TONY FONT SHOW + SATIN HAREM + QUEST
LIVE @ CROWN & ANCHOR / Friday June 20th 2008
Writing for a website like this you grow accustomed to a certain sense of "loss". You lose track of hours, days, weeks and months. You lose track of whole lifetimes passing from birth to death and flashing before your eyes in an instant. You lose track of sleep when you stop to think about it. Constantly on tour yet forever going around in circles. You lose touch with reality; yet you get used to it after a while. Everything is fleeting: you understand it, you learn to appreciate it. But this was different. This was sudden. This was big. Granted, I knew it before a lot of you did. I knew it for a week. But even I couldn't believe it, so I came to see it for myself. I came to see it in the faces. I came to see them out there in their hundreds with the same expressions. Slackjawed and bug-eyed. Yammering into the void. Freeze framed and caricatured. Unable to take in the shock. Filled with a sense of passing, a sense of loss, a sense of one era ending and another one starting anew in its cataclysmic wake. Rains of fire, rivers of blood, plagues of locusts, frogs, dogs and cats sleeping together and the end of life as we know it? they're nothing but the insignificant to this: "Tony Font Show just broke up? What the fuck man!? WHAT THE FUCK!?"
I wasn't prepared for the reaction. I don't think any of us were. How does anyone prepare for shock so sudden and so utterly stupifying? a dazed expression? a stabbing single note as the camera flies away from us yet zooms straight in for the money shot? a performance worthy of a daytime Emmy? If only. "Tony Font Show!? nooo it can't be!!" followed by fits of uncontrollable laughter? Nobody reacts well in moments like these. Nobody ever does. I know I always sucked at funerals but this is ridiculous! Even more so that the subjects in question are still alive and present to witness their own imminent burial to the stampede! FUCK! And if you STILL have NO idea what the hell I'm on about and the news of this event is yet to truly sink in; then read on fearless fools, read on as you witness the very unfolding apocalypse of it all..QUEST
Get two seemingly random yet equally awesome concepts. Now combine them together. If you still believe you're gonna get something doubly as awesome every single time; either you're the sort've sidewalk vomit explosion loaded up on Jägerbombs and Vodka cruisers who thinks ANY song made into a banging electro anthem is the best thing ever, or worse yet you're the sort've drooling chromosomal overload who really genuinely loved the second Aliens Vs Predator movie (and not even in any kind've ironic way). Sure, I understand. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule: just ask 2ManyDJs and any insane mashup they've done that somehow combines artists like The Strokes and Christina Aguilera into the ONE mix and not blow goats; but then we have Quest. On the one hand we have what may potentially be an exceptionally adept instrumental prog metal band: equal parts snarling, brooding, atmospheric and cinematic; think Joe Satriani meets Dream Theatre. Whilst on the other we have what sounds like a cross between a german cabaret act, Amy Lee from Evanescence and a car crash. Granted in isolation they could be the most awesome thing ever (no really!), but combined they're a stabbing pain behind my left eyeball before my brain explodes and I die. Quest. They're 80's synth cheese, guitar solos and Celine Dion operatics. They're all the passion, the emotion and the drama you could ever ask for from children's television theme tunes, dinner theatre, advertising jingles and cover bands playing Thursday nights at the Salisbury Tavern. They're the sweet symphony to my synapses that is every single audition for Australian Idol played, everything that is nerdy about Star Trek conventions and World Of Warcraft and the soundtrack to every single piece of z-grade cinema trash you'd ever find festering at the back of a video store. And seriously, while we're on the subject, what the FUCK is up with that top hat!? AAUUGH!! Sure, I realise it's a hard task for ANY band to be the opening act to this apocalypse, especially one so blissfully naive as this one (and chances are they might actually improve); but why OH WHY on a night like this!?SATIN HAREM
And speaking of imminent threats to life and limb, here comes the follow up act. Yup, if ever there was a last band you should never invite to night as emotionally turbulent as this one to sedate an already dangerously volatile and emotional crowd it would be Satin Harem! Imagine the "Umpa Lumpa" theme tune from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory as covered by Slayer, Metallica's "Master Of Puppets", Rob Zombie's "House of 1000 Corpses" and every one of Mike Patton's side projects fighting it out to the death in a parking lot with wiffle bats as performed by what appears to be chance rejects from the Terry Gilliam insane asylum for the stereotypically deranged. *Phew*. Now imagine the panic. All that stands between this band, this night, and a mix tape selection of our internal organs punching smoking holes through the walls, followed by the imminent collapse of civilization as we know it: is one lit match and nothing left to lose. OH FUCK! Satin Harem. Yup, they're not exactly what you would call the most "subtle" of cats; but you gotta love the ripe lunacy of it. If you were looking for a warm blanket, a cup of coffee and a good lie down on a night like this, then this band would be the crisis counseling equivalent of a shot of adrenaline and a revved up chainsaw whilst someone whispers in your ears "the zombies are coming!!". They're a call to arms. They're a red rag to a bull. They're a loaded shotgun; and tonight in this apocalyptic shitstorm to come, they're every emotion of this place reflected right back at us by a factor of 500. Oh yes, this shit's gonna get reaaaal ugly here tonight..TONY FONT SHOW
I know what you're thinking. I understand the news is having some trouble sinking in right now. I appreciate the shock and the emotion of it all. So in Monty Python terms I believe we can all understand let me just spell it out for you again: Tony Font Show have passed on. Tony Font Show are no more. Tony Font Show have ceased to be. They have expired and gone to meet their maker. They're a stiff. Bereft of life, resting in peace. If they weren't playing the most insane performance of their career tonight they'd be pushing up the daisies. Their metabolic processes are now history. They're off their twig. They've kicked the bucket, shuffled off their mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible. TONY FONT SHOW ARE AN EX(FUCKING) PARROT!! *cough* I mean band. No really, they're gone. I couldn't believe it too. But this was their very last gig. THE LAST ONE!! And if you missed this tonight, there won't be no freaking encore.. GAME OVER MAAAAAN! GAAAAAAME OVER!!
So all things considered, I think the crowd took the news well tonight..
It's hard to find the words to express truly just exactly what it was like out there tonight. Here at the Crown & Anchor on this cold Friday night in June. A night seemingly like every other, a night most would soon forget, save for the hundreds strong apocalyptic throng packed here in front of this stage milking this moment for all it was worth. This wasn't so much a crowd as it was a locust plague, a zombie hoard, a gnashing, serrated, multi-limbed chainsaw of desperation skeletonising any hapless photojournalist foolish enough to stray too far into its event horizon. I stood from afar, hiding out on stage next to the drumkits watching it all unfold wide-eyed with horror and amazement. Apparently THIS is what Tony Font Show meant to this scene over the last 2-3 years; and this crowd sure as fuck weren't gonna let it forget them. There was blood, bruises and broken bones. The chaos, the carnage, the carcasses left in their wake testament to their impact. They called in the ambulances and the paramedics. They very walls themselves sighed in relief when it was over. Nobody remembers what they played tonight, nobody cared. They were here to live the moment, in the here and now. A fitting end that begged for more..
And then it was all over. Everyone felt a little bit weird. A little bit fragile. Broken. Scattered. Alone and stumbling off to the bar in search of commiseration and bitter-sweet celebration. Nobody knew quite how to feel. You could feel it in the air, this awkwardness of what to make of it all. Slowly coming to terms with a band that had played its last and was now no more..
Sure, I've grown accustomed to a certain sense of loss. I've seen many a band be born, live whole lifetimes and die in the short span of my weekly travels: Central Deli Band, Artax Mission, 200 Motels, Poly & The Statics, Realist Few, Munchkin, Morals Of A Minor and many many more. I've come to terms with this loss, the cyclic nature of it all, the recycling of memes. But this was a shock. Tony Font Show were one of the greats, one of the best, they were an Adelaide institution (emphasis on the mental) and past all the endless jokes at their expense they were one of the defining inspirations for me starting this whole mess in the first place. It's bands just like these that make it all worthwhile. The mad buzz, the energy, the chaos, the genius and the stupidity ripe for hilarity and infamy. To be here at the start of it all, hoping never to see the end..
Previously on Spoz's Rant: Double Handed + "Bootleg"