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...
BOOSTER + SQUEAKER + YOUR MOTIVE FOR LIVE @ THE METRO / Saturday August 29th 2009
Maaan you skeezy little dipshits have it easy, you don't know how lucky you are! This live scene, this city, this hilarious cesspool that you and your fuckup friends piss all over, that you take for granted all the fucking time!? It just wasn't like THIS back in my day! "Wait isn't this STILL your day!?". Oh sure it is (and I'm scamming this shit for all its worth lemme tell you!) I'm just saying back in MY day, back when I was still a wee whippersnapper? it just wasn't the same maaan! We're talking pre millennium tension here. We're talking the late nineties. We're talking a whole other world! It was darker, more deranged, infinitely more paranoid, some might say a little more innocent too (wait isn't that a contradiction in terms? aaah fuck it!). We had no twitter feeds, facebook, youtube, wikipedia or myspace accounts. We had no SMS (or at least nobody knew how to fucking operate it), we had no ipods! Our internet was a fucking house brick with blinking lights: nothing but a dialup trickle feed of retarded poo jokes, conspiracy theories, rotating GIFS and fucking JPEGS that took months to load on a screen.. MONTHS I TELLS YOU!! We had to actually ring someone on a TELEPHONE, at home, if we wanted to talk to them.. it was insane!! Even our music was different. It was nothing but shitty nu-metal, goth, big beat electronica and a littany of fuckarse retarded girl groups and boy bands clogging up our airwaves. Everything was sketchy as fuck, on heroin, and circling the drain fast. We even paid money for it on actual CDs! You remember those fucked up little frisbees!? of course you don't, nobody fucking does! And don't get me started on the Adelaide scene! There was no Ed Castle, Rocket Bar, Jive or the Jade Monkey. They were closing EVERYTHING down. Noise complaints, knife fights, shittyarse dance clubs, poker machines sprouting up everywhere, the works! We lived and breathed that ghetto too: The Crown & Anchor, The Exeter, The Austral (back when it had half a clue), Producers, Seven Stars, The Royal Kent Town, the Holdfast Hotel down at the bay!? Yeaaah those were the days! Grimey, filthy, disease ridden little death traps they were but we loved them all.. it's ALL we fucking had!
So why AM I dredging up all these awesome memories just now!? Well as it turns out, some of us wretched old fuckers have actually grown genuinely nostalgic for the "good 'ol days". Personally I can't understand why (maybe it's just the long term alcohol abuse taking its toll?), but you know what's even MORE disturbing!? they've actually dedicated a live venue to it. Maybe you've even heard of it? The Metro here on Grote Street!? Ever since it was launched late last year, its mission statement has been to serve up that genuine oldskool Adelaide vibe from the nineties, in ALL its authentic "bottom feeding" glory! Yup, just like your wrinkled old grandparents told you about: "Superjesus, The Testeagles!? LOL! you SO crazy gramps.. let's put you in a home!". There's no fashion tragic, indie electro fucktard, scenster "buzz" band or strobe light licking dipshits in here, there's not even a hint of fluoro! There's nothing in here but the very essentials of the rock & roll experience just as it was originally intended: the sweet smell of piss, vomit, clawing desperation and decay, and you dying a little inside.. YEAAAS!! And with tonight's senior citizen selection especially, we're taking you waaay back to where all that "awesomeness" originally happened (ie: in those few short months we had hopping from place to place before someone built a housing development next to it, issued three noise complaints, it all got shut down and then weeks later it reopened as a Top 40 danceclub.. aaaah memories!). OH YES! Join me junior rates and degenerates combined, as we take you on a journey to the darkside of the Adelaide scene!
9:11PM - Yup, the minute I stepped into the band room tonight I just knew it, this was going to be one of those gigs, we could practically taste it in the air around us! Sure maybe it was just the side stream smoke wafting in from the neighbouring beer garden (wait you mean to tell me there's no other ventilation in this joint!? FUCK THAT'S GENIUS!) or maybe it's just the crowds assembling around me: chance survivors, veterans, venerated beasts of old forged in battles hard fought, drunk and won.. either way I'm thrilled to be amongst it! I mean just look at them out there with their wrinkled little faces stretched into shit eating grins, their stooping posture, their curious choice in casual wear, sipping from their hot and cold beverages (the coffees are complimentary too.. you can sneak them in from the pokies lounge!). I know they might frighten small children and smell a little like mothballs.. but don't they just SCREAM excitement!? No shit! I don't care where all YOU idiots went this Saturday, I don't care if you had free beer, capacity crowds, or interstate touring acts aplenty, it barely holds a lit woopie cushion to what we're about to witness here tonight!
ABLACKWELL (***1/2) Our opening act is brand new. SO brand new in fact that they've totally forgotten to hook up all that obligatory myspace, facebook fansite, whatever-the-fuck crap all you cock knockers have been getting into lately (hey I know! let's whoop up a twitter account where we post nothing but retardarse photos of our band members on tour eating bowls of soup.. SCORE!!). But at the same time they're also far from new in the Adelaide scene. Sean Kemp their guitarist you may recognise as the drummer and lead vocalist from our headlining act tonight, Booster. And in everything else from The Kemp Brothers, touring drummer for Kaleidoscope back in 2004, founding member of Tendahook from 1997-2002 and Blindside from 1995-1997. In short he's an elder statesman around here, he's freaking "ancient" (he's practically the furniture!), so much so in fact he actually remembers when music used to come out on cassette tape (FUUUCK I KNOW!!). While the other vocalist Kirsten Glover you may recognise as the former lead singer from Colorblind (I dunno.. they played a few gigs back in 2005-2007!?) and perhaps a few other ridiculously awesome side projects that I could easily name right now (if only I wasn't too lazy to look them up.. YES!!). Together they form ABlackwell: an unassuming singer songwriter, semi-acoustic duo, that even from the outset is gifted with a surprising amount of clout to win you over. Yeah I know it continually surprises me too that I keep discovering all these talented singer-songwriter duos lately and they DON'T totally blow goats. I blame all those amateur arsehats at house parties who used to thrash shitty Red Hot Chili Peppers and Powderfinger covers all the time on badly tuned five strings, or maybe my music tastes have actually matured!? either way it's always a pleasant surprise to discover another one. Thanks to their extended history in the Adelaide scene this set tonight shines on the well rounded strengths of their character. With nothing but an acoustic guitar and two voices to fill the room (sometimes harmonised, sometimes not) they perform songs that are given weight with rich regret, wistful anecdote and bittersweet memory. It reminds me of everything from the lightly dappled folk of Angus & Julia Stone, the well worn country of Joan Carter and Johnny Cash to the haunting melancholy of Low. There's a real homespun charm here, an earthy undertone that draws you in like a wood oven fire or a bowl of chicken soup, in the humblest of ways they're like therapy in the stories they weave. They may have only performed seven songs, they may have been over almost before they even started, but even so they still made their welcome presence felt.
YOUR MOTIVE FOR (****1/2) myspace :: Many of you mad fools might not recognise our second act. For one they've never played a gig at The Ed Castle, Rocket Bar or even Jive (at least not for the past three years). Secondly they're not known from regular airplay on Triple J, excessive myspace coverage, facebook activity or any kind of twitter feed (in fact you'd be lucky if they even shot you an SMS twenty four hours prior to a show). Thirdly there's a good chance even if you DID recognise them at some point or another (I'm told their lead singer Heath Weber is especially "familiar" with at least half the female population of Adelaide between the ages of 18 and 35 *cough*) then you're likely suffering from memory loss brought about by excessive beer drinking inspired in no small part by their iconic sound (or yeah.. pretty much see the above parenthesis). Believe me I understand, I truly do! Despite the fact this band HAS been around for practically forever, they're exceptionally adept at keeping the Adelaide scene at large "blissfully" unaware of their existence. In fact the last time I saw them play anywhere at all was well over a year ago: hidden away in the front bar of The Governor Hindmarsh (apparently it was a last minute thing) still despite all that, this band is nothing short of "legendary" in the Adelaide scene. Initially formed as a supergroup in late 2002: they combine the venerable talents of Heath Weber on lead vocals (formerly from 90's band Yakspit), Josh Nicholls on bass (formerly from 90's band Honeyfix) and Warwick "Wokka Wokka" Ing on keyboard (formerly from 90's band Tendahook). Within months they scored a coveted spot playing the Adelaide Big Day Out in 2003, they followed that up with the wildly successful "Being Around You" EP a few months later and then.. yeaaah there's probably a damn good reason why everyone under the age of twenty five has no fucking clue who they are, but trust me we're talking some high calibre shit here! Your Motive For. In essence they're a weather beaten timecapsule to the late nineties Adelaide sound. Predominantly influenced by You Am I, they also throw in elements of The Foo Fighters, Augie March and perhaps a little bit of Ryan Adam's for that all important "alt. country" feel. However where they really excel is in their knack for crafting some truly timeless indie pop hooks that instantly appeal to the knock about "pub rock" crowd. There's just no mistaking it when you hear it. We're talking the kind of pint glass waving sing-a-long anthem that can instantly fire up a roomful of drunks to form a riotous choir in response. Even after all these years you can't help but be inspired by it. Joined by relative "newcomer" Chad on drums (since late 2006?) and more recently by their second guitarist Dan Cava (apparently this is only his third gig) they're truly in their element tonight. Absolutely every song kills, although clearly their older classics such as "Spark", "Being Around You" and the aforementioned beer drinker's anthem "Happy Hour" have the most impact on the crowd. Overall very little has changed in their sound in well over six years.. however new guitarist Dan Cava does add some extra clout by throwing in the occassional Pink Floyd style solo to really push it screaming over the edge. Oh and apparently they've also been recording an album in all this time too. Its been in the works for the past few years now and it'll probably take a few more till it's complete. Still, from what I'm hearing tonight they can take all the time they need.. songs as timeless as THESE never get old!
SQUEAKER (***) myspace :: While our second act appears to have mastered the fine art of songwriting that easily transcends the "hilarious anachronism" from which they originated (ie: the late nineties). Our third act appears to have achieved quite the opposite (and weirder still.. quite successfully at that) by proudly identifying themselves with the ONE style of modern music that's still considered laughably unfashionable: late nineties "dance rock" (and thus avoided at all costs by just about everyone with the possible exception of lunatics who enter Eurovision). Which is quite the accomplishment really, considering just about any other genre and subgenre of music you care to think of (thanks to people illegally downloading the entire history of recorded music into their ipods) is pretty much "IN" right now. I mean of all the dumb luck they had to pick THIS one!? I MEAN WHO EVEN DOES THIS SHIT ANYMORE!? (oh wait.. maybe it IS coming back afterall!?). Yup what we're talking about here is every "Smash Hits" compilation from the past decade coming back to haunt you. Or in other words that infamous moment where The Prodigy met The Spice Girls and all hell broke loose. Or in other words simply picture the face melting stadium rock extremes of U2 (from "Actung Baby", "Zooropa" and especially "Pop") throw in a little of "Curve's "Come Clean", Def FX, Evanescence and The Mavis's. And as much as all that is probably flying straight over your head right now? throw in bands like Baby Animals and Killing Heidi for all those "rockier" numbers. Awesome! Now clearly (telling by all the confused looks on your faces) we're talking about music that's either ten years too late or five years too early to even have a "scene" for it yet. And yet strangely enough, once you get over the initial "shock" of it? it's actually pretty damn good! I mean shit.. it's hard to say whether they've simply being around FOR ALL THIS TIME (and I've simply never heard of them) or that they've decided to jump on this schtick before anyone else dares to.. either way all power to them! Squeaker. Right from the outset they're hard to ignore on a live stage. Not necessarily because their lead singer Georgii is giving it all she's got like a shitcrazy combination of Sarah McLeod from The Superjesus and Eartha Kitt (aka: "Catwoman" from that uber camp Batman series from the 60's) but more so for the antics of their itchy trigger guitarist "Rodge" who practically demolishes his instrument in every song he launches into, only to reassemble it for the next one. More than anything else he's what SELLS this band tonight. Further aided by an incomprehensible tag-team of bass players ("Baldy" for most part, "Astroboy" for that one song "they played in Melbourne" that apparently other one hadn't rehearsed yet) and an hysterical grease monkey of a drummer Steve (who alternates between live beats and triggered electronics) by their enthusiastic stage presence they kinda resemble one of those weekly cover bands you see playing pubs in the outer suburbs. Still for having the balls to "out on a limb" in selling this shit well after (or even before) its time, they definitely left a lasting impression!
BOOSTER (****1/2) myspace :: Which at long last brings us to our headlining act. An Adelaide "institution" (emphasis on the mental) who surely needs NO introduction (as surely I've reviewed them enough times in the past five years for everyone to know who the fuck they are by now.. I mean c'mon!? DO I EVEN NEED TO GO THROUGH THIS SHIT AGAIN!?) but I'm gonna give one anyways as let's face it thanks to all that wacky social networking whatever-the-fuck (facebook, twitter, SMS.. you name it) invading every moment of our waking lives with a flashing status update: it's hard enough remembering what the fuck it is we actually do for a "living", or why that person who we've never met before in our entire lives is trying to "add" us as a friend, let alone remember half the shit I write about in this wacky blog each week. So for the sake of all you "goldfish" out there? heeere goes nothing! Booster are a classic rock & roll survival tale against all the odds. Where SO many other Adelaide bands are born, live and then simply die in the blink of an eye (ie: all those brilliant "long lasting" careers you always see that span little under eighteen months, one or two EPs and a scattering of live shows before they self destruct) Booster have quite simply outlived them all. They've been around since 2004, they're yet another infamous Adelaide "supergroup" quite like Your Motive For before them (featuring Sean Kemp on drums, Craig Lewis on guitar and Josh Biggs on bass from such bands as Tendahook, Kaleidoscope and Fighterpilot respectively) and they only get better with age. In sound they bridge the great divide between the classics like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and The Jimi Hendrix Experience and the beer fueled immediacy of Queens Of The Stone Age and the Eagles Of Death Metal. Think wailing falsettos, chugging riffs, slamming beats and rhythms, songs that start and finish at the turn of a dime (and the occassional epic nine minute psychedelic blow out) and that's them in a nutshell. Awesome! As for tonight's set? there's pretty much two kinds of sets they play: the "hit and run" (which is them as a support act) and then what we're witnessing tonight (which is pretty much the same only it's a little longer) or in other words, no matter what it's all good! Featuring a host of old songs such as "Roll The Dice", "She's A Live One" and "C158" (from their first album), a wealth of new songs such as "Red Painted Woman", "Let Love Grow" and "It's Your Birthday" (from an as yet untitled new album?) and punctuated in the middle (as always) by an extended psychedelic jam (only this time provided by their new song "You", replacing old favourite "Prozac") it's pretty much the same shit we've always come to expect only with the setlist rearranged. And as much as we've all been here a million times before it never gets tiresome to experience it again. Yup, they're one of the classics, they're just like beer. Even when it's "bad" it's still good, and when it's "good" like it is tonight? it's freaking awesome!
Still if there was one teeny tiny "detail" that DID distinguish this particular Booster show from all the other Booster shows that'd come before it, it would be THIS cowbell. Yes, a cowbell! Or to be more precise a "Latin Percussion" cowbell that Sean Kemp bought for the princely sum of $130. Still despite what you might be lead to believe (ie: we've all seen that infamous Will Ferrell Saturday Night Live skit riiight?) it wasn't as bleedingly obvious an addition as you'd half imagine it to be. In fact it was almost understated in its clanging cacophony: adding just a teeny bit of proverbial "manure" to colour the mix. Which considering this comes from the same bullheaded lunatic who used to include a fucking theramin into his set back in 2006 is SAYING something!
And as for this "stove" I only JUST "discovered" in the band room moments after the show (wow I'm really am ever SO observant of my surroundings aren't I? YES!!) obviously it added absolutely nothing to the overall sound of the bands playing tonight but still how fucking bizarre is it? Is it meant to be a "smoke machine"? a novelty "bong" of some description? WHAT THE FUCK DUDE!?
Still if it helps to "sell it" (I mean how COULD you possibly go wrong with a fire belching monstrosity stuffed into a teeny tiny room with NO available air supply save for the chain smokers in the beer garden next door.. NO REALLY, THAT'S FUCKING GENIUS!!) I thought I'd bring in Rodge from Squeaker to model it for us. Doesn't it make you wish every venue in town had one of these things!? I swear next time I'll bring me a jumbo bag of popcorn and just go nuts.. who's with me!?
1:17AM - Obviously all the bands had already finished up an hour ago, most of the crowds had already dispersed along with them (either to check in with the babysitter or their parole officer.. you know, take your pick) and yet here I am still, soaking it all in, pint of dark ale in hand, smile on my face. Aaaaah good times! Yup say what you will about the Adelaide scene back in the late nineties: sure it was a ghetto, sure it was rife with desperation, laughable inepitude and a gross lack of personal hygeine but you've gotta love the simple rustic charm of it too! Nothing but good tunes, alcohol abuse and fuck the rest! YEAAAS!! And so I sipped on the rest of my beer, lost in the faerie lights, lost in a haze of half forgotten memories and I had my moment's peace. Then just on schedule my phone exploded with a mad panic of SMS wondering where the fuck I was: so I threw on my ipod earphones, smashed some Crystal Castles, and slipped out the door again.
1:31AM - My journey back to the 21st century wasn't entirely without peril. For some inexplicable reason all my electrical equipment defaulted back to 1900 around King William Street, then I was kidnapped by a crack security team on Pirie Street under the pretense that my goatee looked "goofy", after which they stole my shoes (you don't want to know HOW I got out of that one either), then I somehow found myself back in 1990, or was it 1955?or was it 1984 again!? (credit crunch, pfft what credit crunch!? 2+2 always equals 5!). By now my time circuits were well and truly scrambled SO instead of arriving back at the "present" again like I was hoping, I washed up at Shotz instead: somewhere between 2005 and 2007 (as lets face it, they never really left). Sure it wasn't ideal (and the music would likely suck) but hey.. at least the beers would be cheaper!
2:19AM - Eventually making my way inside, a whole half hour later (yeah I know.. wish I could explain that one), I'm immediately jumped on by Simone here: arms and legs flailing, shrieking all exciteably (it's a hard life isn't it?) because apparently she hasn't seem me for at least the past upteenth squillion years or so and she misses me like crazy. Awwww I know! (either that it's something to do with all the rasberry vodkas she's had?). Either way I tried explaining to her that it's only been three weeks (or two if you count all the hilarious shit I DIDN'T publish the week after *cough*) until I remembered it's a "slightly" drunk Simone I'm talking to here and chances she's probably struggling with basic concepts like conversational English, depth perception and gravity.
As for what any of this shit has got to do with all these *ahem* photos of Simone I'm taking at the moment? absolutely nothing at all! I mean do we EVER need an excuse!? OOOOH FUCK NOOO!!
2:24AM - It's at this point that Sara mysteriously makes an appearance. You may remember her from such awesome blogs as "shit I posted over two years ago". Of course we ALL KNOW she got killed off in some wacky drug enduced auto-erotic vampire asphyxiation back in February 2008 (ie: see any given episode of "True Blood" for reference) and yet here she is happy as always. Weeeird! Which clearly makes perfect sense to us because we're in Shotz right now, it's just like Groundhog Day played over an over, and everything after 2006 or 2007 simply does NOT exist.
2:26AM - Which possibly explains these two hilarious photos we took just now where we attempted to reenact a cheesy emo scene we pulled back at The Crown & Anchor in March 2007 (aaaah memories!). Except this time it's clearly totally "different", because she's actually wearing pants this time and not a spastic pink tutu. I know, I really DO have the most awesome friends don't I?
*sigh* if only people STILL used myspace.. we could totally update our profile pictures!
3:38AM - Jade then makes a brief appearance, only to suddenly remember what happened the LAST time she appeared in one of these blogs (hmmm dare we remind you?) only to run away screaming. I know, I really DO take the most hysterical "social pictures" when I go out.. don't I?
3:47AM - It's at about this point of the night that we figured we should get Simone out of here for reasons that may (or may not) involve this pink cocktail umbrella, or possibly all the dents in the ceiling she left when she was on the dancefloor a few moments ago.. I forget the exact details. Oh and need I mention her "personal trainer" was working behind the bar again tonight and we were all getting ridiculously cheaparse drinks? oh of course not, because clearly that never happened!
3:59AM - One quick taxi trip later: that may or may not have been a Delorean pilotted by a frizzy haired mad scientist, or possibly just some Indian guy blasting fucking loud bhangra music (you know.. pretty much the same shit around here) we finally arrive back at the "present", and back to my favourite running cliché of 2009. A place that clearly needs no introduction, because clearly I've ALWAYS been here every fucking week this year (for reasons that entirely escape me) and I'll just likely give myself a raging nosebleed if I attempt to explaining myself out of it again.. YES!!
4:01AM - It is here that I'm joined by Sean Kemp. Even though he's actually been with us all this time (or at least since Shotz) he's been awfully cunning in not making any "appearances" in this blog until now (or at least not as long as you ignore all those bands he was playing in earlier tonight). Oh and no I don't have the foggiest clue what he's drinking in that shot glass or WHY I felt the need to photograph it either but hey since when has THAT ever stopped me before!?
4:32AM - Aaaah you remember back in the day when everyone wasn't armed to the teeth with digital cameras, camera phones and whatever-the-fuck and every one of your hilarious drunken moments weren't exposed on the internet for hundreds or thousands of your friends, frenemies and complete strangers to see!? fuck me neither! living in the 21st century is the best thing EVER!
4:34AM - And now for absolutely no reason (as quite frankly I couldn't find a clever enough segue for it) here's Sean reenacting that hilarious scene out of "Lost In Translation" where Bill Murray endorses Suntory whiskey to the increasingly hysterical screaming of Japanese advertising executives: "no.. more intense! more extreme!!" (because I mean.. who HASN'T thought of pulling that shit at least once!?). Oh and as for what "Poo Baby" Antonia from last week is doing making another cameo appearance in the background for THIS week? yeaaah I wish I could say she's impersonating Scarlett Johannson, but I've got no fucking clue what's going on with that either.
5:08AM - Upon leaving Supermild at the end of the night, curiousity got the better of us. We just HAD to know what was waiting for us all over that horizon. And so throwing caution to the wind we hitched a ride with a passing blue "police box" (as you do) and arrived outside of The Ed Castle circa 2019. Granted we weren't there for all that long. It took us at least $5000, three uncut "blood diamonds" and one of Sean's kidney's to bribe our way past the androgynous looking doorbitch (I swear "she" was totally bald, no eyebrows, no eyelids or anything.. it was freaky!), and we only took the ONE photo of the interior.. either way it terrified us to no end! Oh the horror! OH THE HUMANITY!? *cough* oh wait, you mean to tell me it was just Rocket Bar on a Friday night and we never left 2009? pfft.. shit, well that's perfectly fine then! Maybe there's hope for us after all?
Yup sometimes I really don't know what's better. To live blissfully ignorant in a world of endless nostalgia? or to be screamed at by a constant sensory overload of the ever present!? Or maybe the past, present and future is simply irrelevant now that we have fuckoff insane broadband connections jacked directly into our skulls and we can go anywhere or "anywhen" whenever we want? Aaaah fuck it.. all I DO know for certain is when we're drunk enough it really doesn't matter what's going on as long we're having a good time. Maybe that's the underlying reality: no matter how much things "change", as long as people stay the same? we've got nothing to worry about!