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...
SHOJI HANO + KRIS WANDERS + YUSUKE AKAI LIVE @ JADE MONKEY / Saturday September 13th 2008
I've gone completely fucking insane. I'm shell shocked and my ears are ringing, only the dialtone has been replaced by one of those novelty ringtones of a chipmunk laughing. Check my nose for metallic implants, foil hat, flashing light, pupil dilation, rapid eye moment and the closing scenes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I'm a cardboard cutout, smiling and waving, left gathering wind, rain and sun bleeching on the curbside of a Blockbuster Video. Ooops product placement! allergic response! tilt head sideways and give it a good tap: $3.75 in change and one alien pilot in aviator goggles falls out gurgling. It's been a hell of a journey. What doesn't kill me surely makes me.. stranger? or is that stronger? Daft Punk robots break dancing and body popping over my smoking carcass. Sometimes I look in the mirror and it's not me: he's Japanese, he's on fire, tap out the correct sequence of buttons, special fatality move! Where am I? where am I going? do they serve complimentary peanuts here? check the DVD commentary: we deleted a scene. With one tug of the string the chipmunk disappears up the chimney, the housecat awakes, only to find all the furniture's been nailed to the ceiling. I feel like that sometimes, sometimes I feel I need a holiday, then I realise I AM the holiday. Damn.. where the FUCK am I again!? OH YEAAAH! Saturday night! sanity and I are curious bedfellows: aaaah she pulls the weirdest shapes by the strobelight.. mmmm kinky! Sometimes I really need someplace to go: a sanitarium of sorts. I can rinse out, dry out, plug the toaster in and tune the fuck out. YES! Anyone else would simply find a tropical island, a few beers, a botched kidnapping attempt and a good book to read but I have a reverse psychology to cure me. I pick the weirdest damn thing I can find on the menu and with one swift kick to the head it's: goodbye Kansas and hello Mexican Zombie Jesus!
And besides, when you're nearly as hangover and circling the drain as I am, where ELSE would you rather go on a Saturday night than right here at the Jade Monkey for the finest "fire music and future noise" Japanese spawned, incomprehensible, jazz gibberish!? Fuck yeah! And it's not the first time I've sought out such an affront to the natural order either. Those of you familiar with my previous exploits would remember with fond memories the shitcrazy performance of the Swiss gimp with the pig noises that was Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck back in July 2007..
Or what about the blissfully aloof pyromaniac antics of one Fjorn Butler / Marden?
Or what about THIS guy? everyone loves this guy riiiight? FUCK YEAAAAH! :)
And who could possibly forget the awesomeness that was Mathieu Werchowski? "wuh.. who!?" yeah I know, I think the same thing too when I wake up screaming in the middle of the night..
So for these and many more reasons (and quite possibly less) I find myself here: here at the Jade Monkey taking yet another photo of a drumkit in front of a stage. Why? because I collect these. I keep a million of these, I print them all out as 6x4 glossies, they're plastered all over my bedroom walls and ceiling and I look like a crazy person. But hey, what else did you expect?
YUSUKE AKAI (****) myspace :: Our opening act for the night erupts on stage in a burst of ear bleed, a staccato stab of static, a squeal of feedback and what sounds like a bonesaw cutting through sheet metal tapping out a morse code haiku. It only gets weirder from here. Yusuke Akai, from Brisbane, originally from Japan, originally from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, is apparently a freeform guitarist (of sorts). Although a more apt description would a demolision expert, a madman impersonating a pterdactyl and an allergic reaction to sunlight and gravity. Hunched over and all bent out of shape he plucks randomly over his instrument, a skittering madenning desequence of squeaks and twangs, as he pulls every string assunder and dismantles his guitar piece by piece quite like a three year old making short work of a Nintendo DS. Occassionally he'd accompany this with throat singing, and by "throat singing" I pretty much mean everything from Tibetan chanting, the squeal of car tires skidding, a sealion having an explosive orgasm and Yodo with a mad case of Tourette's. None of it sounded like anything that sounds like anything else even remotely approaching music. There's no thesaurus here, there's quite possibly a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex of some description, but either way I'm frightened. After ten minutes it's all over. There's no video, my camera shrank into its compact shell like a frightened turtle and this four star score may be the chance roll of the dice, but duuude WHAT a way to start the night!
LIKE LEAVES (****1/2) myspace :: Act two lands to Earth with a soft thud and the dull whirring of an antigraviton pulse engine. It's two maybe three weeks later, and we awaken to find ourselves spread eagled in the Californian desert with no memory how the hell we got there save for a strange metallic taste, the ability to pick up cable TV in our ring finger and a fondness for cat food. Like Leaves are the sound of us coming home to at least some semblance of reality, maybe a shoebox diorama of some sorts, hey look! there's a cactus! Blue skies, time lapse clouds, a fish eye panorama lens, bones picked clean by the buzzards and there it is: the softest of lightly dappled guitar beckoning us: like teeny tiny pebbles flicked into a waiting pool, ripples extending outwards as our consciousness returns in waves, like all the sand dunes that stretch out before us. It's the sound of Jim Morrison's ghost talking in riddles and yet not talking at all. It's a mad hit of peyote. It's spirit guides leading us astray. It's Pink Floyd playing at the ruins of Pompeii set to a film score as the slow rumble of orchestral drums sends us down the River Styx. "Out here on the perimeter, there ARE no stars. Out here we is stoned.. immaculate!". OOOOH YEAAAH! this is one wiiiild ride!
Again it's a short set. Maybe ten to fifteen minutes and three songs between them, but there's an infinite journey here and a highway stretching deep into the horizon in the way that they weave their composition. It's a widescreen instrumental, intersperced by sporadic chanting. It's Daniel Varricchio's guitar like a domino cascade forming patterns in the ether. It's Patrick Saracino meditating deep into the brown notes of his bass guitar belching like the sweet effluent overflow of a three bean salad. It's Ryan Manolakis sifting through the wreckage of time and space and assembling a drumkit formed like a gnarled tree given amthropomorphic tendancies. And joined by a guest saxophonist from Skeletons they tap into those frequencies, they shift between the ebb and the flow. From sweet peace to a shrill insurgency like a mad Coltrane meltdown on traintracks smashing through your driver side window. There's is a tale woven so effortlessly I could have lived here for days. Hmmm maybe they're searching the deserts for me still..
SHOJI HANO (***1/2) website :: Returning deep into the belly of the mothership for act three, we're treated to a 10-20 minute drum solo by Shoji Hano from somewhere indigenous to the islands of Japan, or quite possibly to the post apocalyptic megatropolis of Neo Tokyo as unearthed from an archaelogical dig a million years from the future. Only those fluent in the jazz, the blues, the Mexican Day Of The Dead, or crawling out of the tail end of a lifelong comprehensive medicine cabinet of cerebral rewirings could possibly manifest something ever so utterly incomprehensible and preverbalised as this. Oh yes! we're witness to one of the greats: "one of God's own prototypes: too weird to live, too rare to die", sounding like everything you've ever learned, unlearned, aphasic and scattering on the floor like spaghetti. Time signatures smash into each other like a broken calculator and as if from afar, as if from a Ouiji board guided by unseen hands. And yet, look long and deep enough into the static and eventually you'll see shapes, faces, arms reaching out to pull you in. It's Shoji Hano working these drums like an octagenerian navigating Microsoft Word. It's Yoda, it's R2D2, it's grunts, clicks and whirrs brought back to it's origin point. It's a ceremony handed down in all the most bizarre and avant-garde of expressions. And then it's over. We nod and we play along like we all understand. It's exhausting, but it's also strangely captivating in its disjointedness..
And since most of you didn't understand a single word of what the fuck I just said (yeah I know I'm being all arty and freeform impressionistic in this episode.. fuck knows why!?) here's a live video to explain, in ways I don't even have words for yet, just what I was up against (only the real thing was three times longer and was even more confusing). Is it a Zen monastery wiped out by an avalanche? Is it the sounds of one hand clapping? Is it a recipe for dope cookies recited backwards so no one would EVER suspect? Duuuuude, you're guess is as good as mine!
MOURGOS GRÜND (***) myspace :: A long time ago in a galaxy far far away (or quite possibly right here and 24 hours ago) I once lived in a reality very much like yours. There were planes, trains, cars and people. There were trees. There were birds singing in them. The sky was blue. We lived, we breathed, we ate three meals a day, brushed our teeth, talked about the weather and obeyed the laws of physics. I miss that place. Do they still have hotdogs? Mmmmm I love hotdogs. This is act four Mourgos Gründ, he'll also be credited tonight as "Lonnie Universe" and sometimes on the rarest occassion (ie: for "tax reasons") he'll also be referred to by his mortal name of Lenin Michael. No he's not THAT "Lenin": he's not buried in Red Square and he never ushered in the revolution, but not from lack of trying. He's the Lenin responsible for tonight's festival to shitcrazy. He's also the Lenin responsible for just about any OTHER shitcrazy disturbance in the force you'll ever find in the Adelaide scene. Some call this experimental, some call this art, some simply run screaming in the opposite direction at the mere sight of it whilst this mad cat lives and breathes it. Oh and you may also refer to him as that shitcrazy 'ol lady who did a yammering monologue entirely in Greek whilst beating an assortment of pots and pans at a gig over a year ago (and no I'm not making that shit up that REALLY happened). This is NOT a repeat of that, this is something ELSE altogether and as much as I'd love to explain ANY of it, again I'm at a total loss..
Yup, this was noise, pure chugging noise. A constant feedback loop of made up of gravel, dirt, mud, ground up chicken bones and some kind of insane voodoo curse. He worked it through what appeared to be a busted up turntable / tape deck combo wired up through a billion effects pedals. He would pace back and forth, swaying about like a drunk, like a disapproving parent, diving in and out and plucking at the needle. Occassionally he'd even lean in, rub his face in it and scream. He did this for ten minutes. At the end it all went silent, he stooped over, grabbed some shells, shook them vigoriously and simply chanted "goobledock! gobbledock! gobbledock!" for half a minute. In the end he appeared quite happy with what he did, whilst the rest of us simply looked like a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias had just materialised right in front of us and exploded in a shower of blubber and petals. Yup, the words "mind" and "fuck" don't even begin to describe it, but I'm sure you'll come up with your own words after you've seen THIS..
SHOJI HANO / KRIS WANDERS / YUKUSE AKAI (****1/2) website :: And now for what we've been waiting all night for (or quite possibly cowering in fear under a table from: eyes darting madly, with a makeshift hat made of tinfoil so that "all the aliens can't read our thoughts") we're presented with three world class jazz musicians who could be loosely described as our "headlining act". A headlining act without a name. A headlining act consisting of Yusuke Akai on guitar, Shoji Hano on drums and joined by Kris Wanders from the Netherlands on saxophone. A headlining act to end all other headlining acts. Although calling any of this by any standardised notion of a "headlining act" or using standardised terms like "guitar", "drums" or "saxophone" is quite like attempting to explain the inner workings of an iphone to the Salem Witch Trials: "well.. y'see, it's got this thing called GPS and wireless 3G internet, no wait I'll start again! look if I press THIS button you can make telephone calls! see? awesome huh? oh wait now you're lighting me on fire.. wait lemme start again! anyone heard of mp3? hello? heello!?". Which is probably what you're all thinking right now as I attempt to explain ANY of this insane shit to you. Technically they're jazz. No wait, they're way beyond jazz! no wait, they're waaay beyond even the wacky realm that Delusions Of Grandma chooses to live in (or all that other freeform psychedelic junk you love to smoke trees of weed in accompaniment to). No, if you tried that shit with this, you'd probably see the face of God and the Devil as one and the same, your face would form a steaming puddle on the floor and then you would be dead (but hey, be sure to send me a postcard when you get there!). I mean fuck duuude where do I even begin with this shit!?
It's complete and utter chaos, loosely organised around the vibration of atoms and particles to produce what you would call "sound". Most of it appeared to be concentrated between the 20Hz to 22kHz frequencies that constitute the normal human range of hearing. Although I can only assume this to be the case as I couldn't hear any dogs barking nearby. Who knows maybe every single one of them in a five mile radius spontaneously combusting the minute they came into contact with this shit, cause it's sure as fuck having the same effect on my synapses attempting to unravel it. It's discordant, utterly disjointed, completely dyslexic to any language spoken by any person living or since collapsed on the floor in front of me. It's the insane drumming of Shoji Hano that bears no relation to anything that Yusuke Akai is plucking out of his instrument, yet loosely held together by the mad squeals of Kris Wanders on the saxaphone. They're the "Snap", "Crackle" and "Pop" Rice Bubble mascots ushering in the apocalypse. They're utterly impossible to listen to and yet like some perverse twist on the Stockholm Syndrome they're also infinitely more intriguing the more you listen to them. To think they played this shit for over 45 minutes? and they had CDs for sale? and people actually bought them!? duuuude, awesome!
12:35AM - It's been one hell of a wild ride. I believe at one point a dimensional rift opened up, a floating foetus in a trasparent hamster bubble manifested itself over our heads and it explained to us the secrets of Twin Peaks, Lost, Michel Gondry's brain and the REAL reason behind why all the bees are disappearing! We ate him afterwards, he tasted a little like chicken. Mmmm wait damn! come to think of it I wish he'd explained the whole "taste like chicken" thing too. Oh well! So much the wiser and yet so much the weirder for it! *cough* where was I? oh yeaaah!
12:55AM - I almost entertained the notion of going home at this point. I mean what the fuck else out there tonight could possibly EVER compete with this? It's only Saturday night, a full moon and the first weekend of Spring: surely nothing insane would come from that, riight?
Oooops, looks like I spoke too soon. Moments earlier Dick Dale, lead singer of punk band Kamikaze (celebrating the tail end of their riotous set at the Crown & Anchor), storms off stage, bursts through the crowd on a mad mission with their beloved dismembered department store mannequin in tow, plants himself on the medium strip on Grenfell Street, sets it on fire, and promptly storms on back inside. It burns like a bonfire for a solid 5 minutes, cars are honking their horns, people are running amok taking photos, and apparently one dickhead (above) feels the insane need to pull all these mad shapes in front of it too (yeah.. like, what was up with that!?). Hmmm yup, looks like THIS Saturday night is nowhere near done with me yet..
With curiousity getting the better of me (and not wanting to get arrested by the cops under the impression I was the idiot who started this) I followed Dick Dale back inside and caught the rest of their set. I would've taken more photos except for (a) their bass player Shannon still wanting to kill me for that review I wrote on Ricochete Pete back in May 2007 (tee hee!) and (b) pretty much for anything ELSE they were doing on stage that would've gotten me splattered over four walls if I dared go anywhere near it. Either way it turns out it didn't matter, moments before I could react, all the lights went out in this room, security swarmed all over us and the gig got shut down. Yup when it comes to Kamikaze I believe THIS was possibly one of their better ones..
1:16AM - Thinking surely THAT had to be the end of it and not looking to stick around just in case a mixed bag of skinheads, neo-nazis, rival biker gangs, and the full thousand strong goblin and orc army that stormed Helms Deep decide to show up for an encore, I chose to flee to the ONE place in all of the east end ghetto that surely NO supernatural, shitcrazy occurance would choose to manifest itself in; cause hey nothing EVER happens at Producers Bar riiiight?
Well you're half right. Producers Bar was closed, but just next door in Electric Light Hotel I stumbled upon THIS: this is either Chewbacca, some fuglyarse twat doing an exceptionally bad impersonation of him, someone with a serious case of excessive body hair, or the DJ playing at the fancy dress party that I just so happened to stumble upon completely by "accident" tonight. The same drunkarse loon who was caught moments earlier having sex in the beergarden toilets. FUCK! I swear I'm cursed, and this shit is following me everywhere I go tonight isn't it!?
Still it did provide for some opportune photos (quite possibly the last ones I'll ever take before this shit damn near kills me): take Pennywise the Clown here for instance. You may recognise him as that one clown that was meant to scare you shitless in that Stephen King movie "It" way back in 1990 with the whole "heeeey kids!? want a balloon? they float! we all float down here.. BWAAAHAhHAhaHAh!!" but instead of scaring you, it simply disturbed you in a Catholic Priest kind of way. Yeah, pretty much like MOST of Stephen King's stuff. I mean seriously, was that undead cat in Pet Cemetery meant to freak me out in the slightest!? But still I gotta admit "The Shining" with Jack Nicholson WAS cool! That whole bathroom scene with the freaky old lady? that bit with the twins and the river of blood? that bit where the guy with the bear suit goes down on that guy in the suit and oh waiiit.. so THAT'S who the DJ is meant to be!!
And speaking of things that'll likely give me nightmares and cost me thousands of dollars in therapy in years to come, check out THIS freak with the horse's head! aaaaawesome! :)
Yup, me doing the freaky dance with this shit ain't bugging you out in the slightest now is it? :)
2:25AM - Clearly I'd have to be getting seriously and stupidly drunk to cope with all this shit. Which come to think of it is no different from any other night out that I've EVER spent in this howling baboon enclosure. Mmmm still I could really go a beer right about now. Maybe I'll tap this Corona. Or more accurate, maybe I already "tapped" this Corona, "overflowed" it and put it back on this shelf. Although chances are if you DID accidently drink it (and alas, no one fell for it the ENTIRE night!) it probably would've given you the same alcohol hit anyways.. hmmm :)
3:47AM - And now that we're a little too disturbed to discover that my urine could actually be used to solve the global energy crisis (I've been told it makes a wickedarse cool molotov cocktail too.. weeeeee!), here's yet ANOTHER image for ya that's sure to give you nightmares..
What the FUCK MAAAN!!? What the fuck is going on with this night!!?? Is it the weather? Is it Spring!? is it the full moon fucking with everyone's minds? is it me? are they following me? am I gonna wake up in the middle of the night, hear a light tapping on my bedroom window only to discover hoards of them all waiting outside with burning torches and a smile!? GUH!!?? that's it! I've got to get the fuck out of here before it's late!! run damnit! RUN FER YA LIIIVES!!!
4:20AM - And so into the remainder of the night, this is where you would've found me (or if everyone went to plan you wouldn't have), cowering at the corner of the bar, slamming down one drink after another and yammering and shrieking hysterically about all the insane shit I saw tonight to anyone within earshot; knowing full well that nobody would ever believe me. I mean how COULD they!? none of this shit was real, none of it really happened, it was all a dream and any minute now I'm gonna wake up and everything is going to be all right.. riiiiight?
5:12AM - But no, something is well and truly out of balance in this universe. There are signs, there are portents, the end of days is nigh and if ever you needed proof, witness THIS incident I captured here on video as I was walking home tonight. Do we finally have proof I possess some form of telekenesis or electrical bio-conductance!? Have I become the nexus to some hitherto unexplicable and unquantifiable psycho-scientific phenomenon? what the fuck people!? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE!? (and more importantly can I pull chicks with it?)
Yup this is me and this is my entire reality unravelling around me. This is me returning home only to discover all my furniture's been nailed to the ceiling. This is me rocking back and forth, in the corner of the room, in a foetal position, hands over my eyes and ears yammering "there's no place like home! there's no place like home" moments before someone pulls the plug on me and I find myself on the Nebuchadnezzar in some cliche techno pumping dystopiate future. Phewww what an awesome way to clear my head out, duuuuude.. let's do this again some time! :)