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...
MY DISCO + SWORDS + SKELETONS LIVE @ ROCKET BAR / Friday April 4th 2008
Nerds: where would we be without them? All rodent teeth, tweed clad, knock kneed and coke bottle glasses? starring all scruffy haired in BBC documentaries and inventing shit we never thought was relevant. Without them there'd be no internet, no computers, no phones, no electricity. They're the architects, accountants and intellectual savants of the future colliding with the ever present. They're the sage and the wizard. They're the monoliths in orbit around Jupiter, they're dodging those bullets and showing us the way. Without them we'd still be bashing each other over the head with rocks. Yes! let's hear it for the nerds, shining ever so bright! Let's give them their 10-15 seconds in the sun, then whisk them to safety before they freckle and burn. They will inherit the Earth you know! Just as surely as they'll be the only ones left in orbit when the bombs drop, the oceans rise and the machines reach their singularity. Most are scientists, but some are artists, band geeks and sound enthusiasts alike bursting with ideas, and tonight we're devoting a whole night to their manifest brilliance. Here at Rocket Bar: where squinting nerds in mismatched cardigans from across the land can come to unite as one and be refused entry because they're not wearing the right kind of shoes.. FUCK YEAAAH!
SKELETONS (****) myspace :: Opening act Skeletons are known by many things to many people: avant jazz, art rock, tribal and polyrhythmic. What they aren't known for is social skills: often prone to anything from awkward off microphone mumblings to incoherent shriekings in their effort to communicate. Yup, like many nerds before them, theirs is a constant struggle between introversion and ever awkward vocal inflection. Are they the autist within every artist? the savant within every idiot? the "if you're happy and you know it" clapping song within every complex timing signature? This band begs so many questions. Yet tonight, above the clank of the cowbells, the staccato stuttering of the sticks and the squeal of the saxaphone, theirs is an answer that speaks above many of their peers. Think of them as 5000 years of civilization deconstructed, resequenced and transmitted direct to the reptilian brain. You may not understand it, but you can sure as fuck party to it..
In the continuing distillation of that which is Skeletons, tonight's set is most memorable for just how freakingly loud and apocalyptic those drums sound, a sound that is all the more freaky when considering just how many of these freaks may be hitting them at any given time. If we were in a different mythological setting, I'd probably be running for cover lest my orc slayer glow blue and herald my untimely doom, but in the here and now this shit's nothing short of candy to my ears..
SWORDS (****) myspace :: If Skeletons could ever be accused of being a little short on words, Swords in act two take this regression one step further down that sink hole. No voice, no guitar, just swinging fists and two axes to grind. Think Queens Of The Stone Age's "Sick Sick Sick" as covered by Henry Rollins with power tools, think Tool decapitated on a stabbed syringe full of adrenaline, think of a 3am infomercial as the steak knives cut through shoes and cinderblocks. Theirs is a poetry of meat, a combat chassis endoskeleton beaten blunt with crowbars. If Primus were bound and gagged and tortured by Leatherface and Jason Vorhees, they'd barely sound half as insane as this..
Admittidly I've done a lot of crazy things with my camera when it comes to video footage. It continually surprises me just how far I can push it, inches away from the speakers with my ears ringing a symphony without the audio flinching. I suspect it must be rocking some kind've micro-dot compressor mic with dynamic volume adjust to handle all this abuse, but here tonight with Swords I've definitely reached its physical limit. Listen to that crowd pop in and out between the smashing of that kick, hihat and snare. Listen for when the drums drop to a whimper as the bass guitars drop into the mix and wonder just how I managed to walk away from this shit without sporting a smoking cavity where my head once was. Swords? OOOH FUCK YEAAAH!
MY DISCO (****1/2) myspace :: Within every human ear, there are three tiny bones: the ossicles, the malleus and the incus. In concert they translate the simple on-off vibrations we receive from the outer ear into a series of subtle and nuanced percussive responses that we interpret as a myriad of sounds in our inner ear. As such, I'm considering two thoughts right now (a) that the three members of this band are ALSO called Ossicles, Malleus and Incus, (b) that all three of these bones in my middle ear are broken. My Disco; they make second act Swords sound like Pink Floyd as performed by a full symphony orchestra whilst Mos Def raps about the A-Z of insect entomology. They make the mind numbing repetition of Detroit techno sound like The Mars Volta. Every song is that same hypnotic looping of the drums that goes on for seemingly forever, that same start stop binary code of guitars and bass going back and forth like a game of pong, that same word chanted over and over. Nothing changes, nothing changes and then it stops; only to start all over again. Fuck. I don't know whether this is the most brilliant live set I've ever seen or whether the walls are closing in around me; and short of watching experimental sound artist Mathieu Werchowski strangle the life out've a violin, this would have to be the most challenging live set I've ever put myself through. But therein lies the genius within the insanity. After a while, it starts to act on you like a Stockholm Syndrome and before you know it you really begin to love this shit..
For instance; at every gig I cover for this website I like to keep some notes. Nothing indepth mind you, just an SMS draft detailing observations, one liners and other such rubbish I can later use to more effectively ridicule my chosen target. Looking back on what I wrote about My Disco, I think all this maddening repetition fried a microchip or two. To quote (sic): "pendulum punch perpetual motion machine.. the bird is drinking the water! minimal one inch punch pound my head in a wall.. 10 start 20 stop 30 goto 10.. binary code percussion.. ping, I am a game of pong.. atari atari.. king kong.. fuck I'm dead! smoke alarm megaphone.. coke can dialtone.. crushed into cubes.. the sound of nothing repeated.. repeated.. repeated.. endgame defeated!". Yup I dunno whether I was having a stroke out there, but maybe THIS video will help you to understand..
Three hours later I awake to the morse code flicker of my own eyelids, home on the couch, paralysed from the neck down, a line of drool to the floor and out the door. I don't remember much from the rest of the night. Did I leave my body? did I astrally project down Hindley Street, Rundle Mall and Grenfell only to manifest in spirit form upon the bar at the Crown & Anchor to drink the place dry? Has the ever diminishing musical returns of Skeletons, Swords and My Disco made my physical frame irrelevant? Is this the singularity, the post human and the ascension as promised by our geek brethren? Did the infinite since reject my malfunctioning mental trajectory and return me back to the prime material plane as pennance? whooaa..
Nerds: whether they be calculating pi to more than a trillion digits, unifying general relativity with quantum mechanics, beating you black and blue in World Of Warcraft, writing the insane instrumentation to the next Bjork record or reverse engineering an ipod into a type 5 phase pistol that'll knock satellites out've orbit, let's just pray they only ever use their powers for good!