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...
THE DARDANELLES + BAKEWELL STREET + SIDEWALKS LIVE @ ROCKET BAR / Friday January 25th 2008
Rocket Bar, upstairs to the seedy end of Hindley. Opposite the Crazy Horse. Unbeknownst to all but the most tragic of indie hipsters, fashionistas, wastoids, windowlickers, new rave, no wave, post punk, post lobotomy pop, electro rockers, groupies and airhead photojournalists. Thousands of drunks stumble past nightly, clueless (save for a tiny black sign) that anything even goes ON up here. One hand clapping over and over, bring in the cowbell, handbags in the middle, glow sticks in the air, and if I hear Justice's "D.A.N.C.E" one more time, I'm bringing my shotgun!
9:32PM - "Doors 9PM". You see it on every gig poster, in every live venue. Like Pavlov's hair-of-the-dog you front up a few minutes past, load your lungs full of piss, hit spitting distance of the stage and fire on up when the first band hits at 9:30PM. Fuck! to think I made this rookie mistake again!? Rocket Bar's "Doors 9PM" means that bell rings and Pavlov's dog headbutts locked doors. Return in 10-15 with a street press, wait in line whilst the sun, moon, stars and clouds whizz overhead, 5-10, band members spill out in search of falafel and cigarettes. 5-10, still nothing. Twiddle thumbs, tetris on your phone, stare into space and then just when you've lost all hope you FINALLY get in. All for 2-3 people in line to an empty venue? FUCK YEAH!
9:41PM - "Aaaaaah this beer tastes sooo damn good on a humid summer's eve!" So good you're onto your second already. You casually wonder when the first band is gonna hit the stage..
9:54PM - Onto your third now. Staring at the walls. You've read through all of Rip It Up, dB, wisely passed up on Onion (Justice, again!?) and are now leafing through the Fringe Festival Guide. "Hmmm $50 to go see someone blow bubbles out've their eyesocket? AWESOME!"..
10:06PM - Aaaaaah Rocket Bar! We so love to keep you in suspense. To keep you waiting, to keep you wanting, longing, yearning, itching and burning for the musical brilliance that is..
Matt Hayward's new live band!? Awwww fuck no, this is SO gonna be lame!!
*ahem* and now for the 99% of my reading audience not savvy to my littany of injokes (and to the 1% who've been repetitively beating themselves over the head with the blunt end of a shovel in the mistaken belief they'll hear the voice of God), allow for me a brief introduction..
Matt Hayward: Adelaide scenster, Sesame Street reject, bull in a china shop, inhaler of cheap cigarettes, frequent upon Rocket Bar, Exeter, Urtext, No Through Road and Antony Of The Future. Manager of Fire! Santa Rosa Fire!, cameo appearance to Ringo Stalin with a bass guitar and most infamous to this blog's formative past: lead screaming provocateur to Adelaide's foremost bomb squad/circus act/terrorist cell Central Deli Band (2004 - 2006). Lest we forget! Forever in a black coat and a black lung coughing up white smoke. Johnny Cash in caricature. He is every reason why Humphrey B Bear should never have spoken a word..
and finally, after over a year of sharpening my knives in giddy anticipation since last we crossed paths in a field of battle, he comes blundering into my blog with a fresh new band ripe for the ridicule? *Phew* I just bet he's sweating bullets reading this right now! weeeeeeee! :)
SIDEWALKS (***1/2) myspace :: Let me stress from the outset (unlike Tyger Tyger's laughable excuse last week) this review will not consist of 101 lamearse jokes at the expense of their lead singer's NYC crushing ego (oh crap! now I'm fucked, what the hell do I talk about now!?). *cough* So what of the rest of the band then? Surprisingly it's pretty damn fucking good (Yeah I know, it was a shock to me too!). Sidewalks is a band that packs one FUCK of a punch with vicious riffs and intense rhythms. References to Joy Division are of course bleedingly obvious but with a chainsaw delivery more evident from the post punk zombie attack of Interpol's "PDA", "Obstacle 1", "Slow Hands" and "Mammoth". Other more subtle references? The Moving Units, early 80's U2, The Cure and a million Melbourne bands slashing their wrists. All of this fronted in it's pure malevolence by what appears to be the perverted lovechild of Sam Gamgee from Lord Of The Rings and Ian Curtis strangling a cat for 40 minutes straight? Awesome! Yup, despite all of Matt Hayward's best unintended comedy antics, Sidewalks is a force to be reckoned with. Worth checking out!
BAKEWELL STREET (****) myspace :: This would've been a tough call for any band. Stuck here between a rock and a hard place. Sandwiched between the shredding meth binge of Sidewalks and headlining act The Dardanelles, howling in padded cells with their eyes rolling back in their sockets. And yet Bakewell Street, the honourary "dill pickle" to tonight's psychiatric ward, still come up a winner with a most welcome medicated middle. Numbed full of good time, bittersweet, fuzzy brown cardigan edges and delivered with ease. John Butler Trio at their funkiest, Kings Of Leon at their most blissed out broken yodel, driven by the rhythm attack of The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand? Yup, quite like the proverbial beer goggles, this band just gets better and better the drunker I get! Will they ever challenge Your Motive For for the grand "falafel of rock"? Only time will tell. Either way, this could bring even the most deranged head smashing brain injury to a drooling stupour!
and speaking of brain injuries, we reach our headlining act: The Dardanelles. Melbourne band most obscure yet bristling with grand infamy. Responsible for one of the finest Australian indie albums most of you probably never heard of in 2007, "Mirror Mirror" (well worth hunting up if you're seeking an articulate antidote to Midnight Juggernauts' sustained bludgeoning), and also inadvertantly possessing one of these most mentally illbient frontman outside of Silverchair's Daniel Johns or even Craig Nichols from The Vines. Many have been the jokes I've made at the expense of their lead singer Josh and his exciteable arm flapping "Rain Man" routine in the past, and little you likely believed me. Until now that is! as I present to you the wide eyed wonder that is THIS 20 second video capture I like to call "Josh wins a trip to Disneyland!"..
THE DARDANELLES (****1/2) myspace :: Of course there's much more to this malevolent synth act than my current preoccupation with making dumb punchline out've every single lead singer in a rock band that crosses my path of late (since lets face it, Lee from Tony Font Show pretty much corners the market anywaze). So, for those of you not in the know: imagine New Order's "Blue Monday" crossed with Pink Floyd's "On The Run" (from Dark Side Of The Moon) and that's The Dardanelles in a nutshell! They're the all pervading pounding snarl, stabbing 4/4 beat, arty, brooding, creepy as fuck dancefloor filler with atmosphere and tangible fear to spare. Throw in five to six beers, surround yourself on three sides with dribbling head injuries and a hammering PA drilling it into the smoking hole in your your skull and you've got one fuck of a wide-eyed grinning funk jam. Tonight they're absolutely killing it out there: Mitch is beating himself into a screaming coma on the drums, Alex is flailing his guitar around so furiously with his windmill arms you'd swear he's trying to launch it into the roof, Nico wanders around in confused circles like a dog chasing his tail whilst Josh beats away on the keyboards like all his christmasses have come at once..
Halfway through their set, satisfied that I've captured enough of the retarding action on stage, I make the tactical blunder of pointing the camera at all the lunatics around me off the stage..
Somewhere out there, an electroencephalogram (EEG) is beeping it's last sustain..
Whilst moments later, Josh from The Dardanelles makes the tactical blunder of attempting to join in, only to realise his microphone lead only extends 1 metre off stage.. yoooou eeeidiot! Still, as far as Dardanelles sets go, this was definitely one of the better ones. What'ever spazzed out meds you monkeys are pill-popping for this tour, keep 'em coming, this shit was buzzing!
1:41AM - With the live bands done and dusted for the night. Rocket Bar does it's customary flick of the crowd switch as the indie scensters flee to Supermild and the floor packs out with mind numbing windowlickers. Some DJ (who's name conveniently escapes me) whips up the dancefloor into a demented frenzy, whilst I flee to the bar to drink myself into a coma..
2:09AM - It's at this moment that Alex from The Dardanelles suddenly realises that Josh, in all his excitement, has accidently swallowed the keys to their tourvan (for the third night running). Aaaaaaah never a dull moment in the life of a touring rock 'n roll band aye?
2:40AM - Feeling like my IQ would dip dangerously below sea level if I continued to slum it at Rocket Bar, I make my hasty escape only to be kidnapped outside of Ed Castle by Damo from Lady Strangelove and sent packing to Supermild. I may also wish to implicate a few members of Tyger Tyger in this heinous crime but since they don't nearly possess Travis' godzilla sized ego threatening to crush us all, clearly they don't rate a photographic mention *cough*. Hey look, Damo's wearing a shiny blue crash helmet! Look everybody, bluuuuue! YAAAAAY!
3:41AM - Yup, it continues to surprise me, that even when I'm beyond retardingly drunk in the ugly hours of a Friday night, with a brain no more suffiently lit up than a goldfish choking on a peanut, that I STILL manage to capture such sublime beauty as this shot here? (all the more puzzling, I ask you, why is every single glass here filled with water? weeeeeiiirrd!)
4:10AM - Someone (quite possibly one of the blinking idiots from Lady Strangelove) gets the genius idea to go to CrackDonalds on West terrace for a much needed hit of the "munchies"..
4:16AM - Will from Tokyo City Sex Shooters appears either deeply moved by the sublime joy that only CrackDonalds can bring, or deeply horrified to have mysteriously pooped out a set of car keys in the mistaken belief it was a fart (and is hoping like hell nobody has noticed)..
4:22AM - whilst it's anyone's guess what's going on within the peanut brains of these fine fools? One minute they're all laughing hysterically and the next you wake up buried up to your neck in the Mexican desert with nothing but a whizz fizz spoon to dig your way to freedom.. yeeouch!
Thus bringing to a close yet another confusing (albeit eeringly deja vu) Friday night on the piss in the Adelaide music scene. So many questions, so few answers! This ever thinning line between artistry and autism, genius and insanity, infamy and idiocy; what does it all mean? where does it all lead? and where would we be without all these brave pioneers headbutting the frontiers of all that is known and unknown to uncover such simple joy and wonder!? Aaaah almost makes you wanna jam a fistfull of crayons up your nose and into your brain to find out! weeeeeee! :)