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...
THE AMCATS + THE SHAKE UP + SUNSETTLER "PLUS ONE" @ THE ED CASTLE / Saturday April 17th 2010
Aaaah The Ed Castle! everyone loves The Ed Castle riiight? ha ha ha of course they do you fucking idiots.. THIS PLACE IS THE FREAKING DUCK'S NUTS OF THE ADELAIDE SCENE!! It's the number one "shit hot" destination for ALL you "cutting edge" fashionistas, scensters, hipsters, aspiring models, professional footy players, and uber exclusive "private school" cliques.. NOTHING BEATS THE ED CASTLE MAAAN!! Every Saturday night it fills to overflowing with all the "beautiful people". Yeaaah you remember them riiight? all those "pretty young things" that used to be at Rocket Bar back in the day, swanning about the dancefloor, designer handbags in the middle, before they stopped "paying the electricity bill" and it all went to shit!? Yup and here they are maaan: desperate to be seen, desperate to seen ignoring you, desperate to be seen catching the eye of that androgynous stick insect standing next to you who looks just like Matt Van Schie, or Zac Efron, or a twelve year old girl, or that sparkly douchebag from Twilight? FUCK YEAAAH I LOVE THIS JOINT!! And how could you not maaan!? It has everything you could ever ask for out of a premiere live music venue! Like take their banging indie disco DJs for instance? playing all your favourite Parklife hits from 2008-2009. Like the Baywatch theme, or that Bag Raiders tune, or that slamming La Roux single that got all that high rotation on Triple J last year? yeaaah you know the one, you're probably singing the words right now huh? hiiilarious! Or what about their awesome beer garden? NO SHIT!! it's truly the finest in all the west end, and I'm not even KIDDING duuude! It gets so retardingly packed in here sometimes you can hardly breathe, let alone make it from one end to the other without collapsing dead at the bar. And as for the bar!? with all those frosty beers on tap, all those $5 vodkas, $10 jugs of Sangria, up to your tonsils gargling in it? nothing could be finer! And let's not forget the pokies maaan.. EVERYONE LOVES THE POKIES!! Or their fine dining kitchen, or their big screen plasma TVs, or their Big Buck Hunter shooting gallery, or their vending machines!? Yup as far as popular live music venues go? it truly has it all! No wonder everyone loves The Ed Castle!
But did you know that they also features live bands!? "WHOAAAAAA, NO FUCKING WAY!!". I know! it totally blows my mind too! WHO EVEN THINKS OF THAT!? I mean shit it's not like you ever see it happening here in the beer garden, or at the front bar, or in the women's toilets, or upstairs on the balcony, or behind the vending machines (I mean fuck where ELSE could they possibly hide it!?) but I swear it's true.. IT ACTUALLY HAPPENS!! For instance you can totally remember when Jupiter Lead played here riiight? or when The Touch threw that launch party!? Or when Miami Horror or Snob Scrilla toured here? Yup, they're ACTUAL live bands duuude! (well ok, some of them are a "technicality" at best.. but you get my point right!?). And it's not just hiphop, electro or indie disco (sometimes they even have electro pop!) and it's not just an "isolated incidence" either, they totally have this shit on every week! And even crazier!? they even host it in THEIR VERY OWN BAND ROOM! And if you still don't believe me? take a look inside (use Google Maps if need be) and you can't miss it, I swear! Just like listening to DJs, only totally in 3D and shit? what's not to love!?
And.. no, again this is just a paper towel "art installation" on display in the men's toilet. But still, how impressive is it!? I mean the composition, the complexity, the raw dynamism of it, how it balances ever so effortlessly between positive and negative nuances of space and time with such a strikingly minimal colour palette, and the architecture and engineering alone that must have gone into this? simply boggles the mind! And then when you factor in what it says about our 21st century society as a whole: the fleeting fragility of it? the crass disposability? how it stands ever so bold and defiant, despite its "gossamer thin" grasp on time immemorial!? it's deep maaan, it's real deep! No shit, I could spend an entire night deconstructing it, and still find more to inspire me!
And.. no this can't be it either. Hmmm, guess we'll just keep on looking then?
SUNSETTLER (***1/2) myspace :: Still once you do manage to find the band room: and I assure you it's just as easy as walking in from the front entrance, taking the third exit on your right, or maybe it's the fourth? (oh yeah it's totally the fourth!) or maybe there's a secret passage you need to activate FIRST by pulling on a lever disguised as a minature statue of Venus (and maybe you need to set your watch to Pacific Standard Time when you get here!?) or no wait.. you've all seen the third Lord Of The Rings right? yeaaah it's totally like that (only imagine if Does It Offend You, Yeah? provided the soundtrack) either way, chances are you might be rewarded with an opening act as near brilliant as this one. Yup this is the third time I've seen them live and I swear they only get better. The first was "off the record" back in October last year (playing at The Metro on a Sunday with Steering By Stars and Box Elder I believe?) the second was during my "silly season" hiatus back in January (ie: when I couldn't be arsed writing anything) and now at long last I get to put them out of their misery? FUCK YEAAAH!! So what I have got to say about Sunsettler then? Well for starters they feature Alexander Fewings and Dave Wilke (formerly from Mona Lisa Overdrive), Marguerita Marinos (formerly from Lumonics) and Callan Shultz (who you might remember as that bespectacled dweeb "Sid" out of Skins.. go figure?). And in combination they form a band that's equal measures shoegaze, garage rock, 60's psychedelic and blissfully buried under a shitload of guitar fuzz. Or in other words think of them as a lysergic mix between Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, The Velvet Underground with perhaps just a teeny tiny bit of Broken Social Scene thrown in for good measure. Short of Marguerita on drums, the other three band members frequently swap roles: Alex and Callan take turns on lead vocals, with Alex's delivery being much more wilfully erratic (like he's channeling Lou Reed from a drug induced coma) whilst Callan goes for a much more direct Thurston Moore approach; and while Alex and Callan swap vocals? Callan and Dave will also swap bass and guitar (almost with every song). Still as blitheringly disorienting as all this may sound (and believe me it is) about three or four songs in when you acclimatise to it, you'll start to pick up on these awesome shapes and colours swirling about in the mix. Kinda like going cross-eyed on a 3D "magic eye" puzzle and seeing dolphins, only the dolphins here are chinese dragons and they're smoking a shitload of opium? Yup and it's definitely their best quality as a band! They're a dappled discord rife with abrasive 60's jangling riff. They're scribbled nonsensical chords, loose rhythms, hypnotic beats, sweet sunlit melodies and conspiratorial vocals. They're impressionist art found in half baked jams, charcoal sketches, watercolour impressions and freeform aphasia. And the more you tune out to it and simply let it wash over you the better it all sounds. They perform one cover "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" by The Smiths. Alex conducts the band like it's an orchestra, which if you were familiar with his tenure in Mona Lisa Overdrive IS kinda like watching "the blind leading the blind" (especially in how Callan and Dave look like deer caught in the headlights) but there's a definite genius forming here all the same.. even if all of fifteen people saw it tonight. Sunsettler. Quite like the name suggests they're a twilight zone between light and dark. But once you let your ears adjust and let your mind float free? no shit.. they pull the maddest shapes in your mind!
THE SHAKE UP (****) myspace :: With Sunsettler done for the night, I silently slipped out of the band room to the sound of one hand clapping, nervous coughing, a pin dropping, and a chorus of chirping crickets (possibly imagined) only to be slapped in the face repetively by the clownshit cacaphony exploding out in the main bar. Yup, turns out it was none other than Sam and Dave from Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! on the DJ decks, blasting Fleetwood Mac at full volume to a rapturous throng "trash compacted" into the dancefloor: like a single seething organism, hands in the air and wooping it up retarded. And yes it was without a doubt the craziest shit I'd see all night.. or at least it was until I ordered that beer at the bar, ducked off the toilets to piss on their "art installation" (aaah it's like the gift that keeps on giving!), only to return to the whisper quiet band room again (and yes I admit, rather reluctantly too!). And even better? by the time our second act hit the stage there was no one left in here, and I mean ABSOLUTELY NO ONE! "AAAAHAhAhAHaHA FUCK YEAAAH!!". Yup and to think that this was the "riotous reception" that greeted The Shake Up tonight? and they flew all the way from Sydney at 6AM to be here? and they'll be flying out again 6AM on Sunday!? YEAAAS!! I FUCKING LOVE THE ED CASTLE!! WOOOO!! Still to their infinite credit, they DID do the best with what they were given. For The Shake Up aren't exactly the most subtle cats going. No shit! For when you think of this band: think oldskool 70's punk, think abrasive, think shouty as fuck and insanely infectious; think of them as a mix between The Stooges, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols and The Clash as performed by cartoon characters fresh out of the warped mind of Jamie Hewlett (ie: Tank Girl / The Gorillaz) fronted by a raggy haired skeleton who looks for all the world like the demented love child between Patti Smith and Gollum.. and yup THAT'S the shit hot insanity we're dealing with here.. OOOH FUCK YEAAAH!! Every song here is drilled through with militant precision: it's all start / stop / cough and spit / fire up the next one. Every song here is a pissdrunk call to arms: all snot nosed, sharp as shit, belligerent and antiestablishment.. almost to the point of self parody! And as much as they might have started this show tonight playing to an empty room? it didn't take long for people to find them. Within minutes they had a fully fledged "nose bleed section" slam dancing off the stage, going hard at it, wooping it up like nobody's business. Suuure it was only three people (and I'm possibly exaggerating a little) but it was something maaan! And their lead singer Miles Selwyn truly spared no moment in giving them all he got. Every few minutes he'd reintroduce the band: "hi we're The Shake Up for those of you who've just entered the room", he'd spruik singles and T-shirts for sale, he'd pull mad shapes, sweat bullets and kill himself retarded to win all of twenty or of people who showed up at the end (who were likely half expecting to see Matt Van Schie here.. only to realise he was playing next week). YEAAAS!! it was inspiring maaan! No really, I'm totally holding back tears (of laughter) here! Seriously, from the minute they started to the minute they finished they never let up, they tore it a new one, and when they left this stage to the sight of tumbleweeds blowing past, they left like champions! The Shake Up. If a tree fell in the woods and no one was there to see it? yup we could only hope it sounded half as good as this!
THE AMCATS (***1/2) myspace :: And into this waking nightmare.. ooops I mean The Ed Castle "band room" steps our headlining act like the diabolical rock gods that they are.. YEAAAS!! And what a joyous homecoming it is for them too! You see for the past few months they've been out of the country far faaar away from The Ed Castle.. I know, half their luck aye!? They've been seeing the sights in America, in New York City, in "The Big Apple" no less. Fuck, they even got engaged.. TO EACH OTHER!! Yes that's right kiddies! It's not just a wacky "are they or aren't they?" schtick they've pulling here. It's not just a cheesy 90's sitcom premise. Soon this band will be a bona-fide husband and wife blues duo! And as we all know THEY'RE THE BEST KIND OF "BLUES DUO" TO BE!! And it doesn't just end there. OOOH FUCK NO!! In the next few months they're all set to release yet another seven inch (this time a split single with Isle Of Vision) and it'll be on green vinyl, yes green! And as we all know THAT'S THE BEST KIND OF VINYL TO HAVE!! (short of purple). Yup you better believe it baaaby, it's an awesome time to be The Amcats! IT TRULY IS!! But waaait I know what you're thinking, you're probably still thinking "you know who" and how much they resemble them riiight? And believe me I KNOW, I've been there maaan! So much so I vowed never to go there again because damnit IT'S JUST TOO DAMN EASY TO CRACK JOKES ABOUT IT!! So to hell with it, for the LAST TIME I'm gonna tell you why they're so much better, and why you should ditch that "other" band and follow THIS one instead. For one, their drummer Renee Andrighetto CAN ACTUALLY PLAY THE DRUMS. She's not just there to look all "cute as a button" behind a kit, pfft.. what are you kidding me!? She's a shit hot metronomic assassin, she's ten foot tall and fuck off apocalyptic, SHE'S A FREAKING BEAST at slamming a four to the floor!! And then there's Shane McIntyre on lead vocal and guitar. Would you believe he's only in the one band? seriously count them all.. ONE BAND!! This isn't just a "side project" for him, this isn't just a joke to him, this is his one and only reason FOR FUCKING SHIT UP LOUD!! (and duuude does he ever!). And then there's the sound. You remember when "you know who" didn't totally blow the hind quarters of a goat? like those first three albums before they got all drunk with power? went insane like Willy Wonka? and embraced the glockenspiel!? Now imagine that oldskool buzz, all of it, only TEN TIMES BETTER because they're playing live right here in front of you. No really! They're like an alternative dimension where Adelaide is Detroit Michigan back in the 90's and you get to see them all "up in your face" going beserk for only $10 (or $8 if you're on the list). Think about it maaan! The Amcats are so often dismissed as a "carbon copy" but they're a fucking bargain! And it doesn't just end with dumb comparisons either. Hell no! it's all about the volatile energy with this band, the improvisation, the psychedelic extension of their singular sound that really nails it. THAT'S what The Amcats are all about, THE MAD JAMS MAAAN!! You hear it in the guitars: those dirty riffs, black as all hell, belching smoke and gasoline, going "put put put" like a motorcycle crossed with a chainsaw. You hear it in the drums: like a sledgehammer, like a piston engine, like a heartbeat going "boom boom boom" like a 1940's cartoon character experiencing love at first sight! It doesn't matter if it's a song that goes for two minutes or twenty, your ears and ears are glued to this shit and your mind's totally gone! But alas, tonight's just "one of those nights", one of those infamous "Ed Castle nights" and it's crapping all over them. Halfway through their set, playing for all of five people, you could see it in their faces. They're just not "feeling it", it's an uphill battle, it's head hitting a brick wall. They cut the set short by five songs, they thank everyone for showing up, and then they get the fuck outta there! Still for that brief moment when they were here (maybe half an hour tops?) it was STILL a wild ride! The Amcats. I mean seriously, why listen to "White Blood Cells" on a crappy ipod? WHEN YOU CAN SEE THIS SHIT FOR REAL!!
1:39AM - After the show I was talking to Renee, and in between all the usual small talk (yeaaah you know "whatever-the-fuck") she mentioned just how weirdly stuffy it was in here tonight, like someone had turned up the thermostat or something. And it wasn't just because of the open fire they had going behind the mixing desk (I mean c'mon, it's April ferfucksake!) or the unseasonably warm weather we've been havin recently, and clearly it had nothing to do with all the "thousands of people" who were in here just a minute ago (pfft.. AAAAHAHAHAhAhaHahHA!!) I mean fuck we just couldn't figure it out.. until I figured maaaybe, JUST MAYBE, this band room was a portal leading straight to hell (hmmm and that would begin to explain a lot too!). Still before I could mention this theory out loud to anyone: all the lights went on, all these stacked chairs exploded out of nowhere, we heard what sounded like a stomach gurgling, and then we had to get the fuck out of there.
1:44AM - Back out in the hallway again, and no shit it was just like I was hit with "the bends": everything was waaay too loud, way too bright, way too whizzbang with all the head exploding excitement, and I actually had to cover my eyes and ears screaming for a good five minutes till those "teeny tiny pinpricks" that were my pupils rolled back into my skull.. it was freaky maaan! I mean WHAT THE FUCK KINDA PARTY ARE YOU MANIACS THROWING OUT HERE!! *cough* Anyhoo it was then that I then bumped into these exciteable scensters.. and wowee were they surprised to see me! I mean they just had NO idea where I'd been, they didn't even believe me when I told them! "pfft Spoz, you so silly! that's ALWAYS been the janitor's closet, didn't you know that!?". But of course this was all just a distraction from the real task at hand, and that was me taking all these photos for them. Why? yeaaah I've got no idea either, but aren't you so glad I took it anyways!?
2:06AM - This is Jarrad: one of the many millions of people I found in the beer garden. He's an indie disco DJ.. because hell, everyone's an indie disco DJ these days riiight? pfft of course they are you fucking idiots, it's the best shit happening in the Adelaide scene! Oh and as for WHY I'm talking a photo of him!? yeaaah funny story that. Turns out I was talking to some people (I forget who exactly) and they mentioned this dude they could've sworn looked just like that dude out of Superbad. And so here I am taking this photo despite the fact I clearly have no clue WHAT they're talking about. Awesome huh!? (totally! we've even got a dude who looks like Seth Rogen too!).
2:21AM - This is Sam "Salvatore" Bruno: who you may remember from last week as the bass player for Lyla, thanks to that fuck off insane single launch party they threw at Jive. Except clearly you don't because you were here at The Ed Castle drinking yourself retarded in the beer garden (yeaaah it's not like you missed much). Tonight he's been pulling a "graveyard shift" at Hillside Studios recording for their next EP, and he's only here now so he can play a DJ set with the band (go figure?) and when he's done? yup it's back to the studio again! Oh and if you think THIS photo's fucked up? duuude you should've seen all the "chest hair" photos we left out.. hiiilarious!
2:23AM - This is Stef "Blobby" Krcmarov, also from Lyla, and usually he'd do his utmost to avoid appearing in Spoz's Rant in any capacity other than on stage playing the keyboards (as obviously he learnt his lesson the HARD WAY.. tee hee!) but tonight he's making an exception so he can promote their new range of novelty cigarette lighters. Awesome huh? I know! I totally want to start smoking too, just so I can light them all up with something AS RIDICULOUSLY BADASS AS THIS!!
2:44AM - And this is me taking photos of their DJ set. Because let's face it maaan: THIS shit right here? and me taking nonsensical social pics in the beer garden? is what I should have been concentrating on all night long, instead of what I really did! I mean fuck duuude I can't even believe I've been this blind for so long!? No really! Did I just go into the smallest, darkest room in the building and go completely batshit insane for three hours? HA HA HA WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING!? Oh I see it all now! all the action's right here! Watching a bunch of dudes sift through a CD wallet and press buttons all night? THIS IS WHERE IT'S AT!! And even better? they totally played "Setting Sun" by The Chemical Brothers too.. and I freaking love that song! YEAAAS!! I mean fuck, who cares about going to Supermild anymore? who cares about going anywhere else at all!? I'm bringing all my shit and I'm moving in. Sangrias all round!? LET'S GO FUCKING MENTAL!!
Yup, The Ed Castle truly is the best live music venue in Adelaide. For they truly know better than anyone else that live music needs its peace and quiet, it needs its solitude and seclusion, it needs a place where it can hide away from the world, away from the screaming fans and the endless adolation of those far too drunk to appreciate them, so they can meditate on all the things that make live music awesome! YEAAAS!! For the sooner they stop playing all these live gigs and start recording and releasing singles, EPs and albums, and the sooner they start getting high rotation on Triple J, and the sooner they get remixed and they get high rotation in all the banging indie dance clubs, the sooner DJs here can start spinning them in the beergarden so that everyone can enjoy them! Genius huh!? OH YOU BETCHA DUUUDE!! No wonder everyone loves The Ed Castle!