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...
BASEBALL + SKELETONS + SECRETS IN SCALE LIVE @ ED CASTLE + PRODUCERS BAR / Saturday March 22nd 2008
I don't know how I do it. Just last week I was in the thick of a two week 40 degree bender from hell, fighting off a million and one idiot savants dancing to the head of a pin: all flailing and pupil dilating to the screaming stampede of arts and entertainment at its finest. Now one week later(thanks in no small part to some random hippy getting nailed to a tree two thousand years ago), all I've got to look forward to is four days of soul sucking emptiness and a littany of burning car wreckage as far as the eye can see. We've got chocolate eggs crapped out've rabbits! we've got city wide pub closures! we've got nothing to watch on tv for two whole weeks! be sure to turn the lights off when you leave! Aaaah you gotta love the extremes; playing ping pong between a ying and a yang and oh look, here's my brain being beaten black and blue in the middle! Yippee! And yet still I persist in this ghost town with nothing better to do on a so-called "Good" Friday than walk out've a cinema at 11PM, realise nothing's open until 12AM, wander around aimlessly for almost half an hour bored shitless before catching a bus home? Easter? oooooh fuck yeah!
Yup clearly I can't take a holiday and I can't take a hint (a million and one music festivals this last month has me wound up way too far for that). So, fast forward to Saturday and here I am at Producers Bar: I haven't had a decent night's sleep in weeks, my finger's on the trigger, itching for a fix, starved for entertainment, moments short of living that out scene from Trainspotting with the baby's head spinning on the ceiling and all the screaming. Oh, and just to make it all the more hilarious? (since hey, I do love driving myself insane for your amusement) I'm in no mood to drink either. Oooh pity the poor demented fools that dare cross my warpath tonight!
*cough* Speaking of which, here's our first band! A teeny tiny two piece semi acoustic act featuring everyone's favourite nerd rocker Ben Revi on guitar and the ever so awkwardly shy Carly Whittaker on vocals and glockenspiel? called in as a last minute replacement, with barely three or more songs to their repetoire? oh and did I mention it's their first ever gig tonight!? Awwww just look at that sign! they're just making this shit easy for me now aren't they!?
HUMBLE BEE (***1/2) myspace :: Yup: geek rock, bambi pop, disco dweeb, toytronica, whatever the fuck you call it, those of you familiar with my work will know all too well, that I just can't help myself. It's like a fluffy pink bunny toying with both barrels, it's like a giant red button begging to be pushed, they fuel with me a murderous glee that knows no compare! oooh how I love to play! You name them: Running With Horses, LeighStarDust, Radio Spectacular, Belittle League: thanks to me, they're an entire liliputian army sharpening sticks and awaiting for my imminent assassination! Yes! And then along comes this band? Humble Bee!? All doe eyed with heavy hitting guitar and tiny twee glockenspiel? like a Disney caricature caught unawares in the twin beams of a speeding truck? like the fluffiest extremes of Angie Hart and the subtlest nuances of Thom Yorke? like Angus & Julia Stone with puppets? like a teen soap opera montage from hell? like a box of tissues blown green to broken harmonies and broken hearts? like everything you love about glockenspiels but were afraid to admit? one hard luck waitress and a chess prodigy winning against all adversity!? "Oooh crap I can't bear to look!".. and fuck me dead but I think like it! (what!?) Yup, as much as I was gunning for a Jackson Pollack blood splatter all over the tarmac, they win me over with a sweet cover of The Cure's "Friday I'm In Love" and it's all smiles and hand claps from there on in. Damn. Well I guess that's it then, I'm getting my shotgun.. goodnight everyone! :)
SECRETS IN SCALE (****) myspace :: Still, moments before I can end it all, I'm saved by a pint of pale inexplicably provided to me from a beer rider I never thought I had (awwww, why don't I go to this place more often? you guys are awesome!). As such, feeling all the less murder/suidical and infinitely more refreshed by the 1 or 2 points of intellect I've just lost, I face off against round two; Secrets In Scale. If you can imagine Jeff Buckley fronting The Mars Volta without suffering a mild stroke, then your well on your way to my dementia. Or to be more needlessly wordy: one part swooning melody and contemplative melancholy from everyone's favourite accidental drowning, one part schitzoid hissy fit breakdowns and art wank implosion from everyone's favourite pretensious arseholes, throw in Deftones, Sparta, Muse and Silverchair, and if this was any other Adelaide band (and believe me, many others have tried) this slapstick comedy routine in extremes would've made for more of a gastromic disaster than attempting to watch a Cronenberg film on a full stomach, but somehow Secrets In Scale make it work brilliantly. Go see them, they're awesome!
9:42PM - Still, despite the mad buzz cooking here (and with two bands yet to come) I'm feeling altogether disoriented by my continuing alarming state of sobriety. Whilst the "Mighty Boosh" on projection screen and the inane banging electro in between certainly ain't helping; so it's one mad dash out the exit doors and across half the city in search of more illbient surrounds..
10:05PM - Which in a freak coincidence (which no one who ever reads this stupidity on a regular basis would ever believe) leads me right here to the Ed Castle on Currie Street..
Aaaah if anything would send me straight to the drink, surely it'd be these three bands!
MEGAFAUNA (****) myspace :: Watching this first set at the Ed Castle tonight, my mind is curiously filled with a stream of 90's nostalgia: moth eaten couches, slurred speech, eyes unfocused, cold pizza, the taste of cigarette burns, half empty beer bottles, peeled labels, broken shoes, op shop cardigans, missing buttons, bare feet on dusty linoleum, blu-tac, shapes in the television snow, super nintendo, two minute noodles, midday television, cassette players bound with electrical tape, long scruffy hair, chronic unemployment, apathy, alienation, depression and wasted youth; all invariably leading me to a deeper understanding and appreciation for the finer works of Megafauna! Yup, I may be losing my mind here, but it's all so clear to me now: the constant instrument swapping, the shoe gazing, the arty intellectual musings, the awkward silences; I get it now! I'm right there with you! It's Kim Gordan from Sonic Youth singing "You and me burning in the summertime", it's Gordan Gayno from the Violent Femmes drugged out on chloroform and dragged across concrete, it's languid in fuzz, broken chords and utter defeat, and it is a mirror to my soul. Don't bother sending my mail anywhere else, I live here now; right here with the Megafauna!
SKELETONS (****) myspace :: Clearly I'm still not nearly drunk enough for this (kill me, kill me now!) but everything about this next band should sound wrong tonight: the constant off mic shouting, the atonal shrieks, the multiple drumming, bongos, squealing saxaphones, angular guitar riffs, slow timing bass and all the awkward silences in between. I know it shouldn't fit together, it shouldn't work, it should all require an advanced mathematics degree and a tendancy towards paranoid delusions (waiit doesn't Sam drum in this band or am I totally losing my shit!?) but let your mind wander just a little bit to the left and it'll hit you; and all the David Lynch mind-fuckage, the abstract art-punk deconstructions and the avant-jazz, everything, will snap into clear focus like a pod of dolphins doing entirely innapropriate things with a sailboat and everything will be all right. Skeletons: they're the id, they're the reptilian brain, they're the flight and fight response, the call to arms within each and every one of us busting to break free from this concrete cage and bring this civilisation to it's knees. Oh yes! even now I hear it's monkey call, and dammit I like it!
BASEBALL (*****) myspace :: And just when I can't stand no more, oh for the love of all that is unholy in flaming blue jebuses please make it stop (huh?), comes the final killing blow from a headlining act I'd been begging all night for: or what may very well be the most stupid misnomer for the most awesome band you'll ever hear moments before your entire head explodes like a ripe watermelon dropped from a high rise building into peak hour traffic! (phew!) Such is the raw intensity of Baseball! At their most psychotic they're Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra teaming up with Nick Cave's The Birthday Party for a meth amphetamine binge with violins, the sound of an entire gypsy caravan park going up in flames and Darryl Hannah from Blade Runner screaming like an upturned insect to a killing shot from Harrison Ford. Or at their most subdued and soulful, they're like a single red rose dipped in liquid nitrogen, shattered with a hammer before being sprinkled into a fine glass of red wine. Damn. There's so many intangible flavours, so many mood swings, so much sweet dementia in all it's cinematic and primal scope, it's hard to know where to begin; all I do know is if ever you wanted to go out in a bang, a hail of gunfire, this would be the perfect soundtrack for the end it all. Just make sure to cover the furniture and floors before you go.. weeeee!
And so in effort to take as many of you unwitting fools along with me for the ride, witness the brilliance that is Baseball live on video (for best results: blast volume up on full and enjoy!).
Phew! and there we have it. As much as I would've wanted to continue this mad march well into the witching hours and the idiot spaces beyond, I'm entirely too sober to humour myself with this shit any further. So fuckit, I'm going home, I've quite simply run out've words to say..
So be sure to join me next week for Spoz's Rant. Do I ditch the camera? ditch the computer? ditch everything and reenact it all using nothing but sock puppets? tune in and find out!