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 WATERSLIDES + AVIATOR LANE + 20TH CENTURY GRADUATES "TRANSMISSION LIVE" @ THE ED CASTLE / Friday September 25th 2009
Tonight was one of those nights that should never have happened. And I don't necessarily mean that in a "bad way" per se, because as it turned out it totally didn't blow a goat, a horse, or even a proverbial hamster I swear! Still, it DID have all its odds stacked against it ever making to print (or closest electronic proxy). To explain, let's rewind a little. On Friday morning, at six sixteen in the morning to be precise I'd finally hit "publish" on the previous Saturday night's installment. Not just any old episode either, but one fuckoff culmination of eleven live acts (and let's not forget the drunken trashbaggery that followed.. yeouch!). All shot, sifted, edited, uploaded and encoded in the space of two nights, with two sleepless nights to follow in writing it, consuming too many cups of coffee in revising it, cursing and swearing, and then a single mouse click to let it loose upon the world. At last count it had all of TWO comments (hmmm?) and eight hundred and twelve pageloads to show for it (YEAAAS!!). To put it mildly I was proper fucked up by it. Nothing but food for porcelain, a full flush and a lit match away from swimming oblivion. I didn't even get a wink of sleep either.. I know!? THE NERVE! And yet I still had a Friday night to contend with so what was I to do!? stay home and bitch about it!? FUCK NO! I leapt straight into the fray again, ready for anything, only to be punched square in the pixels by the titsarse weather. It was cold, and I mean COLD. Like I was one stray bullet away from being a T1000 popsicle shattering to shit if I dared challenge it. Blasting Antarctic winds and rain, boney white fingers and death mask screaming in the face of it, barely three of us still standing on the bus ride in, before I fell through the front door of The Ed with a resounding thud. FUCK!! I know I was insane. I swore this was going to be the one that ended me. And yet I still took the red pill and ran with it regardless, right down that proverbial rabbit hole and into the very depths of hell. And dude, wasn't I SO glad that I did!
20TH CENTURY GRADUATES (****1/2) myspace :: Yup, it's anyone's guess why I left the house tonight. Short of Ross Osmon with a shovel and a few freshly dug graves out back, I figured it'd just be me and the squeaking ice flows to keep me company. But hey anything's better than nothing! At worst I'd sneak in a few quick pints, catch a few live bands, do the spastic chicken dance to Plastic Bertrand, Cut Copy, Passion Pit or whatever-the-fuck, promptly die of exposure, then "defrost" just in time for Halloween dressed to kill. Instead to my surprise I'm greeted by a fuckoff feeding frenzy instead. A frisky (predominantly female fangirl) free-for-all, all huddled amongst the warm glow of a live stage for our opening act: the 20th Century Graduates (the happiest damn band in The Adelaide scene!). Aaaah I ask you where else would you want to be than here!? Yup, for the past five months they've been perfecting their ridiculously "upbeat" live sound and amassing an audience in kind, or perhaps it's simply taken five months for everyone else (me included) to get past that whole "they must be a Jesus freak religious cult" thing and flock to it in droves; either way there was no denying it tonight, they were truly in their element (they practically stole the whole damn show!). For they're one of a rare breed (ie: in the same vein as The Honey Pies and The Keepsakes) who choose neither the cynical extremes of cutting edge art nor drug addled fashion to define themselves, but instead choose a third option: "indie pop" in all its timeless, daggy, eye gouging, giddy extremes. Yup, as embarassingly cheesy as they're infectious (especially the minute James' trumpet fires up), they appear to draw most of their inspiration from the summer sounds of The Shins (most notably the singing voice Jeremy adopts on the drums), Belle & Sebastian, The Kinks and maybe even a generous swig of early Weezer. In here you imagine everything from sixties swingers, bouncy castles, combi vans fuck full of animal head revellers, the music video to The Chemical Brothers "The Golden Path" to any given episode of The Goodies. But its not so much the music that draws you into this hilarious mess either (or that feeling that any minute now balloons are going to burst out of the ceiling), it's the happy-go-lucky fashion in which it's projected. This shambolic, spontaneous spoof of joy that's damn near irresistable. Most notably emanating from their "token gesture/team mascot" on tambourine, melodica and backup vocals: one Larissa "Moonbeam" Perry who treats this entire performance like a labradoodle would take to an open air park and a flung frisbee. Only to be magnified expodentially by the equally exciteable audience in goofy grins, dancing up a storm around her. Sure there's issues with the set, countless false starts, audio issues with Jeremy's vocals (too quiet) and Larissa's (too jarringly loud) and let's face it their entire repetoire amounts to little more than the same song sung ten ways with an accompanying trumpet chorus, but that love buzz is still utterly inescapable and downright unanimous. 20th Century Graduates. No shit, they make me SO damn happy I want to beat my head through a wall!
AVIATOR LANE (***1/2) myspace :: Which by comical comparison makes our second act the proverbial hangover none of us felt like we deserved. And it's not just thanks to the "sight for sore eyes" that is their lead singer Mike Radzevicius (looking for all the world like he's two popped panadol and a loaded handgun short of a Monday morning meltdown), but more so in how "beautifully" he and his colleagues' somber stage presence compliment the grim tidings of tonight's winter relapse right down to the very last raindrop. Yup, if you could imagine Death Cab For Cutie at their most inner reflective crossed with Something For Kate at their most morose, then mix it all in with an introspective instrumentation that appears to borrow much of its measured metronomics from a latter day Radiohead: then it's no real conceptual leap to picture the soft trickling of woe on a window, and that infinite stare into the darkening abyss that goes along with it. *Sniff* I know its really quite poetry isn't it!? Sure I'm pissing myself laughing imagining how in the HELL this is gonna reconcile with The Waterslides and their shitstorm hysterics in the finale but still *cough* I swear it's a beautiful thing to behold! The rest of the crowd however, still hopelessly "lovestruck" by the opener mere moments ago want absolutely no part in this tragedy. Within moments they're bottle necking it for the exits, clawing up the walls and ceiling screaming in a desperate scramble for the bar. Understandably it's quite the conundrum for any follow up act to contend with, and yet Aviator Lane simply take it all in their stride. Mike makes the occassional dry witticism of it in the song breaks, pondering out loud just how best to "connect" with this rapidly dwindling audience (save for a few of his "favourite" hecklers who conveniently stick around just to kick him when he's down) but besides that the band simply play on like it's business as usual. Aviator Lane. They're all about that emotional restraint, barely containing that which wallows within. Like a box of tissues blown, a tub of icecream binged, a night long telephone DNM, or a packet of Tim Tams rapidly spent, they're all that and more (minus the cliché) like a proverbial punching bag to the emotionally distraught. You feel it in the way that Mike's guitar and Rory's bass ripple through each other like the concentric rings of skimmed stones on an icey pond. In the way Mike's voice falls like the slow swirl of autumn leaves. In the way Tom's funeral procession on drums sound like the sustained heart monitor of a coma patient with no hope for a cure. In how all of that bittersweet symphony falls on deaf ears tonight.. yeeeouch! Still with grim determination they'll make it through this set, they'll find their peace. Then Mike will simply hobble off to the bar, cheerful as ever, to drink the joint dry. Yup, it may not have been their "best" night by far (it sure as shit was near impossible to photograph) but they'll kick on safe in the knowledge that sooner or later everyone of us will come crawling back to them in our time of need. And when we do they'll be there waiting for us with shovels, ready to bury us all alive.
THE WATERSLIDES (****) myspace :: It took almost an hour before our headlining act finally got their shit together. A small part of it may have had something to do with all the circling helicopters, hostage negotiators and STAR Division operatives who swarmed the joint by force within moments of Mike Radzevicius climbing the roof of The Ed Castle: under the false pretense that he was going to jump to his grisly death below (where in actual fact he was simply scaling the pipes so he could pee on everyone in the beergarden and maybe throw a few empty beer bottles at people he didn't "like the look of"). Most of it however was thanks to the extensive time it took to install and sound check every stick of dynamite that goes into an "average" live set by The Waterslides. We're talking everything from samplers, sequencers, synthesizers, keyboards, tweakers, tuners, loopers, filters, effects pedals, laptops, amps, mixers, lights, smoke machines, surface to air missile launchers and novelty pez dispensers. It was hardly their most comprehensive weapons array to date tonight (as it turns out they didn't pack their bubble machine or confetti cannon) still it does begin to demonstrate that The Waterslides don't ever do ANYTHING by half measures. In essence think of them as a frankenstein collision between a DJ mashup set, a live band and a Japanese gameshow on acid. Imagine equal measures Cut Chemist, Kid Koala, Girl Talk and The Avalanches combined with everything from the bigbeat sounds of late nineties Chemical Brothers (especially in the way James Boss cranks the distortion on his bass), the spastic ecclecticism of Regurgitator and the angular 8bit attack of Digitalism. Oh and they're also an absolute HEADFUCK to experience live (and that's putting it mildly!). In the simplest of terms they're forty five minutes of both Tim Whitt (on the left) and Scott Somerville (on the right) jumping about like hilarious dickheads with tambourines to the accompaniment of flashing sirens, smoke machines and a "backing track" of sampled loops, each more profoundly kitsch than the last one (partly triggered by Tim Harper on laptop and partly by Tim Whitt on sequencers and synths.. I think!?) whilst James and Luke Eygenraam smash the shit out of the rhythm section on bass and drums. There's the occassional lyric that Tim Whitt raps (none of which you can understand), he'll occassionally swap to a "beer bong" hose pipe to sing vocoder and he'll also make a habit of killing most of their songs just when you least expect it only to segue into the next one with either an utterly incomprehensible vocal loop chanting "I'm Spasticus, I'm Spasticus, I'm Spasticus Austisticus!" to an even more improbable AM rock riff sampling anything from Ram Jam's "Black Betty" to Dolly Parton. Yup, nothing about this band makes a single lick of sense. It's a "shock and awe" tactic swinging wildly between explosive bouts of euphoria and awkward pauses (ie: when all their equipment invariably breaks down) and yet it drives the dancefloor to complete and utter hysterics. Everyone's flooding this band room from far and wide. They're busting loose like pingpong balls to mousetraps, they're hard at it like "ADHD: The Musical". It's a total sensory aphasia, it's both hemispheres of my brain depolarised and shat out of my eyes, ears, nose, throat and onto the ceiling in an aerosol mist in effort to explain it. And yet as much as I may struggle to call any of it "music" let alone "entertainment" I still can't help but grin ear to ear standing in its epicentre. Yup, that's The Waterslides alright: "just like every single one of your orifices gang fucked by clowns" only now? at least twice as funky!
1:54AM - And yet all this head exploding excitement didn't just end with the live bands tonight. OOOH FUCK NO!! Would we ever let something as pissy as a cataclysmic drop in ambient temperature, and all that rain, hail, sleet and snow, and that one "dancefloor statistic" who accidently tripped, fell and shattered into a million jagged pieces before us scare everyone away? Pfft why would you ever think that!? We laugh in the face of danger. Which is why me posting THIS photo in the band room, instead of all those "other" photos I must have taken of everyone else out by the front bar, climbing the walls and ceiling, sniffing out each other's pink bits is clearly nothing but an hilarious exercise in irony! AAAHAHAHAHA! OH THAT SPOZ, HE'S EVER SO CRAZY!!
2:27AM - Just like this photo doesn't signify in any way that The Ed Castle will be closing up in the next five minutes, or that the bouncer will arrive shortly to kick us all out, or that any of this shit has anything to do with that freak "polar bear incident" that claimed the lives of at least four of us mere moments ago, and could have dragged away more if it weren't for Alex Ciaravolo from the 20th Century Graduates bravely "drawing the short straw" and beating it to death with his shoe. FUCK NO! we all partied nude on the roof playing threeway twister until the sun came up and I'm simply distracting you now with nothing but wildly fanciful misdirection.. WOOOHEHEhAhAhAHA!!
2:34AM - Aaarrr screw this! Let's huddle outside of Supermild, spoon each other for warmth like retarded penguins and pretend this shit's still open for business.. YES!! BEST FRIDAY NIGHT EVER!!
2:56AM - And yet to my utter surprise not only was Supermild still open (or maybe I simply broke in), but in actual fact it was thriving. Turns out I'd arrived at the tail end of a "Black & White" party. Which arguably means about as much to me as every other theme party they've ever thrown in here (like that wacky Superhero shindig they threw back in April, like what the fuck was THAT all about!?). But hey who am I to argue with the one port in this proverbial "popsicle storm" still serving beers (and better yet long necks) that didn't require an ice pick or a blowtorch to bust open. Of course there was a ONE weird condition of entry: I had to wear this shit ridiculous masquerade mask while I was here. Why!? Oh I wish I knew! or maybe I DID know and I'm entirely not at liberty to tell you what "secret society" I totally didn't join or any of the "extra-curricula" activities we never got upto (and if any of those "Polites" signs you see around Adelaide suddenly get swapped for "Spoz" I swear I know nothing about it!) either way? GOOOD TIMES!
3:02AM - As such I'm not at all at liberty to discuss any specific details on what's going on in this photo. Like say the "system specs" on the geostational orbiting weapons platform that Griffy Griff might own or operate, which is possibly positioned a few kilometres above Electric Circus and is rumoured to be waiting for its moment to strike.. why? and for what foul purpose!? oh I wish I could tell you, I REALLY DO! but since you totally weren't here tonight? totally sworn to secrecy!
3:04AM - Just like the real reason for why Julia is mad tripping balls in this photo shall forever remain a mystery. Was she privy to one of the greatest global conspiracies ever perpetrated upon the human race ever since they covered up the Roswell incident, faked the assassination of John F Kennedy, the Apollo II Moon Landing, the death of Elvis Presley, replaced Fidel Castro with an imposter (the real one's totally Chinese and has a handlebar moustache!) and faked the entire Presidency of Ronald Reagan and George W Bush? pfft of course not! Did it have ANYTHING to do with Michael Jackson not being human but in actual fact a space alien from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse? BWAAAHAHahAHA!! I mean would we be THAT obvious!?
3:47AM - And so I'll simply leave you with these remaining few photos as is, without any accompanying or additional explanation and simply let you come to your own conclusions: except for all those fucked up ones you were likely dreaming up just now that involve domestic pets, consumer electronics, household plumbing, floatation devices, anything bought out of the Mitre 10 catalogue or otherwise involving a freshly dug up corpse, a large wooden spoon, a few choice garden herbs and a functioning Necronomicon. I mean shit.. can't a man and his cronies simply enjoy their drinks in peace while the rest of the city sleeps not at all concerned that they'll need to redraw most of all the World's maps (and perhaps a few star charts) by morning!? sheeeesh!
Hmmm nope there's absolutely nothing going on here at all!
4:03AM - And so as another meeting of our secret society that you clearly have absolutely no business knowing about drew to a fortuitous close (and one that we'll surely never mention again as I clearly didn't just make it all up on the spot for purposes of this wildly "fanciful" story) we picked up our complimentary spirit bottle off of the bar and stumbled off to a gutter somewhere to "forget all this ever happened" until our street sweepers arrives to spirit our carcasses home.
Yup, it was just one of those wacky nights. One of those Friday nights ripe with hilarious dysfunction where every single sign told me to steer well clear, stay home and "write the whole thing off" (as surely I deserved it after all I put myself through last week). Only being the mad fool that I am that just won't quit, I took it on regardless curious as all fuck to see what lay over that horizon. And now days later here I am again, hitting "publish" on an episode that needn't ever have see the light of day, at eight eleven on a Wednesday morning wondering what to make of it all. Was it worth it? you tell me!? because I swear sometimes this shit's a mystery even to me.