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...
GRAFTON PRIMARY + FIRE! SANTA ROSA FIRE! + FEMME FATALES LIVE @ JIVE / Friday September 12th 2008
Humans are such simple, simple, stupid fucking creatures. Don't play dumb, you know you are! Get off that couch, pull that finger out of your arse (no, don't sniff it!) waddle your lazy arse over to the mirror and take a good hard look at yourself! You think you're SO smart don't you! You've conquered the Earth, planted flags on the Moon, landed your robot on Mars and flung your dung whizzing past the orbit of Uranus. You've built glittering ant hills coast to coast, surface to air, cold concrete, steel and glass. Every frequency of the EM band is all buzzing, whirring and mouse clicking with your incessant chit-chat. You think you're SO proud don't you! Your cutting edge technology and your blunt infallible logic. Your petrochemical smog, your xmas tree lights, your wondrous toys all beeping and vibrating 24 hours of the day. You invented fire, the wheel and the lightbulb. You invented the internet! You threw together all your collective wisdom, all 5000 years of it since the invention of the written word, a grand suppository of all your carnal worth, all access, all day from every net and node, all that spam, piracy and porn!? Awesome! Fuck, you even invented the particle accelerator (aka: "the biggest scientific experiment ever") that some of you claim will either create a mini blackhole that'll swallow the Earth or will create a vacuum bubble that'll negate nearly all of cosmic existence!? Genius! And yet for all your mastery of the mundane to the metaphysical, all it takes is for something as simple as a stupid fucking change in the season, a simple ten degree increase, and *BAM!* you're all about as dumb as doorknobs!? Fuck I love humanity! So simple, so stupid, so ever so utterly predictable..
Yup you can taste it, you can smell it. Spring has sprung! It's sprung a leak and it's pissing all over us. The streets are overrun. We're all crawling in it. We're on our hands and knees sniffing up each others crotches to the mad thrill of it. We're done, we're finished, it's all over! This is what it is to be human, prey to the seasons, a simple shaved simian with nothing left to lose but all that's left of our reasoning! Here at Jive and knocking ourselves unconscious to the blind cacophany! the stench of depravity! OOOOH FUCK is this night going to get messy!
FEMME FATALES (***1/2) myspace :: And here's the ONE opening act tailor made ripe for such sweet stupidity: the Femme Fatales, or as I like to call them: "The Three Point Fives", as invariably and without fail THAT is the score I always seem to give them. Beats me why, I mean it's not like I actually keep a running record, it's not like I plan it this way, and yet everytime I bump into their lead singer it's the ONE triviality (beyond all my other dick and fart jokes) that bugs him to no end: "Three Point Five!? awwwww maaan!? what will it take to give us FOUR stars!? sure we NEVER rehearse! but C'MON!!". Yes, clearly I'm evil, clearly this amuses me to no end, and clearly now that I'm actually aware of it, OOOOH AM I GONNA MAKE THEM PAY! Still, when you consider I used to call them "Shit Disco" when we first crossed paths a year ago, they HAVE come a long way since (and there's so much MORE to make fun of yet.. squeeeee!!). The Femme Fatales. They're everything you love about "nu-rave". They're pogo dancing with glowsticks, flouro, oversized sunnies, "Choose Life!", "Frankie says Relax!", v-necks in shitcrazy geometric patterns, hoodies, bottled water, funny little pills, red bull, date rape and metrosexuality. They're the Klaxons meets Crystal Castles meets SEGA Genesis pulled apart with pliers. They're badly photocopied faces with neon laserbeams shooting out of their eyesockets. They're 8bit crusty, monotone and mashed with fists. And curiously enough even as an opening act (ie: hours before anyone's pills have had a chance to kick in strong) they're actually surprisingly coherent. Wow! maybe they've rehearsed afterall! Here I am, I'm dead sober and they're STILL rocking it!? Sheeeiiiiiit!!
So why the "Three Point Five" then? Well granted, things get off to a slow start. You know one of those mindblowingly awesome TV shows you loved in the first season, only for it to come back in the second season, the first few episodes blow goats and everyone's got ridiculous new haircuts? Yeah me neither, I never watch TV, I don't even own a TV, I live in a cardboard box! but, still it rather effectively describes the start of their set tonight (seriously dudes? what the FUCK is up with the blond!?). It's slow, dark, dour and awash in white noise. It sounds like a cross between A Place To Bury Strangers (good) crossfaded with a shrieking Adam Sandler from The Wedding Singer doing "the breakup song" (bad). Teeth are grinding and not from all the uppers, but from the sensation of intestines in knots. It's awkward, I'm aware they're trying something new, but they're not there yet. Still before all hope is lost, the minute they kick in all their usual dumb shit again!? duuuude it's nothing but candy! Reach for the lasers maaan! SAFE AS FUCK!
9:44PM - Speaking of drug abuse and suitably inspired but running short on my own supply to get high on, I thought I'd hit up a few of the Hindley Street back alleys in the interval to see what I could unleash. And although I couldn't seem to find any uppers, downers, E's, wizz-fizz, inkblots or dragons to chase (yeah I know, you'd think this street would be rolling out of its eyeballs with junk on a night like this) I did manage to find myself at the next best thing: Tequilarea!
Aaaaaah sometimes I actually wonder why my short term memory is so shot to hell..
FIRE! SANTA ROSA FIRE! (****) myspace :: Returning to Jive, I arrive just in time for act two, a few steps further down the sobriety scale and infinitely more appreciative of the sounds of THIS band: Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! the epitome of what the Adelaide music scene means to the rest of Australia: "superfluous". It's right there in the superfluous band name that's a few too many names, two exclamation marks (and a comma between the third and the forth if we're really splitting hairs). It's the all kinds of superfluous that is having two singers up there (sometimes more) sharing the mic, wailing their sinuses to a nasal shrill. It's in having two guitarists. It's in every one of them whacking sticks and beating the drums. It's in having five now six members on stage running amok (wow so THAT's where Tyger Tyger ripped their gimmick from!?). All needlessly superfluous, all integral to their sound. Y'know that chick from the Dandy Warhols who apparently does nothing on stage but look aloof with a tambourine? (Zia McCabe.. fuuuck she's hot!). They've got one of those too! She's Caitlin. For the most part she just sways about and looks totally useless, but damn she's awesome! Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! they're fast becoming the Broken Social Scene of the Adelaide scene. They're a mad party and everyone's invited! I think I might audition. Sure I can't play anything for shit, but it doesn't matter! get 50 or more people up there, space the fuck out, play everything reaaal slow, sing and shout along, dance like hippies.. FUCK YEAAAH! what's not to love!?
Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! They're a mad jumble of a band on stage, not a lot of it makes a lick of sense and I'm pretty sure the rest of it is just a collective injoke that Dave and Art cooked up inbetween shooting shit and playing videogames: but over the years they've built a free spirited flow, a geek aesthetic and an assured maturity. Gone are the days of the frenzied sugar fueled scenster guitars, like Happy Tree Friends meets The Rapture and in its place they're cooking up a slow cooked angular groove: equal parts LCD Soundsystem's "Sounds Of Silver" meets Gerling's "Children Of Telepathic Experience". They're an ecclectic cool, an antigravity cocktail party and a soundtrack to a Sophia Coppola film (and they're also fucking insane) but I reckon they've just about got it nailed. Superfluous? maybe. Superlatives? I could give you plenty!
GRAFTON PRIMARY (****1/2) myspace :: And speaking of a few too many (and a few shy of all your fair weather buddies dumping you at the front door of the emergency ward in a shopping trolley and a hand written sign), that's about as much as you'd wanna be dropping just in time for this band, our headlining act, our freebasing ode to bleeding from both sinuses that is Grafton Primary! Yeah I didn't know what to expect. I went into this gig cold, never having heard ANY of their music before, but a sure sign I was in for a world of whacky in more ways than a "business trip" south of the Columbian border would've been the one skinhead, dressed like a reject from the Berlin Love Parade, who stood ahead of me all exciteable and skin crawling twitchy as I walked in tonight. That, a surgical mask, a fist full of smilies, both your hands up in the air following by an extended stay at the "Bangkok Hilton" is what this band was all about. They're Grafton Primary. They're an acid house, 8bit, tetrix blox dropping monochrome rinse out. They're Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, The Human League and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. They're The Shamen, Underworld's "Second Toughest In The Infants" and Digitalism's "Idealism". They're the androgynous, android future in pirate shirts, eyeshadow, neon lights and shitcrazy hairgel that the 80's always predicted would happen but (some say thankfully) never came to be. They're two shirtless men wrestling in milk! They're cocaine making you do CRAAAAZY things ("I'm Rick James Bitch!"). And they're me wondering just what the FUCK I've got myself into. Still despite being one leatherclad gimp short of a night out in Sydney's Kings Cross. damn could these mad cats bang out one meanarse groove!
Grafton Primary. It's all in the appearances. It's in Joshua Garden (their lead vocalist) pulling tai-chi shapes on stage looking like a cross between an emaciated Christian Bale from the "The Machinist", Sacha Baron Cohen as his Austrian alter ego "Bruno" and Meryl Streep's dancing skeleton in a dapper waistcoat. It's in Robbie Mudrazija (on drums) looking like a cross between Mark Renton (aka: Ewan McGregor out of "Trainspotting") and a chihuahua. And it's Benjamin Garden (on synths and yes the keytar! OOOH FUCK YEAH!!) doing his very best impersonation of A Flock Of Seagulls working the day shift. It's a seamless mix of banging 4/4 beats, soaring strings, monochrome synths, monotone vocals, and a chunking grind that works the floor like coffee machine. It's anthemic, epic and utterly po-faced in it's delivery. It's a crowd tonight absolutely lapping this shit up by spade, by shovel and by rolled up $100 dollar bills. And as insane as it all sounds, I couldn't help but join in, cause duuude this shit freaking rocked!!
And when it comes to an adoring fanbase THIS was something else! You could see them out front, some armed with glowsticks, others torches, arms reaching out to grab a piece of the band. One lunatic was even flapping about with a polaroid camera in hand, flinging the occassional happy snap onto the stage in appreciation. The band freaking love it, they were home, this was it, they never wanted to leave and with a mad buzz like this, who could blame them? Nowhere else would you ever find a pack of misfits quite like this. I mean hell: if you're bipolar, bi-curious, a few lithiums short, licking the light sockets, handy with knives, white, male, caucasian and prone to dressing up like an asian schoolgirl; right here is where it's at! Granted, none of them ACTUALLY turned up tonight, but if they did? maaan the fun times we could've had!
Still there comes a moment in any mad bacchanal of the senseless, rather like when you're at an all night outdoor rave. Dancing it up in a dustbowl, just as the sun's coming up, just as the drugs are wearing off, when you look to all these newfound "soulmates" around you and all you see is sweaty mudcaked freaks and ferals with screwface expressions, one screw loose and one turn left down the evolutionary scale; that the spell is finally broken. It's been one helluva party, but now you've got to go, have your moment of clarity, let slip that astronaut outfit, the faerie wings and the fluffy oversized moon boots and wonder just what the FUCK you did with your life..
12:36AM - Seeking brief respite from all the Spring madness since engulfing Jive (moments before the riot police, you always see in stock footage intro's to raver films, swarmed the place by force) I slipped in silently next door to Enigma Bar. Aaaaaah and it was ever so quiet here too! almost dare I say it "meditative" in its tranquility, just where HAD everyone gone!? And then it hit me: (a) everyone had simply fucked off upstairs, (b) no one was left guarding the door and (c) it doesn't take a genius to figure what I would have done next.. OOOOH FUCK NO!
Duuuuude I ask ya, where ELSE would you be on a night like this!?
As for why they WERE all here tonight, one word: Mammal, or in two words: album launch. Yup, there's moments when you endeavour to capture all the spirit of an event like this with photos, videos and words, and then there's moments when you think "screw you guys, I'm diving in headfirst!!". How I'm not drooling into my shoulder whilst I mouth out these words into a speech to text interface is anyone's guess and I'm also at a total loss to explain (a) Ezekiel Ox's freakish lack of near nudity, (b) why there's no riot police, STAR division or the army (although granted they're probably distracted crushing the rampant insurgency next door at Jive), (c) why there's no Sophie from Producers Bar armed with a pair of tweezers, or (d) that red cowboy hat. Either way, duude you should've been here! I SO would've brought a cheese plate to your funeral!
Yup, the look on their faces says it all: utterly unable to form complete sentences, reading at a 3rd grade level, howling, shrieking and licking the walls only to leave a shattering trail of teeth, blood, sweat and discarded clothing scattered in their wake. And to think THIS is my target reading audience!? fuuuuuck I don't think I've been more terrified in my entire life!
1:44AM - Clearly we all know where THIS night is heading and this is just one of the many signposts along the way. They've called it by many names in the past, but tonight they simply call it "Max Dance Club & Karaoke Bar". Oh yes! Abandon sobriety all ye who enter here..
Right here would've been one of those needlessly tedious "establishing shots" of the interior, that would've shown you one of many reasons why you should never step foot in this joint (or at least never admit on a weekly live music blog that ever step foot in this joint *ahem*) otherwise ruined by everyone's favourite camera whore: Joe Blogs, stealing for attention..
And as they say in many times in life: what happens in Vegas, on tour and after a few too many beers, your naked arse and a police search helicopter; sure as fuck should stay in Vegas, on tour and.. *cough* what the fuck am I on about again!? Oh yeah! We were never here, this never happened and you didn't see or hear anything that we three unleashed this night..
And no this ISN'T "Agadoo" that Joe Blogs is singing here, I didn't join in moments later, and I'll never ever admit that I ever sung Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" for the encore either (and here's hoping no one EVER unleashes ANY of that on youtube.. ooooh crap no!)
2:21AM - Moments later, maybe half an hour later (the memory is a little blurry but I believe there were sirens, lots of shouting, a fire extinguisher, a pineapple, a pack of rabid dogs and a weird sepia tone interlude where we're all dancing around a maypole like nothing happened) we find ourselves on the run, from who? we forget. The plan was to make a break for Currie Street, then King William, then to "Transmission" at the Bull And Bear. However, our hasty retreat was cut short after Joe Blogs discovered all these boxes and compacted garbage down a side alley and suddenly decided some of his blitheringly drunk "performance art" was in order..
And no he didn't just steal one of Max Dance Club Karaoke's songlist catalogs. Although for those of you who CAN'T see, apparently he's pointing at Backstreet Boy's "Larger Than Life" hmmm.. is it a sign? is it a cry for help? or has Joe Blogs well and truly gone "through the looking glass"?
Either way, moments before all hope was lost that we'd ever escape this cardboard maze, Joe's phone soon rings: it's his liver, it's since fled to the Bull And Bear, and if he wanted to see it alive again he probably should capture it, bag it in ice and see a doctor about reinstalling it to fully (dys)function order. Or more likely, capture it, pour vodka on it, light it on fire, and drink that fucker down. I mean shit, when you're in OUR business, who NEEDS a liver anyways!?
2:37AM - Forever and a day away as the sun, moon, stars and clouds whizz us by, we finally make it to Bull And Bear. Livers since recovered, but our brain's are nowhere to be found..
As we welcome yet another mindnumbing installment of "Transmission": as brought forth in all its indie dancefloor "as thrashed on Triple J to oversaturation" by DJ RossRossRoss here..
Only to be hijacked by yet another notorious camera whore, Nick Hadley, otherwise known as the drummer from Adelaide punk band Dead Popes Of The Vatican, or more likely otherwise known as that bug-eyed, arm flapping, drunkarse yahoo that always seems to find himself sneaking into every one of my damn shots at the end of the night.. yooouu baaastard!
I mean shit, camera whores are everywhere (and nowhere are they more prevalent than tonight apparently), so much so that publications in print and online devote whole pages to their glassy eyed grins and vacant stares. Fasterlouder, RipItUp, dB, The Advertiser. The endless scourge of the "social pic". Although on a live music site as stupid as mine they clearly take on an infinitely scarier dimension (dementia?). They get organised, they go professional, they're a dedicated pack mentality lens stealing phenomenon. Yup, if ever this became a TV show (and lets all just hope and pray that NEVER happens for as long as I live!) THESE grinning idiots would surely be my "regular cast members" (and no, you didn't just hear a teeny tiny shotgun blast going off in the distance that is me blowing my brains out over this nightmare possibility.. weeeeee!)
Seriously you DON'T want to know how many photos I edited OUT of this maddening display..
Many hours later and with no clear escape in sight, I made the ultimate sacrifice, I dropped my beer shattering to the floor (I know! the horror! OH THE HORROR!) and in the resulting hair pulling and hysterical shrieking, I flee to the bar. YEAAAS!! FREEEE AT LAAAAAST!! :)
Shit, spoke to soon! here comes another flood of them..
Soon followed by the rest of them all flooding back again, as clearly my camera lens has been ignoring them for the last 10 minutes; and since I'm clearly far too drunk to argue (and I can easily get my revenge on this website later.. tee hee!), I more than begrudgingly oblige..
Really, what the fuck does ANY of this shit actually mean? anyone? heeelp!?
Arrrrr fuckit! If you can't beat them, simply beat your brain to a steaming mush by the bar (hey look! imperial pints for $5.50, oh wait now I got two free drink cards!? score!) and join on in!
4:24AM - And as the sun slowly sets on western civilisation. As the embers burn cold, and all our lofty accomplishments flitter like autumn leaves into the evermore, we bid fond farewell to another Friday night out on the town. Or at least we would've if Lisa (working at the bar) hadn't just sneak her hand in this frame and ruined my arty farty establishing shot.. guh! damnit!!
Shit! there goes the second take.. hmmmm now where DID I put that taser!?
*cough* and one meatsaw a few garbage bags later and I'm home free.. weeeeeee! :)
Yup in nights like these, sometimes I really DO wish some tickering yahoo in a toolshed would invent a doomsday device that would manifest a mini blackhole, a quantum strangelet, a vacuum bubble, usher in the AI singularity, unleash a plague of nano "grey goo", or let loose some other manifest apocalypse that would do away with all these dribbling baboons once and for all. Then again with luck and with time on our sides, we won't have to! Simply let the ebb and flow of the seasons act as the turning of your tide. It's here, it's gargling upto its back teeth in beer, and there's no escaping it: it's Spring! bring some marshmellows and watch it all burn baaaby! :)