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...
AVIATOR LANE + WINTERMILD + BING GOES TO MONACO "COOPERS ALIVE" @ THE JADE MONKEY / Friday October 23rd 2009
Aaaah being a celebrity: isn't it the best shit ever? doing what exactly? who the fuck cares!? Back in the day, I forget which (it might have been a Tuesday) such a lofty height in social shitkicking and celestial psychopathy was a damn near impossibility to achieve: a freak occurence obtainable only by the chosen few. For to become a celebrity invariably meant a lifetime of hard work and dedication. It required considerable talent, charm, wit and raging charisma. It demanded raw animal aggression, annihilating scores of your fiercest frenemies, piling up their bleached skulls way into the sky and a raging sexual prowess to repopulate the entire planet in kind with scores of your fawning sycophants. FUCK YEAAAH!! In short being a celebrity used to be a next to impossible to achieve for a damn GOOD reason: for to become one invariably made you a complete fucking arsehole. But then some idiots invented the internet and reality TV and now anyone can become a celebrity? DUUUDE!! And isn't the world SO MUCH BETTER for it!? No shit! Through NO effort at all, a broadband connection and such wonders as myspace, facebook, youtube, blogger and twitter: being a tragic narcissist or an egomaniacal bastard has never been THIS easy! Even better? everyone's in on it! Everywhere you look there's another shitstorm of screaming nitwits all scrambling for attention. It's an arms race, a feeding frenzy, a perennial pissing contest in self validation. Now thanks to social networking and our tragic surveillance society co-dependency we're democratising just what it means to be a celebrity, to include just about anyone insane enough to flood our bandwidth with their own image: one tagged photo at a time. EVERYONE'S A WINNER!! But wait, I hear you cry: what if you're NOT a shameless exhibitionist? what if you're the wallflower retiring type? what if you're the ONE chance exception to the rule who STILL wants no part in this cesspool of self promotion? what then!? fuck it.. why not form a live band instead, that's what!
Which by no hint of irony (or any hint of sly subtext I swear!) leads us here to the Jade Monkey tonight for an installment of the Coopers Alive Showcase: dedicated to all those quiet achievers in the Adelaide scene who do their utmost to avoid the spotlight, by appearing here on a live stage in front of a fuck load of people. For not only will we be presented with three of the most shrinkingly shy, awkwardly introverted and sadsack shoegaze acts this city has to offer us but we'll make so much of a head exploding song and dance of it: not only might they pee a little at the eye gouging sight of us, but thanks to everyone cheering them on all night long we may even have a few fatalities on our hands. YES!! We've spared no expense in publicity. We've invited everyone we know (surprisingly some of them even turned up!). We've even brought in a video projector that's totally throwing this fuckoff rotating forest thingy over all the walls and ceiling. So that by the time we've done celebrating the SHIT out of them tonight? like they're ten foot tall, five flavours of fuckoff insane and made of pure gold!? duuude, they'll SO wish they were never even born!
BING GOES TO MONACO (***1/2) myspace :: Which brings us to our auspicious opening act: the proverbial rabbits in our headlights, lambs to the slaughter, chickens to the chopping block, puppies to the blender, goldfish to the fraternity house, faeries to the fly swatter, newborn giraffes to the gonzo journalist.. aaaah need I go on!? (yeah possibly not). All apt descriptions of course (in as much as anything I write isn't complete and utter bollocks.. aaaah you KNOW it!) as for the past year or more Bing Goes To Monaco have been quietly building a name for themselves. Not only for their wealth of artful compositions rich in acoustic folk and dappled keys (awww!). Or their pitter-patter proficiency in crafting such soothing harmonies to flavour them so (their launch party back in June and accompanying EP release the "Interspecies Backup" were especially sweet in that twee-est of twee Joanna Newsom meets Teddy Bear's Picnic kind of way). But also for quite possibly being the MOST shrinkingly shy live act ever to delicately ascend upon the Adelaide scene (ie: possibly ever since I almost "accidently" killed the last one when one of my brain farts came out the wrong way.. hmmm). Yup, I believe the term I coined when I first time saw them was "Über Bambi". And as much as I was clearly talking well out of my arse when I came up with it (well shit.. I DO like to drink!) since they made a whimsical reference to that reputation tonight (although somewhat sarcastically at that) THEN IT MUST BE TRUE!! As such tonight's performance lives up to all "expectations" and then some, at least to begin with, as both "Froogle" and "Bing" (Freya Adele and Anny Duff respectively) practically shit themselves a farmer's dozen to see so many people in front of them. The first two songs as a result: "No. 6" and "Ice War" from their EP (as brilliant as they are on record) all but squeak out between the cracks in the conversation filling the room. You can barely see the trees for the forest here (excuse the visual pun) however it's all upwards and onwards as the crowd warms up to them. With each song (a lot of them new) their confidence slowly but surely builds. They're songs that unfold slowly, building from a simple keystroke or a pluck of a guitar string to cascade like ripples in a tidepond, raindrops on a windowsill or a swirl of leaves on a cool autumn breeze. There's a homespun quality here, an honest approach all but untainted by ego or pretense. And as much as it starts off shy (and ever so slightly fumbling) its also disarmingly endearing, clunky but cute, as it draws you in. They've brought in a new permanent drummer to replace the omnipresent session antics of Ryan Manolakis, in the gangly form of TJ: who although not nearly as wildly "expressive" as the former, still adds just the right amount of subtle snare and kick to accentuate the proceedings. Anny is even making witty banter between songs (but mostly to cover for Freya who's still freaking the fuck out whilst tuning her guitar) so as an overall stage presence they're subtly improving. The best songs of the set however are definitely towards the end. Maybe it's relief taking over from stage fright (or maybe they're especially new and they're still buzzing on them) but there's a boldness that shows. A swinging rhythm in the guitar, a pounding keyboard in the solo (almost bordering on a Ben Folds in enthusiasm) so that by the end they truly make this stage their own. It's a hard won victory sure, but all the sweeter in entrée to all that follows.
WINTERMILD (**1/2) myspace :: Our second act all but lives up to their meeker than meek moniker the minute they arrive on stage (and then some). In fact amongst all the shitcrazy psychotropic greenery sprouting about them tonight, they're not so much a "live band" performing a live gig as a docile flock of sheep wandering aimlessly into my crosshairs inviting nothing short of a massacre. I mean just look at them: all doe-eyed, peaceful, pasteurised, homogenised, utterly oblivious to the potential slaughter that awaits them!? I know I almost feel sorry for them! (almost). And as much as I must clearly be getting the wrong "impression" here (and they're clearly a thrash metal band in disguise), it's all but confirmed the minute their lead singer Simon Skrødal subtly reminds us there's an EP for sale at the front desk. Then helpfully adds in that whisper quiet "irish lilt" of his (which I later discover is actually Norwegian) that "it'll make a perfect gift for your grandmother for Christmas"; and actually MEANS IT!! Only to make it all the more ridiculous the minute he slips into their first song like a fart let loose in a warm bath. Yup Wintermild are, to put it bluntly, SO mindboggingly off-the-scale mellow that even me using the word "mellow" now to describe them sounds like I'm bludgeoning them to death with a sledgehammer. THAT'S how fucking mellow they are! As such I have very few artists to equate them with (I mean shit they even make Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver sound like Slipknot by comparison). But at a stretch imagine a medicated mix between Darren Hanlon, Iron & Wine, John Denver, Simon & Garfunkle (they even performed a cover!) or Death Cab For Cutie (only at their most delicate). Or in other words picture everything blissfully obscure with an acoustic guitar you'd find buried on the Garden State Soundtrack (whacked out on all the psych meds Zach Braff was doused up on in the beginning of that film) and you'd have Wintermild just about nailed. Yup, as much as many of you may be crying into your proverbial box of tissues over just how beautiful it all sounds (and I admit they're more than accomplished at what they do) I swear THIS is where I draw the line. It's seriously way too fucking mellow maaan! If it helps though: on a few songs they did invite a female vocalist to join them (I think she performed at BrotherSister's album launch too back in February last year) and her toddleresque refrains DO add a sweet level of innocence and whimsy to the mix that helps their sound immeasurably. But otherwise I'm doing my very best not to claw my face off screaming to get away. Wintermild. They're a bowl of chicken soup, they're a cough drop, they're a strepsil. No more than that they're practically an overdose of sleeping pills in a bathtub with an accompanying suicide note set to pan flutes. If music soothes the savage beast? then what this band is cooking up would be SO fucking lethal it could anaesthetise a charging rhinoceros to the point you could slow waltz to it. But after all that? they're still not wrong: your grandmother would love them!
AVIATOR LANE (*****) myspace :: As for our sadsack headliners, tonight is an extra special occassion for them (and one NONE of us could possibly afford to miss) not just because they're closing this showcase show for Coopers Alive, or because their lead singer Mike Radzevicius is celebrating in style now that he's finally got his first training bra (huh.. what!?) but it's also made all the more bittersweet thanks to this being the very last gig that both Rory O'Connor on bass (and occassionally guitar) and Tom Smeets on drums will be performing with the band. Awww I know! And like many an untimely split in the past (although Mike will continue Aviator Lane as a solo act as he's done many times before) it's anyone's guess why THIS has occurred or what the key contributing factors were. Still we can always speculate (because hell it's not like this has ever stopped us before). For instance: maybe Mike, after a few too many brews (which clearly he NEVER drinks) made a few too many "suggestive remarks" at Tom for his liking. Or maybe Tom was perfectly ok with all that "attention" and was simply sick of being the "small spoon" (go figure?). Or maybe Rory got fed up in turn with Mike stealing all of HIS beer rider as well so he could make that "magic" happen every night. Or maybe he was simply jealous over the fact he didn't get all the attention himself. I mean band politics? who's to know what really goes on!? Or maybe just maybe, and this is me going WAAAY OUT on a limb here: both Rory and Tom are simply leaving to concentrate all their creative efforts on their OTHER band Steering By Stars (who I'm told are just about to launch a debut album) and there's a few other niggling issues like "work" and "university commitments" to deal with as well. But yeah you're right that's a total lie and Mike's in actual fact pregnant with Matt Banham's baby from No Through Road (and you know how all that goes!). Wait, where was I again? oh yeah! cracking hilarious in-jokes about this band that next to no one outside of the Adelaide scene has half a fucking clue about.. YEAAAS!! (but trust me, by the second and third paragraphs below all of this shit will start to make perfect sense!). Aviator Lane. Far be it for them to go out in a "whimper" tonight (no irony implied) they've truly held nothing back in their set. In fact this may have been one of their best performances yet. It's in all the little flourishes, the added details, the articulate improvisations. There's an added urgency here in the way that both Rory and Tom play their part that compliment and accentuate the mad desperation of Mike's vocal delivery. The way the guitar and bass flow with more life and colour. Those extra percussive fills breakdowns in the changeovers. These songs aren't just the sum of their parts no more, or simply a coming together of musicians going through the motions (cooking up a sound reminiscent of everything from Death Cab For Cutie, The Doves, Radiohead and Pavement delivered in a measured metronomic pace) there's a deeper emotion at stake here that propells it forward like never before. It's an end of an era and they're making every note count. And when they fire up that impassioned rendition of The Motel's "Total Control" near the end: I swear it's nothing short of mindblowing, no shit it's intense! And as much as it's anyone's guess where Aviator Lane will go from here: after tonight I think we can all agree for those of us who were present, they truly left a lasting impression on us all!
Still in saying all that, I realise I've conveniently left out a sizeable portion of the story here; and it's got absolutely NOTHING to do with the music. For no Aviator Lane set is ever complete without its ever popular "audience participation" element: or more accurately the unique and utterly insulting relationship shared between Mike Radzevicius on stage and his "adoring fanbase" off stage who do their utmost to heckle and abuse him. It's a curious symbiosis (all the more jarring in juxtaposition with the all too somber "sadsack" sound of their live set). And to anyone who's ever attended a gig, you can easily spot the prime suspects to blame for most (if not all) of it. That would be Matt Banham (singer of No Through Road) and Matt Hayward (manager for Fire! Santa Rosa Fire!) continually yelling at him to "PLAY THE HIT!" or "STOP RIPPING OFF PAUL DEMPSEY YA WANKER!!" and all of it just short of the point that Mike will drop whatever he's doing and beat them to death with his guitar. Weirder still, Mike can't get enough of this shit. Better yet, almost anyone's welcome to give it a go. And tonight Mike can barely get a word in edgewise thanks to an precedented army of shitstirrers shooting insults at him with no hint of decency or remorse. The most colourful of which being "Kream Kracker" here (aka: "(totally not) Seth Rogen") who does his utmost short of deep throating his chosen victim (or proposing marriage) in effort to take him down. But he's not the only one to blame. Everyone's yelling out shit from inane requests to play Prince's "Purple Rain" (a personal fave of Mike's), or Steering By Stars (a truly low blow), to questioning his manhood and all at the most inopportune of moments. And as hilarious as all this sounds? it's made all the more hysterical in the fact it's happening at an industry showcase event. FUCK YEAAAH!! Yup, as much as it threatens to all but destroy the performance at hand (and a truly brilliant one at that) it also makes it all the more "memorable" to experience.. go figure?
Still everyone has their breaking point; even Mike Radzevicius. And after the upteenth song's stopped short well before it could even begin by yet another screaming yahoo demanding he "PLAY THE HIT", only for Mike to shoot back with an insult of his own, or otherwise strum his guitar defiantly whilst chanting "no really I can keep playing this note all night long" (and all to little or no avail) he turned the tables at last by inviting every one of his shitkickers on stage with a shaker in hand to join him for the triumphant finale. And as much as it would've been hilarious to get a video of it (duuude don't remind me!), since I was otherwise "occupied" at the time? here's a few fucked up photos instead. The first of which was shot on an ACTUAL camera (a Nikon D300 to be precise) by AJ Riley, aka: the resident "photography midget" for The Governor Hindmarsh..
Whilst these photos regrettably ended up on MY camera after Ryan Manolakis from Like Leaves had the "right mind" to borrow it as clearly I was "nowhere to be found". As despite all evidence to the contrary that's NOT me making an absolute dick of myself on stage.. OOOOH FUCK NO!!
1:09AM - With another whizz-bang installment of Coopers Alive all but over, some might say not a minute too soon after the mad mockery we made of it all in finale: or more accurately YOU all did as I swear I totally wasn't there (and I don't care how many photos you show me that prove otherwise!) everyone drank themselves gleefully retarded at the bar in celebration of a Friday night well served. As a lone figure, quite possibly Mike Radzevicius with a cardboard box filled to the brim, shuffled about the room doing his utmost to give away every last one of his Aviator Lane CDs. A task that was easier said than done as he'd invariably always butt heads with the same query, uttered a thousand different ways: "well I'm already more than satisfied crying myself to sleep, jerking off to Enya everytime I have a messy breakup: so what makes YOUR album any better? oh it's nine times more absorbent and comes with its very own beer coaster? hmmm you DO make a good case but yeah I'd dunno, you don't offer it as an itunes download do you!?". Still as it turns out he DID manage to shift ever last one of them after he convinced everyone they were in actual fact DVDs of Emma Watson from Harry Potter "doing it" with Kirsten Stewart from Twilight. Doing what, who the fuck knows!? but they totally went like hot cakes after that!
1:19AM - Yup, by this point in proceedings it looked like Jade Monkey was dangerously close to devolving into an "all nighter" party fuck full of hooting baboons pissing up the walls and ceiling (or in other words every one Zac The Psychic Bartender's wildest dreams come true) if it weren't for the fortuitous reappearance of THIS familiar fuckwit (again: totally not me, totally some other guy dressed up to look like me) who promptly scared everyone away after he offered to show us his other "shaker" he keeps locked away for special occassions. Mmmm that's all kinds of creepy!
1:31AM - Sufficiently weirded out by all that transpired (no really, even I don't know where I come up with these fucked up jokes sometimes.. yeeeouch!) I join everyone in fleeing into the night, only to be stopped dead in my tracks when I wondered out loud just where exactly I should flee to? As normally this would be one of those wildly predictable moments where I'd simply fuck off to The Ed Castle to piss on up. Except that always ends up being nothing but a fashion parade on a Friday night (or wait.. maybe that's just the Saturday night? or is it Transmission Live tonight? arrr fuck it!). So instead, and somewhat loosely in keeping with the introverted/anti-celebrity theme (until it was all but derailed by Aviator Lane turning it on its head tonight) I decided upon The Exeter: the last hiding place for Adelaide's intellectually elite, the fashionably inert and the socially obtuse!
1:43AM - Speaking of such it's here that I "coincidentally" bumped into everyone's favourite über goober Ben Revi: enjoying a quiet drink (or perhaps twenty) after performing a double billing at The Exeter as both the lead singer for Cheer Advisory Council and as the guitarist for Humble Bee (a wildly successful Friday night by all accounts). A chance meeting that I totally would have forgotten to take entirely ridiculously photos of if, it weren't for the trivial fact that: (a) it'd been well over two months since last I'd taken photos of Ben Revi and ultimately used them to take the absolute piss out of him on this blog and (b) he's been reminding me of this fact for the past five minutes flapping his arms about all exciteably, clearly so he can relive this whimsical experience all over again. OH YEAH HE DID!! And hey who am I to argue with clownshit insane logic like that!?
1:44AM - And yup, here would be the moment where it dawns upon him just how much of a tactical blunder he's made. While the more observant of you may also notice how everyone else in frame conveniently have their backs turned to camera in BOTH photos: chance coincidence? I think not!
2:26AM - Whilst these two idiots clearly have no shame. Mick Armstrong formerly from Tyger Tyger (that one band that got entirely too much coverage in this blog back in 2008) and Henri Dubois (who's only claim to fame as much as I'm aware: is apparently turning up in this blog hilariously drunk, every other week, whenever its deemed entirely unnecessary). Coincidentally the SAME two idiots that give me every reason imagineable to leave The Exeter as quickly as possible and maybe flush my camera down the toilet screaming obscenities for good measure. YEAAAS!!
2:44AM - And so quite like every night before it this is where I'm sent fleeing too, for no other reason than it's situated well underground, has two easily defensible exits, has an overflowing supply of alcohol (pfft who needs tin food and duct tape!?), is resistant to all forms of chemical, biological, nuclear attack and zombie outbreak (except perhaps for that one night we don't like to talk about) and is obviously the one place I ALWAYS go to for no other reason that I live here. What you didn't hear about that!? I totally moved from The Ed Castle and everything, true story!
3:24AM - And it's here that I find my peace at last amongst all the other hilarious freaks and geeks to whom such concepts as exhibitionism, fashion obssession, shameless self promotion or the "cult of celebrity" clearly have no measure (even in the teeny tiny incestuous world of the Adelaide scene.. YEAAAS!!) as clearly they're NOT screaming at me to take photos of them right now. Why? who knows I'm too busy pissing myself laughing to care! Just as they'll be sure to run away screaming the minute they see themselves in this blog. Aaaah irony, I do SO love thee!
Yup, you can really feel right at home in Supermild on a Friday night. Perhaps too "right at home". Take Ben Brew for instance, who's appearing in this blog for no other reason than he's five kinds of goofy looking, piss drunk on a camera. No really check out that beer gut: that shit's pure gold!
"Wait what's that Brew? oh I'm just cleaning the lens.. no really, I swear!".
In fact he's become so much the popular tourist attraction around here of late (completely through no fault of his own I might add), that we're actually offering up photo opportunities now. Take our lucky contestant "Sophie" here for example (not actual name, totally an alias) who's soaking up that awesome and unique "limelight" that only a completely oblivious drunk at Supermild could possibly ever provide. No really, no need to thank us "Sophie" it's all part of the excitement!
4:03AM - Now you may begin to wonder at this point, quite like you do in every episode: why all these drunks? what do they EVER do to deserve to be poked fun of in this blog week after week? Why!? oh I'll tell you why! It's because I swear I'm not making fun of them at all (yeak ok.. maybe just a little) but in actual fact "celebrating" them all for who they truly are! No really, I shit you not, right here in the drunkest extremity of the night is humanity as honest as you'll ever find them!
Yup right here, devoid of any ego or pretense, or even base motorfunction (or toilet training for that matter) isn't this the best shit ever!? People being people? FUCK YEAAAH!! I swear, in a world where any imbecile with a bootleg copy of Photoshop and a facebook account can airbrush the fuck out of themselves and fabricate their very own mass media assault: THIS is where it's really at! Isn't that right Dan Beacom from Jay Walker And The Pedestrians? Oh you know it to be true!
Or what about these two lunatics? Of course I have no fucking clue who they are, what they do, or why they're in this photo in the first place (it maybe just because "Benny" on the right has a fuckoff afro, except you can't even tell in this shot because all the angles are wrong.. arrrr fuckit) but either way I swear this is totally what I'm getting at! Or wait.. what was I on about again? help!?
4:22AM - Damn I wish you people would stop being so damn photogenic around here, you're totally undermining the point I'm trying to make. Wait do I even have a point anymore? do I ever make a fucking point? you mean I don't? it's always complete and utter gibberish? you don't read a word of it? and you're only here to steal photos for your facebook account!? Awesome! Let's get fucking loaded! aaand speaking of such here's Ruby Chew at the bar in a totally "spontaneous" photo we took at the end of the night.. isn't she all kinds of awesome!? oh you BET she is!!
Let's face it everyone's a "celebrity" now, just like everyone's a paparazzo too (and often at the same time). We're living in a shooting gallery, a surveillance society co-dependency. We've totally destabilised the currency, we've made it a democracy, it's not even worth the paper it's printed on anymore! And you know what!? It's about fucking time too! When all the REAL celebrities are nothing but drunks, drug addicts, lunatics and criminals: it gives all the bottom feeders like us a fighting chance to have a voice. We're one and the same now! Yes even on a pissy little website like this one known by next to no one (and don't you know it!) you TOO can reap the benefits of fame and glory! And maybe right there's the ultimate irony. Whether introverted, egocentric, or not even part of this fucked up circus at all, we're still out there heckling and shouting to be heard. Have you brought your megaphone? cause I sure as fuck have brought mine! let's party!