Providing something different for a gig at Queenstown’s The Cave Blues Bar tonight is Kingston-based Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell.

The 53-year-old, who’s been making music for about 30 years, is opening with about 20 minutes of ‘non-PC’ stand-up, ‘‘to break the ice’’, before playing original music with his one-man band, Petshop Ox.

The other half of the band, formed just before Covid, is Christchurch-based muso Simon Nunns, however tonight there’ll just be O’Connell with his backing tracks singing songs he’s written both the melodies and lyrics for.

‘‘Even Madonna does sets with just backing tracks,’’ he quips.

He describes his music as ‘‘very poppy, super-catchy, but it’s still got elements of punk rock’’.

‘‘Anything I’m in is always going to be edgy.

‘‘I think the most valid compari son I’ve had is when people sort of compare me to [late Kiwi singer-songwriter] Darcy Clay, the Jesus I Was Evil guy.

‘‘I get melodies beamed into my head from some satellite up in space or something.’’

O’Connell’s numbers include, in a nod to Covid, Don’t Eat Bats!, whose opening lines are ‘‘Bernie Sanders doesn’t eat bats, Colonel Sanders doesn’t eat bats’’.

Another number is Fashion Queens, which became a bit of a viral sensation when he performed it for his Filipino workmates, including some dance moves, on a construction site.

‘‘They call me ‘the Albino Filipino’.’’

O’Connell’s performed some gigs at Queenstown’s Searchlight Brewery and also enjoys busking.

‘‘I’m quite the dancer, I’m pretty disinhibited when it comes to performing.’’

He says he was originally going to call the band ‘Nuclear Love Dungeon’.

That was till ‘‘we were sampling the same synth as the Pet Shop Boys use on West End Girls, and a certain wit said, ‘oh, it sounds like Petshop Ox’.’’

Ahead of a Petshop Ox gig in a Dunedin pub last September, O’Connell talked to the Otago Daily Times about the infamous 1990 university students’ riot he was part of, in which police were pelted with bottles, bricks and slate gathered from nearby roofs.

He admitted he was one of New Zealand’s most infamous students, and was a frequent visitor to the proctor’s office, but said he’s
nowadays doing more positive stuff than wilful damage.

‘‘It took me a while in my 20s to really learn what control is about.’’

A Blenheim boy, he was, briefly, a downhill mountain bike pro, and in ’96 started a downhill label, Rockstar Racing, which he still has today.

Tonight’s concert’s appropriately on the eve of Queenstown Bike Festival’s McGazza Fest, in honour of legendary local pro rider Kelly McGarry, because O’Connell knew him from the time he was a ‘‘grommy’’ from Nelson.

‘‘He was a proto freerider, and in NZ in the late ’90s, early 2000s, we didn’t really have a freeride culture, and he made it happen.”

Petshop Ox, tonight 8pm, The Cave Blues Bar, $20 on the door

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