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...
TAME IMPALA + LIKE LEAVES LIVE @ ADELAIDE UNI BAR / Saturday October 17th 2009
It'll likely come as NO surprise to anyone reading this shit on a regular basis to know that I have trouble sleeping. I mean who are we kidding!? It's the ONE theme I constantly find myself returning to again and again. It's the price I pay for living the "five kinds of fuckoff awesome" that is the Adelaide music scene. A lifestyle that combines all the "best" bits of Fear And Loathing, Fight Club, Groundhog Day and Clerks (only straight to DVD with a non-existent budget and not nearly enough sex scenes or explosions). A lifestyle that'd surely be the end of me if it weren't for the fact I was already long gone before I even started this mess. Yup I swear for all the endless hilarity it "rewards" me with (I mean fuck dude why else would I keep coming back for more!?) it rarely gives me a moment's rest. And when it does it's always plaguing me with the same recurring nightmare. I'm the last one alive in a post apocalyptic wasteland overrun by flesh eating zombies. Or maybe they're vampires, werewolves, carnivorous leprecauns, umpa lumpas or space aliens with triple nipples and a raging case of halitosis. Either way they have no faces, they outnumber me seven billion to one, I'm constantly fighting them off by any means necessary and then I wake up screaming. And as much as we may laugh and dismiss this as nothing but fiction? I swear I saw one for REAL this morning. A real life bona-fide zombie: stumbling and mumbling in her pink nightshirt and matching socks down Chinatown, freaking me and my friends the fuck out on our way to Original Pancake Kitchen at 8AM. She was just a sign, there was plenty more to come. And as much as we could easily dismiss this and any of the other shit in following on me being up all night Friday and well into this morning, surviving on no next to no sleep, and likely tripping balls on whatever-the-fuck they put in that cold plate of noodles at La Sing Karaoke on Gouger at 7AM (don't ask!) I swear it's happening for real this time. My dream world and my waking world have collided as one, the dead have risen, the apocalypse is nigh and WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!
Still I realise that I've left out a sizeable piece of the puzzle here: what the fuck happened to my Friday night? and WHY the wacky zombie outbreak all a sudden!? And in response I have three words for you: "The Ed Castle". And if that needs elaboration? read every reason why that hellhole has driven me to the brink of insanity here. Still that being said, it DID play host to the first night of the "Coopers Alive Showcase" (featuring: Bronze Chariot, Thunderclaw and Like Leaves). And yes it was all kinds of head explodingly awesome, YES you totally should've been there, and yes I shot a shit load of footage for a follow up "video blog" which I'll be sure to edit up just as soon as you've completely forgotten about it (and then post it to a wildy popular international music site you've never even heard of) FUCK YEAH! Now fast forward through my wacky misadventures at Supermild, drinks at La Sing, us freaking the fuck out and calling the cops in Chinatown, a short stack at Original Pancake Kitchen, me finding my way home to collapse dead at 9AM, not getting a wink's sleep, only to return for more punishment on a Saturday night at Adelaide Uni Bar (Why? sheeiiit.. do I even need a reason anymore!?) and you may begin to understand why I feel like all hell has let loose on me tonight. Better yet it only gets worse the minute I fly up those stairs.
For it is here that I then promptly slam into an immovable forcefield of at least fifty zombies forming a stumbling and mumbling queue. Awesome! They're here for the same reasons I'm here, for Tame Impala, and their Sundown Syndrome Tour that apparently "sold out" ages ago. A fact made all the more bleedingly apparent in the twenty minutes it takes that same queue to shuffle their way up three flights of stairs to the front door. Hmmm. Upon getting there, I then race inside in the hopes of catching our first support act: Lady Strangelove, a band I haven't seen live in over six months and was itching like mad to see tonight (as lets face it: just like everyone else in the Adelaide scene I totally thought they'd broken up too) only to discover they'd long since left the stage, victims of the dreaded "8PM support slot". FUUUCK!! Oh and even better it appears I'm also facing off against the proverbial "cheesegrater of doom" too!? DAMN YOU!! No really I swear, one of these days I'll find a way to scam my way past all that shit and into that prized "photography pit" beyond. I mean how hard could that be!? I could totally fake journalistic integrity with this shit riiight!? (pfft.. yeah let's face it THAT ain't gonna happen anytime too soon!). So fuck it guess I'm stuck in the "nosebleed section" aye? OOOH FUCK, YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW THE HALF OF IT!
LIKE LEAVES (****1/2) myspace :: Still it's not all impending doom tonight. As much as Adelaide Uni Bar may be filling well over capacity with hoards of hilarious fuckwits, all my exit strategies (short of a tear gas grenade and a suicidal leap off the balcony) are being blocked off one by one, and it looks like it'll take me at least half an hour to reach the freaking bar let alone get served a drink (and all that effort for an overpriced beer in a pissy little plastic cup!? FUCK I LOVE IT HERE!!) we still have our second support act to look forward to. A second support act that makes all this insane effort more than worth our while: Like Leaves. Yup I shit you not duuudes, if ever you ask me for one band that I'd always recommend you go see in the Adelaide scene? past all the clueless goldfish expressions you'll invariably invoke (along with a littany of nervous ticks, brain malfunctions and me cracking off colour jokes about The Touch) THIS is the answer you'll always get. They along with a select (but growing) shortlist of ecclectic contemporaries (bands such as: Leader Cheetah, BrotherSister, Fire! Santa Rosa Fire!, Steering By Stars, The Sea Thieves, No Through Road, The Killgirls, Quiet Child and Cookie Baker) are every reason WHY I keep writing this hilarious drivel in the first place. Past all the throwaway indie dipshit disco, trash electro and overhyped spastic buzz band nonsense we're spawning in plague proportions (fuck duuude, don't get me started!), THESE are the bands that still thrive on what matters most: true musicianship and quality songwriting. And at the risk of blowing too much smoke up their proverbials? (ie: does anyone else remember the hell I put Lumonics through last year!?) Like Leaves have it all. Although arguably their better set was last night headlining Coopers Alive at The Ed Castle, here in support slot tonight they still make for a formidable presence. Opening with the slow burn of "Dancing On Glass" and the chugging spaghetti western of "Fruit" their strengths lie their rich atmospherics and volatile expressions manifest through intricate instrumentation. From the slow build of Patrick Saracino's hypnotic bass and Ryan Manolakis' articulate drumming, to the haunting feedback of Juliet Hunter's violin and cyclical melodics of Daniel Varricchio's guitar they paint a rich canvas. Although their compositions here are infinitely complex, they're also made instantly accessible in the meditative methods in which they develop their repeating motifs. In the simplest of terms they're like all the best bits of The Mars Volta mixed with My Disco but there's more to them than that. There's an epic and unique journey here, a character arc that's ever more apparent in recent sets. Through "Monument" and "Falling For A Fleeting Moment" they build upon the emotional turmoil already hinted at in the opener, an unresolved tension made all the more potent in Juliet's distorted violin and Dan's erratic vocal delivery, only to truly reach their culmination in closing numbers "Mercy Sound" and "Swordfight" (in what could be considered gender specific flipsides to the same emotional and existential struggle). Through all this detail, the cataclysmic devastation and the slow burn in between (the teeny tiny finger cymbals in Fruit were an especially nifty touch) it's easy to get lost in wonder in the worlds they weave. All the better when you're stuck with an increasingly volatile throng climbing the walls here tonight. Yup I may be mashed up against that accursed barrier, but with Like Leaves's set I can transcend all that cheese grating brutality and become very much akin to their nakesake: serene, green and floating fancy free in a cool summer's breeze. Aaaaah true bliss indeed!
TAME IMPALA (***1/2) myspace :: Still for all the otherworldly transcendence achieved with our opening act(s), it's all but beaten black and blue by the time our headlining act made an appearance. Which I admit is a somewhat unnecessarily "violent" reaction considering the tranquil reputation at hand here. For ever since they emerged from the Perth scene in a haze of dope smoke back in 2008, Tame Impala have been nothing but the sounds of blissed out. It's all in their iconic slow cooked psychedelia. A muffled haze of warm feedback, lyrics bordering on the yodeling nonsensical and spongey fingered mad grooves (very much reminiscent of Dungen crossfaded with The Chemical Brother's "Exit Planet Dust") plunging us into an endless summer of soothing sand, sun and surf. Or in other words just like making a novelty bong out of conch shell you can totally hear the ocean with. And they're not the most extroverted bunch either: more than happy to let every other band on the bill take all the credit, humble to a fault, hiding under a mess of hair, and noodling away like there's no one else in the room. And yet almost in spite of themselves they've still built a faithful following. First with the surfers, stoners and wastoids (or in other words those most prone to hover around the DJ decks at The Ed Castle on any given Friday). And then with the tragic Triple J hipsters, the scensters and the fashionistas flocking like a pavlovian response to whatever-the-fuck hits high rotation. So that by the time they played here in February it was practically a love-in. Tonight however it appears we've crossed a momentous threshold, passed the point of no return, and now we're experiencing the full blunt trauma of the much dreaded "Wolfmother Effect". Yup it's hard to explain how it's happened but now all the bogans have discovered this shit? the honeymoon is well and truly over. Well before Tame Impala even started tonight, the fight was on for frontline position. Between bands it was a territorial pissing contest, a proverbial parking lot, there was NO negotiating; not even an inch. Then within seconds of their first song it was all out war. You couldn't move, breathe, sneeze or even flinch an eyelid without sustaining comprehensive damage from these idiots. Insane I know, but a trivial detail for the punching dimwits amongst us who treated this room like a veritable rugby scrum. Every few minutes another one of them would come barging up front, plastic beer cup raised triumphantly (splashing everywhere to boot). Only to tag-team with another shrieking baboon who'd simply shove everyone out of their way back to the bar like a proverbial battering ram. Which granted would've been par for the course at any given Shihad or Cog concert (and all the more hilarious for it), but here listening to a few shades short of dolphins and whales copulating on acid: was a little "jarring" in juxaposition. As such attempting to take live photos was rather akin to attempting to load a musket in time to take down a stampeding Orc assault, attempting video footage was even worse, while enjoying the live set as a whole was all but impossible. Still for a few brief shining moments their sunlit sounds DID break through the treeline canopy and when it did it was nothing but bliss. Their high rotation singles: "Half Full Glass Of Wine", "Desire Be Desire Go" and their infamous cover of "Remember Me" by Blueboy proved most popular with all the flying fists, but what was most striking for me were the fresh cuts from their upcoming debut album. One of them (inexplicably featuring a kazoo solo!?) proved especially mesmering in the opener, while another with its percussive punch and guitar grind had all the mad indicators of a late nineties bigbeat jam: and it was moments like these that still made this set more than worthwhile. For as much as it was a skull crushing, punishing ordeal of the highest order: Tame Impala still had all our best intentions at heart. And sometimes even in an apocalytic state of war, that's all the "warm and fuzzies" you need to break on through.
12:26AM - And then mere moments after Tame Impala's finale (in fact barely a second after that last note dropped) Adelaide Uni Bar experienced what could only be called an explosive hit of decompression: as all the wire screens slammed shut over the bar (ceasing all alcohol service) followed by a loud "gurgling noise" as all the bogans, boneheads, baboons, knuckle draggers and Neanderthals were flushed down the proverbial plughole and into the night (likely to continue bashing skulls at HQ, The Casino, The Woolshed, Dog & Duck, The Richmond, Red Square or wherever-the-fuck else meatheads are known to congregate) leaving nothing but a littering of plastic beer cups and a sodden clump of matted fur (yup that would be me) circling the drain in their wake. Damn I think my ears may've even "popped" a little too! Now considering all the awesome sleep I didn't get the night before, and all the five flavours of fuckoff insane I've lived through just now (hey check it out I still have most of my original teeth accounted for!) most of you might be thinking this is where I'd be calling it a night. Or maybe SOME of you might be thinking this. Or maybe none of you at all, as let's face it we ALL know where this Saturday night is heading and it sure as shit doesn't involve eight hours sleep, a Sunday mass or a mad hit of Vitamin D (as let's face it all of the above would just as likely involve me bursting into flames).
1:01AM - Which is why I obviously ended up at Shotz. I mean fuck where ELSE short of a "suicide mission" would you ever want me to go tonight!? (wait.. don't answer that!). Except you'll notice it took me a full half hour dragging my feet to get here: as obviously I was still way too sober at the time (thanks to the "meat packing plant" at Adelaide Uni Bar tonight). And this was the last shithole short of hell you'd ever want to find me whilst sober, or even if I was blowing a blood alcohol limit slightly short of that where blood forms an explosive propellant. But hey since when should that bother me!? who cares if I'm sober? who cares if I've barely slept a wink since Thursday night? Why I'm Spoz damnit! I'm a non-stop party machine! Every night's a wacky new adventure! Pack that beer bong, inflate the bouncy castle, flood the jelly pit, call the strippers, crank that PA well into the infra red, launch those fireworks and LET'S GET FUCKING MENTAL!!
I mean sure you can't read the "excitement" on my face right now, but I swear I'm totally buzzing to be here. No shit, I'm pumped, I'm jumping, I'm practically pinprick pupil dialated and exploding out of my eye sockets giddy with anticipation. This is SO gonna be the best damn night of my life YEAAAS!! *cough* or maybe I could sneak out before anyone notices me.. oh crap, too late!
1:04AM - Yup this is Sara. I know, isn't she awesome!? (she practically makes my teeth vibrate just looking at her!). You may remember her from every other episode where I've ever walked into Shotz on a Saturday night only to wake up in a filing cabinet with a tag on my toe and my head floating in a jar of formadehyde (yes.. I know!). Obviously she's the ONE good reason why I'm here tonight (to counter all the even better reasons that end in me running like hell moments before the little LCD display hits "triple zero" and the building explodes around my ears) as she's celebrating her wild and wacky "Choose Your Own Adventure" party tonight. A birthday party she decided to throw in Shotz of all places as apparently she lives here. Or more accurately this is where they "bring her back to life" every weekend on three quarts of blood, six store bought mice and a jumbo bag of pink "wizz-fizz" as obviously she's a vampire. Or maybe she's a corpse bride? Or maybe she's a Frankenstein combination of both!? Either way dude? I SO gotta get drunk!
Speaking of such, no swiftly delivered downward spiral into alcoholic oblivion would ever be complete without all my fuckup friends to celebrate it with (or in other words to pump my stomach afterwards, promptly declare me dead, speed me off to into the Adelaide hills for a swift burial and cash in all my shit at "Crime Converters"): such as the always entertaining Joe Blogs here..
Or his uncanny "robot replica" of Simone that he built especially for the occassion using nothing but spare parts scavenged from a department store mannequin, waffle iron, whipper snipper, cuckoo clock, DVD recorder, surface to air missile launcher and the CPU ripped from a "Tickle Me Elmo" doll. And although she doesn't come equipped with any nipple mounted laser cannons (I know, I was totally disappointed when I heard that shit too!) she CAN mix up a mean marguerita using nothing but her pinky toes. OOOH YEAH!! Oh and as for where the REAL Simone is tonight? pfft.. I mean dude who freaking cares!? hasn't she already appeared in enough blogs by now?
And then there's THIS hilarious freak who I swear I've never met before in my entire life but we'll still get retarded drunk with regardless as he inexplicably resembles a giant fuckoff carrot (and as for the other shaved gimp who I've also never met before who's standing next to him!? yeaaah he's just using him to score with the ladies). Oh and as for WHY his eyes are glowing red like that: as much as I could claim I "accidently" forgot to factor in the red eye reduction, in actual fact they really DO glow like that. I shit you not it was funniest shit ever! Or at least it was until he tried lunging at us with his razor sharp teeth and we had to beat him to death with our shoes. And in answer to your NEXT question: it's Shotz duuude, what else were you expecting? Disney on ice!?
And just when it couldn't get any better? they just had to invite my "internet stalker" Miss Moira along for the ride too. Why? because clearly Shotz is my very own ninth circle of hell, that's why! I mean I KNOW she looks all fluffy and innocent here (yeah she's just like a kitten only fifty thousand times more psychotic!), but I swear the "dry cleaning bill" she leaves me with everytime she chases me down (let alone all the "crisis counselling"!?) is nothing short of astronomical!
Yup right here would usually be the moment when she starts screaming hysterically over the fact that I'm actually in the same room as her (you'd think the court ordered restraining order would have some effect on her.. but noooo!!), lunges at me arms and legs flailing in a flying tackle, sends me crashing to the floor violently and then proceeds to hump my leg mercilessly until all my friends STOP laughing themselves stupid, stop taking photos and eventually pry her loose.
Thankfully however it never quite turned out that way as some anonymous "Good Samaritan" did me an absolute solid by anaesthetising her well in advance, on what appeared to be nearly enough tranquilisers to flatline a rhinoceros (or maybe an elephant), or fuck it maybe she totally did it to herself!? (they DO sell a tray of five for $15 dontcha know!) either way as much as she STILL tried lunging at me (ie: kinda like the closing scenes of Terminator) all she achieved instead was to fall flat on her arse laughing. Awww I know, I almost took pity on her! Until I shook off that momentary lapse in reason, gleefully stuffed her in a ziplock bag, carted her past the bouncers (all but oblivious to anything that ever goes on in here), and threw her in the dumpsters behind The Crown & Anchor. YEAAAS!! Or at least that's what I was totally planning on doing until I realised I'd already filled them to capacity with all my OTHER "victims" and so instead opted to dumped her in the Panda enclosure at The Adelaide Zoo. Weirdly enough? I think she'll be happy in there.
1:19AM - It's moment like these that clearly call for celebration. And who better to do it for me when I'm clearly way too knackered (read: lazy) to do it meself, than to hire the services of a "professional idiot" like Joe Blogs here. And as much as I have absolutely no fucking clue WHAT he's attempting in response (some might call it dancing, I beg to differ) I still gotta hand it to him, for what he does, he DOES do exceptionally well! No shit.. Joe Blogs? what a freaking legend!
Oh and need I mention it was a "fancy dress party"? yeaaah probably not (oh and to answer your follow up question: that's not just one sock, it's two of them, as in actual fact he has no testicles).
1:27AM - Yup and to think I'll be laughing it up with these hilarious nitwits, here in Shotz of all places for the next THREE AND A HALF HOURS? and I've only had the one teeny tiny frosty beer to tide me over!? Shit damn.. I've got to do something about this escalating catastrophe and fast!
1:54AM - So obviously I did what anyone else would do in a crisis like this and went straight to robot replica Simone (aka: "S1m0ne", "Simonebot", "Chrome Simone", "Robo Mona", "SimoLacra" "Count Spotula" or "wait.. you mean to tell me she DOESN'T come equipped with nipple mounted laser cannons!? FUCK DAMN that blows!") and asked her to mix me up some margueritas. YES!!
2:15AM - Only just like every other robot in the history of sci-fi she somehow confuses "mix me up some margueritas" with "murder every single person in this room and mix up their remains all over the walls and ceiling" (I heard the first palm pilots had a similar problem back in the mid nineties, go figure?) and before I had a chance to "argue" to the contrary (and after much blood curdled screaming and viscera splattering) I was left with one hell of a "dry cleaning bill" to deal with (fuck, not again!?) or at least I would have if only I didn't laugh myself stupid at the first sign of trouble and then run like hell well before the cops arrived. YEAAAS!! Oh and before you ask: both Joe Blogs and "random dude who totally looks like a carrot" are perfectly fine: as by a curious loophole they didn't classify as "people". And as for the rest? yeaaah it's probably best you don't ask.
2:45AM - Feeling altogether embarassed by what I "accidently" unleashed at Shotz tonight (because clearly that's how it TOTALLY happened.. AAAHAhAHAhAhA!!), I escaped to the opposite end of town and arrived at The Ed Castle instead. Which would have been the all kinds of "head exploding awesomeness" that we've come to expect from yet another whizz-bang installment of Plus One if it weren't for the simple fact that they were closing this shit up in ten minutes time.
3:10AM - And so instead I made haste for the "last refuge of the damned", the last late night haunt in all of Adelaide that's never failed me yet, except for alternating Fridays where it ever so subtly "blows a giraffe" (or that one night a few months ago when we found a toothbrush floating in the urinal and they had to call the army in to shut the whole shit down). Or in other words? guarenteed good times: just as long as you don't mind waiting in line for ten or twenty minutes, presenting a blood sample at the front door, or being scrubbed down vigorously from head to toe in the decontamination showers. Why? because you can never be too certain in this day and age! Not just for all the zombies and dribbling mutants roaming the streets (ie: easily identifiable by their mad predilection for spastic indie disco and pacman pills) but for the hiccups maaan! I know you're laughing right? but have you ever tried getting rid of that shit in a hurry!? IMPOSSIBLE!!
3:37AM - And for the first time tonight I finally found peace and quiet. Out here in the beer garden with my longneck of beer (aaaah I ask you is there ANY other way!?) soaking up the blissful sights and sounds of Supermild on a Saturday night. And most of it conveniently off camera too as I wasn't plagued with yet ANOTHER fancy dress party exploding all around me screaming for photos (no really is it just me or is EVERY FUCKING PARTY a fancy dress party now!? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH PEOPLE!!). Oh and speaking of nothing of the sort heeere's Chrome Simone! "Hi Chrome Simone, how did you sneak in here tonight!? you massacred all the door staff? awww isn't that nice!?".
3:58AM - It was then that I realised I'd made a mistake. What I thought sounded like "Hi Chrome Simone, how did you sneak in here tonight!?" she somehow translated into "I'm Chrome Simone: the alpha and omega and all else is a virus that must terminated!!". And we all know how that turns out for everyone involved (and it sure as shit doesn't come with a shot of tequila either!).
Still I wouldn't be a "gonzo journalist" worth his weight in marguerita salt (wait I don't even drink that shit!?) if I didn't take photos, laughing myself stupid all the while as she glitched on out..
Wow they really DO make these psychotic killing machines so expressive nowadays don't they!?
4:37AM - Still before all her subroutines could fire up full force and exterminate us all, I managed to douse her with a tank of liquid nitrogen (that I just so happened to have handy), disabled the depleted uranium rail gun in her belly button (aaaah so that's why she doesn't need the nipple mounted laser cannons!? genius!) threw her in the general vicinity of Steve here and ran like fuck for the exit. I mean sure he might just be a humble lawnmower man (better yet he's a former drummer too) but I have full confidence that he'll know EXACTLY what to do! Or on second thoughts.. yeaaah we're well and truly screwed! I wonder how Alaska is looking this time of year?
Yup sometimes I STILL wonder why I can't get a moment's sleep in this insane asylum, this Adelaide scene by any other name. Or why I wake up screaming whenever I do. And then I realise there's no escaping it now. My dreams, my nightmares and my reality are all one and the same. I'm in the eye of the storm. I'm at ground zero as the bombs drop. I'm the last one still standing. All these dribbling mutants and flesh eating freaks (or worse) simply follow me everywhere I go now, they ambush me the minute I have my guard down, and here I am doing my utmost to fight them off and STILL they come!? sheeiiit! It's the bane of my existence I swear.. just as it's the same reason why I keep coming back for more. For no matter how stupid it gets out there? (and then some!) just as long as there's still ammunition handy!? fuck it I'll keep on shooting!