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...
THE TOUCH + A DEVIL AMONGST THE TAILORS + YOUNG HEARTS FAIL LIVE @ ROCKET BAR / Friday February 20th 2009
Everywhere we turn the arrows are all pointing the same way. It's hard to miss the signs. There's no u-turns, no exit lanes, just straight down. They've done away with all the sandwich boards and the ringing bells. They've got it all in hi-def, surround sound and updated in real-time now. It's the one growth industry we can count on. Circling like vultures, thickening black clouds, microphones and autocues at the ready, gleefully picking at the carcass while it's still walking and talking, before it's even gone cold. Firestorms, floods, financial ruin and mass hysteria? it's all just background radiation. We should be feeling something, anything, but we're numb thumbing the remote and switching the channel. We're still alive; they're missing the point. The big picture is well and truly FUBAR? The big picture is always FUBAR! the big picture can take care of itself. One hundred monkeys is all we can handle, beyond that its science fiction. It's human frailty, it's a beautiful thing, why else do we keep coming back for more? No.. let's gather that which we hold dear, let's hoard it all and hide out in our concrete bunkers and wait for those bombs to drop; and then laugh when they don't. It's not all fucked! Take this lamp for instance. Forever photogenic lamp: two handles, bubble varnish, by the bar, by the corner at Rocket Bar. When everything else around us has gone to shit we can always count on this lamp. Cocktail menus may change, bartenders may come and go, the crowds may grow ever dimmer and dumber (and how!) but that lamp shines ever so bright! It's showing us the way. Where exactly I do not know? quite possibly the first exit sign the fuck OUT of here.. but it's there regardless! It gives us hope: little lamp by the bar, microcosm to the macro, the one thing we're doing right; or the second if we count that awesomely cute (and utterly batshit insane) new bartender chick they hired (no really.. someone give her a raise!). It's best to remember the little details like that. We may all know where this story is heading but we're holding on, holding on for dear life, you and me baaaby, we'll make it through.. you'll see!
YOUNG HEARTS FAIL (***) myspace :: Yup, we may've fallen on hard times, we may be here at Rocket Bar of all places tonight but we're looking to all the positives as we slip inextricably further into that abyss (still maybe I should've taken that lamp when I had the chance because if this is our "canary in the coal mine"? duuude we're all fucked!). Young Hearts Fail. They're a million voices crying out in unison then suddenly silenced. They're every mixer in town for the last two months cranking one channel up on full, frowning, checking their leads, tapping that microphone, frowning a whole lot more only to realise their shit ain't broken and it's actually meant to "sound" like that. She's called Xixi Cao. Impossible to miss her, impossible to take your eyes off her, she captivates you even as the light bends around her; she's a shrinking violet way beyond the visual spectrum. She's truth to the adage that silence can be truly deafening, she's their lead singer (yes I'm aware of the irony and I'm loving every minute of it!). She redefines goth in quite the same way that a forty foot plummet to your death refines "pothole"; she embodies Young Hearts Fail completely. Other names for her band may also include: "Teen Epic Fail", "The Eighties Suicide Wrist-Vein Disaster" and "In Space Nobody Can Hear You Scream". In fact she's an entire thesaurus devoted to the awkwardly shy. This is punctuated all the more by the band that surrounds her: Tobias Jacobson wringing woe from his guitar like a blackening downpour, his brother Isaac machine gunning the bass like the entire body count at the Battle of the Somme, whilst Harry Freeman drills the drums like nothing short of death himself. They throttle each song until the room itself runs out of oxygen, until we all asphyxiate, collapse and die. They're a thunderous onslaught, a tiny whimper, a squeak and then polite applause. And as much as they've been slowly but surely honing their craft and finding their "voice" (some songs even have defineable breaks in them now!) right here is where it's truly at! Catch them now before they wisen up, go all "puffy shirt", white powder faces, and zombie stares and proceed to scare the shit out of small children. Young Hearts Fail? I think I love you!
A DEVIL AMONGST THE TAILORS (***) myspace :: Which only makes our second support all the more fucking insane to experience. A "stark contrast" is one way to put it, "explosive decompression" is another, or more accurately: "oh my fucking crap an air bubble the size of a basketball just burst in my eye socket and now I'm gonna die!". Yup, that's A Devil Amongst The Tailors! Or for those of you unitiated, they're the epitome of a loud and proud Aussie "hiphop" tradition and everything awesome that it exemplifies. Or in other words everything "awesome" that is exemplified by two comfortably middleclass louts from the suburbs having a shouting match, over bass and drums; over all the ghetto inequity that comes from having adequate social security, a quarter acre block, a game of backyard cricket, a drive through bottle-o on every corner, sun surf and more loose bitches and blunts than you could possibly know what to do with.. fuuuck! Sure I realise this may defeat the purpose of being a hiphop artist in the first place but hey what would I know!? Public Enemy? The Roots? Saul Williams? Mos Def? Zach De La Rocha? *pffft* clearly I'm listening to the wrong shit here! Yup, this is Aussie hiphop at its finest! Embrace the irony! A Devil Amongst The Tailors. They're as much a loose mix between The Beastie boys, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul as they're a mix between Butterfingers, Bluejuice, The Herd and pack of AFL footy players on an Grand Final winning fender bender. They're a "band" owning the stage, that crowd in front of the stage and everyone else in this entire venue with little more than a rhythm section. And they're all the shouting and jumping about a stage you could possibly ever handle in the space of 45 minutes without your head exploding. I can't deny it, they sure as shit know to rock it, it's a circus out here tonight and they're living the dream! And when they finish up with their smash hit "Summertime"? The same song that came #5 in Fresh FM's top 92 songs for 2008? (that same song that in NO way rips off Ice Cube's "It Was A Good Day" in ANY way shape or form!?) simply brilliant!! This is A Devil Amongst The Tailors leaving nothing but beer cans, bucket bongs and empty pizza boxes in their wake: and this is me becoming a born again believer in the awesome power of Aussie hiphop!! YEAAAS!!
THE TOUCH (***1/2) myspace :: It's true, I'm endlessly entertained by the stupidest things. Does that make this blog nothing more than an exercise in backhanded compliment? an insult to your intelligence? an ever escalating "in joke" on the Adelaide scene? the lowest form of journalism? I like to think all the above. The quirks, the character, the flaws, the fuckups, it's a celebration of the human condition; I truly believe that! Exposing all these insane little details that make me laugh myself retarded, exploiting them, mocking them mercilessly; its why I keep coming back for more! (no shit.. three or four years in duuude, you'll take what you can get!). Which is why I'm endlessly thankful that bands like The Touch exist. No really, I am! So utterly, blithering, hilariously naive! So tragically scenster! Making complete and utter dicks of themselves wherever they go at every available opportunity!? They're the best thing to happen to this scene ever since Tony Font Show broke up and we lost the undeniable genius that was Lee Cowan! (maaaan that guy was hilariously stupid! he was everything this blog could ever ask for!). And now we have Josh Moore, lead singer for The Touch!? Yeah I don't know who's worse either, but I'm glad this idiot's stumbling about regardless. I mean shit.. how could we possibly deny what he's given to the Adelaide scene!? such lyrical genius as: "get your rat out.. get your rat out tonight!", or: "face down, arse up, that's the way we like to fuck!". Such mastery of the English language! I don't know how he manages to breathe AND blink at the same time without killing himself down a flight of stairs!? His constant and clueless verbal outbursts between songs and his ridiculous ego!? We cannot deny that he is THE Ashton Kutcher of the Adelaide scene! And better yet, the band he fronts? The Touch!? Duuude where do we begin? Sure we could say they sound like a cross between The Foals, The Moving Units, Los Valentinos (especially in reference to their earlier material) and the stage antics of Cut Off Your Hands; and as much as I'm willing to admit they've actually improved over the last year.. no shit! (there's even a few new songs starting to show a surprising amount of "depth") but we all know why we're here. The Touch entertain us for all the stupidest reasons, for all the best reasons, for all the wrong reasons, for all reasons which were in no way helped when they foolishly decided to invite ME up on stage to dance like twit during "Froth Party"; I had to deduct a half point for THAT crime against humanity (and if you saw me up there you'll sure as shit know why!). Here's to you The Touch: you may be hilarious idiots on a live stage but you still make a killing all the same!
1:13AM - Moments after the gig, I found myself standing on stage, looking out at the sea of people before me: arms in the air, shrieking exciteably and dancing to what appeared to be Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al" (off his Graceland album back in 1986). Only it was mutated into some kind've hilariously obscene electro banger, complete with idiotic early 90's breakbeats, sirens and accompanying high pitched "woooo.. yeaaah!" vocal refrains that looped over and over incessantly (ie: the sort've monstrosity that Big Audio Dynamite were once guilty of). As much as I'd like to believe this was the worst of it, it all went rapidly downhill from there. I was then joined on stage by Rocket's resident house mixer (who to protect his identity we'll simply refer to as "Fidel"). We both looked out at the crowd before us.. paused for a moment to take it all in and then nodded in agreement and laughed. As much as I'm not at liberty to say what we both came to an agreement on, I believe the movie "Idiocracy" says it best. If you've seen it, then you're definitely in on the joke, you'll understand the trajectory, better than most. If not, hire it, steal it, by any means watch it. It's hilarious, it's inciteful, more than that it's downright terrifying in its accuracy. It says so much more than I ever could right now and it's one of the many reasons you'd find me running down these stairs and screaming hysterically out that door soon thereafter..
1:29AM - Which quite predictably lead me here. We all know where "here" is: you've seen it countless times before, from countless different angles, so much so I needn't even mention it by name anymore; we all know it, there's no point repeating it. In fact let's all just pretend I was never here in the first place. Just like we'll all forget that I was ever "unfortunate" enough to miss seeing all the awesome bands that were playing here for Transmission Live *cough* no really! Just imagine what could've been if I ever wrote THAT live review!? (hi Radio Spectacular!!!)
3:16AM - And so, moments after I was clearly abducted by aliens and found myself with two hours in between that I couldn't possibly "account for" (and strangely all the drunker for it.. weeeeeee!) I found myself here lurching blindly down Clarendon Street towards Hindley where I stumbled upon THIS van. Which in of itself isn't all that remarkable. As much as I can gather there's ALWAYS a van parked at this exact same spot at this time of night on a Friday. What disturbs me to no end however, is that it's always sporting a different and utterly batshit paint job: leopard spots, zebra stripes, shrooms, naked chicks, fire breathing lizards; you name it every time its different. I'm unsure exactly how much of this is simply me tripping balls and imagining shit at 3AM (*pffft* like when does THAT ever happen on this blog!?) but for the sake of scientific enquiry I'm sure as fuck going to find out! Unless of course it turns out to be one of those needlessly over elaborate worldwide conspiracies stretching waaay back to the 1950's that involve tiny robots we can't see (that secretly control our thoughts), Freemasons, shape-shifting reptiloids, and what they really put into bottles of Mount Franklin; at which point, let's face it, you're better off NOT knowing!
3:21AM - Which is why for no reason whatsoever we find ourselves here, waiting outside of Supermild. Except that there isn't even a line to get in, there's not even a bouncer, there's a really big line to get into Elysium instead.. and um.. seriously, what the fuck am I still DOING out here!?
3:47AM - Upon entering I promptly hit the bar in search for more beer because clearly I'm nowhere near drunk enough yet (despite all glaring evidence to the contrary). It's at this point that I meet Ruby. Ruby is a bartender here. Ruby's awesome. She's the dark haired one, often has a flower in her hair, all kinds of cute. You'd remember her if you've seen her. Except clearly I didn't, because I actually met her last week. It was then that I rather helpfully put the name "Ruby" in an SMS draft on my phone so that I would remember her. In a sober moment later this week I found that same SMS, wondered what the fuck "Ruby" meant, and prompty deleted it thinking it was a Kaiser Chiefs song. This blank expression on my face right now is me coming to the rapid realisation that I'm a fucking idiot. I have this moment often. You probably see it everytime you meet me. Hi, I really do drink a lot! As for what the fuck ANY of this has to do with this photo of Steve Burdett and Kane Banner making hilarious twits of themselves; it doesn't. What's my point? I forget..
4:30AM - Just as I'm also at a total loss to explain just what the fuck is going on here, except to say that this is Josh Jacobs: he plays bass for Space Bong, and I've never been more disturbed in my entire life than I have been right now. And yet for some reason I keep taking more photos..
Just like I bet you'll be staring at these photos for a good five minutes and not know why either. Spooky innit? Would you believe he's a time traveller, he's actually from the year 1982 and he made a time machine out've a pair of headphones, tin of baked beans, a whiskey bottle, a car battery and one hundred grams of weapons grade plutonium? no? well I sure as shit did!
It's at this moment, or perhaps just after that when I beat Jock unconscious with the blunt end of a fire extinguisher (which I always seem to have within arms reach), stole his shirt, soaked it in spirits, lit it, hurled it, and crawled out of one of those high windows near the dancefloor and out into the street above me (or in other words: moments before Supermild exploded in a massive fireball around me) that I realised just what had become of this world. It was also at this exact moment that I wondered why I didn't just take the stairs instead *shit*. It's silly mistakes like these that cost us. It's silly mistakes like these that accumilate and cascade into mistakes ever more catastrophic; ones that affect us on a global scale, one's we can't possibly fix. The arrows are all pointing the same way, straight down, the big picture is well and truly FUBAR, there's nothing we can do now but enjoy the ride. You bring the snacks, I've got the soundtrack right here!