Derek Withers (Bass), Brian Thomas (Lead), Larry McKay (Rhythm) and Dixon McIvor (Vocals)

Undoubtedly the Church Dance Scene in the early 60s was the development and proving ground for most of the budding bands of the era - and The Vigilantes were no exception whatsoever to that rule.  They, like so many of their peers, were part of that circuit, and the first ever shot of the band (above) shows The Vigilantes original line-up on stage at an early Church Dance (venue unfortunately unknown).  It is remarkable that most of these guys have remained friends over the years, still hankering to play with each other whenever possible - and still crowd pleasers ...

 

Vigilantes Publicity Shot


Vigilantes - SSR concerts.  Christchurch Cathedral, September 2006


A new-look Vigilantes outfit complete with eye-candy !

 

Having won their spurs on the Youth Club and Church Dance circuits of the early 1960s, wedding dances and 21st shindigs widened their repertoire and drip-fed their appetite for increasingly expensive gear, but the boys "grew up" professionally when they began to score spots at top venues like The Dolphin Lounge, The Plainsman, and Spencer Street.  Their biggest break came in 1965 with a residency, as understudies to Johnny Campbell and The Detours at the Laredo Nitespot, followed a year or so later by top billing at the Pride of Place in Chancery Lane.  Two singles were released on the Robbins label - a remake of The Beatles' "And I Love Her" b/w The Searchers' "Everybody Come And Clap Your Hands", and their very successful remake of the Manfred Mann hit "Come Tomorrow" b/w "The Cruel Sea" (The Dakotas' original which was also recorded by The Invaders on the Zodiac label in 1965).  They backed popular Christchurch vocal quartet, The Southerners on "Don't It Make You Feel Good" b/w "South Wind" and "Endlessly" b/w "Unchained Melody".  In their six-year life-span, the Vigilantes developed a strong following, but the pressure of day jobs finally saw them split up in the late 1960s.  Several members did go on to nationwide success in other groups.  The publicity shot above shows the five Laredo-era Vigilantes Larry McKay (Rhythm Guitar), Dixon McIvor (Vocals), Tony Mason (Drums), Bob Wilcock (Saxophone), Derek Withers (Bass Guitar) and Brian Thomas (Lead Guitar).

The Vigilantes reunited in September 2006 - (Friday 29th and Saturday 30th) - for the very special Spencer Street Revisited concerts which were performed in the splendour of Christchurch Cathedral.  On this occasion the original "core" of the group (Larry McKay, Brian Thomas and Dixon McIvor) were joined by Murray Wood, Wayne Allen, Trevor Wright, and also Brian Thomas's son Marcus Thomas for one number.  The following images were captured from a video recording of the Friday concert.  The image to the right above was captured at The Richmond Working Mens Club, where the band had re-united for one evening.  The Vigilantes also appeared at the 2007 ROCKONZ Concert in the Christchurch Town Hall, and the group was inducted into the ROCKONZ Hall of Fame the following year.

 

The Vigilantes were once again re-united for the inaugural ROCKONZ Concert in The Christchurch Town Hall, March 2007

 

  Dixon McIvor (Vocals)

Dixon McIvor - Lead Vocals

Brian Thomas (Lead Guitar)

Brian Thomas - Lead Guitar

Larry McKay (Rhythm Guitar)

Larry McKay - Rhthym Guitar

Bob Wilcock (Saxophone)

Bob Wilcock - Saxophone

 

  Murray Wood (Keyboards)

Murray Wood - Keyboards

Trevor Wright (Bass Guitar)

Trevor Wright - Bass Guitar

Marcus Thomas (Guest Bass Guitar)

Marcus Thomas - Guest Bass Guitar

Wayne Allen (Drums)

Wayne Allen - Drums

 

  Dixon McIvor (Vocals)

Don't It Make You Feel Good / South Wind
The Southerners backed by The Vigilantes

Brian Thomas (Lead Guitar)

And I Love Her / Everbody Come And Clap Your Hands
Dixon McIvor with The Vigilantes

 

  Larry McKay (Rhythm Guitar)

Endlessly / Unchained Melody
The Southerners backed by The Vigilantes

Bob Wilcock (Saxophone)

Come Tomorrow / The Cruel Sea
Dixon McIvor and The Viglantes