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...
LYLA + THE FUMES + JACKSON FIREBIRD LIVE @ THE ED CASTLE + JIVE / Saturday September 5th 2009
I don't know about you, but for the past few weeks (quite coincidentally ever since the first of September.. yeah funny that!) my brain's been pretty much fucked: a foaming, twitching, dribbling.. yeah basically it's been hitting a fucking wall over and over. I mean quite literally. I've been hurling that pink brick like a missile and laughing my arse off everytime it comes to a wet stop. How it hangs up there for a just a moment then falls to the ground with a snail trail, a soft splat and a gurgle? hiiilarious! I mean sure I've considered taking it back to the store, I've got my list of grievances that needs to be looked at, I'm still hoping to get it fixed under warranty; until it rapidly dawns on me that not only is it WAY past that warranty but I've also done everything in my power to void it (or in other words it's what you've been reading about every week.. hi mum!). Oh well, guess that's my brain for keeps then isn't it? Midway between an English cuisine and something abominable you'd find preserved in a jar of formaldehyde as a nineteenth century medical conundrum!? Awesome! And as much as this SHOULD be a ripening concern (especially that weird "burning" smell I'm getting of late.. tumour anyone!?), I look around me now: to the howling, shrieking imbecile catcalls, to the rising stench, to the uprooted trees and all those flipped car chassis ringing their sirens off in the street like a twenty one gun salute and I realise I'm not alone. I'm amongst friends! Fellow freaks, geeks and gargantuan fuckwits!? 'Tis the season to be diabolical! That tip of the iceberg? That fifth percentile we've been laughingly clinging onto? representing all of ten thousand years of our hard earned social order? pfft.. that shit's been melting faster than a doomsday scenario in a climate change symposium! It's time to fucking revolt! It's time to let that shaved monkey fly free! It's time to tear off all our clothes like wild animals and fuck the sun, drink the moon dry and tip the Earth blaringly off its axis. OOOOOH SHIT I love this time of year I really do.. let's steal a cop car and do some window shopping!
JACKSON FIREBIRD (****1/2) myspace :: Yup so here I am at Jive tonight (aka: living it up at the proverbial primate enclosure for the west end extremities.. YEAAAS!!) to catch our opening act. I'm SO running late to get here, arms and legs flailing as I burst through that door like a charging battering ram *ow my fucking cranium!* and yet the minute I hear that sweet sound they're ripping up I'm instantly put at ease. In some ways it reminds me of a BBC doco series I saw on India recently. You can totally see the batshit connection right? oh of course you CAN'T!! (or in other words simply re-read that rambling opening monologue and call me a rubber room express.. cause I'm gonna need one by the time I'm through!). Anyhoo there's this bit about "bird song" and how way back in our prehistorical roots, way before we invented our articulate, adjective, noun and verb based vernacular.. we actually communicated in a similar way. In this mad stringing together of clicks, whistles, grunts, gurgles and shrieks strung together in gutteral verse.. or rather like what I'm hearing from their lead singer Brendan Harvey tonight. Thanks to his gaffer-taped contraption strapped to the mic stand, what was once erudite English has long since devolved into a yammering throat jam revelry that's equal parts: livestock auctioneer, dragway commentator and roadworks jackhammer. In the best way possible it bypasses all our languages centres and speaks directly to the reptilian cortex. Combine that with a malfunctioning sustain from Brendan's guitar that sounds equal parts revving chainsaw, dirt bike, and flamethrower set to acid spitting xenomorph and a stabbing junkyard metronome from their drummer Dale Hudak; and this shit really fires up the monkey spirit. Yup there's something infinitely primal about this shit tonight that instantly appeals to the beserker in us all. It's as much about the blues: in its rawest, grittiest, gasoline driven AC/DC and Queens Of The Stone Age meets The Black Keys and The White Stripes Detroit riffing style; as its also about the basic building blocks to the very evolution of music itself. Smash some junk together, scream, howl, set it all on fire, hone it to a fine art, and you could only hope to sound half as good as this! Jackson Firebird. Originally from Mildura yet equally indigenous to the Mesolithic, they're frequent flyers to the Adelaide scene. This I believe is the fourth time I've seen them in little over a year, and in that short time alone it appears they've actually improved on their formula. It's a little more direct now, lean, mean, menacing and full throttle. It punches straight back to when we were all living in the trees like a morsecode battle cry. It never falters for a moment but the definite highlight was this mad rendition of Nirvana's "School" from their Bleach album, that not only captures the raw spirit of the original but even adds to it. And yet that's just the least of it. In every way they're a down and dirty ape. They're a knuckle dragging demon thirsting for human souls. They're rattling those cages, they're busting that concrete jungle wide open.. and tonight at Jive we're right there with them maaan: soaked rag to a forty ounce and a lit match, ready to paint the town black and blue? FUCK YEAH! Welcome back Jackson Firebird, it's been faaar too long!!
THE FUMES (*****) myspace :: I was just about to rush up to the bar for the first time tonight to "celebrate" (exactly what I can't remember.. but I definitely felt the need to fuel up on at least three to four of them) only to be trapped at the front by an increasingly dense swarm of grinning degenerates, delinquents and carnivorous mutants in textures flannel, leather and denim (and possibly matted fur) all clamouring in giddy anticipation of our headlining act. Yup it's been almost two years since last they toured here in support of The Vasco Era. Since then they've released a second album "Sundancer" (following up from their first "Guns Of Gold"). Toured practically everywhere and anywhere from Canada, Unites States (including a raucous stint at the SxSW festival in Austin) as well as Japan. Supporting everyone from The Beautiful Girls to the Queens Of The Stone Age (and likely every jugband and banjo recital in between). Receiving endless accolades from radio, street press, the blogosphere and beyond. And all of which I was clearly oblivious to (pfft.. you DO realise how much I love to drink right!?) as I was here again tonight simply on the merits of an all but forgotten "memory" I had of them two years ago. Yup all I can recall THEN was that it was dark, loud, hairy, a little bit stinky, there were a few too many flying feet up in my face (and it took a few sharp sneezes blocking both nostrils to "pop" the dents out of my head again) but believe me that was all I needed! The Fumes are quite simply one of those bands you have to see live. One of those bands that need no explanation.. but watch me fumble one up regardless. In essence they're a two piece band featuring Joel Battersby on drums and what appears to be Dave Grohl's redneck cousin Steve Merry on leads. They play the blues. And we're talking deep fried southern blues here. A turkey licking, tobacco spitting, Kentucky meltdown that borrows more of its flavour from the classics like John Lee Hooker than anything else you'd expect to find from the past decade. Throw in equal measures hillbilly rock (ZZ Top instantly leaps to mind) with perhaps a pinch of the Butthole Surfers for the slacker fuzz meets Ministry's "Psalm 69" for the raw volatility? and thats them in an overnight lockup itching to break free. And tonight, if there was ever any doubt? they fucking killed. From the fullblown rock outs to the noodling reflections they owned this room from beginning to end. Those louder than loud drums punching the air like a barfight, like a caveman come together, like a sledgehammer. Those slide guitar riffs dirtier than sin, dirtier than anything else you've ever heard before; like they're freshly dug out of graves, reanimated with rusty blades and sent out to destroy. Those yammering vocals, hidden under a perpetual haze of hair, speaking in tongues long since forgotten but still living on in our barbarian blood drinking ancestry.. OH YES! They're nothing short of that whiskey bottle, smoking a cigarette, chewing on a fat stick of jerky and belching out fire. You step into that blast radius, everything about you simply burns away, and you're back to the primordial maaan! Back to the original truth where humans and animals are one and the same and everything else is consequential!? Fuuuck.. what a show!!
12:09AM - It took well over half an hour to climb out of the wreckage of what was once Jive. I remember very little of it save for a dizzying kaleidoscope of claws, teeth, tranquiliser darts, flung faeces, frog marching boots, tear gas cannisters, clanging shields, that always familiar shrill sound of the emergency exit sirens (aaaah like a sweet symphony to my ears!) and quite puzzingly what appeared to be a swinging sixties soundtrack provided by DJ Craig Flanigan (weird!). Anyhoo however the fuck I eventually got out of there tonight? (duuude your guess is as good as mine!) clearly I wanted more. So for the encore? fuck it.. I headed off to The Ed Castle for "Plus One".
LYLA (*****) myspace :: After bamboozling my way past the sullen scenster procession outside, shuffling in one by one (pfft losers!) and fighting my way through the fashion throng flapping about the DJ decks: I briefly entertained the notion of getting my first beer in for the night (only to realise that this would likely take me at least half an hour to achieve) quickly reconsider it and barrel straight for the band room instead. It was here that I encountered my next road block: a proverbial sardine tin of shrieking fans climbing the walls and ceiling all blocking my path to the band. And so obviously I did what anyone else would do in this situation: I charged straight out the front door, took a running jump and smashed through one of the stained glass windows by the stage instead (I mean how else could I possibly explain how I got here!?). Yup say what you will about this band, but they REALLY KNOW how to throw a launch party! Tonight they're celebrating their new single "All Dressed Up And No Release" (wait is that meant to ironic?) and as much as they've gone all out in effort to glam it up? do not be fooled. Despite the colourful christmas lights strewn about the drumkit, or the fact they've got Matt Hills their single's sound engineer (and the house mixer for Jive) to work the stage lights (y'know.. just for the fuck of it!). Despite their fancy pants "op shop" couture or the fact their faces are all covered in glitter (whoaaa no shit.. glitter!? bwaaahAHaHAHA!! THAT'S FUCKING HILARIOUS!!) they're no less "real" than what we witnessed at Jive tonight. All this we're seeing is just an optical illusion. They're dogs playing poker. They're chimpanzees smoking cigars hooked up to amplifiers.. because the minute we hear that primal sixties sound!? it's the exact same result: absolute fucking carnage! Lyla. More than just being a cheap knock off of Oasis, Jet and a little bit of Supergrass (well.. someone had to say it!) they're all about the retro buzz that goes right back to its authentic roots. And with their extensive setlist tonight, they're channeling that shit in all its fury. From their rockier numbers "Gettin' On Out", "Weak At The Knees" and their launch single "All Dressed Up And No Release": where it's all shredding riffs and gutteral screams (that last one especially lets loose like a rottweiler). To their quieter numbers "Whatever You Needed" and "It's All Mine" where it's all paired back to nothing but an acoustic and the sparsest of arrangements. In all these songs you can truly appreciate the musicianship that goes into them; there's a real colour and a life here. From Stefan "Blobby" Krcmarov's mad honky tonk flourishes on the keys. To drummer David Mazzarelli and guitarist Anthony Callisto each taking turns with Matthew Minucci on lead vocals. To Sam Bruno's pounding bass riffs stoking that groove. Far from being a shouting match with nothing to show for it they're a true all-star ensemble. And here tonight, killing it like there's no tomorrow for their triumphant single launch, they're totally in their element. We suspend all disbelief. We don't mind for a second that they're appropriating an Oasis lyric or two (wait, did I hear "Wonderwall" in there somewhere.. or did I just imagine that!?) and we simply LIVE that shit. We ride that rollercoaster for all it's worth and when we stumble out at the other end? we're nothing but wide eyed grins and howling for more!
1:20AM - To the howls and shrieks of rapturous applause, Matthew Minucci dumps his guitar and joins the rest of the band as they all walk off stage. Everyone continues to applause as the band then walks out the room, only to realise that Matthew Minucci's guitar is STILL playing those same chords he finished the last song with, over and over in a continuous loop (and it doesn't seem to be stopping anytime too soon). Finally after two to three minutes debating this, I realise no one else is gonna do anything about it: so I sneak up onto the stage and simply pull the plug out. For a moment there peace is restored. I marvel at the multi-coloured lights draped over the drumkit. I soak up the simple wonder of it all. Aaaah it's a beautiful thing! Only to be startled by an even louder ringing. For the longest time I couldn't figure out what it was: until it dawned on me that it was actually an alarm in my own head alerting me to the fact I hadn't had a single drop of alcohol all night.. WHOAAA FUCK!! Clearly such a disturbing development could not go unanswered (especially on a Saturday night like this) and so I sought my remedy as swiftly as possible.
2:33AM - Somewhat suitably retarded by the three pints I'd just downed in the past hour, I sauntered out into the beer garden to soak in all the sights and sounds that another wacky installment of "Plus One" had to offer me. Like say Olivia here for example, slobbering all over Eleanor like an exciteable puppy (awwww how cute!) not at all concerned that any minute now Eleanor will reach behind the bar, wrench out an empty gas tank, and beat her to death with it.
Moving on (and rather frantically at that) the hollow clanging of that empty gas tank is all but drowned out by the stirring refrains of Cut Copy's "Hearts On Fire". A song made all the more stirring (and downright disturbing) by the interpretative dance moves of both Luke McKay from Femme Fatales and Josh Moore from The Touch. I know! doesn't it make you just weep for joy!?
And as I watched such simple majesty unfold before me: the sweeping gestures, the spirited jazz hands (the simulated dry humping), I couldn't help but think one thing: three beers ain't nearly enough to handle this shit, and I'm gonna need a hell of a lot more before this night is through.
2:38AM - Speaking of such: here's the always awesome Alice (I know, isn't she just?). You may remember her from such wildly entertaining and informative episodes as: "blogs she's never actually appeared in before". Of course this isn't to say it's necessary to be hilariously drunk to ever appreciate her "awesome" qualities, or that we condone such activity even for a moment..
No really forget that you even saw this..
Nor that you ever need to be plastered out of your skull to understand why she has a rubber chicken called "Colin". Why she brought said "Colin" to The Ed Castle. Or why he's been stuffed into this hole for the purpose of this photo (pfft.. I mean c'mon!? that shit makes perfect sense!).
It does however provide a neat segue into this: Josh Moore parading about with Colin the rubber chicken as a "substitute wiener" and every reason imagineable I can think of to seek out the biggest bucket I can find, fill it with anything flammable and drink it till my mind goes blank. Which come to think of it, may possibly explain those $10 jugs of sangria they serve at the bar?
(and to think I actually waste hours of my life providing whimsical captions for all this shit..)
2:41AM - Moments later at the bar as my lovely assistant Melinda feeds several metres of rubber hosing down my throat and produces a funnel for what they whimsically refer to as a "reverse stomach pump" (it's the cilantro they mix in with the paint thinner that really sets it apart) I'm interrupted by James Meegan (aka: "Jimmy" from Jimmy & The Mirrors) who asks me flat out "so what DO YOU honestly think of The Touch as a band!?". Obviously I couldn't respond at this EXACT moment as Melinda was signing off on my "medical waiver" before sparking up the blowtorch, but if I could? I'd obviously speak volumes on their musicianship, their artistic integrity, their continued innovation, originality and.. yeah, who the fuck are we kidding!? I'm still wondering how Josh manages to tie his own shoelaces without falling off a bridge, let alone front an indie buzz band.
2:46AM - A few too many rounds of the hose pipe later I return to find "(Not) Seth Rogen" (so named for his uncanny resemblance to.. yeah I think you get the picture) caught in the middle of an "interspecies love dance" with Colin here, at which point I head straight back to the bar again.
2:53AM - On the left is Rory O'Connor, who you might recognise as the guitarist for Steering By Stars and Aviator Lane. On the right is Dave Keen, who you might recognise as.. yeah I've got no fucking clue. And as for why they appear to be turning five shades of white and freaking the fuck out in this photo!? As much as I'd like to say it was.. (insert dumb joke about Josh Moore here) yeah let's just say that you should NEVER fuck with Eleanor if ever she's armed with an gas tank and simply leave it at that (no shit.. you should see what she does with a cocktail umbrella!).
3:01AM - Yup I believe we've officially reached (and well exceeded) that point of no return here. That point in any given night between anything I do that makes any kind of coherent sense whatsoever, and me captioning photos quite like these: that rather graphically demonstrate just why I should never photograph myself getting hilariously drunk with people I barely even know.
3:07AM - Still it's not like this has ever stopped me before, and so for the amusement of what will likely be all my future employers who ever discover this in a "background check" (and people wonder why I always write it under an hilarious pseudonym?) we decided to follow that up with this..
I know! and you totally doubted my wild assumption in Alice's ridiculous awesomatude? pfft.. well who's laughing now huh!? (and for those of you STILL wondering who the fuck she is and why she's appearing in this blog? yeah I've got no idea, this is the first time I've ever met her.. I swear!).
3:11AM - At this exact moment it suddenly dawns upon "(Not) Seth Rogen" that all these photos I've been taking, or more importantly all the photos he's been appearing in (or more specifically that one with Colin) might possibly appear in this blog.. only for Alice to reassure him that it's not like anyone ever actually reads this hilarious shit in the first place (hi mum!). I mean would YOU believe that all manner of industry bigwigs from the east coast actually read this shit on a regular basis looking for inside information on the Adelaide scene!? pfft.. oh of course not dude, I mean who would even imagine such a thing!? Half the time they don't even know we exist in the first place. And if I have anything to do with it? I'm gonna ensure that continues to happen! Isn't that right Josh Moore from The Touch!? Oh yes.. your hideous indie abomination is safe with us!
3:19AM - Figuring there was no way I could return back to the bar in the beer garden (at least not after Melinda had signed off on my "autopsy form") I hit the bar inside instead. And what I saw in here? don't let this photo of.. (wait, who the fuck is this freak!?) parading about on the bar top fool you, it was complete and utter fucking pandemonium. There were footprints on the walls and ceiling, thrown furniture, apes beating at the walls with sledgehammers and crowbars and what sounded like the riotous theme tune to Galaga to accompany it (naturally) smashed at the kind of obscene levels that could microwave a whale's innards.. WHOAAA FUCK!! Needless to say I ordered my drink, didn't make eye contact with any of the "people" around me, and I got the hell out.
3:22AM - And for any of you out there still wondering if I'm retardingly drunk enough for The Ed Castle on a Saturday night? yeaaah *cough* I believe THIS photo pretty much speaks for itself.
3:29AM - Which could only lead to this: either the stupidest idea we cooked up all night, or quite possibly the most brilliant as "(Not) Seth Rogen" takes a mad sequence of photos featuring me spitting up beer.. YEAAAS!! Oh and as much as I'd love to say that these were the only two photos we ever got of it, because I mean hell.. we're nothing but professionals at this shit! we'd be lying (and people still wonder how I've managed to fuck up five cameras over the past three years!?).
3:59AM - And now for the benefit of the jury (huh.. what!? aaaah who cares!) I present to you these three hilariously shots that didn't really belong anywhere else but conveniently all happened at the same time anyways so I could post them here now. Yup, I believe I speak for all of us now when I say let's never do this ever again for as long as we live and SEE YOU ALL NEXT WEEKEND!!
4:07AM - And quite like every other installment of "Plus One" before it, it's all shits and giggles until house mixer Alex "Emo" Ciaravolo shows up, bums us all out, and then we all have to leave.
4:22AM - Of course this was far from the end our night as we simply took the shindig down to Supermild instead. Where all manner of well meaning, polite, civilised and intellectual pursuits likely took place: like games of scrabble, chess, checkers, connect four, tiddlywinks and kerplunk. And we all nibbled teeny tiny watercress sandwiches with the crusts cut off, drank cups of camomile tea and discussed the political events of the day.. oh sure, I swear that shit totally happened!
4:38AM - And then at long last, after the fifth consecutive game of charades (one that clearly Mike Turner from The Baron was winning hands down) I looked at my watch, gasped in horror: "gosh is that the time already!? my how it flies when you're having such ribald frivolity.. isn't that right Vicar? ha ha ha!!", at which point I extricated myself from the jelly pit with the three midgets, the concubine and the goat, took my inflatable hippopotamus and headed straight for the door.
4:44AM - Eventually I make it to the bus stop. I forget how exactly (fuck it maybe I even walked here!? naaah that never happens!) and by "bus stop" I totally mean a DIFFERENT bus stop and not the one that happens to be outside of The Ed Castle. Either way it was here (or perhaps somewhere else entirely) that I waited for the bus to arrive. I looked to the road ahead of me. I looked to the supermarket trolley beside me (fuck.. you again!?) and I waited.. and I waited. I looked back to the supermarket trolly again "hmmm I wonder?" and then I took the bus home.
Yup, I think we can safely say at the end of THIS epic fucked up journey that my brain is a nothing more than foaming pink stain being picked apart by vultures. It's a post script, it's pudding, it's pushing up daisies and now someone else infinitely more witty than I is writing this blog on my behalf (or would be if only we could find him at such short notice). I'm not the only one. Look around you now. Look to the person to your left, to your right, to the one above you dressed like Abraham Lincoln swinging from the light fixtures, to the nurse in front of you clearing her throat waiting for you to take your meds. Rest assured that you're not alone and that you're not going insane. We're ALL in this together, we're all taking that rollercoaster ride right to the very end, everything is going exactly according to plan! Oh and if anyone happens to see a supermarket trolley all smashed up against the Bakewell Underpass this week.. that totally wasn't me.