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...
ROCKET SCIENCE + THE SHAKE UP + MONA LISA OVERDRIVE LIVE @ JIVE / Thursday August 28th 2008
Déjà vu: that strange feeling you've seen or done something before, like say a million and one times before, like every fucking weekend before, like all the same bands and the same venues over and over in a casuality loop screaming "it's Groundhog Day!", like you've been living this rock & roll lifestyle for over the past 3 years perpetually on tour and you've never even left this fucking city kind of feeling.. woooooo! Yeah not that I can relate. I mean shit, everything's shiny and new as far as I'm concerned! Déjà vu? pfffft.. nothing a swift kick to the head and a few shots of jäger depth charged into a pint glass of foaming bull's piss wouldn't cure! Déjà vu? thanks to all that wacky "alcohol abuse" all the cool kids have been getting into of late and thanks to all these suicide bombers screaming point blank into my face everywhere I go: my short term memory is SO shot to shit, I have trouble remembering what the fuck I did LAST night, let alone weeks or months at a time! This is me and my blank expression looking at the world in wonder. This is me and all your names and faces blurring as one. This is everywhere I go looking exactly the same, only with all the entry and exit points randomly generated. I'm brand new! I'm tabula rasa! I dive into that breach bug-eyed like a newborn, live a lifetime in one night and I crawl out an old man wisened up with a wealth of experience! Squeeze me out onto a page, hang me up to dry, fire up the paddles and I'm back where I started! Whoaaaa.. where the FUCK am I?
Jive. Hindley Street. Thursday Night. Wow! what an awesome way to get fucked up on a week night! Like I do this kind've shit all the time right? Or at least I've been told, cause I've never been here before! No really! you have me confused with that OTHER guy called "Spoz". You know that crazy cat right? wild staring eyes? a few screws loose? dresses in blacks and greys? three sheets to the wind and forever circling the drain? barrel of laughs? yeah he's dead now. I think the official explanation involves a freak swamp gas explosion, a weather balloon and light reflecting off the planet Venus (ask anyone else and they'll say he was allergic to daylight). Either way: somewhere between here and last weekend, moments before I pried this camera from his cold dead hands and his ashen form disintegrated and flittered away into the breeze he taught me everything I needed to know. To think he only lasted three months? sheeeeiiiit!
MONA LISA OVERDRIVE (***1/2) myspace :: First band for the night you may recognise as Mona Lisa Overdrive. You may also recognise them as The UK Special. Back in the 60's they were called the Velvet Underground. Before then they were humble peanut farmers from Booneville Kentucky with freaky powers of levitation, astral projection, projectile defaecation, and a small-time criminal record as long as your arm (except perhaps Dave: we all know he's a plant from the CIA). One day they met Andy Warhol, killed him, stuffed him in a briefcase, took his place, took lots of acid and started a revolution. That odd feeling you get when you're upto your armpits and crawling in tiny pink policemen moments before the sky bursts into green flames and your socks go missing? that's Mona Lisa Overdrive, or quite possibly not, or quite possibly Lady Strangelove. Wait? which one has the performing marmoset!? Damn! "Previous Spoz" left me all these handwritten notes scribbled on badly photocopied gig flyers and now I'm all confused! Mona Lisa Overdrive. Every 5-10 years they assume new forms, new identities, change cities and start it all up again. They're over 2000 years old, quite possibly of extra terrestrial origin: which may begin to explain the entire lyrical content of every song Alex on drums has ever written. Ooooh yeah! he's out there alright!
Mona Lisa Overdrive. When they're not dessemination disinformation on the internet involving recipes for synthesising pure LSD using nothing but a box of fruitloops, a microwave, banana skin scrapings and the liquid from two freshly cracked magic 8 balls, they've also been known to play the occassional live gig. You may remember them from the set they played last Friday, two Fridays before, the Friday before that (except they didn't) and a Saturday mid July when they played to five people and you weren't there. Read them all, they're ever so informative! Oh and clearly they didn't play a set tonight. No, that would be me repeating myself. I never repeat myself! Déjà vu? what déjà vu!? This is the first time I've ever been here, all these shots were doctored up in Photoshop and I don't even know why I'm mentioning them now. Fuck, you should've been here! Here's a live video: it's a hoax, but let's just play along shall we?
THE SHAKE UP (****1/2) myspace :: Second band for the night, which is a little odd because apparently no one played before them, clearly they're the first band for the night, and we just spent the last hour staring into space.. "Wow, remember that time when Spoz totally lost his fucking mind and wrote all that wildly hallucinogenic gibberish instead of an actual live review!? nope me neither!" (and Alex totally didn't dare me to do it either.. weeeeee!). The Shake Up: fresh from Sydney, soon to be stuffed dead and buried in the dumpsters out back in Adelaide (because clearly the cops are going to believe me NOW, if I keep at it with all these wacky serial killer jokes each week) are one of those freakingly awesome and exciteable one-two punch drunk brit punk bands that are damn near impossible not to love despite sounding like a thousand and one other brit punk bands you've already heard a billion times before. They're The Young Knives, The Kooks, The Rakes, The Matches and every other loutish "oi oi oi" fist in the air since Blur's "Song 2". They're morse code guitars, bass lines driven to brown note lethality and drums that start and stop on a dime. They're The Ramones as fronted by the voice of Joe Strummer from The Clash trapped in the body of Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream whilst Iggy Pop spontaneously combusts in the corner (which considering how many drugs Gillespie's taken over the years makes perfect sense!). The Shake Up. Hardly original, but they're sure as fuck 100% mental!
Tonight they crunched 15-50 songs into a parking space so small you'd scrape paint off a razor scooter, so hard and fast they'd give a hummingbird epilepsy, with enough electricity to raise the dead and give them the accompanying strobe light to bug out to. Take this whole set, 5-6 red bulls and run it through the CERN Large Hadron Collider and chances are you'd also open up a Black Hole dimensional rift that'd swallow the sun. Thrash it loud, your nanna would love it!
ROCKET SCIENCE (*****) myspace :: Speaking of 40,000 volts of electricity and freaky shit with reanimate corpses (or the less said about my sex life, the better!), here's our headlining act: Rocket Science! You may remember them from the last time I reviewed them way back in May; or if you've been drinking nearly as much paint thinner I do on the weekends you don't, so this will be a new experience for all of us! Rocket Science: they're one of "those" live bands you write about that always comes with an accompanying anecdote. One that either involves filling a brandy glass with one thousand brown M&Ms, a Bengal tiger and beating a shopkeeper to death with his own shoe; or that story about passing out stone cold, falling down a flights of stairs, falling into a coma, waking up two weeks later with a mad case of amnesia only to be told that you're the lead singer in a rock band, your name is Roman Tucker and you'll be back on tour in three months. Fuuuck! Personally I'm more likely to believe all that shit about the brown M&Ms but here we are: back again at Jive for yet another tour, secretly wondering if Roman Tucker will provide us with an "encore" tonight (and blocking off both entry points to the balcony just in case). Welcome back Rocket Science!
Rocket Science. They're a rock band from Melbourne in quite the same way that Michael Jackson could still be considered a wildly successful R&B singer and not something that crash landed in a spacecraft originating from the Pleiades star cluster some 61 years ago. A "rock band" that by loosest descriptions could be described as 60's surf meets 50's sci-fi meets a bag of shrooms. Or rather like Tim Burton, Ed Woods, B52s and The Stooges having a dinner party with Leatherface and his extended family from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the volume turned up. Or rather like something the english language doesn't even have a word for yet (but german has at least 3). Either way fuckit, watch this shit and just YOU try figuring it all out!
Yup that's Rocket Science. They're electrodes hooked up to frog's legs, drillbits cutting through skulls, eels, leaches, grave robbing, the black lung, stop animation, killing shit with silver bullets and crossbows, dry ice, rubber spiders, insane mutton chops, "disappearing" prostitutes, Jack the Ripper, Jekyll & Hyde, Van Helsing, Van Goth, Frankenstein's monster and everything that was ridiculously awesome and insane about Victorian England minus all the syphilis..
And curiously enough they're also about replacing guitarist Paul Maybury at the last minute with Hollywood actor Justin Long (ie: that dweeb out of Jeepers Creepers, Dodgeball and Die Hard 4, aka: "The Mac Guy") which on the surface seems like an odd bit of stunt casting, until you realise that just about every other Australian band has pulled this prank at least once the past 10 years. I mean how could we forget Powderfinger replacing Darren Middleton with Skeet Ulrich back in 1998, or when The Vines replaced Craig Nicholls with Edward Furlong back in 2003 (or while we're on the subject, just about any band stupid enough to replace ANY lead singer with Jaret Leto). Weird I know, but this weasel still knows how to rock it..
As for their set tonight, it was pretty much everything you've come to expect from Rocket Science. A gutteral yelp, a cacophany in church organ, a wail of the theramin, a minimalist refrain from bass and guitar and a metronome driven beat. Or in other words everything I would've otherwise written about in more detail if I'd actually remembered to keep any notes about their setlist tonight and not made a twit of myself to classic jams such as "Being Followed" here..
As let's face it the main reason you go see them live is not so much for the music, but simply to see if Roman Tucker will do something incredibly stupid (and by "stupid", I mean ridiculously all kinds of "awesome"), damn near kills himself out there and takes all of US along for the ride!
Yup, it's just these kind of bands that I damn near live for! Sure, you could watch a band stare at their feet all night, sing under their hair, swap instruments and come up with the most skull fuckingly beautiful odes to woe and existential; but until you've broken a few ribs, blacked out an eye and lost consciousness whilst one of these howling dickheads skydives onto a crowd from above? duuuuude you just haven't lived! Right here is what this shit is ALL about!
And as Roman Tucker crawls out of the wreckage and back on stage, does a "David Helffgott" on the organ, forgets where the fuck he is for a few chance moments and attempts to summon the mothership back home: we bid farewell to another insane set by Rocket Science..
Yup, this crowd says it all: we don't know what the fuck just hit us but damnit, we like it!
And so there we have it. Thursday night, Hindley Street, Jive, three live bands and the same shit you've seen played out a million times before; but as long as you wake up tomorrow: in a bathtub, up a tree, in a perspex box that's slowly filling up with water, or clawing your way out of a coffin buried in the scorching sands of San Salvador without a clue how the fuck you got there or why you have a handgun, a falsified passport and a microchip lodged up your left nostril with a number of a swiss bank account, then you know it's all been more than worthwhile!