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...
ZETA + LUMONICS + MR WEDNESDAY LIVE @ ROCKET BAR / Friday July 4th 2008
Welcome back Rocket Bar, welcome back to my Friday nights! Fuck! Where you been maaan!? What's been happening!? yeah I know! I know! I've always been meaning to catch up! We had some crazy times didn't we!? not any I can remember recently but hey, good to see ya maaan! Fuck! Where HAS the time gone!? I thought you were long dead but now you're telling me you left a million unanswered messages in my inbox? all these facebook invites? myspace events? bulletins? that time you chased me down the street screaming at me with all those gig flyers? weird.. I could've sworn I would've remembered all that, it's been years hasn't it? wait.. it's only been three months!? sheeeeiit how time flies! and here we are reliving 2007 all over again! How could I forget the needlessly long lineups in the cold? blagging my way past those door bitches and onto the guest list? staggering up those three flights of stairs? laughing at all the touring acts cursing and swearing their shit up and down them all night long? the friendly bouncers? the even friendlier bar staff? a whole venue crawling with scensters, art snobs and fashion nazis giving me the stink eye for not being anywhere near as avant garde and ambivalent as they were? Matt Hills stuck behind the mixing desk fighting off hoards of dickheads all night? the leather couches? the free doughnuts? the cloud of exhaust that was Matt Hayward? all those Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! gigs? How it always used to be shit empty for the bands but would fill up to the ceiling the minute the DJs would start banging that electro shit!? me thinking again and again: "fuck I'm too old for this shit!!" only to come crawling back again and again each week? Aaaaah so many fond memories! Remind me again why I don't go to this crazy joint more often! weeeeee! :)
Rocket Bar. Every city has a venue just like this (Melbourne probably has at least five): a shit magnet to every scenster, yuppie, metro, coke head and scarf wearing adrogynous wanker with an asymetrical haircut this side of an arts degree, a government grant or a modelling contract in Milan (and a disapproving look to just about anyone else who didn't belong). Still, in it's day it was probably the most awesome purpose built venue in Adelaide. The lights, the sound, the fixtures and the furnishings, the calibre of the touring acts, all were second to none. Some of the best nights I had (before I fucked off elsewhere to get drunk) were here in this very venue and for a brief period in 2007 I even called this home. Rocket Bar, the Jade Monkey of the west, haven for the finest this Adelaide indie scene had to offer. We knew it would never last. Since overrun by shittyarse electro, hiphop, crunk, booty funk, and a fuck bucket of vinyl pushers; it became just like every another dive east of the Morphett mile, a place to OD in, whilst all the refugees since fled to the Ed Castle. But here tonight, for one night, for Zeta's CD launch, it will be just like it once was.. oh yes! Rocket Bar: a place where legends are born..
MR WEDNESDAY (****1/2) myspace :: In theory all the scensters are flooding Rocket Bar tonight for the fingerbleed in D-minor that will be Zeta's night of nights. In practice however it appears they've already fucked up the first rule of CD launches by inviting a band of THIS calibre to open for them: Mr Wednesday? I don't know whether they simply have a god complex or a deathwish; but what the fuck were you idiots thinking!? (I'm looking at you Sascha, clearly you're to blame for this shit!), I mean there's no way in hell this could end well for you! We have "support acts" for a reason: they're the shit that's meant to make you look GOOD. Give us a no name with an acoustic, a street mime, a balloon artists, a gender illusionist, your mum, all of the above, Humble Bee, anyone the public won't miss if they end arse up gathering flies in a Union Street dumpster come Monday morning, fuckit even invite Tyger Tyger if that's what it'll take (as clearly they're not playing enough gigs this year.. weeeee!) but never EVER pull a Mr Wednesday on us, especially if they play an opening set anywhere as brilliant as this one! epic fail Zeta! EPIC FAAAAAIL!!
I know they may not look it here tonight: perpetually introverted to the point of autism, hopelessly lost on stage, hiding behind microphone stands, hiding in the shadows, hunched over with pained expressions, shuffling aimlessly for extended interludes as Duncan on the keys waits patiently for his iTunes update to finish downloading; like they're the Adelaide chapter of the "J.R.R. Tolkien Society of Awkward Pauses", one trigger happy hobbit and an elf armed with a +1 cello of orcish cleaving. But such sweet cinematic bliss do they conjure! So thoughtful, so ripe with melancholy, so effortlessly do they flow in composition from one subtle nuance to the next, like a silent but deadly act in olfactory espionage; such wonders that never cease! Oh yes! if ever you wanted to make YOUR headlining act sound about as welcome as a novelty Top 40 ringtone in an arthouse cinema; Mr Wednesday would be THE opening act to fuck it all up for you!
LUMONICS (****1/2) myspace :: Which brings us to the second mistake Zeta made tonight in the form of second support act Lumonics. Yup, as much as I could make fun of these pencil neck dweebs in so many different and insultingly colourful ways (ie: read any other half-arsed review I've ever concocted about Meanwell College, the frequently mentioned in-joke that is the "Ben Revi" and my constant visual references to a "newborn giraffe attempting to walk"), there's still no denying this shit is THE shit when you hear it. This is the sound of the support band forming a circle and pissing all over your headlining act, stopping briefly to load up some more, only to piss all over you some more (and clearly Zeta are suckers for punishment if this is their insane idea of a warm up act!). Lumonics. They're a mastery and a maturity in songwriting and articulate composition that sounds years and decades ahead of their midget chronology. They're every reason guitar effects pedals were damn near invented for; manifested in the sweet buzzing, gnashing, droning and feedbacking candy noise that is shoegaze meets postpunk meets you curled up on the floor in a diabetic coma twitching for more. And they're exactly what takes most other bands an entire lifetime of uppers, downers, and slagging off other musicians on NME to perfect; only THESE dweebs have stumbled upon it as a happy accident right from the outset! Damn. We might as well give up now, our parents were right, we'll never amount to anything..
Yup, I've said it before, I'll say it again and I'm here spelling it out to you now with oversized semaphore flags and smoke signals that I have no freaking clue HOW to communicate with: Lumonics; they are THE shit, they are THE most face meltingly fuckoff awesome new band in 2008; there's no superlative, there's no argument, why oh why haven't they released an EP already (or a record deal while we're at it), duuude just go fucking see them already!
So here we are at the tipping point, the turning point, the point of no return. After all we've seen this night we might as well load that shotgun and end it all already. There's no possible way we could ever top those first two bands. And yet here we all are, in our hundreds upon hundreds climbing the walls insane and upto our frosty nips in anticipation for the one, the only..
ZETA (*****) myspace :: "Who the FUCK is this band!?". Yeah I know, if I wasn't the sort've repetitive brain injury in recreational alcohol abuse and itchy trigger combat photography prone to writing utterly ill conceived gibberish on a local scene that next to no-one outside of a bag of mixed nuts would even give a SHIT about, I would never have heard of this band of shoegazing shitweasels either. But hey that's why I'm here! Without me writing all this drivel you would've never heard of this band, and without them headlining this CD launch late into a Friday night I might've actually have had a fighting chance of living well into my 50's; so really, it's a win win situation! Zeta. You may remember them from a live review I wrote just two weeks ago when they headlined "Wish" at Producers Bar, but if you don't, ie: if you take nearly enough recreational drugs to possess the attention span of a goldfish (aaaah just my kind of audience); think of them as sounding just like the voice of Brian Molko from Placebo and Gordon Gano from The Violent Femmes, stuffed in the drug addled carcass of Shaggy from Scooby Doo; fronting a mix between a mellow Sonic Youth and Something For Kate with teeth. Or more accurately, like absolutely NONE of the above (I mean shit, what the fuck would I know?) and more like this live video instead..
Zeta. If nothing else tonight, they make you truly appreciate what is fast becoming the lost art of the scruffyarse geek rock masterpiece. For classic examples think of the brown cardigan sounds of Blur's self titled album, Smashing Pumpkins "Siamese Dream", R.E.M.'s "Green", Weezer's "Pinkerton" or The Shin's "Wincing The Night Away". Or for the more blitheringy incoherent simply think back to any song you've ever found yourself dancing retardingly to in some packed out indie club at 3AM (only minus all those piss annoying Triple J high rotations that involve ping pong, trampolines, paper planes, dancing to Joy Division, The Presets or the hissyfits of Architecture in Helsinki) and that'd be you busting that donkey piñata wiiiide open..
Still like all well crafted geek rock, despite all of their easy to please verse/choruses, their fuzzing guitar hooks and all their dancey 4/4 beats that make you want to treat the room like your own private bouncy castle; the more you look into it the more entirely fucked up it becomes. One look at Sascha shrieking, squinting, and howling on vocals as he works his fingers raw up to his elbows on guitar; or Tom on drums quietly fuming away at the back, like he's a few redbulls and a line of speed away from gunning all of us down in cold blood (those ain't spare drumsticks he keeps in that little black bag you know!); and you can taste the fear. And I'm not just saying this because I took entirely too many photos of this shit tonight (aaah the luxury of stage lighting that doesn't totally blow goats!), there IS a reason why there's so many people here tonight packing out this venue: they're here, waiting for the night that Zeta finally lose their shit and fucking explode out here!! And tonight we got so close we could almost smell the BBQ..
And thus, the full genius of Zeta's diabolical plan is soon realised. On the surface, this four piece playing song after song of indie guitar fuzz may not seem like much; but just below the surface, hidden from view in all those lyrics about wanting to curl up in a ball and die, we're all one lit match away from a mile wide crater and a red rochart ink blot stain you could see from the moon. Zeta: fear the beast! (and go buy their new EP, it's really really shiny!)
1:21AM - It's been an emotional night, a pissing contest to beat all other pissing contests, where everyone gets a golden shower of applause. There's not a single dry trouser leg in the house, the crowd dumbstruck and overjoyed to have been given another stay of execution as Tom silently packs away that M4 carbine loaded semi automatic assault rifle for another night..
This is what Rocket Bar used to be; the one indie joint in all of Adelaide where this shit would happen every night and we'd damn near shit ourselves for making out of it alive; and this is me getting the fuck out've here before all those zombies flood the dancefloor and take it back once more. Yes! for one night, Rocket Bar was ours again.. let's do this again some time! weeee! :)
2:28AM - Which is why I find it somewhat ironic in hindsight, that I would find myself fleeing one upstairs dancefloor banging retarded electro till 5AM; only to find myself drawn to another one downstairs and down the road here at the Bull and Bear for the exact SAME shit..
2:39AM - Take a brief moment to collect my thoughts, realise I'm entirely too stupid at this time of night to actually HAVE any thoughts (fuck I love my life), find myself briefly hypnotised by the kryptonite green glow of the Bull and Bear, only to get more gleefully drunk at the bar..
2:46AM - Before promptly diving into this shitstorm of arms and legs making complete dickheads of themselves, for the late night indie-club simply known as "Transmission"..
..all brought to kamikaze point by this moptop freak on the decks, DJ Naomi. As a curious aside you'll note she's wearing gloves: whether this is simply some kinda retro 80's fashion statement, whether it provides better traction for changeovers between songs or whether she simply just doesn't want to "leave any fingerprints" is anyone's guess; either way, I'm frightened..
3:39AM - Sufficiently seasoned, flattened, rolled and smoked at both ends by the crowds at "Transmission", quite like a homing pigeon I stagger blindly down Currie Street here to the Ed Castle. Although it's well after closing, I somehow find a way to blag my way in regardless for some "after hours" drinks; as Azz from Lady Strangelove spins the decks..
4:15AM - Which is all shits and giggles till two members of staff (and one miscellaneous drug fiend in the middle) gang up on me, clock me sideways with a bar stool, anaethetise me with an A-Z of intoxicants, before proceed to harvest all of my organs for the black market. "Fuck, not again!?". Yeah I know, it's fast becoming quite the annoying habit of late, but since we all know I regenerate my vital organs on a regular basis (just don't ask me how many brains I've already gone through this year) for me it's just another fitting end of the night.. weeeeeee! :)
Thus bringing to an inebriated end, yet another messy night in the Adelaide music scene: where past and present collided, crawled out've the wreckage, swapped insurance and phone numbers, only to wake up somewhere in the emergency ward with no recollection how the fuck any of them got there in the first place. Aaaaaah, and who would have it any other way? :)