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...
NO THROUGH ROAD + FIRE! SANTA ROSA FIRE! + AVANT GARDENERS "WINNERFEST" @ THE METRO / Saturday May 9th 2009
Hangover cures are rather like cures for the hiccups: there's never a universal remedy, and more often than not they're simply designed to make you look stupid. Hold your breath till your face turns blue, get someone to scare the shit out've you, drink from the opposite rim of a glass, snort a line of gunpowder then swallow a lit match (actually I made that last one up but y'know what fuckit.. try that one out and let me know how it goes!). As such I like to think I've outgrown the "conventional" hangover altogether. This isn't through any misguided attempt at sobriety or adept mastery of the black arts; at worst I only get one NOW because I know I've done something exceedingly stupid and I've earned it fair and square. Anything that involves jägermeister, vodka or absinthe is always a good start. Whatever the fuck I attempted last night would easily come a close second (if only I could remember what the fuck I actually did!?). Still no matter how diabolical it gets, as long as I drink two tall glasses of water the minute before my head hits the pillow and sleep the whole thing off: with luck on my side (and a catholic priest screaming Latin) chances are I'll probably avoid the brunt of the shockwave. It's my foolproof method, I stand by it wholeheartingly and it'll probably kill you flat like a rhinoceros charging the minute you try it for yourself. On second thoughts forget I even mentioned it. Stick to that oyster shot, tomato juice, raw egg and whatever-the-fuck tabasco concoction you got cooking and I'm sure you'll be fiiine!
No I don't really get "conventional" hangovers, thank fuck! This isn't to say that I've ruled this shit out altogether, far from it, only that I've ruled out the "conventional" ones. My version of a hangover is an accumilation of an anomoly of an unbalanced equation, till one day my head fills up with so much garbage, sediment and aggregate errors, that it quite simply explodes. It takes weeks or months to build up steam on one of these bad boys; and it looks very much like this sandwich board posted outside of The Metro tonight. Awesome isn't it!? And if you don't quite get the punchline yet, read back on the twenty to thirty odd issues of Spoz's Rant that I've already posted this year. No don't just look at the pretty pictures, actually READ THEM. Yeah you're not gonna do that are ya!? didn't think so (and I should know because I lived through every one of them). I love this shit every other weekend of the year I really DO, but tonight it was a struggle. It's Dave from Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! seeing me shambling upto the front door and asking me "fuck maaan.. do you have a cold?" (no.. I'm just completely knackered!), before laughing "you do realise you're late right!?" (OH I FUCKING KNOW!!). Yup, everyone loves a mini music festival with the possible exception of the ONE mad fool misguided enough to cover this shit each week!
Welcome to "Winnerfest". Invented by one Matt Banham at The Metro tonight with the sole purpose to torture and quite possibly kill me for choosing to write this blog tonight; or quite possibly just to celebrate the release of a goofy little album called "Winner" the third brilliantly accomplished installment he's cooked up with No Through Road (RollingStone gave it three and a half stars!? YEAAAS!!) I forget which. And yes I believe the album title's meant to be ironic. He's a sarcastic little bugger that Matt Banham. He's also invited about twelve of his buddies along, some of the finest in Adelaide, in effort to bludgeon me senseless with this lofty accomplishment: if only I wasn't ever so cunning in turning up almost four hours too late to catch most of it. Ooops! Yeah I know "shame on me!" but again go back and read those OTHER twenty to thirty other episodes I've written and your inability to do so will be my vindication! And in the meantime I'll be right here slumped at the bar getting my "hair of the dog" on before I even consider the monstrosity ahead of me. I did however catch a little bit of The Sea Thieves from the side stage and yes they were quite simply amazing. Hunt up their album "Hiding In The Shade". No shit, it's fucking tops!
By now I'd already missed Steering By Stars, Bye Bye Mountain, Billy Bishop Goes To War and a whole host of other acclaimed artists I'd never even heard of before; but were quite possibly brilliant in their own right (and in no way simply featuring Matt Banham, Home For The Def, members from Antony Of The Future and all those other serial offenders from Hit The Jackpot doing the "Adelaide lo-fi scene" circle jerk). I will however mention the brilliant DJ set they're thrashing right now that sounds like a greatest hits compilation of my wasted youth circa 1992-1995: featuring everything from the Beasts Of Bourbon, The Butthole Surfers, King Missile's "Detachable Penis" (always a party starty), Black Francis and whatever-the-fuck-else "angry with feedback" schtick you might've been drinking goon to, in the gutter, on a shittyarse walkman, from a cassette your friend dubbed off a CD some other friend swiped from "Seeing Eyes" in the Rundle Mall basement: back before bittorrents, facebook, myspace, back before even the internet itself.. aaaah weren't those the good 'ol days? Fuck no, it was horrible! damn you kids have it easy!
AVANT GARDENERS (****1/2) myspace :: Yup, it's times like these that I REALLY begin to feel my age. No shit this "hangover" or whatever the fuck I like to call it (battle fatigue anyone!?) is hitting me hard like an avalanche tonight. I've my got concrete shoes on, they're dragging behind me like a ball and chain, a clattering symphony, I'm clawing forward palm over fist like the closing scenes of Terminator: moments before my skull crushes in concave, the little red lights wink out, and everything goes black. And I'm usually SO full of energy too!? It took forever and an age till I surfaced for this band and when I finally did!? no shit.. it was just the B12 vitamin shot I was looking for! If ever I doubted my ability to keep on killing far beyond the factory specifications: then the sight of their lead singer, greying hair, going apeshit out the front surely made a mockery out've anything I'd been whinging about. Maaan he's a freaking inspiration! I don't know his name (good luck googling it), I don't know for certain whether he's Matt Banham's deadbeat dad, middle management for an investment bank, or Andrew Bartlett from The Democrats having a throw down fight with a whiskey bottle; but you can't deny the focused energy at which he tears into a microphone. He owns this stage. He's like a televangelist preacher, armed with bible and a gun, itchy trigger finger raised up on high, looking to kill every motherfucker who dares stand in his way. He gives this band it's lyrical punch and drives them forward like a drill seargant into the heat of battle. With his war veterans around him and two ring-ins from Hit The Jackpot (go figure) they forged a call to arms tonight that couldn't be denied. It very much reminds me of what Joy Division, Sonic Youth and The Pixies would've sounded like if it was fronted by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. It had this blacker than black bass and guitar groove, like it was the blues beyond the point of no return. This take no prisoners righteous fury with gnashing teeth and accompanying funeral choir that kept building and building around you like you were in the eye of a tornado. And then moments before your internal organs shattered like glass, they simply walked off stage satisfied in a job well done. It doesn't get much more cathartic than this. I barely caught a glimpse but holy crap, what a performance! This dude's forty one, he's fucking dominating it out there, what's my excuse!?
FIRE! SANTA ROSA FIRE! (****1/2) myspace :: In comparison to our "opening" act, this band is practically a foetus on the grand geological scale of rock. But do not be fooled by their deceptively youthful appearances (especially Caitlin's "toddler tantrums" when she lets loose on the microphone), time moves differently in different dimensions. What might have been only three short years spent anywhere else in Australia: in the Adelaide scene, we're talking more than just dog years maaan.. it's practically a lifetime! Countless bands in Adelaide have formed, built a faithful following, released countless EP's, broken up and formed NEW bands in the time that Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! have walked the Earth. You forget that about them sometimes. They've been through a LOT. Back in late 2006 to 2007, I even cracked the same lame jokes about THEM that I now crack about The Touch.. and now look at them! Yes it's true, they've been more awkward than most in perfecting their sound, from buzz band to artistic integrity (some of those twinkly keyboard fills STILL sound a little "goofy"), but they've aged like a fine wine: or rather like a fruitbox left to ferment in the sun. You see it in the grizzled, fungus stubble of their guitarist Dave. You see it in the casual disregard at which Sam tears into the drums with mathematical precision. This is really starting to sound like a band you'll want to see stick around. It's in the older songs being reworked ever more articulate, layered and assured than before. It's in the newer songs finding their place like pieces of a puzzle. It's that cohesion mixing up with the ecclectic confusion, that distinctly "Fire! Santa Rosa Fire!" energy that's emerging and bringing it all together. You can hear it in the teddy bear grooves of "Bad Trip" like Bjork's "Human Behaviour". In the way that "Haystack Rumble" kicks in like all the fury of Interpol's "PDA" (as seemingly sung by Paul Bank's kid sister). In the curious Pink Floyd detours like "Cold Star" that you've heard in their other gigs. In the country-fried riffs of their new song "Animal Spirit Guide" they debuted tonight. It's nice to know "War Coward" is just the tip of the iceberg and that there's plenty more to come. Sure they're still not short of their oddball humour: how they've renamed themselves to "Graham Cornes and the Cornettos" tonight, how they'll tear into a cheesy homage to No Through Road with "I want to be the next Bob Dylan / I want to be the next Matt Banham!" instead of simply referencing Kayne West's "Golddigger" during Bad Trip but it's part and parcel to their appeal. They're working on an album, most bands don't even GET this far, and something tells me from what I'm hearing tonight? Triple J tuned into this shit at just the right time!
NO THROUGH ROAD (*****) myspace :: If ever there was a surefire cure for a hangover (whether actual or fleetingly "existential") it would be in the "hair-of-the-dog" remedy that our headlining act brings so viscerally to a live stage. There's this song on the new album that nails it in one, it's called "Party To Survive" and I swear if ever there was a Hollywood movie written about my life as directed by either Terry Gilliam, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze.. fuckit, even if we settled for a shittyarse half hour sitcom? right here would be its freaking anthem! I'm feeling it right now, I really am! I'd be just like Fight Club only if it starred Billy Murray and Dylan Moran (instead of Brad Pitt and Edward Norton): crossfaded with Clerks and Leaving Las Vegas (only with none of the budget). There's an authentic well worn feel to the songs here, a drunken desperation that perfectly sums up the existential ennui that comes from nowhere else but shitty old Adelaide. Especially for those who've spun those "hamster wheels" for nearly long enough, only to realise they never go anywhere, only to realise that's half the appeal! You hear it in Matt Banham's slurring, well worn delivery. You see it in how he lurches about, tie askew with his ragtag band of musicians. He's partying to survive, he's well past his use-by-date, he's on a pubcrawl that never ends, but you just know he'll still go another round if only he can find another place to drink. It's crazy to think they've survived this long, upto their third album in fact for "Winner" tonight; although not so much when you realise this crazy cat has been doing this shit solo for well over a decade now, in other bands (ie: the infamous "Five? Now You're Talking!" anyone!?) and with this band for almost five years now. In Adelaide, I swear that's more than a lifetime! I'm humbled by such freakish longevity, I could learn a lot from this shit tonight. Maybe I'm on the right track killing myself for the cause. Maybe there's more in me yet. Maybe I'll be dead tomorrow. Maybe I'm simply waiting for the third (or thirtieth) wind to kick in and I'll hit the ground running again. Either way, right on cue they'll be there handing me that bottle from the side of the road and they'll be egging me on even further. Yup, No Through Road make you want to drink life to the full. Drink like there's no tomorrow. Drink till your mind's a blank so you can start all over again. You walk in tonight, they step on stage and you quite simply forgot it all!
As such I remember very little of what the HELL happened in tonight's set. I also believe this is very much how No Through Road intend it. You see it in the glazed expressions of all the audience around you grinning from ear to ear as the beers flow freely. You see it in the free-for-all that erupts: that dissolves the divide between stage and audience (just like in every No Through Road gig before it) as invariably all hell breaks loose. It's in inviting those audience members up on stage to join them for a hilariously drunken sing-a-long (aka: "Peak/Ridge"), it's in former member Steve Banham stealing the mic and charging headfirst into the crowd, only to be chewed up and swallowed whole for the grand finale. They're a scruffyarsed, beer soaked, guitar shred: equal parts Pavement, The Violent Femmes and Modest Mouse that obliterates all in it's path. The best gigs are like that. They're an out of body experience, one best experienced first hand (rather than reading about it) and you waking up hours later laughing hysterically in a gutter, up in a tree, or face down and floating out to sea: a life well lived and never in regret. I wish I could remember more but I bought the album and listening to it now? it simply makes me want to relive it!
12:48AM - After the gig I find myself stumbling aimlessly about The Metro, from bow to stern, babbling incoherently and clearly out've my mind (or in other words: THIS is newsworthy!?). In any other "normal" person we'd simply think this to be the end result of at least three to four pale ales consumed earlier this evening, followed by another five to six dark ales (aaaah nothing like the taste of winter!) and of course you'd be dead right. But I'd also like to think that it speaks volumes of No Through Road for inspiring me to hit this hilarious "dead end" in the first place. Either way I've clearly "peaked" far too soon and I'll need a serious hit of the grey matter to guide me if I have any hopes of walking out of here on two legs and not scraping the floor with my knuckles. Thus with no other option, I lunge at the nearest bystander and attempt to feast on his brain..
12:56AM - Clearly I've hit a prime target in the "intellectual stakes" (despite all appearances to the contrary), as I'm quickly outgunned in my attack by a genius two prong counter offensive. Firstly by throwing Rory from Steering By Stars in front of my field of view in effort to blind and confuse me. Secondly by stealing this black shawl (quite possibly Caitlin's from Fire! Santa Rosa Fire!) and throwing it on himself it in the misguided belief that it'd act like a "cloak of invisibility"..
1:52AM - Yeah I don't know how any of those two genius plans could've possibly worked in any plane of "reality" we'd like to call our own either, and yet here I am: waking up on the balcony almost an hour later and "none the wiser" over just how the fuck I got here!? weeeiiird! Did he somehow teleport me to this place and almost an hour into the future!? Is it something they put in those pints of dark ale!? Or maybe it's just like in Lost and all of reality around me is somehow "skipping like a giant record on a turntable"!? (and not at all convenient to the fact that this was simply the next photo I found on my memory card the next day and I'm concocting the most batshit insane explaination in effort to segue into it). Either way.. don't you just love the view!?
2:05AM - Moments later I find myself here, although I'm not entirely sure where "here" is: except to say that I appear to be on the corner of "Morialta" and some other street, in a city, somewhere in the world. With luck it's still in Adelaide, although I can neither confirm or deny that. I also have no freaking clue why I saw fit to photograph this "momentous occassion" in every way that it clearly isn't. "If every picture speaks a thousand words" then this one's clearly coming up blanks.
2:09AM - Which brings me here to a nondescript phone booth situated somewhere down King William Street. Quite possibly the last of its kind in Adelaide. Yeah I know! And as much as you may think this is me simply making me a point, that sooner or later everything becomes obsolete: phone booths, mobile phones, fuckit even myself writing this now (and I find this sad somehow!?). In actual fact I'm wondering out loud whether I'm somehow responsible for all this shit, and that every other night I've ever gone out drinking I've simply been uprooting all these phone booths in turn and I've been collecting them somehow. Maybe in a warehouse there's hundreds of them? Maybe I'm building a giant telecommunications array? Maybe I'm using them to contact aliens from outerspace? Maybe that's where I originally came from? Whoaaa I'm sending myself clues aren't I? maybe I should go back to Morialta Street and that's where I'll find them!? duuude!!
2:45AM - Which of course couldn't possibly begin to explain why I ended up at "Enigma Bar" instead, nor why "Enigma Bar" looks suspiciously like another infamous drinking establishment that I'm much more likely to frequent after 2AM on a Saturday night (the name of which has ever so "conveniently" slipped my mind) although me holding this longneck beer of Coopers Pale Ale and sporting this entirely ridiculous facial expression may begin to point us in the right direction.
2:49AM - And thus against all odds I somehow end up stumbling into this genius again. Of all the luck huh!? And yes I know what you're all thinking (and that somehow I've been avoiding the bleedingly obvious all this time) but no this ISN'T Seth Rogen most reknown for his starring roles in: Zac And Miri Make a Porno, Pineapple Express, Knocked Up, Superbad or Freaks And Geeks. He's just a poor fool with a passing resemblance to Seth Rogen who I've occassionally bumped into for the past few weeks, and when I bump into him I piss myself laughing and go "HOLY SHIT IT'S SETH ROGEN!!". When in actual fact it's not him, and he keeps telling me he that, because clearly that's not the first thing that the real Seth Rogen would ever think of, when some random nitpick at The Metro starts clawing madly at his cranium making zombie noises!? OOOH FUCK NO!!
2:51AM - Clearly I'm only getting more confused. After everything that he's telling me, I'm starting to suspect that maybe he's right. Maybe he ISN'T Seth Rogen. Maybe he's actually Seth Green: one of the creators of "Robot Chicken" (and Oz from Buffy The Vampire Slayer). I know he doesn't look anything like him but why the hell not!? Or maybe he's Seth Meyers: head writer for Saturday Night Live!? or maybe he's Seth Cohen: the fictional character played by actor Adam Brody from The OC!? It's gotta be!! Only for "whoever the-fuck-this-guy-actually-is" to become increasingly frustrated with this nonsensical exchange, kindly directing me to the exit leading me out of the beer garden, out of "Enigma Bar", gives me a quick shove and I'm back on the street again..
2:53AM - Only to stumble into Supermild (again!?) moments later and bump into "Mischa Barton" here. Awesome! Although, once again this one's claiming that she's NOT really Mischa Barton but in actual fact "Caitlin" who's apparently a fan of this blog: but quite possibly only in the past tense now, as chances are moments after she sees THIS hilarious photo (no shit!) she'll run screaming from her computer, only to return to beat it senseless with a cricket bat, douse it in petrol, set it on fire, scream even louder at it until the screen goes dim to the blazing inferno (that'll surely take her whole house along with it) then relocate to Switzerland. I have that effect on people.
2:58AM - And now in no relation to anything else you've just seen (or attempting to get your head around): I humbly present the most ridiculously AWESOME photo I've ever captured of Sia Duff (and quite possibly some other idiot called Steve). Which may have resulted in her hurling chunks of ice at me moments later: thanks to me seeing this on my camera after I took it, pissing myself laughing (and rather loudly) and then showing it to Sia and laughing even louder. Apparently she wasn't at all impressed. Weird.. I can't possibly understand why. I mean just LOOK at it!?
3:03AM - Which may begin to explain THIS fucked up photo I got of Izzy from Robotosaurus in following (because clearly he just had to try and top it now didn't he!?) and also may begin to explain why I've since destroyed my camera, burnt my house down and relocated to Amsterdam.
3:42AM - Yup, there comes a time in any given night when everything rapidly takes a turn for the worse. That exact moment when you just KNOW you should've gone home hours ago, like that second longneck you ordered over the bar just now was possibly a hilarious mistake, and now you're gonna wake up the next day fending off an oversized gorilla hovering over your cranial cavity with an ice cream scoop. I'm not saying it happened the minute Banjo and Kaurna from Jimmy & The Mirrors turned up (fuck no!) I'm just saying it's best to watch out for that shit!
4:14AM - Ooops and clearly I missed it, because here I am way past my use-by-date, circling the drain with Steve and some other rubberfaced gimp who (for the simple fact that I've completely forgotten his name) shall remain nameless. My jacket also appears to have gone missing (which is always a good sign), under entirely "mysterious circumstances", only to surface moments later like nothing happened. Days later I'll be casually sifting through those jacket pockets (which I've always assumed to be empty.. as I only bought this jacket three weeks ago) only to discover an invite to "Kate's 21st and going away" party. A "Kate" I'm pretty sure I've never actually met in my entire life. Awesome huh!? I know I'M not going, but if ever you're eager to gatecrash it: it's at the Jade Monkey on May the 22nd. Dress "Vintage Tea Party", or better yet front up completely nude wearing nothing but an oversized hat and a cheshire cat grin: I'm sure Kate will appreciate it!
4:39AM - Speaking of such, at some point in the night I bumped into Jenna Hawkins (and if you don't know who that is then this file photo should fill you in on the trivial details). Upon seeing my jacket, she rolls her eyes and snides: "what, are you TRYING to look like Wolverine!?". And as much as I wish I had a witty response to that (I'm pretty sure I simply made a confused "gurgling" sound and then fell face forward into the bottle pit) I do like to think that despite destroying at least four cameras in service to this insane blog (and I'm not shitting you!) I'm still on my original kidneys, brain and liver. So maybe I AM Wolverine, maybe I can regenerate shit, maybe I am immortal, maybe I.. wait you're probably just wondering what the deal is with this photo right!? Yeah wish I could answer that.. where was I? oh yeah. Wolverine. I heard that movie sucks.
Yup I'm pretty sure I'm no longer "hungover". Better yet I'm no longer here, I'm not long for this world, I'm the life of the party, I'm dead on arrival face down and floating out to sea on a Sunday afternoon! I'm continually playing cat and mouse with "hair-of-the-dog". I keep bags of the stuff, like wolfsbane, like pin cushion voodoo dolls and soon I'll be running through fields of it like a veritable christmas symphony of burning scarecrow effigies; like I'm a needle in their haystack and they're howling at the moon! And then when all this shit DOES finally catch up to me, my bullet riddled carcass will switch from matter to energy and half of the Adelaide CBD will swap places with the moon. Or on second thoughts, yeah maybe not. Do you think I need a holiday?