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...
YOUNG AND RESTLESS + FIRE! SANTA ROSA FIRE! + MAD SHAPES "TRANSMISSION LIVE" @ ED CASTLE / Friday October 31st 2008
Adelaide has a long and proud history of serial killing. Ask anyone in the know and they'll tell you. We put the "S" into laughter. We put the bodies in the barrels. We float them down stream with a smile. We're the number one murder capital of the world! Forget our shiny collection of rocks, our export wines, our tired and old doddering down perfectly geometric city streets; we're cleaning it up where it counts! We're making a killing in all the right places! Adelaide. Radelaide. Deadelaide. The city of corpses. Who could forget the vicious slaughter of Mary Olive Hattam back in 1958, the disappearance of the three Beaumont children in 1966 (still unsolved to this day), the Bartholomew family murders of 1971 (ten victims in total), the murder of university law lecturer George Duncan in 1972 (drowned in the River Torrens), the Adelaide Oval abductions of 1973 (two victims in total), the Truro killings of 1976-1977 (seven victims in total), the high society Family Murders of 1979- 1983 (five victims), the letter bombing of the National Crime Authority in 1994, the Snowtown "body in the barrel" massacres of 1995-1999 (eleven victims) and who knows how much untold malarky in between and since. Adelaide, why hide it? hold your heads up high, expose those jugular veins to the light and let the "red wine" fly! No wonder this is such an awesome place to live in: when every day feels like it could be our last, you live your life to the fullest!
Some of us may begin to wonder how we got to be so lucky, and far from it for ME to look a gift horse in the mouth but I may have a few theories to explain it. Adelaide is a quiet city. A city of the middling classes, the bourgeouisie. The only colony in Australia to be settled by free settlers back in 1836. Well mannered, friendly, articulate, university educated, staunchly conservative we keep to ourselves. We love the theatre, cafes, restaurants and a slight sea breeze in the afternoon. We're peaceful neighbourhoods filled with smiling faces as far as the eye can see. Or in other words we're just the sort of eye-witness description the evening news gives us anytime another one is hauled past those cameras, head shrouded, arms shackled to meet their fate: "he was such a nice, quiet man, never any bother!". Oh sure that's what they ALL say about Adelaide! It's why Melbourne and Sydney always give us those wary looks whenever we slip across their borders: nostrils flared to the smell, they sense the danger downwind, they can taste the terror, they know we're a trouble brewing year by year and we're long overdue!
You may doubt me still, you may think I'm lying, but I'm out there every weekend, I see them under the cover of darkness. Wild staring eyes, lecherous grins, mismatched shoes, scruffingly unbuttoned, corduroy and cardigan, knuckles hairclad and dragging the pavement, picking up guitars, forming bands. Introverted, autistic, artistic, all pent up with crazy urges to express. Shoegazing, psychedelic, under the influence of curious pills, potted plant and fungal growths. They work your odd jobs, they struggle to get by: washing dishes, sweeping floors, working their hands to the bone and red raw. Nimble fingered, fueled by aggression, handy with an axe. They'll do anything, just about ANYTHING to make a statement. They're carving a path. They're the way of the future. Soon the rest of the nation will hear those dementing screams once more. They'll see us coming. The entire world will know our names. From the most unlikely of places we will trace their ancestry right back to this point. Here at the Ed Castle it begins anew!
*cough* wait.. you mean to tell me it's all because of Halloween? shit dude, I never noticed! :)
Far from it for me to leap to insane conclusions but tonight's murderous rampage doesn't just begin and end with a half cocked opening monologue. Take our opening act for instance. You may not recognise the name. You may not yet have been caught up in the wake of their razor sharp beats, giddy gallow grooves and skeleton keys but you may recognise their lead singer from some of the wackiest and weirdest of Hollywood's freak fringe. In Adelaide he's known simply as Shane "Shep" Shepherd, friendly neighbourhood minstrel from the Mad Shapes, mid 20's, handy with a guitar but do not be fooled! this is nothing but an alias! "Shane" is in actual fact none other than infamous 80's actor Crispin Glover. Most known for his role as Michael J Fox's dweebish dad in the Back To The Future trilogy, lesser known as the "Smack My Bitch Up" villain from Charlie's Angels with the hair sniffing fetish, early inspiration to the signature look employed by Carlos D (the world's creepiest bass player) from New York band Interpol, and if you dig even deeper, you'll discover some of the most disturbingly mindfucked shit that'll you'll ever hope to find. And that's only the half of it. Joining him stage left is their bass player Benny Green: is he Billy The Kidd? Midnight Cowboy? a Village People reject? whoever the hell it is it's hard to say but I'm hoarding my duct tape and anti-terrorism fridge magnets just in case. And how could we forget their keyboardist stage right. She's brand new. She's Lucy Watson. The sweetest damn girl you'll ever hope to see, beaming with smiles, cute-as-a-button in her wacky little bat outfit, like all her xmases have come at once and secretly responsible for killing off a littany of drummers who would've otherwise taken her place (she drinks from their skulls don't you know!). I dunno whether to fall in love or call the cops. Fuck! They're a triumvirate of pure evil if ever I saw one and they're our opening act tonight? Duuuuude let's face it, it's already over. I can see the headlines. I'm reading them now in the morning papers. None of us are getting out of here alive!
Mad Shapes. To the chosen few still naive enough to believe they're nothing but a "live band"; they're not one to disappoint. They're the perfect opening act to the apocalypse. They're the perfect party band. So ideal in fact you could easily imagine them playing the room to an American highschool cliche. I can see it now: parents leave their kids to run amok for the weekend, spiked drinks in plastic red cups, geek meets girl, geek loses girl, geek finds girl slow dancing with the quarterback, geek wins girl to the end, all to soundtrack of this band whilst John Hughes directs. Mad Shapes. They're the sound of Devo, Datarock, Does It Offend You Yeah? and Hot Chip. They're a band jam packed with party kitch synths, pogo stick beats, goofy grin guitars, tetris block rocking bass and sing-a-long glee. They're a band so damn dorky they pull of a cover of Billy Idol's "White Wedding" that actually manages to OUT 80's the original. They also have a song called "Halloween" and even more insane, they have their entire EP online to download free. This is their second to last gig before they break up. I've only just got here. Damn, what a buzz!
11:23PM - It's at this point of the night barely a few drinks in, that I realise my nights on this earth may be numbered. So for the benefit of the South Australian Police force and any other interstate or federal forensic tasks force sifting through my charred remains in the following weeks, I thought I'd do a round up of the some of the key suspects. You'll see them here, you'll see them on facebook and then you'll see one of them linked to my death on the front page of the news. We all know how I write: it's only a matter of time till one of them takes me down.
Take Dorothy, Tin Man and Devil Woman above for instance, clearly they're upto no good! Or look no further than Smurfette with the insane skin condition below! That there is the sort of pure awesomness that'll set your skin crawling, then running, nay flying out those exit doors!
And then there's THIS guy. I dunno whether he's even AWARE it's Halloween, but he dragged me over here to take this photo anyways. Is he simply proud in his assumed ability to "hook up" with two girls at once? (pffffft!), will we find these two unsuspecting victims upended and legs dangling in the dumpsters come the turning of the dawn? or is HE the unwitting victim? I'm suspicious of everyone, I'm keeping a careful eye, I'm keeping notes! Shit ain't gonna go down like this on my watch damnit! Or at least it wouldn't have if it wasn't for that third of fourth beer I downed at the bar with a suspicious powdery residue (sediment my arse!), since totally losing track of my train of thought and finding myself all kinds of confused for the next band tonight..
For being all kinds of confused is usually the best place to be for our second act. A swift blow to the head, a few too many funny tic-tacs, running with scissors, sniffing glue, starting fires, make believe, doctors and nurses and dress ups; whatever it takes short of a frontal lobe lobotomy to get yourself in the mood is all the better for THIS band. Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! They're proof to every horror movie cliche that it is always the most childlike among us, standing in duplicate down hallways pointing, wearing white wigs and beaming red eyes, born with funny birthmarks that no way resemble lighting strikes (or Macaulay Culkin) who grow up to become the hellspawn of Satan. And they sure as fuck have come out of their respective closets to glorious dysfunction tonight. It's their lead singer Caitlin dressed like Princess Leia possessed by the Bride Of Dracula, it's their guitarist Dave dressed as Teenwolf (complete with a bad-taste standup comedy routine involving Michael J Fox, a fist fight and a bad bout of Parkinson's disease). It's Josh on bass doing his very best impersonation of Harrison Ford's next to nonexistent 00's film career pre "Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull". It's Sam dissolving into the inky blackness on drums as the Wicked Witch Of The West. It's Andrew doing his very best impersonation of the Invisible Man (so much so that I forgot he wasn't even HERE tonight). And it's the unspeakable horror that is Art on the synths that makes me want to curl up into a little ball in the corner and cry myself hysterically till the image of him hissing like an effeminate feline in a tiny masquarade mask fades from memory (wait.. wasn't he in a scene from Eyes Wide Shut?). They're an unspeakable horror in everything but the sentences I've already spoken. They're Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! If anyone feeds them after midnight and they get anywhere near a swimming pool, duuuude we're ALL fucked!
Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! Lazy references have been made comparing them to many other bands in the past. They've been fiendishingly accomplished in shifting the blame to all manner of dizzying influences that way. From the heedy humminbird sounds of The Rapture, The Klaxons, The Moving Units (and my strobe light enduced migraine) in their formative years to the ecclectic hippy collision of LCD Soundsystem, Broken Social Scene and Architecture In Helsinki in their more recent iterations. They're passing them all, they're pissing all over their graves, they're doppler shifting in every dizzying swirls of mixed up sounds and fluorescent colours. So much so it's hard to say WHAT the fuck they sound like now, except to say they sound like Fire! Santa Rosa Fire!, which all things considered (and all weird side effects ignored) is a pretty sweet place to be. Rumours are they've just been signed to Dot Dash Recordings (home to Wolf & Cub and Snowman amongst others), their newest "single" War Coward is hitting high rotation on Triple J, they're set to unleash their candy sounds from coast to coast, I fear for all our mortal souls! This in following is just but a taste of what's to come: get your insulin injections in advance, this shit's about to get messy!
12:28AM - Post Fire! Santa Rosa Fire!'s set and in my continuing quest to round up, tag-and-bag and fingerprint all of Adelaide's soon to be serial suspects before they set on their "career defining paths" (true to my father's code: *sniff* he'd be so proud!), I photograph some of these flesh eating infections. Such as our resident Cillian Murphy impersonator in a shitscary sack cloth from Batman Begins (and here I am without my tranquiliser syringe.. damnit!)..
The unspeakable terror in canary yellow that is this recent escapee from Dr Seuss (aka: the soon to be forming puddle in matching colour you'd find on the ground between your feet if ever you met this individual alone, unarmed and in a dark alley in the dead of night.. yeeeouch!)..
Only to be trapped by growing numbers of them all clamouring and clawing around the stage from all angles like Michael Jackon's Thriller, the minute our headlining act hits the stage..
Some of you out there reading this right now may yet to be initiated into the ways of the Young And Restless. You're easy to spot in a crowd. You're the poor bastards who DON'T stick out like a sore thumb: able bodied, clear headed, 20/20 vision, designer labels, able to walk a straight line without collapsing drunk. Standing tall, able to calculate simple sums and subtractions without mourning the missing of long since amputated fingers and toes. You're the pillars of society, captains of industry, well paying jobs, stern, resolute and humourless, most likely to succeed in being an utter pain in the arse to every single one of us out here in this crowd tonight. You're an odd couple in everything that doesn't make you "odd"; and WE are your seething mass, your underbelly. You'll see us all around you, hiding in the shadows, hiding in plain sight with darting eyes, swinging fists and shambling gaits. We outnumber you ten to one. We're all out to get you. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances, we guard you while you sleep. Join us now and maybe we'll do our very best not to enact our simple revenge on you in this screaming monkey pit rather like a blood and bone dishwasher. Maybe you'll get out of this shit alive. Maybe you'll tell others what you have seen tonight. Maybe they'll even begin to believe you. This is war. This is chaos. This is death. This is your funtime happy hour of doom. This is the Young And Restless: if it's your first night, you HAVE to fight!
For want of better words that don't involve your lungs being pulled through your throat, blown up like a party balloon and kicked around the room or a while: Young And Restless are about as subtle as Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs fucking a chainsaw. They're also the sound of her loving every damn minute of it in ways that Quentin Tarantino never quite imagined with a backing band of The Ramones being cheese grated by Neo and Trinity like the "bank vault" scene from the first Matrix movie. Oh yes! I'm sure you've heard the rumours, I bet some of you are even passing around those dusty video cassettes from garage to garage sale; but witnessing this live and in the black and blue is an altogether different beast. It's a smashing avalanche of meat and sweat grinding your kneecaps to paste against stage and foldbacks. It's a white clad kittycat torpedo known as Karina Utomo shooting over that crowd, disappearing below the horizon, only to be spat back up again and onto the stage. It's wave after wave of machine gun cannon fodder being splattered well into the next room, riddled with holes big enough to put a fist through, spitting teeth and coming back for more. And it's us loving every damn minute of it along the way..
It's also me documenting it all from the front lines like a fresh cow carcass dropped into the Amazon. I know, you'd think I would've learnt my lesson by now! I'm well aware that I lost a camera two weeks ago under similiar circumstances and at this rate I'd be looking to lose an arm along with my fifth replacement tonight. Still, it would've been the best damn $370 dollars I ever spent and me getting someone else to tie my shoelaces from here onwards for all I care, for nothing quite beats the B12 shot to the spine that bands like these give you every damn time! Oops, and there she goes again! damn feet kicking and flailing inches from my face. Remind me again how I've not killed myself retarded again and again covering this shit for you people!? Oh that's right, there's really nowhere else I'd ever wanna be than right here! FUCK YEAH!!
We fought the good fight. I saw others out there: armed with photo and video, lens aimed square and pink eyed only to be ground out like paste to the surging storm behind them. It truly IS the stupidest place you'd ever want to be with a camera but you know your risks; you live for nights like these. As for any clear recollection on anything else that was their set tonight? I remember Nugie on drums, Ross on bass and Josh on guitar opening the night with a slow Metallica death grind with "mullets" flailing. I remember: "Satan", "Police! Police!", "Dirty Kicks", I remember some new ones just as brutal, if more skeletal. I remember capturing "No Vibe, No Strobe" (you can see Karina flying out into the beyond only to come crashing onto my head a third of the way in). I remember little else. Fuck! what an awesome rollercoaster ride; let's do this shit again!
1:35AM - Moments after Young And Restless disappeared off the face of the Earth (or quite possibly just off to the bar) the silence was deafening, it rang ripe through our whistling skulls, it formed a vacuum that exploded us out in all directions only to drag us back by puppet and by string towards DJ Ross Ross Ross our collector of souls here by the dancefloor: dressed rather like what you would imagine the offspring would look like if Fabio ever fucked an ewok.
1:47AM - Fleeing the untold violations in sound and sickening scent that followed Ross's many crimes against the Geneva Convention (or rather like any OTHER night of Transmission Live) I found myself in the beergarden by the bar with the spare few others also fortunate to have crawled out of that wreckage. Although from the looks of it, they're hardly looking unscathed. Like Penmonicus here looking more mixed up than Michael Jackson's music career post 1987 (to the sounds of him singing "It don't matter if your balls drop left or right") accompanied on the left by either that Hermione chick from Harry Potter, Sideshow Bob, everyone's favourite washed up 90's actor Yahoo Serious, or that chick out of the Fifth Element with gender identity issues..
Although clearly they're not the only ones fives flavours to fucked up after that gig. I swear I was actually dead for a few minutes there. I saw my life flash through my eyes. It looked very much like someone fastforwarding an episode of Rage to strobe lights and I woke up with no pants on. Still it could've been worse, I could've been back to back episodes of Countdown.
2:25AM - A few too many beers into the night and you almost forget the company you're mixing up with. To me, these freaks are just like any other people you'd hope to find walking the streets, or more accurately roaming the streets moaning and groaning, moments before the army are called in to carpet bomb the city well into the realms of Sodom and Gomorrah (and then for some odd reason I'm reminded of US foreign policy since World War II.. mmmm political!)..
I mean let's face it: if all that divides us from the primordial mass that swims around us, pretty much amounts to nothing more than a few differential DNA sequences and a dozen or so beers then there'd be no reason for wars; it would be just like killing one of your own, we're all the same you and I, we are brothers and sisters united! It would also be your number one reason never to leave the house at night. I mean have you SEEN the freaks I choose to associate with? No wonder mother nature is doing her best to kill us with tornados and shit.. yeeeeouch!
2:42AM - Which may begin to explain a lot of the retarding shit that follows in these photos (or more likely simply explain us away to a lifetime of rubber rooms). We here at Spoz's Rant are more than familiar with this phenomenon. We call it the tipping point: seven to eight standard drinks in maybe more, you'll think you're on top of the food chain and then next thing you know it Nick Hadley from Dead Popes Of The Vatican turns up and it's all over for the human race. You'll wake up hours later halfway up a tree and have no fucking clue how you got there..
I have no fucking clue who any of these people are or why we're taking anywhere near this many photos (you should've seen the ones we left out). The good news however is they'll probably STILL find me on facebook demanding to know where half of their spleens went missing.
3:25AM - And I have very little recollection what the hell happened for the next hour either, although chances are we'll probably all remember THIS shining moment. Oh yes! right here is every reason why Halloween is the singularly most awesome thing ever (and to think YOU stayed home!? HA! I laugh at you, your abundance of braincells and your lengthening life span!)..
3:33AM - For surely we're not long for this world at this rate. Still, look on the bright side, with everything in the world going the way it is of late, even if we were buried in the cold cold earth this night, it wouldn't be long before we would be roaming the streets again. We also wouldn't look a hell of a lot different. Hmmm come to think of it, maybe the apocalypse already HAS past us by months, maybe even years ago and we've simply been "living it up" too hard to notice..
3:40AM - Oh no wait, there we go just as scheduled.. guess it's all over now aye?
3:43AM - And so as Father Time drags our mortal souls back under the earth, fills us full of worms, tills the soil and sows the crop for the future generations of the highly evolved and recently shaved that'll be surely set to replace us (I have my money on super intelligent hamsters.. who's with me?) we bid farewell to another glorious night in the mean streets of Adelaide.
4:01AM - Or at least it would've been if we didn't all end up at Supermild instead. Yeah I know, nobody ever saw this one coming did they? Just like nobody expects the killer to come back in the final act for one last slash of the knife moments before being hit in the back of the head with the blunt end of a shovel, doused in gasoline, lit alight and burnt alive; only to come back for the sequel, or in the case of "Saw" all four of them (and to think I've never seen a single one? wow I'm totally missing out on my torture porn.. and I call myself a proud South Aussie!?).
Still despite the ever present risk I could find myself drugged, gagged, kidnapped and stuffed into a perspex box slowly filling with water by any number of these lunatics (did that shit ever happen in the first movie? or am I just making this up as I go along!?) from the looks of them drifting ever further from the median curve; I'm probably the safest I've ever been..
I mean you'd hardly call any of THESE people the "quiet, stay at home, friendly with their neighbourhood" type. You won't find any of these people building suitcase nukes in their broom closets, downloading donkey porn from Malaysia, or running for governorship of Alaska..
They're nothing but the perfectly decent, shitcrazy hysterical freaks you find gurgling down any given S-bend in life. They're my kind of people! We get all our fuckoff insane out in the opening. We give it primetime position on our facebook profiles. We assemble them groups. We shoot at them from afar with zoom lenses, then we run the hell out of there before they can beat the living daylights out of us. Aaaaaaaah they would never hurt a fly, just look at them..
Oh shit.. I spoke too soon! What the hell was I thinking!? help!! HEEEEELLLLPP!!!
5:11AM - And so another night draws to a close as my lifeless body is carried out of Supermild in a body bag, zipped and closed, ready to be shipped to the morgue, where I'll miraculous fly out of that filing cabinet moments later like the 3rd or 4th false ending to the last Lord Of The Rings movie, only to find myself wandering deep into the east end ghetto. Why? the last few remaining christmas tree lights running my motor functions know why; for clearly they're the only ones who could possibly be responsible for dragging me THIS far out into no man's land..
5:13AM - Or it may have something to do with all the usual suspects SMSing me moments earlier with offers of free beer in a venue that's long since closed for the night and absolutely nothing to do with any alterior motives on behalf of Sophie here: attempting to sneak herself into yet ANOTHER episode of this blog (but hey who am I to complain? even if I DID find the cavity search a trite unnecessary *cough* "whoaaa shit.. where did all these balloons come from!?").
5:22AM - I'm told this was the end result of their "Syke Halloween Party" at Producers Bar tonight. From the littering wreckage, cobwebs, and claw marks all over the walls and ceilings I would've just assumed someone simply forgot to "feed the beast" that we all know doesn't dwell below in their basement; but y'know those emos they suuuuure as shit love their Halloween!
5:25AM - I take a moment to give thanks to our underlord Cthulhu for slaying so many of the dark and misguided tonight; in the chance hope that they wont simply rise again in even bigger numbers the NEXT Friday for whatever the fuckarse emo and death metal bands they'll have on offer (I hear one of them will give birth to a goat, then three of them will take turns on a hippo), only to promptly fall asleep on the floor. Mmmm it really is ever so comfortable down here..
5:45AM - Only to be dragged kicking and screaming into the beer garden behind Electric Light Hotel and fed far more alcohol than is entirely unnecessary. And in case you're wondering, no that ISN'T my handbag: if you had half the sense you would've realised it totally clashes with my outfit. Or at least it would've if we weren't all nude and laughing it up at this exact moment (I'll let you decide for yourself whether anything I'm saying ISN'T an outrageous lie or not)..
Although clearly anyone who chooses to associate with bartenders, bouncers and other freaks of the vampiric persuasion (such as this dribbling idiot for instance) has a very loose understanding with wacky notions like "reality" or anything approaching an ounce of "common sense"..
6:34AM - To while away the hours well into Saturday morning (ie: in between hurling balls of flaming excrement at the Crown & Anchor, playing "count the razorblades" on the floor of Producers Bar or feeding the hunchback they keep in the attic) we were entertained with some timely words of wisdom as provided by our resident "shaved gimp #9"; or at least those chance few words of wisdom remaining that hadn't since been used as toilet paper moments before..
Oh and before you ask: they already "used up" all of their L Ron Hubbard last week..
7:32AM - Since clearly none of us had ever thought of going home any point soon (until it was made clear that half of these idiots actually live upstairs in this festering flea pit) we eventually made our way upstairs and to the balcony, so as to appreciate a slightly different elevation in our chronic need to kill ourselves with beer. Unfortunately not all of us made it up. Some of us "dissolved" along the way (don't worry though, I'm sure they'll be back again next week).
7:40AM - This is me far too stupid for words (or most other utterable sounds I could otherwise be capable of expressing within the 20hz to 22Khz audial spectrum) still even in THIS condition, I still seem perfectly capable at holding this camera steady to take this photo.. awesome!
7:55AM - And this is me all too surprised that everyone ELSE hasn't collapsed dead hours ago..
8:13AM - Although from the looks of it: short of a few well aimed silver bullets, somes holy water, a few cloves of garlic, a wooden stake, a ritual beheading and tab of melted butter (damn is anyone else hungry around about now?) these dribbling fools aren't long for this world..
8:42AM - Thus as our pasty white bodies burn into screaming fireballs of ash the minute we step out into the light, we bid farewell to another night survived in the killing fields of Adelaide. It's been fun. It's been real. It's been far from real. It's been one of those cartoon definitions of "real" which ends up with all the furniture being nailed to the ceiling by two chipmunks and that cat freaking the fuck out when they nearly convince him to fly off that cliff because he's "dead". Its been one of those awesome epic journeys that will surely become a cautionary tale taught to highschool kids followed by 70's film footage of cars wrapped around telephone poles.
Adelaide. When you live in a sleepy city nearly bereft of life, mirth and merriment as this one, when the twin pillars of boredom and quiet despair rule your weekly whims like the twin paddles of ping and pong: you find your own way to kill time, you have yourselves a little party, you invite a few of your friends, and you hope like hell most of them make it out to the other end alive (and for those of them that don't? fuckit! that simply means more beer for the rest of us!).