MY ALCOHOLIC FRIENDS
*Sigh* 'tis such a hard life being a rock photojournalist. Week in and week out, venue after venue, gig after gig, slaving away to the same 'ol deathly grind, low-lights and trigger fingers. Sometimes I wake up at the tail end of it all, see who's coming over the horizon and want nothing more but to run screaming for the hills than to do battle with them. "Oh suuuure Spoz!" Hard fucking life alright!! Nothing but sex, drugs, rock 'n roll, fame and glory and 24 hour non-stop partying!! Sheeeeesh! Quit complaining you bug-eyed gimp!! Try living my life for a change and we'll see who's complaining!!". Yes I know what you're all thinking: reading this right now, green-eyed with envy, rotting away under fluorescent lights on a Monday morning in an ever shrinking cubicle farm wishing YOU were anywhere but here and oh yes, I'll readily admit that it is true: this really IS the life and so much more! This music scene, this creative zeitgeist full of such wild and crazy ideas, such intellectual furvour! Oh, the light! the colour! the symphony and the movement! Who could ask for anything more? All this grandiose rose-coloured splendour exploding into ever more superlative glory.. until some ever present drunk stumbles past, spills their drink, falls flat on their arse and promptly throws up all over our shoes to reminds us: the reality of what it really is to be part of this "scene". This ever present hoard. These million and one baboons. Filling up our venues, packed to the ceiling, perpetually on the edge of lust and violence, hooting, screaming, flapping their limbs about in ever more excited levels of excess all begging for more; and only WE the few stand against them. Without them this "job" would be so much easier, without them we'd have no "job". They are our catch 22, our currency, our energy source, our lifeblood and our cattle and they are the ongoing curse of our existence. I know, because I am one of them. Me and you, we are the same maaan. We're all in this hell together!
I see them now. Coming over that horizon. Coming at me at in ever increasing volumes, armed with ever decreasing intellects and ever increasing appetites. At all hours they attack me. From all directions they chase me. From venue to venue they pursue me. This reverse paparazzi! This zombie plague! This hunter now the hunted! All clamouring for their 15 seconds of infamy! Behold! My alcoholic friends! so help me Jebus that they don't come after YOU!THURSDAY NIGHT
Tonight's musical installment at the Jade Monkey is brought to you by "Chomp": the wafter thin chocolate and caramel treat with the spastic green dinosaur wrapper. The self same retarded confection I've not seen since the stoner haze of the early 90's..
reknown the world over for it's bug-eyed magical bendable qualities..
it's incomprehensible chewy, goey, rubber-like consistency..
jam packed full of mind boggling animal, vegetable and mineral nutrients to make just about any spaced out vegan hippies eye's water - "mmmmmm, can't ya just taste the horse hoof?"..
making for hour upon hour of sugar fueled fun for one and all..
so much so, that I was left with nothing but a wrapper by the end of it. Bastards!
(and now you can see why I never endorse this kinda shit on my website!)INUETTE
*cough* Where was I? oh yeah, this silly 'ol live music schtick I seem to endlessly fascinate myself with, how could I possibly EVER forget!? (kill me! kill me now!). As we present the first act for this evening, Inuette: a sideproject featuring Jess from Double Handed / Delusions Of Grandma and some other hairy twit who's name I've since forgotten (but could quite possibly be Cameron if I bothered to check their myspaz
) also from Double Handed. As for why I'm here for such random'ness tonight: not only have they rather effectively (and subtlely) beaten me into dribbling submission with their infamous "Double Handed" marketing campaign weeks in advance but they've also got an album coming out soon, so chances are they might not actually suck and as luck would have it, tonight's understated performance does nothing but impress. With two guitars and no vocals, back and forth they conjure up a journey: sparse dappled blues, looping reverb, layer upon layers of FX pedals all weaving a sound score that is both cinematic, meditative and brooding with articulate 3am noodlings. Running between the spastic guitar wank of Joe Satriani and the suicide bliss of Sigur Ros, this was one helluva performance.
Between bands I take a brief moment to go all arty farty with one of the many tripped out light fixtures scattered throughout the Jade Monkey.. "woooooooo! so pretty!" :)THE AUTHENTIC REPLICAS
Before being assaulted by the next live act, The Authentic Replicas when they hit the stage. For the most hilariously simplistic and brutal way of describing this band, look no further than the performing genius that is Joe Blogs in this infamous video
. In short, they're emo acoustic and then some, ie: think Simple Plan, Good Charlotte (or whatever the fuck) doing one of those weepy-arse guitar ballads PSA about the perils of underage drinking and you'd be right on the money. The guy nasally projects in a shrill falsetto that makes Brian Molko from Placebo sound like Henry Rollins: whining about all the pain in the world bunched into one tiny guitar thrashing fist, whilst the girl backs it up with bass and some bittersweet vocal harmonies that damn near make you wanna cry. Most songs fall into this heart rending sad-sack territory (including one real doozy I wont dare touch as it's more than justified in it's misery), whilst they close up with a beautifully wrist-slashing rendition of Radiohead's "Creep" that just about floors everyone in the room and doesn't leave a dry eye in the house. Sure, the whole thing maybe a little bit too over earnest and some songs are a little bit sloppy, but considering this is only their second gig it's actually not too bad. Keep them away from any sharp objects, ropes and hanguns; give them some sunlight and vitamin C from time to time and who knows what they could achieve? ;)
Now that The Authentic Replicas have left the stage for some much needed therapy and comic relief (it's amazing what you can do with balloon animals and whoopi cushions these days), I take a few moments to soak up the meditative tranquility from this tiny Buddhist shrine at the bar..ALIAS & THE JAMS
Before diving into next and final band of the night, Alias & The Jams. Which in all my ignorance of everything that is blues or roots I would place somewhere between the frenzied sounds of John Butler Trio, the rambling stonerisms of Xavier Rudd, Tea Party during their more wacked out instrumental hippy moments and top off with the bohemian acoustic edges of Pearl Jam's "No Code" album. Featuring bongos, double bass and acoustic guitar it's a nice idea in theory, there's some really cool vibes in the mix and they definitely LOOK the part but the dude on the double bass doesn't sound anywhere near as funky, laid back or half as badass as he should've. Figure that one out though and we might have something really cool to roll joints to.. woooo!
And that there kiddies was my surprisingly none-too drunken Thursday night at the Jade Monkey; your results may vary! (give or take a few braincells and a bottle of red.. eeeee!)FRIDAY NIGHT
Tonight I'm here at Rocket Bar, taking that same 'ol shot at the corner of the bar, as apparently nowhere else manages to stay in focus whenever I attempt to drunkingly photograph it.SOFT WHITE MACHINE
First band of the night is Soft White Machine. It's their first ever time at Rocket Bar, they're looking a little bit dazed, confused and overcrowded on stage but the results (as always) are pretty much the same standup comedy routine you've come to expect. It's all there: Andreas and Karl doing their gnashing dog fight dance with their guitars, the shuffling homeless man grooves of Jett on bass, Karl running a whole spastic gamut between lemon face, lion face, sex face, toddler temper tantrum and constipation squint on vocals whilst Nick bounces around on drums like Beaker from the Muppets. With the PA blasting loud enough to split concrete and with the lighting rig making for a suprise (yet very much welcoming) bout of pyrotechnic epilepsy it all makes for one fuckoff epic performance: especially show highlight "Tonight We Break" sounding so freakingly apocalyptic with it's shrill guitars and hyperbola that it makes a fullblown Muse hissyfit sound like a mouse fart by comparison. Oh, and the less said about Karl's continuing failed attempts at humour between songs.. "Hey hey! it's Spoz, he loves our band so much he'd eat our poop! Mmmmmm poop!".. the better. Revenge shall be delivered swiftly, at random, and when you least expect it Karl! BEWARE THE WRATH OF SPOZ!!*
*note: since chances are Spoz may get so blaringly drunk by the next few weeks to remember any such pending act of revenge, it may be good to remind him from time to time.. cheers! :)STREETLIGHT
Second band for the night is Streetlight from WA. To call them "screamo" would be a howling understatement to the ringing in my ears, since as much as I can tell they were trying to aim for the brutal intensity of A Mars Volta but instead come off sounding more like a Frankenstein mix up between Panic! At The Disco, the Scissor Sisters and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre as performed as a broadway musical with actual chainsaws. They also looked like the kind've early 80's kitch fashion disaster in fluffy hair that wouldn't look at all out've place in a Countdown episode (Flock of Seagulls anyone?). Picture six people stuffed on a tiny stage running around like deranged toddlers banging pots and pans whilst the lead singer coughed up hairballs all over the floor with shakers and tamborines: if they made this shit into a Saturday morning manga cartoon kids all other the world would be foaming at the mouth and suffering violent bouts of epilepsy and if they used the strobe tonight we'd all be dead and Jemaah Islamiyah would proudly claim it as a terrorist attack. Yup, as embarassing (and endlessly hilarious) as it was to watch, this was without a doubt the most spastically brilliant band I'd seen all night.. wooooo! :)
In following we interrupt your irregularly scheduled programming, as I try to do my very best *cough* in fending off the alcohol-fueled affectionate advances of THIS notorious Rocket Bar party girl, Eli, as she damn near succeeds in sabotaging each and every attempt to take any decent photos of the headling act; all in effort to make an appearance in this week's blog..
*sigh* 'tis such a hard life being a rock photojournalist isn't it? :)MERE THEORY
As much as I don't like to admit it, cheap publicity stunts like that work EVERY DAMN TIME! (not like I'm encouraging this kind've behavious in ANY way! hahahaha!) *ahem* now where was I? (shuddup brain!) oh yeah.. back to our headlining act, Mere Theory. Although these monkeys are technically emo (or screamo) and would thus make them ripe for all manner of ridicule from a blog reviewer as hilarious biased as I, since they present none of the usual hilarious wrist slashing extremes, operatic goth hyperbola or spastic toddler temper tantrums that'd make me wanna bleed out've my eyeballs rather than subject myself to it, I could almost dare go out on a limb and say I like this shit. They're like Sparta: no nonsense, no bullshit but all the shrieking controlled fury. On the other hand, you could claim that without all the extreme theatrical hissy fit antics that makes emo so hilariously fascinating (ie: think My Chemical Romance or Panic! At The Disco and hold back the gag reflex) they're also dangerously close to being boring as fuck. In the end it could go either way. Fuckit, for the final verdict I'll let YOU decide with this band tonight. Mere Theory, thumbs UP or DOWN? :)
With the final headlining act done with, and with Eli nowhere to be seen (shuddup brain!), I bid farewell to this, the most overly photographed lamp in the whole venue..
whereupon I find myself here at Enigma Bar (of all places)..
say hello to everyone's favourite party-time acid spitting Xenomorph..
before pissing the rest of the night away into more hilarious extremes with these lunatics..
*yeeeouch!* seriously, was it a freaking full moon tonight, or what!? fuuuuuuck!
and as much as I would love to continue the drunken stupidity beyond this point, Wenna fogged out my camera lens. So it's goodbye and GOODNIGHT AUSTRALIA! *ow my brain!* :)SATURDAY NIGHT
In effort to capture all the sublime stupidity on offer tonight (whilst still missing out on Mach Pelican's last ever gig at Jive before they all get deported back to Japan.. GNAAARRGHHH!! DAMMIT!), we present yet another of my tag-teaming efforts in dribbling excess. Running between here at the Cranka for happy hour beers, stoner grunge and punk noise insanity..
and here at Electric Light for all the ecclectic stoner brilliance listed on this sandwich board..TRIXIE PLAIN
First band of the night is Trixie Plain at the Cranka. You may remember them from their serial offenses late last year (and brief appearance earlier this year
), with the ever notorious W Shane Forster smashing off on vocals and drums, screaming a tourette's syndrome over noise complaints and pretensious wankers that did him wrong. Sure, it may've occassionally come off sounding like a cheap Ren N Stimpy style comedy act in everything short of intent, but for those spare few minutes before Shane made my eardrums burst they were fun for the whole family! For the last few months I'd briefly wondered what the hell happened to them. Did I get blacklisted for not turning up to enough random gigs at the Exeter? did Shane's head finally explode? carnivorous leprecauns? who the fuck knows? As it turns out they actually spent the last few months locked up in a studio with Matt Hills producing an upcoming EP till HIS head exploded and all the shiny results were on display tonight. Gone was the nervous breakdown of old and in it's place was a brand new band. Who knew there were actually two OTHER members of this three piece beyond all the screaming? Todd fuzzing out intestinal death grinds on bass, snarling out atonal punk vocals. Lindog (aka: The Colonel) with new found guitar pedal intensity, shredded out 1000 layers of chromatic guitars and yelping like a deranged canine. W Shane Forster machine gunned everything else within earshot. Everything was louder: yet more textured, evolved, subtle even. The other two members now matching the ferocity of Forster's attack against the world, a threefold delivery. Like all the best psychedelic art-rock intensity of Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, the slacker grooves of The Pixies and the loutish drive of The Ramones forging a force 5 hurricane set to flatten New Orleans. What'ever they did in that studio, they sound 1000x more volatile now. Watch out kiddies, this shit's gonna fuck you up! :)ANTONY OF THE FUTURE
Originally I'd only thought I'd spend 15-20 minutes at the Cranka in passing, but somehow 3 beers and an entire face melting Trixie Plain set later and only now do I finally manage to drag myself out've the place to make an appearance at Electric Light. Matt Banham had already played, Antony Of The Future were just finishing up now and as much as I would like to say something intelligent here, since I only saw 5 minutes of this (and I doubt they've changed their setlist around TOO much) fuckit, THIS
review from a few weeks ago pretty much says it all. Beatles vs The Ramones, The Strokes vs Ratcat; get out of the house and get some!KAMIKAZE TRIO
Returning to the Cranka the second (and headling) act, Kamikaze Trio is firing up on stage. Not to be confused with Adelaide band Kamikaze (although, how could you possibly confuse the antics of Dick Dale
with anyone else?) Kamikaze Trio are an entirely different and diabolical beast from Melbourne. They're proto grunge, punk and noise. They're Nirvana's 1st album "Bleach", mixed with the intestinal death stomp of The Mark Of Cain, sprinkled with Dinosaur Jnr's stoner yodel and with the guitars turned up to 11 in fuzz aggression. They're blood on the walls and jack hammers beating into your skull. They're a funtime party band for one and all!
Just look at their number #1 fan go beserk in the crowd with his motorcycle helmet here..
the drummer soon steals the helmet for himself to take a few rounds on the kit..
followed by the lanky-arse bass player, head butting the walls..
before the lead singer finishes the set halfway into the crowd, shredding out a baboon frenzy whilst the bass player hurls his screaming instrument into the drumkit and storms off stage. Short, punchy, fists in the air, puncturing lungs in a body popping insanity dance; this was Kamikaze Trio putting your head in a blender and turning it up on full.. weeeeeee! :)LADY STRANGELOVE
With my brain sufficiently liquified to a steaming mush by all the above, I manage to coordinate what's left of my motor function and stagger blindly back down to the Electric Light to catch the remaining 10 minutes of Lady Strangelove. I dunno if they're just getting bored with their current setlist or someone switched Josh's medication, but just like last week's core meltdown on stage, the tail end of this set tonight sounded like all the laws of physics unravelling at once; set to a symphony of spastic malfunctioning guitar, squealing mouth organ, screaming synths and splintering drums. I dunno what the hell happened out there, but mommy, I'm frightened!
With the light bending event horizon of Lady Strangelove's black hole generator now since extinguished in a cataclysmic finale, the stage was cleared for the headlining act, whilst front of stage rapidly filled with a growing hoard of drunks and hooting baboons, 1/2 of them from the Cranka across the road to witness the mad spectacle that was about to unfold this night.POLY & THE STATICS
Presenting Poly & The Statics here launching their latest EP "Paper Lanterns" to a packed out zombie hoard of 100's of drunks all screaming for more. As much as this band is about their brilliant chameleon tendancies to cover all the noodling quirks of Gerling, The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Pavement, The Rakes, Tapes N Tapes, Weezer, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and everything else in between in their efforts to fashion the perfect slacker anthem to 90's throwback ecclecticism; tonight they're also apparently all about Josh Phillips, his spastic pink cowboy hat and the erratic performance of his insane front mullet of hat hair. Sure, to give credit where credit is due, it's also about Jon Marco on vocals, Tom McCarthy-Jones on bass and Greg Beazely on drums, but mostly it's Josh's spastic hat alone that keeps me entertained for at least 1/2 of the set (hmmmm is it any surprise here that I'm well on my way through my 7th to 8th beer and my brain is already dead for the night? weeeeeee!). Still, as EP launches go, these monkeys blast it screaming out the speakers like there's no tomorrow and we'll be facing nothing but a littany of corpses in our wake come Monday. It's a journey that covers all the above, from shredding spastic indie, 90's slacker rock and alt-country stonerisms. A feast for the senses. With particular highlights going to the fuzzing 90's wall-of-sound guitars of 1st track "Friends in Big Places", the metronome buzz of 3rd song "I Am Bossonova" and um.. shit.. why can't I remember the rest of the set (without cheating and looking at the set list I stole?) oh yeah, that's right I was too drunk! WAHOOOO!! (yeah, there goes my professionalism). All in all though, sometimes that's the sign of the best CD launch, when you have so much stupid fun making a twit of yourself, you barely remember a concrete detail in passing.. aaaaah :)
After the set, after much hooting applause, after a crowd endlessly begging for more, I continue to drink myself a memory blank at Electric Light (endlessly amazed over my freakish ability to keep a camera steady and in focus for this "establishing shot"). Before somewhere past 2AM I finally stumble my way past the drunks back to my home away from home..
As once more like flies to a bug zapper, I return here to the Cranka..
pissing the last of the it away with yet another random gathering of beer fueled freaks..
And thus, we reach the conclusion to yet another weekend of howling misadventure. Beer in hand, brain falling out've my skull. Here at the Cranka at closing time and nowhere near Shotz where I end up an hour later, attempting to explain to the bouncers dragging me outside mere moments after entering over why exactly Simone thought it would be a funny idea to drag me into the women's toilet LAST weekend (hey at least she checked nobody else was in there beforehand!), why Joe Blogs chose to piggyback ride me before I got kicked out weeks before, why I always choose my hilariously questionable drunken dance moves that seem to take up 1/2 the dancefloor and everyone with me and why after all of these hilarious shennanigans week after week I shouldn't be subsequently booted and listed on their terrorist watchlist for future crimes against humanity. "Look, it's not like you're ever violent, it's not like you ever break anything, you never get any complaints against you.. but sheeesh!? couldn't you make our lives a little bit easier around here for change!?"
HAHAHAHAHA I wonder, with random idiots like these, what do YOU all think ? :)
Yup no matter how much you may pretend it's all about the music, how smart you may think you are, how educated, how verbose and articulate, how long you spend hours of your life carefully crafting and alphabetising your music collection, making mixtapes and priding yourself over how much endless bullshit you can spout forth about the grand lyrical interconnection and the deeper meaning of the universe: sooner or later you'll just end up that same dribbling idiot in the corner at closing time, huddled with your idiot friends, laughing over how silly it all is.
The hours may be punishingly long. The pay nonexistent. The glory fleeting. But as long as you remember all this stupid fun you have at the end and in between, it's aaaaall worthwhile :)
Previously on Spoz's Rant: Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell