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...
DELUSIONS OF GRANDMA + LIKE LEAVES + JUNO LIVE @ FAD CAFE + ED CASTLE + NOVA CINEMA / Saturday March 1st 2008
I wake to the sound of an SMS going off. It's Alan (aka: the midget photographer, resident sharp shooter to the Governor Hindmarsh) wondering why I'm not at Soundwave Festival, featuring: The Offspring, Incubus, Motion City Soundtrack, Saosin, Alexisonfire and a fuckbucket of skeezy punk, emo and metal bands that I really couldn't be arsed seeing. Damn, shit like this has been happening to me all week! When it rains in this city, bring a shovel, otherwise you'll be upto your armpits licking toads and out've your fucking mind. Everywhere I go, another candy swarm of hundreds and thousands pins me to the walls with camera phones raised. Catch one of those and I miss five others in passing. Too much of a good thing, circuits overloading, push the red button: fight or flight? dude I may love this shit, but seriously, GET ME THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!!
8:41PM - Gulping airpockets on the bus and swinging fists past the zombie shuffle on Rundle Street, I hurl myself arse backwards into Nova Cinema, pull the pin, thrust the ticking pineapple into the sea of clawing hands, scream at the attending theatre staff to board up all the doors and windows and fly in a mad panic upstairs before the expanding shockwave finishes the job; catapulting me to freedom at the box office. Phew! Of course, I could've just stayed home and avoided all this needless bloodshed tonight.. but really, where'd the fun in that be?
JUNO (****1/2) myspace :: My chance salvation from frankenstein's monster comes in the form of this movie, Juno: a goofy little indie feature about a 16 year old girl who accidently falls pregnant. On the surface you'd think this would be the LAST place you'd expect to find me at on a Saturday night, but after winning a 2008 Academy Award for "Best Original Screenplay" and thanks in no small part to every dickhead and dog heaping praise on it over the last 3 months for being one of the BEST independent comedies of the year, who am I to argue? Disarmingly cute, quirky, foul mouthed, subtle and honest (with a kickarse indie slacker soundtrack and style to boot), it may be damn near impossible to watch this film and NOT wish you were 16 years old and pregnant. For bonus points in street cred: not only did I spot DJ Cut Chemist in a cameo as a high school chemistry teacher (sheeeiiit!), but it also features everyone's favourite uber geek Michael Cera. If you haven't heard of this snuffling dweeb yet, check his shit in the infamous internet show "Clark And Michael" and you'll know what weird fungii I've been huffing. Pure genius! :)
10:25PM - The film's finished moments ago, the air is still, the world is at peace. I'm out on the Nova balcony overlooking Rundle Street. Most of the festive dead have since responded to my "warning shot" and have fled to the four winds, likely to snack upon helpless street mimes caught unawares in the Persian Gardens. WAHOOO! the city is mine! I slip on my headphones, fire up Sonic Youth's "Daydream Nation" on the ipod and hit the streets once more.
11:06PM - With little rhyme, reason, thought or direction to guide me, I wash up ashore here at the Ed Castle on Currie Street to see what's cooking. Sure, it's freaking miles away if you're travelling on foot, but no distance is ever too far if you've got the music to take you.
LIKE LEAVES (***1/2) myspace :: By a chance coincidence (ie: one that nobody who reads this blog would ever believe) I soon stumble upon a live band jamming out on the darkening stage. Like Leaves: featuring "Charles Manson" on guitar, "Fidel Castro" on bass and "Frodo Baggins of The Shire" on drums. Although I only caught them for a hallucinatory instance (perhaps 2-3 songs at most) they still left enough of a passing impression to document here. Like Leaves; baffling the crap out've me with endless guitar fuzz when I first caught them at the Exeter over a month ago, tonight they've got a bare bones Grinderman vs My Disco vs Sonic Youth vibe that's really buzzing. Sure, "Fidel" may be missing that mic throughout the entire song but this live video still says it all.. awesome!
11:56PM - Moments later I arrive at FAD Cafe on Waymouth Street, again by no chance or coincidence. As much as I love my alcohol we all know I'm not just here for the Bee Stings..
For those of us in the know, there is an arcane ritual that plays out in this venue. Every month or so on a Saturday night quite like this one, inches past the witching hour: a drum kit makes an appearance, four wandering minstrels assemble and another chapter in freeform jazz stonerisms wordlessly convenes on the moonlit stage. Sure, you don't need weird sigils, a familiarity in conversational Latin or a goat sacrifice to summon it; but sometimes it helps..
DELUSIONS OF GRANDMA (****) myspace :: Any attempting to describe the freeform jazz of Delusions Of Grandma is rather akin to the literary twaddle you'd expect from a serial goon-bagger who's had you fooled he's a professional wine taster; all you're gonna get is a whole wealth of colourful adjectives and superlatives and nothing which bears even the slightest relevance to the truth (oh wait, isn't that this website?). Yup written language is a clumsy hand puppet even at the best of times and here it's gonna sound like Muhammad Ali trying to perform delicate brain surgery on an infant; so fuckit, I'll forgo all pretense. Delusions Of Grandma: simply put, are a direct conduit to the primordial soup that all pure creativity and inspiration is spawned from: a synaesthesia of words, sounds, images, smells and flavour. Empty your mind and drink your full. All else is irrelevant..
Of course I realise that I've just upended a truckload of twaddle in lieu of an actual review and now you don't have the first fucking clue what I'm on about, so fuckit, why not take sample this 7 minute video excerpt from their two sets tonight, and then you'll see just what I see.
2:10AM - The band continues to weave their witches brew as I depart: one thousand saxaphones bouncing off the walls of the Advertiser building, as I chuck on the headphones, crossfade in the astronaut refrains of Radiohead's "Kid A" and hit the streets once more.
I drift through the void, carving out my antiblog amongst the still night air to the bubbling refrains of "Everything In Its Right Place". There are no crowds here, no screaming lights, no queues or fanfare, just one long winding road and me and my wandering thoughts to guide me; here amongst the antithesis of all that is Adelaide right now? aaaah such bliss..
Still as relaxing as this all is drifting down Grenfell, listening to "How To Disappear Completely", dig deep enough into this album and eventually you'll lose your fucking mind to it. I mean shit, you've seen Thom Yorke haven't you? brilliant or not, he's a right fucking loony..
2:36AM - After checking in at the Cranka for my brain medicine (listening to "Treefingers" after 2AM will do that to you), I felt the need to find the masses again. I received word that some of my familiars may be hiding out in the Gardens, so I set out to find them.
I search high and low from Rundle to Rymill, through Silent Disco, SoCo shipping and beyond, and do not find a single sign of intelligent life (or otherwise) that would engage me..
I did however find these chips and gravy, so all was not lost.. mmmmm, gravy!
3:29AM - But as we ALL know a "quiet night out" always spells trouble. Just when I was hoping for this episode to be a subtlely nuanced character study of one man's alienation with the 21st century and his own methods for finding peace within it, in bursts Itchy & Scratchy (aka: Tibor and Chris). They haven't slept a wink since Thursday night, they've spent half the night picking fights with employees at quickie marts and Micky D's, they're looking for drunken depravity in all the wrong places and they want ME to their tour guide!? oooh crap, heeere we go again!
3:36AM - Despite all my advice to the contrary, after being kidnapped at the Cranka (I knew it was a mistake to return there!) next they thought it'd be a brilliant idea to hit up Shotz..
..at least until they realised just how entirely dead the dancefloor has become on a Saturday, now the facist bouncers have sucked all the life out've it, scaring away every drunken baboon that ever made this place entertaining. Damn Shotz what happened maaan, you used to be cool!
3:50AM - We agree to take the journey west down Grenfell way to the still thriving precincts of Hindley Street: Rocket, Enigma, Jive, Supermild, how could we go wrong? Of course, with these two knuckle draggers in tow, the commute takes a little LONGER than expected.
4:04AM - After much gasping, wheezing and complaining from Itchy & Scratchy, we soon crash land at Enigma Bar: gathering a colourful collection of grinning wreckage along the way..
To my surprise, the joint is pumping apeshit in the two room dancefloor upstairs. Damn, I guess this finally answers the question "where did those idiots from Shotz all fuck off to!?".
Aaaah look at them go! now all we need is one stray tennis ball for them to chase, the path of a speeding car to throw it into and we'd have ourselves a party to write home about.. weeee! :)
Entry into Shotz? $4. Urine expelled by Tibor outside of an unnamed office complex in Grenfell? 300mL. Walking all the way across town to get drunk here instead? 16 minutes. Capturing them busting retarded rockstar moves when they're entirely too drunk to stand upright? priceless!
4:30AM - With IQ levels rapidly dropping to below those at which vodka freezes, I concoct a last ditch plan to flee this sinking ship. One well aimed tennis ball in the form of "HEY! they got longnecks of Pale Ale at Supermild!", Itchy & Scratchy rush across the road dodge traffic and down those stairs; I pull the pin, thrust the ticking bucketbong into the sea of flailing dreds, scream at the attending bar staff to board up all the doors and windows and duck for cover until the expanding mushroom cloud finishes the job; flying me home to freedom at last! YES!
I don't need to find my entertainment no more, it finds me. Spoz's Rant, nowhere is safe!
CLUE TO KALO + QUA LIVE @ ROCKET BAR / Friday February 29th 2008
The Adelaide Arts Festival opening party is in full swing along North Terrace: fireworks, smoke, lights, trapeze and strings, crowds of thousands screaming as one. Down by the River Torrens a multitude of exploding cushions and spinning vinyl herald the arrival of the Persian Gardens. Across the road and down the block Jive is host to it's very own swamp born apocalypse in the form of Bob Log III as that one nipple pops in a glass of scotch and an inflatable raft rises over the crowd. Welcome to my heaven and hell colliding as one: parties all across town and me the toasted turkey slice in the middle. Why the fuck did I have all that beer and absinthe last night!? My hangover is not one fueled by alcohol (lesser fools suffer such mortal consequence) but one forged from the fires of both candle ends burning to wit's end. Shell shocked and ears ringing it's off to Rocket Bar tonight: lineup both ecclectic and electronic? surely this'll be my saviour!
QUA (***1/2) myspace :: If the calibre of my myspace requests are ANY indication, you've probably got my music tastes pegged as either a blood drinking Scandanavian goth rocker or a Klingon prone to stalking Seven of Nines and T'Pols for geek threesomes at Star Trek conventions (mmmm emotionally stunted with perky nipples!). But one should never underestimate a healthy disregard for copyright law, a broadband connection, a 160Gb ipod and writing for a music website as idiotic as this one for encouraging some truly ecclectic tastes; such as a finer appreciation for the works of Qua. Part of a growing Melbourne cut-and-paste aesthetic (spawning such contemporaries as Mountains In The Sky and Pivot) Qua is the sound of third world rhythms, chants and jubilation set to bombastic beats. Think 90's Gerling at their most avant garde mixed with The Avalanches, St Germain crossfaded with Squarepusher, or 50 smashed ipods singing the blues in an inner city cafe. Wank intellectuals will obviously find knowing references to composer Pierre Schaeffer and the musique concrète movement of the 1950's, whilst the rest of you alcoholics will simply recognise this as the whacked out ditty that accompanies that bizarre Toohey's Extra Dry ad campaign with all the big hair bogans and oversized hair sprouting corn husks..
Of course, as endlessly entertaining as it is to watch one mistachioed dweeb interchange between World Of Warcraft and checking up on his Facebook Funwall all night, thankfully there's more to Qua than just a hand solo on a laptop; when he's later joined by a beanpole on the drumpads, slapping out a minimalist body pop more reminiscent of early 80's Detroit techno..
And just like clockwork, the dancefloor responds in kind with Rocket Bar's finest array of Ghost World rejects busting out a malfunctioning assembly line of robots, marionettes, polio victims and Neos slow dancing to whizzing bullets. Set this to a strobe light and you'd almost have Michael Jackson's "Thriller", only the hipster doofus version (pffft duuude, that's so 2007!).
And that's Qua in a nutshell. Sure, you may not understand half the shit coming out've those loud speakers, but amongst the chaos they still cooks up some some sweetarse jams!
CLUE TO KALO (***) myspace :: In every lecture theatre, in every university course, you'd find people just like these: mismatched shoes, oversized cardigans, missing buttons, perpetually scruffy and hungover. Six months into your course they'll vanish from campus only to pick up bartender jobs at the Exeter, only to then move to cities like Barcelona, Buenos Aires or Montreal to pursue careers as the professionally vague. If they ever got their shit together and formed a band, they'd sound rather like this one; Clue To Kalo. Individually recognisable as that shit scary bearded goon who spins vinyl on Friday nights, that pencilneck bartender that looks like a 12 year old, that chick from Urtext Studio's favourite indie accident in 2 minutes: Birth Glow, and some reach-for-the-aspirin-bottle on leads that appears to be the mastermind behind this entire operation. Beaming with smiles and awkward silences they're the missing link between excessive LSD use and children's television, they're the "summer of love" sounds of the Mommas & The Poppas, The Carpenters and clueless drifters from the 60's with names like "Hibiscus" who think it's genius to stuff flowers into the service end of a policeman's rifle and expect positive results. So cute, so clunky, so whimsically apologetic awww! Yup, it's just this kind've goofy, folksy ecclecticism that goes on to win a golden shower of critical acclaim from RollingStone before soundtracking the next breakout zero budget mumblecore movie; and now they're off to tour America? Genius!
Still all jokes aside; their lightly dappled dementia in strings, keys and muffled percussion is just what the psychiatric staff ordered for my shattering synapses this Friday night. And if you've just dropped out've uni, are missing a left shoe, living in a cardboard box and unsure what to do with three semesters of a failed arts degree? maybe they can do wonders for you too!
1:12AM - Satisfied in my brief respite from the shitstorm brewing outside, I duck out've Rocket Bar just before the stampede of windowlickers burst through the doors to ruin my moment and drift aimlessly down Hindley Street, with nothing but an empty head and a smile.
1:22AM - Taking a brief detour I stumble into a mad kaleidoscope of colour on North Terrace. Any other time of year I would've assumed Clue To Kalo had slipped some a-grade acid into my beer and it's choosing THIS exact moment to peak (trust me, Lady Strangelove do it to me ALL the time), but after a quick check with my camera equipment, evidence proved otherwise..
..turns out, artists from Electric Canvas have simply hijacked this cultural precinct for an arts installation called "Northern Lights" and will be projecting this shit between 8PM and 2AM for the next two weeks of the Adelaide Arts Festival. Hmmm, yup, there goes my brain again.
Still as endlessly captivating as that just was, I spent infinitely longer in front of THIS sign on Pultney Street advertising "1800 cat rentals" laughing myself retarded, until I was reminded just how much "I can has cheezeburger?" and it's retarded english annoys the piss out've me, and then I had to leave *sigh* such is the volatile nature of modern art.
1:42AM - Foolishly I choose to walk into the Crown & Anchor..
..where I rather promptly stumble into "Flappy Muppet" Simone and "Lobotomy" Joe Blogs..
..and promptly flush all my attempts at a "quiet night about town" down the toilet.
If anyone is at all surprised by this "drastic" turn of events and is still puzzled as to why I'm wearing this insane green scalf on my head.. "Hi I'm Spoz, you're new here aren't you?"
2:13AM - Not wanting to let an opportunity this stupid go to waste, we throw this shit onto our resident crash test dummy and send him off to do battle with the dancefloor..
..I wish to point out that despite all evidence you've read in the papers or seen on the news: this country does NOT have a binge drinking problem, never HAS had a binge drinking problem and I seriously can't see HOW all these wild rumours ever got started in the first place.
3:57AM - This is me clearing the dancefloor at the end of the night..
..this is us fleeing the premises before the cops arrive.
4:10AM - From out've nowhere Simone produces crackers and two kinds of dip: red and green, and so we all decide to throw a spontaneous late night picnic in Hindmarsh Square..
..it's about this moment that I suspect one of the Cranka bartenders has slipped acid into that second round of shooters. I also suspect the "red dip" isn't helping matters.
4:32AM - Joe forgets the "one hour" rule after eating and foolishly wipes himself out on the playground equipment, whilst Simone briefly considers going for an oversized wedgie.
I ask you, how many times have I captured Joe in a shot just like this on a "quiet" night out?
4:41AM - nope *cough* no idea how this photo got in here, "constable? oh I'm ferpectly fnie!"
4:54AM - My attorney wishes to inform the court that at no point during Friday night were we ever in this office complex on Currie Street, nor did we ever eat 1/2 a packet of cheese slices..
5:07AM - At last Joe and Simone pass out cold in the boardroom, whilst I discreetly find my exit; making sure to trip every single fire alarm (loudly) on my way out.. teee heee! :)
5:33AM - Spoz finds himself a tasty roadside snack. Spoz gets bird flu and collapses dead.
Coming up next: is anyone surprised I went out AGAIN on Saturday night? nope, thought not.