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...
YVES KLEIN BLUE + PHILADELPHIA GRAND JURY + THE SHINY BRIGHTS LIVE @ JIVE / Saturday July 11th 2009
Aaaah Jive! where would we be without you? For almost six years now this infamous blue box with the red door has been at the forefront in bringing us the biggest and the brightest this live music scene has to offer us; its truly set the standard. It's been the golden means, the measuring stick, the shining pinnacle in instigating nothing short of an all out war in the west end of Adelaide as every other live venue in a one mile radius howls for its blood on a Saturday night. Their target: the ever fickle fashion tragics and the indie "in-crowd". Their agenda: nothing short of its absolute domination and by any means necessary. Mark my word no west end venue dares mess with Jive's prized demographic and hopes to get away with it. They're an apocalyptic nine headed beast belching fire. They're an exploding shitstorm of awesome. They're a giant dildo crushing the sun! And yet without fail, every few months another challenger rises from the ashes to take them on. We all know the key players. They've all tried to corner this mass market before: sometimes succeeding but never for long. From Enigma Bar, Fowlers Live, Rocket Bar to The Ed Castle they've all played by the same rulebook but nobody does it quite like Jive, they keep raising the stakes like Sun Tzu's "Art Of War". Packing out dancefloors, capacity crowds, selling out shows weeks in advance; propagating an ever increasing hysteria lining up around the block screaming for more. They're a battle hard fought for the lowest common denominator, they're a popularity and a pissing contest, they're a high stakes poker tournament. We are naught but cattle to be herded, milked, made docile and slaughtered in our hundreds and thousands to their flashing sirens. We are but in awe of their golden presence. And all that these other venues can hope for is to fall in their shadow. It may be brutal, but it IS business afterall; and in that singular measure they reign supreme in reminding us all that this ain't no friendly rivalry, oh no.. this is life and death!
Yup, there's really no doubt that Jive is one calculating killer. Take the humble "indie dance club" for example. Hardly a revolutionary concept by any stretch of the imagination, and Jive sure as shit didn't invent it (every pub and club from Shotz, Fowlers Live, Duke Of York, The Crown & Anchor to Rocket Bar has laid claim to it before) but Jive DID make it insanely popular. Beats me how the fuck they did it either, but the minute they brought in DJ Craig for Gosh, Glitter, Goon, Spoof or whatever-the-fuck and made Saturday night such a roaring success? they opened the floodgates and within months this "indie dance" shit went viral like a mad hit of Mickey D's! (so much so you couldn't get in anywhere without lining up around the block). And just when you thought it couldn't get any "better" out there? they raise the stakes in this pissing contest AGAIN by introducing a "Jim Beam Party Crew" tonight. Yeah I know, fucked up isn't it? You'd think only the cheesiest super clubs could get away with it but now that Jive's flaunting it? everyone will want a piece of it!
The look on Todd's face here says it all: halfway between religious piety and peeing a puddle on the dancefloor, he's TOTALLY gone! In such a wildly suggestible state you could get him to do (or buy) just about anything! Stack them up to the ceiling and watch the dollar signs fly, we've got ourselves a genuine "zombie consumer" and there's hundreds just like him scrambling for more!
The fact is Jive appreciates the populist movement in a way that few others dare to dream. They understand that one person alone can truly aspire to greatness (and that's bad business) but the minute there's more than one of them they're a crowd, more than that and they're a mob mentality; until in large enough "densities" they're nothing more than an amorphous blob of playdough that you can make believe pretty much whatever you want them to believe. Simply hire enough security and staff, flash some pretty lights, bang some drums, get everyone hilariously drunk and dimwitted, appeal to their lowest common denominator and you'll have them in the palm of your hands all night long. It's hardly new. Everyone's exploited this schtick from organised sport, religion, childrens television to the Nazis and all you can hope for against this rising tide of stupidity is to remind yourself that Jive truly has your best intentions at heart. Sure they may be pure evil but they're only here to entertain us! and tonight is truly no exception. Thanks to these three wildly popular bands selling out Jive to capacity AGAIN on a Saturday night? leave your brain at the front door duuudes: it looks like we're gonna have another massacre on our hands!
THE SHINY BRIGHTS (****) myspace :: Our opening act sets the scene tonight in the "subtlest" way possible by practically spoofing it in our faces. Short of a dry cleaning bill, a flamethrower, a mass burial and an intervention by the U.N. security council they're the quintessential "shock and awe" campaign in every sense of the term. With no hint of hyperbole you'll be gobsmacked as they tear into their live set. Like a candy crazed toddler on a Christmas day killing spree, each and every one of their songs makes for a feeding frenzy in cheese grating riffs, whiplash rhythms and punching bag beats. In fact all we'd ever need to complete the picture would be a strobe light, some dancing robots and a lit firecracker up every orifice and it'd be a Japanese gameshow unfolding before our eyes. Not least of which its thanks to the spastic stage antics of their front man Wolfgang. Like Daffy Duck on a mad tab of acid, you'll see him wooping it up, howling, screaming, smashing the shit out of his tambourine and doing his very best to appear at all points of the universe at once without exploding in a massive fireball that'd take out half a city block. I dunno if they feed him nothing but redbulls, a box of fruitloops, a fistfull of crack cocaine or all of the above just prior to a show (whilst fifty thousand volts of electricity gets shot through his skull) but shit damn is it dizzying to watch! So much so I may need a good lie down and a heart transplant by the time I'm finished writing this review. And he's not the only one. Whoever in their right mind decided THIS shit would be an awesome idea for an opening act tonight clearly does not value human life (and if it gets any crazy than this we'll surely be sinking upto our armpits in bullet riddled corpses in next to no time). Make no mistake THIS is a headlining act. This is you sinking enough piss at the bar to flatline a rhino to appreciate their finer qualities. This is The Shiny Brights. If you could half imagine Kings Of Leon's "Youth And Young Manhood" drilled to hummingbird speeds, crossbred with Bit By Bat's "Go Go Go" and The Rapture's "House Of Jealous Lovers" you'd barely begin to cover it. They're a white hot heat, a flash of light and all of our shadows blasted onto these four walls tonight!
PHILADELPHIA GRAND JURY (****) myspace :: In stark contrast our second act is practically a "teddy bear's picnic" by comparison. Which when you consider they're the SAME band that almost upstaged Bluejuice when they supported them here a month ago is saying a LOT. I don't know if you were there at the time (and you'd need only watch the last three minutes of this live video to understand) but maaan these freaks know how to party! We're talking the kind of raging box social where half of your furniture winds up out in the street, on the roof, in the swimming pool, whilst some homeless guy's smashing a drumkit in your kitchen as the sun comes up, followed by the Federal Government declaring it a nationwide emergency moments before the US military gets called in to nuke your entire postcode from orbit. No shit, Corey Worthington has nothing on Philadelphia Grand Jury! All that high rotation airplay Triple J's been giving them (as much as it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment every time they thrash "Going To The Casino") is so VERY MUCH justified! Tonight however sees a gentler side to them. Maybe I was simply prepared for them this time but they seemed I dunno, so much "mellower". There's possibly a few explanations for this. None of which had anything to do with "Napoleon Dynamite" being replaced by their original drummer Dan W Sweat tonight (I mean just LOOK at him rocking the shit out of that kit like Ringo Starr.. what a champion!). Instead it may have a little more to do with the complaints they received last time they toured (or more specifically from Bluejuice's management prior to their Brisbane show), where they were reminded in no uncertain terms that the drumkit their bass player MC Bad Genius loved to roll around in at the conclusion of their shows was actually meant to be "shared" between the bands and not distributed amongst the audience as commerative toothpicks (I know.. they're really spoiling half the fun don't they?). As such they may've been a little more "subdued" tonight but still wildly entertaining all the same. Philadelphia Grand Jury. In a nutshell they're Blink 182, Weezer and Machine Gun Fellatio all rolled into one. They're a trigger happy spastic puppy making a mess of your living room. They're everything you could ever ask for out of a support act, so much so they should totally headline their own tour (fatalities be damned!). Their Triple J high rotation hits such as "Ready To Roll" and "I'm Gonna Kill You" proved popular with the crowds, but once again they peaked in their finale tonight with: "They Don't Wanna Party" when MC Bad Genius charged off the stage with his axe swinging, dumped it in the middle of the crowd (still feedbacking like crazy) and kept on charging right out that door and into the street, whilst lead singer Berkfinger practically got devoured by the piranha swarm of eager fans out the front. Yup, that's Philadelphia Grand Jury alright: they may be five flavours of fuckoff insane, but they're truly a band for the people!
YVES KLEIN BLUE (***1/2) myspace :: Now there's likely all manner of reasons for why Jive is packed to capacity tonight, for a show that sold out a week ago, that's entirely unrelated to THIS band headlining it. I mean shit we gotta give the support acts SOME credit for this shitstorm of a shindig; but if ever we needed to explain WHY there's a flock of screaming fangirls out front outnumbering the guys by a factor of three to one, it'd definitely be thanks to Yves Klein Blue. Of course being a proud owner of a Y chromosome, most of their "raging sex appeal" has been all but lost on me. Even better, like many of the bands introduced to me by the Triple J's school of high rotation, I'd all but blanked out the rest of their schtick too (clearly so I wouldn't go completely insane). Save for the name "Yves Klein Blue": which up until recently I hadn't the foggiest clue how to pronounce, and a song I never knew was theirs "Polka": that's been thrashed to death in that Mitsubishi commercial for the past eight months (which you'd be sure to hear again in the encore tonight) I didn't know squat about them. In fact even now on stage, whilst everyone of the "fairer persuasion" is exploding in fits of glee around me? I'm still doing my best to ignore them (to their infinite credit however they're making THAT next to impossible to achieve). Y'see Yves Klein Blue have stumbled upon a winning formula as old as time itself (one slightly short of the "dark side of the force" that's made Australian Idol so wildly successful for all these years). They've mastered the art of being "popular" (especially to a female audience). Whether by accident or by design it's utterly unmistable on stage tonight. From the iconic "teen scream" look of their lead singer with the lacquered hair and the leather jacket aping everything from James Dean to Johnny Depp's "Cry Baby", to the simple verse/chorus dynamic of their songs: equal parts bubblegum pop from the 50's and 80's, it's a damn near lethal combination in indie pop. Which when combined with the rapturous crowd response is not all that far removed from the kind of hysteria The Beatles would've enjoyed back in 1964. In sound they remind me of all the vocal and guitar hooks from The Libertines, The Kooks, The Wombats, The Whitlams and The Arctic Monkeys only with all the "edginess" taken out, mixed in with a whole host of 80's ska influences like Adam And The Ants and Bow Wow Wow in the rhythm section. And yet in the way they deliver it, it's all so ridiculously likeable that you can't help but forgive them for just how annoyingly catchy it is. Their lead singer Michael Tomlinson especially, despite suffering the ill effects of a raging head cold, still manages to charm the pants off the audience (so much so he may have to beat them to death with his acoustic guitar if ever he hopes to get out of here alive). Whilst the rest of the band smiles away innocently like the whole world is made of nothing but rainbows and lollypops. And as much as it makes me want to gouge my eyes out screaming for the pain to stop.. I still can't help but sing along with it. Such is the diabolical appeal of Yves Klein Blue. They're hardly original or innovative in ANY way, but they'll still kill you all the same!
11:35PM - Suitably inspired by all I'd seen tonight, I stopped short of drinking myself into an hilarious coma to "celebrate" (I mean what's NOT to love about Yves Klein Blue!? they're just so ridiculously cheesy and likeable it makes my brain implode!) and rushed off to buy Philadelphia Grand Jury's EP instead. Or at least I would've bought it: if it wasn't for the fact that it was released on vinyl, it wasn't too big to slip into my pocket to take home, I had a turntable to play it on when I got there and.. yeah they pretty much just slipped me a copy of the CD for free. Awesome!
11:58PM - As all the screaming fans fly out the front door and into the streets again (satisfied in full with their feeding frenzy of Triple J's finest "one hit wonders") I enjoy a brief moment of peace and quiet with my pint of piss (as Jive's barstaff collectively sigh with relief). And for a split second there I swear it was just me and the crickets chirping in unison (and yes it was everything I could've hoped for!). Only for the venue to be flooded to the ceiling yet again by yet another hysterical hoard (lining up in their hundreds outside for the last half hour) looking to celebrate yet another wild and wacky installment of whatever-the-fuck Craig Flanigan chooses to call his DJ set this week. Aaaah just look at them all out there, losing their shit on the dancefloor, don't you just wish you could be a part of it!? Yup, the excitement truly never ends here at Jive on a Saturday night!
12:41AM - Which is why (with no hint of irony) I find myself fleeing to the opposite end of the town and into Shotz to get the fuck away from it. I know, I'm such a sucker for punishment aren't I?
12:47AM - It's funny to think that well over two years ago this neon green shitstain with the checkered dancefloor used to be THE number one hotspot to kill yourself retarded on a Saturday night. So much so that me and my fuckup friends would frequently get thrown out of here by security for making it TOO wildly popular on a Saturday night (especially after we'd gotten way too ridiculously drunk for The Crown & Anchor and stormed this joint past four in the morning.. aaaah good times!). Arguably it probably STILL pulls a "crowd", but they're definitely a different breed here. Frequently vitamin D deficient, black clad, wrist slashing and whimsically sadomasochistic; the finest fringes, freaks and genetic defects that society has to offer (with the possible exception of all the goths, emos and psychos it tends to attract too). Which, I think we can all agree is pretty much where I truly belong. For nothing quite says "home away from home" than the familiar sight of nitwits like Joe Blogs here, making a complete dickhead of themselves on the dancefloor..
1:12AM - After taking countless photos of this shit and pissing myself laughing however (the best of which I took on Joe Blog's camera.. damnit!) it all goes horribly wrong. Somewhere in the middle of a backwards somersault routine off the DJ podium (don't ask) he accidently whacks himself on the chin, aggravates an injury he received just last week (likely from performing a similiar stunt whilst juggling knives, a chainsaw or whatever-the-fuck) and blood starts pissing out everywhere..
1:25AM - At which point we unanimously agree to get the fuck out of Shotz before it damn near kills us, only to wind up at The Crown & Anchor instead (again.. no irony implied). What follows is a frantic mercy dash, as we rush inside to the toilets to gather fistfulls of toilet paper, rush back outside and attempt to patch up Joe's head, only to rinse and repeat as many times as deemed utterly unnecessary. Eventually we admit defeat, document his time of death, bury his body in the dumpsters out back, Simone tears another Joe Blogs off the proverbial "bog roll" (I think we're upto our seventh or eighth now) and we keep on drinking like nothing's out of the ordinary!
1:58AM - Eventually we figured Crown & Anchor's barstaff might get a little "suspicious" of all those weird smells emanating out back (although it's not like they've ever caught us red handed with this shit BEFORE). So we frantically dug up what was left of Joe's body again, got to work with the chainsaws and the surgical saws stuffing miscellaneous extremities into garbage bags, made haste with the hoses to wash away the rest of the teeny tiny giblets, and took the bulk of our bounty down to Hungry Jacks for a riotous feast. Which as disturbing as all that sounds (and how!), still makes for a wildly more appetising option than anything else they could ever serve up here. And as for what any of that shit has got to do with THIS exciteable lunatic on the left (photographed with what I believe is Joe Blogs the Seventh?) nothing at all but it still makes you think doesn't it?
Yup, for those of you otherwise unaware (and believe me you're one of the lucky ones): this is Miss Moira. She's my stalker. Granted she's not my ONLY stalker, as I'm pretty sure thanks to this "wildly popular" music blog (don't laugh) there's likely hundreds of them out there, possibly even thousands; I even occassionally spot a few of them rifling through my garbage like raccoons (which is weird considering raccoons aren't even indigenous to Australia) but she's definitely the most "colourful". Miss Moira's many talents include Vivienne Westwood inspired fashion designs, plush toy manufacture, raging "try-sexuality" (ie: she'll pretty much try and nail anything even if it IS nailed down) and if provoked by the right button mashing combo and spastic Korean synth pop; can also teleport, change colours and shoot exploding blue fireballs out of both of her nipples.
And if ever you get plagued by your very own Miss Moira? there's no need to duck down to the chemist with a prescription; simply aim a camera in their general vicinity, continually shoot shots at them till they freak out, blow a microchip and promptly pass out; and you're home free! YEAAAS!!
2:09AM - Still, considering there was almost no entertainment value left in the east end, or at least none that wouldn't otherwise involve me burying even MORE bodies (speaking of which.. where the hell did Joe and Simone go!?) I figured Miss Moira might still be handy to have around. So after reviving her again (ie: by flicking the reset button on the back of her head and waiting till the little light went green) we headed back into the west end. A journey that was made more or less uneventful in every way that me not acknowledging what's going on in THIS photo isn't a gross contradiction in terms. I know, I really do associate with the most AWESOME freaks don't I?
2:44AM - I remember little of the last half hour, I don't even know where to begin in explaining it. All I do know for certain is I ain't going anywhere near those Rundle Mall pigs anytime too soon without a geiger counter and a giant can of bug spray, followed by me accidently "losing" Miss Moira somewhere between Enigma Bar, Jive, a cop shop and the Crazy Horse and me running like hell in the opposite direction (aaah stalkers.. what's not to love!?) and now I'm here at the tail end of what's clearly been another wildly successful installment of "Plus One". As clearly nothing quite screams "EXCITEMENT" like a photo of chairs stacked up in The Ed Castle band room (aaaah if only you knew the full extent of the hilarity we got upto tonight? your brain would freaking explode!). Hmmm I wonder what's over at Supermild tonight.. absolutely nothing!? awesome!!
Popularity in a drinking establishment is best experienced all but fleetingly, in short bursts and on a raging bender. Fleeing from one hilarious hotspot to the next both in effort to escape it and to embrace it. At best you're witness to nothing but dumb luck exploding around you in every direction: it's an accident, a chance coincidence and a convergence of mad fools celebrating as one. At worst it becomes a monolithic Mickey D's franchise that must be destroyed. Often it can be both at the same time (especially with a Saturday that starts at Jive and only gets "better" as the night wears on), it's a fine line in appreciation. Watch out for the warning signs, know your exits, keep up that fluid intake and if ever you find yourself waking up in a strange place with absolutely no memory how the fuck you go there? don't be alarmed, it happens to ME all the time.