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...
BROTHERSISTER / FRINGE RESIDENCY "FINALE SHOW" @ THE ED CASTLE / Friday March 20th 2009
I admit that I've gone to some seriously stupid extremes to cover this music scene over the last few years: I couldn't see any other way around it, and YES I'm still rather surprised I'm not dead yet (although not through any lack of trying). At current guesstimates there's anywhere between 200 to 300 live acts active in this city of 1 million people: all vying for a headlining spot at only 10-15 live venues in the CBD insane enough to host them, and maybe even less than that "out in the sticks" in a 90km suburban sprawl north to south and a 20km sprawl east to west (and most of these are best avoided for their alarmingly high faecal count.. *burp* scuse me!). I am only one person. Sometimes I'm the only one that turns up. Especially if I turn up on a Wednesday. Yes, I'm well aware there's also a dedicated Fasterlouder, Rip It Up and dB death squad willing to back me up in a firefight but so often you'll forget they're around (they make the cutest "crunchy" sounds underfoot when their skulls cave in). No, when you're on a single minded mission, seeking self destruction, by the most hilarious means possible, you'll take on everything and everyone, often all at the same time, in effort to get the word out. Three venues in one night, nine bands in one hit, four nights in a row, nineteen in a weekend, thrown headfirst into a Melbourne tourbus on a Friday night for 50 hours with no sleep, front lines pelted with beer bottles, beaten about the head by crowd surfers, flying tackled by lead vocalists, on stage, back stage peeing into coffee pots, burning effigies, celebrity gatecrashers, inflatable rafts, spontaneous bouts of nudity, mud wrestling, midgets, glockenspiels, telekenesis, confetti cannons, drinking everyone under the table, house parties, stopped by the cops, out of your mind and still stupid 3PM the next day, a bogroll of cameras ground to dust *sniff*. And YES, clearly I am already dead and this is being "ghost written" from beyond the grave. It's an awesome way to go. I'd recommend it to anyone looking to lose five pounds and most of their front teeth. Whoaaa.. where the fuck am I again?
Seriously, dude.. where the fuck else WOULD I be? Still it helps to be certain, and if my readings are accurate, taking into consideration: GPS, dew point, wind speed, faecal count (pachyderm or otherwise), hair fibres, glass fragments, shattered teeth and all those suspicious semen stains left on the walls and ceiling (was that YOU Josh!? damn.. The Touch are worse than I thought!) then it appears we're at The Ed Castle again and ALL to see one band. One band!? wow, guess I really HAVE done everything else (short of being a responsible adult) so fuckit.. why the hell not!?
Yup, there's really no better time for it than now (and not just because there's a Clipsal 500 fucking up every other live venue in Adelaide). Sometimes its good to focus on just the ONE thing. How long has it been since any of us have done that? Yes.. I'm talking to YOU: stop texting your friend, whilst messaging your other friend, on facebook, on myspace, on MSN Messenger (anyone still use that!?), AOL, yahoo, whilst updating your twitter account, whilst reading this website, whilst watching a youtube of that goofy chicken riding a skateboard, whilst watching the TV in case the Cadbury Gorilla turns up, whilst listening to that shuffle of 500 albums you downloaded last week, whilst your girlfriend goes down on you, whilst.. wait you're a lesbian now!? YOU'RE DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!! (Adelaide motorists.. sheeesh!). Put your foot to the brake, reboot the matrix, take a moment to soak it all in, bomb the couch and chillax the fuck out.. aaaaah! Isn't that SO much better? Without all that clutter and white noise? Right here where its midnight blue, sea green and oh SO serene? Isn't this where you would rather be!? Just look at this setlist and all that we have to look forward to, fuck dude.. how simple could this shit be?
BROTHERSISTER (****1/2) myspace :: Well "simple" IS a relative term and I REALLY did throw myself into the deep end with this one. This is BrotherSister: Dante and Xavia Nou (Adelaide's ecclectic electronica ex-patriots based predominantly in New York and Nashville). This is their finale set of a Fringe Residency they've hosted every Friday in The Ed Castle throughout the month of March. They're bringing the full band: the ever omnipresent Ryan Manolakis on drums.. who you'll know from every other band in Adelaide (and I swear I've shot his drumkit under every lighting scheme in Adelaide in the last few months), Nat Wiseman on bass (formerly from The Baron), some "random chick" on the violin (..anyone?) and combined they're gonna stupify us senseless with one helluva send off tonight! Sure, sounds simple enough (*choke* wait.. it does!?): they're just ONE band? but just YOU try and photograph them! This is a "civilised" set, to a seated crowd, candles, a polite cough, stage lights dimmed to a drip feed; and besides their jaw dropping performance? all we have to light our way is the faint glow of a projection screen. I know, it sounds just like a winter wonderland in here now doesn't it (and it truly is!) but this is a freaking NIGHTMARE to do justice on a camera lens people! Still, let it not be said that I'm not criminally insane. And so: pulling a stunt similar to one I attempted at last week's Colonel Kernel (ie: prepare for a flood of technobabble) I dropped the ISO to 400 (to reduce the grain), dropped the exposure to 1/10th of a second (to reduce the blur), held my breath for minutes at a time (to reduce the shake), snuck around like a ninja to capture all the angles and shot everything in the dark without a flash.. YEAAAS!! It sounds insane I know (especially when you forget to breathe) but not only could I fix the brightness in Photoshop (a lower ISO really gives you the luxury to really push those extremes), but it gave the final images such an awesome "ethereal" quality.. genius! I should note however, that this shit ONLY ever works for shoegazers, human statues and sadsack existentialists like Mr Wednesday (hi Moon!). Try this on any other band like Mayfield, Mammal or Robotosaurus and there's a good chance you'll find your camera halfway through a wall. Yup, as much as this doesn't amount to much of a live review at this point (*pffft.. I mean really, when does it ever!?) fuck DAMN I'm still proud of this shit all the same. Oh and might I add I also took all of these shot on a pissy compact Canon no less? YEAAAS!! LOOK YE PITIFUL MIDGETS!! BOW BEFORE ME!! BEHOLD MY ALMIGHTY AWESOMATUDE!!
*cough* but no.. ignoring all that other shit (no really.. how fucking badass am I?) it's ALL about the band BrotherSister. Theirs is a sound truly worthy of such singular praise, not only because they really are THAT ridiculously good (and it truly WAS worth ditching everything else to go see them) but also because you'd be hard pressed to assemble a crack team of private school teachers, librarians, mathematicians, Microsoft programmers and the Amish as a "support band" that could possible hold a candle to them.. oh and especially in a place that serves alcohol and not nearly enough camomile tea, without it all ending in tears (or worse still Stephen Hawking attempting to wow us all with his whimsical array of balloon animals.. fuck!). No, BrotherSister truly ARE in a league all of their own. They're an orchestral ensemble, an outfit in ecclectic electronica, an expression of existential angst rendered both bittersweet and articulate and in every nuance in between. And they belong in the here and now, in the 21st century, in every way that they also belong to the turn of the 20th (or in the exact same batshit temporal anomaly from New England to Montreal that spawns bands like the Arcade Fire). Think the collected works of Charles Dickens, Brothers Grimm or Jules Verne. Think Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the collected works of Tim Burton. Think of them all pressed onto vinyl and stuffed into an attic somewhere to gather dust for a millennium. Think Sunday school. They're a steampunk collage between all that and a brooding postmodern pastiche of Portishead, The Postal Service, Thom Yorke's "The Eraser", Bat For Lashes, Lamb and the somber extremes of Nine Inch Nails "The Fragile". There's a worldly weight in the way that Dante sings, countered so masterfully with the ethereal way that Xavia sings. They're a winter wonderland of harpischord, cello, violin and piano given momentum by both Nat Wiseman on bass and Ryan Manolakis doing the downtempo "tumbledryer" on drums (watch for that solo he rips into at the end of "Guin" and you'll understand just why he's one of the best drummers in Adelaide). Oh yes! They take us all on a magical journey from the Kingdom of Narnia to the neon glow of Gotham City moments before dawn. They have this crowd, this room and this moonlit moodsetting masterfully weaved like a cello string between bow, thumb and forefinger. And as long as you can shake that all too eerie resemblance between Dante, Xavia and those two kids from the film "The Others" because it sure as shit explains the lighting! (and then shake away any thoughts of just how awful Nicole Kidman is on film, I mean no shit, she's a really crap actress!) you can forget all else but THIS tonight and drift blissfully off into eternity.. aaaah! :)
And that was all there was to it. One band said it all. One band uniting us all in the darkness. All those chattering voices within us now silenced in awe. And as such we spent the remainder of this night hiding away in this teeny tiny enclave with the ridiculously large beer garden, waaay off into the west, drinking its sweet fill. While off in the east end, way off in the ghetto a thousand and one petrolheads and bogans in Holden and Ford team ensignias beat each other senseless, shrieked like baboons and bled the bar dry. Yup I don't regret my choice here for one minute! Thanks BrotherSister! You and your sensible shoes can party with us drug addled freaks aaany 'ol time!
And to think a few beers later I caught a taxi (two hours earlier than usual) and fucked off home!? Wow! who knew it was still possible: a quiet night out? And until all that white noise catches up with me tomorrow night, and we're flooded in a mad cacophany of it, and in five flavours of batshit insane, and all that stands between them and me is a keyboard and a camera lens? fuckit.. let's enjoy this moment! It's not every night you get to bliss out like this in the eye of the storm.