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...
BLUEJUICE + PHILADELPHIA GRAND JURY LIVE @ JIVE / Saturday May 30th 2009
I keep thinking it, and more and more evidence is confirming it: humanity as a whole is a glorious work of fiction. Five thousand years or more fabricating the perfect lie: claiming we're the pinnacle, the compass point, the chosen ones "created in God's image". Writing whole reems of increasingly fanciful gibberish to justify our reign of terror, leatherbound in books of genesis to explain away the loopholes; denying all dissidents. Brushing over the simple fact that we've spent all of five million years running riot like wild animals with nothing but spare change to account for the rest. It's the smallest of margins really, a teeny tiny percentile, a few lines of freak DNA that places us on top and not prey to the whims of an alternate reality overrun by hyperintelligent squirrels. Everywhere you look they have us outnumbered waiting for that moment to revolt. We're nothing but the tip of the iceberg; a soupçon of science, society and skyscrapers to save us from the cesspool. A fine line between homo sapiens and chimpanzee, genius and insanity, intellect and paper weight, internet and spam; the very culmination of civilisation itself and its mutually assured annihilation. It's less than you think, I'm surprised we've made this far with SO very little (for that we should be congratulated) but there's still no denying it. Do what you can to contain and control it, pretend those 95 percentile points just aren't there and attempt to outlaw it; but sooner or later that monkey is gonna want to bust loose and party just like it's always done. We're wild animals wearing suits and ties, stuffing ourselves into ill fitting boxes and obeying commands; it's only but a fraction of who we really are. Understand that, accept it, take time out from whatever the fuck kind of insanity you've been building up in that tool shed and find your means to escape!
Yup, welcome to Jive on a Saturday night. We usually like to refer to this place as a "live music venue" and in any other time it may even function as one; but this is something else altogether. The best nights are usually like this: that ripe stench of beer, sweat and piss climbing the walls around you; hanging thick like a musty mist and seeping into your clothes. Flick on the proverbial CSI and you'll surely see a galaxy of stars burst into life around you, crime scene evidence pointing to Jive's true purpose tonight: as a makeshift holding pen, monkey cage, circus tent and mad science laboratory to the illbient extremities of "humanity" spinning evolution in reverse. Stepping in one third of the way through and already it hits me in the face. Those flying fists out front showing me that the dickhead contingent is in full effect. They're swinging off the foldback stacks, shrieking, beating their chests and spilling their drinks everywhere. They're so damn excited to be here they could literally explode (no shit.. keep a hand over that beer at all times!) which is funny because there isn't anyone performing on stage right now. Bakewell Street our opening act, have already performed the graveyard shift at 8PM. Jive's barstaff in hazmat suits are hosing them off backstage and giving them crisis counselling. And the best is yet to come!
PHILADELPHIA GRAND JURY (****1/2) myspace :: Yup, if the name's not familiar then surely their sound is. For if ever you've flicked on the radio in the last six months and fallen victim to Triple J's "tourette syndrome" of high rotation, then chances are you've heard of their skull rapingly infectious hit: "Going To The Casino (Tomorrow Night)". It's the subtle way in which Triple J loves to introduce ANY upcoming "unearthed" band to the general public. By bludgeoning us SO relentlessly "pavlov's dog" style with continuous airplay up every screaming orifice ("Fire! Santa Rosa Fire!'s "War Coward" anyone!?) that within weeks, hoards of salivating loons are following them about place to place without a single clue how they got there; only that they're REALLY excited to be there. It's definitely what we're witness to tonight (I'm covered in at least three to four pints of "rapturous applause" to prove it) and no shit I'm so excited for this band TOO that I may just have to kill half the audience because of it. Philadelphia Grand Jury. I don't know about you, but there's something ever so slightly inhinged about them. For one they don't like to talk between songs: they'll leave THAT up to a series of pre-recorded messages (possibly thanks to their lead singer "Berkfinger") announcing at frequent intervals how much this band is "kicking your arse!". Then there's "Napoleon Dynamite" on the drums, I don't know who the fuck he really is (I'm told he's a last minute replacement for "Dan W Sweat" who's got a mad case of the shingles) but I SWEAR he didn't flinch the entire set; so much so it almost made me pee a little just looking at him (whoaaa!). Oh and as for everyone in the frontlines now missing half of their teeth, that would be thanks to "MC Bad Genius" rounding out the trio by swinging his bass guitar about so violently on stage the barstaff are now ducking for cover. Yup there's no mistaking it, this is one fucked up band! Philadelphia Grand Jury. As an overall sound imagine anything from The Hold Steady, The Hives, Weezer and Blink 182: or midwest punch drunk revelry crossed with 90's skater punk, indie slacker (and with their childlike arrangements and Berkfinger's distinctly high pitched shriek a favourable comparison to Lazaro's Dog). It's a shitstorm through and through, they barely keep it in check, their performance only grows ever more chaotic as the set wears on; but it's definitely a major part of their charm. Two highlights immediately spring to mind. The first was the eye gouging spectacle of watching three "dancing girls" on stage shake their bits about in gleeful hysterics during "Going To The Casino (Tomorrow Night)". The second was their finale, which to put it mildy was nothing short of a category five cyclone. Check out the video I've posted, fast forward it to the 3:40 and you'll see just what I'm on about. MC Bad Genius crashing into the drumkit, only to catapult himself into the crowd, surfing that wave, followed by Napoleon Dynamite in turn; as Berkfinger attempts to keep singing IN the audience, increasingly swamped by dickheads, until he loses his mic entirely. Sure it doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense, it's a complete and utter fucking disaster, but fuck DAMN is it entertaining to watch all the same! No shit, if this is just the support act? Jive's gonna need a bigger hose!
10:27PM - Already it's well past a "code red" situation in here. Twisting wreckage is scattered everywhere like one of those Indiana Jones "bowling balls" just pulled a perfect game (some of it was even embedded halfway into the walls and ceilings!). Jive's hazmat teams are working overtime with the hoses, and now the flamethrowers, to make swift work clearing the stage and it was here amongst all this needless carnage that I was shocked to discover these two bambi twins preening in front of the lens. Just like a plastic bag slow dancing in a pile of Autumn leaves, light tinkling of a piano *sniff* I know! such fragile beauty.. it's like.. *sniff* I can barely take it! (especially soon after when part of the roof collapsed on top of them) bugger! next band then?
BLUEJUICE (*****) myspace :: Before seeing this band tonight I knew next to nothing about them: short of a loose scattering of half forgotten interview anecdotes, single sound bytes, skimmed through photo shoots and other such miscellaneous shit I'd frequently mistaken for about a zillion other bands I might also have heard on Triple J but largely "ignored". Which is odd considering I'd also know half the lyrics to their songs back to front (thanks to all the high rotation airplay) and yet STILL didn't know who the fuck they were. This happens a lot to me when I listen to Triple J. Thanks to this wonderfully "selective memory" of mine that deflects most (if not all) of their attempts to drill "earworms" into my skull: I can barely remember a single instance of Operator Please or Muscles and my life is all the more richer for it (unfortunately it hasn't had the same effect with The Presets second album). Still as much as it's been an effective spam filter, it's also meant that the occassional worthy exception like Bluejuice gets turfed to the recycle bin. No amount of catchy-as-hell singles like "Unemployed", "Vitriol" or even that eye gouging masterpiece that was their Daniel Boud cover shoot for "Problems" (yeah you know the one) would made a lick of difference. Still, in my defense this happens to me a lot with the "vaguesphere" I like to call Aussie hiphop; which I now understand (after seeing them live) is barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Bluejuice. In essense they're a quintessential car crash party band, a mongrel breed of mad jams from numerous genres all colliding together in a riot of circus noise and chaos. Everytime I hear them play another song I'd add another baffling comparison to the list. Everything from Ben Folds Five, The Bloodhound Gang, Scissor Sisters, Vampire Weekend and The Cat Empire right back to The Beastie Boys "License To Ill" album and that infamous rock & roll hiphop collision when Run DMC met Aerosmith in "Walk This Way". And then when I actually started thinking of them as the fucking Kaiser Chiefs (only from an alternative reality where Ricky Wilson and his buddies formed a hiphop crew to record their first album, instead of a rock band) I knew I'd crossed the line. Either I was me through the looking glass: joining the dots between Bluejuice's "Vitriol" and Kaiser Chief's "Saturday Night" in a way that no one else had EVER imagined (no shit, spin them both back to back? freaaaky!) or I'd well and truly lost the plot. No, there's only one way to do a Bluejuice justice. When you hear the pogo rhythms, the trigger happy "wurlitzers", and all the tandem shouting: simply slip your swim fins on, dive head first into the monkey pit and enjoy the ride!
As such a Bluejuice set is rather like Running Of The Bulls at Pamplona, or at least how I'd imagine it if I was hilariously drunk: only everyone's trapped in a broom closet with no way out and all the bulls aren't "running", they're actually wearing chinese firecracker garlands, strapped to demolition balls and swinging wildly at random intervals (it also helps that every ten minutes someone manages to trigger Jive's all too familiar "exit sirens" to give that ever so subtle "Chemical Brothers" component). Getting photos of this insanity from the frontlines proved to be an "amusing" challenge, video footage however rather more resembled a scene straight out of "Cloverfield"; or more accurately one where the infamous "monster" was actually covered in chinese firecrackers and screamed a lot. Yup, as you can see: we're talking absolute, utter and unadulterated carnage here. Part of this was thanks to Bluejuice's resident "class clown": Jake Stone (aka: Mick Jagger) egging everyone on by surfing into the thick of the crowd pretty much every five to ten minutes (or y'know.. whenever the mood suited him) whilst Stav Yiannoukas spun his mic stand around doing his best not to kill anyone in accompaniment; only to be followed up in kind when half of the audience "returned the favour" by invading the stage in wave after wave, jumping on each others shoulders and launching themselves arse backwards into the mosh again. I believe that last video for "Vitriol" pretty much says it all. Ever wanted to know what it's like to be stuck in a pinball machine!? well now you do! How I got out of this alive, who the fuck knows!?
Of course many of you trainspotters out there were probably looking for more detail, like: setlists, segues, between song banter, b-sides, covers.. fuck! anything that would give you some idea as to how THIS particular Bluejuice set differed from numerous other sets that I've clearly never seen before and thus couldn't compare with (I mean shit what would I know!?). And yes obviously, asking any number of these questions would be me assuming you'd NEVER read this site before. We all know I'd much rather get my head punched, kicked and caved in by every exciteable idiot around me laughing it up, instead of keeping comprehensive notes from a distance. Which I think is kind've the point with this band. As such all I can offer you is trivial at best. Firstly they had all of three hours sleep before performing on stage tonight (and they played "Unemployed" as their encore). Secondly I'VE had all of three hours sleep attempting to write this blog. Thirdly.. any more questions!? And yet despite how blissfully vague I'm being here (and how shot to shit my short term memory is) I think it's safe to say that THIS is a band you won't ever forget in a hurry!
11:52PM - Limping out the exit doors of this looney bin with a crooked smile (and a surprisingly still fully functional camera.. fuck I know!) I make my way past the ridiculously long line of revellers waiting outside, for yet another late night installment of indie dance club whatever-the-fuck DJ Craig is planning to throw tonight (I'm assuming "Gosh"!?). As I spared a thought for Jive's long suffering hazmat team, who after spending the last half hour or so painstakingly pulling every last embedded tooth from out've the ceiling, hosing off all the walls of.. (yeah you really don't wanna know what), and burning off all the remaining "corpses" out back: now have to contend with all these shrieking gibbons flinging shit at each other in the sequel.. FOR THE NEXT FIVE HOURS!!
11:57PM - Speaking of such: just like any other night's live entertainment that ends all too early (and yet to the surprise of absolutely no one: no less drunk) it was here that I was faced with an all too frequent dilemma, or more accurately DID back on Hindley Street as I've clearly solved it already and ended up here at The Ed Castle; but I digress. Every night there's at least three choices I need to make. Where to start: the live venue. Where to end up: Supermild (no shit Sherlock!). And where to blow a few hours drinking in between so I don't feel like a complete douche for fronting up to Supermild far too early (I mean *pfft* really!?). Thus I find myself at The Ed Castle for no other reason than I devote way too much time thinking about this shit.
12:04AM - First things first let's see if I can blag my way in for free. No easy task mind you, especially when this place was ruled by the Nintendo power glove of "WOW!" for the last two months: feeding the coffers of "Click Click" back in Melbourne, fouling the joint with ear raping electro and sending me screaming to Supermild far too early on a Saturday night. But now that Ross Osmon had taken over the reigns for (the nearly identical) "Plus One", maybe I had a chance in hell!? I mean Ross is awesome! (he's a little short perhaps but no shit.. awesome!). But alas my ability to convince Olivia of said "awesometude" and thus "free entry" roughly translated to me making confused gurgling, squeaking and pointing gestures, followed by me paying Lucinda $8, followed by Olivia giving me a choc chip cookie, followed by me forgetting just what the hell I was hoping to achieve from this scam in the first place. Moral of the story? I'm really THAT dumb!
Yup, as much as I was somewhat miffed by the whole "principle" of the thing: paying $8 for the privilege of entering a pub I could've simply fallen arse backwards into three months ago for free (*pfft* I mean really!? who the FUCK do they think they are.. huh, PUNKS!?) all that becomes largely irrelevant the minute someone hands you a choc chip cookie. Oh and before you ask? yes I DID check to see if I wasn't just a regular cookie dosed with an alarmingly large number of rodent droppings (or worse still they simply bought it from Subway). And as for what any of this shit has got to do with The Ed Castle tonight!? I'm glad you asked.. *cough* hey what's that over there!?
12:24AM - Yup, there's clearly no segue here but at least I'm acknowledging it for once. This is Billy Bishop Goes To War. I've been standing here for the last few minutes, drinking my beer, doing absolutely nothing but watch them play. It's awesome, it really is! Occassionally I'll nod my head along, and when I've finished drinking THIS beer I might just go get another one, come back and keep watching them; or maybe I'll just fuck off to the beer garden and see what's happening out there. Weird I know! but apparently I'm told THIS is what normal people do at live gigs.
1:20AM - And now that I've effectively freaked you all out with that: "wait lemme get this straight, Spoz's actually goes to see live bands when he's NOT out seeing live bands!? OH CRAP MIGRAINE!". We bring you this: yet another utterly nonsensical series of photos featuring Bec (formerly "Bartender Bec" of The Ed Castle) for no other reason than to give her a chance to scam yet more hiiilarious appearances in this blog, despite the fact she almost never does anything..
Thus we present this: Bec and JC from Wolf & Cub smoking cigarettes.. YEAAAS!! I know, exciting huh!? If it helps though I could concoct some wildly fanciful conspiracy theory that somehow links all this up with the face of Benicio Del Toro appearing in a bowl of corn flakes, dessicated bat guano, reptilian shape shifting aliens, a freshly cooked ostrich egg and that shady dude in the background who somewhat remembles Jack The Ripper (except now he's a landscape gardener specialising in novelty koi ponds). But no, it's pretty much just Bec and JC smoking cigarettes..
But then we pulled this: a photo SO ridiculously badass, there aren't even words in the English language that could possibly do it justice. We're talking way beyond Pauly Shore's colourful vocabulary circa 1992, we're talking way beyond Beck's batshit insane lyrical content in "Odelay", we're talking way beyond even the bitcharse buzz you get in your back teeth when you crank that skullfuckingly dope album "Wavvves" from the band Wavves fucking loud on a stereo and then surf a fucking tsunami with it! No shit, it's even blowing Bec's hair about like it's fucking Van Halen because it's THAT badass. Despair ye midgets anyone SO foolish to even consider beating THIS!!
*cough* so ummm... when are you two thinking of getting married?
1:32AM - Clearly by this point of the night we've completely lost track of our original argument: or what I like to laughingly call the "eight or ninth beer". One where we're somehow eluding to.. what, organised religion? the theory of evolution? all of civilisation, society and social order hanging off of a proverbial fingernail, off a cliff? (and for some reason, we're celebrating that!?) fuckit.. anything and nothing makes sense at this juncture! Just ask Nathan here with this $10 jug of Sangria: which they sell on a Saturday night at The Ed Castle, on the coldest night imagineable, for no other reason than to get rubbishingly shitfaced; because as we ALL know that's the ONLY reason why this blog ever gets published (with the possible exception of a few live bands).
Which is why we're gonna devote the next few paragraphs to this junk. Because clearly making fun of Sangria, or whatever-the-fuck fascimile The Ed Castle is passing off AS "Sangria" is the most important pressing news item I could think of covering right now, instead of say, about a billion other things that we as a species are facing. For instance upon closer inspection I ask you, what ARE those zesty chunks floating in this jug of Sangria: "lemon"? "orange"? or urinal cake!?
Hey maybe we could stick someone's finger in it like a cigarette butt to make it more appealing?
Mmmm.. doesn't it make you wanna down it all in one gulp, lose track of the next ten to twelve hours and wake up in a wooden box slowly filling with sand, screaming hysterically, trapped in a desert miles out of Tijuana!? (not saying this's what we did to Nathan afterwards.. oooh fuck no!)
Better yet, this is where all this gargling awesomeness sprung from: a somewhat disturbing vat of foaming effluent labelled as "Chemtec" brand "Senor Pablo's Love Potion Mix". And as for where all that zesty "lemon" and "orange" came from!? yeah.. you're really better off not knowing!
And because clearly we still haven't milked this shit for all its worth, it was only after I took that photo above, and zoomed into it on my camera, that I noticed these "safety instructions". Yup, I dunno about you but next time I'm here on a Saturday night I'm SO hitting up a jug of this!
3:19AM - Hours later, totally unrelated to the fact I might've simply followed suit on all that Sangria and since lost any recollection over just how the hell I managed to get out of The Ed Castle (or maybe I simply drank three more beers) I wound up at the ONE place that clearly needs no introduction but thanks to all my nonsensical rambling I've provided one for anyways.
4:28AM - Clearly I'm just making shit up as I go along. I'm not afraid to admit it, I like to think I've made a wildly successful career out of it (or more accurately I would have if I ever got paid for it), all because I've got absolutely no fucking recollection over just what the FUCK I did in here. All I DO remember is that for some utterly batshit insane reason they'd ran out of Coopers Pale Ale at the bar (..or maybe they didn't!?) and now I was being offered all these alternatives. One was provided by Henri Dubois, doing his best to promote this whatever-the-fuck pink shit called "Cool Water": THE bottled water for the "ridiculously stylish" (which obviously immediately ruled ME out).
Whilst we all know I simply took the second option instead: Coopers Sparkling Ale, as optioned by Brenden Boycoir here, because nothing quite screams "responsible drinking habits" than finishing off a night's binge drinking session with a 750mL longneck bottle of fermented 5.8% (yeah yeah! I know that's just a 375mL bottle he's holding up in this photo: but it's the PRINCIPLE that counts!).
4:44AM - Yup this Saturday night's been nothing short of a resounding success! At the start of it I was nothing but an upstanding member of society: upright, erudite and whimsically articulate. But by the end here I'm a knuckle dragging, bedraggled, shrieking beast of a man. I'm a basket case overflowing with a wealth of lurid odours! The bouncer standing guard at the door doesn't bat an eyelid at this regressionary transaction, it's just another "day at the office" for him. Just like any given taxi driver with a postgraduate, he knows too well the true nature of the human condition!
I think I've made it all too clear. Humanity is a glorious work of fiction, an utopian vision inches from reach like a carrot on a stick. We do our best to keep it contained, we siphon off the more criminally insane elements into these designated baboon enclosures where the police can patrol them 24 hours a day. We keep a brave face, we shower and shave them, dress them up in suits and ties, teach them basic ettiquette, cutlery and hygeine. We build ever more intricate systems of CCTV surveillance, legislation, regulation and control: an entire nanny state devoted to babysitting this ticking timebomb hoping and praying it'll never go off; but it's always there. It's a chimpanzee smoking a cigar, a dog on a skateboard, a budgie on a tricycle. It's punching, swinging and kicking to be let free. Isn't it about time you let yours out for a walk? Let it loose.. let that freak fly free!