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...
QUIET CHILD + THE RED SUN BAND + VARLIIBA LIVE @ CROWN & ANCHOR + JADE MONKEY / Saturday July 12th 2008
Previously in yet another exciting episode in the life of Spoz that wouldn't make a dick of sense if he didn't otherwise devote a live music website to it (and while we're at it, doesn't really make a whole lot of sense when he does.. weeeee!): Spoz is broken, Spoz is out of order, Spoz hasn't had a decent night's sleep all week and as just reward for all his efforts (above and beyond the call of stupid) Spoz is now hit with all the creaking decrepitude that come from winter's foul discontent and the clunkiest of literary devices that comes from constantly referring to himself in the third person. Spoz is over it, Spoz could take it or leave it, Spoz is going to poke his index fingers into both ears, swirl them around into his brain and go "la la la la" till it all goes away! Thus in effort to write himself out've all this mess, Spoz has decided to blow off his usual Friday night of live music with the awesome time suckage that only a Hollywood blockbuster can provide..
Yeah fuckit, I probably should've waited 'til this shit came out on DVD (which we all know is simply code for "steal this shit from the nearest bittorent, burn you Hollywood fucks! BURN!! BWAAHaHAhAHAhAHa!!"). Neat idea, awesome soundtrack, just clumsily put together. Bugger. Oh and I probably should've also gone straight home afterwards, but silly me I thought I'd go to the Crown & Anchor for a few quiet drinks instead. Only replace the phrase: "a few quiet drinks" with "why is that paramedic feeding two metres of rubber hosing down my throat? that tickles!" and you'd be closer to the mark as I'm invariably ambushed by all these grinning idiots..
Yup, I could've spent an entire night without my camera ever leaving my pocket, without taking a single shot, proud in my ability to actually function as a normal member of the human species without having to photograph every stupid fucking moment of it; but then a few too many pints (and one jägerbomb) later and I end up with a whole lot of THIS shit!? awesome! :)
Granted some of these macro shots were almost bordering on the artful..
"Deep behind those eyes: there's a small room, a sink with one leaky tap dripping, a ping pong table, the entire ensemble cast of early 90's sitcom "Herman's Head" bound and gagged and a teeny tiny gnome flicking a light switch on and off and laughing hysterically.. weeeeeeee!"
but just like every night before it, you invariably end up with a whole lot of shit like this..
and me finding myself utterly incapable of keeping a straight face because of it.
*Sigh* sometimes I wish I was that trippy asian dude out've Bladerunner (wait.. wasn't he Mexican?) making all those badarse origami animals and leaving 'em around the joint at 3AM, being all enigmatic and shit, rather than what I'm REALLY doing at this hour: "Hey where did both my kidneys and my liver crawl off to? oh there they are under the pool table! quick hand me that mallet so I can smash them!". Aaaaah isn't it always the way? (huh.. what!?)
Fast forward to my Saturday night and not only do I feel like a gold brick wrapped in lemon has just gone up my nose, smashed out my cranial contents all over the walls of the Cranka, burst screaming out've my eye sockets only to beat the rest of me black, blue and limping; but stupid me I thought I'd go with double the fun for the sequel tonight. As we embark on yet another game of venue tag: here at the Crown & Anchor for Quiet Child, Varliiba and Amour Fou..
and here at the Jade Monkey for The Red Sun Band, Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! and Sianna Lee.
First stop, the Jade Monkey. Aaaaah yes, the Jade Monkey! nothing quite speaks to my lightly dappled dementia tonight than the sight of twinkling faerie lights and waaay too many guitar effects pedals scattered over a persian throw rug. They could mean only one of two thing (a) "oh fuck my brain hurts!" and (b) "we're gonna be upto our nips in the ecclectic tonight!" YEAAS!!
SIANNA LEE (****) myspace :: Speaking of ecclectic, our opening act for tonight comes in the form of this statuesque singer songwriter: Sianna Lee. You may remember her as the lead singer for Melbourne act Love Outside Andromeda. You may remember them for the song "Something White and Sigmund" that made #65 in Triple J's Hottest 100 in 2003. You may also remember them for such brilliant albums as their self titled debut "Love Outside Andromeda" and "Longing Was A Safe Place To Hide". Or perhaps you don't remember her at all (as maybe you simply nicked all the above info from wikipedia instead *cough*) and now you're wondering just why exactly she's dressed up on stage like a recently escaped hula hoop artist from the circus of Karen O fashionable mishaps (yay! sparkle tights!). Yup that's Sianna Lee, and this is me taking photos of her right now with a mindsplitting headache and wondering just what the fuck I've just gotten myself into..
So here we are: a crowd awed into silence, a venue filled with the smokey remnants of a guitar slow strumming and cloaked in layers swampy reverb, a voice subtle and apologetic yet driven with a brooding crooning thirst for the blue, a reed thin cigarette holder held between index and forefingers ashing itself into the smoking cavity that was once my mortal soul. Sianna Lee. If all that alcohol from the night before had struck me as equally blind as it has me dumb; I could've sworn I'd just paid $12 to go see PJ Harvey instead: all that delicate vulnerability, the wailing, the yodeling and all the gnashing ferocity ever so soothing to my broken brain! aaaah what's not to love!? For the most part it's just her and her acoustic on stage 10ft tall and spooking us the fuck out, but later on she's joined by one of Adelaide's many talented indie scene halflings on drums and mouth organ to thrash it out the rockier numbers (as seen below). Yup, anywhere else but here this circus freak show of "performer and pint sized" would've been pelted with beer bottles by now; but here at the Jade Monkey, they're amongst friends now.. awwww! :)
AMOUR FOU (***) myspace :: And speaking of being pelted to death with beer bottles; it's off to the Crown & Anchor for their opening act: Amour Fou. Yup, it's anyone's guess what the fuck is up with their name, but two distinct possibilities present themselves: the first is that it roughly translates from French to English as "Crazy in Love", the second is that it's a title of an episode from third season of The Sopranos (wow, it's amazing what 3 seconds of misguided research in wikipedia can do for you!). Still as much as I was looking forward to it being more of the first (ie: some kinda whimsically shit beret wearing cocktail cover of Beyoncé solo career with a samba beat) what we got instead was somewhat more akin to the second (only replace the Mafioso with a spirited punch up over far too many Guinness on St Pattie's Day and you'd be right on the money). Oh and I'm also told this is their first ever "fresh fish" performance tonight? Oooooh shit, here we go again!
Amour Fou. You may recognise the drummer in the ridiculous bowler hat as being one of the screaming fists through the wall that was Realist Few (aka: the most awesome rage blackout in the Adelaide music scene ever to destroy 4-5 guitars in one live set); whilst you may recognise the rest of them from Scotland Yard and Interpol's most wanted list of IRA bombing suspects (which you'll be sure to see again, fleeing the scene on foot moments before my bus explodes later tonight). As such their sound is somewhat akin to all the internal bleeding your brain will receive from the anthemic overtones of Sparta, the laxative undertones of Audioslave and the roaming hands of excessive guitar wank that is Carlos Santana; as fronted by what appears to be Darryl Braithwaite and a whiskey bottle circling the drain fast to a Leaving Las Vegas. It's a strange mix to be sure (even more so on a hangover) and it's made no less disturbing by the suburban pub rent-a-crowd pushing well into their 40's waving their handbags in the air, but as long as you can get past all that, this still works brilliantly to get shitcrazy in drunk to!
FIRE! SANTA ROSA FIRE! (****) myspace :: Returning back to the Jade Monkey, and my furthering inability to string two thoughts together is further pissed on by the prodigal return of these six too many band members on a live stage (and one ridiculous hat with ear flaps) by the all too familiar name of Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! (aka: Flat! Fanta Soda!, Flaming Gay Santa! or Indie Posers On Fire!). Oh yes, how could we possibly forget this band: Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! Back in 2007 they were THE reason for your fangirls to start countless "Spoz Hate Clubs" on myspace thanks to all the drunken dance antics I'd always pull out front that'd look like Emilio Estevez's epilectic fit from Breakfast club, only sped up by a factor of 4 and performed by Aphex Twin (gee.. no wonder I was so popular!). Which may've also been the same reason I kept getting all those decapitated dolls heads in my letterbox till I stopped going to their gigs earlier this year *cough* Yup, it's been a while, more than four months in fact since that set at Rocket Bar when they headlined with Sugar Army, I wrote that live review (that compared them to the comedown scene from "Human Traffic"), Matt Hayward threatened to shit down my neck hole if I ever wrote another one like it (dude isn't that like a red rag to a bull!?), we laughed and we laughed, I changed my locks and now they're back.. YES! And where once there was a shadow of a doubt, one look at them tonight and we have now full confirmation! Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! have well and truly lost their fucking minds..
Thankfully however, Fire! Santa Rosa Fire!, now joined by Caitlin as sixth member (as clearly too many twits banging tambourines up on stage ain't nearly enough) are a refreshingly different beast from the spastic hummingbird of old. Gone is the meth amphetamine binge between The Rapture, the Klaxons and Death From Above 1979 whilst Snufalufagus from Sesame Street beats you senseless with an aluminium baseball bat; gone is that freaky comedown earlier this year as they simultaneously attempted to detox from that all shit at once "oh crap there's a baby on the ceiling and it's coming right at me!! AAAUUGHHH!!!"; and in its place is something much worse: Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! have gone native! Fuck full of incomprehensible time signatures, jangling hippy jams and hand claps: they're Tinkerbell with a head concussion, they're Happy Tree Friends do folk, they're B12 mixed with guarana and ginseng, they're everything Japanese that causes seizures and they're Beck and The Polyphonic Spree letting off firecrackers from their arse as a sixpack of ecclectic idiots in indian headdresses and space helmets drop acid and commune with planets. Phew! Oh yes, welcome back Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! you're completely and utterly batshit insane; but duuuuude we wouldn't have you any other way! :)
VARLIIBA (**1/2) myspace :: Thanks to Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! it's taken me months of extensive physical therapy, weight training, electro shock therapy, dietary supplements, weekly sessions with a speech pathologist (followed by a crash course in quantum mechanics and three seasons of Doctor Who episodes to engineer a time machine to return me back to this insane literary device minutes later) to get me back to the Crown & Anchor. Phew. And just when I think I'm in the clear. I see what I'm up against for act four, Varliiba. VARLIIBA!!?? WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH THIS SHIT!!?? Yup, if anything was to explain the one eye rolling back into the back of my skull, the one small trickle of blood leaking out've my left nostril and my imminent collapse to the floor foaming at the mouth in the attempt to make sense of all this shit, it would be the one too many i's in the name that is Varliiba. Seriously, Varliiba!? what the FUCK were you pinheads thinking!? Are you trying to cheat in scrabble!? Did someone sneeze whilst typing that out for your myspace address and it just stuck!? Did you get the name from one of The Mars Volta's malfunctioning ouiji boards? Is everyone on crystal meth now!? GUH! I'm so fucking sick of all this shit!! I QUIT!!
Wait.. what!? I'm still here? that's weird, I wish I could explain that one. Tell ya what, if you can figure out what the fuck I'm on about half the time with all these live reviews; I'll give you one good reason why I'm still batshit insane to be doing this every week.. YES! (hint: being laughably drunk 90% of the time reaaaally helps.. weeeeeee!) Varliiba. They're the million and one OTHER entries you'll ever find in a google search if you type in: "Prog Metal", "Tool", "A Perfect Circle" "Maynard James Keenan", "Melbourne" and "oh fuck not this shit again!!". They're every other review I've ever written in the last six months that says all the above with an added fuckbucket of expletives (no, not you Sydonia you dudes were awesome!). And they're every reason why I'm currently pointing both barrels of this shotgun at my head in the mistaken belief it's an oversized pez dispensor, squeezing the trigger and hoping for candy. On the flipside however, they're also everything that is ridiculously awesome about Metallica's "One", oversized meaty guitar riffs, bludgeoning blunt rhythms and me being beaten to death by a Neanderthal armed with a sledgehammer. Yup, it's 1988 all over again, I'm a decapitated head singing in a brown paper bag, and we're all going to hell. Varliiba!? OOOH FUCK YEAAAAH!
THE RED SUN BAND (****1/2) myspace :: Upon returning to the Jade Monkey, quite possibly beyond the point of no return, quite possibly hallucinating all of this shit in a brown paper bag: I'm reminded of a night back in 2001 or 2002, the first night we discovered the Jade Monkey. Me and my friends had spent the night prior at one of the many other drinking establishments splattered throughout Rundle and Grenfell (or quite possibly elsewhere) Someone suggested we continue the festivities at The Jade Monkey; and after much blundering down side alleys later we finally find it's fateful threshold. With much hooting glee and stomping of feet it was decided I would be the first to burst through that door; only to run screaming right back out again from the most terrifying sight I'd ever beheld: silence, darkness, a room filled with it, transfixed to a lone spectral manifestation in long trousers and suspenders twanging a soft guitar and yodeling. Moments later I regained my composure and we soon crept back in safety in numbers. We were seated, still, attentive, so silent you could hear the bacterium sneeze; but it didn't last long. One of us, a girl no taller than 5ft, couldn't bear it no more. She excused herself, inched past the crowd one by one and crept silently out that door. You could hear the tiny footstep down that alley, then moments later, somewhere waaay off in the distance you could hear her explode with laughter. And here I am making the same mistake all over again as I stumble upon The Red Sun Band tonight. Ever so soft, fragile, beautiful and articulate to a room awed into silence. One five minute walk away from the Cranka; and here I am on the floor twitching in fits; air bubbles bursting in my blood stream? awesome!
Yup, they're a segue that hits me like a punch in the face. The Red Sun Band and me wondering again just what the FUCK I've just gotten myself into. You can see them all out there, packed to the walls. Heads bowed. Slowly swaying from side to side. Figures huddled, small of stature, fragile, thin of build. Long knit scarves, duffle coats and fluffy brown cardigans. Their hair is in their eyes. Their tiny fingers are clasped in prayer. Folding like a wet napkin. Finding comfort in melancholy, locked in respectful stillness, eyes unfocused, as one Ricky Fitts burst into tears over the beauty of a plastic bag dancing with the autumn leaves. Oh yes that's the awesome sadsack power of The Red Sun Band, and this is me running screaming out've that door (if only I wasn't paralysed in awe myself.. whoa!). They're Mazzy Star, The Howling Bells and The Clouds so soothing you want to cry. They're a shoegazer's paradise in angelic vocals and layers upon layers of heart wrenching guitar. They're so damn mesmerising in fact my hairs are standing on end and turning white as I speak. It's a funeral, it's a wake, there's tea and biscuits, we've all been buried alive, The Red Sun Band are gently tiptoeing all over our graves and there's not a single dry eye left in the house. Oh such bliss to be found in this winter of discontent!
QUIET CHILD (****) myspace :: One longboat on fire floats me down stream and back to the Crown & Anchor. Carried here by the lone voice of Jim Morrison singing "ride the snake.. ride the snake.. to the lake, the ancient lake, baby!". The tape skips, reverses and the flames flicker, rise and coalesce my body whole again. Organs intact. Pupils dilated to pinpricks. A shitcrazy confused look on my face as the sun and the moon do their dance, clouds fly through the sky, a thousand stars to a kaleidoscope spin and there he is: standing right before me, enveloped in an unearthly red glow: he is Silent Bob, he is Kevin Smith, he's with a band and he's singing the blues! Whoaaaa where the fuck am I? Am I dead? Is this hell? Is that you Jebus!? No wait I can't be dead, I'm immortal here written on a page until a freak electrical fault wipes this server clean and hey look, here's Quiet Child at the Crown & Anchor! and there goes my tenuous grip on reality, flying up the walls like a balloon pissing out air... weeeeee! Yup, if I wasn't drinking tonight I'd surely be dead by now and you'd be sifting through the smoking wreckage in search of my dental remains.. FUCK YEAH!
Quiet Child. Besides the trivial observation that their drummer Paul has had a haircut (or as he more accurately put it after the show: "I'm not Paul, Paul is dead, and I'm an evil doppleganger sent from my alien overlords to kill you all"), they're pretty much the exact same cheerful band of merry minstrels I've seen countless times before this year: haunting, brooding, noodling to excess with odes ripe with overwraught and melancholy: or in other words THE number one band in Adelaide you could ever hope to be buried alive to (if The Red Sun Band hadn't already done that mere moments ago); programmed to precision right down to exact same strain of influenza that their lead singer Pete appears to be afflicted with for the 3rd time running this year.. yeeouch! Yup, far be it for a website like this to fall prey to such wild flights of fancy (HA!), but one wonders what would happen to Pete if he didn't have all these viruses in his sinuses to guide him? Would he sound like Alvin & The Chipmunks, The Smurfs, Tiny Tim and Thom Yorke combined; punched in the balls by an insane three year old? Would he sing happy songs about rainbows and squirrels and midgets shot out've cannons? And would they be anywhere as mind shatteringly brilliant as a result? Hmmm the mind boggles. So here's an impossibly long ode to woe (that youtube cut "short" to only 10 minutes) for you to think it all over..
2:05AM - Hours later (after Paul's botched alien invasion attempt calls in the army and a crack "clean up" crew in hazmat suits to clean the joint in response) I find myself here across the road at Producers Bar, babbling incoherently, climbing the walls, making insane chicken clucking noises; as Sophie the bartender throws pints of beer at my ringing skull fragments in effort to revive me. Yup, somewhere in that teeny tiny peanut brain of mine I suspect I've not only fried a microchip, but burnt out the entire circuit board along with it and I'm waaay past my warranty for fixing it (damn!); but still, could you think of a better night for it to happen!? weeeee! :)
2:41AM - Inexplicably I find myself back at the Cranka again with all my clothes on back to front and no idea how I made this jump in the narrative. I suspect it may've been something Sophie put in that beer (perhaps her and Bec at The Ed Castle swap notes?) and it takes a few moments for me to be able to focus on simple shapes and colours again; but something else feels a little out've place too. I mean shit, I'm at the Cranka on a Saturday night: where the FUCK has everyone else buggered off to!? All this live music and nothing to show for it? this blows!!
3:03AM - And so, gathering the last of my marbles and finishing my beer, I knew what I had to do: I had to journey westward past the desolate expanse of Rundle Mall to where the fires of this night still burned brightly. And it was here, mere moments into my epic travels, that I made this chance discovery in mindblowing awesomness. Words alone couldn't hope to express what I saw, but maybe this video will give you a taste: as we behold the utterly skullfucking brilliance that is these two dudes jamming Super Mario Brother tunes at 3AM.. YEAAAAS!! :)
3:12AM - As much as I would've loved to have stayed there in the Mall for the rest of the night, married the Malls Balls, had freaky little Malls Balls children and started up my very own utopia comprised of nothing but mirror polished metallic spheres and pixelated characters from the golden age of video games (*cough* it helps not to think about the "how and why" for too long, simply nod like you understand and move along) and instead I find myself here at Jive. Because nothing quite spells "awesome" in giant neon letters at the end of the night than waiting in line for Gosh. A line that doesn't move. For a whole 1/2 hour. OOOOOH FUCK YEAH!
Yup and so there we have it: here at the ONE rat infested death trap in all of Adelaide that every single idiot decided to pack out to blackhole density tonight and me stuck on the outside waiting to get in. Wow. If that doesn't just sum up my weekend brilliantly, then nothing else will. And if anything else, this should teach me once and for all that I should NEVER take another Friday night "off" if my life depends on it. I mean shit if you thought this was stupid, imagine if I took an entire week off!? or a month!? or a YEAR!!?? Stay tuned next week and find out! :)