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...
BROTHERSISTER + MR WEDNESDAY + RADIO SPECTACULAR LIVE @ JADE MONKEY / Friday February 15th 2008
Twin Street Alley: aaah there's no place quite like it in Adelaide! except it's called "Twin" Street. Hmmmm entirely lame jokes like that make me wanna drink till I really DO start seeing double; so if these be your four eyes rolling, then let me follow them down drains and sinkholes, ankle sprains and footfalls to the one event horizon in the CBD all bohemians squint to uncover..
The Jade Monkey: home of blinking faeries, gnomes and ethereals, of psychics and wafting beer garden psychedelics, of reds and greens and bliss in colour blindness. If the amber oracles chose one ancient ediface in all of Middle Earth to embue with their foaming spirits it would be this one (or quite possibly one a few doors down if they were too drunk to get the directions right).
Smaller than a bread box, slightly larger than Montgomery Burn's glove box. The Jade Monkey; such a place of unintelligible wonder, one wonders how they manage to fit all the people in? An album launch for BrotherSister and the triumphant return of Mr Wednesday? damn! we're gonna need some C4 blast triggers and a crowbar to get out alive from this one..
RADIO SPECTACULAR (**) myspace :: For the opening act tonight, we have what appears to be one of LeighStarDust's scarier sibblings teaming up with Belittle League (obscure scene references I know, but look those links up and prepare to be terrified beyond belief!). Radio Spectacular; that name alone spells nothing but trouble. They're the diet coke distillation of Hot Chip's nerd electro as fronted by Angie Hart from Frente with a children's television reject beeming smiles on guitar. They're Casio bleeps, glockenspiels, triangles, teeny tiny mouth organs and handclaps. They're choreographed dance moves, spirit fingers and songs about waiting in line at Wendy's for an icecream cone (I shit you not!). They're cloyingly cute and kitschy to the point of a diabetic coma. Radio Spectacular, if any band in Adelaide SCREAMS backup puppets, a public service TV spot and a bloodthirsty pack of anklebiters punching you in the groin over and over it'd be this one! I dunno whether to call this inspired genius or to call the UN for violating terms of the Geneva Convention.. wooooo!
If anything else, this band makes me wonder out loud what The Wiggles were like back when they were a pub rock band and then make me fear for my immortal soul if they ever turn to the dark side and become a Christian Rock band (OH SHIT NO!!). And if they ever got someone in a giant panda outfit to dance to this shit and they hit the kindergarten circuit? Fuuuck they'd be rolling in enough green to damn near snort the Antarctic bare and bankroll the moon!
Still all jokes aside (*sigh* I know, it's their first gig afterall, I really SHOULD go easy on them!) and as much as I'd love to douse them in gasoline, strike a match and run, they do come up with the occassional gem: like this bambi number that got picked up for airplay by Triple J. Turn up that volume and sing along, as I bring you the numbing brilliance that is "Vintage Piano"..
MR WEDNESDAY (****1/2) myspace :: Despite all rumours to the contrary: Mr Wednesday are NOT dead. Lead singer Moon was NOT signed up for a Work For The Dole scheme over the last year extending the tramline down King William Street. Duncan and Eamon were NOT tirelessly toiling the fields of Afghanistan to flood the world's supply in heroin. Ryan the drummer did NOT go on a mysterious "business trip" with Neil Clark from Taught By Animals, JC from Wolf & Cub and Gandalf the Grey to the gates of Mordor. No, these be nothing but slandour and lies! Mr Wednesday have been and always will be Adelaide's most tireless and prolific innovators in modern music and will return to their mission at hand just as soon as they put that bucket bong down and remember where they left the car keys! Phew, has it really been 11 months already? my how time flies when you're blind drunk. In actual fact, for the last year or so Mr Wednesday been busily cooking up yet another new "concept"; or to be more precise, two. One is rumoured to be an EP of "bucolic bliss" (to be released later this year), the second an album of "industrial hell". Tonight's welcome return mixes both extremes with their first album. Equal parts Sigur Ros, Pink Floyd, The Doves, Tom Waits and Thom Yorke squinting morse code comatose from a padded cell, this is a band well worth waiting almost a year for, if only to kick their arses for being absent for so damn long..
But since entire generations have spun the hamster wheels of fate since last they played, most of you will be about as familiar with this band as most people are with conversational Latin, so a brief refresher course may be in order. Mr Wednesday live are an anthemic cinematic and schizophrenic entity: equal parts soothing strings and keys, equal parts howling cacophony. They mix suicide and bliss, post apocalypse and post impressionist, dentist drills and novocaine, Mad Max and Eternal Sunshine For The Spotless Mind and often all in the SAME song. Such as this perfect example: "The Wall Where The World Once Ended". A song in two parts, hurled into two violence extremes. Unfortunately I missed the "Sudafed" half to this video, but lets face it the minute that megaphone hits in second half? this shit is nothing but candy to your ears!
With Mr Wednesday now eager to return to the Shire to spend another 11 months engineering a triple barrelled "pez dispenser" that'll defy all three laws of thermodynamics, the crowd assumes roadkill positions for the headlining act whilst I consider buying a periscope for my camera so as not to piss off at least 5 audience members everytime I dare to poke my head above sea level.
BROTHERSISTER (****) myspace :: How DOES an Adelaide band thrive for over three years, release an album to international acclaim and still not make a blip on my radar with all the ridiculous alcohol poisoning I do in service to this scene? (no Lyla and Southpoor that is a rhetorical question!) Fuck, beats the shit out've me! but such is the enigma that is BrotherSister here for their SECOND album launch. Of course it DOES help my utter cluelessness that both band members have been based in the USA for the last three years: brother Dante hails from New York, sister Xavia from Nashville, whilst my gig review tonight will be phoned in from whatever midsized rock I've been living under all these years. BrotherSister: soaringly orchestral and glitch electronic, they're reminiscent of Massive Attacks' "Teardrop", "Sing" by the Dresden Dolls, "Somersault" by Decoder Ring, Sia's "Breathe Me" and just about every other bittersweetness in strings and keys they flood through cafes, book stores and high end fashion boutiques everytime they misplace their Feist CD. It's everything you love from the vocals of Tori Amos and Win Butler, the rhythm section of Thom Yorke's "Erasure" and the widescreen introspection of Bat For Lashes minus all the annoying accompanying cutscenes from Grey's Anatomy that'd make you want to point both barrels of that shotgun to your skull for a Jackson Pollack self portrait. Joined by bass, strings and one of Adelaide's many talented halfling drummers, it's a truly awe inspiring experience!
At this point I was planning to present a live video for your amusement. But since I tripped over at least five handbags and a home birthing on the way from the stage to the bar *cough* Joanne Fong's video to their song "Ocean" will have to suffice instead. It's got robots in it.. wooooo!
2:00AM - Feeling suitably inspired and culturally enriched by all that transpired above (I even bought the CD!), I seek out my furthering nirvana in the premature arts ejaculation erupting forth from the east parklands, aka: The Fringe Festival's "Garden Of Unearthly Delights"..
and just like the two years previous: there's that same 'ol ferris wheel creaking away in the distance, that same 'ol dit dot spastic faerie lights, that same 'ol crowd of hippies, freaks, waistoids, posers, yuppies, art students, unemployed and alcoholics flailing about..
That same carousel packed full of animals so creepy and nightmare enducing if I was tripping balls on acid right about now, I'd be bleeding from my eyes and screaming as their thousand strong minions drag me into the fiery pits of hell (bring your kids, they'll love it!)..
And here at the same SOCO shipping container packed full of the same lost souls wandering around in circles, headbutting the walls like goldfish to a DJ mix that always seem to consist of cheesy song selections that are either seven years ahead or seven years behind the zeitgeist..
Hey look kids, here's Andreas from Soft White Machine going spastic on the human slingshot! *cough* ok, someone remind me again why I go to this lunatic asylum every damn night during the Fringe Festival only to wander around for an hour utterly clueless on what the fuck I should be doing? Oh that's right, I'm fucking insane! See you all again tomorrow night? HELL YEAAH!
3:11AM - Since I'm clearly entirely too drunk to find any of the above intellectually stimulating and entirely too sober to fuck it all and get carried out by security in opposition, it's not at all surprising that I'd soon end up here: the one place all fine arts, culture and frivolity go to die..
A place where I find performance art of an altogether more stupifying yet familiar kind..
Here Liam is the unwitting recipient in the ancient art of trepanning as Scotty removes Liam's balloon animal brain, a yoyo, numerous squeak toys and one teeny tiny enraged leprecaun.
This is Scotty under the mistaken belief I'd publish this shot of him doing entirely wrong things with a balloon (believe me, you're better off NOT seeing it) instead of publishing the shot I took mere moments later. Aaaah, some people just don't know how to hold their liquor do they?
And of course, like always, everything is all shits and giggles until one of the living dead (bearing a slight resemblance to someone we once knew as Sara) bursts in and proceeds to scare everyone out've the venue with her blood curdling chant of "braaains! braaains! BRAAAAINS!!"
4:23AM - With no other options available but to flee (clearly missing the chainsaws, shotguns, baseball and cricket bats required to push back the army of the undead spilling from the east), we next take flight to the west wings of Adelaide, finding welcome refuge here at FAD Cafe.
Hmmm, I may be entirely too drunk to stand upright right about now, but this painting hanging upstairs in the gallery really speaks to me: is it the raw projectile movement, the radiant moist flecks, allusions to feelings both technicolour and porcelain, that ever subtle wafting aroma of diced carrot and corn curling up my nostrils? Yup, we all know where this is leading..
Yeah, ok, perhaps you DIDN'T see this one coming. I mean shit, what else do you expect after drinking 10-12 beers, 1 red wine and me running myelf stupid all night? A logical conclusion!?
5:38AM - And so, my night ends here: staggering blindly out've Falafel House on Hindley at the tail end of a pig explosion (with cheese), feeling altogether like a deranged cabal of inner circles wearing executioner hoods and pink tutus have just beat me senseless with whiffle bats..
Ever more enriched by all that I have seen and heard, yet ever more intellectually stunted; oh yes! There is no spoon, there is no fork, this is the Adelaide music scene: bring a shovel! :)