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...
"END CHILD SLAVERY" GLOBAL NIGHT SHIFT LIVE @ QUEEN'S THEATRE / Friday May 16th 2008
Oh sure I know what you're all thinking "what the fuck is Spoz doing at a benefit!?". Out of all the insane gigs, concerts, clubs, parties, raves, festivals, launches, gatherings, soirees, shindigs, box socials, hootenannies and celubrious shitfacings available to us every week in this city; who chooses a benefit gig above all else!? only a madman that's who! I mean shit: I'm aware, I'm educated, I look both ways, I flush and I recycle; I love to champion the bleedingly obvious just as much as the next person and what could be better than a benefit to promote an end to child slavery? fuck, that shit's gold! 8.4 million worldwide? who knew there were that many Nike factories or that many chimney sweeps left in this world!? children: they're the building blocks for the future! (which is why we must do everything in our power to stop them!). But then for all your belief in the cause you forget just how fatal a "benefit" gig can be. For only a benefit would be stupid enough to host a dozen bands, make it all ages, free entry, throw headbangers and hiphop gangbangers into the same space, get a bunch of wide-eyed hippies to organise it and expect "good times". Lest we forget "Rock The Vote" last year. Fuck! I barely got out've that one alive, what the fuck am I thinking covering ANOTHER one of these this year!? help!
Yet here I am. As it appears these wide-eyed hippies have actually got their shit together tonight; as we're witness to not just ONE fly-by-night operation, but six simultaneous events staged nationally through Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra. I'll skip the mind numbing particulars (which you can read here) but suffice to say, if ever you or your bucket bong buddies ever wanted to throw a benefit? Take notes; THIS is how you do it right!
And thus tonight, we present the "End Child Slavery" Global Night Shift. For Adelaide's staging ground of this event, they've chosen the ever illustrious and historical Queen's Theatre. Never heard of it? shit dude, neither did I till just a few weeks ago! Queen's Theatre (if the propaganda is to be believed) is apparently the oldest purpose-built theatre on mainland Australia. Built in 1840, opened to much fanfare with a performance of Shakespeare's "Othello" in 1841, shutdown in 1842, refitted as everything from a supreme court, city mission, stables, forge, warehouse and carpark, reopened as a Fringe venue in 1996; only to be largely ignored ever since..
If ever you find yourself looking for this joint (in the unlikely event this dump actually hosts anything in the next 10 years) it's situated here on the corner of Gilles Arcade and Playhouse Lane, south off Currie Street, or midway between Currie and Waymouth and east off Light Square; simply follow Spoz's freakingly large index finger in the sky and you can't miss it!
6:17PM - Queen's Theatre. On paper it looks to be the inspired choice, a befitting historical monument to play host to history in the making! And yet, walking into this brick shithouse tonight: to the mad fanfare of bongos and dust clouds, to a venue with no fixed stage, no seating, no plumbing, lighting, furnishings or anything approaching proper acoustics (or what we locals laughingly call "heritage listing") you can't help wonder if these organisers have well and truly lost their minds. Who else but freaking hippies would be mad enough to float this bloating corpse down a river!? Yet amongst the post apocalyptic ruins, the dust, the corrugated sheet iron and the crumbling bricks you can't help but feel an uplifting sense of hopeless romanticism too. Aaaaaah.. sometimes all you really DO need to make a difference in this city is a few well placed twinkle lights, some scaffolding, loud speakers, fluffy couches and good intentions!
Still, I had my doubts. I know I was happily bribed here tonight with a shiny VIP pass and a steady supply of free alcohol *cough* but an all-ages gig? for a pissy little charity? on a freezing cold pre-winter's night? with a sky pissing down rain? isn't this just a recipe for disaster!?
And yet come they did in their hundreds. All for a bleedingly obvious cause. All in the hope that just by fronting up here tonight and around the nation as one they'll make this bleedingly obvious cause SO ridiculously and bleedingly obvious that nations around the world will stand up, take notice and do something about it. Oh I know it's ridiculously naive, but hey doesn't it just swell your heart with pride to see them out there? we can make a difference.. YES! :)
TYGER TYGER (***1/2) myspace :: Which of course makes this opening act all the more hilarious to watch when we're treated to face melting wonder that is this band: the one band you should NEVER ever leave alone with your children; ever. Tyger Tyger: announced briefly by some no name MC as "one of Adelaide's exciting new indie funk bands!" (only to do everyone a solid and promptly disappear before he said something even more clueless), launched into medly after mind raping medly of twisting grooves and obscene lyrics guarenteed to corrupt anyone's innocence sooner than the sight of Gary Glitter wearing nothing but a strategic bag of lollies and a smile. Aaaah, who could forget such lewd hits as "I Come Like 1000 Doves" or "Front Seat Of Car" or "Play Rough" or "Travis Is A Whore" or "Teenage Fantasy"? that's quality your whole family can enjoy! *cough* As such, being a particularly "R" rated performance this evening, midget drummer Mannix was forced to sit it out in favour of Iggy Pop Jnr (aka: Fox) from Double Handed. One look at his performance from the Jade Monkey back in September, and you know he was just the man for the job..
Overall, it was probably one of their messiest sets, but a set that still managed touched us all deeply (and innappropriately). They dedicated it to "ending child prostitution", they thrashed out like the Arctic Monkeys fronted by Kevin Bloody Wilson (trapped in the body of Jodie Foster) and somehow they didn't get thrown off stage? A triumph by all accounts!
THE LOST SHOW (***) myspace :: In direct contrast, this second act was BORN to play a benefit gig. So much so I could've sworn the organisers simply had this band on ice for the last 10 years and defrosted them for this one premiere performance tonight. The Lost Show. Never heard of them before? don't worry, chances are by the middle of next week every medical journal will get to hear about them! The Lost Show: they're proof that cryogenics work, as how else could we explain a sound that is either a decade behind or decade ahead of everyone else? The Lost Show. They're socially aware, earnest, forthright and serious about their message. They write powerful music about powerful issues. They're a public service announcement on the evils of drink driving, illicit drug use and pre-marital sex. Occassionally they sounded like all the brilliance of Testeagles or Cog at their most fragile, but mostly they sounded like Linkin Park, Staind, P.O.D. and a whole six pack of other late 90's MTV friendly rap-rock you thought went extinct yeeears ago. Although to their credit, if you've ever found yourself yearning for this kinda comeback THIS would be the band to do it! The Lost Show: this is me drinking myself retarded in the VIP section. YES!!
JIMMY & THE MIRRORS (****) myspace :: Speaking of being 10 years ahead or 10 years behind the times. It's ANYONE's guess which decade this next band belongs to; Jimmy & The Mirrors. They're the sounds of The Who, The Rolling Stones, Blur, Jimi Hendrix, Supergrass, The Kaiser Chiefs and all those other "indie" acts you see name dropped on those little flyers for Transmission, Gosh, Glitter, Pop or Cherry Bomb that don't make a lick of sense until you're absolutely twatted on a dancefloor at 2AM. They're the fashion sense of Skyhooks, Sherbet and The Split Endz. They're an 80's episode of Countdown cracked to 11. They're mixing checks with stripes. They're a caravan park of hillbilly good times whilst a slackjawed yokel and his inbred buddies beat you upside the head with a plank of 4x2. They're my entire ipod collection on shuffle mode 'til a thin trail of blood trickles out've my nose and I black out cold attempting to pinpoint their sound. FUUUUCK!
Oh and to top off all this mixomatosis? right here would've been the moment that two illbient MC's would've burst onto the stage for an impromptu hiphop interlude with all guns blazing, if only the house mixer hadn't put us all out've our misery and cut their mics. Phew!
Still as much as I'm on the floor here, twitching, foaming, eyes rolled into the back of my skull; damn do they cook up a mad fucking buzz! Just look at the crowds out there.. whoaaaaaa!
POETIKOOL JUSTICE (****1/2) myspace :: Yup, thanks in no small part to Jimmy & The Mirrors' performance tonight; the crowd is dazed, disoriented, forgetful, a little sluggish, prone to fits of laughter and in serious need for a monster burrito and a cinema sized bag of peanut M&Ms. So what better act to follow for round four than Poetikool Justice! They're the sounds of Butterfingers, The Herd, Jurassic 5 and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. They're the sounds of five days spent tripping balls out in a Queensland rainforest. They're sex, drugs and on life on the dole. They're everything that is awesome about notching up a massive HECS debt for an arts degree that won't amount to nothing. And they're exactly what benefit gigs like this should be ALL about: nothing but smoking entirely too many blunt rhymes and dopearse grooves 'til not only do you start to think you can actually fly, but that you could single handedly solve all the world's problems if only you had a joint this phat to pass around. Aaaaah.. Poetikool Justice! They may make about as much sense as the 1st Matrix film played back to back with Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon", but they're no less the mad trip!
Of course anytime that's Poetikool Justice time, is party time for one and all. Whether they're playing to one or one thousand; these spliffed out rastafarians could probably rock out a funeral for a grey haired Sicilian widow shrieking in a corner whilst her brothers plot their bloodthirsty revenge and STILL get everyone jumping about like a bouncy castle at Disneyland..
But tonight, they manage to achieve what's usually a recipe for disaster for any other mixed crowd such as this: they brought both the rock and the hiphop scenes into the one room, they got them to party as one and then they got everyone out at the other end without requiring the services of Harvey Kietel, a decent cup of coffee, a few dozen fluffy towels and a few brisk runs through the car wash. Yup, I don't know how the hell they do it, but we should all be grateful we still live in a world where what'ever the hell they're cooking is still legal.. fuck yeaaah!
TZU (****) myspace :: Which leads rather nicely into act five; TZU from Melbourne. They're the sounds of Arrested Development, Black Star, Bob Marley, The Cat Empire (and a whole stack of other hiphop acts I've only half heard and actually believe sound like them) antigravity floating and fogging up the joint. Or in other words everyone's so doped out to all the laid back beats, grooves, rhymes, spacey electro and astronaut dub they're pumping out into the atmosphere right now that none of us could hope to lift our heads beyond a simple bobble head reflex and a glassy eyed grin. Awesome! Give us a lava light, a few sticks of incense, a bean bag, a large bowl of corn chips, Super Mario Kart for the SNES and TZU funking those spliff tunes out in our living room and duuude we'd never want to leave. Which would be entirely awesome for everyone present if the under 18's weren't being herded out've the room by a crack security detail in gask masks as we speak. Bummer. Guess it's true what they say. Teenagers: don't expose them to bright lights, don't get them wet and whatever you do DON'T feed them after TZU midnight.. wuh.. wait.. what the fuck am I on about? Gremlins!? wooohehehahaha oh maaan I'm sooooo wasted!
Such is the awesome potency of TZU; that even now, more than 72 hours later writing this blog review I'm still having trouble recognising simple shapes or colours or making any sense of what the fuck I just saw. Yup, if ever you feel like wasting an entire afternoon, evening and a night laughing at the sound of your car keys, then surely you can't go wrong with these guys!
THE SHINY BRIGHTS (**1/2) myspace :: All the room is as one. United. Brothers and sisters standing tall for the cause.. for the.. um.. whatever the fuck that cause happens to be. Shit, weren't we here to end child pottery? the movie franchise of Harry Potter? or speed the extinction of the Hippopotamus? Damn, where's that MC when we need him!? but we're feeling it right now, oh yes! we can make a difference! we can save the rainforest! And then right in the middle of our moment of peace, act six jumps on stage and fucks it all up. The Shiny Brights. To give them credit, they sure know how to make themselves heard: loudly, enthusiastically, with limbs flailing like a head high rugby tackle. To imagine their sound is rather like imagining Phil Jamieson from Grinspoon attempting an indie cover band of The Strokes, The Vines and the occassional Arctic Monkey's song, with a backing band of session musicians fresh from The Footy Show. As such, they're everything that indie usually shies away from: hand eye coordination, a healthy immune system and anything above a well developed cathode ray tan. Still they sure know how to thrash out a meanarse tune. Yup, they may make vicious 4/4 beats and thrashing atonal guitars sound like the musical equivalent of a truckie slamming tinnies of VB into his forehead and belly burping, but to the scattering few people here who didn't flee enmasse from the sight of them, they sure know how to party!
FEMME FATALES (***1/2) myspace :: Which leaves an ever so teeny tiny crowd of the ever faithful for the seventh and final act. Oh yes, if THIS band doesn't kill the rest of us off, then surely we've learnt nothing tonight! Femme Fatales. They're the sound of every single nu-rave, indie electro and spastic disco cliche colliding in a mess of pogo dancing, hooded parkas, glow sticks and laser beams. They're the sounds of the Klaxons' "Atlantis To Interzone", Damn Arms' "Home Wrecker" and Test Icicles "Boa Vs Python", thrashed so retardingly loud they're beating the walls of your skull in like a kickdrum. They're a pack of toddlers with Tonka toys smashing factory presets into dribbling submission. And they're also Josh from The Touch filling in on drum whilst simultaneously fronting a gig with his band at Rocket Bar tonight. Damn. Is this the sound of a band that defies all laws of physics, thermodynamics and psychedelics? or is this the sound of me emptying out a medicine cabinet and a bottle of scotch to a strobe light and a game of Voltron? Either way; short of a gasleak, one a lit match and a few flailing roman candles, this makes for one hell of a finale tonight!
And now in no relation to anything you've just seen all night; here's a photo of Fox from Double Handed with an oversized cheese platter living it up in the VIP section. YES! Just look at him there with a wide-eyed grin! Isn't that what it's all about tonight? Let's all do our part to bring an end to mismatching haberdashery! or was it aggressive Amazonian entomology? bringing an end to unnecessary tautologies? Third world dentistry? um shit, I dunno.. free Tibet!?
Yup, we may've forgotten why the hell we were here in the first place: what with all the live music, the partying and the free alcohol, but damn don't we just feel all the better for it!? If ever there was a way to throw a benefit, then this was definitely the way to do it! Who knew you could have entirely this much retarding fun and still be socially responsible? FUCK YEAH! :)