WHEN IT'S COLD I'D LIKE TO DIE
Far from it for such an esteemed live music publication as this (dont laugh) to comment on something as trivial as the weather: especially from one so hilariously vampiric that the only exposure to the great outdoors I've ever experienced would be the moist chicken-fried precipitation that rains down upon the moshpit during the "wet season" from October to April and that curious agoraphobic whooshing sensation I get whilst fleeing from venue to venue; but holy fucking brass monkey balls has it been COLD this week!! One minute I was blissfully spread-eagled on the tarmac frying slowly to the blazing heat of summer and then BAM! I'm upto me eyeballs in penguins and polar bears. Shit, winter hit SO fucking hard and fast this year it was like it forgot the entirely unnecessary foreplay of autumn, burst throught the backdoor at the last minute and then proceeded to make screaming popsicle sticks of us all in ways more horrific than a proctology exam from Santa Claus! I mean fuck, it was SO cold this week a homeless person died on Friday night in the parklands from exposure to the elements.. freaking EXPOSURE people!! We're talking negative celsius figures here!! What the FUCK is going on!? (stop laughing Canada I can hear you sniggering from the back) Isn't the Howard Government meant to be pumping near enough CO2, styrofoam, bubblewrap and burning car tires into the stratosphere to solve this problem once and for all!? FUUUUUUCK!! When hell finally freezes over it's gonna have NOTHING on this!
I know you people, I know what you're like, your first instinct when faced with such refrigerative horrors would be to hide out amongst the radioactive glow of your home theatre systems, curl up in foetal position, cover yourself in house pets and "hibernate" it out till spring equinox; and yet surprisingly enough the warmest place to be on nights like these ISN'T nestled in the saftey of your own brick and mortar coffins, oh NO kiddies! it's out THERE in the pubs, clubs and live venues of the Adelaide music scene! You need the heat? we got the FIRE BAAABY! So come one, come all, bring your marshmellows and bask in burning hot fury of our speaker stacks; no matter what the weather we're toasty warm aaaaall year round!! :)THURSDAY NIGHT
Like the rest of you people tonight, I'm at home on a lazy Thursday evening hiding out from the swirling shitstorm of ice hovering over Adelaide city. I'm here safely sequestered in the kitchen; head stuck in the oven, gas cranked on full, lit match poised to launch my very own roman candle into a chorus of smoke alarms overhead when before I know it I'm kidnapped, thrown into a passing van by these 2 likely looking idiots and sent hurtling into the eye of the storm.
My mission at hand this evening was a promo photography session for The Kemp Brothers in the lead-up to their first EP to be released later this year. Considering we ran this entire shoot in the space of 2 minutes sprinting down Union St so as not to die from hypothermia, I doubt there'd be any golden phone calls from RollingStone anytime too soon; still as hit 'n run guerrila photography goes, these shots don't entirely suck :)
With that nonsense despatched with a few well-aimed kill shots, it was off to my usual bipolar live music escapades: running the obstacle course between here at the Cranka..
..and down the road here at The Exeter.TAUGHT BY ANIMALS
First on the menu tonight is the all-too familiar opening refrains of Taught By Animals at The Cranka as accompanied with a guest appearance by the interpretative dance moves of this recently escaped mental patient. Sure say what you will about the revolving door state of our mental health system or how much his aimless flutterings across the dancefloor remind you of this
Sigur Ros filmclip, but you really can't help but be captivated by the simple joy in his eyes that this music brings: of all the superlatives I could EVER express about this band, this simple expression in dance speaks infinite volumes more..
..or at least it would've until he promptly burst into tears moments later and had to be carried off by venue security.. d'oh!
As for Taught By Animals tonight, their performance was a bit of a comical head fuck. Compared to the usual multi-textured bliss I get when Patrick Saracino's running the knobs, here the sound was garbled so incoherantly in myxomatosis through the PA that it sounded like the band were transmitting thru a paper comb an AM radio and a head concussion from the farside of the moon. On the flipside though; the new songs still managed to shine through, especially the hammering guitar riffs of a new track that for want of a foggier recollection was either called Inconsiderate, Inconvenient, Incontinent or Unintelligible "Noise"; fuckit either way get that hooting behemoth on an album, coz it'll rock like all bollocks! :)THE KEMP BROTHERS
Next it's off to The Exeter, where the lazy scattering of patrons huddled in the front room are treated to the first live set by The Kemp Brothers. Featuring Sean Kemp on minimal drumkit and acoustic guitar, brother Drew Kemp also on acoustic guitar and both harmonising on vocals; the overall effect is quite like a slackarse version of Brain Wilson after 3-4 months in rehab. Simple songs lyricised on simple misunderstandings in love life lost down the plug-hole, it may not be brain surgery, it may not be goats blood and entrails splattering on the walls in rock 'n roll fury, but as acoustica goes it still makes the beer taste just that little bit sweeter (Oh and for all you trainspotters out there: they're playing against the back wall and NOT the front windows overlooking Rundle St tonight; hence more so than ever the ambient lighting here is utterly crapping all over my live photos.. guh!)
Back at the Cranka the second band of the night, Mary Trembles is getting ready to fire up and despite being kicked out moments earlier by security, that same mental patient from before is once AGAIN gracing front of stage with his cheerfully incoherant presence..MARY TREMBLES
All mental patient hilarity aside though, Mary Trembles (touring from Queensland) could be considered one of a growing resurgence in grunge that's been erupting forth from the indie music scene of late (who knew we'd come full circle so soon when Courtney Love still hasn't finished picking at the carcass that was Nirvana the first time around?). As these sorta things go, the buzz this band produces tonight is nothing short of a molotov cocktail hurled screaming through a police station window. Imagine a weasel'ish combination of "In-Utero" era Nirvana at it's most inebriated, the howling urgency of At The Drive-In and the propulsive chug of The Queens Of The Stone Age and you'd be well on your way to the emergency ward in finding this band. The bassplayer tears at his instrument like a ravenous homeless guy attacking a cooked chicken, whilst the lead singer and guitarist (who spends as much time screaming lyrics OFF microphone as he does on) looks and acts like a dead ringer for Dave Grohl. From the way they tear up the stage I seriously doubt they're toilet trained or house broken, but DAMN do they still rock! :)THE KEMP BROTHERS (2ND SET)
Returning once more to The Exeter (and switching to a more illuminating slow-shutter flash on camera) The Kemp Brothers are now into their second set. Amongst all the usual bittersweet and shambolic fuzz-pop singalongs, they've also thrown a few unexpected curveballs into the mix: Black Sabbath's "Paranoid", Bon Jovi's "Dead Or Alive" and Metallica's "Enter Sandman" (complete with a down-volumed distortion pedal on the acoustic); from any other lesser tune-smiths this sort've insanity would've been driven out've town with burning torches and raised pitchforks in protest and yet somehow The Kemp Brothers still manage to pull it all off in shambolic style.INTERCOOLER
Finally back at The Cranka (and with the mental patient nowhere in sight.. *phew!*) it's time for the final headlining act for the night, Intercooler (also touring from Queensland). From as much as my foggy dysfunction of a brain can tell me (I could've sworn I'd heard the name somewhere), Intercooler are one of many indie acts you hear every day on Triple J but otherwise (through no fault of their own) manage to whizz past your ears like a daydream. As such they're reminiscent of a lot've other slacker'esque yet effortlessly infectious indie bands like The Lemonheads or Blind Melon that also whizzed past your ears like a daydream LAST decade. Still as potentially disposable as this sound may be and as bizarre as it may be to have all these songs that scream "summertime" stuffed into near empty venue like this on a Thursday night in the bone-chilling heart of winter; their warm, fuzzy and driven fuzz-pop sounds are no less welcome for it.. aaaaaaaaaah so blissfully toasty! :)
With both venues finishing up, I return to The Exeter once more to catch up with my kidnappers The Kemp Brothers (damn that Stockholm Syndrome is a BITCH!) as I goof off with the remaining drunks still doddering around at the tail end of the night, before being bound, gagged, blindfolded, thrown into a passing car and delivered back mysteriously to my doorstep; my mission this night at last drawing to a confusing yet content and contemplative end. As for the fate of that erstwhile mental patient, who KNOWS where he'll end up next? as it sure as fuck wont be any kind've proper psychiatric care *cough* (it seriously freaked me out when he made an appearance at the Exeter moments later too.. hahahaha!) hmmmm pause and reflect, check the expiry date on your medication.. aaaand fade scene.FRIDAY NIGHT
Tonight in continuation of the growing ecclectic theme for this weekend, I find sactuary from the encroaching blizzard outside here in the toasty warmth of The Grace Emily to witness the 3rd week of Your Motive For's June residency gigs.YOUR MOTIVE FOR
Tonight Your Motive For are playing two sets in the backroom, with me arriving just in time to catch them for their first acoustic performance. With the fuzzy upholstered living room furnishings of The Grace Emily as backdrop, upto 5 musicians stuffed onto the tiny stage and with a huddled mass of people seated on the carpets and sofa's before them: the overall mood here is quite reminiscent of Nirvana's MTV Unplugged sessions; only the much puffier 10th year rehab reunion you'd imagine if Kurt Cobain had somehow managed to kick his nasty heroin, painkillers and pointblack shotgun addiction in time to survive his 30th birthday (*sniff* we could only but dream now can we?), or quite like a more mellowed out version of You Am I. Sure you may think music as grizzled and retiring as this would be the last thing you'd find me catching on a Friday night; but with lead singer Heath Weber flailing around like a sheepdog attempting to dry himself and with Sean Kemp doing the Humphrey B Bear dance on percussion fills, the overall effect is quite mesmerising (if not occassionally comical as a result). One of the finest semi-acoustic performances I've seen in The Grace Emily all year!
And now, for no other reason than to make fun of his utterly misguided attempt to use my live music website as his personal dating agency (pffft.. you eeediot!) here's a glamour shot of Heath Weber standing in front of his shiny white "pickup" truck drinking an ice coffee waiting for YOU to call.. OH YES LADIES, HE'S AVAILABLE!! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?
Now for all you of out there who haven't died laughing, ran screaming, abandoned this blog for reaching a new all-time low (or.. *cough* even ran to the telephone? ooooh errrr!) it's time we exorcise this scruffy (old) F from the arts with a brief and welcome detour in the collect works of Andrew Smart (aka: "Smarty") as found on display upstairs at The Grace Emily: pause, reflect, clear your mind, cleanse your aura and consider the following pieces in deep contemplation..
If you wish to purchase any of the select works above (my photos don't nearly do them justice) chances are the artist will be sure to stumble upon this site and leave a comment in the next few days so you can contact him. Otherwise get drunk at The Grace Emily for near long enough and you'll be sure to bump into him.
And now in leaving this rare high art moment in SPOZ's RANT, we now return you once more to your regularly scheduled dick and fart gags with this unassuming photo here: I'll leave the punchline to you..
..as next stop in my live music misadventures leads me here to the Rocket Bar.SPECIAL PATROL
Playing tonight we have Special Patrol. A band for want of a more educated opinion (as obviously I'm far too drunk at this point in the night to make any intelligent observations) sounds quite like what you would get if you got The Howling Bells, mixed it with Coldplay, removed Juanita Stein from the former and all the pretensiously wanky elements of the latter and then fronted the band with Fran Healy: the lead singer from Travis. Obviously that's an utterly crap description and I apologise for leading you all astray, so just imagine one of those effortlessly cruisy tweed and corduroy bands you'd hear in an irish pub on a lazy Sunday evening and that'd be your monkey. Just like before at The Grace Emily it appears as if way too many musicians are being comically stuffed into way too small a space on stage but the overall fuzz-pop effect is no less blissfully welcoming. With lead singer Myles loping about the stage like the hunchback of Notre Dame with his Paul Kelly signed guitar projecting a singing voice that almost approaches yodeling and accompanied by an ecclectic ensemble of double bass, single bass, guitars, keys and drums: the combined effect in toasty warmth and melody is JUST the thing for a cold winter's night.
Despite their fluffy slipper lounge-groove being about as far removed from Rocket Bar's usual post-punk / indie scenster vibe as you could get, the increasingly rowdy and drunken crowd packed to the ceilings here are going absolutely nuts to this shit..
..especially Special Patrol's number one fan, the perpetually in hiding Heidi: a longtime friend of mine who's ability to evade the camera lens whilst accompanying me on my photographic journey's on SPOZ's RANT borders on the downright supernatural. Take a good look at this photo peeps, for surely it'll be YEARS before this mysterious midget allows for a return appearance.S.I.G.I.T.
Anyhoo.. following up next (and the main reason I snuck over here tonight) we have the freak appearance of tonight's headlining act SIGIT (aka: the Super Insurgent Group Of Intemperance Talent) a rock band from Java, Indonesia who mere hours earlier had already shared the stage with the likes of The Beasts Of Bourbon and Children Collide at the Governor Hindmarsh. How a place like Rocket Bar always manages to sneak international bands like this for a second encore under the cover of midnight (just like Dungen last year
) is anyone's guess; it's probably one of the main reasons I dig a whacked out scenster haunt like this. As for the band themselves, besides easily taking home the trophy this week for being the most freakingly obscure (and therefore coolest) band of the week (they're from freaking Indonesia people.. INDONESIA!!) they follow it up with a surprising amount of a talent as well. Like starved weasels smoking cigarettes they thrash out a groove that sounds quite like early 60's Beatles mixed with The White Stripes and The Vasco Era driven to an effortless juggernaut of snarling punk fury and catchy pop-rock hooks. They were loud as all buggery and my ears were bleeding but damn did they ROCK! Who knew that crazy archapellego to the north had it in 'em? :)
Satisfied in the littany of carnage that followed, we soon bid farewell to Rocket Bar, knowing that the creeping doom of late-night frost may verily claim us all if escape was not soon sought..
..as we found final sanctuary at the Aussie Pizza House on West Tce, whereupon I gorged myself on this 12'' hybrid monstrosity in chicken asparagus and white pointer (note: most likely not ACTUAL white pointer but more likely the more diminuitive flake midget shark "pointer") before we fled the frostbite to speed ourselves home to waiting paramedics and warm blankets. Yup, it may've been hitting the negative celsius and we could've DIED tonight but we still found more than enough positives to make it worth our while tonight! :)SATURDAY NIGHT
Tonight I find myself at The Cranka: The Cranka in "BLUE", not to be confused with the Cranka in "RED" from 2 nights ago or the ghetto dive that is the Cranka in "YELLOW". Whether the colour of the lights illuminating over the bar have any effect what'so'ever on the prevailing mood of a night experienced is anyone's guess.. but hey I quite like the blue, we don't nearly get enough of the blue, so when we find blue in abundance we soak it up for all it's worth! (which probably begins to explain the weird tan I had the next day.. hmmmmm?)TOXIC SHOCK
Up first on stage tonight is a band called Toxic Shock. Other possible names one could ALSO use for this illustrious band would include "Prisoner: The Musical", "The Stormy Summers All-Star Band", or "EGADS!! WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!"; in short as thrashy oldskool punk rock goes, these guys (or more accurately girls and one guy) sure as fuck ain't subtle. Think the spastic punk of Iggy Pop and the Stooges meets some schlock horror snuff porn soundtrack by way of a comedy routine and you'll be well on your way. Although most lesser mortals would run screaming the other way upon witnessing such a manifestation (and the crowd packed out with what appears to be several rival bikie gangs on a tense stand-off isn't helping) if you love your rock on the verge of near fatal bodily dysfunction then they are surely not without their goofy and near likeable charm. As with all punk: take in small doses, be sure to keep up your fluid intake (I'd recommend LOTS of beer) and make note of all available exits and fire escapes if trouble arises and remember what'ever you do.. DON'T MAKE EYE CONTACT!! :)
Oh crap, now I've gone and done it.. *gulp* mummy!?.. help! HEEEEEELP!!!
..and so, before I could get gleefully torn limb from limb as Toxic Shock's latest human sacrifice, it's off across the road to the relative safety and sanctuary of The Electric Light Hotel..LEIGHSTARDUST
..although that "safety" is somewhat questionable when I come face to face with the opening act that is LeighStarDust. She may look all cute and fluffy here with her one-woman show so frolicky and carefree but that sound, that UNHOLY FREEAAKY SOUND!! YOU COULD NOT POSSIBLY COMPREHEND THE MADNESS THAT SHE DOTH UNLEASH!! *ahem* ok sorry, getting a bit carried away here. Yup that's LeighStarDust, solo act, playing on the keyboards; she performs in chipmunk vocals, cutesy drum machines and looping synth melodies the songs that you'd quite imagine as the perfect soundtrack for The Carebears Movie. Yet, somehow I'm not gouging my eyeballs out and screaming blood as funnily enough, it's actually pretty damn cool and it may actually be possible to enjoy an entire set of it without contracting type two Diabetes and dropping into a coma.. WOOOO! As more intelligent reference points for this go: imagine Angie Hart from Frente fronting LCD Soundsystem, the wacky synth grooves of Hot Chip or what you'd get if you dosed Amanda Palmer from The Dresden Dolls screamingly upto her eyeballs on a near lethal dose of Prozac. If you don't have a goofy grin on your face after this then surely you have a heart of stone and you must be destroyed!
Although in utterly ecclectic moments like these: escaping from Toxic Shock to LeighStarDust does make me wonder if I've simply jumped from the frying pan into the oven. I mean shit, just LOOK at this keyboard, it's got sparkly stars on it.. FREAKING STARS PEOPLE, WAAAUUUGGHH!!ANGELIK
..and so I flee once more back to The Cranka to face a fate far worse than death in the form of Angelik as they're performing tonight in celebration of lead singer Laken's birthday (which as we all know could only possibly mean ONE thing: everyone's gonna need a liver transplant!). As for the entirely inconsequential music portion of this live set (which I've described numerous times before.. trust me, it ain't rocket science!) think Gwen Stefani's evil twin fronting the punk-rock fury of The Distillers. They're drunk dumb as fuck, loud as fuck, they come as you like 50,000 deranged toddlers armed with sledgehammers aiming for your crotch ready to bring you screaming to your knees but OOOH FUCK DO THEY ROCK!
Of course, your own opinion of this band may or may not entirely depend on how retardingly drunk you are at the time of impact; when in doubt drink a lot.. and I mean A LOT, just like THIS satisfied customer larging it up in the crowd.. look how happy he is! WEEEE! :)BRUNATEX
Obviously, even in my near comatose state (oops, there goes my liver!) this wasn't a crowd I could survive long without a punctured lung and half my face splattered up against the walls. So, just after Angelik ground up the mosh with their infectious anthem "Rolling", I headed back to The Electric Light Hotel just in time for Brunatex's LAST song and thus present you with my utterly lame attempt to photograph (and describe) said band "Brunatex" with only 2-3 minutes of a song to spare (*ahem* ooops!). As much as I'm dimly aware, tonight is their return appearance after a few years in relative hiatus from a scene they've been playing since the late 90's (gee don't I feel like an idiot for almost missing it) and as much as I can gather from ONE song (and half of it at that), they're like a curious mix between the vocal refrains of Kate Bush and Bloc Party's less driven instrumental post-punk fury. Hmmmm.. obviously I can't quite decide if I like them or not yet (or leap to any ridiculously ill-informed conclusive) so clearly more observation in the field will be required. Never fear Brunatex I will get you yet, I will get you good! MUHAHAHAHA!THE FINISHING SCHOOL
Finally to finish off our musical entertainment this evening, we couldn't have a more apt headliner act tonight than a band by the name of The Finishing School; although something tells me (considering how much alcohol I've drunk just prior to this at The Cranka) that this "Finishing School" is gonna have one helluva an uphill battle to make ME more refined in the experience of it. Still with sounds as smooth as these guys deliver you couldn't ask for a better curtain closer. If PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke were to be both dosed up on vicodin and coerced into fronting a ragtag band of gypsies then they'd sound quite like this.. in fact if you DO happen to have that duet they did called "This Mess We're In" you'd have a near spot on reference point to work with (hmmmm I wonder if I'm giving them any ideas here.. hint hint!) Yup, they may be dangerously close to the sort of band you'd get to play a wine and cheese festival in the Barossa Valley, but they still do one blissed out cover of Air's "All I Need" that'll just about floor you.. and for that I cannot praise them enough! :)
Now that I've inadvertantly managed to cover 5 bands in one night without even meaning to (how the hell did THAT happen again?) It's time I spare the gentle folk at Electric Light the alcoholic disaster zone that is Spoz in full-flight and drag my gurgling arse back down the road..
..as I arrive just in time for the second happy hour at The Cranka at 1AM (oh yes kiddies, they have TWO happy hours now! as much as I ridicule this place, you gotta love them for that!)..
..although it appears The Cranka has become nowhere near less the scary in my absense after Angelik blasted all patrons to the four walls, as in their fateful wake we see the arrival of these pan-dimensional space aliens. I'd like to think that Saturday night's resident DJ Fatboy Slum is to blame for these circus freaks in attendance tonight (as sources tell me THESE were the lengths people were willing to go to so they could win the new White Stripes CD), but even somebody as fuckoff insane as HIM couldn't possibly be responsible for THIS horror..
..or this horror when joined by his even creepier friend..
..or what could only be the world's most flamboyantly gay superhero..
..and OH CRAP!? WHAT KINDA FUCKED UP HALLOWEEN MONSTROSITY IS THIS!?
(oh wait my apologies that's just Angelik's guitarist, Sam "The Bullet" Baroudi)
..oh that's IT! fuck this I'm getting outta here! this shit's gone too far! WAAAUAUAGHHH!!
It's at this point of the night that I would like to think I did the sensible thing and went home, or in the very least was unceremoniously despatched by one of the many up and coming Adelaide bands that I've been ridiculing of late (*cough* Morals Of A Minor? no wait that can't be it I actually love that shit now! fuck the difference a year makes aye?) after they finally catch up with me along with some of their hired goons, beat me five ways senseless to sunrise, tie my hands and feet, stuff me in a pinewood box and bury me alive up to my neck in flesh eating ants with nothing but a sherbet straw and some toothpicks to dig my way to freedom (*sigh* I can only wish I had THAT much of an effect on the music scene!) but of course as we ALL know, none of these things happened and I merely ended up at Shotz like every other weekend before it making an absolute twat of myself on the dancefloor. Such is life, such is life best further undocumented so as not to scar you for life from experiencing the secondhand horrors of it..
..and so there we have it kiddies! Despite suffering through a little ice-age blizzard over the CBD, despite not being able to feel my fingers and toes and despite living in constant fear that the next time I fall asleep I'll freeze over and thaw out 1000's of years later in a world with no shrimp, I STILL found ways to keep toasty warm this week by basking in the white hot heat that is the Adelaide music scene. You don't need to burn banned books in this town when you've got the bass baaaby.. OOOOYEAAH!! :)
Previously on Spoz's Rant: Buried Alive