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 KILLGIRLS + KYTES OF OMAR + YOUNG HEARTS FAIL LIVE @ THE CROWN & ANCHOR / Saturday April 4th 2009
The Crown & Anchor is a good 'ol fashioned "drinking" pub. One of the finest of its kind in ALL the land! Upholding all the values that we hold dear in beer and maybe even in a few other alcoholic beverages that we don't consider "beer" (whoaaa fuck.. there IS such a thing!?). You however may like to call it by a different name as it's been known by many throughout its checkered past: "The Clown & Spanker", "The Blue Bug-Zapper", "The Hook Line & Sinkhole", "The Eastend Open Sewer", "Adelaide's Arsecrack", "The Yeast Infection", "The Baboon Enclosure", "That Seething Cesspool Where All Good Things Go To Die" and maybe even "The Cranka" (sheeiiit.. what!?). It's many things to many people but if there's ONE thing it gets right above all else: its in getting you all kinds of ridiculously shitfaced drunk. You walk in intelligent, erudite, articulate and fashionably erect. You crawl out bedraggled, utterly incoherent, head to toe hairy and howling at the moon. It's a simple transaction really. A "no-brainer" in every sense of the word (and that "whistling sensation" you'll feel through both ears the next day? awesome!). And yet SO many others pubs get it wrong. No shit! You'd think that after 10,000 years of civilisation, we'd finally "get it right", for surely we've had beer for that freaking long: ever since cultivation, domestication, prostitution, war and religion. It's as old as time itself. It's the cause and solution for just about everything! (fuck.. why else do you think anyone would build the pyramids!? beer makes that shit freaking awesome yo!). And yet The Crown & Anchor's STILL reigns supreme in teaching us JUST how it's done!
The Crown & Anchor. It's all about the drinking here. There's no doubt about it. You don't come here for the haute couture or for the fine cuisine. Its dress code is straight out of Fight Club: no shirt? no shoes? screaming on fire and rolling around on the floor!? no problem! And if ever anyone were insane enough to serve up anything "steaming on a plate", it sure as shit wouldn't be food and even if it WAS? it would rapidly decompose in front of our eyes like timelapse photography; only in REAL time. There's no pokies lounge. You don't need a post graduate. There's no flashing lights, metrosexual fashion disasters grinding their teeth, or tetris DJs banging square beats up rounded bungholes. This is The Crown & Anchor. They don't know the meaning of style or sophistication here! They simply serve beer. It's been this way since the beginning. Sure the ceilings may loom lower every year, as layer upon layer of ground up glass, shattered teeth and cigarette butts rise from the floorboards; but this place truly IS as constant as gravity!
To think THIS is where it all started? To think I was here almost every damn night? Watching cars collide at that intersection on Grenfell, stopping in front of the Crown & Anchor only to scream abuse and throw punches at each other. Six or seven cop cars later, watch it all disperse, only for someone to overdose on pills, foaming and flailing, followed by a mad procession of ambulances carrying them limp and lifeless away on stretchers; all while a burning effigy does a little dance on the medium strip? all with a beer in my hand, cheering them on.. what could be better!? (they even have live bands too!?). The Crown & Anchor. Perfectly positioned at the crossroads between The Austral, The Exeter, Jade Monkey, Rhino Room and Shotz. To think it could all be SO simple!?
And yet it can STILL be that simple! I may've been to many places since (Rocket Bar and The Ed Castle too many times to mention!) but this is where it always begins. This barely legible chalk board above the pool tables, these tepid pools of vomit and those overflowing toilets beyond. This is where all the smells combine, like a punch in the face, like every misfiring pheremone mixed up and buzzing with malfunctioning chromosomes; this is where the magic happens! If you've never played here, shit duuude.. you've never lived! Everyone's been through here (shit.. even I've stunk up the joint) it's an Adelaide institution! It's all the excitement, the adventure and the monkeys flinging excrement! It's everything you've always dreamed it could be and SO much more!
Fuck I've missed this joint, it's been too long, and tonight at long last I'm BACK!! Back for another glorious moment in Crown & Anchor history! Here in this shooting gallery. Here for three more moving targets *cough* I mean "live bands" that we can throw our beer bottles at! *squeeeee!* Are you excited yet? Are you climbing the walls! I know I sure as shit am! I've been hitting the bar hard and fast for the last hour or so and I'm raring to go! Where? Who the fuck knows!? my motor functions has a mind of its own! I know, let's torch this fucking place to the ground! WOOOOO!!
YOUNG HEARTS FAIL (***) myspace :: Which I bet is just the kind of receptive audience THIS band has always dreamed of, silently dreaded, and penned contingency plans for: involving synchronised suicide pills and a weapons platform nuking this entire city from orbit, the minute THESE baboons breach containment. Or in other words watch the closing scenes of this youtube, followed by the closing frames of this infamous episode of Spoz's Rant I wrote back in January 2007 and put two and two together. Yup, this what Young Hearts Fail have to look forward to at The Crown & Anchor! Wow.. who knew they would ever meet in the same sentence!? Need we remind everyone what happened when Zeta played here last year? or Tony Font Show? or Robotosaurus!? Indeed, it truly takes a grim resolve to face off against such a bloodthirsty mob as this one and come out the other end relatively unscathed. I really didn't think they had the "stones" for it; and yet against all odds they've proven me wrong. Xixi Cao: lead singer of Young Hearts Fail, like Noodle from The Gorillaz crossfaded with Tripitaka from Monkey Magic, and here she is smiling and waving!? It's true. There's no shitscared stage fright here tonight. She's the voice of an angel, the voice of a teeny tiny balloon pissing out air. She holds this crowd captivated, squinting, necks craned, hands cupped to ears in awe wondering just what the FUCK she is singing but the magic is there! She owns this stage in every way you think she wouldn't. She stops the beast dead in its track. Young Hearts Fail. In the simplest of terms they're EXACTLY like Interpol in all their apocalyptic gloom (down to the smallest detail) fronted by what appears to be Juanita Stein from The Howling Bells, shrunk to the size of an insect, suffering an asthma attack. It's utterly asphyxiating and blissfully claustrophobic. It's song after song dragging you under and drowning you in those blackening waters. It's that feeling you get if you cross The Cure's "Disintegration" with a John Hughes movie. Terrifying I know, and yet they're making it work! For the first time EVER tonight I can actually hear her voice, or wait.. maybe I'm imagining it? (or maybe she's the grim reaper in human form and maybe THIS is why she appears so calm!?) either way.. whoaaa! They may continue to be a chasmic divide between the bittersweet symphony on their myspace and the shrinking violets you'll see vanish into a tiny squiff of air on stage; but tonight's set proves they've got REAL potential to kill!
KYTES OF OMAR (****1/2) myspace :: Our second band tonight should be more than familiar to anyone who's ever gathered around the exit signs of the Crown & Anchor moments after closing time. They're what crawls out moments before the Hazmat teams burst in with the flamethrowers and chainsaws. They're what survives a nuclear war, a zombie apocalypse, a pandemic outbreak, an alien invasion, an army of mechanised Arnold Schwarzeneggers or anything else that the combined forces of Michael Bay, James Cameron and Roland Emmerich could see fit to throw at us during "popcorn season" and all without our skulls exploding? Yup that's right, they're the musical equivalent of a cockroach (or more accurately a "sasquatch" in the case of their lead singer Anthony). Sure you may be laughing now, but when Unicron The Planet Destroyer devours our Earth whole and spits out the rest hurtling into the centre of the sun, they're the ONLY band you could possibly ever count on to survive it. They're also the last four people you'd EVER wanna populate the Earth with afterwards (unless you count Joe their guitarist, but only if he wore a dress.. and even then you'd need a whole lot of whiskey to make that happen!) but that's possibly a mute point. Kytes Of Omar. They're THAT kind of band. A band that's part mythology, part legend, part overgrown hair follicle malfunction and all kinds of diabolical rock & roll fury. Tonight they either The Subways mixed with Kings Of Leon's "Because Of The Times", Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Queens Of The Stone Age, Foo Fighters and Franz Ferdinand cranked to eleven; or a werewolf fucking a disco ball whilst riding a surfboard. It's pretty much the exact same thing, it's the best thing about them, there's really no other band quite like them in Adelaide (or quite possibly anywhere else outside of the confines of a Japanese manga) and they're playing here tonight? Woweee!! Four of the funniest looking haircuts I've ever seen pick up musical instruments and play. Four of the most psychotic, shit-staining acolytes in retarded screaming, unholy wailing and howling that I've ever heard within the confines of a teeny tiny live stage without most of my innards being blown to bits by all G-forces. FUCK YEAAAH!! Weirder still? you can still drink beer and bust an epilectic Ian Curtis to it!? Yup, this may be the end of life as we know it but with this band? it's only JUST the beginning!
THE KILLGIRLS (*****) myspace :: Aaaah you couldn't have picked a better headlining act for the Crown & Anchor if you tried! Mario Spate, lead singer of The Killgirls, is a war hero to this establishment. Sure he's never been part of any REAL armed forces. Sure he's never seen action in Somalia, Bosnia, East Timor, Afghanistan or Iraq. But he doesn't need to maaan; he's witnessed the killing fields at the Crown & Anchor first hand! And the bands he fronts: whether they be past or present, have been the speak of legend every time they've played here! How could we forget that infamous incident back in 2001 (or was it 2002!?) when he was the lead singer for Barcode? It was the height of summer, a skullfucking heat wave, a room with no airconditioning. In mid flight, veins popping in his neck, he turns white, blacks out cold and falls right off the stage. Classic! Or what about in December 2005!? this time fronting The Black Doves. When, according to eye witness accounts at the time: "one of the female audience members got so engulfed in the insanity around her, she tore off her shirt and bra, leapt on stage, grabbed a tamborine and proceeded to play topless on stage for a full 10 minutes" (at which point my camera blacked out cold in the attempt to capture it all.. FUCK!!). Yup, for all of Mario's dubious claims to the Y chromosome, there's really NO doubting the blind fury to which he and his band members (past and present) massacre a live stage. And with The Killgirls tonight it's no different. Everytime I've seen them here it's been nothing short of a bloodbath, and tonight they're claiming it back again like conquering heroes. It's a do or die airbourne assault. Audience members exploding everywhere like aerosol nozzles let loose on a pilot light. Think The Presets, as reinterpretted by Nine Inch Nails, fronted by Marilyn Manson. Think the rage virus from "28 Days Later" set to strobe lights and a mad techno beat. Imagine a room packed to choking point and there's nowhere to hide: the whites of our eyes, the skin of our teeth and the blood gushing out of our ears as they tear the whole fucking place apart. It's Mario redecorating floor to ceiling with wallpaper scrapings from his own throat. Rusty at all points of the room at once with his flaming axe playing "ping pong" with our skulls. Tony drilling the skins like a mechanised woodpecker. Nick on bass picking off all the strays with his sniper rifle whilst Adam on synths rocks back and forth in foetal position not quite believing what's unfolding before his very eyes. Witness to all this, there was only ONE response we could have: go fucking beserk. And if I wasn't anywhere near as fucked up drunk as I am right now? I don't think I could've gotten out of this shitstorm alive.. FUUUCK!!
1:46AM - Yup, just like every other night that I've attempted (and failed hilariously) to commit suicide in this drinking establishment in the past (fuck I love beer!) if at first you don't succeed? try, try again! And thus I hit the bar in earnest to celebrate all that we've accomplished. Only to bump into Matt "Sausage Fingers" Hein here. Only to make the tactical blunder of mentioning that it was my birthday this week (damnit!). Only for him to shout me round after round of beers (duuude!). I would also like to point out that if ever someone were to brew a beer with my "name on it", remind me NEVER to drink it, as chances are THAT'S the magic bullet that'll surely kill me. I know this for a fact as I'm pretty sure nothing else in here has killed me in the past.. YEAAAS!!
1:19AM - I don't know what the fuck Matt put in that second beer. I'm pretty sure it wasn't life threatening (arsenic? anthrax? E. coli? West Nile? West End Draught? OH CRAP! NOT WEST END DRAUGHT!? *WAAAAUUGHHH!!*) however it did produce a rather curious side effect that I didn't otherwise expect (ie: the usual loss of motor skills, liver, kidney and brain function.. aaaah good times!). As for a brief shining moment I was actually able to bend the spacetime continuum. Weird I know! Everything started spinning and I'm pretty sure I went back in time. Sure, most of you may merely dismiss this as the end of Daylight Savings and the clocks going back an hour *pfft* but you'd be dead wrong! The only conclusive proof I had at the time? was when Mike Turner from The Baron turned up in 1973. Since, how else could we possibly explain that shirt he was wearing!?
1:47AM - Still, a "minute later" the effects appeared to have worn off. Or perhaps it was an hour later. Or perhaps I'd been teleported 24 hours into the future and THIS explains why there's nobody left outside of The Crown & Anchor at this hour on a "Saturday". And if you think THAT'S confusing, you should've seen what happened when I saw my reflection in the mirror the next day and tried to "kill it" with a spatula (time travel sure is a bitch without a DeLorean!). Yup, the only thing that I DO know for certain now? is that I seriously need to get the fuck outta here before this whole stinking establishment implodes in on itself "Poltergeist" style and takes me along with it!
1:53AM - So here I am, arms flapping in the air like a muppet, as I run screaming down Grenfell Street to "safety". Only to stop dead in my tracks barely ten to fifteen metres in front of me when I'm overpowered by the incomprehensible urge to photograph an inaminate object (and yes it really took me a full six minutes to get the stupid thing in focus too.. FUCK I'm a genius!).
2:04AM - Only to be distracted again halfway down Rundle Mall towards Hindley Street (quite possibly in Gawler Place) by THIS ridiculously awesome striped slipper. One of originally two slippers: owner unknown and likely long since absent Hmmm. In following I of course did what any OTHER responsible adult would have done when faced with such an insurmountable obstacle..
2:13AM - I kicked it all the way down Hindley Street, laughing hysterically all the while: only for it to stop dead here outside of Supermild.. awesome! I of course celebrated the moment by taking a photo, a particularly bad photo at that (or maybe five of them in a row, and this was the best one I got) *cough* not at all bothered by the crowd waiting in line outside of Supermild, wondering silently: from exactly WHICH insane asylum I've just broken out of in effort to find myself here. To make matters worse, this was also the exact same crowd waiting in line outside of Supermild, that I promptly slipped right on past down those stairs, continuing to laugh hysterically all the while, as the bouncer gestured me in with nothing but a smile, because clearly THIS isn't the most insane thing she's ever seen me do (and people STILL wonder why I go here all the freaking time!?).
2:16AM - I grab a beer at the bar, head out back, only to be confronted by THIS outside. I briefly wonder just who the fuck it was has scribbled all this yellow shit all over the tables, and how long it's been here (I'd assume it's all those idiots who always go here on a Wednesday!?). Only to realise just where exactly I am right now, Supermild, and nothing I ever see has ever made a lick of sense. Which pretty much explains everything you're about to see from this moment onwards. Except that it clearly doesn't. Did I mention they sell long neck beers here!? Fuck I love this joint!
2:27AM - Take this brilliantly nonsensical shot for instance: I don't remember taking it, although I'm pretty sure ONE of these laughable nitwits (the one in the middle!?) was one of those freaks that Strangelove smoked copious amounts of drugs with in the parking lot behind Jive back in late December (and I only know this because they keep reminding me everytime I see them). Note the exaggerated, dumbarse, dishevelled expressions, the slacken jaws, drooling tongue and shit-eating grin. Genius! Note also the utter lifelessness behind those dull grey "cow" eyes and just a hint of mosquito buzzing about inside the whistling skull cavity of the poor drunken fool on the left. Now THIS is what I call a prize winning example of late night drunkarse photography!!
2:28AM - Whilst THIS is how you'd completely fuck it up: sure, the pinhead on the left may have all the right ideas, or more accurately has NO idea where the fuck he is right now "YAY! Disneyland!!" but the other two just aren't getting it. They're being far too photogenic, it's wrong, it's way too "cheesy", it's ruining it for the rest of us, and the sooner we stop it, the better! Thus for the sake of Alex here (you eeeiiidiot!) let's all take a quick refresher course in the subtle art of "shitfaced cinematography" so none of us ever make this hideous mistake EVER again!
2:51AM - Take these three girls for instance, sitting across the table. "Anonymous" blond on the left, Lucy in the middle and Sia on the right. They're employing a fiendish tactic known simply as "The Hedgehog". Thanks to their uber shiny hair folicles reflecting back most of the flash, this photographer has effectively been struck blind and is now screaming hysterically whilst attempting to claw his own face off. The photo's complete and utter rubbish (aaah no shit.. isn't it awesome!?) and thus EXACTLY what we were looking for in the first place: all in all, a resounding success!
2:53AM - Whilst this shot of Lucy here shows similar promise. It was very haphazardly taken with absolutely no regard for composition, lighting OR expression and as such it should be uploaded to facebook immediately if it weren't for ONE critical flaw: I wonder if you can pick it? If you said "she's still looking weirdly too attractive"? you'd be dead right! Clearly we've both failed. Hmmm.
Now this IS a step in the right direction..
and YEAAAS!! we've struck gold! Clearly this is everything we could ever want in a photo of Lucy and so much more! I suggest this photo be printed poster sized, framed, and hung in the Guggenhein as an example for all of us to follow for generations to come. Or better yet sold as a wildly successful coffee table book with other photos just like it (and believe me I've got thousands!).
2:57AM - And again!? brilliant, simply brilliant *sniff* such wonders they never cease! Clearly we're dealing with professionals here. I hope you, Alex, and anyone else reading this (or pawing madly at the screen, whimpering, wondering when all the "fish" will come back on the screen) have learnt an important lesson here today. Just as this "anonymous" blond here, who will likely learn all too well moments later, when she leaves, gets on her bike, and rides straight into a tree. YEAAAS!!
3:13AM - And now, completely unrelated to anything I've just said as clearly we've forgotten it already (short attention spans!? what donkey socket-wrench plans?). Here's Sia. When she's not being confused for a "mildy successful" singer songwriter, she's also wildly successful rock photographer. You may've seen some of her work. Amazing stuff, I really mean that! She's here, because tonight she's celebrating her birthday. A birthday celebration on the one night of the year that has an extra hour to get shitfaced drunk.. YEAAAS!! Because clearly it's the end of "daylight savings" (and we all knew that) and not just one of many signs of an impending apocalypse (although does anyone else find it odd that half of Adelaide tonight is ALSO celebrating their birthday!? hmmm.. nope guess it's just me then!). Of course just because we HAVE an extra hour to get drunk tonight, doesn't mean we're going to take advantage of it? riiiight? of course not! Just as I've omitted every other photo I could've published that would've proven otherwise *cough*.
3:24AM - Speaking of such. THIS is one of those photos. One of those drunkarse retarded photos that I can't possibly hope explain: as apparently it involves ME having the time of my life with three people I've never met before in my ENTIRE life (seriously, I've got no freaking clue dude.. help me out here!?) Even weirder? it's anyone's guess who's holding the camera either.. yay!?
3:54AM - Which brings me to Julia here. I met Julia last Saturday night. Clearly it was entirely memorable, and neither of us were ridiculously drunk at the time, and I'll treasure this moment always.. I truly will! She's awesome! Except clearly I've already forgotten.. Ooops! And I've just spent the last thirty minutes asking her just who the fuck she is. And I've also got no idea why she thought it'd be hilarious to get her photo taken with me just now. Or maybe this was my idea? I forget. Who am I? who are all these people!? and what the fuck am I doing here? HELLLP!?
3:56AM - Did you ever find yourself freaking the fuck out on a Saturday night, surrounded by circus freaks like this? with no memory how you got here? or how everything got to be like this? so much so that you begin to suspect you have an inoperable brain tumour!? or maybe you were drugged and dragged here? or maybe you're on another planet? or this is a zoo enclosure? or The Matrix? or a Mexican game show!? and any minute now they'll suspect you've figured it all out and all these "friends" will descend on you like seagulls, pick your carcass clean, and sell your internal organs on the black market!? Yup me neither! *cough* I dunno why I brought it up just now!?
3:58AM - Yup, this is a sure sign I should've gone home HOURS ago!
4:25AM - And yet here I am half an hour later. Although clearly I'm "long gone" by now and there's nothing but a pilot light and a leprecaun in my head. Maybe I'm whistling a wistful tune on this beer bottle. Maybe I'm dancing an irish jig. Maybe there's a hat on the floor in front of me right now and people are tossing coins and small notes in and cheering me on! Really, I've got NO fucking clue. Maybe next week I'll simply give all these photos to a complete stranger and THEY can write this blog FOR me instead. Awesome.. this hangover will be right bitch won't it!?
4:41AM - And so here I am at the end of the night, or more accurately not, utterly astounded in my ability to not only hold a camera upright, aim it in the right direction, keep it steady for longer than a second, in focus, and take this photo. But that I'm also able to do all the above slumped unconscious and gargling in the middle of the room "Weekend At Bernie's" style. I can see it now: they're limping me up those stairs, two people either side, slumped over shoulders. I'm in a rusted out wheelbarrow, I'm in a dog sled, I'm speeding down Hindley Street, they've got no idea where they're taking me. I'm playing dodgems. I'm playing ping pong. I'm spread eagled and splattered all over the pavement. I'm unconscious. And every few minutes I headbang the tarmac as the traffice rides right over me, tires squealing. It's been one helluva Saturday night, one of the best, and I'm so happy that I "remembered" at least a third of it. Let's do this again next week! :)
And that's what happens when you spend a night at The Crown & Anchor. No matter how much you have to drink. No matter where you go afterwards, no matter how hard you try to run and hide to get the fuck away from it all (even to the other end of town) chances are you'll still wake to find yourself face down in the gutter: just outside that entrance on Union Street, basking in the bug-zapper blue glow; as if you never left at all! Sunday morning commuters will swerve and screech their car tires to miss you. Pedestrians will poke at you with sticks and take pictures of you. And finally an ambulance, a taxi or maybe even a bus will deliver you speedily to your front door. Such is the way of The Crown & Anchor. Every night's an adventure. Attempt it at your own peril!