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 AMCATS + SHAMAN SON + MONA LISA OVERDRIVE "7" SINGLE LAUNCH PARTY" @ ROCKET BAR / Friday April 3rd 2009
Yes I'm at Rocket Bar again. No I haven't got a fucking clue how this happened. Maybe it's an electromagnetic effect. Maybe it's like on that island from "Lost". Maybe it's all those "pentagrams" they've been drawing up in Electric Circus downstairs. Maybe one day some "freak" methlab explosion will wipe this slate clean, they'll sift through the ashes, the glowsticks, the fluoro, the charred chicken flesh, the chattering teeth ground to dust and they'll discover the wizard behind the curtain pulling those puppet strings and he'll look just like me! Maybe David Lynch can direct it. When you spend all your nights howling at the moon, like this, you begin to doubt shit. Clearly I'm not just the one person anymore. I'm being ghost written by at least five people now. One of them's called "Dave". We're a conspiracy theory, we're through the looking glass now, only it's a pair of beer goggles and we're laughing too hard to care. Rocket Bar. How the fuck did this happen.. again? for the fourthtime in a row!? I swear I walk out those doors every night, fall arse-backwards into Supermild, curl up in the crawlspace out back, fall asleep and dream of anywhere but here. I dream of a life lived in Sundays throught to Thursdays, of well paid careers, wife and kids, nights spent in front of the television set, bloated and floating down river, dead and buried at age 55. I wake up in a cold sweat, only to find myself back at Rocket Bar again *phew*. Yes before you ask, this IS the same lamp by the bar you've seen a billion times before. No I don't take a new photo everytime I'm here. I actually keep a "file". Back when Eleanor used to work here she would dream of the day when she could sabotage this photo by throwing her shit-eating grin into frame at the very last minute. No such luck this time. I took this shot back in February and you were nowhere to be found.. HA! And yes, I change it up every once in a while when the menu changes. I'm also not of this Earth. I'm from outer space. Ask me about the drink specials!
I've learnt many a lesson at Rocket Bar. Thanks to Rocket Bar I eat all my food through a straw now, occassionally swapping nostrils to alleviate the burning sensation. "Oops there goes my colour and depth perception again!". Thanks to Rocket Bar I've learnt to dress only in shades of black and hide out in all the darkest corners of the room. Find your niche, your nook, your clique, your crooked path and grow increasingly batshit paranoid over just what everyone else is saying. I swear they're all out there lurking in the shadows still, longing to drink my blood. Take the wrong turn, fall down three flights of stairs and find yourself right back where you started again! Blind inches in front of your face. Deaf to anything above the plastic din of a four four beat. Scensters and fashion nazis. Assymetrical character assassins. Trust no-one. Divide and conquer. It's the decor that screams it out loudest of all. I'm sane and everyone else is crazy. Fuuuck I love this joint!
You can see it in all the smiling faces that serve you behind the bar. Blank and expressionless, nothing but broken shells of their former selves, wind whistling through their insect exoskeletons (aaaah the hospitality industry, don't you just love it!?). So reknown are they that an infamous Adelaide band even wrote a song about it. It's called "Put Your Finger In My Arse!" and yes it's a love song. But they're not all like that. Some of them eventually suffer fullblown nervous breakdowns and end up licking the walls at The Ed Castle instead. Others they simply "hide" out by the second bar. "Rocket Bar has a second bar!?" oh sure! it's just like an IQ test.. oh wait *cough* nevermind. Take "new girl" Kassandra for example. You'll find her yammering hysterically, barking mad at the red lights here like she's been stuck in a submarine all night (she only sees in "green" now). She's happy to be here. I mean REALLY happy. I mean really.. NEVER piss her off as chances are she'll be the first to splatter Rocket Bar walls to ceiling with your remains if ever she loses her shit out here! Did I ever mention how much I love this joint? Fuuuck I SO need to get drunk!
MONA LISA OVERDRIVE (***1/2) myspace :: And speaking of drunk here comes our opening act, and if you can't see the connection here then clearly you've never seen them live before (it's been too long hasn't it Alex?). Mona Lisa Overdrive. If the name sounds familiar, yet strangely "unfamiliar", it's possibly because you've spent the last six months in psychotherapy attempting to forget them ever since they last played in late November. Maybe you still wake up screaming, under the mistaken belief that they're playing in your bedroom, torchlit under their chins with unearthly grins on their faces; or maybe that's just me. Either way they were THAT band: Adelaide's most omnipresent in 2008. You couldn't get away from them. Like wind up toys and cuckoo clocks they kept on coming back, every damn week, to every damn venue, to every dickhead and their dog (even if no one showed up) till that "Stockholm Syndrome" took hold something fierce and you couldn't get enough of them. Wow.. to think six months later I actually miss them!? Whoaaa shit! Mona Lisa Overdrive. Sixties psychedelia in the vein of Velvet Underground, there's truly no other band in Adelaide that's quite like them. No two sets are ever the same, as chances are no two band members will ever play the same song at the same time. Like an octopus in an avalanche. Like an albatross attempting to breakdance in a tumble dryer. The beats, keys, vox and guitars: sure they don't fit, like square blocks smashing into round holes, and yet it comes together SO brilliantly! Even better? I don't think they've rehearsed in the last six months either. Best. Gig. EVER! That's not sarcasm (well ok.. maybe a little) it's a statement of fact. And it's all being driven tonight by Alex on drums and vocals. Like a passive aggressive Craig Nicholls spitting out a dictionary he'll send every song screaming over the abyss unsure over whether he's meant to be Martin Sheen or Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now (or both at the same time). Normally he'd be reined in by the "animatronic puppets" that surround him: Luke and Dave on guitars, Jess dive bombing the keys, but tonight they're so damn loose that even free jazz afficionados would explode from the impossible patterns that they weave. I'm loving this shit. They bribed me for my birthday with all their free drink passes (awww guys.. you're awesome!) all in the hope that I'd write a glowing review. I'm in the corner of this room right now, clawing my face off and screaming, crawling head to toe in imaginary ants; and I've got THEM to thank for it! It's been too long guys. Come back aaanytime!
SHAMAN SON (****) myspace :: I'd already seen this second act two weeks ago in this exact same spot and chances are with the exact same setlist too. I could've also just as easily copied that entire review word for word and none of you idiots would be any the wiser. As more than likely, just like me, your attention span is SO shot to shit these days thanks to ever present social networkings, google, youtube, wikipedia and bittorrents feeding our every whim and desire every damn second of our day, that not only can you not remember anything that's happened two weeks ago, let alone last Thursday (or even what you ate for breakfast this morning) but you haven't slept in well over three weeks either and now for some entirely unexplicable reason both of your kidneys have gone missing. WOOOOO!! Clearly NONE of this shit has anything to do with just how much we binge drink, or all the additives in our food, or all the drugs we're taking (caffeine? taurine!?), or the fact that all our conversations have been reduced to status updates fuck full of mispelled LOLcat acronyms and half forgotten pop culture references. Just as none of this shit has anything to do with Shaman Son tonight. How were they!? I'm asking you! By this point of the night I'd already downed at least six to seven beers, or maybe even twice that, and I'm already stuffed in a refrigerated filing cabinet somewhere in the Royal Adelaide Hospital whilst my brain floats disembodied in search of a new host. Yup, I'd like to take this moment to personally thank Keenan (aka: "The Metro Gnome") at The Ed Castle for shouting me one off his bartab earlier this evening, Wokka and Heidi for one over dinner, Kassandra at Rocket Bar for the two $3 beers the minute I walked in here two hours later and Mona Lisa Overdrive for finishing the job. Did I mention that it was my birthday yesterday? Sheeeiiit. Worst. Review. EVER. Shaman Son. I dimly recall they sounded a lot like The Music's first album and all the best feeding frenzy moments of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix mixed up with a four car pile up. I vaguely remember their lead singer Ted Dempsey sounding like a lung puncture crossfaded with a bloodclot exploding all over the stage. Rob Webster on the bass exploding OFF the stage. Brendan from Lady Strangelove fucking up all the lights (damn you!). I remember little else. I'm writing this on a Monday still hungover, and if being stupidly drunk, it sounds anywhere as good as THIS? I should never have left! Shaman Son, you rock my teeny tiny peanut brain!
THE AMCATS (****1/2) myspace :: And speaking of.. well shit who HASN'T figured the overriding theme by now!? there's a drinking game I've invented in the last few days with THIS exact band in mind! Woweee.. whodathunkit!? Here's how you play.. trust me, it's awesome! Get the albums "De Stilj" and the first self titled (I won't say by who, but take ONE guess). Get our headlining act's equally exceptional debut EP "Go Amcats Go!" (you guys still selling those?). Rip both to mp3. Strip away any obvious singles (or any of those slow numbers) and throw it all into a shuffled playlist. Line up shot after shot of your preferred poison. Personally I'd pick a tequila shot with a tomato shot / tabasco chaser (but I've also been told on good authority that I'm clinically insane). Invite your friends. Fire up the playlist. Try and guess which is which. If you get any of them wrong, down a shot. Trust me. You'll be in a wheelbarrow and off to the emergency ward in next to no time (but only if any of your friends are still standing to send you on your way). Is this the highest compliment I can give? or biting criticism of the worst disorder? it's a bit of both really, but they're more than that. They're proving their worth, especially live, and with the release of their new seven inch single tonight: "Jang Jang Robot", The Amcats are finally finding their own unique buzz. It's all about the energy. That slapstick two tone chemistry. That critical mass in two atoms colliding as all four walls come crashing down around our ears. When you see them live you just can't get enough of it. That volatile blues shred. That shitcrazy chainsaw, chaingun and chewing gum spit delivery that knows no equal. Especially now (especially after The White Stripes fucked it up by releasing that silly "xylophone record"), especially when you're THIS drunk. And tonight in song after song "Shancat" and "Rencat" are absolutely killing it. So simple, so whimsically cheesey and yet SO psychotically upbeat all at the same time. Clearly I didn't remember any of it. Clearly I was SO fargone, on a tailspin trajectory, tearing it up on the dancefloor, that I was a lost cause. But I wouldn't have it any other way, in any other venue to send me into oblivion. Bring out the fire hoses, the sponges, pick up all those exploded chunks and place them in a pile, it doesn't matter in what order, I'll simply reassemble into human form like a T-1000 Terminator and come back for more. Whether you're Frankenstein, Wolfman or the Tinman, they'll provide all the mad buzz you'd need!
1:51AM - Fuuuck! I don't think I've been this hilariously drunk in ages! No wait.. clearly that's a lie. Clearly you all should know better than that by now. In fact I distinctly "recall" (or more accurately DON'T) me being in a similar state of hilarious dysfunction just last Saturday, and I'm pretty sure I should be dead by now (*cough* what again!?). Either way, an hour or so later I'm still face down in thick of it, eyes rolling back, on the dancefloor, tripping everyone over around me, making gargling noises and flapping my arms about. Sure I could've done this ALL night, but chances are Rocket Bar's "after hours" scenster swarm would've had other plans. It could've gotten ugly. Seeing that I was sinking fast, members from both Lady Strangelove and The Amcats took action. They briefly entertained a "window exit" for me but quickly reconsidered when it they concocted an even better plan by rolling me up in carpet and sending me barrelling down those three flight of stairs to safety. Sure I took the corners a little too sharply and I couldn't feel the left side of my face for the next three hours, but other than that it was a sweet ride.. I'd recommend it to anyone!
2:03AM - And then mere moments after we left, it finally happened. One of the barstaff at Rocket Bar finally loses their shit for real and with an Armalite AR-10 carbine gas-powered semi-automatic rifle, they pump round after round of fiery retribution into colleagues, co-workers and everyone else around them. There's nothing but hysterical screaming, wild panic, a gasline struck by a stray bullet intersecting (naaah wait, that's a water pistol!).. a moment cause in freeze-frame: eyes wide / mouths agape.. then a hideous explosion as a mile wide radius of Hindley Street comes to a flaming yet abrupt Frank Milleresque ending. Yup, I know what you're all thinking (besides: wow that'd be a freakingly awesome cinematic sequence to watch in slow-mo accompanied by anything off of Nine Inch Nails "The Fragile") but nope, it wasn't who you thought. It was actually the "quiet girl" who works at the door. Yup, it's always the one you least suspect aye? What's any of this got to do with us arriving at The Ed Castle just now!? *cough* Nothing really. Why do you ask?
2:47AM - Clearly I remember absolutely nothing of what the hell happened here the minute we walked in through those doors. Days later, quite possibly on a Sunday, someone added me on Facebook as a result, and just like everyone else I've ever accepted in the history of "social networking" I had no freaking clue who the fuck they were.. or if I'd ever met them. Awesome! Upon clarification she simply laughed and said "Ed Castle / Friday night". Damn. And people wonder why I'm still single!? Or am I? *cough* no really! If I've accidently gotten married to any one of you, or three of you at once, or I've sired any illegitimate love spawn, you'd tell me right!? I mean as much as I'd like to believe a WORD any these fools have to tell me.. who's to know?
2:50AM - As such it was here that Josh Strangelove (aka: "Drugsie") thought was good a time as any to produce a bottle of this.. this bottle of "whatever the fuck this shit is" (and clearly labelled as such). Why? because clearly this night wasn't nearly batshit insane enough already without throwing more yet fuel to the fire. So what the hell.. for the sake of science, I gave it a shot!
3:06AM - Which is why these photos of me wandering down Hindley Street mere moments later: howling, yammering, foaming, and chasing cars as they flew on by honking their car horns should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. Who took these photos? duuude.. I wish I knew.
3:07AM - Just like I'm at a total loss to explain why there's actually any of Hindley Street left. I mean if we were to take anything I've written, only four paragraphs ago, as nothing but verbatim: there should be nothing left of this place but a smoking crater where Rocket Bar, Electric Circus and The Crazyhorse once stood. We should be seeing that girl from Rocket Bar still skipping happily about this post apocalyptic wasteland, armed with a rocket launcher, sending car wreckage into orbit whilst whistling a sweet little tune. And yet here we are on Hindley Street like nothing ever happened!? Weird, it's almost like I'm simply making this shit up on the spot!? *pfft* NEVER!
3:13AM - The rest of my hunting party soon disappeared down those stairs into Supermild and to oblivion beyond, but I had other diabolical plans afoot here at the Bull And Bear instead. Ones that apparently involve yet another whizz-bang exciting installment of "Transmission". *cough* Still it wasn't their busiest night however, for as soon as I reached the entrance upstairs, I was told by the bouncer, in no uncertain terms, that they were closing up for the night and that there was no way in HELL I was ever going to bullshit my way in. Bugger. Guess that's it then huh? Time to go home..
3:17AM - So of course I did just what any other beer fueled nitwit would've done in a time like this. I thanked the bouncer for his time, walked back over to the OTHER side of the twin stairwell leading down, jumped the wall and walked right on in. Wow.. awesome security you got here!
3:30AM - Just as predicted it was absolutely dead in here (damn you Nick Hadley, you ridiculous fool.. see what you've done!?). Still it wasn't a total loss. I still managed to get a fucked up photo with DJ Ross Ross Ross here. As it clearly stipulates in the fine print of this blog, that if in any given instance I ever find myself at "Transmission", "Transmission Live" or "Sputnik", Ross should always make an entirely unnecessary appearance, but only if he appears to be well and truly twatted out of his skull. If ever we BOTH appear in the same photo at the same time, we should both look completely munted. I forget the real reasons why, although it may have something to do with the universe imploding if any one of us were ever to appear sober. It's one of many reasons why "Transmission" is as ridiculously popular as it is to this day.. with the possible exception of tonight. Oh and it may also explain why moments later I was discovered by the exact same bouncer I outsmarted moments earlier and turfed out onto the street. Ooops! That'll teach me.
3:41AM - Against all odds I make it back to Supermild alive. Even more remarkably I had absolutely no trouble blagging my way past the bouncer either. This of course would seem totally remarkable, until you remember just what kind of malformed circus freaks they tend to populate this place with (and the fact that I'm apparently a regular here *yeeeoouch!* enough said!).
3:53AM - Yup, I believe this photo here provides all the conclusive proof you're looking for. Of what exactly I'm not too sure, as I've since forgotten just what the fuck it is any of us did in here!? Who knows.. maybe we solved world hunger? global warming? the econonic crisis? found the cure for cancer? or discovered an unlimited source of renewable energy that could be tapped by society at large using nothing but a bent plastic spoon and whatever noxious gases are found emanating out of Brendan Strangelove's arse? But since we didn't think to write any of it down, all these amazing discoveries have since been lost to science. Oh well, there goes my Nobel Prize!
4:44AM - Soon after devising an ingenious plan to use the Large Hadron Supercollider at CERN to conclusively prove that the second moon of Mars is actually made of styrofoam and not only that, but it's hollow inside and filled with green M&Ms (I could explain it all to you now but trust me.. your head would explode) I stagger out of Supermild at last. I walk up Hindley Street, through that door, up three flights of stairs and pass out in Rocket Bar as clearly I've been living there for the past few weeks and this entire blog actually makes any kind of narrative sense in any kind of universe we could possibly ever exist in. Yup, just like you'll believe anything ELSE I'd say..