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...
LADY STRANGELOVE + SHAMAN SON + THE AMCATS LIVE @ ROCKET BAR / Saturday March 21st 2009
If nothing else: this site, this blog, this Spoz's Rant, is a search for intelligent life. Oh wait.. didn't I just say it was about some OTHER crap the week before? or what about all that hallucinogenic gibberish I've been babbling on about for the last few months about the imminent threat of a zombie apocalypse!? yeah I know, don't get me started, clearly it's the blind drunk leading the blind here (even at the best of times) but I swear it's always about THIS shit, at least just this once (or at least until I lose track of it two thirds the way through). The search for intelligent life. Yes, intelligent life! The power of abstract thought, accumilate wisdom, logic and reasoning, a sense of self, science, observing your surroundings, mad experimentation and articulate expressions found in both art and music. We swear it's STILL out there! Intelligent life! Too easily can it be confused with all that McDonalds crap. Noise is noise, communication is the key! You can flash some lights, dress it up in fluoro, scream some slogans, pop some pills and bang that techno, but it's all bullshit if it ain't saying anything. You could shuffle those puppets, whether they be postgraduates or politicians in front of a lens, but do they ever make a lick of sense? No this is a search for intelligent life! It's an impossible mission bordering on the insane, and it's leading us right here to Rocket Bar tonight. Damn.. it's getting more desperate than we thought! And yet when the Ed's crawling with *LULZ! laser beams! ZOMG!* of a windowlicker "WOW!", when Jive's playing host to the Dukes Of Windsor (weeeee!), or when Fowlers's run riot with a teen scream cascade and is sinking fast below those waves (7PM start!? *pfft* I don't care WHO it is.. fuck that shit!) you take any port in storm. We're searching for intelligent life in all the strangest places (and it truly is getting stranger by the day). Up those three flights, moths to the lamplight flame. Oh what cruel twist of fate! what mad desperation we've sought! in Rocket Bar!? could they EVER save us in our time of need!? Hell no! but we'll keep on drinking all the same, till it all makes sense!
THE AMCATS (****) myspace :: This is our opening act, and yes we'll ignore the bleedingly obvious and move right along (I know you're all thinking it but I promised). This is The Amcats. They're like nothing else I swear. Or perhaps they're a little like the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Black Keys, The Vasco Era, The Fiery Furnaces!? "Hey I know! let's just throw up any two-piece band we can think of, and see if that'll stick for a live review!?" The Ting Ting? The Presets!? shit.. what!? no, we're smarter than that, let's look for that instead. Let's look past that surface, past the ever so familiar, past the jokes we've cracked a million times before (dude you SO should see their music video when they pull a "Michel Gondry") and see what truly defines them here. There's a lot to like about The Amcats, especially tonight. It's the mad buzz, it's an energy, you can't escape it, you wanna do bad bad things with it. It's like a whiskey town tornado. It's like a jukebox blown to shit with machine gun fire. It's a car wreck that's been left to gather rust since the 50's and 60's, with its bubble domes and swim fins, flying high through the air to a spinning dervish of devil dust. It's such a simple dynamic too, but it's genius in its delivery. You feel it in the elephantine *thump thump thump* of Renee on the kit, complete with her whimsical head tilt, cute as a button, smashing that four to the floor like she's ten feet tall. You can hear it in the rapid fire yammer of Shane on the vocals, babbling incoherent like a speedway commentator running hell for leather, running on nothing but gasoline and adrenaline, all fed through a megaphone, guitar strings cut loose like a barking dog dialtone. You can see it in the epilepsy of lights that accompany them, mad flashing lights, making it just about impossible to photograph them without collapsing on the dancefloor in a foaming fit (thanks Strangelove Azz, no really.. genius work there!). It's an all encompassing frenzy, you can feel it in your teeth, rattling in your ribcage, hammering your heartrate like a defibrillator, as the beat kicks on. The Amcats. They're part cheese mating ritual, beaming smiles like the closing scene of Juno with an acoustic guitar: only sped up like a cartoon speeds and fed through a leaf blower crossfaded with a flamethrower. At this rate they could outgun the devil and win ALL our souls back. It's oh so simple, yet oh so fiendishly effective!
SHAMAN SON (****) myspace :: One may wonder from title alone, just how Lady Strangelove and The Amcats came to be at the same gig, how they can both make sense in the same sentence. Chalk and cheese right? what the fuck were these spaced out hippies thinking!? but they've truly thought of everything tonight. They've provided a missing link here that bridges that divide. You heard it in the 60's, you heard it resonating ever louder in the 70's. It's the soundtrack to the Vietnam War, it's the despair and dysphoria that our ancestors felt, that heart of darkness leading to an escape plan in all that dizzy decadence, that energy and euphoria we call home tonight. Little do most people realise, but psychedelia? it came from the blues maaan! Its crazy I know, but you can hear it in our second act, you hear it loud and clear and screaming like the blood curdling and coarsing in your jugular vein. Shaman Son, formerly known as Jarvis Jay, formerly known as just Jarvis are that "missing link" that we needed now in more ways than one. They come from a primordial swamp, a primal rage, or quite possibly somewhere in the vicinity of Melbourne (damn.. there seems to be a LOT of this shit happening of late, maybe its worse over there than we thought?). You can see it all unfold in front of you, that predator to prey relationship at play: that shock of blond hair flailing and screaming in front of you on a mic, dorsal fins shooting forth, teeth digging into flesh, the taste of blood lingering in the water, then torn apart and spat assunder under flickering lights. Wow! It's hard to keep focus on all their movements like this, they DO run around a lot: but you feel it. This is our potential, this is what we're all capable of when those leashes let slip. It's Jimi Hendrix warming his hands over a freshly lit guitar. It's Robert Plant gnashing and wailing those Led Zeppelin blues. It's The Beatles' "Helter Skelter" and Black Sabbath's "Paranoid". It's Nick Oliveri back when he was in Queens Of The Stone Age: standing there naked, screaming and on fire, egging you on. These are the bleeding edges where blues meets liquor and hard drugs and open those doorways into the savage beyond. Shaman Son. Fuuuck.. it's one helluva mad trip!
LADY STRANGELOVE (****1/2) myspace :: Which brings us here to the climatic culmination, this witches cauldron, this psychotropic blend 43 which rapidly boils, bubbles over, and eats through the walls. Yup, if this is still a search for intelligent life then it's becoming less literal and more like a spirit walk in the desert fucked up on peyote, or a hysterical head exploding metaphor mixed up with the closing scenes of "2001: A Space Odyssey". Who knew that a few chimps banging rocks right back in the beginning could have brought us so far? Lady Strangelove. It's always been like this, ever since day one. They're a mischievous lot, they're criminally insane, they walk onto a live stage and everything goes black. They control the horizontals and the verticals, they work the crowds like puppets, they kill all the lights like a sensory deprivation tank and then they flood all the frequencies with a screaming weaponised attack. It's hard to keep a clear head in a shitstorm like this (and believe me I've tried!). What to you (as an outside observer) may sound like a freebase concoction between The Chemical Brothers, Led Zeppelin, The Music (their first album.. never the second or third!) and Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd: goes out the window the minute you're in the thick of it. They press a button, there's spinning blades, bits of you splatter every which way, and before you know it you're writing review after review of sanctimonial gibberish like: "Lady Strangelove are like a pod of whales passing through the anus of an ostrich!", or "they're an amazonian rainforest full of tropical birds shot like a frisbee into the far reaches of outerspace!", or "woweee.. I can finally understand every single word that Brendan is singing!". You can't, you have an inoperable brain tumour the size of an eggplant and you only have months to live.. it's been nice knowing ya! Still it's an awesome sendoff if ever we saw one! It's not just the same old psychedelic gibberish that you see everywhere else. You may be familiar with the psychedelic childlike innocence of a Tame Impala, or the comatose release of a Wolf & Cub but this is Lady Strangelove: they're as cynical as they come. They're a call to arms, they're a psychotropic blues, they want NO part in this reality that has become unfit for human consumption, they want to transcend all that and disappear into the stars, or further still where the laws of physics can't fuck with them; and tonight we want nothing more than to join them. You can see it all around you: a thousand final solutions reaching critical mass, detonating all at once. Mind, matter, everything around us as one, as pure energy. A shockwave blast exploding ever outwards, washing those city streets clean with a white hot heat, then sprouting thousands of little rainbows refracting in their wake. Yup, maybe that's the true sign of intelligent life? knowing when you can party hard, and then knowing when it's best to leave.
1:37AM - Which is a lesson hard learnt whenever you come to Rocket Bar: "knowing when you can party hard, and then knowing when it's best to leave". Yup, one minute it's paradise in here, it's our sweet shitcrazy sanctuary situated way up on high! We're losing it to some sweetarse jams, ecclectic 80's, 70's funk, blues and soul, that DJ (whoever the fuck he is) is ripping this shit in fine form and all us freaks and geeks are claiming this joint and smoking it up like it was one of our own! "Awesome! it's just like it was back in mid 2006 to early 2007!". And then, just like it always does: one minute the Talking Heads are singing "saaame as it ever was.. same as it ever was!" and you're singing along like its a victory dance without an inch of irony, then the next minute you're flooded with fluoro fuckwits fresh from Electric Circus and those same lyrics eat at you like never before: "saaame as it ever was.. same as it ever was!". No shit sometimes I'm surprised nobody's broken their necks, falling down those stairs, from screaming the FUCK out that door!
1:48AM - It was a mad scramble for safety, I don't know how the fuck we go out of there alive but we're safe now. Here hiding out in this parking lot downstairs: me, Mathias, Shane from The Amcats, band members from both Shaman Son and Lady Strangelove, and a mixed bag of nuts (baked not fried) all gathering to catch our breath as we contemplated our next move the fuck out of here. Still, taking in our pictoresque subterranean surrounds, we briefly entertained the notion that maybe we could simply set up shop HERE instead. I mean how hard could it be? Throw in some plumbing, toilets, a few kegs, a bar, some lights, a soundsystem, a stage, some couches.. the dancefloor's massive, dude it'd be a huuuge! Hmmm if only we could figure out where all that water was coming from it'd be a done deal! And then it dawned on us. Electric Circus! When you've got a pack of shaved apes flinging poo at all hours of the night right above you and none of them are housebroken? then.. well um.. how do I put this delicately? duuude THAT ain't water!
2:04AM - With that dawning realisation came yet another screaming stampede the fuck out of there and into the living hell that is Hindley Street West on a Saturday night (aka: "it's just like downtown Baghdad in summer, only with twice the car explosions.. YEAAAS!!") and it's here that we stood dazed and shellshocked, like a minute stretching into eternity. Obviously we still hadn't decided where the fuck to go next.. but hmmm, maybe if someone were to give us a sign?
2:27AM - Yeah I know what you're thinking but somehow we ended up here instead (or maybe we just edited out a sizeable portion of our night and changed the time stamps around.. and you'll never know!). This is The Ed Castle or at least this is a rather convincing fascimile of what The Ed Castle used to be like: "aaaah you remember back in the good 'ol days.. like.. I dunno last week?", except now it has a velvet rope around it that leads directly into the gates of hell.
2:28PM - Yup I believe that chalkboard sign says it all. Understandibly it took us a while to translate it in full.. until we realised that it wasn't actually written in Latin, on fire, or dripping with pigs blood. Still, you could've fooled us because it sure as shit looked like eternal damnation. There's that feeling of overwhelming dread, that dull throbbing beat, interrupted momentarily by the torturous screams of hundreds of girls, handbags flapping wildly, lusting after Van She Tech: claws tearing into flesh; only to subside as that dull throbbing beat returned (now with added keytars), only to be interrupted once more with slightly higher pitched scream as hundreds of metrosexuals, handbags flapping wildly, lusted after pretty much the exact same thing. For those of you late to the party: THIS is "WOW!", it'll be here every Saturday night, it started off as "Click Click" in Melbourne and now it's crossed borders to the Ed Castle. Still, we can't be too judgemental. I mean hey: one person's cancer could well be another's KFC! Hmmm.. to think we're so good at keeping fruit flies out of this state and yet THIS comes through? priorities people!!
2:38AM - "It's the end of the world as we know it and I feeeeel fiiine!", or in other words (not at all ironic to our situation tonight) this is where we ended up afterwards: the Worldsend cursing and swearing over all that had befallen us.. why damnit!? WHY!!?? Upon finding a table outside: one of the members of Shaman Son, head bowed, took this moment to apologise officially for Melbourne and the state of Victoria for introducing this mess to Adelaide in the first place. Of course we didn't have the heart to tell him that it was here LAST week (and months in the planning) but we appreciated the gesture all the same. This was followed by a minute's silence to respect to the fallen *sniff* "The Ed you will be missed!" and then we returned to some serious drinking.
2:45AM - It is here that we argued over just which venue in Adelaide we could possibly call our "home" now that all the others were gone. If they took Rocket Bar away from us, if they've taken away The Ed Castle.. what next? where the fuck do we go now!? The Jade Monkey? The Metro? Enigma Bar? Shotz!? Each suggestion sounded ever more terrifying than the next, only for us to stop short of considering The Ed Castle again, as clearly we weren't overracting one bit in our decision never to go back there ever again.. oh hell no! IT'S GONE PEOPLE!! IT'S FREAKING DEAD!! "but wait maybe it's still good on a Friday!?" NO YOU POOR DEMENTED FOOLS, IT'S FREAKING DEAAAAD!! *cough* and yet there's a very good chance that you'll STILL find me back there next week.. why? Because um.. look! here's a novelty Spongebob Squarepants backpack, that's why!!
2:54AM - This is Nima Nabili: one of Strangelove's entourage. He has, quite possibly, THE most ridiculously badass beard on the planet (short of that other bearded goon "Curtis" we all know from Clue To Kalo). He makes films. What's this got to do with absolutely anything.. no fucking clue!
3:11AM - And now that I've effectively avoided the question "huh.. what?" we find ourselves at Jive moments after Worldsend closes instead. And might I add, now we're about two thirds of the way through this episode too (or is it three quarters?), we've also forgotten just what the fuck it was that I wrote in that introduction.. awesome! Of course I won't be reminding you again (and it's best you don't go looking) because by then you'd realise just how monumentally idiotic it is for me to be here in the first place *cough still, if it helps: YES we're ridiculously drunk, YES there is a ridiculously long lineup outside of Supermild and as for the moral of this story? there isn't one, there never was one (and if you'd read enough of this shit you should know better by now!).
3:10AM - As such we can blame the "infamous" Nick Hadley, former drummer for the Dead Popes Of The Vatican for pretty much everything you're about to see. And no I have no freaking clue why he's wearing a suit and tie, or why he's wearing those glasses, or just what the FUCK he's doing here at Jive on a Saturday night making a complete and utter dick of himself: as clearly he NEVER goes out drinking, this is the last place you'd ever expect to find him (*pfft* what am I talking about he's here every weekend!!) and we could just as easily explain away this entire "incident" as nothing more than a hilarious work of fiction. Or at least we could've if only I wasn't stupid enough to take all those photos of it at the time. Fuck! guess I've really gone and done it now huh!?
3:14AM - Thus for the sake (and dwindling sanity) of everyone involved, I will refrain from embarassing you any further by giving them "hilarious" captions. If you really need them, chances are someone else will provide them for you the minute they upload them to their facebook account, tag you in every single one of them (including the one's where you're just an incoherent blur off in the distance), and then we can collectively piss ourselves laughing over just how hilarious we are when we're drunk. Why? because clearly that's the only reason why any of you idiots are here in the first place. Awesome huh? (hmmm now where DID I leave that loaded shotgun?).
3:53AM - And now I would like to take this moment to humbly accept this award on the behalf of Nick Hadley, the Dead Popes Of The Vatican, Shaman Son, Lady Strangelove, "That Brunette", "That Blond With The Glasses", "That Other Blond Who I Swear Looks Like One Of The Olsen Twins", "That Freak With The Beard", and "That Other Freak Who Looks Like A Hilarious Chipmunk".. oh and yes, before you ask: I DO remember what most of your names are but I ask you, take a good long look at yourselves, do you really want that kind of credit? OOOH SHIT NO! (and yet you're still stealing them for your facebook now, aren't you!? you stinking hypocrites!!).
*cough* oh and before I forget I would also like to thank Alcohol, Taurine, Caffeine, MSG (621), Tartrazine (102), Cochineal (120), Sulphates (220, 221, 222, 223, 224 and 225), Benzoates (210, 211, 212 and 213), the colour "Red", Japanese Manga, Harold Edgerton (the inventor of the strobe light), the lead content of Adelaide tap water, any defective chromosomes that may (or may not) be responsible for this mess, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences and The Hollywood Foreign Press. I think that we can also safely say that there is NO hope left for the human race.
4:08AM - Aaaah if only I was in possession of (or had lazy mail order access to) several pounds of C4, timer switches, a nifty LCD display that counted down from ten seconds to zero (so that you had little or no time to actually do anything.. but enough time to react and freak the fuck out about it.. YEAAAS!!) and maybe one of those nifty little remote triggers that I could activate with my mobile phone: so then I could wire this place to explode minutes after I walked out that door. And then when there's nothing left of Jive but a smoking ruin? I could salt the earth so none of these horrors could ever rise again to terrorise the population at large.. aaaah! Which is exactly just what I would've done tonight if only you didn't see me here again next Saturday (in the event of Supermild having a ridiculously long lineup) because clearly, I'm THAT fucking retarded.
4:11AM - And so, moments later, babbling hysterically and clearly in no fit state to blow up any building any time too soon (let alone blow below a 0.05 blood alcohol reading): I ran screaming to the safety of Supermild and promptly collapsed dead. Clearly there's no sign of intelligent life left in this city, or at least if there was, it has long since gone the way all intelligent life eventually loses its way: attempting to bridge the gap between Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" and "A Momentary Lapse In Reason", or worse still The Music's self titled debut and "Strength In Numbers". Damn. One minute you're a genius, next minute you're Coldplay.. what a waste!
Intelligent life is fleeting, it's oh so rare (and sometimes it's invisible to the naked eye, covered in green fur and three inches tall) and if it knew what's good for it, then it'll be anywhere but here drinking itself retarded at the end of the night. But we saw it tonight.. OH YES! and that's all that matters, if only for a moment. This is what inspires us. This is why we are here. They won't always be here. They could be anywhere. Hidden in the Andes or sticking out like a nipple on the third moon of Neptune. Or maybe they'll be living in a different timezone, maybe they won't even speak English, or maybe they're living far off into the future, or in an alternate dimension or lost for a millennia under the Pyramids or the Sphinx in one of those secret burial chambers that we all swear were built by space aliens. Intelligent life. It's awesome like that. If you find it, chase it down, shoot it dead, and mount it on a wall for the world to see. I know I sure as shit do!