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...
COLONEL KERNEL + ZETA + THE BATTERY KIDS LIVE @ JIVE / Friday October 10th 2008
It explains everything. Well actually it doesn't. I mean what the FUCK am I on about this week? First it was Schrödinger's cat and now THIS shit!? It's called "Neoteny". It's not the sum total of Keanu Reeve's acting ability (or lack thereof) in all three of The Matrix movies. It's not something that you'd be fluent in if the only published journals you ever read up on are ones that feature a "style police". No it's a scientific term, look it up bitches it'll explain everything! Or better yet I'll simply explain it FOR you (and rather badly at that) and then YOU can sneak it into your next dinner party conversation and pretend YOU'RE all educated 'n shit. "Neoteny: also called juvenilization, is the retention, by adults in a species, of traits previously seen only in juveniles". It's how we evolved from the chimpanzee. It's our fascination with fire. It's our creative drive. It's how we can STILL be lactose tolerant well into our adulthood. It's everything we love about rock & roll. When the (blue) chips are down and it's fight or flight time, "Neoteny" is what gets us in and out of trouble. It is both the cure and disease that created our humanity. It's WWI followed by the "Roaring 20's", it's WWII followed by the "Swinging 60's", it's WWIII and the here and now, it's our genes spawning a memetic cascade that'll lead to all those freaky little space aliens with the giant bulbous heads that we all know is secretly US in a few thousands years. We invented the "teenager". We invented binge eating, drinking, capitalism and the nanny state. Now thanks to Jerry Seinfeld and Mick Jagger we can live like wide-eyed imbeciles our entire lives!
When our elected "adults" are fucking things up, when the apocalypse is nigh on our doorstep, when our nightly news simply adds another log to that fire. What better way to over react than to revert to our childhood!? Head in the sand, crawl back into our shells, duck and cover and wait for the bombs to drop. Terrorism, Climate Change, Famine, Drought, The Obesity Epidemic, Economic Collapse and Sarah (fucking) Palin!? We could've sworn there was only meant to be four of them; but now we've got a stampede. Let's watch it all burn. Let's toast those marshmellows. Let's party like there's no tomorrow. And where else would you want to be than right here at Jive to celebrate it? Like a giant block of blue lego with its shiny primary colours and it's cartoon stars: this is our "Romper Room" for adults, this is where we can hide!
THE BATTERY KIDS (****) myspace :: Which from the looks of it, is a moment that this opening band has been waiting their entire lives to end for. The Battery Kids. Yup, if ever you wanted a pint sized Adelaide act to be the pure synthesis of Muse, Silverchair and Panic! At The Disco as performed by an anorexic, a manic depressive, an epilectic and a clockwork psychotic wailing and shrieking inches from your face (aka: Shannon Juvan on leads, Bowl Lipson on keys, Tom Krieg on bass and Shannon Simpson on drums respectively) then it would definitely be this one. They ARE the end of the world. They even wrote a song about it, it's called "Waiting For The End Of The World" and if ever I got stuck in an elevator with all four of them playing it, I might just want to end it all too. It's Shannon Juvan on leads wailing in an effeminate voice halfway between a lisp and a growl (or rather like Daniel John's entire music career as acted out by a stick of asparagus). It's Bowl Lipson on keys stabbing out that same note punctuated in time with Shannon Simpson, hacking and slashing on drums rather like a Hitchcockian ode to a shower knifing. It's Tom Krieg on bass continuously chasing his own tail. It's a jarring mix, made no less apparent when all four of them choose to break the tension by breaking into nonsensical acapella and even weirder when they bust a follow up number fuck full of shitcrazy tango rhythms. Still, in a time and place like this, their music is only all the MORE insanely relevant. The Battery Kids: your time is now!
As such with all four of them up on stage, wailing and weeping like infants tonight and with all of us packed into a venue that's feeling increasingly claustrophobic and decreasingly oxygenated by the minute: I'm reminded less of a pissy little band playing a pissy little opening set on a Friday night to next to no-one and more of Muse's "Stockholm Syndrome" with an entire TV audience breaking into song as a kitchen sink of existential shit gets blown to fuck around them (and while we're on the subject very much relating to it's namesake in the living of it as well.. yeeeouch!). The Battery Kids. They're a difficult customer but they DO grow on you, and tonight with all that's been going on in the world, I'm very much digging this shit. For when that "ship" finally sinks below those waves: who else but THESE guys would you ever want to have around!?
Our next band tonight is briefly interrupted by THIS guy: who for want of a better name I'll simply call "doucebag MC". They're a rarity at any live gig and for good reason: for nothing quite spoils the mood than some dingbat, wingnut or arseclown attempting to whip up a crowd with a "hey! hey! can we get a cheer for The Battery Kids!?", followed by the even lamer "no really with FEELING this time!?", when we'd much rather stare into our beers and look utterly ambivalent to be here. I mean how ELSE are we meant to maintain a slacker sense of cool!? Still, it could be worse: we could've been treated to a repeat performance from THIS douchebag MC from MTV's Kickstart instead (and yes, we're still having nightmares about that shit!).
Speaking of nightmares involving MTV Kickstart: the last time I saw this band was when I found THIS poor bastard stuck outside of Rocket Bar (moments after they played that night) arguing in vain with the doorbitch in effort to be let back in, only to be told the venue was at "capacity" (only to be dragged away by security moments later when he attempt to make a "run for it"). This is Sascha, lead singer of Zeta. Sascha rides a skateboard. Sascha has aggressively flared sinuses. Sascha bleeds all over his guitar. Sascha won't live past the age of 27 and will likely become one of those sadsack tragic "antiheroes" that pathetic teenage girls will swoon over for all the wrong reasons (disturbingly quite a few already do!). Sascha is also a political script writer: we can't say for sure which politician he writes for (or for which party) but it may possibly explain a LOT of the insane gibberish he spewed forth for this interview with Fasterlouder. To quote: "We’re basically keen to just get heaps famous and sleep with Hollywood starlets, like Mischa Barton. She apparently wanted to do that guy from Wolfmother so I reckon I could have a shot.". Yup, that's Sascha. He's equal measure masochist and bullshit artist. He's a whiny little bitch with a girl's name. He's everything that's wrong with Zeta and everything that makes this band all the more hilarious to write about this week. What an idiot. What a legend!
Zeta. They're also more than the sum of their parts. Not just for Sascha and his glaring immaturity but for many more reasons; even if they're down one tonight thanks to the glaring absence of their regular drummer Tom. Some claim it's the flu, herpies, Creutzfeldt-Jakob or lyme disease but we all know that's simply a cover story. What he's really doing is spending a "quiet one" up in his hillside retreat honing his sniple rifle skills. Laugh you may but one day we will thank him for his tireless service to the continuing survival of humanity (and likely that day will be "soon"). Replacing him instead is Luke from The Waterslides: who, although not nearly as passive aggressive as Tom usually behind the kit HAS got his signature look "between quiet desperation and suicidal boredom" pretty much nailed. Besides this (very minor) difference, Zeta tonight are pretty much the exact same band you loath (and secretly love) that sounds rather like a snuff film involving Brian Molko, Billy Corgan and Paul McCartney pissing in a circle whilst Paul Dempsey from Something For Kate gets strangled with piano wire; except for a few awkward moments where Anthony complains about his foldback being "much too loud" only to realise it's coming from his shirt. Oh and as much as I would love to make fun of Clemi on bass too, I won't because insanely cute chicks on bass guitar are the most awesome ever (and let's face it despite it being THE indie cliche #1, there's never nearly enough of them to go around!).
Yup that's Zeta. They're a mastercraft in songwriting. They're firing it up tonight like there's no tomorrow. They're the bawling infant in us all crying for mother nature to wipe the slate clean. They're also one of the best damn EP releases of the year! so much so that the Independent Weekly proudly proclaimed it as being: "nothing more than a maddeningly poor, pointless and self-indulgent excuse for an album.". Oh yes! they're a freaking gift to gonzo photojournalism! Take Sascha's guitar for instance. That same guitar I zoom into in this video with dementing glee. That same guitar STILL covered in flecks of blood. It used to belong to his fellow band member Anthony but after Sascha kept bleeding all over it Anthony sold it to him! That's how ridiculously awesome this band is! When everything's gone to shit, they're showing us exactly how we feel! (and providing me with endless material to mock them with). FUCK YEAH!
Such is the mad buzz that this band is beginning to build in the local scene that moments after Sascha pulls a "stigmata" on his guitar in the last song, turns white and collapses on stage (only for the rest of the band to play on like it was nothing out of the ordinary); a small procession of fangirls (who would otherwise frown upon such an act of sheer idiocy), appear out front to give him his last rites and burial with a funeral waltz all of their own.. hmmm creepy!
Only for them to swarm upon me in overwhelming numbers and deliver me as "human sacrifice" in case that scruffy little shitweasel should ever "rise again", discover a newfound fondness for human blood, a shaved head, muu-muu's and shittyarse 12 minute guitar solos (or the less we speak of Billy Corgan's career post "Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness".. the better!).
Only for them to be sent scurrying back into the shadows from whence they came by this douchebag again (in probably his ONLY welcome appearance of the night.. duuude I owe you one!), in effort to whip the crowd up into a lamearse frenzy for the final headlining band..
COLONEL KERNEL (*****) myspace :: Let's face it, we all know we're going to hell in a handbasket (especially me for writing this shit every week). We're past the tipping point. We're over the event horizon. We're spiralling into the sun. It's all over. We're done. The human race is finished. Bring in the monkeys, the chimps, the crumbling Statue Of Liberty and Charlton Heston on the ground banging his fists and shrieking "YOOOU MANIACS!! YOU BLEW IT UP!!". It was fun while it lasted, Matt Bellamy was right all along! Still, it's not ALL bad news. Thanks to the thousand and one moodswings of our support acts: we've gone through all the denial, anger, bargaining and depression and now comes the fun part: acceptance. Everything's fucked, LET'S PARTY! And this is JUST the band to bring that party to us tonight. Colonel Kernel. They're shit hot. You've read it here. You could probably stop here. Then again it wouldn't be a review on Spoz's Rant if we DID. Colonel Kernel. They're seven members and one short of an octopus ensemble thrashing out an insane mariachi madjam that sounds like a cross between the slow bossa nova grooves of Faith No More's "King For A Day / Fool For a Lifetime", the retarding horn section hysteria of The Cat Empire, the drilling jazz funk of Red Snapper and the ecclectic mindfuck of TV On The Radio (and not just because Frank Morris Jnr on the saxaphone has a fuckoff afro that'd put Kype Malone's to shame). In a world rapidly going pear shaped, they're the only "mature response". They're also one of the most fuckoff awesome reasons to totally lose your shit out on a dancefloor..
The majority of their set is simply a continuous instrumental spacejam shredded out under low lights, interspersed by the occassional noodling guitar slowpoint, sparse on the vocal, even sparser on actual discernable lyrical content but never short of the heat and the energy. It also helps that unlike next to every OTHER three to four piece that crawls out of a Centrelink office and onto a live stage in this city; they also dress the part. Sure it's their CD launch tonight (so you'd expect them to go to a little extra effort), but considering how at ease they are blasting our innards in this mad getup tonight I'd almost expect to find them dressed JUST like this whilst waiting in line at the ATM, in the supermarket, in the park, or pretty much in that same dole queue with the rest of those yammering drug addicts, alcoholics and university dropouts that make up this Adelaide music scene. Colonel Kernel. Oh yes! This band means business!
And if ever we needed proof of their potency tonight, it would be in the crowd that greeted them with open arms and howled for more. From the first note they swarmed to fill every available choking point. A shifting sea of shuffling feet and swaying arms. A veritable shit magnet of fangirls in a feeding frenzy and ground zero to that unique freak species of (impossibly flexible) dredlocked hippy chick that sways in and out of the rhythms like flowing water, in alternating tones of brown and granola that you'd damn near sell your high octane carnivorous diet down the river for JUST to be a part of.. ooooh yeaaaah! They were out there! They were out there in droves. I wasn't photographing them for fear I would frighten them all away but in between being inadvertently mauled to death by one of them (hi Koral!) and weaving in and out of the arms and legs in between I did manage to record THIS video instead. Yup, to be in the thick of here tonight, here at Jive, here at the end of the world.. duuuuude I could've died happy! :)
And then just as predicted it happened. The apocalypse. The end of days. The rapture. They stormed in through those red gates: the living dead, the first of many "signs" of what is yet to come (or quite possibly just a mad stampede of obssessed Smashing Pumpkins fans come to kill me, offended by all those Billy Corgan jokes I made earlier) and there's nary a shotgun, flamethrower, chainsaw, cricket bat or lawnmower in sight to defeat them. Thankfully they weren't here for to feast on my brain (as let's face it I lost mine years ago) no they were simply here for Colonel Kernel's encore; here to bask in the last light that still shone bright in this ever darkening age, here to party hard for hours on end as the band kept on playing well into the night.. aaaah it was a thing of beauty to behold! (even as the band feared for their lives on stage) until eventually the army and the airforce were called in to carpet bomb us all to oblivion.
Thus we dedicate this untimely (and utterly fictional) demise to yet another live gig in the Adelaide music scene to Frank Morris Jnr: saxophanist for Colonel Kernel, occassional alcoholic at The Grace Emily, living legend. He's not actually dead, I'm sure he simply made his "escape" moments before those bombs dropped, I'm sure he's out there still for that one fateful day in the not too distant future when he'll be called upon for the George Romero sequel (or quite possibly THIS Friday night at The Crown & Sceptre) but if not? here's to you ya shitcrazy loon! You were a freak folicle abomination! you were a force of nature! and the world sure as fuck could've used a lot more of you. Fuck, I SO wish I could grow a fuckoff afro just like him.. shit don't we all?
2:16AM - In following I originally planned a nonsensical trip to The Ed Castle. I mean shit, just because it's the end of life as we know it doesn't mean we can't still have some fun with it (it IS Adelaide afterall!). Mysteriously however The Ed was already closed down for the night. Even more mysteriously all their windows and doors had since been boarded up too. I took one look at the charred corpses of the recently (un)deceased and dismembered who dared breach their walls, I ducked the buckshot fired from several sets of beady eyes peering out from the darkness within and I made my way to the east end ghetto. For no trip bordering on the increasingly hallucinogenic is ever complete of late without some misguided multiple "homicide" at this end of town. Although from the look of Producers Bar tonight it appears no amount of garbage bags, mangrove swamps, deep sea trenches, barrels of acid, pig farms or Micky D "happy meals" is EVER going to clean up this emo mess anytime too soon. Still, I find it never hurts to try..
3:32AM - Much unspeakable carnage later and I find myself here at The Crown & Anchor: the solution (and cause) for most of the world's problems. I'm also beginning to suspect all this "apocalypse" nonsense tonight was simply a false alarm (or quite possibly the "end product" of a little too much chilli added to my mi-goreng); but hey when you're upto your armpits in duct tape and fridge magnets, fending off gun toting mutants and mohawked militia firing up chainsaws (and even if you're not and simply tripping balls) where ELSE would you go!?
3:37AM - Speaking of malformed freaks, it's not long before I'm set upon by one of Tyger Tyger's many hired goons; although for a change of pace it's actually not Nick, but bass player Tim instead. Which lends to proof to the insane theory (that I've only just thought up now) that Nick from Tyger Tyger, Frank from Colonel Kernel AND Frawley from Marla Singer are in actual fact the SAME person. And now that one of them has since "died" in a freak zombie accident at Jive, all three have now since ceased to exist (and I have of course deleted ALL other photographic evidence I actually took of Nick here tonight as proof that I'm right!)
3:51AM - I attempt to further explain this insane theory to Tim: how there's been a whole "afro conspiracy" stretching right back to the Nixon administration, how Andrew Stockdale is really the Antichrist, how it's all leading to this point, only for him to point out the many glaring holes in my argument, only for me to panic, stuff his head inside this impenetrable force field of pint glasses: "HA! take that science!", before making my mad escape out those exit doors..
4:23AM - Fearing the worst has finally come, I seek sanctuary here at Supermild. I've got my alcohol, I've got my food, I've got my stockpile of weapons. Flesh eating zombies, killer tornados, climate change, terrorism and Guy Sebastian be damned! I'm gonna ride out this storm! and when that dust clears, this whole world is going to be mine, ALL MINE!! WAAAHAHAhaHA!!
4:50AM - Only to realise the one hideously fatal flaw in my genius plan. I have to repopulate the Earth with THIS freak "OH DEAR GAWD WHAT THE HELL HAVE WE DONE!!?" Although wait.. we're living in desperate times, surely we shouldn't discount this shit outright! I mean look at him! it could work right!? we're in a field of daisies, it's a warm spring day, he's twirling around, his floral dress flapping in the breeze, our eyes meet as if from a distance, we run up to meet each other, his thin weedy moustache twinkling in the sunlight.. aaaand excuse me while I just go throw up. Whoaaaa.. what were we talking about? oh that's right, I'm fucking insane!
5:57AM - I could possibly explain what followed when I came to that horrible realisation, followed by a sizeable memory blank of what I had to do to get out of there, followed by me screaming hysterically as I run out of Supermild and into the pale moon light. I could also possibly explain where the hell I ended up an hour later STILL drinking well into the bullet riddled remains of the night; but some things (especially THESE photos) are best left unsaid..
Duuuude I so should've gone home hours ago.. what the fuck have we just unleashed!? Is this the new world order? is this the new world disorder? and how (and where) the fuck do we keep FINDING all these freaks (or worse still, how do they keep finding ME). If only I knew!?
Yup, when the world's going totally tits up, down the drain and blowing fire out of it's arse: who needs laws? who needs rules? who needs all of this insane responsibility? who needs generations upon generations of degenerate thinking to lead us all astray? I say fuck it all! I say let it all burn! I say let's toast those marshmallows! Let's party like there's no tomorrow! Let's start it all over again! We're already building our own army: sure we're nothing but a mad cult of the immature, the misguided and the misfit few, but we sure as fuck couldn't do any worse out there! It's evolution. It's the way of the future. It's the end of the world! Who's with me? :)