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...
KYTES OF OMAR + THE AMCATS + TRIXIE PLAIN "ABRACADABRA" @ ROCKET BAR / Friday June 5th 2009
"FUUUCK!!". At exactly 6:24AM on a Saturday I realised just what I'd done. For the last hour or so I'd been racking up a triple digit killing spree on my camera. Flicking buttons about in maddening succession: singling out wave after wave of itchy trigger multiples, dud angles, shit focus, nonexistent lighting and the occassional act of "convenient memory loss" for prompt deletion. Reducing this veritable shit storm of sensory input I'd recorded down to the one eighth worth keeping, and then down by another two thirds worth uploading. Nothing but a "greatest hits compilation" fit to publishing for another fucked up installment of Spoz's Rant. All I needed now was confirmation. I knew that finishing move well, so well in fact I was clearly on autopilot (read: still drunk) when I executed that fateful button mashing combo. A combo that I clearly got wrong by one slip of a digit. "FUUUCK!! I've just deleted everything? how the FUCK did that happen!?". My camera chirped cheerfully back at me, satisfied in a job well done. I considered rewarding it "ping pong" style against all four corners of the room, followed by me screaming abuse at it some more; only I knew it wasn't its fault. How was it to know? it was only following orders!? This was all my doing. All this planning weeks in advance, all these notes I'd written tonight, fifty dollars blown on beer and taxi fare; was clearly undone by me falling asleep at the wheel. "FUUUCK!!". And if it wasn't for me discovering this funny thing called "undelete" at the very last minute and saving my own arse? I probably would've presented this entire episode using nothing but crudely drawn stick figures and shittyarse GIF animations. Yup, some nights really don't go quite like I plan them..
It all started at Rocket Bar, I probably should've seen the signs but I practically had this whole night written up before I even left the house tonight. Rocket Bar has always played the same game everytime I've been here for the last three years. It's a classic love/hate relationship. A love for the awesome venue setup, the crowds and the ecclectic live bands you get BEFORE midnight. A seething hatred for the douchebag DJs, the banging electro and the fashion tragics they alienate you with AFTER midnight (and in all the cracks inbetween). And then I don't know what the FUCK happened. I stepped through that door tonight, and it's like just they'd nailed all the furniture to the ceiling. It first hit me in what "douchebag DJ" was spinning: DJ Shadow's "Midnight In A Perfect World", followed by a doped out hiphop jam covering everything from Naughty By Nature's "O.P.P." to oldskool Jurassic 5 and maybe a few Ninja Tunes in between. It was freaking awesome, no shit! And coming from a serial offender most reknown for blasting "Ed Banger" techno at ear rapingly obscene levels, I was half suspecting I'd stepped into the wrong venue. Then there were all these faerie lights on the ceiling; that I admit was also a little bit odd. And the fact all the barstaff were actually genuinely happy to see me!? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS JOINT TONIGHT!?
I mean sure don't get me wrong, it was freaking awesome in here; but if this shit keeps up I've got NOTHING to work with maaan! Rocket Bar is meant to be the "enemy", it's meant to represent everything that is freaking WRONG with the Adelaide scene! It's the whole reason we defected to Ed Castle in the first place back in 2008. And now I'm almost willing to rename "douchebag DJ" to "two raised thumbs of FUCK YEAAAH!!", bringing in two pillows, blankets, a toothbrush and making this my permanent residence!? duuude! I was worried for my mental health, I thought it was all gonna unravel on me at once. But then just when I thought all hope was lost, douchebag DJ reassured me that some things would never change around here by killing all the awesome stage lighting I was basking in mere moments before and replacing it with this blackening void set to an "automated spin cycle" that damn near made me tear my face off screaming trying to take photos through it. No shit, take a look at those videos. You see those brief flashes of light winking in and out!? THAT'S all I had to work with! Thanks douchebag DJ, no really.. you saved my night!
TRIXIE PLAIN (****) myspace :: Which is just the kind've batshit illbience that our opening act would feel right at home with. You can hear it right from the start in Linden Starr's guitar, as it glitches out and misfires and ever so artfully throughout their entire set, but it goes much deeper than that. Trixie Plain have always been a band that's made all the rough edges, the defects and all those other brain farts that most musicians do their utmost to eradicate their driving force forward. It usually takes decades for most other bands to achieve this level of dysfunction but they've done it in only three (although if it helps they've probably been drinking themselves retarded in countless other bands before this). Formed as W. Shane Forster's "rage blackout" behind a drumkit back in 2006. They've played every shitdive in Adelaide to next to no-one. They've been working on a debut EP that next to nobody knows about since 2007, which then extended into working on an album in 2008, which they're still working on now (and likely still won't release till sometime after 2011). And for the last year or so, short of the occassional hit-and-run in the BigStar Basement back in August (or a misguided appearance at Ed Castle's "WOW! earlier this year) they'd all but disappeared. Yup, wouldn't think from the looks of them, but I swear they're one of Adelaide's most underrated live acts. They're a grizzled geriatric grunge: equal parts The Pixies, Sonic Youth and Pavement. They're a blithering punk snarl: midway between The Sex Pistol's "Pretty Vacant" and The Stooges "I Wanna Be Your Dog". You hear it in Todd's vocals as he channels Thurston Moore (via the shrieking incoherence of a Bobcat Goldthwait) over chunked out bass riffs. You hear it in Linden (aka: The Colonel) with his snarling nasal twang, appropriating Iggy Pop's vocal stylings (only more narcoleptic), yet weirdly complimenting his abrasing singsong guitar. You hear it in W. Shane Forster's howling domestic dispute by way of Frank Black killing it on the drumkit. Sure, they maybe a bit goofy looking at as they stumble about drunk and disoriented, but all three of them combine in such a blissfully shambolic way that it still sounds like a masterpiece. It's these flaws that truly define them. In every scuff, in every scratch, it only makes them all the more brilliantly accomplished. They're like unearthing moth eaten gold in a St. Vinnies, digging up a wealth of 12" vinyl in your grandfather's toolshed, or rescuing a prize sofa from hard rubbish day. And if this set's anything to go by tonight: if ever they finally released the album, and someone dubbed it onto a shitty cassette, blasted it through the busted stereo of a decrepit brown Datsun and took you on a road trip with it whilst you were suffering a blinding hangover with the sunlight flickering over your eyelids? duuude it'd be the best Sunday afternoon recovery ever envisaged by man! Such is the mad appeal of Trixie Plain. They may be "broken", but you don't ever wanna fix it!
THE AMCATS (***1/2) myspace :: It hasn't exactly been a raging crowd response from Rocket Bar tonight. Short of the sound of a crickets chirping and a proverbial handful of "loose change" lurking about the shadows: it's pretty much just me, the sound guy, "douchebag DJ", the barstaff, the bouncers and the bands getting hilariously drunk. Which is possibly why it's been one of the BEST night I've ever had in here, or as anyone who's ever worked in customer service would readily tell you: "it'd be the best job in the world if it weren't for the fucking customers!". Hmmm clearly this was just a fluke, and there's likely all manner of excuses we could use to explain it away with (fuck I dunno.. swine flu!?) but at least it does offer our bands tonight the opportunity to get away with pretty much anything on a live stage with little or no consequence. Nudity, explosions, midgets, projectile vomiting, the occassional banjo solo!? anything goes! Which may begin to explain The Amcats tonight (with the possible exception of anything I've just mentioned). They had a setlist, but they did away with half of it in favour of tearing into an extended blues jam instead. It made for a neandering, shrieking dirge of a set, much more volatile than usual (ie: compared to one where I could've simply taken a few photos, a video and slapped together a few jokes avoiding the bleedingly obvious) and it's probably where their real strength lies as a live band; but it still missed a bit of that infectious Happy Days shit they usually got rocking. Or more specifically they didn't play "Jang Jang Robot" and that bugged the crap out've me. Still, in absense of all that I did pick up on all these other frequencies they've usually got buried in the mix. Shane McIntyre's guitars for one: running the whole gamut from Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love", Van Morrison's "Gloria", to that freaky "Ben Harper" style slide guitar shit he was shredding away with at the end did keep me buzzing. Just as Renee Andrighetto: in some freaky telepathic kind of way, following all of his twists and turns effortlessly on the drums, was trippy as fuck to watch. In fact it was everything you could've asked from a full throttle Louisiana blues swamp fest and so much more; with the possible exception that they didn't play "Jang Jang Robot" (seriously dudes.. would it have KILLED you to play that tonight!?) and I'm gonna make this whole review hang on that entirely trivial fact because clearly I spent way too much time screaming at the fucking lights trying to get these photos instead of paying attention to the rest of their set. Still, from what I remember: The Amcats? awesome!
KYTES OF OMAR (***1/2) myspace :: There's many ways you can appreciate an awesome headlining act on a Friday night. With a capacity crowd. With a few of them whizzing beer bottles, pint glasses, molotov cocktails, or themselves screaming over your head. With half the crowd rioting on stage. With half the band running loose off the stage. With a sit down crowd, by flickering candlelight and polite applause. With a laser light show, projection screens, and you tripping balls on acid. Fuckit, maybe even host the entire thing in a bouncey castle, in an open field, with a herd of cattle mooing in chorus in asbestos suits on fire around you, moments before an asteroid impact. As for tonight's set? in near absolute darkness, performing to next to no one, with the mix turned up so jarringly loud on the guitars that they were practically sawing through bones!? Yeaaah.. it wouldn't have been the first thing I would've ever thought of but hey, each to their own! Yup, that was the Kytes Of Omar tonight. Granted it was hardly their fault, and I suspect Patrick's mixing desk must have somehow achieved self awareness and decided to kill us all; as clearly it couldn't have been HIS fault either. The good news however, is it only affected about 80% of the songs they performed; so chances are if you were nearly drunk enough (like I should've been) then you wouldn't have noticed a thing. Still it did make for a "novel" Kytes Of Omar experience tonight. In any other night I'd usually compare them with anything from Queens Of The Stone Age, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Pixies to The Subways. Tonight they shared more in common with an industrial accident at a building site caused by tribe of baboons wielding chainsaws, powerdrills and orbital sanders (or in other words the sound you get from one of their conventional gigs if you used nothing but a shitty camera phone to record it with then cranked the "gain" by a factor of fifty). With that being said however, it was still a solid set; especially in the "quieter" moments. The highlight of which was this new downtempo jam they messed with midway through (see video) that sounded rather like The Black Keys covering a cut from Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon". It was a whole other side I'd never really heard from them before; and if it's any indication of what we've got to look forward to from this album they're apparently working on, then there's a lot to look forward to in the months ahead. It may've not been their night tonight, but something tells me it'll be their year ahead to truly make a name for themselves. Kytes Of Omar? no shit duuude.. they totally don't suck!
1:15AM - At the strike of midnight I was expecting that fickle fashion swarm to come flooding up those stairs to that clarion call of smashed tetris beats: an eye gouging display of overt metrosexuality, hair product, fake tans, designer labels and me screaming for the exit signs; just like every other night I've ever been to Rocket Bar. And yet they never came. There was just the twenty of us and we freaking owned the joint. It was the weirdest thing! Even when douchebag DJ snuck a Daft Punk, Justice or whatever-the-fuck into the mix? STILL none of them made an appearance! I kinda felt sorry for the dude. I mean sure he's "douchebag DJ" and all, but it just looked so empty out there! So just for the fuck of it: I hit the dancefloor, made a complete dick of myself, did my thing for Rocket Bar on a Friday night, and then got the fuck out've there.
1:28AM - Next stop The Ed Castle. Party because this is where everyone else was going after Rocket Bar, but mostly to see if Azz from Strangelove was DJing tonight so I could mooch free piss from his rider (because really.. who ARE we kidding!?). Other than that, absolutely nothing happened here. Or in other words, a whole stack of hilarious shit did happen, but since none of it was stupid enough for me to take photos of it (and thus I have no proof) it NEVER happened!
3:11AM - And speaking of other convenient lapses in judgement: here I am two hours later at The Bull & Bear for "Transmission". Which gives me the perfect excuse to use THIS photo for no other reason than I actually took it back in September last year, that I clearly believe is, without a doubt, the singularly most awesome photo I've ever taken in The Bull & Bear (or at least it was all that I could find at short notice that didn't otherwise feature Nick Hadley, formerly from Dead Popes Of The Vatican, collapsing in a foaming drunken mess on the dancefloor). And as for what any of this shit has got to do with what I might've done in here tonight, which clearly was SO ridiculously awesome that I didn't totally forget about it afterwards? absolutely nothing! why'd you ask!?
One of these two in following is a wildly successful DJ in Adelaide's rapidly exploding indie dance scene: responsible for such nights as Transmission, Transmission Live, Plus One, Sputnik, Square One and an ever increasing number of spin offs packing out next to every single venue you used to be able to just "walk into" for a beer back in the day, and now have to line halfway around the block for (no shit, it's like the BEST thing ever!). Whilst the other one here is simply a ring-in we threw behind the decks for some cheap laughs because we're pretty sure no one in here would ever know the difference. Try and guess which one is which!? no really, take all the time you need..
3:54AM - And now that I've had nearly enough fun at the expense of DJs (because clearly I've never done that before!) it was time to head to Supermild and put a bullet in this fucked up excuse for a night with a nonsensical sequence of photos featuring me and a whole bunch of other anonymous drunks who I can't for the life of me remember (if it weren't for the fact that most of them always seem to find me on Facebook) because clearly that's the funniest thing EVER and it never gets old. Or at least that was the plan. Instead, by the time I got here I was told by the bouncer that they were closing (when clearly they probably weren't for another hour). Shit! Now usually I'd have a littany of jedi mind tricks, and gestures at my disposal to weasel my way in regardless: as let's face it I pretty much live here (we all know I like to sleep in the glass pit out back). But instead I stood about the entrance for the next twenty minutes, blithering like a complete idiot, attempting to negotiate with the bouncer, thinking THAT would actually work..
4:21AM - Moments later Julia Morris leaves Supermild, spots me outside STILL trying to convince the bouncer to let me in, and steals my camera. She then proceeds to take this photo of herself (and quite possibly a few others) thinking this is quite possibly the most hilarious shit ever. Only to then realise soon after she'd probably end up making another appearance in Spoz's Rant..
And of course this is the photo she took in revenge. I think it just about explains everything else you've read: with the possible exception of that purse lying on the ground next to me which we all know isn't mine because it doesn't match my shoes. Still, would it help if I told you I stole it earlier tonight? no possibly not. I swear I don't know what the fuck I write in these blogs sometimes..
And then two hours later: 6:24AM on a Saturday morning to be precise, I accidently deleted every single photo I took that provided any evidence that this night ever existed. "FUUUCK!!". It was just one of those fucked up go nowhere nights, it really was! Rocket Bar on a quiet night out and a comedy of errors that followed me everywhere I went? GUH! And as much as I briefly entertained the notion of simply leaving that memory card blank and fucking it all off? I knew full well it'd haunt me like a ghost if I did. No shit, it's stories THIS blitheringly malfunctional and fucked up that need to be told. Without a proper burial, who knows what untold carnage they'd unleash!?