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 KEEPSAKES + QUIET IN THE LAB! + SINCERELY GRIZZLY "CROCODILE ONESIE" ALBUM LAUNCH PARTY @ JIVE / Thursday April 1st 2010
Good Friday? fuck duuude what an hilarious misnomer that turned out to be! Not least of which for that hapless hippie who got nailed to a tree two thousand years ago for merely "inventing" it, but for every damn Good Friday since then. No shit, Good Friday fucking blows maaan! And not just the inflatable hindquarters of a goat, donkey or a horse, or even a hippo's "happy ending". No we're talking a Friday that blows the service end of an elephant for it's utmost disservice to all things we ever deemed to be "Good". And yes I'm sorry for all the crass mental imagery just now (ha ha ha duuude.. check out the link too!) but seriously it just has to be said. GOOD FRIDAY IS THE WORST FUCKING FRIDAY OF THE YEAR!! And do you want to know why? I mean seriously do we really need another reminder here!? because in just a few short hours tonight, on THIS Thursday night, every liquor licensed venue in this city will be in total 24 hour lock down for a pissy little religious holiday that's why! "WHOAAA FUCK!!". And we all know what that means for the Adelaide music scene don't we? OH DO WE EVER!! It's nothing short of a fucking fire sale! IT'S EVERYTHING MUST GO!! Oh yeaaah you can totally see them all out there can't you!? hoards of panic stricken revellers, picking bars and bottle shops clean, hooting, gnashing, thrashing and flailing, wide eyed waving doomsday placards, upturning cars and setting them all ablaze, reducing our entire red light district to nothing but a smoking ruin and dancing on the very edge of the apocalypse itself!? OH THE HUMANITY!! Obviously it's not safe for anyone to be out, no shit it's downright pandemonium! But desperate times call for "desperate measures" (especially if you're looking to get loaded) so you pack your shotgun, your cricket bat, your diapers and you take your chances. You take to the backstreets, you don't make eye contact and you run like hell for safety at Jive. I mean fuck, it's only a teeny tiny "album launch" for The Keepsakes tonight.. what's the WORST that could possibly happen!?
SINCERELY GRIZZLY (***1/2) myspace :: And speaking of such here comes our opening act.. oh I kid, I kid! Sincerely Grizzly are awesome maaan, they truly are, I freaking love these guys! I mean sure tonight's appearance at Jive might make this THE FOURTH FUCKING TIME they've featured in Spoz's Rant this year, and in doing so, potentially make them 2010's answer to Young Hearts Fail or Mona Lisa Overdrive for serial offences to a live stage in years past.. "NO NO!! NOT YOU MONA LISA OVERDRIVE! NOT AGAAAIN!! WAAAUAUGGHHH!!". And yet as much as they DO possess some (or many) of those hilarious newborn giraffe qualities (dare I mention Xixi Cao's whimsical "stage presence"?) not least of which me wondering out loud just now how many expert puppeteers operate lead singer Josh Calligeros' gangly frame at any given moment to make him appear so weirdly lifelike? (I'd wager at least three) there ARE some subtle signs, quite like their head explodingly awesome set they played at The Exeter recently, that prove they may be heading towards something "bigger and brighter" here. Yup first and foremost it's in the surprisingly "badass" presence of Rowan Mount's electronic drumkit. Weird I know, but it actually doesn't blow half a goat this time! As thanks to Jive's resident Bob The Builder (aaah is there anything he can't fix!?) instead of all that flaccid hiss and rubberband thwack it's damn near infamous for? in tonight's set it FINALLY holds its own as a diabolical force to be reckoned with! "WHOAAA SHIT, YOU DON'T SAY!?". Yup! I mean sure it may still lack in that satisfying "crispness" of a conventional kit, but it almost makes up for it with a thunderous snap, crackle and pop: giving their rhythm section that much needed "definition" it deserves. Secondly they're just that little more assured and articulate in their arrangements. Their changeovers are a little less abrupt, less gangly, and in the middle section especially there's this newfound richness to the sound (thanks partly to some added artful layering, delay and washes of reverb from Josh's guitar) that gives everything just that little more "character". GENIUS!! But still as promising as everything is (and believe me it is!) it isn't entirely without incident. In fact it all goes comically pear shaped right in their first song, with the always ironically entitled "There's Beauty (In The Discord)": as Josh's guitar disappears into a shitstorm of feedback, only for a roadie to be sent scrambling to the stage to fix it (wait.. Jive has roadies now!?), only for Rowan's drumkit to pull a "blue screen of death", only for everything else to grind to a screeching hault for five minutes or more as everybody scratches their head wondering which of the two leads into Rowan's kit is at fault.. only to pull out the wrong one by mistake!? FUCK YEAAAH!! Still as much as all this shit could've potentially flushed their set down the toilet? (aaah pfft.. they did just fine!) I dare say most of us wouldn't even have noticed, as we were way too "entertained" by the mad shapes bass player Griffin Farley was pulling with a brown beanie on his head (yes.. brown!). Yup such is the genius that is Sincerely Grizzly. They may still be an hilarious "work in progress" in more ways than one. And we may still continue to ponder whether Josh Calligeros is an animatronic puppet recently escaped from Jim Henson's Creature Shop with all that angular arty farty mathrock insanity he's cranking. But trust me, in the long run? they're all the better for it! And by the time they've released their second or third EP!? both Pitchfork and NME will totally crap a spleen over how fuck off genius they are. Sincerely Grizzly? Yup, one day duuude.. they'll be freaking epic!
QUIET IN THE LAB! (****1/2) myspace :: Aaaah I swear.. Dougie "Drama" Arnott: lead singer and guitarist here for Quiet In The Lab! is a gift to live gig photography. I mean suuure I've known the doughyarse bastard for years ever since he was in Hunting Season waaay back in 2005 (fuck.. even before that!) but who knew he'd be THIS fucking hilarious on a live stage!? but it's true! HE'S A GIFT MAAAN!! Why? well I shoot a lot of live bands here in the Adelaide scene.. that's why! A LOT, I mean don't even get me started here it's fucking ridiculous! And a great many of them are utterly brilliant, inspired artists, talented musicians, genius songwriters, no really! THEY'RE THE FUCKING BEST MAAAN! It's just that? yeaaah a lot of them don't have any stage presence. I mean seriously! give me a plank of wood, a house brick, a wet tennis ball, or fuck it.. even Natalie Portman's "acting" in all three Star Wars prequels and they'd STILL possess more colour, depth and expression than any of these "wax exhibits" I get to deal with on a weekly basis.. FUCK DUUUDE, IT'S LIKE PULLING TEETH I SWEAR!! And then along comes Dougie!? Aaaah and bless his unabashed geekiness too! He's such a dork, he's such an exploding spaz, he's SO totally gay for it! I'm half surprised his doesn't bust out a song and dance routine to "The Sound Of Music" he's THAT mad keen for this shit tonight. He's like Carson Kressley on a mad shopping spree stuffed into the ill fitting body of Ricky Gervais, or maybe he's an exciteable hamster impersonating Bert Newton? either way, fuck duuude! I haven't had this much fun ripping shit into someone since I discovered the all-time winning punchline that was "Ben Revi" back in 2006. HE'S A GIFT, I SWEAR!! And better yet the fun doesn't simply just end with him!? OOOOH FUCK NO!! Yup, this is Quiet In The Lab!, this is their debut tonight. AND DUUUDE WHAT A DEBUT IT IS TOO!! Formed between the husband and wife duo of Dougie and Jayne Arnott on vocals/guitar and bass, featuring Andrew Cuffley on vocals/guitar (from Buster Fidez) and some random guy known only as "The General" on the drums, they pack one fuck of a punch right from the get go. Their stage dynamic is two fold, working on the schizophrenic tag-team attack between Dougie and Andrew who both share lead vocals. With Dougie on lead they're a spastically exuberent pop punk mashup between Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World and Weezer. With Andrew on lead they're a fuzzing lo-fi 90's grunge guitar collage between Dinosaur Jnr, Sonic Youth, Blind Melon and The Lemonheads. And yet somehow both extremes combine into the one brilliant whole? NO SHIT!! Every song here is ridiculously rife with exploding hooks and choruses, they're ridiculously well crafted masterpieces. They're also exceptionally relaxed and at ease on a live stage, joking between songs, having a right 'ol laugh with the audience, so much so you could've sworn they'd been playing at it this schtick FOR YEARS NOW!! No shit this is the most ninja badass debut I've seen in years! they even throw in an awesome rendition of "The Rakes Song" by The Decemberists with Dougie smashing the shit out of his upright kit, and it damn near brings the roof down? FUCK DAMN!! It's almost annoying isn't it? I mean seriously, in all the time I'd heard about this band in "pre-production" with all their endless gig rehearsals, recordings and band promo (and believe me Dougie wouldn't shut up about it for years now!) I was hoping, nay praying that this debut would totally blow the "big one" and I'd never hear about them ever again. But this? OH THIS IS SOMETHING ELSE!! They're a riotous success! they're amazing! they're freaking awesome! the crowd are in hysterics, even I'm mad bugging to it! (well shit duuude, they ARE awesome to photograph!) and now? we'll never get Dougie to shut up about it. DAAAMN YOU!! Quiet In The Lab! It's been a cold day in hell ever since they arrived.. and better yet? THEY'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN!!
THE KEEPSAKES (*****) myspace :: Which brings us to our headlining act, and the main reason why I risked life and limb to be here at Jive tonight (or you know.. short of taking the piss out of Dougie's band) because to be honest? I wasn't expecting anything too "psychotic and insane" to come of this. HA HA HA! NO SERIOUSLY!! I actually thought this'd be a great way to "unwind and relax". I mean suuure it's their album launch and all, and we all know it's going to be a FUCKING BLOODBATH either way, but c'mon!? IT'S THE KEEPSAKES!! They're the mild mannered "beige bandits" of the Adelaide scene, they're ever so squeaky clean and carefree, they're the very epitome of indie pop damnit! (AND THAT'S THE MOST MELLOW YELLOW POP GENRE THERE IS!!). I mean take one good look at their lead singer Anthony Wignall. No seriously, the glasses? the goofy do-gooder grin? do you really expect ANYTHING to happen here tonight!? OF COURSE YOU DON'T!! He's like Peter Combe, Cliff Richard and a vanilla ice cream cone all rolled into one.. and no no! don't try and lick him, WHAT ARE YOU NUTS!? He's like that sunflower substitute teacher who rocks up with an acoustic guitar and a spaced out hippy grin, gets everyone to participate in all those wacky "trust exercises" (that always end in lawsuits) and happily proclaims with Venn diagrams to boot that everything in life can be a win/win situation, before sending you off early with a bright red lollipop. DUUUDE!! I mean I'm not even shitting you! Anthony Wignall and The Keepsakes write songs with actual song titles like: "Shiny Green Shoes", "Naked On Roller-Skates" and "An Evening With The News (And You)". THEY'RE TOTALLY FUCKING HARMLESS!! I mean SURELY with all of this shit we'd be upto our nips in newborn kittens, teddy bears, freshly baked choc chip cookies, warm glasses of milk and nanna's knitting riiight? of course we would! But not if it's a freaking ALBUM LAUNCH PARTY tonight and he's secretly THE FUCKING ANTICHRIST WE'RE NOT!! Oh yeaaah, I SO totally walked into this one didn't I? and to think how soon I forgot about the last time they played that "Good Thursday" back in 2009 and I almost fucking died!? No seriously! this.. THIS right here was nothing short of the apocalypse! The minute The Keepsakes launched into their first song? the crowd metaphorically, no LITERALLY exploded in a shitstorm of candy coated glee around me: all singing, dancing, moshing and surfing right upto the ceiling. IT WAS FUCKING INSANE DUUUDE!! It's like they combined all the "best bits" of riding a rollercoaster, diving into a multicoloured ball pit, jumping about a bouncy castle (all whilst high on a red cordial sugar buzz), siphoned it all into a riotous "laughing gas" and let it loose on us like it was an aerosol acid trip. Seriously! It was hard enough keeping my shit together just to take these photos tonight without getting my head punched clean through the foldbacks, let alone take note of anything they might have played (pfft.. I dunno? it all sounded like The Shins, The Lucksmiths and The Go-Betweens to me!? AAAHAHAhAhAHaHA!!). Just as it was next to impossible for me to resist the urge to join in.. it was totally fucked up! IT WAS TOTALLY THE BEST SHIT EVER! YEAAAS!! WOOOO!! *cough* Ok clearly I'm just rambling here, clearly I have very few details to elaborate on (I mean how could I with all THIS hilarious shit flying around!?). However I do vaguely recall them being joined on stage by both Clemmi Wetherall from Zeta on second guitar (because hey I DID take photos!) and an all too brief appearance by Tom Capogreco from Oh My Guard! on violin. And apparently they played a greatest hits compilation of every awesome Keepsakes song from their album, all rife with sing-a-long hooks and choruses (as well as crowd favourites old and new). And afterwards I could've sworn I woke up with all my clothes on back to front just in time for the encore!? Yup THAT was The Keepsakes tonight. No really, what else can I say? WHOAAA FUCK!!
12:21AM - But alas "all good things" must come to a close here tonight just like they do any other night at Jive. And even if doesn't? Jive always has a genius solution! And as much as I'd love to elaborate on what that "genius solution" is!? yeaaah let's just say the barstaff here might be supplying Pizza Rev down the road with all their "special pepperoni", and it may have something to do with all the screaming, the shrieking, the flailing, the voluminous plumes of smoke and that weird "burning smell" you might get wafting over Light Square after any given Saturday night's installment of Gosh (and also why you should never order their "soylent green with extra olives" off of the menu) but yeaaah maybe I've said too much. Those drums suuure look pretty don't they?
12:57AM - And so completely unrelated to anything I might have seen, or heard, or experienced tonight: not least of which in the past half hour or so (ie: after the upteenth alarm was triggered by someone accidently "sneezing" on the exit doors) when Tam the bar owner might have totally lost her shit, killed all the lights, emerged in her powder blue asbestos space suit, wielding that flamethrower, heading straight towards the stage whilst laughing maniacally (but again I've clearly said too much) I find myself here at the bar with a serious need to get drunk. Yup completely unrelated! And hey is that Jon Wignall, bass player for The Keepsakes too!? ha ha ha hiiilarious!
1:08AM - Now as luck would have it, this just so happened to be my birthday tonight. And by "tonight" I clearly mean this morning, as it was now Good Friday. Yup of all the irony huh? Me having a birthday on the one night of the year when all the pubs, clubs and venues in this city are shut AND I CAN'T DO A FUCKING THING ABOUT IT!? Thankfully however Jive is still licensed here until 2AM: so maybe, just maybe I could sneak in a few "teeny tiny drinks" to celebrate. YEAAAS!! Unfortunately however some "blithering idiot", quite possibly "Anthony Wignall", quite possibly in the middle of his headlining set tonight, might have announced that it was my birthday to almost EVERYONE IN THE FUCKING VENUE and now I was getting absolutely floored in free drinks. Which believe you me IS as ridiculously awesome as it sounds.. until they start buying you jägerbombs.
1:42AM - It's anyone's guess how I managed to escape the bar just now, because it certaintly wasn't anything to do with me. I mean I tried, I really did! But everyone here just kept buying me drinks, AND MORE DRINKS, and then I tried buying THEM drinks, hoping they'd simply get too drunk and STOP buying me drinks, only this made them even more adamant about buying me drinks.. and eventually I suspect I was simply carried here to the DJ booth instead. Yup this is Ben Revi who you may remember from a billion and one bad jokes cracked at his expense, and perhaps also for the occassional live appearance in Humble Bee and Cheer Advisory Council. And tonight? he's Jive's resident DJ. Awesome huh!? Oh you betcha! And I dare say he's doing an absolute bang up job of it too, simply because (a) at no point did he ever spin Empire Of The Sun, and (b) I have absolutely no recollection what he actually DID play but fuck damn does he has a wickedarse afro. Oh and also I apologise for just how "blurry" this photo is, and as much as you might think it's simply emulating how drunk I am right now? it isn't.. I'm actually much drunker.
2:52AM - At some point in the past hour or so, possibly after the third or fourth jägerbomb (or possibly just the first) I may have completely flatlined. No matter, it's not the first time it's ever happened, and I can usually count on any of the following outcomes. If I'm in the east end: I'll either "wake up" buried head first in the dumpsters on Union Street, slumped in a wheel barrow outside the emergency ward of Royal Adelaide Hospital, or propped up on the dancefloor at Shotz "Weekend At Bernie's" style (yeaaah don't worry it's not like anyone would notice!). If I'm in the west end: I'll either end up at Supermild, served up at Pizza Rev *cough* or better yet dragged here to The Original Pancake Kitchen. Because hell if you can't get your stomach pumped properly? you might as well get it pumped full of crap! am I right? am I riiight? OH YOU KNOW I'M RIGHT!!
3:01AM - Now obviously there's a great many reasons WHY you'd want to go at The Original Pancake Kitchen. Of course I've forgotten what most of them are (as I may have woken up face down in the sink, in the toilets, just a few moments ago) but hey you can't go past the shitcrazy junk they serve up on the menu (and if you slip them "a little extra"? they'll even show you all the flora and fauna OFF THE MENU that they scoop up from the sidewalks outside). As such I'd highly recommend the "fungal feast": I tried it once a few months ago and I swear I can now see at least three more colours I couldn't see before, and everytime I pee it's bright "orange". This however is some kind of potato bake. Hmmm yup I've never had it before, but apparently it's awesome!
To the left you'll see a pancake short stack (always a good choice), to the right is a lime spider. And if you really do need to ask me? yes they really DO put spiders in there, yes they actually ARE lime flavoured and yes it's just like ordering pufferfish in a Japanese restaurant: 97% of the time it's perfectly non-lethal, but if ever you DO get a "dud one"? you totally get the next one for free.
This is the German Feast: a truly frankenstein abomination of bacon, eggs, tomato, kransky and short stack. And not only will it make your left arm go all weirdly "numb and tingly" if ever you down it all in one gulp, but it's also the BEST "pre-emptive" hangover cure ever devised by man.
While this is..? yeaaah let's just forget we even saw this.
4:13AM - And so an hour later we emerged at last from The Original Pancake Kitchen, infinitely proud in all that we had accomplished here tonight, and quite possibly elsewhere at Jive earlier tonight (aaah fuck I dunno.. wasn't there a gig on or something?). And we looked out ahead of us into that emptying street, out into that whistling void, out into that gaping black chasm, and we contemplated just what we could do in this city now wrung dry this Good Friday morning, realised there was absolutely nothing at all.. "DAMN THAT ZOMBIE JEBUS!!" and then we fucked off home.
Yup this Good Friday night is going to suck: it's already sucked the life out of this city this morning, and it's going to keep on sucking until there's nothing left to suck! I MEAN WHAT THE FUCK IS THERE TO DO ON A "GOOD FRIDAY" NIGHT IN ADELAIDE!? NOTHING THAT'S WHAT!! But when our Thursday night's been this ridiculously righteous and this retardingly riotous? do we really care!? OF COURSE WE DON'T!! Not when we've messed with orthodoxy, the established order and the system! And as much as we cleary did neither of these things and we simply got hilariously drunk instead? (I mean pfft.. who are we kidding!?) It was still a glorious victory all the same! For we made our Thursday our defacto "Friday" and when this Saturday comes? OH WE WILL HAVE OUR REVENGE!!