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...
YOUNG RIVER & THE VULTURES OF VIRTUE + AUBERON DANCE ACADEMY LIVE @ THE JADE MONKEY / Friday March 26th 2010
Aaaah breathe in it peeps! Can you smell it? can you taste it!? I know I sure as shit can! HELL YEAAAS!! It's Friday night baaaby! And this ain't just any old "Friday night" either, especially not the likes we've all seen around HERE lately.. OOOOH FUCK NO!! this is THE BEST FRIDAY NIGHT EVER I SWEAR! I've been looking forward to this shit for weeks now! WEEKS!! And not because it's playing host to any kind of fuck-off insane "music festival" or anything. AAAAHAHAHaHAhAHAhA fuck that shit maaan! All that whizz-bang Big Day Out? Laneway?Soundwave? Future Music? Format "Twee-Fest"? WOMADelaide whatever-the-fuck!? pfft.. they don't even hold a lit fart to THIS Friday night! Nope we don't need no Fringe Festival opening night street parades around here. No free concerts, pop-up venues, Brazillian dancers, Japanese taiko drummers, Fuse Festival industry showcases or shitcrazy Adelaide Arts Festival fireworks displays. We don't need no Pavement, Pixies, Polyphonic Spree, Massive Attack or Brian Jonestown Massacre international touring acts. We don't even need no single, seven inch, EP or album launch parties either! I'm not even kidding you duuude! Give me your best: your debut, farewell, once-in-a-lifetime spontaneous shows, gimme your worst and this Friday night will laugh it RIGHT BACK IN YOUR FACE!! In fact it's so ridiculously badass it even beats that Friday night I had three weeks ago where I completely lost my shit, denounced the entire Adelaide scene as little more than an "embarassing hiccup", and posted all that hysterical gibberish about Kentucky Fried Mouse instead (remember that shit? hiiilarious!). And you want to know WHY!? Because tonight is JUST a Friday night: nothing more, nothing less, nothing special at all! You remember them right? They used to happen all the time around here, they used to be ALL we ever did! And I swear duuude it is the BEST SHIT EVER to see one again tonight.. and even better I get to spend it here at the Jade Monkey!? aaaah I ask you duuude? what's not to love!?
Yup there's absolutely nothing going on in Adelaide tonight. And by "absolutely nothing" I clearly mean my entire "argument" will later turn out to be laughingly sarcastic (shit when am I not!?) but compared to what we've seen so far this year!? THIS CITY'S A FREAKING GHOST TOWN MAAAN! It's a howling void, it's a whistling wasteland, it's a veritable shitstorm of tumbleweeds blowing end on end past rotting buildings with boarded up windows and overgrown sidewalks.. YEAAAS!! I fucking love this Friday night I REALLY DO! Which isn't to say there ISN'T anything on. Oh I mean suuure there's no festivals, concerts or launch parties (so yeaaah you're probably not interested) but there IS that wacky Two Year Anniversary Transmission Live party "thing" happening at The Ed Castle tonight featuring The Touch, Dexter Jones and We Rob Banks, and that's SO gotta be an exploding humdinger riiight? (The Touch!? HA HA HA HA sheeiiit I'm so there duuude!). Or what about Abracadabra at Rocket Bar!? no.. no.. that's NOT a trick question! because where else could you hope to see the likes of Jay Walker & The Pedestrians, The Honey Pies and Ross De Chene Hurricanes play a festering toilet cubicle in the dark whilst nazi fashionistas glare seething hatred at you.. aye? aaaye!? FUCK YEAAAH BABY!! So yeaaah.. obviously that's why I'm here at the Jade Monkey tonight. For not only is it one of the few "scenster free" haunts left in Adelaide sure to charge your flashing red light to green in next to no time (quite like The Gremily in the west end) but with a lineup this whimsically ecclectic how could you possibly go wrong!? No really! I barely know fuck all on ANY of these bands.. HOW REFRESHING IS THAT!? This night could be a total disaster, this night could be totally awesome! and is that a violin I see before me!? hiiilarious!
THE TWOKS (****1/2) myspace :: Which brings us to our opening act tonight using said "violin". Yup they're called The Twoks, they're touring here from Melbourne and THIS is their album launch.. "ALBUM LAUNCH!? AWWWW CRAP!!". Yeaaah ok maybe we'll do our best to ignore the last bit won't we? (especially considering we have at least twoalbum launches, an EP launch and a single launch coming up in the next two weeks? WHOAAA FUCK!!) just as we'll do our best to ignore their altogether fuglyarse name "The Twoks": which sounds altogether like a crass combination of the words "twot" and "duck". Or in other words waaay too intellectual for our own good? yeaaah I so wish I'd never learnt about "Leda and the Swan" from Green mythology waaay back in high school (ie: some chick gets nailed by Zeus in the form of a swan, she bears Helen Of Troy, and the rest is an hilariously shit film starring Brad Pitt!?) because now I SWEAR that's all I can think about. Well that.. and a few years back when I accidently stumbled upon two ducks having loud sex on my next door neighbour's roof; and for weeks afterwards I couldn't get that retarded "QUACK QUAAACK QUAAAAACK!!" sound out of my head. But still looking past all that shit? (and how!) they DO make a damn good first impression. No really! Lead by Xani Kolac on volin and vocals, fed through a dizzying array of reverb and delay pedals; accompanied in turn by Stewart Taylor on bass and Mark Leahy on drums; they very much remind me of a gypsy / jazzy / celtic / bohemian mix between Lamb, Bat For Lashes, Florence & The Machine, Joanna Newsom and Sarah Blasko; with perhaps a few teeny tiny sprinkles of A Perfect Circle's "Thirteenth Step" and Nine Inch Nail's "Still" thrown in for that spooky film noir flavour. And as much as all that sounds like a total head explosion? in delivery it's actually quite soothing. Drawing you in through Xani's mesmerising violin, she loops and overlays it layer upon layer, swaying back and forth like a mad sorceress accompanying ghostly reflections of herself, till she's practically levitating in a rich wall of sound around her. Her vocals are oddly childlike in contrast, almost nursery rhyme in lyrical content; giving everything a curious Lewis Caroll meets Brother's Grimm feel. While Stewart's bass and Mark's drums anchor it in weighted reality, through hypnotic rhythm and articulate percussion. Their arrangements are effortlessly organic, there's a cyclic ebb and flow here alternating between seasonal growth and decay, you can tell they're ridiculously accomplished musicians (quite possibly classically trained) especially in Mark's complex drum fills alternating between whisper light and bewilderingly frenetic. And overall it's hard not to get completely lost in the magical worlds they weave; oh it's truly mesmerising stuff! Yup as much as I could've sworn with a name like theirs they'd totally suck a duck and blow a few gooses along the way? The Twoks are every indication I truly made the right decision in coming here tonight!
AUBERON DANCE ACADEMY (***1/2) myspace :: And speaking of not judging a book by it's cover, heeere comes our second act! Yup originally scheduled as "Dear Ale...": a whimsically whack acoustic duo comprised of ukulele player Arlo Cook and drummer Adrian Van Bloom; tonight was even planning on being their album launch too. "Whoaaa, wait.. you mean two album launches in the ONE show!?" NO SHIT! However at the very last minute something went "a little awry here" and so instead we're presented with Arlo's other band Auberon Dance Academy. Still.. just so we wouldn't go home completely "empty handed" here, before launching into their actual setlist? they figured they might give us a little "taste" of what we otherwise missed: as Arlo arrives on stage solo, wielding nothing but a teeny tiny ukulele and starts singing in an flamboyant "boy-band" register not too dissimilar to what we'd half expect Guy Sebastian to sound like if he was being beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. OOOOH FUCK!! Yup clearly I don't know how to react to this, I'm eyeballing the exit, I'm sweating bullets, I'm wishing for sweet sweet death, "THIS IS SOOO NOT WHAT I SIGNED ON FOR DUUUDE!!" and then.. *BAM* just seconds prior to completely losing my shit with a beer bottle? his other two bands members: Karl Roberts on bass and Phil Meakin on drums make their "timely appearance" on stage and launch into their setlist proper. *phew* "THANK FUUUCK!!" Yup as far as shitcrazy introductions go, Auberon Dance Academy definitely get my attention. And as for describing them? think of them as trigger happy collision between screamo, hardcore, prog metal, and spastic rock opera: on both the weirdly commercial and underground ends of the scale. Or in other words? simply imagine a skull fuckingly incongruous mix between Muse, Franz Ferdinand, Panic! At The Disco, Van Halen, Mr Bungle and Zach De La Rocha's "One Day As A Lion" and yeaaah that's pretty close to the mark. Still as much as it threatens to make every one of your sinuses piss out a rainbow of blood in response.. what REALLY holds it together here is in the delivery. For Auberon Dance Academy truly don't take half measures in selling their live performance. Oh fuck no.. THEY ROCK THE ABSOLUTE SHIT out of everything they do. From Arlo on lead: screaming, shrieking, gnashing his teeth and howling in a hysterical falsetto, whilst simultaneously frog marching his guitar about like Angus Young (pulling all manner of shredding virtuoso 80's guitar solos). To Karl "Bi-Polar" Roberts on bass: alternating between a toddler squint and a senile grimace, as he swings his chugging bass riffs around rather like an ADHD kid attempting to fly a toy aeroplane (or better yet a fat kid fighting with a light sabre? SCORE!!). To Phil on drums: scowling and fuming from the impenetrable shadows as he drills his death march deep into our skulls. Yup as much as you may struggle to reconcile half of this shit into the one band without causing yourself an eye gouging aneurysm? there's no way you can deny the impact. Ridiculously high strung, rubberband hyper kinetic, tailor made for firing you up into a chiropractic pretzel like a game of Twister gone horribly right and it's all over in barely thirty minutes flat!? Yup that's Auberon Dance Academy! They're so head explodingly nuts, so utterly bent, I dare say you might even begin to enjoy it!
YOUNG RIVER & THE VULTURES OF VIRTUE (***1/2) myspace :: Which brings us to our headlining act, and if there were two words we could use to describe them? it would be "overwhelming" and "disorienting", and perhaps a third "GNNNnNnFUCK!!" followed by me throwing both my hands up in the air in exasperated defeat whilst attempting to write a live review. NO SHIT!! For Young River & The Vultures Of Virtue truly don't know the meaning of subtle, or understatement, or that there could ever be TOO MUCH of a good thing flying about all at once and SLAPPING YOU IN THE FACE. And it's not just their over long seven word band title making that abundantly clear (and how! it practically take up a whole line to write it.. guh!). Or for the fact that they're six members strong in projecting it. Or for the fact that these same six band members originate from other such "head explodingly elaborate" Adelaide acts as Soft White Machine, Delusions Of Grandma, Double Handed, Auberon Dance Academy, Quiet Child or Coerce. Nope all it takes is to see them live on stage to completely beat your brain in sideways, if ever you attempt to decipher it.. OH MAAAAN THEY'RE A COMPLETE AND UTTER MINDFUCK! Yup I may've already seen them once back when they played their debut gig in November last year. I may've described them then as being "rather like experiencing multiple G forces, whilst being pummeled in the face repetitively by a tonne of bricks wrapped in reinforced concrete". I KNOW HUH!? And as much as I was hoping I'd understand them any better the second time around!? DUUUDE, YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE! Yup Young River & The Vultures Of Virtue are just one of those bands, one of those bands where the only way you can "enjoy them" is to simply dive straight into the eye of the storm with a teeny tiny umbrella and hope for the best. And thus if everything I write in following kinda sounds like a whole lot of nonsensical gibberish whizzing past at high speed!? yeaaah trust me it's just like you're here experiencing it first hand. For one it's all in their disparate influences, it's where I usually like to start, only with a band as ridiculously "busy" as THIS you only get more hopelessly lost attempting to tie it all together. With Karl Roberts on lead you can pick up on everything from Paul Banks, Johnny Cash, Nick Cave to Elvis Presley.. and in one particularly bizarre 80's power ballad entitled "Will I Get Out Alive" what I could've sworn was Daryl Braithwaite stuffed in a wind tunnel. "Who!?". EXACTLY! With Benn Blake on trumpet I'm picking up on all sorts of Mexican Mariachi and spaghetti western influences. With Jess Porter on keys I'm picking up Muse. With Nick Russel on drums it's The Mars Volta. And with the rest of the band all shrieking and wailing in between like an apocalyptic choir!? it's everything insane and ecclectic from Faith No More's "Album Of Year", Interpol's "Turn On The Bright Lights" or if you want to be really obscure here.. BLK JKS "After Robots" (no really look that shit up, they're a band from Johannesburg and I swear they're the closest you'll ever get!). Secondly it's in how it all comes together, not as a seamless whole, but as a chattering cannibalising swarm that devours everything in sight. Thirdly the more overwhelming and disoriented it makes you feel? THE MORE YOU BEGIN TO LOVE IT!! (I mean suuure it's starting to annoy the piss out of ME.. but not everyone has to write about them!). And fourthly? aaaah who the fuck knows!? Young River & The Vultures Of Virtue. I swear they're just like "The Matrix". Nobody can be told WHAT they are.. you have to see them for yourself!
12:26AM - And so here I am after the show: front of stage with a beer in hand, staring blankly at all these tweaker units, yammering hysterically about nothing in particular. WHY? pfft.. well why the fuck else duuude!? It's just a "quiet" Friday night with nothing better to do! And as much as that "flashing red light" of mine never did quite charge to green like I expected it too? (especially not after diving headfirst into the hilarious shitstorm that was Young River & The Ridiculously Over Elaborate Band Name.. "GNNNnNnFUCK!!") it was still well worth the trip! I mean who cares if I'm all blithering and bewildered and completely out of my fucking mind right now? there's always more beer where that came from. Barkeep!? fetch me a bucket and a funnel and LET'S GO MENTAL!!
2:01AM - And so, after drinking the Jade Monkey dry? yup, here we are at The Exeter. WHOOP-DI-DO!! Or more accurately I've been here at The Exeter for almost an hour now, but unlike past weeks where it's been nothing but whizz-bang insanity thanks to The Fringe? yeaaah it's been completely dead and I haven't bothered to take any photos. WOOOO!! Still to be fair this WAS everything I could ever have asked for tonight, and I was very much enjoying it too, until Anya McNicol-Windram (she of the uber fancy pants hyphenated surname and occassional "five star" theatrics) decided she'd "fuck it all up" by making an impromptu appearance in my blog. And thus simply because she requested it (and simply because hell.. it's not like I've got nothing else better to do) here she is flapping her arms about and shrieking exciteably about the "amaaazing" pot plants hanging in the beergarden. Oh and for added entertaiment? check out the bouncer who's begrudgingly agreed to prop her drunkarse upright just so we could take this photo.. GENIUS!!
2:20AM - Still Anya might have a point here, even if she is currently endowed with the raw processing power of a squashed gnat (aaaah the miracle that is red wine!) for despite this being one of the quietest nights the east end has seen in well over a month? there's still a treasure trove of excitement and adventure to be found.. if only you know where to look. Like take this "Seven Of Clubs" scattered on the floor just now. Isn't that the CRAZIEST shit you've ever seen!? HELL YES!!
2:22AM - Or what about HERE moments later when I'd found yet more cards and managed to assemble this.. ummm.. whatever-the-fuck kinda hand of poker it is!? and then some random passerby (curiosity clearly getting the better of her) asked me what it was that I was doing!? HA HA HA HA OH HOW WE LAUGHED AND WE LAUGHED!! Of course I never quite answered her question as I didn't have the first clue what I was doing here either (I mean fuck.. does anyone!?) but still how could you possibly go wrong with this shit!? aye? aaaye? is that a "Nine Of Diamonds"!? SCORE!!
2:26AM - And then a full four minutes after I got bored with all that (and to think I didn't even think to build a "house of cards" out of it!? you idiot!) I stumbled upon this shit awesome wine decanter and discovered just how brilliantly it balanced my pint glass on top of it. Oh I'm so not running out of things to do tonight am I? FUCK NO! THIS IS THE BEST DAMN NIGHT OF MY LIFE!!
2:43AM - And oh believe me.. you truly haven't lived at The Exeter, naaay lived your life to the fullest, until you've partied with THIS GUY! No really! Check out those amazing "phone-domes" on his head, check out that frosty Santa beard, can you imagine the dope tunes he must spin on his wickedarse Sony Walkman? can you imagine him busting it "large" with a pair of rollerskates, doing the backwards boogie on the dancefloor? DOESN'T THAT JUST MAKE YOUR LIFE COMPLETE!? AAAAHAHAhAHAhaHAhA!! *cough* yeaaah fuck it, what else is on tonight? Supermild!? nice one..
3:22AM - Still as much as I was expecting the same 'ol aimless and brainless we experienced at The Exeter.. "awww c'mon you guys we had fun didn't we!? DIDN'T WE!? *cough* wait.. where'd everyone go!?", Supermild DID have a few things going for it tonight. Like say the welcome return of one Ruby Chew.. aye? aaaye!? (oooh oooh! and check out the wacky hunchback too!) I mean no shit duuude, doesn't this photo make all the red receptors in your retinas WEEP WITH JOY!?
3:45AM - And then there's THIS guy out in the beer garden. And why is HE so special!? Well read on you ignorant fools! For as it turns out there used to be hundreds, nay thousands of his inebriate ilk scattered throughout our city centre in their "Grogfather" tuxedo t-shirts. They were all engineering students from Adelaide Uni, they were all on some epic pubcrawl to end all pubcrawls tonight, and THIS lucky bastard right here? yup, he's very likely "the last one left standing". NO SHIT! And as much as I don't know quite how the rules work here, as quite frankly I've never been on an actual "pub crawl" myself (the irony huh!?) I'm pretty damn certain this monumental feat of "fortitude" makes "Michael Corleone" here their newly elected supreme leader. Awesome huh?
4:44AM - And speaking of "ridiculously shitfaced drunk": here comes our shots right now. SHIT YEAAAH!! And is that my liver pissing out of my ears in a last ditch "plan of escape"!? hiiilarious!
5:05AM - And moments later completely unrelated to all of Supermild's bar staff wide eyed in horror, throwing furniture and screaming, as my liver skitters across the floor on the way to the ice buckets, we find ourselves thrown outside to the sound of slamming doors, windows (and possibly an emergency siren or two) not at all coincidental to the fact it might have been closing time. Yeah funny how that always happens. So.. I guess everyone wants to go to pancake kitchen now, huh!?
5:12AM - Still before they had a chance to formulate that "genius plan" of theirs (and I could so tell those cogs were turning in their heads too) I had other plans. And those plans obviously involved THESE matches that I'd swiped earlier from Supermild, a large exploding fireball of whatever-the-fuck (or possibly just me flicking "lit ones" at them and laughing hysterically) and while they're all distracted? me making a mad dash for the nearest taxi home. Why? because shit damnit: I don't care how much more "excitement and adventure" is yet to be had! I don't care how much more I can take! it's my "quiet" Friday night out AND DAMNIT IT'S GONNA STAY THAT WAY!!
Yup in the grand scheme of things, this Friday night simply didn't exist. It was a freak, an anomaly, a happy "hiccup" in the spacetime continuum that is the Adelaide music scene in 2010. To the past I can see them all gathering now: a million and one hangovers groaning and moaning like zombies, the scattering remnants of a million and one festivals, openings, endings, debuts, farewells, launches and spontaneous happenings far too crazy to comprehend in one sitting (and believe me I was there duuude!). To the future I can hear a littany of facebook invites screaming for more, stretching ad infinitum out to the horizon. And here I stand in this "moment of clarity" where the wind blows hollow and the tumbleweeds gather? and it's almost as if I've forgotten how to act!? Aaaah to live in a world where I can hear my own thoughts, sleep uninterrupted for eight hours or more, and not wake up screaming with a camera shooting everything in sight? Aaaah to live in a simple world of science and sanity? It's a dream maaaybe, but it's a nice one to visit!