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...
SKYE HARBOUR + TYGER TYGER + THE KEEPSAKES LIVE @ JADE MONKEY / Friday September 19th 2008
Of all the idiocy to pursue in life: "celebrity status" would have to be the most needlessly stupid of them all. Some will spend their entire lives feverishly seeking it out, others will merely have it thrust upon them as the fringe benefit of a very public recreational drug habit (who me!?), but either way being a so-called "celebrity" (or a drunkarse D-grade excuse for one) really ain't what it used to be. Thanks to myspace, facebook, youtube, CCTV cameras, the tabloids and a billion and one (shitty) reality tv shows documenting our every move; just about EVERYONE is famous these days. Some call it "the death of privacy", some call it "Big Brother", others simply call it "the end of civilisation as we know it", while the rest of us are all more than happy to live under its constant surveillance: happily blasting away holes into each others retinas, uploading, posting, tagging, blogging and over inflating our self worth for all that it's clearly not (or rather like all the retarded shit you're reading right now.. weeeeee!). None of us have any right to be a celebrity or celebrated under ANY circumstance, yet here we are giving it all we got. Why? well why the fuck not!? when the entire planet's going down the drain, why pay attention to all the bigger issues in life when we can simply bury ourselves in the endless drama that IS ourselves!? And nowhere is this pursuit of excrement (oops I mean "excellence") more pronounced than right here in our very own "Radelaide" music scene! When every other "celebrated" international touring act is skipping us by to play Melbourne.. y'know what!? fuck 'em all! we've got all we need right here! Be that big fish swimming in a little pond! live the dream! be that star!! YEAAS!!
For if ever there could be a case study to the microcosm of all that it is to be a fleeting celebrity, it would be right here at the Jade Monkey tonight: where all our dreams (and quite possibly our nightmares) can come true! Just look at the crowd crawling the walls out there, oh yes! they can smell it in the possibility in the air! Come one, come all, and taste.. nay feed upon the insanity!
THE KEEPSAKES (***1/2) myspace :: Our opening act for the night hits the stage all innocence and wide eyed, not quite knowing what the fuck has hit them in return with all the insane shrieking, arm flailing and hysterical fainting now paraded before them. Although granted they're no strangers to such lunacy as they only JUST crawled out of wreckage triplefold this intensity when they played MTV Kickstart a month ago (lest we forget the horrors unleashed from THAT monstrosity), so much so they're actually down a member tonight (Felicity: teeny tiny cute-as-a-button keyboardist, occassional elf) who fled in outright terror over the prospects of a repeat performance (yiiiikes!). The Keepsakes: for want of a better term could be considered a "happy accident". Ever so humble, so shy, so goofily grinning and yet ever so effective in their killing proficiency. In any other world they'd merely be a chance side-project between Anthony on leads (aka: guitarist from Zeta), a few of his ring-in buddies and a recipe for relative obscurity. And yet here tonight, through little or no effort, they're winning this crowd with a formula that's been passed down ever since antiquity (or more specifically the 1950s), the screaming hysteria that is "pop". And by "pop" I don't mean whoever the fuck is doing product placements for Sony, flashing their pink bits, simulating lesbianism or going through rehab on MTV, but more the very essence of REAL "pop": cheesy lyrics, catchy melodies and sunshine happy grooves; duuude how could a crowd not love this band!?
The Keepsakes: they're the sounds of The Shins, Supergrass, Death Cab For Cutie and you skipping hand in hand going "la-la-la" with an oversized teddy bear through a field of flowers on a warm summer's day. They're freshly baked choc chip cookies and a cool glass of milk. They're boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again under the sofa cushions, they both have a pillow fight, laugh hysterically, and live happily ever after sleeping in seperate beds in 1950's suburbia. They're Happy Days, the Brady Bunch and the theme to the sitcom "Friends". They're believing in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and everything you've ever seen in a commercial for Carefree Tampons. And they're also me loading this shotgun, sticking both barrels in my mouth and giggling uncontrollably as I squeeze the trigger. Although considering lead singer Anthony is the "Paul McCartney" to Sascha's "John Lennon" from Zeta it's probably not all that surprising. The Keepsakes: so happy, so blissfully naive, aaaah if only we could all be as genuine as this!
TYGER TYGER (****1/2) myspace :: Which brings us to act two: the flipside, the darkside to the "genuine" intent to enthrall and overthrow each and every one of us all by any means unnecessary. OH YES! Do not be fooled by their shiny surfaces! The devil comes in many forms. It promises you many things. Sometimes it's some red faced twat with a pointed goaty and a pitchfork, sometimes it's Elizabeth Hurley, sometimes it's Dick Cheney, sometimes it's Dakota Fanning, sometimes it even takes the form of LOLcats (I mean c'mon!? who didn't see that one coming from a mile off!), but when you hear a goofy little band that sounds a little too much like the Arctic Monkeys? RUUUUN!!! Yup, Tyger Tyger may very well be one of Adelaide's most awesome excuses to get drunk, get butt-arse naked, make like rabbits and party too: so much so, that with six band members running amok on stage they almost don't need an audience to achieve that aim (just don't ask me to draw a diagram on how they go about "multiplying") but they're also a diabolical scheme bordering on the Machiavellan. Some would simply call it a "rock band", others a howling trainwreck crossed with a fraternity party fresh out of Animal House, but they're nothing less than the first wave of the invasion. They're a military operation, carefully calculated like Sun Tzu down to the smallest detail, marketed by a dedicated multimedia assassin squad, striking all of your myspace profiles, spreading like a virus, getting into everyone's headspaces and laying all their eggs. They want nothing less than total world domination! OH YES!! Or y'know maybe just a few million dollars, some hookers and blow and a cherished spot on your ipod; whichever comes first..
Still when you're dealing with a live band that encourages this much drunk debauchery from a crowd, Antichrist or no, how COULD you possibly go wrong? Well I'll tell you. Firstly there's lead singer Travis and his insane buzzcut that makes him look like Sigourney Weaver out of Aliens 3 (seriously what's with all these Adelaide bands getting haircuts all a sudden!?). Secondly it's that insane hispanic accent he insisting upon using for most of the gig. Thirdly.. um, no actually that's pretty much it. Sure I could make fun of whatever fucked up shit Tim their bass player is into these days (oooooh the endless jokes I could crack at his expense!!), but other than that (and a misguided mashup as an opening number that combined all the best (and worse) bits of "Play Rough" and "One More Beer" into the ONE song), this set didn't entirely suck tonight. No joke, Tyger Tyger really DO know how to throw one helluva party! and if ever they actually succeed in taking over the planet (ie: be wary of any second "moons" found orbiting the Earth), I'll be with them every step of the way: stealing their groupies and drinking all their beer rider!
SKYE HARBOUR (****) myspace :: Which brings us to our final headlining act. You may remember them as the Adelaide winners of MTV Kickstart. You may also remember them when they made an appearance on MTV's "The Lair" just this night passed. Or if you're here right now like I am, you probably can't remember much of anything: since all thought has now been deafened to an EEG flatline that is the howling procession that greets them as soon as they hit the stage. Yup, there's no denying that they're in the thick of it right now. In the thick of what exactly it's hard to say, although scientists claim the minute they find a way to purify "it", get rid of the stench and dust off all the flies we could drive our cars on it for years to come. Skye Harbour. Describing this band is rather akin to explaining the weird stains to your drycleaner after being ambushed by a loved up labradoodle that comes bounding out of nowhere, jumps on you, covers you in hair, drool and urine only to finish up with a "happy ending" all over your leg (or rather like how most of your Saturday nights will end up if you step foot into the Bull & Bear during "Transmission" or Jive when its hosting "Gosh"). This is not a band that lives by half measure, only the most overblown histrionic personality disorders will suffice here. It's all there in the handclaps, the hair, the mashing keys, how that bass player throws himself through a fucking wall, all the effects, the singalongs, the crashing guitar solos and wave upon wave of obssessed fans crashing into you from all angles behind you. There's nowhere to run, there's nowhere to hide, Skye Harbour owns this tiny venue and everyone damn idiot around them. Oooooh sweet Jeebus have mercy on our mortal spleens!
Skye Harbour (beyond the urge to claw my face off and bleed from my eyesockets from all the mind shattering awesomeness of it) sound rather like Ben Folds, Ben Lee and Weezer mixed in with all the humble self depreciation of Coldplay. They're an epic, overblown, stadium rocking, nervous breakdown of bittersweet emotional rock packed into a teeny tiny intimate venue that could theoretically host a hundred people comfortably if only we all breathed IN at the same time and didn't exhale. They're a force five, richter nine shit-a-brick blackhole that even light couldn't hope to escape, they're everything in action and reaction that most Adelaide bands would absolutely kill for and they're everything that I'd kill every one of these people in the room for to escape from right now. Still, gosh darnit do they play some niftyarse tunes!
Yup if any of you up and comers ever wanted to know what all this sought after celebrity, hype and hysteria looks like in the Adelaide music scene, THIS is the spontaneous burst of stupidity you have to look forward to in all its hissyfit, howling, total loss of bladder control, glory..
Yup just think: with a few thousand myspace add requests, facebook group invites, comment bombings, SMS spam, gig flyers, posters, interviews in Rip It Up, dB, Mess+Noise, Fasterlouder, a prized Richard Kingsmill review on Triple J unearthed, high rotation radio airplay, national support slots, interstate tours, CD release parties, videos on Rage, and years of beating that head against a brick wall playing gigs to next to no-one (but this idiot taking photos and taking the piss out of you every step of the way): aaaaall this could be yours!! *cough* wait, remind me again how Skye Harbour got all of this and all so soon!? MTV Kickstart huh!? wow awesome!
1:23AM - I can't explain for the life of me HOW I got the fuck out of there alive, but here's the dumpsters where I stashed all the bodies afterwards. You probably think I'm joking, but I swear it's true. This is my honest confession. I did it and any number of you would do just the same if you were faced with the same situation (although could you have done it all with just a pencil!? I think not!). They're here even now, arms, legs, heads and torsos stuffed into garbage bags just off of Hindmarsh Square. Send a forensics team and you'll be sure to find them. Wait no.. maybe it was the other dumpsters off of Union Street; sometimes with all the fun I'm having I plum forget what the hell I'm doing.. wait.. what was I on about again? whoaaaaaaa headrush!
1:26AM - Newly liberated from the meat packing plant that was Jade Monkey tonight; I was dazed, dizzy and momentarily disoriented, but then it all came back into focus. Everything was shiny and new again: the colours so bright, the sounds like crystal, everything snapped back into focus. It was all so clear! All the little details! There was a WHOLE world out there waiting to be explored! Hmmm, maybe THIS sign will lead the way, to where exactly I'm not all that sure; but likely to yet another one of Spoz's Rant's infamous late night drunken tangents.. oooooh yes!
1:43AM - Yup, perhaps the last marble has finally rolled out of my skull and my mind is nothing more than a buzzing fridge with a half empty jar of pickles, a few spare packets of tomato sauce I nicked from Mickey D's and a carton of milk that's gone sour, but now I find myself endlessly fascinated by the simplest of objects, by the simplest of gestures, by the poetry that effortlessly weaves its way around me. Such as this pack of metalheads playing a game of pool at the Crown & Anchor: their shaved craniums radiant and resplendent in the fluorescents to match their ivory prey. What's this got to do with anything? absolutely nothing! lets celebrate it all!
1:49AM - Just like THIS prize I may or may not have been eligible for, moments later when I took a wizz in the toilets to unload all the alcohol that I clearly haven't been drinking tonight..
1:51AM - Or this dancefloor, which is well and truly pumping on a Friday night!
1:53AM - Which clearly has nothing to do with these idiots scaring everyone away. Speaking of which, try and guess which one of them is actually wearing a wig!? Hint: it's likely the one who's also secretly a member of an alien master race of shape-shifting lizard-people (*cough* not that there's anything wrong with that, I only have the utmost respect for our reptilian overlords!).
1:57AM - A swift whack of a pool cue to the back of the head and one former Sunday Mail journalist neatly stuffed into another dumpster later (huh.. what!? I did nothing!) and I find myself fleeing the resulting panic to the relatively safety of the Exeter on Rundle Street..
2:03AM - This is either a frosty pint of Coopers Dark Ale, Coopers Stout, Guinness, or a freshly procured reptiloid gland extract (or in other words: pretty much the same thing). I'm also told if you mix all three with a sprig of mint and a dash of lemon it makes a wicked werewolf repellent!
2:07AM - No clearly I haven't gone completely insane, clearly this isn't someone playing a game of backgammon at a pub, on a Friday night, a little past at 2 o'clock in the morning, I haven't gone completely off topic AGAIN on yet another drunken tangent and yes, this IS the singularly most fuckoff awesome thing I've seen all freaking night.. BACKGAMMON FUCK YEAAAH!!
2:12AM - This is the drunk photo that had to happen, quite possibly to illustrate that all three of us are wearing stripes all at the same time, and also to neatly illustrate why none of us should ever hold a term in office in any politically elected system of government anywhere in the world. Still, if any of us could gather a standing army? just think of all the fun we could have!
2:16AM - This is where I like to hide all the other bodies. Or at least that's what I would say when I finally confess to all the hideous crimes I commit late into the night. What!? you mean I already confessed to all those OTHER hideous crimes I commited early in the night!? pfffft.. you lie! show me ONE court of law where any of this would have me convicted.. HA! I laugh at you!
2:23AM - This is the speed that thought travels. Not necessarily all thoughts, but definitely my thoughts attempting to decipher exactly what this sign means in the near empty parking lot off of Union Street for the next 10 minutes absolutely piss drunk out've my mind, and whether the red circle forms an impenetrable forcefield from which the 5 can never escape, hmmm..
2:42AM - And finally, when it appears there's no chance in hell I'm going to tie any of THIS nonsense together with anything that should ever be celebrated (pointless or otherwise): this is a clumsy literary device, cunningly disguised as a supermarket trolley that I may (or may not have) just rolled all the way to the Ed Castle, that'll lead me right back on topic again.
2:58AM - As I present this: two very good reasons why this entire music scene should be nuked from orbit, sealed in lead, coated in concrete, shielded in rubber tires, stuffed with foam peanuts, packed in cardboard, wrapped up in that insane plastic they pack CDs in (that takes an industrial strength laser and an engineering degree to cut through) and dumped into the ocean for all of eternity (or at least until next tuesday) lest any of these dribbling idiots ever attempt to spread their dubious "celebrity" influence to an interstate or overseas market. Just say NO Australia!
3:45AM - And clearly this photo from Supermild really has no place being here, I have no clue why it's here, and it's really just getting in the way, but just look how pretty it is.. wooooo!
Yup, that's the thing about "celebrity". There's no point pursuing it for its own sake. For in doing so you invariably end up nowhere, with nothing to say, and with no reason to be there in the first place. Does this music scene have anything of value? should it ever be "celebrated", promoted discussed and endlessly dissected? Has "celebrity" in itself lost all meaning now that we all claim to be one, each in our own sphere of influence and constantly documented? maybe. Still when we live in a world where Paris Hilton still refuses to die? duuude we could do a whole lot worse!