The Adelaide music scene: to many of you it might be little more than a touring speed bump between Melbourne and Perth but to us it's a way of life. Feast within, on all its dysfunctioning splendour, as we bring you the highly satirical, laughingly fictional and intellectually imbecile tales from our rock & roll wasteland...
BACHELORETTE + HIT THE JACKPOT + HOME FOR THE DEF LIVE @ URTEXT STUDIOS / Friday November 2nd 2007
Out've all the dimly lit venues, clubs, pubs, vinyl brown lounges and seedy rat infested dives I've come to frequent throughout this laughable excuse for a city; it's often the more willfully obscure of bohemian haunts that offer up the best stories to tell. Throughout the ages wild rumours circulate of these out've the way places, these lunatic fringes, these forever hard to find, subterranean and shrouded in secrecy. They hide behind walls. Walls of undecipherable noise and unmarked doors. Doors you pass by every day. Doors seemingly like any other in the city. This is just but one of those doors. One door on Grenfell St. One door with a story to tell.
You may find yourself at a door just like this. Doors led by rumour. Doors found with seemingly no clue or purpose. You search high and low for the mad design within the disorder. That secret lever. That secret handshake. Those silent words to invoke. Then you find an intercom. You find one hastily handwritten note. Push that button. Hear that voice. Speak and you enter.
Down silent halls you travel. Silent and alone. Through darkening halls. Festering halls. Halls of the ancients. Accompanied only by the soft carpeting footsteps that thud in time to your ever escalating fear. You come to an end. You find a lift. You take that lift up to the second floor.
You arrive disoriented and bent. Low lights and leaking fumes. Confusion abounds. Alien sounds. What mad design is this? What crazed fools have conjured this? You discover that you're not alone. Welcoming hands now find you. They reach for you from afar. You scream. You scream outside of yourself. Arms flail. Caught in the wires. Then all thoughts turn to black.
And it is at this moment, as you wake to find yourself: in a box, a perspex box, a box that's slowly filling with water, filling with a maniacal laugh that echoes tinny and shrill from beyond as the water slowly rises to extinguish your life, that you come to that fateful conclusion..
"fuck.. why oh why didn't I chose that OTHER door!?"
Such is the way of Urtext Studios. This artist enclave. This derelict squat of artists, musicians, cinematographers and couch philosophers rife with the subtext. A space so haphazard in it's bohemian construct you truly do second guess yourself over whether you DID step through the wrong door and into the most cliche of b-grade torture porn. Is it the low hung velvet curtains? That all pervuading murk? Those high art-deco ceilings and bleach bone walls? All these strange bedraggled shapes that do pounce from obtuse angles? Or maybe it's that unmistakeable feeling you've gatecrashed a suburban house party at 3AM, at the height of it's drunken volatility, only magnified here by almost a year of accumilative abuse? How far can they take this? How far can they push it? Will this mad science experiment continue in earnest? We can but only hope! :)
For this place is not without it's infinite charm. Fortuitous as it is to be situated in the very heart of the city: witness to such resplendent views as THIS from it's 2nd story Grenfell St balcony!
Such beauty to be found in the trivial. The soft lighting over the mixing desk. The incidental art found hanging on the walls. Such culture! Such vitality! Such wealth of wit and wimsy!
To be witness to such grand ecclectism must truly be any photographer's pant's wetting dream!
and then, just when you can't stand no more and your ears are a bursting with glee, you stumble into this, the most vile of productions. So infinite in it's murk it mocks even the most ardent of rock photographers.. oh sweet jebus have mercy on our spleens for it is ripe for the venting!
Is this a live band I do see before me? Back alley surgeons in thirst for organ harvesting? Skin eating freaks with cleft pallets, lazy eyes and hooves for hands? Who the fuck knows!?
For no amount of me shooting in the dark is gonna fight me out've this mess..
and so it is with much reservation and bitter regret that I must admit defeat against the forces of darkness and fire up the flash to finally reveal the first victim for the night..
ZETA LEAGUE For infinitely better live photos (and a much funnier review) of this band, look no further than a week ago when they played Rocket Bar. For in stark contrast, the haunting surrounds tonight seem to seep deep into the soul of their sound, embuing them with a distinct undertow of sanguine gloom. Is this Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth jamming with Smashing Pumpkins with sinuses shrill with sweet dissent? Or is this Brian Molko covering Echo & The Bunnymen to the conjuring of Donnie Darko's worst nightmares? Somewhere between the lunatic extremes the truth lies. Are they bare inches and one hyperdermic needle away from becoming a goth band? Should we be planning our intervention well in advance lest their lead singer attempt to shave his head in emulation of his Uncle Fester forefathers? These shadows must be playing tricks with my mind if they lead me down these winding paths! Still, fucking good band but..
HOME FOR THE DEF ..and so, to lighten the mood (or to corrupt it further still) we are presented with the next performance: a solo live act that appears to be a homeless guy with an electric guitar (that they've clearly dragged off the street mere moments ago) armed with a small cache of Beck's drum machines to present this insane asylum for the senses. This is Frank Black from the Pixies and Peter Combe being beaten to death with a whisky bottle. This is both Tom Waits and Jack White lying in a gutter with both their trousers around their ankles with confused looks on their faces. This is your first step to admitting that you have a serious drinking problem. Yup, this is Home For The Def and he's beating you blind with a mad projection of video and still imagery that makes that Buffalo Bill's "magina dance" in Silence of the Lambs look like children's television by comparison. Is it art? Is it entertainment? Did I accidently step into the opening scenes of another Saw movie sequel? Will my smoking remains make high-rotation viewing on rotten dot com? Is this quite possibly the most brilliant live act ever to burn out my retinas since I faced off against the eye of Sauron back in July and lived to tell the tale? Either way, pass me that spliff cause it looks like we're in for one helluva fucked up rollercoaster ride! :)
HIT THE JACKPOT Up next in this grand parade of the profane and the insane is this confusing 3 piece art-rock ensemble by the name of Hit The Jackpot. They appear to consist entirely of post-graduate liberal arts students of the chronically under-employed and sound quite like one of those wistfully obscure retro 12" vinyls those basement DJ's in Big Star on Rundle St love spinning to dementia in effort to glaringly illustrate just how inferior your entire record collection is. Simply combine the stabbing suicide beat of Joy Division, the howling fuzz of Sonic Youth, back it to the most brutal low-down dirty bass rhythm heard outside of Kings Of Leon, sprinkle in New York City's finest unsigned bands, stir vigoriously and swap instruments often and incessantly. Yup, I can't quite tell whether they're simply just showing off with all this shit, showing me just how intellectually inferior I am, or simply just innocently tripping balls to the mad mathematical intricacies of the art-rock "ism" but in it's own academic way, it's a blissed out trip!
BACHELORETTE and finally in effort to speed my dribbling carcass to the four walls of a rubber room we present the headlining act, all the way from New Zealand, and for one night only: Bachelorette. She was a solo act on keyboards and vocals. She sounded just like Bjork and Ladytron making sweet demented love to my hollowed out eye-sockets. She was well and truly an awe-inspiring act to behold. Or, in other words (to drill home just exactly what you unfortunate fools missed) she was something very much along the lines of THIS mindfuck to the senses..
Since y'see, in effort to capture firsthand this madness in live photography, I commited what could only be called the most STUPID (yet hilarious) fatality move you could ever inflict upon a compact digital camera. A fatal move beyond all measure. Or to put simply: imagine if you will holding a full glass of beer in your left hand, imagine holding a digital camera in your right. Imagine them both wanting to get married and consumate their relationship and then imagine the only response you could come up with as this scene unfolds in front of your very own eyes..
For the next few seconds (in what felt like an eternity) there I was staring blankly in awe and amazement as my camera bobbed up and down in that full pint glass of beer. The LCD screen flickering wildly from black, to green, to milky white and then nothing. Dumb struck and bug-eyed the shock of the event took some time to travel from my mind: struck goldfish gaping to my hand, as I finally yanked that dead weight from out've my glass. At first there was a smirk, then a wild grin then fits and howls of laughter when I realised just what I had done.
"duuuuude.. don't you wish you could've taken a photo of that!? oh wait, ooops!"
and then I drank my beer.
No point letting $500 go to waste now, is there? :)