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...
LYLA + 20TH CENTURY GRADUATES "IT AIN'T RIGHT" SINGLE LAUNCH PARTY @ JIVE / Saturday April 10th 2010
Tonight is a Saturday night, or at least I'm pretty sure it is, I'm losing track of this shit lately so it helps to check. I'm standing outside of Jive, approximately 8:48PM, says so on my watch, which is possibly why I have one: except it also says so on my phone, my ipod and on my camera so it's probably a little bit redundant. I got here on the 137 bus down Henley Beach road, 14 minute trip, 2 minute walk from the bus stop down Currie Street, Clarendon and Hindley. I'm listening to Primal Scream's "Evil Heat", I got upto 4th track "Detroit" only to bump into a few members from Lyla, which is rather convenient because they're just the band I'm here to see. YEAAAS!! It's their single launch party tonight, the 10th, possibly 11th launch party I've covered this year (duuude don't get me started) I'm expecting it to be epic and I'd very much like a beer. And I'm telling you all this now, because usually I DON'T, because usually I like to think all this is too trivial.. no better than that I like to think it's NORMAL. In fact over the years I've come to accept a LOT of this shit to be normal, and here's why it's not. At any given moment of late I'm either laughably sleep deprived, drunk or hilariously hungover, sometimes I'm all three at once (but it's not like you could ever tell the difference). I spend most my time writing blogs. When I'm not I'm either editing up photos, video, uploading both, or I'm out again like tonight collecting yet more shit so I can write the next episode. SHIT YEAAAH! I live in a "trashed hotel room", not literally of course, but it very much resembles one. Yes I'm single. No I don't work for the CIA. It's anyone's guess how I earn a living or find the time to do so, or when I find the time to eat or sleep: because clearly I don't (because clearly I'm an eccentric billionaire!). I rarely see sunlight. I dress in neutral tones. I have two pairs of shoes, one of which I bought recently for $12.95 at an op shop. I haven't had a haircut in ten years. I have a degree in Visual Arts. I used to be a musician. I don't do this for the money, I do this for the "lifestyle". There's a damn good chance I'm completely fucking insane. Everyone here knows my name. I have a facebook fansite. No seriously.. WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING HERE!?
20TH CENTURY GRADUATES (****) myspace :: And this is our opening act. Awesome huh? Yup, they're same band I was itching to go see last Saturday night when they played The Ed Castle only to catch The Seabellies instead (still all things considered? not a bad trade off). And as much as they're just the "sunshine burst of happiness" my psychiatrist ordered (no trust me duuude they only get more skull fuckingly brilliant the more you see them) it appears I've caught them just that little bit under the weather tonight. Hmmm. Firstly it's in the notable absence of one Andrew Marshall in the horn section, who apparently had "better things to do" and totally couldn't make it (ie: he was roped in for a wedding instead.. go figure?). So as much as Katey Sutcliffe on trumpet and French horn IS doing her utmost and then some in the spastic bullfrog department to compensate (seriously you should've seen all those "Dizzy Gillespie" shots I left out here.. hiiilarious!) she's missing just that little extra "boost" in the Vitamin C register to really push them screaming over the edge. Poo! More noticeable however is the sad state of one Larissa "Joygasm" Perry who's LITERALLY feeling under the weather thanks to the ill effects of a NAAASTY head cold. I mean you wouldn't normally think this'd make much of a difference: she's usually ever so impossibly exciteable, smashing the shit out of that tambourine, goofyarse grin, like she's a cheersquad in one gone Jesus Freak ballistic. But tonight? as much as she's putting on a brave face and STILL giving it all she's got, she's a mere shadow of her festive self. And I swear it is THE MOST HEARTBREAKINGLY SAD THING I'VE EVER SEEN, or quite possibly unintentially cute like in this photo.. awwww I know! But hey it's not all frowny faces, HELL NO!! as their songs still shine through regardless, every one of them a candy coated masterpiece. And what I appreciate the most here, besides the fact I can finally recognise all of these songs through what was previously an utterly impenetrable "rainbows and lollipops" shitstorm, is in all the little details that bring it to life. From Larissa's twee backup vocals in opening number "Misery Jane", to her twinkle toe glockenspiel intro and Jeremy Lake's 1940's swingband drumming interlude in "Keeping Up With The Jones's", to the lilting gang harmonies coupled with Larissa's buzzing melodica in "Lucky You", to the mad Carlos Santana style guitar licks of Alex Ciaravolo in "Break Like Stone" (madness I tells ya.. MADNESS!!), to Katey's exploding horn revelry in "Fireflies". I mean seriously if you're not beaming and bopping your head along by the end of it like it's an episode of The Muppet Show, then you truly have a shrivelled heart as black as coal. 20th Century Graduates. Even at "reduced" power tonight they're STILL a mad buzz that can't be beat, or to loosely quote Jeremy off his own Facebook: they're just like two chuba chups ninja fighting inside of your skull, only ten times better. Aaaah I ask you duuude, how could you possibly go wrong?
LYLA (****1/2) myspace :: If there's one thing our headlining act totally rocks the shit out of better than a flush toilet, it's the launch party, in fact I'm pretty sure it's the only thing they ever do AS a headliner. The rest of the time, when they don't have something new to launch? they simply disappear into all manner of obscure supports, industry showcases or into the social pages of yet another "fashion launch" (yup that's Lyla alright, they're total arse bandits for haute couture!). I mean shit can YOU remember the last time they ever played a live show outside of their head explodingly awesome launch party back in September!? OF COURSE YOU CAN'T! they're like fucking ninjas I swear! But now with the release of their brand new single "It Ain't Right" (not to be confused with their EP of the same name), they've returned to the limelight to wreak havoc with YET ANOTHER LAUNCH PARTY!? OOOH SHIT!! Yup it all starts with the stage lights dimming to a dull glimmer. There's a brief flash as the projection screen spits out an "error message" from The Waterslides (hilariously left there since they last played here back in October) and then the pre-show visual assault begin. Firstly with a test pattern, then with static, then with a befuddling sequence of black & white archive footage: the most memorable of which being a Lucky Strike ad possibly from the 1950's featuring square dancing cigarettes and a goofyarse jingle. "Huh, what!?" Then a massive LYLA logo in all caps, fills the screen as the band burst out of the shadows to attack. The crowd screams in hysterics; and it's on like fucking Jet Li. The band tear into song after song, they're rocking the shit out of each and every one of them till there's no shit left to rock. It's total "shock and awe", it's totally psychotic, and with me standing point blank to it? it's the mad theatrics that I remember the most. It's Matthew Minucci on lead: preening and prancing about like a cross between a Mick Jagger and a punch drunk 007. It's Anthony Callisto on guitar: barking, gnashing and snarling like a greyhound on a fox hunt. It's Sam "Salvatore" Bruno on bass: pulling mad shapes in the corner like a 1920's gangster film reinterpretted with puppets. It's Dave Mazzarelli on drums: a man of a thousand faces and only two drumsticks. And it's Stef "Blobby" Krcmarov pawing at his keyboard like a youtube LOLcat meme gone viral. And it's what I remember the most, simply because everything else here is pretty much a whizzing hyperspeed blur.. duuude it's a total mindfuck! It's a setlist packed with simple song titles like "Walk", "Get On", "Dig It" and "Come On". Every one of them a blitzkrieg blend of 60's Stones, Oasis, Supergrass and Jet. And five minutes after the dust's settled you'd be hard pressed to remember any of it (especially not in detail). Still as devishily nondescript as it may be, in apocalyptic scope and grandeur it's no less lethal, and the audience around me are no less enraptured in embracing it. NO SHIT!! They're shrieking and flailing like it's the end of the fucking world, the loudest of which forming a growing female fanbase known as "The Lylabirds" (aaah and such sweet ear raping "symphony" it is too!), and if any of this is starting to feel like the "last straw" in a long line of launch party piss antics totally breaking my brain in half? (pfft.. naaah, I freaking love these guys!) Lyla do have one FUCK of a trump card to win me over in the end. It's a cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Heads Will Roll". It's done like Rage Against The Machine covering The Rolling Stone's "Street Fighting Man" by way of The Prodigy. It's the most psychotically shit awesome, gang shouting, hysperspeed instrument shredding head explosion I've heard them play since "All Dressed Up (And No Release)". OOOOH FUCK!! And yes I'm absolutely kicking myself retarded that I didn't record it. Lyla. They came, they saw, they conquered, and then they simply vanished without a trace? Yup, just like fucking ninjas I swear!
12:44AM - And that's Lyla launching their new single "It Ain't Right": the last (I hope) of a long line of launches, parties and festivals I've been buried under for the past two months!? YEAAAS! THE REIGN OF TERROR IS FINALLY OVER!! WAHOOOO!! (dear fucking gawd I hope it's over!). And as much as it wasn't necessarily the biggest, loudest or the stupidest one I've ever seen: as let's face it I've been hit with everything of late from dancing morons in bear suits, tiger suits, stage invaders, audience incursions, crowd surfer tsunamis and a riotous head explosion of shitcrazy outfits (and that's SO gotta fuck with the "bell curve" riiight?) the one clear sign that Lyla's launch party WAS the wild hooting success it so rightfully deserved to be, can be found HERE in this humble toilet sink. Yup, to think someone was so totally overwhelmed by the excitement of it all that they just couldn't "contain themselves"!? NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL A STANDING OVATION!!
1:26AM - Still it's always a little ironic when you leave Jive on a Saturday night, after one fuck of a shitcrazy shindig, packed to the ceiling with hooting fans, only to be faced with THIS afterwards: twice as many nitwits lining up outside just for the fucking DJ. GUH!! Seriously how DOES that Craig Flanigan do it that ingenious baaastard!? I mean is it hypnosis? is it subliminal messaging? is he a secretly a blood sucking vampire feasting upon Adelaide's unsuspecting scensters!? I mean c'mon just look at him maaan, he's gotta be one of the undead riiight!? OH YOU FUCKING KNOW IT!!
1:27AM - Still before I could entertain the notion of going all "Van Helsing" on his arse once and for all (only to remind myself that's since he's exclusively targeting Adelaide scensters, hipster tragics and retarding Triple J drones? yeaaah fuck it he's probably doing us all a favour!). I'm interrupted by these two cocknockers. Apparently one of them just got engaged (quite possibly to the other one), or maybe they just got hilariously drunk at an engagement party they crashed through a facebook invite (pfft) either way they figured I should get a photo of them. Weird huh!? I mean is this shit normal!? or did they know I had a blog? or were they just picking me at random under the loose assumption that this photo would eventually end up on the internet anyways!? I mean seriously, who even needs to take a camera out with them anymore when you can simply "crowd source" everything now!? FUCK!! I swear shit like this totally blows my mind sometimes!
1:35AM - Either way, clearly weirded out by the whole experience, I figured I'd head to The Ed Castle next and make it a whole lot worse. YEAAAS!! And oh look is that another lineup outside!? gee I wonder if it's for another launch party. Everyone LOVES launch parties riiight? WAHOOOO!!
1:43AM - Upon bluffing my way in for free (aaaah Olivia I really don't give you nearly enough credit do I?) I briefly entertained the notion of visiting the band room. I mean shit they DID just offer us the Seabellies last week, and they were at least five kinds of skull fuckingly supreme (or more accurately four and a half stars worth), so it's probably gonna be equally as awesome this week riiight? And yup and that's just what I thought too, only to witness THIS shit instead. I'm unsure exactly what it's meant to be: whether it's Melbourne band Cosmo Black, Kicks Tornado or dare I even ask.. Beirut Bathouse!? But with curiousity clearly getting the better of me I decided I should get a closer look anyways. And I'll spare you all the grisly details of what I HEARD (believe me even I didn't want to know) but what I saw appeared to be one of the members of Adelaide hiphop outfit A Devil Amongst The Tailors (fuck I dunno.. they got played on Triple J a few times!?) jamming with a pack of jocks over a laptop. Hmmm. And yes it was just about as "awesome" as you'd half imagine it and yes it was every reason why I left this room just as soon as I got here.
But not before bumping into these two likely lunkheads: Craig Lock and Josh Moore, bass player and lead singer for The Touch. And as for WHAT they're doing here? Well apparently they only just discovered my black camouflage cargo pants, pretty much the exact same black camouflage cargo pants I always wear (and have worn for the past two and a half years now), and they suddenly thought this was THE MOST HILARIOUS SHIT EVER!? Aaaah I know.. jocks huh? They truly find entertainment in the stupidest things don't they? (which is possibly WHY they're in this band room in the first place *cough*) and no Beirut Bathouse I don't mean to imply your band is stupid, or wait do I? WAIT, WHAT THE FUCK AM I STILL DOING IN HERE!? Screw this I'm getting me a beer!
And if you're wondering just now WHY I haven't covered a single live gig by The Touch this year, short of that wacky launch party they threw here a few weeks ago (oh wait, you mean to tell me that wasn't THEM!? FUCK DAAAMN!!) I believe these photos of Josh and Craig pretty much sum it all up. Genius huh!? And to think Darren Cross (aka: that squintyarse bastard from Gerling and The E.L.F.) gets to produce their upcoming EP? Yeaaah I know, I kinda feel sorry for him too.
1:45AM - A few minutes later, or possibly a whole hour later (give or take the end of daylight savings and whichever demon dimension I might currently be residing in) I figured I'd hide out in the beer garden (ie: far FAAAR away from the band room) with Alex Ciaravolo from the 20th Century Graduates. Why? well tonight, or more accurately this morning, he's celebrating his 25th birthday. YEAAAS!! Which I think we can all agree is an event of utmost exploding awesomatude, not just because only the most brilliant and gifted of individuals are born in the month of April (and I'm not just saying that because I had MY birthday last week.. no not at all!) but also because it gives us the lame excuse, nay the proud honour, of getting him obliteratingly drunk.
However since Alex Ciaravolo has the near legendary alcohol tolerance of an HB pencil, or a twig of asparagus, we couldn't give him the WHOLE jug. I mean we learnt that lesson the HARD WAY back in November 2008, after a Lumonics gig, when he downed a full jug, went bright green like Bruce Banner and killed a few thousand people (or maybe I exaggerated that a little.. it was only half a jug). And so instead, we gave the rest of it to his brother Oliver. And like the true champion he is: it only took him three gulps, perhaps a straw and a little umbrella, to slug it all down. YEAAAS!!
3:15AM - Now obviously with all that running commentary of people drinking just now (or being otherwise hilariously retarded) clearly I wasn't putting nearly enough effort into my OWN drunken retardation (despite the fact this is clearly an outright lie and I've been drinking all along). And so instead of hitting the bar like a normal person, I thought I'd consult Naboo here to see if he had any "alternative remedies" on offer. And as luck would have it? he had JUST the thing I needed!
And yes I know what you're thinking, but despite all appearances to the contrary this ISN'T just the conventional sangra mix The Ed Castle serves up at $10 a jug from their Chemtec Brand "Senor Pablo's Love Potion" monster vat, but an extra special blend Naboo's been concocting for the past few hours using nothing but the finest "herbal" ingredients. I know! doesn't it make your intestines twist into knots JUST thinking about it!? And yet, call me crazy, but I actually had my doubts here. I mean for one: are those real lemons he's using? or is it merely lemon concentrate!? Hmmm.
But no, he assures me not only did he use real lemons, but he even threw in a whole bag of limes, five halved kiwi fruits AND an entire crushed watermelon. He also mixed in a bottle of vodka (being sure to strain the bits of broken glass first.. naturally!) as well as twelve shots of tequila and whatever was scraped out from behind that Big Buck Hunter game near the toilets. Oh and as for all those "cigarette butts"? *ahem* yeaaah clearly they're nothing of the sort, they're "crutons".
Yup it's hard to argue with a concoction this stupendously awesome. In fact so brilliantly did Naboo sell it to me just now, that I actually had to fight off Jon Wignall here just so I could get me a mad dose of it. And how could you blame him maaan after Naboo threw in an extra pack of Stuyvesant to sweeten the deal? Of course clearly it WASN'T a pack of Stuyvesant, it was merely a kumquat (or maybe a guava fruit) cunningly disguised to look at one.. but wowee were we suitably impressed!
And then before either me or Jon could decide who got dibs on it, Naboo drank the whole lot. And before you ask? yes it did only take the ambulance five minutes to arrive, yes it was a quiet ceremony, and yes Jon did score that "Scotland's For Me" t-shirt in the will.. true story I swear!
4:07AM - And so, to cut a long story short, I got drunk at Supermild instead.
Yup the life I lead here in the Adelaide scene is far from normal. Believe me I know, it's only getting weirder each week! In fact it's so far removed from normal I don't even remember what it looks like or smells like, short of those all too brief glimpses I get when I switch on the TV; and I'm pretty sure whatever the fuck this "reality" is they're selling me it ain't exactly normal either! Hmmm. So what IS then? and how do I find it? and more importantly do we even need it!? I mean do any of us lead normal lives in this hypersaturated world of social networks, ipod apps, and increasingly abstract "nine to five" office jobs: emptying one box to fill another? And normal according to who's definition? the government's? the media? a jury of our peers? Clearly such things are malleable and immaterial now, I'm way too far down the rabbithole. I know this life, I choose this life, I'm well adapted to its nocturnal environment of insanity and hilarious dysfunction, and as long as I don't get hit with yet another launch party next week? I think I'll do just fine.