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 BEARDS + THE WOOHOO REVUE + THE ROOFTOPS LIVE @ JIVE / Saturday August 8th 2009
Jive I shit you not duuudes, but you saved my fucking life! I'm not even kidding!! I don't know if you've noticed but for the past month or so it's been a living HELL in the Adelaide scene. It's been a waking nightmare! I'd lost my mind, I'd lost my soul, I had no faith left in humanity!! I was a mere shadow, a strung out string puppet, a shattered shell of a man with a death's head expression before I stumbled through your resplendent red doors tonight! No really, YOU SAVED MY LIFE!! How could I ever repay you? I don't know what the fuck happened either!? I had all the best intentions, I swear I picked all the best gigs I could find! But they tricked me, I swear! Those rat bastards, those diabolical fiends with their apocalyptic doomsday plans! I was hopelessly caught in their a gravity well, a scenster sadsack trajectory stretching between two "Rocket Bars" identical in every way but the name, for weeks on end! Sure they might STILL call one of them The Ed Castle, but I know better maaan! They're one and the same, I can see that now! A fashionista funeral, a black mass procession in plastic mannequins strangling me, stifling my individuality, burying everything I once loved about this music scene in shovel fulls of shit electro and crap indie dance techno! I mean don't get me wrong, there were still the occassional highlights: Cortez were awesome, the ever whimsical Ben Revi, Lyla, The Dark Lights have a bright future ahead of them (please no pause for irony), and how can we forget the 20th Century Graduates!? always bringing a smile to my face! I clung onto that shit like a drowned rat, I held on for dear life! And now at long last, here in your hallowed halls tonight I've been set free! THIS is what I've been looking for, searching for, yearning for! Live music that actually makes me feel ALIVE!! Jive, I know I've never said this out loud and we've had our differences in the past.. but no shit, I think I love you!
SIR GERBIL (****) myspace :: Yup, what we're witness to here tonight is nothing short of a miracle! I'm a newborn believer maaan! Not in all that superstitious quackery that's been fooling society for generations, pfft.. don't make me laugh! Nick Cave said it best in Grinderman: "we are scientists, we do genetics, we leave religion to the psychos and fanatics". Hallelujah brother!! We're bringing the people together in a mad celebration! We're drinking till the sun comes up! We're achieving the impossible! You doubt me still? You want a sign? you want PROOF!? well, how about a "resurrection" then! for how else could we explain our opening act!? Sir Gerbil. No shit we thought they were looong dead! It's been almost four years since they were last seen on the Adelaide scene. I can even give you the time and place when it last happened too: The Crown & Anchor, Saturday September the 24th 2005, in support of Melbourne band Jika, just after the Sydney Swans won the AFL Grand Final (a trivial note I know, but their lead singer Travis Moon was harping on about it all night long) fuck and what a show it was too! Of course I remember very little of it, just like many of their other shows I attended back in the day, I've got nothing but a drunken blur to show for it: an inflatable dolphin here, a spastic moshpit there, a mad music video with a psychedelic sock puppet chorus.. FUUUCK! It truly does my head in trying to make heads or tails of it! But that was part of their mad appeal. They were the quintessential spastic "party band". The Adelaide scene used to have tonnes of them: Lazaro's Dog and Tony Font Show instantly spring to mind; just like B12 vitamin shots to the skull when you needed them the most! And now they're long gone, lost to a live circuit obssessed with petty scenster postering. And now that they're back for a reunion gig tonight I realise just how much I miss them and all those other assinine acts, no shit! I mean sure, most of these band members have been involved in other wildly successful "side" projects: Andreas their guitarist was in Soft White Machine from 2005-2008, Geddy their bassplayer was in Munchkin from 2005-2007, Tony Irish their drummer was in everything from Barcode to The Black Doves and still ongoing in The Killgirls. But THIS is where it all began! Sir Gerbil. How do I even begin to describe it? In essence they're a goofy funk metal outfit with unpredictable elements of hiphop and punk. A technicolour kindergarten mashup between the carnival extremes of Faith No More, Mr Bungle and Primus. A little bit of Blink 182, a little bit of The Beastie Boys from the eighties meets the vocal delivery of Serj Tankian. A rapid fire exhange between Travis's cartoon delivery and Geddy's shrill intensity. A gunning eighties guitar solo from Andreas and a slamming beat from Tony you could damn near fold a pretzel to. OOOH FUCK YEAH!! Like two charged electrodes to the nips they make you wanna throw yourself about a room till you're black and blue. They're everything you could ever ask for after one long month wandering the desert. I drank my fill, the crowd cheered them on, all their lifelong fans were in attendance. And then, just like that, after a mad cover of Electric Six's "High Voltage" they were gone again. Shit damn, now THAT'S what I call an opening act!
THE ROOFTOPS (****) myspace :: After the proverbial Romper Room shitstorm that was our opening act (aaah don'tcha just love it?) our second act brings with it a welcome dose of rest and relaxation. They're like the musical equivalent of a giant beanbag, a bucket bong, a jumbo bag of Doritos and a boxset of BBC bird documentaries. Yup in the most hallucinogenic of terms that is the raw potency of The Rooftops. Or in slightly more coherent terms they hark back to a bygone area of early nineties acid jazz. Understandably most of you midgets wouldn't have the foggiest clue what the fuck I'm on about, so a refresher course may be in order. When I think of The Rooftops I think of such bands as The Stereo MCs, the first two Massive Attack albums (especially the looser grooves you'd find in "Blue Lines"), a little bit of Groove Armada at their dopest and dare I say it one of those rare instances where mentioning both Jamiroquai and The Cat Empire in the same sentence ISN'T classified as an absolute insult but brings with it nothing but fond memories. Yup quite like Sir Gerbil before them, this clearly makes them an anachronism, almost laughably so, but no less welcoming in our time of need, in fact only more so! Yeah I know, in any other time I'd be poking mad fun at this shit. I mean I never really appreciated all that hippy crap that was coming out of Sydney back in the nineties, but THIS band gives me newfound appreciation. They're a gateway drug through and through. I hear elements of D.I.G. (Directions In Groove), a little bit of Wicked Beat Sound System, maybe even a touch of the Supreme Beings Of Leisure from LA. The only difference here is that none of this shit is synthetic: it's all organic, authentic, home grown and well baked like a fresh batch of "funny brownies". In song after song of the loosest looping grooves you'll imagine scenes of endless fields of green, soft sands warmed by a summer sun, crashing waves fit for surfing, bearded goons living off the grid with their post graduate girlfriends, and all those ecclectic granola grooves you could hope to find in an afternoon well spent at Womadelaide. No shit, it makes me want to don an oversized woolen beanie like a technicolour tea-cosy, smash that Bob Marley something fierce and play endless rounds of barefoot hacky sack with backpacker tourists and drug dealers. It's such a mad buzz! I mean sure, the band performing this bliss may appear to be utterly emaciated and world weary to a fault (like they're slowly starving to death). Their lead singer especially is practically a walking skeleton as he sways back and forth behind that microphone stand, saxaphone at hand, like he's two kilo's short of a Third World relief fund: but you sense true peace behind those sunken eyes that's missing from so many other bands. And once you hear it yourself you can begin to understand how they've thrived for this long. They're all about the buzz. They're the ultimate in zen. They draw you in, despite yourself: hook, line and sinker. And as potentially hokey as that may be: that's still a dream well worth believing in!
THE WOOHOO REVUE (*****) myspace :: Our third act have quickly gained a reputation in the Adelaide scene as somewhat of an "urban legend": a chinese whisper that grows ever more fantastical with every retelling, and it's all thanks to one damn near infamous set they unleashed at The Crown & Anchor back in April this year. And yes I can tell you right now, it actually happened! I was there, I witnessed it first hand, I documented it in full, and even I don't believe what it was that I saw that night. I guess it was just one of those gigs: one of those utterly insane, once-in-a-lifetime, clownshit improbable experiences that defies all logic; one that a live music site like this one damn near kills for! Or maybe it simply happens every week around here and I've never been privy to this shit up until now? Like there's actually a whole other fantastical world that exists parallel to ours where a gyspy jazz folk instrumental act like THIS one can truly function in the modern world!? YES IT'S ACTUALLY POSSIBLE! I've seen it happen! Just like Santa Claus is real, the Easter Bunny exists, angels and extraterrestrials are still influencing major world events, The Loch Ness Monster is alive and well and sharing a penthouse apartment with Elvis Presley, or that Democracy can truly function in the Middle East without a heavy handed military presence. Yup, that's The Woohoo Revue! Still I had my doubts (I mean just LOOK at them!). Which is why I'm back here again tonight to experience it once more. The Woohoo Revue. In many ways this band defies any logical explanation that could hope to encapsulate them: which is also why they're so ridiculously awesome on a live stage! Call them what you will: a gypsy jazz band, a russian folk act, a roaring twenties instrumental swing ensemble; it barely scratches the surface. There are no parallels here. Are they a face-melting mashup between Merrie Melodies, Looney Toons, Danny Elfman, The Propellerheads, They Might Be Giants and a bar fight in a Wild West saloon? who cares!? The only thing that matters amongst the dizzying interweave of violin, saxophone, trumpet, guitar, bass and drums is the way it makes you wanna fuck shit up like a madman. Still I'll admit I had my doubts, I didn't think they could pull it off again. Back in the east end? oh sure it could happen! but here in the west end!? pfft.. don't make me laugh! They're much too cynical down here. But then five minutes in our feet start tapping, our heads starts nodding, and before you know it you're totally lost to it. There's really no doubt about it. There's no room for arm folding, distant stares and conspiratorial mumblings in their presence. There's NO way in hell you can resist this shit the minute they hit full swing. They simply flick a proverbial light switch and the entire audience explodes around us. Within an instant solid sublimes into gas and then a superheated plasma. We're free radicals freaking, buzzing like fresh popped popcorn, like ping-pong balls to mouse traps. We're a dancefloor frenzy that knows no limits of time nor space. Are we partying like it's 2009 or 1899? It's all the above! With The Woohoo Revue all things improbable are not only possible but inevitable. Forget the person next to you, forget everything else you know to be true, simply dive right in and enjoy the ride!
Yup I just don't know how else to explain it. When "dance music" (dare we even call it that!?) is performed live like this: with a live band, with live instruments, when it's utterly independent of any prevailing "fashion" trend that could ever hope to confine it!? it fucking KILLS like nothing else! But hey don't just take my hysterical ramblings for it: check out this video I captured of the audience, just look at all those lunatics go! is that the BEST SHIT EVER!? Of course it is! And I bet you're kicking yourself now over the fact that you totally missed it aren't you? Lemme guess, you went to Rocket Bar or The Ed Castle instead, didn't you? Well who's laughing NOW huh!? I know for one I won't be making THAT same mistake again, not if THIS shit is ever on offer! OOOH FUCK YEAH!!
THE BEARDS (****1/2) myspace :: And then along comes ANOTHER band!? Sheeiiit! It's like when it rains it pours around here, you're upto your armpits drowning in it, and next thing you know it some geriatric goon in a bath robe is pairing off animals into his oversized yacht to repopulate the planet again!? FUCK YEAH IT'S THE BEARDS!! Yeah I admit it, they're a novelty act. Everything about them screams novelty act. I mean all they've ever do is one fucking punchline over and over like THAT'S gonna make it funnier: "oooh it's The Beards! how could I have not see it before!? they're a band about "beards", they've all got "beards", they play songs about "beards", why the FUCK am I even writing this review anymore!?". And to be honest I've almost been tempted to do just that. Instead of say reviewing them at length, I thought hey I could simply offer a series of one line responses like: "The Beards: does exactly as specified on the label", "The Beards: they'll grow on you!", or "The Beards: they're ostensibly about vampires and the reunification of Germany, no really, what do YOU think they're about, genius!?" (Orange County, fuck I loved that movie!). But there's more to them than just the fuzz that covers their faces, I swear! For one, as much as they only have one punchline to offer us it DOES get funnier everytime they play it. Secondly, they're more than acutely aware of this accumulative effect: before every song they'll make a note to remind the audience that it's about "beards", the only thing they ever talk about is "beards", they'll continue to play gigs until absolutely everyone in the entire world (women included) has grown a "beard"; fuckit they even performed at The World Beard And Moustache Championships in Alaska earlier this year just to really nail the point home that YES it's all about "beards". Thirdly, thanks to their insane devotion to the cause, they can't help but gather a faithful following bordering on the downright fanatical wherever they go. They're not just a live band: they're a political movement, a religious cult and an overzealous infomercial all wrapped into one for these people. But once again we're just scratching the surface here (pun intended). The truth of the matter is they couldn't have done any of this if the music didn't back it up. That's the REAL secret behind The Beards, that's the proverbial "wizard" behind the curtain! You see, next to every single one of their songs is actually an embarassingly "clean shaven" eighties rock anthem classic reclaimed with a generous growth. Look past the lyrics and you can't help but sense that déjà vu under the surface, like they're bordering on "Weird Al" Yankovic territory. In their setlist alone tonight I can hear elements of Dire Straits, The Police, Bryan Ferry, Bryan Adams and a whole host of other cheesy power ballads from commercial rock radio. All those song you've ever sung drunk, or more accurately howled at the top of your lungs, in a place you're far too embarassed to admit you were in, at three o'clock in the morning. They're all of that and more, in all their nostalgic glory only with a fuckload of fuzz. That's the goldmine of embarassing riches they've tapped into and tweaked ever so slightly into such a winning formula. It's been there in our collective consciousness all this time, waiting for its moment in the sun again, they've just been the first to give it the rich facial hair it deserved!
Still as much as I could hope to deconstruct them, it doesn't diminish for a minute the mania that follows them wherever they go. There's truly no other live audience quite like the one that fronts up to a gig by The Beards. People from all walks of life: from laboratories, libraries, public lavatories, beer gardens, bus shelters, back alleys, bridges, dole queues to police lineups they come in droves to lend their unwavering support! It's ridiculous I know. The first time I saw them all out there, I half wondered if I was gonna get eaten alive, but it only got better! This in following is but a sample of what I saw tonight, there's plenty more where they come from, do not be afraid! They've merely come to show us the way to a better, brighter and more bristly faced future!
Wait.. this one looks weirdly familiar? wasn't he from one of the support bands tonight!?
And of course you can't go past the bountiful face fur on these two freaks..
And WHOAAA FUCK!? we've just hit the jackpot! YES!!
1:06AM - Suitably inspired by all the colourful freaks I'd witnessed here tonight (and perhaps a little "itchy" after those last eight photos that flew past just now) I decided to forgo the usual "Saturday night special" from The Ed Castle to Supermild wherein I invariably lose the will to live at the former and hilariously drink myself to death at the latter (fuck I love the west end!) and chose the east end ghetto instead. Because clearly I haven't been to The Crown & Anchor nearly enough times in the past that it's gone way beyond a cliche too (remember 2006? aaaah good times!). Nor do I find it at all ironic that me picking the unofficial "halfway house" for all of Adelaide's criminally deranged would be the perfect hiding place to "unwind" in this city, after four long weeks of living hell I'd just put myself through for the Adelaide music scene (or lack thereof). I mean pfft, why are we even entertaining this right now, are you my psychiatrist!? no.. well shut the fuck up then!
1:32AM - This is Joe Blogs. You may recognise him from every other night out I've had where I've foolishly walked into a whimsical little pub like this one "for a few quiet drinks" only for my next of kin to identify what's left of my charred remains the following Sunday. Oh and as much as I'd love to explain WHY he's holding what appears to be a watermelon (or is it a rockmelon? or is it a cantelope!? or is it a.. aaah fuckit who cares!) yeaaah let's just say he's "celebrating" his birthday tonight and leave it at that. Oh and I'd also like to take this moment to sincerely apologise for everything you're about to see. As much as I understand that none of this shit will have ANYTHING to do with the Adelaide music scene, I think we all know well by now that I'm still gonna include it regardless. Why? pfft because it's fucking "hilarious" that's why!? Again.. I'm so very VERY sorry!
1:33AM - Again I feel compelled to remind you that binge drinking is bad, very bad. It's bad for your health, it's bad for the health and safety of those around you, and not for a minute do I ever condone any of the following actions in any way shape or form. It's not too late to walk away! Close that browser window, remember all those awesomebandsyousaw tonight (no really, go see them some time!) and let's all imagine that this is actually a genuine, legitimate, live music blog.
1:39AM - Oh who are we kidding!? We all know this is the ONLY reason why 95% of you dribbling idiots ever read this fucked up blog in the first place, and now that we've effectively frightened off the other 5%? it's down the proverbial "rabbit hole" we go! (yup, don't say I didn't warn you!).
1:52AM - Speaking of such, here comes two MORE reasons why we should ban alcohol from all pubs, clubs and live venues. The one on the right there is Simone. You may recognise her from every other night out I've had where I've.. yeah I think you get the point. While the one on the left (where your line of sight has naturally gravitated towards and *ahem* again I apologise profusely) is Jade. She's a friend of Simone's and her life's ambition (at least for as long as she's ever KNOWN Simone) is to make a complete arse of herself in this blog. I know, some people really DO need to get better "life ambitions" don't they? I mean what the fuck!? DON'T THESE PEOPLE EVER LEARN!? Still, since I'm clearly way too drunk to argue (or at least that's the excuse I'm using as we all know I'm nothing but pure evil) I figured what the hell I'll play along with this insanity.
2:08AM - Now despite what you may be lead to believe (and all glaring evidence that supports it) there is no "casting couch" here for Spoz's Rant, I don't hold any lengthy "audition process", all of this shit you see is completely above board and union approved. I mean I couldn't even imagine for a moment how any you sick freaks could ever think that? I mean REALLY!? oh wait you're seeing the same shit I'm seeing too. Hmmm yeah I wish I could find a perfectly good explanation for that except I can't. I swear I just "turn up" and dumb shit like this "happens" all the time!
Oh crap, who invited my internet stalker Miss Moira!? damn you people!
2:20AM - It was somewhere around about this point, or perhaps the three photos I took after this (at which point I promptly "flushed" my camera down the toilet and screamed obscenities at it for the next five minutes) that we figured it was probably best we got the fuck out of this joint before all the barstaff, security and an unruly mob of angry villagers chased us out with pitchforks.
2:33AM - Ok, so who didn't see THIS one coming? quick show of hands: wow none of you huh!? Are we really THAT predictable!? of course we are! Do we really have a problem with that? FUCK NO!
2:34AM - Of course there's one perfectly good reason to be in this shit hole on a Saturday night (ie: to balance out the five thousand other really bad reasons that involve burning this place to the ground) and that would be Simone's personal trainer "Aaron" (possibly his real name, possibly not): who by an hilarious twist of fate, that we don't find at all ironic, just so happens to be a bartender at Shotz. And of course we all know what that means don't we!? "cheap drinks" for all!
2:37AM - Now for those of you who were observant enough you may have noticed I put air quotes around "cheap drinks". First off I'd never wish to imply that any of these drinks were in ANY way cheaper because by some very dubious "association" (ie: Simone happens to know the bartender) we would ever be getting these drinks at a discount (pfft when does that ever happen around here!?). Secondly (and more importantly) I'd hardly classify any of them as actual drinks. I mean we ARE in Shotz afterall. Take this tray of shots as presented to Simone and Jade for example. Yup I believe Joe Blog's expression here says it all: nothing GOOD could ever come from this!
Which is obviously my excuse for taking all of these photos, for you know "occupational health and safety reasons".. or um, fuckit I'm going straight to hell aren't I!? In my defense, does it help that they were simply reenacting a similiar stunt Simone and Sara pulled in Shotz back in March 2007 (since dubbed "the most ridiculously awesome animated GIF" I ever made!?) yeah probably not.
And yes I do find it all too disturbing that these two mad fools are more than willing to pose for all these ridiculous photos too (their idea.. totally not mine) fully aware that anywhere upto a thousand people might be reading this shit in any given week (or more than likely two thousand once the word gets out about this one) I know!! I mean I keep reminding them of that fact, but do they ever listen? NOOOO! (I swear the moral fibre of this country is going down the plughole!).
2:46AM - And so in effort to preserve the "delicate sensibilities" of my audience (again I sincerely apologise.. I don't know what's come over them!?) I instead bring you this: Joe Blog's wacky adventures with Melvin The Melon! Because nothing quite screams "hamfisted attempt to change the subject by any means necessary" than a photo montage of man and his faithful melon.
"Aaaah such ribald comedy! such light hearted whimsy! such high spirited frivolity! HUZZAH!! Why good fellow you've truly outdone yourself this time! Three pips and a boisterous tallyho for being such an outrageous buffoon!!" *cough* what? don't YOU immediately adopt a wildly anachronistic Cambridge educated vernacular the minute you're exposed the innapropriate handling of fruit and/or vegetables? NO!? You see that's the problem with you people, no sense of imagination!
It's at this point of the night that I begin to wonder (as you often do when you've have a few too many drinks and suddenly think everything you say is A-grade fucking profound) just how much of an influence the phases of the moon might be having on all this assinine activity? I mean it IS a full moon afterall!? Who's to know what carnage is being unleashed elsewhere in this city tonight?
Or at least that's the logic I'm using to explain away THIS photo..
3:10AM - Meanwhile back at the bar: Spoz's brain completely "bluescreens" in the attempt to come up with a witty caption to explain away whatever-the-fuck is happening with Jade and Simone here. Hmmm yes let's DO consider for a moment what they actually ARE getting upto in this photo shall we!? *ahem* and now that I've effectively insulted the intelligence of at least 52% of my viewing audience (is it possible to apologise too much for the one blog entry?) let's move on shall we!
And so now we return you to another installment of "Joe Blog's wacky adventures with Melvin The Melon" (as he hits the packed dancefloor to rapturous applause) whilst Spoz shuffles off to the back somewhere, collapses, is declared "dead" on the scene, carried off by paramedics in a ziplock bag, and promptly replaced with ANOTHER Spoz "tag-team style" before anyone's any the wiser.
Yeah I know, I don't quite understand the motivation behind half the shit he does either, and yet quite like I car accident I'm still compelled to document it all regardless, go figure!? Maybe future generations will look back on all this and appreciate it for its fine artistry, its deep insight into the inebriant nature of the human condition? Or maybe they'll simply seal up Shotz in six feet of concrete like Chernobyl and declare it an environmental disaster!? Either way, fun times for all!
3:37AM - Meanwhile back at the bar again: and.. aaah fuck this! I'm SO sick of this shit tonight I REALLY am! Can't you idiots appear in a blog like normal people for a change? IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK!? It's like I can't take you fucking anywhere tonight without resorting to all these wacky pseudo lesbian antics, ripping clothes off, or worse (you should've seen the shit I didn't publish!), you shameless exhibitionists.. YOU SHOULD BE FUCKING ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES! THIS IS A LIVE MUSIC PUBLICATION FERFUCKSAKE!! I HAVE STANDARDS DAMNIT! And yet I still keep taking all these photos and pissing myself laughing!? I know, I'm such a hypocrite aren't I?
4:15AM - And so here I am at the tail end of yet another completely abyssmal attempt at "journalistic integrity" (pfft.. I know, right?), I pondering to myself: what would have happened if I went to The Ed Castle instead? I heard Fire! Santa Rosa Fire!, Aviator Lane and Sincerely Grizzly had a good gig going (I was even half considered it as an option). Maybe the crowds would've been up for it!? Maybe the lighting would've been half decent for a change? Maybe I wouldn't have to smash my fucking camera about for room for hours on end, cursing and swearing in that impenetrable murk, taking thousands of shit photos only to delete next to every single one of them save for less than twenty (barely) worth publishing? Maybe!? Maybe I then went to Supermild afterwards and had the most AWESOME time ever!? Who's to know what could have happened!? And as the riot police smashed their way through the front entrance of Shotz and tear gassed next to everyone in sight I wondered: why DID I choose all this "retarding" shit instead? hmmm.
Yup, I think we can safely assume the following from my Saturday night: (a) I have some seriously fucked up friends, (b) no REALLY I can't apologise enough for them (what the fuck were they even thinking!?), (c) which is why we all know nothing good ever comes from staying out after two o'clock in the morning, (d) which is why I never go home BEFORE two o'clock in the morning if I ever know what's good for me, (e) oh and while we're completely off topic (damn you mad fucking fools!) did anyone else notice that not once did I ever bitch about the quality of the stage lighting at Jive tonight even though it was technically switched to its "shitty setting"? FUCK YEAH! THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!! Oh and as for every other Friday and Saturday night from here on in until the end of the year? I'm officially putting you on notice: THIS is how this shit is meant to be done!