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...
SIN CITY + DEAD POPES OF THE VATICAN + TANTALUM LIVE @ CROWN & ANCHOR + PRODUCERS BAR / Saturday August 23rd 2008
It's the same old schtick that's been handed down through the ages; from theatre to cinema to television and beyond. If you want to convey drama, self doubt, emotional turmoil, depression, angst, misery or blackening despair, you reflect it in the weather around you. All it takes is one scene. The sounds of thunder, lightning, a darkening room. One subject staring blankly out into the world through a window pane spattered with rain. A window to their soul. A window to their woe. Wound over and over into a tightening fist. Squeeze trigger. Bang! the body drops. End scene, roll credits, buy the action figure! It's a cliche, it's a magnifying glass, it burns deep into the very heart of it and we have a whole damn season devoted to it! Winter. It blows goat. Its a fact. We've run out of goats and it just keeps on sucking! Everywhere you look: it's grey, grim, grumbling and gloomy. Snuffling, wheezing, claustrophobic and woozy. Everywhere you turn: it's cold and flu, aches and pains, fear and failure. It's a migraine, it's a marching drum, it's a funeral, it's a headfuck and it's giving everyone the finger. It's winter. It's measuring your worth. It's making you doubt. It's feeling your age. It's pushing that boulder slowly up that hill. Death and taxes? Doom and gloom!? Again and again!? Fuuuuck when will it ever freaking end!?
Just one more week. Just ONE more week of winter that's what I keep telling myself. It's cold. It's dark. I haven't slept. I haven't seen the sun in weeks. Or has it been months? years? where am I? who am I? what year is it? I'm from the future! I'm from the past! I'm at all points of the universe at once. I'm everywhere. I'm nowhere. I'm all out of ideas. I'm all out've my mind. I'm going fucking crazy climbing the walls here and pissing into milk bottles but who cares it's just ONE more week! WooHEHAHAhAHAHA!! One more week and it'll be spring! YES! SPRING! I've made it! I'm crafty. I'm resourceful. I'm a survivor. I'm a squirrel. I've gathered my nuts. I know them by name. They're all my friends now. They play such amazing tunes. I'm at it again? Hiding in all the cracks where the sun still shines! I'm at Producers Bar. I'm in hell. I'm right where I want to be. Kill me now! Try the pizza! OOOOOOOH THE HUMANITY!!
But wait! All hope is not lost! Turn that frown upside down! we're still alive! it's Saturday night! everyone loves Saturday night! Isn't that right random cameo appearance from The Baron!? huh? HUH!? FUUUCK! I swear I'm so fed up with this shit I'd rather blow my brains out with both barrels of a shotgun than go through it all again but y'know what? fuck it all! you want live music? oh we've got live music!! we're damn near crawling upto our frosty nips in it tonight!
DIESEL WITCH (***1/2) myspace :: Let's face it I'm really not all "here" tonight. Somewhere between where I was, where I am and the five flavours of fucked up insane I went through to get to this point, I broke something. I'm a few marbles short. I'm rolling and rattling about in this skull, this cage, and all I want is to break free! But it does afford me a novel perspective on things. I'm seeing things. I'm seeing patterns! What you see as random, I'm seeing as something else maaan! Take halflings, gnomes, dwarves and leprecauns for example: are they just a myth? or are they secretly taking over every vacant drumming position in Adelaide's indie artrock scene? and why is it that there's so many bands now that feature two or more of them? or a bongo player? or what about the mad proliferation of female bass players? is it just for the mad sex appeal or are they upto something more sinister? And then there's the recent retro invasion of bands like Diesel Witch. Their name may not be familiar, but they've assumed other forms in the past: Black Knight, Wylde Throe, The Amcats, Mona Lisa Overdrive, The Fearless Vampire Killers. Grown in test tubes, cloned, carbon copied, bought in six packs, engineered by aliens from spare cow parts and frozen embryos, exact facsimiles of the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's right back to the birth of rock & roll and they ever so slightly bug me the fuck out (they have no belly buttons people! they're from outer space!). But hey! give anyone an hour, a broadband connection, a guitar and the entire history of recorded music and we ALL could sound nearly as spot-on fuckoff freaky as THIS! pheeuuwww!!
Shit, yeah.. ok! Maybe I'm over reacting here. Maybe I need more sleep, a serious hit of vitamin D and a silver bullet. Maybe every band sounds just LIKE Diesel Witch these days and I'm just too batshit insane licking these walls to notice. Dead Kennedys, The Ramones, The Beatles and The Pixies? Surf rock and Peter Gunn guitar riffs? Songs ripped through in barely two minutes? constant instrument swaps? I mean fuck.. doesn't everyone do this shit these days? Get yourself an umbrella, some 15+ sunblock and a geiger counter, there's gotta be a million and one of these fuckers knocking on your door right? It's an invasion, it's already over and in my mind I'm already gone! WOOHEHEHAhAhHA!! Still, DAMN can they crank out a mean tune!
IMOGEN BRAVE (***) myspace :: Up next is another headfuck I'm encountering all too often in the Adelaide "doom rock" scene. Hot female vocalist / creepyarse hired goons as backup. And I'm not just talking about Imogen Brave here (although clearly they're a PRIME example) I've seen this shit before, I swear! Take Penelope Suicide for example. You remember them right? cute little ginger midget on vocals, a scaryarse six foot penis sweating it out on guitars? Or what about Colourblind? Tiny five foot tall female vocalist in her mid 20's? skull cracking ex con backing band in their 40's? or what about Angelik? Take a good look at Laken on vocals and then watch Sam Baroudi on guitars fresh from the Pleistocene epoch (we're talking the last Ice Age here people) knuckle over knuckle and rocking it out and just YOU try and figure all this shit out. Is it some kinda outer suburbs thing? is this how they "bridge the generation" gap down in Port Adelaide, Elizabeth and Salisbury? do the backing band simply replace the lead every decade or so to "keep it current"? Fuuuuuck! we're through the looking glass here people and there AIN'T no turning back! *cough* still if we look past all that (and their drummer rocking it out with a freaking hands free "boyband" mic; like what the FUCK is up with all that shit!?) Imogen Brave are still one helluva act!
Imogen Brave. In a nutshell they're popstar Anastacia fronting a Mötley Crüe cover band, an Australian Idol finalist fronting a police lineup of british gangstas fresh out of a Guy Ritchie film or rather like what a Top 40 pop single from 2008 would sound like mashed up with a Top 40 rock record from 1988. It's all there in the Aerosmith guitars, the chunky cock rock aggression, how the singer goes through eight octaves in five syllables and how I get the distinct impression I'm watching a Vegas act, only with a few less nipple tassles. Still all things considered, for their second ever gig (ooooh I love a fresh target!) what they certaintly DON'T lack is guts. Imogen Brave tear it up, their lead sings like she has testicles the size of bowling balls (yeeeouch! that's one bad mental image!) and all in all, I'm rather impressed! And as long as her ex CIA / KGB handlers don't beat me black and blue to next Thursday for all the jokes I'm cracking at their expense (weeeeee!), I'm sure they've got a more than bright future ahead of them!
10:17PM - Feeling a sudden need for some fresh air (or perhaps a quick change in identity, passport and a prompt airfare the fuck out of the country before Imogen Brave's security detail put a "hit" out on me) I decided a change in scenery was in order, so for random shits and giggles (because clearly, sticking to the ONE venue ain't nearly batshit insane enough!) I thought I'd drop in at The Crown & Anchor to see what they're offering on the menu tonight..
MISS GOLLY GOSH (***) myspace :: Or at least it looked like the Crown & Anchor on the outside. On the inside, in the band room, packed to sardine density with an oppressive oestrogen brigade, punching fists, up on each other's shoulders and shrieking hysterically I could've sworn I'd instead somehow found myself in one of those wacky "femsploitation" 70's retro Z-grade post apocalyptic futures where the entire male population has been wiped off the face of the earth by an uber freaky military grade pandemic (possibly of extraterrestrial origin) and now society is run by a matriachal razor gang of pissed off lipstick lesbians, riot grrrls and chainsaw wielding femme fatales with a serious axe to grind over millennia of patriachal oppression. Or in other words just like Planet Of The Apes with PMS and much MUCH scarier. Still, I bet 48% of you are thinking (and quite imagining with accompanying lingerie and pillow fights) that this would be the most AWESOME place for a dude like me to be on a Saturday night, riiight? Wrong. You can see it in faces of all the males around me, cowering like frightened turtles, as a war chant grows louder. Pushed into corners, stuffed between foldbacks and speaker stacks. They outnumber us, they don't need us, they have the technology, they have the tenacity.. OOOOOH CRAP WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!
Ironically though, very little of what I've just described has ANYTHING to do with the actual band on stage tonight and more to do with this she-beast shitstorm climbing the walls and killing everything that moves. Miss Golly Gosh are an awesome band. A dangerous band. A fiery (fe)malestrom midway between Hole, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and being torn limb from limb by Atari Teenage Riot during a power blackout. They're exactly what punk should be. A call to arms. A fisticuff fuck you. A deconstructive demolision derby that fires up the spirit. FUCK YEAAH! I mean, I'm pretty sure of it. I think? shit, did they even turn up tonight? No they're out there somewhere I'm sure of it! Miss Golly Gosh. If (unlike tonight) you actually get a chance to see them WITHOUT the accompanying pirahna swarm? you'll be in for one helluva ride!
TANTALUM (**1/2) myspace :: Which provides a curious contrast when I return to Producers Bar and stumble upon the tail end of act four, Tantalum. Now let's just for the sake of argument throw a few names out there and you let me know when those alarm bells start ringing: PJ Harvey, Shirley Manson, Kim Gordon, Karen O, Karina Utomo, Peaches, Adalita, Amanda Palmer, Juliette Lewis, Brody Dalle, Christina Amplette, Joan Jett, Janis Joplin.. The Spice Girls? ooooh so close, but so far away! I mean shit don't get me wrong, Tantalum still know how to rock it. They've got all the moves, they've got all the guts, fur is flying, the nails are out, but something about this band reminds me more of songs you'd find on those cheesy CD compilations with names like "Girls Night Out!", "I Am Woman!", or all that other knock off junk in pink and glitter you find slumming it in the bargain bins next to copies of "So Fresh!" and "Summer Smash Hits!" from 2004, than anything that could actually pass off as a genuine fuck you / kick to the groin / spit on your corpse riotgrrrl punk rock act (ie: pretty much what I faced moments ago at the Cranka and barely made it out've with my life! YEAAS!). Yup try as I might, something about this band just screams "gimmick"..
Granted they're brilliant at it, they shred it out, they're menacing, they're aggressive, they're note for note, they've got all the right moves, most of you would love it (and my Y chromosomes are giving it the three thumbs up) but let's face it they're pure evil! They're L7 or The Donnas covered by beauty technicians, they're Josie And The Pussycats, they're a cheer squad, they're Britney fucking Spears doing "I Love Rock 'N Roll", and they're just the sort of "girl power" schtick cynical as FUCK record label executives love to come up with. And as much as I may(secretly) dig what they're doing, I must do everything in my power to destroy them!
DEAD POPES OF THE VATICAN (****1/2) myspace :: Maaaaan that was tough! Is it just me or is this shit getting harder? No wonder I'm fucking losing my mind, do you SEE what I have to deal with these days! Every weekend it's like I'm pulling teeth out there! FUUCK!! Still, just when you think it's all been uphill and it's only getting steeper, along comes a band like Dead Popes Of The Vatican to save the day! Yup, never under any circumstances underestimate the sheer awesomeness that is the no bullshit, minimal as FUCK punk rock band! They're the screaming shot of adrenaline stabbed directly into my spine that my night was sorely needing! It's all so clear! It's all so simple! Every song should only last two minutes, consist of nothing but shouted slogans, two chords gunning and all else thrashed to within an inch of their lives! Dead Popes Of The Vatican? FUCK YEAAH! It's all in the dynamic between Ben on lead and Lynda on bass. Pablo on guitar and Nick on drums. It's tank vs tiny. It's sleepy vs punchy. It's Ben sweating it out and shittting bricks, pineapples, coconuts, cannon balls, elephants and mid-sized cars. It's Lynda with her shit eating grin doing the aeroplane and clipping those powerlines. It's Pablo lurching about like a pitbull on too much medication whilst operating heavy machinery. It's Nick re-enacting Itchy And Scratchy's finest moments between the left and right hemispheres of his brain. No matter the hell you've put yourself through, days, nights, weeks, months sucking you dry; give me 40 minutes of this shit FUCKING LOUD and duuuuuude I'm all set to KILL! Dead Popes Of The Vatican? who could ever ask for more?
Of course I realise very little of what I said describes any of their set tonight, so instead (because lets face it, I ran out've shit to write months ago and I'm merely making this up as I go along) I present to you these two songs crunched into the space of 3 minutes. Say what you will about this band, but nothing quite spells "awesome" than a 1 minute song who's entire lyrical content merely consists of the line: "you say tomato and I say.. FUCK YOOOU!!". Case closed! :)
SIN CITY (****) myspace :: Now this was a surprise. Not that I'd manage to sneak in ANOTHER band into this night (pfffft I mean duuuude.. really!), but that upon returning to the Crown & Anchor, there'd actually still be a Crown & Anchor left to return to. As much I understood it Miss Golly Gosh and their thousand strong fangirl army reduced this venue to a pile of ashes hours ago! Which may begin to explain WHY I skipped out on Angelik in the middle as quite frankly I'm rather happy with this mortal coil and the last thing I want is for it to spontaneously combust on me (as the dry cleaning bill alone would been astronomical) *cough* still, in defiance of all three laws of thermodynamics here we are: Crown & Anchor, act six, Sin City. You may remember them from the last time they toured here back in May. Or perhaps you don't (because you've spent the last few months learning how to walk again after Molotov Barbie pulled one of her lap dance maneouvers on you) either way, they're loud, they're punk, they're ska, they're rock, they're The Distillers mixed with No Doubt, I'm freaking batshit insane! Everyone caught up? good! mooooving on!
Sin City. As much as they are about the music, they're also about being a bunch of posers. I don't mean that in any kind've harsh way. I mean it quite literally. They are a bunch of "posers". This entire gig is pretty much an excuse for them to pull shapes. Not that there's anything wrong with it, as from a photography standpoint it's probably THE most awesome thing ever! I mean, just look at those photos: the bug-eye, the devil tongue, the over arm, the spread eagle, the Elvis on a toilet seat? it's freaking gold! Although I do sometimes wonder if this is ever the REAL "Sin City", or if it's just a bunch of animatronic puppets controlled from afar. You may laugh now but U2 have done it with Bono for years, and they never could quite get the eyes right.. whoooaaa! waaaiit.. where was I? oh yeah.. Sin City! go see them, they're awesome! end of story!
2:18AM - Or at least it WOULD'VE been "end of story" if I didn't always feel the need to include this entirely unnecessary "Spoz gets drunk and does stupid shit" portion of my evening. Other websites call them "social pics", I like to call them "the evils of binge drinking" YEAAAS! (trust me, I'm doing you all a favour and you'll thank me afterwards!). Oh and as for why I'm here at Electric Light? well since every other joint I'd otherwise want to go to tonight in the west end has ridiculously long lineups (and the Cranka's never been the same since the barstaff found all those "bodies" I've been burying in the dumpsters out back), I'm choosing to get drunk here instead. Yeah I know, I realise it's at the other end of town, I'm fucking crazy! enough said..
3:01AM - An hour or so later (and sufficiently drunk and stupid enough to think that this was actually a good idea!), I stagger blindly down Grenfell Street, Rundle Mall and Hindley Streets under the mistaken belief I could actually sneak into either Jive or Supermild across the road without waiting in line outside. These same lines that have been here since 1AM. Fuuuuck!!
3:05AM - So instead I wind up in the nearest piss stained dive on Hindley Street WITHOUT a fucking huge lineup (gee I wonder why? *cough* I mean YAY!) and wait it out for half an hour..
Whilst I do my very best to hide inconspicuously in a corner, read my copy of Rip It Up and avoid the attention of colourful freaks such as THIS one (and yes I'm aware this IS a file photo, I'm aware it's from a few months ago, and yes it STILL gives me nightmares.. eeeeeee!)
3:35AM - Until finally after hours of pissing about, I finally gain entry to the ONE ridiculous hot spot in Adelaide that every drunkarse bastard gravitates to like flies to shit on a Saturday: Jive, why? because, yeah well I don't quite get it either, but hey I'm drunk, who cares, let's party!
And if ever you need one good reason a why I'm finding it next to impossible to string two words together without making an absolute mess of it mid sentence (aaaah don't I always!) then here's a whole bunch of them! Seriously, if you partied with these freaks, you'd be fucken crazy too!
Whilst this photo clearly needs no caption as I no fucking clue what to write (but feel free to provide your own witty, wacky, whimsical and utterly fictional anecdote.. weeeeeee!).
Oh and I secretly suspect this DJ is a vampire, and one day he's going to kill us all!
4:38AM - Thus bringing to a confusing conclusion yet another episode of Spoz's Rant where I'm starting to think that seeing six of these bands tonight and seven bands the night before probably wasn't the wisest move I could ever have pulled for my rapidly deteriorating mental state. But hey! if I didn't do this someone else would, it would get them killed and I'd feel guilty about it. So lets just be thankful I can't be killed by conventional weapons and leave it at that!
Yup that's Winter. It's been a bitch. It's done my head in over and over and I'm climbing the fucking walls because of it waiting for it to end! and I'm sooo fucking happy that in one week it will all be over it'll be spring and I can finally get a decent night's sleep and everything will all be shiny and new again!! WOOOHEhAhAHAHAhA!! *cough* Wow! who knew something as dumb and simple as the weather could effect us all so profoundly? hmmm crazy thoughts indeed!