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...
WOLF & CUB + THE HOLIDAYS + MEGAFAUNA LIVE @ ED CASTLE / Saturday July 5th 2008
Whenever there's something to gain, there's always something to lose. Your sense of reality is the first thing to go, your sanity is never too far behind. You lose track of hours, days, weeks coming to an end. You lose daylight, you gain a lot of night. Vitamin D is something you read about in books. You lose your circadian rhythms. You wake up at weird hours, occassionally in weird places and occassionally with no memory of how the hell you got there. Timezones become irrelevant. Your lunch becomes breakfast, breakfast becomes dinner and most of it becomes questionable in nutritional content. You gain an appreciation for the instant noodle, the falafel, the late night pizzeria and the 24 hour bakery. You lose your sense of smell; which believe me you won't miss when you're frequenting the same derelict shitholes thick full of drunks, drug addicts and psychos. You lose your sense of direction, you gain a sense of déjà vu. You wonder if you live in a third world country, only with really good sound. You lose your nine to five job, you gain some seriously fucked up friends. You drink and you drink. Idiots scream at you for hours on end, inches from your face, with nothing but a camera to protect you. You begin to think this is normal. You write and you write. You lose the ability to construct simple sentences without resorting to hyperbole and expletives. You gain a live music website, you gain an audience. It's a weird life I know, but on nights like these: everything you lose is everything to gain!
Tonight I find myself back at The Ed Castle: nothing out of the ordinary as I'm beginning to suspect I actually moved here seven months ago, I have a room upstairs, all my shit is here and nobody ever thought to tell me. I'm also beginning to suspect that all that time between me leaving this place late last night and coming back again tonight is nothing but a hallucinogenic side effect of whatever the fuck they put in their beer. As I'm writing this I'm passed out in the band room, Matt Hills the house mixer has put my hand in a bucket of warm water and I have the word "balls" written on my forehead. Awesome! Let's face it, we're living the Adelaide white trash equivalent to The Matrix, our entire special effects budget has gone into whatever they're smoking out back and I'm dead already! Welcome to The Ed; fuck I love this place!
The occassion, is surprisingly not just another in The Ed's "Little Amsterdam" of the chronically unemployed and the socially awkward shipped farm fresh from the western suburbs with an armada of effects pedals in tow (ie: just like every other night I've ever spent in this dump); but the triumphant homecoming of Wolf & Cub here to launch their shiny new single "One To The Other", supported by Megafauna and some touring act from Sydney who's name I've since forgotten.. FUCK YEAAAH! (and yes you're right, I can't tell the difference either but just LOOK at all these eager fools packing out the band room tonight.. mmmm yes, taste the irony!)
I've arrived early; correction: ridiculously early by Ed Castle standards. If I've learnt anything from my frequent dealings with this smokeable joint (and you always learn the hard way ONCE), it's that nobody here ever gets their shit together till waaay past midnight. You can never rush genius, you can only wave a large bag of dorritos and some salsa dip in its general direction and hope for the best. Speaking of such, here comes the opening act now..
MEGAFAUNA (***) myspace :: Yup if there was any band to get the party started tonight, it would be Megafauna! they're everything that is inviting about three LINUX programmers who constantly stare at the floor, swap instruments between songs, play so slow you swear whole continents have drifted from pole to pole in the interim, and insult you every step of the way for daring to listen to them in anything but in a foetal position on the sidewalk like that guy out've Radiohead's "Just" video. They're Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side", they're Sonic Youth's "Creme Brulee", they're Kim Gordan drawling "you and me baby in the summertime" and they're a funeral death march set to a Seattle post-rock fuzz. Listening to them is an exercise in exhaustion, both emotionally and intellectually. An uncomfortable silence built upon by a gunning riff, a languid metabolism, a voice that wails insipid, followed by one that simply sneers "take a picture it'll last longer.. take a picture it'll last longer.. take a picture", never acknowledging for a second that the audience has any right to be here and they should leave, NOW! Yup you gotta hand it to Wolf & Cub, choosing a cheer squad like this to open for them is nothing short of genius! They're as brilliant as they are alienating. Compelling as they are depressing. Everyone wants to flee to the nearest available exit, yet no one dares moves. Megafauna? OOOH FUCK YEAAAH!
Still despite sucking all the life out've the room; Megafauna are the voice of a generation begging to be heard. They're that sinking feeling in HECS debt when you realise that not only have you just wasted a good half decade of your life completing an arts degree that amounts to absolutely nothing, and that everything you've learnt has made existence damn near irrelevant, but now you've got no job prospects either. They're the intellectualism, the nihilism and the pessimism that knows there's no room for them now in a world ruled by idiots; yet smug in the knowledge we'll soon all be killed by global warming anyways. Aaaaah, what's not to love? :)
THE HOLIDAYS (***1/2) myspace :: Which makes this second support all the more insane. They're the shiny happy puppy of "ying" gleefully cocking one leg and pissing all over the snarling beast of "yang" that came before them. They're a contrast knob so extreme, my brain is experiencing explosive decompression JUST thinking about them. And they're the sight of me clutching my skull, shrieking, bleeding out've my eye sockets and yet grinning from ear to ear in spite of it all. Yup, if you could imagine The Strokes and The Arctic Monkeys in all their happy-go-lucky innocence as fronted by Richie Cunningham from Happy Days on a mad tab of acid and DON'T have a demented urge to beat them upside the head with a fire extinguisher then THIS is the band for you! The Holidays. It's all there in the polka dots and checks, the spastic spiky hair, how they throw their guitars into the walls and run from one end of the stage to the next like they're celebrating all their birthdays at once. Everything about this band screams "summer" in the way that those off-season TV promo campaigns and tampon ads make you want to blow both loads of a shotgun in your face; only in such a light hearted and goofy way that you can't help but sing along to it..
Yup as much as the Geneva Convention was created to stop bands like Wolf & Cub pulling shit like this on a live audience, and as much as I'm beginning to suspect they also slipped something "wacky" into all those smoke machines that are slowly filling the room. The Holidays are no less a breath of "fresh air" we were all begging for. You duuuudes can come back anytime!
WOLF & CUB (****1/2) myspace :: And so here we are: all the more confused, paranoid, disoriented, prone to fits of laughter and hungry as all fuck for the headlining act; Wolf & Cub. Second only to Lady Strangelove synched up to an episode of Sesame Street, these feral freaks are THE Adelaide band to smoke copious amounts of drugs to; right up there with 60's Pink Floyd, The Flaming Lips and tuning your TV to white noise for five hours at a time whilst watching "the shapes rotate". From their inception they've been championed by all who frequent our dole queues, our art schools, our beer gardens, food courts, service stations, mental asylums,Toys R Us and the scheduling department of SBS. If ever you doubt their impact, look no further than their first album "Vessels" to know what I'm on about: ten masterpieces of the most mindblowingly primordial, intestinal, chugging crap you'll ever witness this side of the toilet bowl. I mean shit, if this junk don't make you wanna empty out your fridge, whip out the paint canvasses and start up a cult, then nothing will! But then to the horror of many of their most staunch supporters; they "changed". Yup, if you're yet to know what I'm on about (and you're still fumbling around this browser window wondering where the cheese slices go) then look no further than their new single "One To The Other"..
The reaction was instant. The outcry deafening. Of all the people I asked, I always got the same results: (a) "they've sold out!", (b) "they've gone mainstream!", (c) "WTF is this shit? electro!", (d) "hahahahahaha.. dude they sound like the fucking Presets, this blows!", (e) "my cat's breath smells like cat food! weeeeee!". Of course, I realise my "indepth research" might've been limited to a focus group of wastoids who've been known to frequent The Ed (hi Smoking Man Dave!) but you get my point: stoners are a HARD crowd to please, they never want your shit to "change" and the minute they figure out how to turn door knobs and operate simple machinery we're all fucked! Still, after all these testimonials, after all that I heard, I still couldn't decide. So what better way to leap to all manner of idiotic conclusions than to see this shit for myself..
So here we are Wolf & Cub in 2008. It's been over a year and wouldn't you know it, but nothing's fucking changed! Granted there's a new drummer who's rather handy with a saxaphone (aka: Marvin the Martian, formerly of Artax Mission), their bass player Thomas Mayhew has a slightly longer beard and I could've sworn drummer JC has shrunk a size or two in the last year; but the formula for the most part remains exactly the same: a chugging mess of pulsing drums, chugging guitars and retarding whale noise performed by a gang of four that look for all the world like a family of garden gnomes. Two drummers, one homeless freak singing into his hair, a wookie with an all too intimate relationship with a bass amp, and all four of them completely lacking in stage presence or personal hygeine? Aaaaah welcome back Wolf & Cub!
The setlist tonight was a mix of new and old: "Vessels", "What, Are They Running?", "Relief", "Thousand Cuts" (which freaking rocked), "Master", "Lizard Skin", "7, 7's", "This Mess", "Steal Their Gold", "All Mine Love" and their single "One To The Other". As for the big question: "well, what of the new shit!?" the short answer is: it's not as entirely crap as you'd think it would be. It's far from electro or mainstream, there's some new depth, a broader range of sounds, but to be honest, after 3-4 beers it aint a fuck of a lot different from all of their old shit. Despite all the madness and all the hysteria, Wolf & Cub are still a spaced out psychedelic jam band you can smoke trees of weed and bug out too. So in closing, I'll let you decide for yourself with two live videos I recorded from the night. The first is a new song called "What, Are They Running?"..
Whilst this second mad jam is either called: "Lizard Skin", "7, 7's" or "Joel Ate The Whole Bag of Mushrooms And Now Thinks He Can Fly"; either way, fuckit, let me know what you think?
1:26AM - It's been a challenging night, a confusing night and a rewarding night all rolled into one. My first instinct would be to shut up shop, load up on beers, hide in a corner of the room and stare at all the lines swirl about in my hands till gravity returned to normal; but since some pissy little website by the name of Fasterlouder has put my name on the door tonight, I've got to take me some social pics. Yes, social pics. Why? cause everyone LOVES social pics! All the joy, all the wonder? All those pages filled with smiling faces!? YES! They're every reason why most of you run screaming anytime you see a camera lens! Yipee!! And since I'm about as sick to death of this shit as you are by now, fuckit; I thought I'd have me some fun with it..
This is me attempting (and failing) to get an insane closeup of Todd's beard..
This is about the billionth photo that Bec the bartender has hijacked..
and this is either Matt Hills the house mixer pulling a face, choking on a tic tac, suffering a mild stroke, or he really does look THIS insane everytime I throw a camera lens at him..
I believe these photos (and a few too many pints of beer) speak for themselves..
It's all getting to be a little too much to bear for Mel here..
Whilst these two idiots needed absolutely NO encouragement whatsoever..
YEAAAAS!! I hit the jackpot!! game over maaaan! GAME OVER!!
Yup, it's not often that I'll say this, but jeeeez I fucken love my job! :)
And thus in trade for all your cooperation tonight, I present to you THIS footage of me making an absolute dick of myself to the retro boogie sounds of MGMT's "Electric Feel".. awesome! :)
2:29AM - And so, as the blood alcohol levels slowly rise over the Ed Castle beer gardens (what are you looking at? oh that! I swear it was like that when I got here!!) we bring to a close yet another night of live music and making an absolute arse of ourselves at the end of it..
Or at least we would've if I didn't spend the next hour drinking myself into a coma well after closing, because apparently I live here now (and nobody thought to tell me yet? weeeee!).
Yup, writing for a live music website like this is never without its sacrifice. For everything you gain, there's always something to lose (not the least of which your sanity). But for all the genius, all the depravity and all the stupidity we witness every damn night: I'd give nothing less!