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...
LADY STRANGELOVE + TWO SUNS + GALAXY CAT "PLUS ONE" @ THE ED CASTLE / Saturday November 14th 2009
Consider for a moment the average human brain. Why? aaaah why the fuck not!? The human brain: spongy, round, wrinkled in complexion, tannish-grey on the outside, yellowish-white on the inside, approximately one and a half kilograms, home to anywhere between fifty and a hundred billion neurons, with a general consistency and flavour not unlike that of tofu (or so I've been told). Although not extensively embued with any kind of aerodynamic finesse, flame retardance or even base aesthetic appeal (or in other words.. if ever you saw one slithering up a wall you'd likely shoot it dead and switch postcodes) when housed in a large enough cranium and given ample access to food, water, shelter, sunlight, oxygen, and the occassional book to read it is nothing short of a calculating genius. I myself am a proud owner of one (I've even been known to used it once or twice) and I couldn't recommend it more highly for all your home or office needs. Still as awesome as it is to have around (so much so we've yet to build a computer that can best it) it does come with its own set of annoying "quirks". For one there's no preinstalled operating system: you need to teach it, and I mean EVERYTHING from scratch, by yourself. Although it sports well over one hundred trillion active synaptic pathways, just you try and get it to agree on anything: let alone what to do for lunch. It's accident prone. It always makes mistakes. It really doesn't like surprises. It can't handle more than two things at once. It's easily confused. It doesn't take kindly to blunt trauma or explosives. It's allergic to extremes in heat, noise, light, smell, taste, a sudden drop in altitude, zombie outbreaks or the colour beige. It's distracted by just about anything (especially if there's absolutely no chance in hell of having sex with it). It only remains "functional" for sixteen hours before needing to shut down again. It doesn't come with its own wi-fi connectivity or even a twelve month warranty. And better yet at least ninety five percent of it is almost identical to that of a chimpanzee!? Yup that's the human brain alright! How do we EVER live without it!?
Of course I'm pondering all of this now because I'm pretty certain mine is dead, and I'm not even kidding this time: it's K.O.'d, it's crapped it, it's gone completely fucking kaput! Yesterday it did little more than laugh itself retarded playing "GTA Chinatown Wars" on the PSP for eight hours straight (although understandably so.. it's a ridiculously awesome game!) and today it's stopped functioning altogether, makes the weirdest gurgling noises whenever prompted, and appears to be crawling in thousands of insects (I assume that's not a good thing.. riiight?). And as for who or "what" is writing this episode instead? yeaaah it's best you don't ask. Clearly I've brought this all on myself. I've known for the longest time that my "lifestyle choices" aren't all that conducive to rationalised thought (which admittedly is the ONE reason why I enjoy it so much), eight days of a record breaking November heatwave ain't helping matters (duuude tell me about it!), only to follow that up with a Saturday night serve of shit-staining psychedelia at The Ed Castle? WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING!? (oh wait clearly I wasn't because I'm already long gone). Yup if ever you wanted to know how NOT to treat your brain, short of a user's manual transcribed into six languages (and not one of them's remotely English) featuring all manner of wacky cartoons of my "bug-eyed sponge" being beaten to death with sledgehammers: then let THIS be your cautionary tale!
GALAXY CAT (**) website(?) :: It all begins here on a Saturday with our opening act Galaxy Cat. Or at least it does for the sake of my lazy narrative. For those of you STILL wondering what ever happened to my Friday night: ask all those Chinese officials who were responsible for making it snow in Beijing two weeks ago, followed by one lone butterfly flapping its wings in Tokyo (damn you chaos theory!), factor in a few thousand cow farts to exacerbate it, the current trading price for a barrel of crude oil, the continuing existence of Oprah Winfrey, the trivial detail that the Earth is in fact spiralling into the sun (don't tell me it ain't true!) and all of it resulting in me collapsing dead in front a teeny tiny desk fan for the past week (held together by blu tack no less) rapidly losing my will "to give a shit" and that'd be your answer right there. *Phew*. I mean fuck.. it was hard enough leaving the house tonight, let alone crawl into the proverbial blast furnace that was once The Ed Castle's band room (without at least two or three frosty beers to back me up) without attempting the same suicide mission on a Friday night. And all this effort on a Saturday just now only to realise I arrived late to THIS shit, but only because they've snuck it in EARLY at ten o'clock for no good reason? (for the first time in almost all of The Ed Castle's short history as a live venue!?). FUUUCK!! Where am I again? and why am I the only person who can smell something burning!? OH YEAH.. our opening act! Yup although I only arrived at the very end of it, caught all but five minutes, and I could've sworn for MOST of those same five minutes it was nothing but a sound check (only to be told otherwise by the mixer.. go figure?) I CAN present the following informational tidbits as "fact" in this laughable excuse for a live review. Galaxy Cat is in essence a solo act (or quite possibly just a once-off practical joke) spawned by the illbient mind of one Will Spartalis: former bass player from Tokyo City Sex Shooters, one of the geniuses behind Italian Spiderman and also the brand new fifth member for our headlining act Lady Strangelove. Consisting of nothing but him, a microphone, a laptop (feeding in about a billion chorus, vocoder and flanger overlays) and quite possibly a bag of something illicit ingested mere moments prior to the show (I've got dibs on it being equal thirds shrooms, acid and ketamine) its overall effect is somewhat akin to a stoner acapella of every one of Pauly Shore's "scripted" moments from the early to mid nineties (see: Encino Man, Son In Law, Jury Duty or Bio-Dome) reinterpretted as an alien abduction. Or in closest musical proximity, simply picture the strangest extremes of Beastie Boys' "Hello Nasty" album, crossfaded with all the facemelting bits at the end of Beck's "The Information", throw in a shitload of David Bowie (just being all kinds of fuckoff freaky), only minus all the handy percussion and rhythm that'd root it in any semblance of reality and that'd be your monkey shot into space. Of course I realise this was only the last five minutes. The rest of it could've been anything from polka, Japanese death metal or the oldskool Nintendo theme to Metroid, I also didn't have time to capture any of it on video either, but considering all the stoners assembled here tonight were wearing glassy eyed grins like all their Christmases had come at once: clearly it must have been all kinds of fuckoff awesome. Galaxy Cat. As much as it might not have made any sense to me, even less so whilst attempting to explain it just now, if you time it up to the beginning of The Wizard Of Oz? I swear you'd see the actual face of God morphing back and forth between a pod of fornicating dolphins moments before your brain implodes. And what more could you want from your opening act than that!?
TWO SUNS (****) myspace :: Which brings us to our second act. Or at least it did as soon as I managed to scrape myself off the floor after Galaxy Cat (no mean feat.. it was the coolest part of the room), funnel at least three more frosty beers into my deep fried carcass (aaaah such misguided bliss!), remind myself once more WHY I was putting myself through this living hell in the first place, only to stumble right back into the band room again for reasons I couldn't quite fathom (but quite possibly involving the regular upkeep of this pissy little website: rain, hail or shine). Still with all that being said, the bands didn't come unprepared. Far from it. On the plus side it meant they'd provided a tonne of extra cooling fans scattered about the stage (at only $5 a pop hired from Derringers!? SCORE!) one of which was conveniently accessible at the front (YEAAAS!!). On the down side however was the gross lack of stage lighting to accompany it (I assume a simple safety measure to prevent any of the bands from accidently dying from heat stroke.. go figure?) which made capturing any of this mess on camera just about impossible to achieve without a flash (but hell watch me attempt it anyways!). A challenge made even more hilarious in the fact that I was rather ridiculously drunk at the time (did I mention all the beers!? DAMN YOU HEATWAVE!!). Still such are the risks you take, risks made all the more rewarding when you get bands quite like our second act. Yup Two Suns, formely known as From The Dead Sea are a classic "freeform" psychedelic jam band (arguably one of the most chillout sub genres to enjoy live) and in this case especially: one that only but improves everytime you hear them. With Mathias Northway on guitar (and even the occassional vocal now), Davidson Jones on bass and Ben Smith on drums they conjure up a rich odyssey in blissfully lysergic sound. One that features layer upon layer of burning guitar riffs, hypnotic bass loops and cyclical drumming that could be best described as "television snow for the psyche", "a river's journey from mountaintop to ocean view" or the musical equivalent of a "magic eye puzzle" only with NO limit to the images you could conceive in it (and especially if you're totally wasted). And with my mind already well beyond blurring that line, there was truly a world of influences (some possibly unrelated and imagined) coalescing in front of me. It was the awesomest thing watching it unfold. In their set tonight I could hear everything from Pink Floyd's "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun", Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker" and Black Sabbath's "War Pigs": but if the same set was played again it'd likely come up with three different answers. Such is the rich ambiguity to their sound, each experience could be potentially different. But where it really finds its strengths is not in these individual incidences, the songs themselves, but more so in their effortless ebb and flow between. From one teeny tiny stick of incense lit up in the beginning by their bassplayer Dave (an oddly fitting intro at every one of their shows) and in the light crackle of the amps they expand their performance to encompass the entirety of creation. From the blissfully meditative to the diabolically malevolent. From the soothing esoterica of Mogwai to the turbulence of Tool. From Heaven to Hell and back again they take you with a serene sense of purpose. It's a mad trip. By the end of it all the laws of physics seem utterly irrelevant, your spirit disembodied, both your shoes inexplicably missing (and suspended over the nearest telephone pole) and a smoking hole where your head once was but it's a small price to pay. Two Suns. Like both hemispheres of your brain shat out of each ear in a fine aerosol mist, only all the more enjoyable because of it!
LADY STRANGELOVE (****1/2) myspace :: And as for our headlining act it's been a long time coming. And I mean a RIDICULOUSLY long time coming. Not just because it's been almost eight months since we've last seen them play a single live show (as surely that recent "support slot" for Tame Impala didn't count as next to no one was around that early to "witness it".. yooou crap weasels!) but also because it's been well over three years since they even released a second EP!? WHOAAA FUCK!! Yeah I know it's weird to think they've been an "active band" for THAT long, even more so when you consider just how many other bands have formed, celebrated "wildly successful careers" and imploded in their deceptively short lifespan. I mean fuck.. you've seen these serial slackers pissing about the DJ decks at The Ed Castle for the past two years, you tell me!? did you even think for even a second that they were still playing live gigs? NO REALLY!? and yet here they are back at it again better than ever!? Yup despite all the insane rumours to the contrary (ie: they were moving to Japan, or to Melbourne, or to the far side of The Moon, or they'd ditched their "happy high herbs" embraced all the "angry ones" and hired Bumblebeez as their producer with plans to become the next "Wolfmother".. pfft!) they've finally put all of them to rest tonight with their long anticipated new EP "Freakquencies" (an EP you can totally download for free here.. HELL YES!!). And all I can say after hearing it is THANK FUCK THEY'RE BACK!! No shit, Lady Strangelove have been one of my all time favourite bands in the Adelaide scene. Not only because their sound is SO ridiculously easy to encapsulate: simply mix Led Zeppelin with The Chemical Brothers and you're good to go! Or because they make for one of the most mindblowing shitstorms in psychedelia you could ever hope to experience live. But more so thanks to all the above (or more specifically the lysergic antics of one Josh Van Looy on guitar) I can cook up just about any hysterical gibberish on them in a live review and it'll still stick. And it's THAT "creative freedom" I miss the most. No really.. throw in everything from a pod of whales exploding out of a penguin's pee pee, tropical birds passing through the event horizon of a blackhole, or the sound a flock of geese fornicating in a wind tunnel and people will STILL eat it up under the insane belief I'm being spot on accurate!? YEAAAS!! They're the dream gig for any gonzo journalist! As for tonight however, as much as they could potentially lead me to cooking up more of the same (as arguably they're no less insane), it's more about the subtle differences now that make that much more lethal live. For one there's a newfound focus here. It's no less facemelting in its diabolical impact, it's just that much more punchy in its delivery. Part of it is thanks to their new fifth member Will Spartalis (who frees up what has formerly been a circus act for Azz Shaw juggling between both bass and keys to solidify the rhythm section) but there's more to it than that. It's more about the individual songs now and that explosive "burst of energy" than the mad jams melting it together. There's a broadening of scope too, a willingness to experiment with the colours, the tones (and yes even lyrical content you can totally understand) that give the songs more contrast, and it shows, especially live on stage tonight. And then there's the trivial detail of their lead singer Brendan Shaw and his spastically short haircut (like what the fuck is THAT all about!?) but yeaaah that's neither here or there. In short for all of you who thought they were long since dead and buried (especially after all their equipment got stolen last year.. yeeeouch!) yes they're back, yes this set was all kinds of head explodingly extreme, and YES you should totally kick yourself retarded for missing out on them. But since they've racked up thousands of dollars in recording debt? THERE'S PLENTY MORE WHERE THAT CAME FROM!! Lady Strangelove. It may have taken them well over three years to record a new EP. It may have taken them almost eight months just to "duck down to the corner store for a bag of Doritos and a rainbow slushy" (pfft you stoners!) but it's still been well worth the wait. WELCOME BACK DUUUDES IT'S BEEN FAR TOO LONG!!
1:47AM - Thanks to all these awesome psychedelic acts and whatever-the-fuck Galaxy Cat was meant to be (um anyone!?) my mind has been well and truly blown beyond that which any mind should ever be blown outside of a documentary series starring Carl Sagan. And better yet we still got a full "dose" of it without any of Lady Strangelove's accompanying psychedelic visuals? (because apparently The Ed Castle "changed ownership" this weekend and someone buggered off with the digital projector!? FUCK YEAAAH!!). Yup there was only one thing for it now. It's the same "quick fix solution" I always seek out in times like these, except in a record breaking heatwave like this one it only becomes that much more apocalyptic (shit when doesn't it!?). I needed beer and lots of it: like say a tall frosty jug of it. Which in of itself would've been more than enough to satiate this blasting heat if it weren't for the fact that barely one thirds into drinking my SECOND someone challenged me to "skull it" (damn you Nathan D'Agostino!) only for me to counter on the grounds he'd buy me a third so I could start fresh, better yet he agreed (you lunatic!) and we shot THIS video of it. And yes I DID down it all in under forty seconds without throwing it up (I know and I totally wimped out taking those three breaths too) and NO it didn't occur to me (for even a second) that I could've been drinking ice water instead!? Oh yes I really am THAT retarded!
1:54AM - As such I remember very little of the rest of my night, and by "very little" I pretty much mean absolutely nothing at all. On the down side it pretty much means everything you'll be reading from this moment onwards will be nothing but an "hilarious work of fiction" pieced together from whatever scant "forensic evidence" I've accumilated after the fact (ie: all these fucked up photos left on my camera, plus any SMS I may have scattered about on my phone, combined with pretty much the first insane thought that "pops up in my head"). On the plus side however: how is any of this different from anything else I ever write!? EXACTLY! Better yet it's not like anyone else would have even noticed tonight, as from the looks of it we all appear to have achieved intellectual parity here. And by "parity" I pretty much mean paralytic. Aaaah don't you just love summer? I know I do! Wait you mean to tell me it's STILL spring!? AWWW CRAP WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!
Oh and before you ask: no I have no freaking clue who ANY of these idiots are (short of that one gargling wingnut from Jay Walker & The Pedestrians with his tongue sticking out.. go figure!?), and yes I'm very much aware that what appears to be "me" in this photo is in fact NOT me, but an animatronic fascimile of me substituted at the very last minute with an ill fitting facial expression. I also appear to be "melting" as apparently I'm made completely out of wax. Awesome huh!?
2:51AM - An hour or so later (it says so in the file data so it must be true!) I somehow ended up on the balcony. I forget why exactly (or how I managed to navigate myself up all those stairs in the first place without falling head first through a window) but apparently there were people here, or at least there were people shaped blurs here, or maybe they were just animatronic puppets and nothing but an overly intricate conspiracy designed to fuck with my head past two in the morning (and no it wouldn't be the first time). Either way what you're seeing now is clearly NOT the balcony but me photographing myself in the upstairs toilet, and I appear to be awfully proud of this achievement too. Why? aaaah who the fuck knows, but aren't you SO glad I posted it anyways!?
3:46AM - Somehow still being able to walk upright AND in a straight line (although not necessarily both at the same time) I manage to stumble my way to Supermild, bluff my way past the bouncers, pull a "Jedi Mind Trick" on the door bitch inside and make my way to the bar. Which is quite the sophisticated procedure really when you consider I somehow managed all of the above whilst simultaneously registering a blood alcohol level above that which would flatline the average vampire (excuse the inherant irony in that statement). And to think they serve long necks at this bar? Oh there's NO WAY IN HELL this could possibly end badly now could it!? OOOH FUCK NO!!
3:56AM - Speaking of such it's here that I soon bump into the ever infamous Joe Blogs. You may remember him from.. yeah let's just skip that bit. Obviously this meeting is no mere coincidence, for if ever there was a way to distract you all from just how blitheringly drunk I am right now (no shit I could totally give both Gary Busey and Boris Yeltsin a run for their money), it's by finding someone even more stupifyingly drunk than I am and then proceeding to take far too many retarding photos of them than is ever deemed necessary for a "live music blog". I like to think he's good value in that way. No really, let's all hear it for Joe Blogs.. what a freaking legend!
3:58AM - Case in point, here he is going beserk on Tom Krieg, bass player from The Battery Kids, not only because we thought it was freaking hilarious at the time, but also because putting two of "the most batshit insane idiots I know" in the same photo frame (yeah ok, that's a relative term at best) instantly makes ME appear SO much more "witty" and "sophisticated" by comparison.
3:59AM - Of course it's only just now that we, or more accurately Simone here (who appears to be the only one still of "sound mind" tonight) discovers that ever widening puddle of what we HOPE was "drool" and decides to intervene. Which is a bit of a pity when you consider all the extra photos I could have taken, only to look back on them on my camera the next day in abject horror, only to throw that same camera out of the window, only to chase it with a sledgehammer screaming for the "pain" to stop. Or in other words I totally could've gotten a new camera out of it (yup for every reason that the insurance I totally don't have on it, totally wouldn't have covered it too!).
4:27AM - And speaking of charred wreckage (actual or otherwise) this is "Boris", he's a German tourist (or at least that's what all my phone messages tell me.. he could actually be Austrian), who's appearing in this blog for no other good reason than he followed Joe and Simone here from Zhivago of all places (wait.. you mean people still actually go there!?), he appeared in at least fifty other photos I never remembered taking, and this was actually the LEAST stupifying one I could find. I believe there's a moral to this story somewhere.. but beats me if I can remember it.
5:42AM - Over an hour later, after what I imagine was a misguided trip to Micky D's, eating food I swear I don't remember eating (aaaah isn't it always the way with processed garbage!?) we end up here on West Terrace as Joe Blogs attempts to kidnap this traffic sign in effort to fly us all home. Which seemed like the most logical decision at the time, except for the life of us no one had a certified helicopter license in effort to operate it. Yeah I know it sounds improbable, but if ever you get one of these squat bastards airbourne? most graceful thing you'll ever damn near see!
5:45AM - So with no other insane option available we settled upon the logical one: splitting a taxi. An utterly trivial occurence which of course I felt the retarding need to document for no other reason than it clearly serves as my "black box recording" in the event we accidently caught one of those "goofy" taxis driven by a mass murdering crazy eyed psychopath (aaaah you remember all those wacky serial killer movies from the late nineties!? GOOD TIMES!!) but also rather neatly encapsulates why every Middle Eastern country secretly wishes the West was wiped off the face of the Earth, especially if they have the misfortune of driving us all home at the end of a night.
5:50AM - Either way mere minutes into our journey, and clearly not looking to take any more chances (especially if it turns out we're being driven by the reanimated carcass of Andy Kaufman from the sitcom "Taxi" OOOH FUCK NO!!) Joe throws me some Monopoly money to cover the "difference" (which at current exchange rates could totally buy me a stick of gum.. SCORE), both he and Simone throw themselves arse backwards screaming into traffic (conveniently just outside their front door too.. wow I'm almost impressed by that!) leaving me with what will surely be my imminent demise. Still all things considered, not a bad way to bow out on a Saturday night!
Consider for a moment the average human brain: doused in gasoline, wired with explosives, frozen in liquid nitrogen, mashed with mallets, blown up like a balloon animal, pulled apart by vultures, topped with candles and served up at a children's party (only to get most of it splattered all over the carpet and the curtains) now imagine it floating in space. Insane maybe, too insane for most, but for my brain it was a weekly reality, a reality that is now no longer. For after this week there can truly be no doubt, it's gone to meet the great beyond. For as much as its cognitive abilities could just as easily be replicated by MacGyvering up a spare appendix with a scrabble set and a tab of acid, and as much as most of my audience would be none the wiser that this exchange ever took place, or how how many times it's happened before (just as surely as it'll simply "regenerate" by next week!?) it's never the same. R.I.P. brain you will be missed!