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...
RIDE INTO THE SUN + THE BATTERY KIDS LIVE @ ARCADE LANE / Saturday March 13th 2010
This morning I had the weirdest dream. I mean yeah, suuure, pfft.. since when are they normal riiight!? but this one was REALLY WEIRD I swear; especially in how it all ended. I was at some lazy cafe, or maybe it was a restaurant: it was during the day, outdoor seating, blue skies, could've either been back of the South Australian Art Gallery or City West Campus (two places I almost never frequent mind you) or possibly just a jumbled combination of the two; either way there I was sitting at a small round table, thin metal chairs, facing a row of floor to ceiling windows. It's one of those "arty farty" scenster crowds: some I recognise, some I don't, tapping away at their laptops, checking their phones, huddled in cliques and conspiring, a collective look of fashionable and bored. Then it dawns on me (and rather quickly too) that this was all just a dream, and since I was bored too I think: "fuck it.. maybe I'll have some fun with this shit". And so I pick up one of those metal chairs next to me, like a tennis ball, like I'm clicking a mouse, and I hurl it straight at the windows in front of me. FUCK YEAAAH!! I'm hoping it'll shatter into a million pieces, I'm hoping peeps will bug the fuck out.. and yeaaah at best? I simply scratch the surface.. "huh, WHAT!?". And so obviously a teeny bit "miffed" by this, I simply pick up the same chair and try again. Still nothing! FUCK!! And so I keep on hurling that chair again and again, increasingly frustrated, STILL no shattered glass! Oh wait.. they're looking at me now, I've got their attention! some of them are even pointing at me and laughing (oh great that's JUST what I need!) and the window's all spidery to shit and still no punchline? DAAAMN YOU!! So eventually fed up with all that (like no shit!) I walk up to the window to inspect the "damage" (or lack thereof): and then as my last ditch effort, with all my fingers outstretched as if I'm performing an incantation, I focus my psychic energy on the "problem area" and *vip* it just heals right up, good as new.. "WHOAAA SHIT, NO WAY!?". Yup everyone's cheering, they're ecstatic, I'm ten foot tall with fuck off superpowers, I'm like Neo out of The Matrix, and then *BAM* I wake up? I know huh!? WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH THAT SHIT!?
Not surprisingly after a dream like that.. my hangover is brutal. Duuude it feels like someone has pulled my brain out with a pair of rusty pliers, kicked it about the floor for a good eight hours: the dirt, the sawdust, and what I could've sworn was pine bark (go figure?) and then they stuffed it right back into my skull again all backwards and up through my sinuses cavities like a smashed lamington, before kicking my head in a few times for good measure. And better yet? that was the least of it! Oh maaan my eyes felt like they were square pegs smashed into round holes, my ears were ringing off the hook.. I don't know who the fuck they were calling!? I had NO hand eye coordination.. I was playing pinball with the walls! and here I was planning on doing the same shit at Arcade Lane tonight!? Yup nothing out of the ordinary for me (and I SO earned it too!) but still I needed an antidote. And so in rapid succession I downed two panadol, two packets of mi goreng, fired up one Sigur Rós album with the walls spinning (curtains drawn), and then I bade my time till that one teeny tiny red balloon popped in my head. *PHEW!* Saturday night heeere we come!
Obviously it's gonna be one fuglyarse night tonight. You'd have to be barking mad to be amongst it lest it piss all over you. But yeaaah I couldn't care less, I WAS ON A MISSION! Yup even when I got on the bus tonight, only to discover the entire back half was punching up to the ceiling in hooting and shrieking baboons (likely off to The Richmond in search of their very own "Lara Bingle" to molest) and everytime the bus came to a standstill they'd announce it triumphantly like it was a fucking sculling contest: "STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP!".. oh it didn't bother me in the slightest! (freaked out all the other passengers mind you, but me? pfft I was fine!). I simply slipped "Sea Priest" on the ipod (just ripped today.. SCORE!!) blasted the volume to an earbleed in my headphones and I was long gone! Yup Adelaide may only be on the verge of a nasty hangover tonight, but trust me duuude.. I've been living with MINE just fine for well over a month now!
THE BATTERY KIDS (****) myspace :: I arrive at Arcade Lane, bus full of shrieking baboons at 9PM, thinking I'd gotten here "just in the tick of time". Only for some inexplicable reason it took at least two hours for anyone to get their shit together and put our opening act on stage (pfft.. well obviously dude! I mean why else would I be rambling for four paragraphs and post all those pre-show photos? BECAUSE I'VE GOT ANYTHING ELSE BETTER TO DO!?) but I dare say after all this lead up? our opening act made it well worth our while. And better yet? it also gave me plenty of time to get three or four beers into me to "enjoy" them more too.. SCORE!! Yup The Battery Kids are just one of "those" Adelaide bands. One of those assinine explosions of shitcrazy rock operatics that not only get all the more wilfully insane the more you see of them (hence all the heavy drinking), but also become all the more hilariously enjoyable to watch because of it. I like to think of them as a car crash rendition of Muse fronted by Daniel Johns from Silverchair, co-directed by Tim Burton and George Romero only with all the distortion pedals turned up. And no shit duuude when I first saw them? (quite possibly sober) it totally did my fucking head in. I mean just from watching their idiot bassplayer Tom Krieg run laps around a live stage alone, they're liable to cause epilectic seizures. But after a few live spins they really started to "grow on me"; quite like a fungus, or a mental illness, or quite possibly BOTH at the same time. Last time I saw them back in November they were launching their new single "Ancient Curse". Tonight they're launching yet another "Underneath Her Skin" (with an upcoming interstate tour) and coming soon after that? they're also releasing their album with the altogether succinct title of: "We’re Just Hanging While the Rats All Gather and the Vultures Circle Overhead" (launching June 11th). So with any luck they'll totally burn themselves out in six months time and we'll never see them again.. FUCK YEAH!! Still *cough* there was a lot to like about their set tonight. No really! Starting off with a bizarre 1950's crooner cover of.. oh fuck I dunno? it had the lyric "Crying Over Youuu"!? (anyone?) they then kicked into a mixed bag of pretty much every musical malfunction you can possibly think of stuffed into the one ill-fitting body: everything from aping My Chemical Romance, Kasabian to Bon Jovi, all unleashed with a spastic pastiche of crunching guitars, galloping equestrian beats, rubberband bass and way too many stupifying "owl" hooting choruses in between (I know, what's not to love huh!?). Their song "Ghost Town" was made all the more memorable tonight thanks to Tom Krieg fucking up his bass strings right at beginning; only to force the rest of the band to play an interlude for 2-3 minutes while he fixed it (pfft.. idiot!). They closed with their always popular cover of Nick Cave & The Bad Seed's "Red Right Hand" (ie: you've never quite lived until you've heard it accompanied by Shannon Juvan's hysterically effeminate thrashing and flailing). Oh and apparently it was also their drummer Shannon Simpson's birthday too. Or as the band put it ever so eloquently: "it's his birthday, he's single, he's twelve.. oh and he's gay". Yup there was truly something for everyone in tonight's set; even for the catholic clergy! The Battery Kids. They're about as subtle as a sledgehammer wired up with C4 explosives letting loose on a circus bazaar with accompanying commentary by Freddy Mercury.. but when you're completely shitfaced wasted? duuude there's nothing else quite like it!
11:54PM - Coming up next our "headlining act" are playing their first ever live show tonight. Hmmm. Initially you might think of that's a bit of an odd choice here, especially considering they're also headlining the last night of Arcade Lane (as being a "pop-up venue" and all, it's due to close with the rest of the Festival Fringe this weekend.. yeeeouch!) until you realise just WHO we are dealing with here. For Ride Into The Sun: featuring lead singer Anthony Candlish from Kytes Of Omar, guitarist Luke Mayes and keyboardist Jess Honeychurch both from Mona Lisa Overdrive, bass player Adam Vanderwerf from Empire Vagabond, and drummer James Thomas from Saint Huck, are hardly new to the Adelaide scene. No shit! They've already been promoting themselves like crazy for the past few months: uploading mad studio cuts to Triple J Unearthed, cooking up all manner of logos, posters and publicity photos, fuck maaan they're even working on a debut album with uber producer Matt Hills (tentatively set for release later this year). Yup to say their debut appearance tonight was "wildly anticipated" would be putting it mildly. I mean just LOOK at that crowd for one! Can ya feel the mad buzz? can you feel the excitement!? OOOOH FUCK YEAH!!
RIDE INTO THE SUN (***) myspace :: Problem is of course it's their "first show" tonight. OOOH FUCK!! And we all know where this is going riiight? Yup "first shows" almost ALWAYS blow a fucking goat (sometimes they even blow a hippo or a horse!). It's like a rule, or a rite of passage, or a particularly gruesome "initiation ceremony". Everyone knows it, everyone's been there (me included) we've all got our horror stories to tell, isn't that right Young Hearts Fail!? And the only way we can ever hope to survive them all is to simply grit our teeth, down some dutch courage, rip through our setlist as quickly as humanly possible, hope and pray it's not a total exploding bout of diarrhoea.. and then after it's over and done with our faithful rent-a-crowd can pat us on the back, tell us "what a great job" we did (even if they're obviously lying) and we can then proceed to get violently ill at the bar. "YEAAAS!! we've made it, we're still alive, we actually don't sound half bad, and best of all WE DIDN'T INVITE SPOZ TO TRASH US MERCILESSLY ON HIS BLOG!? YEAAAH!! WOOOOOO!! SHINY RECORD CONTRACTS HERE WE COME!!". Except of course Ride Into The Sun DID invite me (youuu idiots!), and worse still I actually turned up too (WOOOOHAHAhAHaHAHA!!) so to spare them all what will surely be a horrific review here.. I'll TRY and be brief. In short it would've been awesome, no really! it would've been mindblowingly insane, if it weren't for all their microphones fucking up on them. Ooops! Yup beginning with short sharp busts of squealing feedback, it culminated in the funniest fuckup of the night when, just prior to Anthony's acoustic number, his microphone completely cuts out on him (as the mixer frantically tries to fix it for five minutes or more) only for the sound on his acoustic to cut out too (FUCK YEAAAH!!) only for Anthony to completely lose his shit off mic and swear profusely: "we've already been fucked in the arse ONCE by this venue.. AND NOW WE'VE BEEN FUCKED IN THE ARSE TWICE!?" at which point he simply cuts the song in frustration; only for the rest of the band to swear profusely throughout the remainder of the set too as the vibe progressively turns to shit. YEEEOUCH!! Oh and the less said about their nonexistent lighting too the better (no really, I've had better luck at Rhino Room and Rocket Bar.. FUUUCK!!). Still all fuckups aside there WAS a lot to like about this band, even from the start. In fact Ride Into The Sun may very well be one of the most promising debuts for 2010. In a nutshell think of them as slow burning psychedelia accented in both film noir aesthetic and spaghetti western influence. Think "The End" by The Doors mixed with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (especially in Anthony's vocals), The Black Keys, The Velvet Underground (especially in Luke's guitar riffs), Josh Homme's The Desert Sessions and a just a hint of The Dandy Warhols. Think minimal stabbing drums, plodding basslines, slow cooked guitars and keyboard flourishes accompanied by punch drunk vocals. Think brooding widescreen cinematography in sound, with songs that conjure everything in a desert landscape, so much so you can practically taste it.. the shifting sands, the heat shimmer, those bleached white cattle skulls gleaming in the sun. The band looks the part, they're method actors in their respective parts, they inhabit their roles completely; they're truly a class act. And in the middle when they rip into a truly inspired cover of Mazzy Star's "Wasted" with Jess on keys taking lead, only to stretch it out into an epic, face melting, nine minute space jam.. as Luke nearabouts dismantles his guitar to its subatomics and back!? ooooh man it's truly something else! Yup it's just a pity it was their debut gig tonight and so much of it was hilariously rife in dysfunction (and how!), but trust me maaan, Ride Into The Sun: give them a few weeks tops and they'll simply blow your bits away!
12:45AM - With Ride Into The Sun leaving the stage in a black cloud just now and with only ONE clear aim in mind (short of burying the mixer where the cops won't find him), ie: to get as hideously drunk as medical science could allow them: I figured "what the hey!" and followed suit. I mean a little "hair of the dog" couldn't hurt me right!? (pfft.. of course not duuude! IT'LL BE FREAKING HILARIOUS!!). And so after hitting the bar for some much needed supplies (and possibly going back for seconds) I joined in on all the "festivities" backstage. Now it's the first time I've ever been backstage here at Arcade Lane (and likely the last time too) and as much as I'm initially lost for words in describing it all, these photos might just sum up the vibe quite nicely..
1:08AM - Awwww I know, it kinda reminds us of home now doesn't it? Or yeaaah maybe it's just me? as quite coincidentally my "home" is just a few laneways over in the dumpsters between Jade Monkey and Hindmarsh Square (no really, come say hi sometime!) and yup just like home, it ain't short on creature comforts either: like this resplendant kitchen with it's well stocked refrigerator.
Or this luxury bathroom. And yes I know what you're thinking: kinda looks just like the kitchen only bigger riiight? but here's the trick maaan: if the bottles are FULL? it's the kitchen, but when the bottles are empty? it's actually the bathroom.. genius ain't it? TOTALLY!! And I swear we only got it mixed up once too (and yeaaah it's probably best we don't speak about it either *cough*).
And of course you can't go past this living room suite. check out those couches.. mmmm comfy!
And this is where they entertain all the "guests".. with what exactly? ha ha ha ha duuude! what CAN'T they entertain them with!? No really don't let this photo fool you, it's such a nonstop riot of excitement in here that I'm practically peeing myself unable to contain it all.. YEAAAS!! only I've forgotten where I "left it" afterwards, only to..? yeaaah you're probably better off not knowing.
1:40AM - After an hour's light entertainment and heavy drinking (aaaah and if only you knew the hilarious hijinx we got upto too), we return once more to Arcade Lane. And if two words could neatly sum up the prevailing vibe in here right now? it'd definitely be "sinking ship". Yup with the Fringe Festival closing up this weekend, and with the organisers eyeing the exit all night (they're award winners dontcha know!) it clearly hit an iceberg midway through Ride Into The Sun, and now this late in the night? next to everyone's simply manned lifeboats and fled the fuck outta here (whilst taking most of the bar with them too.. baaastards!) and now all that remains is Azz Strangelove on the DJ decks valiantly playing on as we "sink below those waves", while a small scattering of street artists like this one provide just that little hint of bohemian rhapsody in closing? Awww I know, it'll be SO sad to see this place go too! *sniff* Arcade Lane: sooo much fun, SO LITTLE MEMORY!
1:51AM - And as I pass by these exotic mannequins for the very last time.. I can't help but think that although Arcade Lane may soon be gone, quite possibly forever, quite possibly temporarily (as word on the street is they're hoping to establish this shit all year round.. no really, imagine how ridiculously awesome that'd be in winter when it rains!? YEAAAS!!) in a few weeks time I'll still be returning here regardless.. just so I can piss on the same hallowed turf where so much art, colour and culture once flourished. Aaaah I know huh? there's something so poetic in that isn't there!?
2:12AM - Knowing full well those knuckle dragging bogans from Clipsal 500 would be roaming freely through the east end tonight, partying on anywhere NEAR them obviously wasn't an option. As such I'd already ruled out The Crown & Anchor: as surely that "human toilet" would be overflowing upto its proverbial light fixtures in Holden shirts, Jim Beam caps, shrieking monosyllables and sloping monobrows; and I wasn't nearly desperate enough to give The Austral a go and face off against all the jocks there (pfft!); and as much as I assumed The Exeter wouldn't fair much better? aaaah what the hell, I had to go somewhere. Only the minute I arrived here it appeared everyone else had already left. Hmmm, so fuck it.. guess it's the west end aye?
2:52AM - I next figured I'd hit Format Festival in Peel Street, which would've been a brilliant idea if only it hadn't fallen prey to the same invisible "locust swarm" that must have emptied out The Exeter.. or yeaaah perhaps I simply left it too late. And thus I was faced with one of two options in going forward (excluding the one that lead to me taking a taxi home of course). Either (a) I start up my very own "pop-up" venue here in this alleyway off Currie Street (not at all coincidental to the fact I might've been pissing on it at the time), or (b) take the bleedingly obvious route instead.
3:04AM - And so to the surprise of absolutely no one, I end up here at Supermild. YEAAAS!! Although it did surprise me a little that I'd been followed all the way by THIS freak, especially considering I'd secretly been trying to lose him since Arcade Lane (aaaah and you SO wouldn't know it from the look this photo, would you?). Still he did prove useful on ONE account: he DID buy both our long necks just now. So to you Paul.. or whoever-the-fuck you are again? I salute you!
3:17AM - And so it was here that we spent the remainder of the night. Cheerfully drinking ourselves retarded from one hangover to the next, with all the other whimsical brain injuries who fled the Clipsal 500 for safety here tonight.. like this dude who totally looks like Thurston Moore.
Or "Bloodnutt Brett" here with his ventriloquist dummy "Kane" (aka: The Gimp).
Which obviously I had to ruin by getting myself in the shot too.
Or totally random dude here.. supplying us with the most ridiculously awesome photo of the night.
Totally random dude with his ventriloquist dummy.
And totally random dude with some other "dude" who I swear totally ISN'T me but merely my doppelgänger "Kenny" having a laugh at my expense (despite any uncanny resemblance that we may otherwise share) as clearly at no point tonight was I ever THIS retardingly drunk *ahem*
4:42AM - Many hours hence as I exit Supermild: in a totally orderly, erudite, upright and civilised fashion through Jive's carpark (and not at all in the shriekingly retarded fashion to which many of you may otherwise be accustomed) I couldn't help but sense an unearthly silence fill the air around me. It was as if a great many blitheringly incoherent voices had simultaneously ceased to function, collapsing comatose in the many gutters, medium strips, trees, front gardens, bathtubs and police lockups of this wide brown suburbia, leaving me alone with my thoughts at last. Aaaah such bliss!
4:43AM - But since I clearly didn't have any "thoughts" left in my head (gee and I can't imagine why!?) I simply found myself standing here instead, laughing myself stupid and photographing the exact same spot where I found that awesome puddle of vomit from last night.. only now it's long since faded into the asphalt; and in doing so reducing the entire epic impact of a million and one festivals Adelaide's "enjoyed" in the past six weeks, into the one ironic allegory. Quite a poetic statement isn't it? I know.. sometimes I really am THAT clever. Oh and check it out too: that cigarette butt on the far right? totally hasn't moved an inch since Friday. How trippy is THAT shit!?
Yup given time everything fades away: whether it be that ever present pounding, throbbing and buzzing making you uneasy; or that irrepressible pressure threating to cave your chest in whilst simultaneously making you feel as if your brain's gonna explode out through your eye sockets; or all that colour, chaos, carnage and endless excitement keeping you constantly awake day and night!? when this weekend's over it will all be gone! Replaced only by the soothing sound of a million and one sad souls "sleeping it off" in suburbia; and leaving you with little more to attend to for the rest of year than a million and one single, EP, and album launches until you quite simply want to SMASH SOMETHING "GNAAARGGGHHH!!".. at which point you'll simply pop two panadol and then you'll be fine again. YEAAAS!! here's to sweet "normality" baaaby, IT'S BEEN TOO LONG!!