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 DAIRY BROTHERS + DEADLY ARE THE NAKED + PIMPIN' HORUS LIVE @ THE CROWN & ANCHOR / Friday September 4th 2009
I usually like to think I've got THIS shit all figured out. We're talking chess pieces on a board. We're talking cool calculating conspiracies. We're talking Cheshire Cat grins, strategic as all fuck, plotting and scheming this mad mischief like a fullblown military campaign. Like I've got this scene totally sorted. Like nothing gets by me. Like I'm that one sharp shooting assassin you can ALWAYS count on to unleash high hell and hilarity in this city! YEAAAS!! (or in other words stop me if you've heard this shit before). And then *BAM* a night like THIS comes along again and I've got nada, no plans, nothing at all? Whoaaa duuude say it ain't so!? Yeah I know, awesome huh? I love being THIS clueless, I really do! Beats me how it happened either. Guess everything piled up around here in the last few weeks, things got a little crazy (tell me about it!), like I was one spastic cuckoo clock in serious need for some C4 and a rubber room psychiatrist (one long winter and a mad hit of writer's block? pfft.. you don't even know the half of it!) and if it wasn't for someone slipping me the facebook skinny on this show at the very last minute (no shit dudes I owe you one!), I wouldn't have the first idea what to do tonight. It's all quite refreshing really (I should totally have "no plans" more often!). Which is why I'm back again at The Crown & Anchor. I mean where ELSE would I be on a night like this: on the first Friday night of Spring, on the first night of the full moon, howling mad and without a clue!? Nowhere else that's what! This proverbial stench? this open sewer? this human cesspool swirling about you with an air of ripening stupidity!? OH YES!! we're amongst true friends here! Yup if ever you doubt where to go, what to do, or who to do it to (and where to bury the "bodies" afterwards) this hilarious hell hole always has the answer!
And to think it's been well over three months since I've caught a gig in here too, or anywhere ELSE in the east end ghetto for that matter (with the possible exception of that hilarious night off I had last Friday and never told you about) sheeiiit! I mean sure I've been here drunk plenty of times since. I've dabbled in that "no-man's land" that stretches north to south and in between from Adelaide Uni Bar to The Metro. But there's something truly unmistakable about catching a live gig at The Crown & Anchor, as far as fuck away from the west end extremes.. that I swear in winter I'd missed like nothing else! From the crunching texture of broken glass, beer stain, sweat and vomit. To the howling baboon choir beckoning me to wallow ever deeper in its devolving depths. To that musty stench seeping into the walls that scream "Cantina" out of Star Wars meets "Paper Street Soap Company" out of Fight Club. It represents everything Rock & Roll should be! Yup in every way it's gonna be a complete and utter shambles tonight? I'm very much looking forward to it!
PIMPIN' HORUS (***1/2) myspace :: And speaking of such, here's our opening act! Yup, up until now they've been one of those "lucky few" Adelaide acts who've never had the misfortune to appear in an episode of Spoz's Rant (weird I know.. you'd think they would know better by now!). In fact by current (and utterly unfounded) estimates there's got to be hundreds of these rat bastards STILL gagging for this shit on a weekly basis, despite all my best efforts to discourage them (no really.. have you ever READ this blog!?). Most of course I'm blissfully unaware of. They're the sort you'd see frequenting The Underground, Producers Bar for "Syke", Enigma Bar for their monthly "War Room", Fowlers Live for one of their always awesome "all-ages shows", Higher Ground, or all manner of pubs and clubs stuck in the arse end of suburbia (or in other words you're likely dodging a bullet there). Rarer still there are those chance exceptions I'd actually be perfectly happy to go see, and yet through no fault of their own I've simply made a "game" out of not seeing them instead (why? pfft.. cause it's fucking hilarious that's why!). And as much as I dare not mention any others by name? Pimpin' Horus are one such band. I swear I've made a running joke of this shit for years now. Their lead singer Shannon "Shan Van" Broughton and their bassplayer Dylan "Thrillby" McCullough I've known ever since they played in a band (who I also never saw) called Grübenstyle back in 2007. Funnier still I've even had one of their songs: "Got The Knowledge" on my ipod (it's annoyingly catchy too). And every few months I'd bump into them, they'd mention a show they had coming up and I'd never turn up. YES!! or at least I never have until tonight, where at long last I finally get to put them out of their misery.. and as it turns out? they ain't half bad. In essense they're a funk band, or more specificially a loose as fuck funk band you'd expect to find blazing up a monster doobie in any given Pauly Shore or Keanu Reeves film dating back to the late 80's or early 90's. Think Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure. Think Encino Man. Think surfer dudes and wastoids populating California's San Fernando with a whacked out valley vernacular. Or simply think "Dude Where's My Car?" and loose track of all your thoughts altogether. It's the loosest of grooves that hits you at first, setting you at ease like letting out a warm fart in a bathtub. One that appropriates much of its laid back charm from bands such as Living Colour, early Red Hot Chili Peppers or the collected works of Bootsy Collins. Nothing's at all abrasive here: it's all slow-mo rubber band rapping, loping rhythms, spaced out jamming, delivered smooth as fuck and 100% free from paranoia enducing chemicals, additives or preservatives. But what really kicks it up another notch is the exceptionally dope guitar playing from one Johnny "Jables" Rhythm (the squinting doofus in the spastic silver jacket) who absolutely kills those blues riffs like no other. Oh and as another added bonus? they even have their own dedicated "lighting gimp" who follows them from show to show (hi Sarah!) and yes she's quite possibly the most awesome thing ever as far as I'm concerned. Pimpin' Horus. They might not be the most innovative cats out there, they might not have a whole lot going on "between the ears" in most of their songs (I mean it IS funk afterall!), but trust me it's just about impossible not to dig them all the same. Get loose, load up on those Doritos like a mad man, space out on that bean bag, blaze this shit up on full and dude you'll blissing out in no time!
DEADLY ARE THE NAKED (****) myspace :: Our second act I knew next to nothing about save for the fact that they're from Melbourne and for their eye gougingly memorable name "Deadly Are The Naked". Yup they really DO take all sorts in here don't they? (well it IS the east end's "halfway house" for the criminally insane dontcha know?). As such, and in keeping with The Crown & Anchors long and proud history of serving up nothing short of "musical excellence" (I mean shit.. they even gave MY fucked up band a gig!), I pretty much assumed any of the following "worst case scenarios" would likely rear their heads tonight: (a) they'd be a self destructive brain injury thinly disguised as an oldskool seventies "punk band" (ie: picture any gig Kamikaze has ever played in here, only to receive a "life-long" ban from all the barstaff and management, only to headline it the next week.. YES!!), (b) they'd be yet another ridiculously awesome (and in no way disposable) hair metal, goth, or prog-metal novelty act that I'd see once only to vow NEVER TO SEE THEM AGAIN (pfft.. what The Vampire Project!? duuude I freaking love those guys!), or (c) we'd see nothing but some scruffy old geezer relieving himself on stage to the riotous sound of pan flutes (and I'd instantly give it five stars!). And as much as what eventually DID surface on stage tonight was none of the above (thank fuck.. because I totally didn't bring my hazmat gear!) they were no less welcome regardless for being one of the most hilariously stupid live acts I'd witnessed all week. Deadly Are The Naked. In theory think of them as a dirty old blues band mixed in with elements of funk. Or in other words picture equal parts Joe Cocker, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and The Jimi Hendrix Experience mixed up with insane shit like Cake and the Bloodhound Gang. Or simply imagine a blue collar rendition of "The Blues Brothers" as performed by plumbers, panel beaters, electricians and slaughter house workers, only armed with one fuck of a dirtyarse rhythm section. Yup, by that basis alone they're more or less serviceable.. and yet that barely covers the half of it. Their real weapon of mass destruction here is their lead singer, one Adam "Beats" Juricev-Mikulin. Simply put he's the happiest damn dude on the planet to be here. There's just no way you can escape his event horizon, he freaking OWNS this stage tonight. With a retarding grin he'll tear into each and every one of their songs with the sort of unbridled enthusiasm usually reserved for five year olds on Christmas Day, soccer hooligans at a World Cub Final, or one of those hilarious hellfire preachers from the southern states of United States (where it's all about snake handling, riotous exorcisms and cash embezzlment) who's always one aneurysm short of bringing about the apocalypse. And he's not just singing the lyrics either (which from the sounds of it appear to be little more than a mashed up collage of nineties novelty covers all woven together), or continually thanking the audience for showing up (or bitching about the fact Adelaide beat Essendon in the finals), he'll also "air" perform the rest of the band too. From air guitar, air drumming to air bass he's got it all covered. He's an animal, he's a machine, he's Animal from The Muppets crossbred with Daffy Duck and a malfunctioning expresso machine! I swear smashing a rapid succession of six redbull shots, followed by someone repetitively tazering you in the pink bits? barely equals the level he's operating on. Yup as much as you wouldn't remember ANY of the music they otherwise played (I mean what the fuck was it.. one aimless forty minute blues jams!? SHIT YEAH!!) thanks to THIS space case letting loose on it, this still made for one fucked up "memorable" experience!
And quite like every other Melbourne touring act who's ever stormed this room in triumph (only for all their bodies to be found stuffed into the dumpsters out back in Union Street, hours later, with all their heads removed), the crowd at The Crown & Anchor reacted in rapturous kind the only way they knew how: by descending upon their guitarist Dion "Darkness" Melder with overwhelming force, uprooting him from the stage, surfing him about the room to a hooting baboon choir, only to devour him whole in a manner of minutes (I'm told he tasted remarkably like beef jerky too!).
THE DAIRY BROTHERS (****1/2) myspace :: Which in a none too gruesome fashion *burp* scuse me.. brings us to our headlining act. The one band I've clearly dropped absolutely everything else I had "planned" to go see tonight (please no pause for irony) for I think we can all agree it's truly been a long time coming for a repeat performance from them. No it's been more than that, it's been a freaking lifetime! Yup, by my reckoning it's been almost two years since last I saw them live at Producers Bar (and duuude what a show that was.. they totally toppled the Howard government and everything!). And sure they've probably played plenty of shows since, hundreds in fact. Maybe they've even thrown a massive nationwide tour, conquered the Japanese market, won rave reviews at Madison Square Garden and released a Christmas album.. but since none of them ever appeared on my blog!? they NEVER really happened! Make no mistake people, their appearance tonight is nothing short of a miracle. In fact they were SO excited to be here after all this time (years I tells you!) that their lead singer: one Joel McMillan (who you may also recognise from both Delusions Of Grandma and Double Handed) got SO ridiculously drunk celebrating during Deadly Are The Naked he lost all his kidney function and collapsed dead on the floor in front of us; only to be replaced by uncanny look-a-like Joel "One Hundred Dollars" Milkowski at the very last minute. Weird I know (and again a little needlessly gruesome) but as they say "the show must go on!". The Dairy Brothers. For many of us (especially those of the bovine persuasion) they are nothing short of a legend in the Adelaide scene. They've been around for years (six of them to be exact) wowing audiences from place to place performing songs that surprisingly have very little to do with the foamy white secretion of cows, goats, sheep, chickens(!?) and occassionally cats (if you have nimble enough fingers) and more to do with the very meaning of life. Songs such as "Baboons" (an anthem for The Crown & Anchor if ever I heard one), "Sword" and "Kneed In The Groin". Songs that speak to the very heart of each and everyone of us. Yup, don't think of them as a novelty act, do your best to forget that performing mascot in the cow suit back in 2005, and whatever you don't EVER confuse them with The Beards, The Dairy Brothers are quite simply the very epitome of "rocking the fuck out". Imagine equal parts eighties stadium anthem, power ballad and nineties irony rock. Imagine a mix between Tenacious D, Dire Straits, The Wiggles, Ben Folds Five and Bon Jovi only multiply by a factor of five and hold the nose bleed. That's The Dairy Brothers. Tonight they may be a little more rough around the edges than usual. They may be a little "un-rehearsed". They may be missing the iconic Miami Vice power dressing and in it's place both Joel and "keytarist" Tom Bettany may be wearing leather jackets (in fact Joel's wearing two of them, one over the top of the other.. just for the fuck of it) but the energy's still the same. Highlights included a blistering cover of "The Power Of Love" by Huey Lewis & The News (think the anthem to Back To The Future only slightly more raucous) and an especially riotous rendition of "Wanker Version Of Yourself" (again an anthem to The Crown & Anchor if ever I heard one) which naturally had everyone in the crowd singing in chorus. So that by the time it was all over? none of us wanted them to leave! They returned for the encore "Really Wanna", everyone cheered, a guitarist may have been eaten (nooo.. not J-Wah!?) and everyone left satisfied in a show well played. The Dairy Brothers. They might not be "high art" by any stretch of the imagination.. but they still get the job done!
2:08AM - After all the awesomeness (and then some!) I'd witnessed in here tonight, I obviously did what everyone else does at The Crown & Anchor on a Friday night, and that's drink myself to an hilarious oblivion in effort to forget it all. I mean what ELSE am I going to do for the next hour or so: find a couch in a quiet corner of the bar and delete over five hundred utterly unnecessary photos off my camera? like all those incriminating shots of Johnny "Jables" Rhythm from Pimpin' Horus being picked apart by scavengers!? like I'm some kinda responsible photojournalist!? pfft.. of course not! (actually to be honest I did both.. but that's besides the point!). Oh and as for what any of that gibberish has got to do with Mario Spate and Tony Irish from The Killgirls spinning a DJ set after the show? nothing at all! Just like I have absolutely no "memory" of what they were playing either, but I assure you if I did it would've been five kinds of fuckoff awesome.. YES!!
2:13AM - This is me standing outside a few moments later, or more accurately it's a photo I took five months ago that I'm using an "establishing shot" to signify that I'm outside.. um.. yeah you know what!? I've got no fucking clue what the fuck I'm doing right now: I didn't have a plan at the start of the night and I have even less of one now past two o'clock in the morning! The good news however is all plans are pretty much made redundant the minute we're THIS retardingly drunk: simply lean forward and let gravity take care of the rest.. genius! Which more often than not (ie: when there's no cheap drinks available at Shotz) sends me in a westerly direction.. hmmm.
2:26AM - This is me washing ashore at the Bull & Bear. Note the golden yellow from the building above bathing this sign in such an ethereal way. Note the fact I somehow got it all in such crisp clear focus despite barely being able to stand upright. Note the flight of stairs that'll surely propel me forward moments later to a five point landing below. Mmmm yes.. so whimsically concussive!
2:31AM - This is a empty tumbler left lying about the bar. Note its rich green glow. Note the tasteful use of "macro zoom" distinguishing it from its amber surrounds. Such sweet symphony!
2:35AM - This is a random "scenster" expertly crapping out a pint glass. Note the trucker hat.
2:37AM - And this is every reason why I'll be rushing straight back to the bar again: as clearly I'm still nowhere near drunk enough yet to handle another hilarious installment of "Transmission".
Case in point? note Olivia's awesome display of "dragon breath" here.
2:41AM - Two (or maybe three) imperial pints later.. or perhaps just the one (but all know which one is the recommended dose here) I bump into Olivia again who seems infinitely proud that she's just killed, skinned and eaten all of the hapless bystanders on the dancefloor around her (or perhaps just the one bespectacled dweeb she swears looks like the lead singer from Van She). Now for the record I havent got the foggiest clue WHY all these people are resorting to cannibalism all of a sudden (is it just the full moon? or am I simply tuning into Triple J at the wrong time of day to miss the significance here!?) either way I'm wise enough not to refuse the photo opportunity.
2:45AM - Moments later Bec (formerly known as bartender) makes an appearance in this blog, for no other reason than she never had a good reason to gatecrash my blog in the first place, but since it's never stopped her in the past she figured she'd do it again. I know.. isn't she awesome!?
Oh and as much as I'd love to say this is her hat? it totally isn't her hat, it's totally someone else's hat and as much as none of this matters a shit to any of you people who are reading this right now: the trivial fact that I couldn't figure out WHO'S hat it was in ALL THE TIME that I was here!? totally bugged the shit out of me. Or at least it did until I went back to the bar again for those other two imperial pints and I totally forgot about it.. wait, what the fuck was I on about again!?
3:11AM - Which obviously explains THIS photo. Me sufficiently drunk enough to finally appreciate just how "ridiculously awesome" a night at Transmission can be: or in other words I've passed out ten minutes ago, I've stopped breathing five minutes ago, and the ambulance is hopefully arriving any minute now to collect what's left of my earthly remains before Olivia discovers a "fresh kill" and cannibalises it. Oh and before you ask it's not Antonia's hat either. I know! doesn't that totally drive you insane? all night I was trying to figure it out and did I ever get an answer!? NOOOO!
3:19AM - After an hour of the same Passion Pit song playing in a loop (or maybe it was MGMT? fuck it.. who can even tell the difference after six or nine beers!?), Ross suddenly realises he's actually meant to be DJing this event and leaps back onto the decks just in time to swap it for that Bag Raiders song you've heard a billion times before at Rocket Bar and found instantly obnoxious: only to suddenly discover it's the most head explodingly awesome thing you've heard all fucking night, but only because the buzz from that tenth beer has finally kicked in. I know.. genius huh!?
3:23AM - Speaking of such, moments later I too made a similar epiphany fucking about with the settings on my camera. Buried under just a few dozen submenus and easily accessible via a fatality combo of set, delete, zoom toggle, cupping my left testicle and sneezing: I discovered an "easter egg" of sorts, or more accurately a toggle switch. Noting that it'd curiously been set to "hilarious trashbag" in all this time, I flicked to the second option "holy crap!!" and shot a quick photo of the first person that strayed into my crosshairs: which by all the dumb luck just so happened to be Bec here.. WHOAAA FUCK DAMN! Yup clearly I hit upon a goldmine here. A diabolical shit hot power in late night drunken photography the likes of which no one would've seen or even anticipated. It would be insane, it would be intense, people would literally explode in the streets at the sight of it.. OH YES! *cough* or at least they would if only I didn't accidently drop my camera again and totally fuck up all the settings.. damnit! (now what was that combo again!?).
3:54AM - And so quite like every other night before it, with no logical segue to make sense of it (I mean who DIDN'T see this one coming!?) I end up at Supermild. Which would've been the all kinds of fuckoff awesome that Supermild's always been reknown for, if only I didn't arrive five minutes before closing time. Hmmm remind me again why I didn't stay at Transmission? Oh that's right I'm a fucking idiot! (although to be fair it was closing time there too.. damnit!). And so all there was left for me to do tonight: was to stumble up to the bar (hi Ruby!) realise they weren't serving anymore, take one hilarious photo of Cameron here (who used to be a bartender at Producers Bar back before it didn't blow both testicles of a goat) and then throw myself into a taxi home.
Yup, tonight I didn't really have a plan. Sure I had some last minute suggestions, a few mad ideas and a little bit of dumb luck stringing it all together but the rest of it I simply made up on the spot. Guess that sums up the start of Spring now doesn't it? Sure most of it from here on in will be utterly nonsensical, annoyingly spontaneous and laughingly inconsequential. Just as likely as most of it will refuse to obey the laws of physics and drive me barking mad and climbing the walls on a weeknight attempting to explain it all.. and yet in SO many ways I actually prefer it. Right here in the eye of the storm with nothing but my instincts to guide me!? this is where I want to be.