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...
JAY WALKER & THE PEDESTRIANS + HAWKS OF ALBA + DIESEL WITCH EP LAUNCH PARTY @ THE ED CASTLE / Saturday February 13th 2010
Tonight I had THE most stupidly ambitious plan in the history of "stupidly ambitious plans" all set and ready to roll. No shit it would've been awesome! It would've been epic! It would've been five kinds of fuck off apocalyptic with chinese firecracker, stripper nipple tassles going fuck off beserk, while everyone around me would be firing AK-47s off in the air, shouting "YEE-HAAAR!!". Or yeaaah maybe it would have been NONE of the above (I mean what the fuck am I even talking about!?) at least not compared to all my "usual" standards (and believe me I've done my fair share of assinine antics in the name of THIS blog before) but still looking over it all now? OH MAAAN it would've been huuuge! IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALL TIME!! And if ONLY I didn't get all of five hours sleep the night before (ie: thanks to me STILL frantically writing up last week's "stupidly ambitious plan" up until a few hours prior to this shit.. OUCH!!), and I wasn't so scatterbrained I seriously couldn't be arsed leaving the house, let alone the couch without my "fun pack" of Panadol, THEN I TOTALLY WOULD'VE DONE IT ALL TOO!! Hmmm. And so instead of catching both the skull fuckingly sublime sounds of Quiet Child as they launched their shiny new single at Jive (likely supported by a plethora of "awesome" no-name prog rock bands from Melbourne ripping off Tool by way of Cog.. YEAAAS!!) whilst simultaneously catching ANOTHER launch party at The Ed Castle and then getting ridiculously shitfaced drunk at The Crown & Anchor, The Exeter, the newly opened Garden Of Unearthly Delights (or whatever-the-fuck ISN'T the same 'ol schtick I'm always running into the ground in the west end) I decided instead to opt all my increasingly exhausted efforts towards that launch party at The Ed Castle (for Jay Walker & The Pedestrian's shiny new EP) and yeaaah whatever happens after that (ie: everything short of my head exploding). *PHEW*. I forget what the moral of this story is exactly but THANK FUCK for beer maaan or I'd clearly be dead by now!
DIESEL WITCH (****) myspace :: Yup the fact is I fucking LIVE for launch parties: single launches, EP launches, 7" vinyl, albums, whatever the fuck short of a fridge door opening (or a calendar launch.. pfft!) they're the ultimate "power of veto". They're the BEST party going in Adelaide. It doesn't matter where I'm at maaan.. whether I'm at another gig, or I'm catching a movie, or I'm catching a few "dirt ZZZs" six feet under in a pinewood box because I don't know when to quit (no shit I totally hit the ground running when I started writing this blog again didn't I!? FUCKING HELL!!) the minute I hear there's a LAUNCH PARTY on? I'll still claw through that dirt, pinewood and upholstery like a madman, kill everyone and everything standing in my way arms outstretched groaning and moaning for brains.. JUST to be a part of it! THIS is why I left the house tonight. THIS is why I'm drinking myself horizontal to keep myself "upright and alert". And with our opening act? it just made my insane efforts all the more worthwhile! Yup, this is Diesel Witch. If you haven't heard of them before, don't worry: short of that ONE gig I caught of theirs waaay back in August 2008, I'd barely heard of them either! They rarely perform live, at least not that I'm EVER aware of (thanks in no small part to the fact they're utterly crap at promoting themselves) only to be made all the more annoying as a "live band" when you finally DO catch a gig of theirs, only to discover they're nothing short of brilliant.. FUUUCK OFF!! Yup I shit you not, Diesel Witch are just one of those chance few discoveries that not only reaffirms your faith in just how brilliant the Adelaide scene can be when it aspires to something greater, but also provides damning evidence for why it'll never amount to anything outside of a small circle of scene geeks because nobody ever fucking knows ANYTHING about them before it's too late (and seriously people still wonder why I write this blog?). To explain, picture a 60's garage rock revivalist band along the lines of The Black Lips, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, The Fearless Vampire Killers or The Novocaines only a whole lot more ecclectic and creative. No really, calling them "garage rock" is simply too limiting. Think Snowman style surf guitars and film noir slow jams that wouldn't sound out of place in a David Lynch movie. Think of all the screaming intensity of The Libertines or The Vines. Weirder still think of that bizarre "country twang" that only a band like The Pixies could possibly pull off mixed with Nirvana's "Incesticide". It's all there, swirling in a playful primordial of howling feedback, distorted riffs, extended messy jams and instrument swapping between guitar and drums. I mean there's just so much colour and vitality in all this chaos, in all this tuneful fuzz, reigned in so artfully in every song, it absolutely boggles the mind.. I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF IT! And I'm not the only one blown away by it either. Moments into their set, in walks Alex Rajkowski from The Shiny Brights (just before his DJ set outside.. pfft) he totally bugs out, jaw hits the floor, and he tells me: "you know what? THIS is the band Modular should have picked instead of Tame Impala.. FUCKING HELL!!". And as much as I dig Tame Impala (short of all the bogans they seem to be attracting of late) I dare say the rat bastard is right! Diesel Witch are SO fucking genius it actually pisses me off they're NOT "big" yet. They're complete fucking unknowns, when they should be out there KILLING THOUSANDS (or at least three hundred at Jive). Fuck damn! You totally gotta get in on this duuude I swear, before they invariably break up in six months time. Diesel Witch? no shit, you'll TOTALLY thank me later!
To add further "insult to injury": a few songs shy of the end of their set, they mention (almost apologetically) that they had an album out too. They only bothered to bring nine copies tonight (you eeeiidiots!), and if anyone was "interested" they were totally giving it away for free. DAMN! Now obviously after all the feverish twaddle I'd just written above I just HAD to score me a copy now didn't I? OOOOH FUCK YEAH!! This is it right here. Jokingly entitled "Best Of...": most of the eleven songs included are little more than demos, live recordings and stoner jams, and it was quite possibly recorded in a toilet cubicle (or an abattoir) somewhere but I swear it's the best shit I've heard all week. "Demo Of The Year for 2010"? Yup we may very well have a contender!
HAWKS OF ALBA (****) myspace :: On the flipside however, our second support some of you MAY have actually heard of before THANKS to Triple J. Yes that's right, I'm actually giving Triple J credit for once.. WHOAAA SHIT!! I mean suuure they may be a fuck off monolithic, mouth breathing, dribbling, diabolical beast of a "youth radio network" with a massive east coast (Sydney) bias. They may be responsible for unleashing such shrieking abominations as Operator Please, Architecture In Helsinki, Muscles and Art Vs Science (and how can we forget Dizzee Rascal's "Dirtee Cash" high rotated to the point of an exploding aneurysm last year.. damn you Scott Dooley!). And suuure they might flood the airwaves with so many standup comedians thinly guised as "radio announcers" thrashing Aussie hiphop it's practically a human rights violation (all except Sam Simmons of course.. pfft, that dude's a freaking genius!). But they DO occassionally get things right. Like say Craig Schuftan's "Culture Club", or the odd Richard Kingsmill documentary series (providing proof that YES he's actually good for something besides moon tans!), and especially for Triple J Unearthed for giving airplay to awesome acts like Fire! Santa Rosa Fire!, The Battery Kids, The Honey Pies (just this week!) and THIS band so they DON'T invariably gig for only eighteen months, release two pissy EPs and then break up (aka: "The Adelaide Special"). Yup, this is the Hawks Of Alba. Formerly known as "Running With Horses", they used to be a twee "librarian pop" duo between bassist Sarah Masters and drummer Aidan Moyse (both on vocals) back in 2006, I even caught a gig of theirs once (yeaaah I dunno.. it was aiiight). Then they buggered off to Scotland for a few years. Then they came back. Then they were joined by guitarist Hannah Fairlamb late last year. Then they changed their name to "Hawks Of Alba", got picked up by Triple J to play The Adelaide Big Day Out.. and here they are tonight. SHIT YEAAAH!! Yup the fact is, Triple J were right on the money for once because thanks to unearthing THIS trio, they've sheds light on a sublime sound that's all too rare in the local scene of late (ie: ever since 200 Motels broke up) and especially since Courtney Love ruined it for everyone when she stormed off the stage at The Adelaide Big Day Out back in 1999 because "a fucking bug bit her" (although let's be fair, Sarah McLeod's solo career is probably to blame too!). Yup we're talking "grrl grunge". It's a shit term I know, and I apologise.. but we all know the bands that made it awesome back in the 90's: The Breeders, Veruca Salt, PJ Harvey, Magic Dirt, The Clouds (to name but a few). Such sweet sweet vocals (sometimes harmonised, frequently pissed off) teamed up with distorted guitar fuzz. It was like the perfect "quiet / loud" dynamic. And if you doubt me still, simply listen to "Cannonball" by The Breeders, THAT'S what we're talking about here! And Hawks Of Alba are bringing it ALL back tonight! From the teeny tiny "twee" vocals of Sarah Masters on bass perfectly counterbalanced with the apocalpytic pounding beats of Aidan Moyes on drums, to the dappled tunefulness of Hannah Fairlamb's guitar giving it colour and shape, to all the screaming gang vocals between them, it's all so perfectly balanced and polished into three minutes of ear candy, delivered one song at a time that you can't help but nod your head along with a goofy grin. No shit! And what makes it even better, is in how light their arrangements are too. Nothing's too crowded, it's all so spaceous and minimal, everything's given sharp definition in its room to move. And if all else fails? you can't go wrong with a drummer who plays the drums and the glockenspiel AT THE SAME TIME. Yup that's the Hawks Of Alba. And as much as half of this live review may amount to little more than hysterical gibberish (no shit!), when you see them live? you'll understand just what I'm getting at. Start to finish? nothing but bliss!
JAY WALKER & THE PEDESTRIANS (****) myspace :: Aaaah you gotta love a launch party don't you? In almost any OTHER circumstance our headliner would be just another forgotten 60's revival act doing their "thing" (y'know kinda like Diesel Witch before us only much more obvious in the oldskool influences they're ripping). Think the tie dyed sounds of Monterey Pop from waaay back in 1967. Think dirty blues as done by suburban white kids in Liverpool "who don't know any better". Think everything from The Who, The Kinks, The Velvet Underground, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones all rolled into one. Think jangling guitars, jerky coin-operated stage moves, vocals kinda like John Lennon meets Lou Reed rapidly devolving into gutteral shrieks, and a verse / chorus dynamic that veers ever so slightly into the hilariously unhinged. FUCK YEAAAH! Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that shit per se. Far from it. ANYTHING is better in the Adelaide scene of late than YET ANOTHER FUCKING INDIE DISCO ACT. And dare I say Jay Walker & The Pedestrians are one of the finer proponents of the sound. All their original songs are catchy as fuck. They play a mean cover of Iggy Pop's "I'm Bored", they play an even meaner cover of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode", they even throw in some random girl playing the cello (who I didn't get a photo of) for that all important "symphony orchestra" feel. Oh and hahahaha.. what about the time when that other nutbag who apparently "produced their EP" went shitcrazy with the tambourines near the end tonight? hiiilarious! I MEAN WHAT MORE COULD YOU POSSIBLY WANT!? It's just that yeaaah.. let's face it, everyone's doing it (and for the past forty odd years or so) and you dare not eat a bowl of cornflakes or take a dump in the woods without yet another one popping up and saying hello. Dare I mention names? no I won't. There's millions of them and they're fucking everywhere. So what DO you do when everyone around you is dressed like the proverbial penguin then? How DO you make yourself known short of being a "Noel Gallagher" and slagging off everyone to NME? LAUNCH PARTY THAT'S WHAT!! And without a doubt Jay Walker & The Pedestrians have one hell of shitcrazy shindig on their hands tonight.. OOOOH FUCK YEAH!! Everyone is here. And when I say "everyone" I truly mean EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE FUCKING WEST END is packing this band room to blackhole density. We're talking a shrieking shitstorm of arms, legs and miscelleneous debris scraping the walls and ceiling and licking the light fixtures. We're talking beyond retarded.. no wait there isn't even a term yet invented that fully denotes the precipitous drop in collective IQ that I'm experiencing right now (although a similar "rapturous reception" that Philadelphia Grand Jury received back when they toured here in October would come a close second.. yeeeouch!). And here I am stupid enough to be the "proverbial punching bag" out front? downing beers for dutch courage? wielding a teeny tiny compact camera like a weapon (Canon IXUS 960: still in action after fifteen months and counting? SHIT YEAAAH!!) just so I can document it all? and I've had all of five hours sleep last night!? FUCK DAMN, WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE!? Oh that's right IT'S A LAUNCH PARTY! *forehead slap* Seriously, where else would I be duuude!? THIS is living right here even if it fucking kills me! I mean sure I might have seen them before back when they supported Jimmy & The Mirrors in April 2009. I may have been laughing it up retarded with them many times since, often whilst blaringly drunk at Supermild (aaaah remember "Mount Slushmore"? good times!). I may even have forgotten what the fuck they sounded like. I mean, who the fuck ARE these guys!? But THIS, this launch party: this is what makes a "good" band great. Jay Walker & The Pedestrians I freaking salute you!
If you're wondering just now: "wait.. that wasn't much of a live review!?", you'd be dead right. And NO it's got nothing to do with the traffic light that they've stuck behind Alister Pike's drumkit tonight (seriously who steals street signs anymore? pfft.. that's SO last century!). Or for the fact I was hilariously drunk at the time. I mean shit duuude.. aren't I always drunk!? OF COURSE I AM!!
No it was DEFINITELY the crowd. For all the hilarious reasons listed above (teeth marks duuude.. fucking teeth marks on the ceiling!), for all the reasons I've since forgotten thanks to the hilarious "head trauma" they rewarded me with (or wait.. perhaps that WAS the beer!? hmmm). Either way, as much as they look all "fluffy and innocent" in this photo BEFORE the show? it was a whole other hurricane category the minute Jay Walker & The Pedestrians hit the stage.. it was all out war!
Again the photos really don't do it justice (especially THIS one that makes it look like it's "bible camp") but I swear it was dog eat dog maaan.. it was psychotic! Within the first three songs they were already hard at it, bum rushing the stage, doing victory laps, backflipping into the swarm again. Crowd surfing, up on each others shoulders, smashing into each other like dodgems. And the noise? that shrill cacophony threatening to overtake even the band itself!? FUUUCKING HELL!!
Now don't get me wrong: I ain't green, I ain't a new recruit, I've seen my fair share of bloodthirsty action in the pit. Fuck maaan I was even there back in 1995 when Faith No More played the Entertainment Centre: having my ribs smashed in by two brick shithouses either side of me trying to steal my spot on the barrier (I swear they were seven foot tall!), while every other dickhead under the sun dive bombed right over the top of me. I mean there was no common decency back then, there was no chivalry, there was no code.. we simply kidney punched everyone in arms reach just to teach them a lesson, it was hiiilarious.. hahahaha I couldn't move my neck for a week! (aaaah those were days huh?) And as much as THIS crowd was hardly that? compared to The Thieves at The Jade Monkey in November, or both Mayfield and God God Damnit Damnit "tearing me a new one" back in March.. yeaaah this one definitely comes a close fourth, or maybe fifth?
1:53AM - Moments after the dust had settled, ears still ringing (or maybe that was just the sound of everyone's EEG hitting a sustained "flatline") I took stock of the damage. I was pretty sure there were no fatalities, both my eyes and most of my fingers were still intact. But what none of us could account for was THIS stain between the foldbacks. And I shit you not duuude, we debated this for a solid twenty minutes.. and even THEN none of us could get a clear answer! Everyone said it was blood. I was pretty certain it wasn't blood. And as much as you may argue, I'm no "blood spatter expert" (despite what you may be lead to believe from half the blogs I wrote in 2008) but I know for one that (a) blood is never known to form a weird shade of magenta like this (especially not in the presence of oxygen), and (b) there should've been a "blood trail" leading somewhere; of which there wasn't. So instead I postulated a second theory that it was in actual fact "Sangria Mix". And as much as the taste test came back inconclusive in proving that (huh, what!?) I dare say it was about the right colour and texture. Hmmm, speaking of which..
2:56AM - No, regrettably there was no Sangria Mix to be had at the bar. In fact for the most part they couldn't even get the fucking beer taps to work (they told me it was something to do with the refrigeration unit exploding, it'd cost them $6000 to fix it on the weekend and only $800 afterwards.. y'know, "blah di blah blah" whatever-the-fuck!) and thus we were forced to drink everything either in bottles or pissy little plastic cups instead. And by "forced"? yeaaah we pretty much didn't give a shit either way. I DID however find these fuck off awesome sunglasses missing both their lenses in the band room (SCORE!), and since I was clearly waaay too retardingly drunk on whatever-the-hell I was drinking (no it wasn't blood) I thought I'd take a few too many stupid photos of it and post them all on this blog because clearly.. WE'VE NEVER DONE THAT BEFORE!
If ever you feel the inescapable urge to steal any of this shit for say a scenster parody site like "Look At This Fucking Hipster", or y'know maaaybe not (I mean why would you ever think that.. WHAT ARE YOU? INSANE!?). Then obviously we were never here, we never had this conversation, and I didn't just suggest anything.. especially not to a thousand or so people who visit this site.
Because if I did? "Melvin" here (not her real name) would totally come at me with knives and we'd all be in a world of trouble. So yeah totally use that one of Nazz instead.. WAAAUHAhAHAhAhAHA!!
Hmmm and why do I have the sneaking suspicion this prank is totally gonna backfire on me?
3:33AM - Many MANY beers later, after I exhausted every available photo opportunity I could possibly take with a busted pair of sunglasses before it got to be way beyond "the point of stupid" (wait.. there IS such a thing!?) or more accurately I STILL took a bunch of photos anyways and I simply edited out all "the worst ones" that had ME in it (yeaaah.. that sounds more like it!) it finally occured to me that maybe I might want to try my luck at Supermild instead. And not because "Melvin" was gonna come at me with knives or anything (pfft.. NEVER!!) but more because drinking long neck beers actually sounded like the most "logical" decision we could EVER make.
3:42AM - Unfortunately however it turned out to be closed, in fact it'd already been closed for well over an hour now, and so I simply went back to The Ed again. Bugger! And as for what any of this has got to do with me and this poster, half floating in the men's urinal, that I swear I didn't pee on!? yeah I got no fucking clue.. but it kinda sums up the night quite beautifully doesn't it?
Yup tonight was clearly the stupidest plan in the history of "stupidest plans" but since it was a launch party? aaaah fuck it I knew I just had to be there! I swear it didn't used to be like this. It used to be the rarest of the rare, it used to be a "once in a blue moon" but now they're multiplying like rabbits maaan! Every season, every month, every week, everywhere you turn you can see them now hunting in packs, two or more at a time, jumping out of trees with giant placards, beating you over the head and screaming: "COME TO OUR LAUNCH PARTY.. IT'LL BE FREAKING HUUUGE!!". Have I created a monster? could I possibly be to blame for all this? I dare not imagine. All I do know for certain is that HERE in the month of February I'm clearly at the event horizon: do I dare jump in? do I run and hide!? either way I'll be sure to send you a postcard.