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 MILTON EXPERIENCE + ANGELIK + THE DIRTY MONKS "REUNION SHOW" @ THE SANDBAR / Saturday April 24th 2010
Aaaah tonight was shaping up to be one of "those" nights maaan! One of those Saturday nights I can only but dream of most weekends. It would've been outrageous, it would've been extreme, it would've been five kinds of ridiculously shit awesome and head explodingly insane all rolled into one! Or in other words duuude? it would've been the FIRST Saturday night I've had in ages with absolutely fuckall going on! "FUCK YEAAAS!! I FINALLY GET ME A NIGHT OFF FROM THIS ACCURSED BLOG!? WAHOOO!!". I mean suuure I knew there was still stuff on. I did all the research, I clicked "maybe attending" to all those Facebook events. I knew there was like a billion options available. Fuck maaan, since when isn't there in Adelaide of late? annoying isn't it!? DUUUDE, TELL ME ABOUT IT!! Just as I readily admit Cheer Advisory Council, Box Elder and We Grow Up would've been the pinnacle of shit hot awesomatude at The Metro if ever I showed up to it. Just like Günter & The Safeword, Hooked On Monkeyphonics and Dexter Jones would've totally blown a full load in skull fucking genius at The Crown & Anchor. And as for Matt Van Schie, Jimmy & The Mirrors and Red Ink doing the sparkle-motion ice-capades at The Ed Castle? I mean shit duuude how could I possibly go wrong!? INDIE DISCO FUCKING RULES MAAAN!! Except yeaaah I really couldn't be arsed tonight, I'd already seen Die! Die! Die! on Thursday, I'd already seen Philadelphia Grand Jury on Friday, I mean what more could this weekend want from me!?huh? HUH!? Yeaaah fuck that shit! All I'M looking forward to tonight is a mind numbing movie at Palace/Nova, maybe some gratuitous binge drinking at The Exeter and maybe me waking up the next morning gargling in a gutter outside of Supermild. Or in other words? this would've easily been THE BEST SATURDAY NIGHT EVER simply because all you shitweasels would never get to read about it! But then just before I could "write this whole night off" (quite literally.. and in more ways that one!) someone came up with an ever better plan SO utterly bent and ripe with retardation that I couldn't possibly refuse it. OH YES!! We're talking the bottom of the barrel here, we're talking the dregs of the Adelaide scene, we're talking a Saturday night spent in the "suburban ghetto": where too much dementia ain't nearly enough!
Now obviously this isn't the first time I've ever ventured into the "feral frontier" to provide cheap laughs for Spoz's Rant. OOOOH FUCK NO!! You may remember similarly themed episodes at The Jolly Miller back in December 2009, or at Jetty Bar back in February 2009 and May 2008, but this IS the first time I've ever been crazy enough to cover The Sandbar on Henley Square. And for damn good reasons too! For not only has it arguably received its fair share of "sewerage intake" from the infamous Ramsgate around the corner (where Port Power and Crows players love to party hard and throw punches at each other). But up until recently it's also been a festering sinkhole for the very worst in Top 40 DJs, metros, spray tans, goldchains, beachside bogans, and bottle blond cougars wrinkled well into their 50's. YEAAAS!! Or at least that's how I imagine it in my nightmares. You see I was only ever dragged in here ONCE five to ten years ago (and yes I was howlingly drunk at the time) and the things I saw on that dancefloor to songs I dare not mention? still has me reeling! But now I hear that they're putting on live bands all a sudden. And that Trent Worley from Isle Of Vision is somehow involved (or more accurately everytime we've crossed paths since January he's never shut up about it). And with a band as ridiculously awesome as Angelik playing tonight? WHO KNOWS!? maybe hell HAS frozen over, and maybe, just maybe The Sandbar is worth revisiting!
Taking the stairs up from the Thai Orchid: arguably the most fuck off a-grade Thai restaurant in all of Adelaide (duuude, I swear their green curry chicken and Tom Kha Gai is yet to be beat) what first strikes me about The Sandbar is how clean it all looks. From the antique staircase, rich red paintjob and polished wood bar top, to the large bay windows and balcony looking out onto the sea, it's damn near respectable. Which for most of us used to our "fashionable" inner city haunts subsisting in various states of decay, disuse and disregard for any kind of interior lighting can only mean one thing: it's clearly a commercial Top 40 shitdive. Still as much as it DOES resemble a cross between The Stag, The Colonel Light and The Dog & Duck (and all those video screens behind the bar flashing social pics from the last "banging club event" clearly ain't helping matters) the DJ mix tonight of everything from Soundgarden to Sonic Youth is somewhat more reassuring. You can spot the occassional scrubber and slackjawed yokel snuffling about, but the overall vibe is almost "inviting". In fact quite like The Metro back in October 2008, or The Ed Castle in January 2008: with a light push in the right direction, who knows WHAT this "live venue" could achieve!?
Still it's early days yet, so when it comes to organising shows here it's a pretty loose DIY affair. For the past few months Trent Worley's been booking most of them (and just recently they've hired some whizzbang "promoter guy" to take over) but you'll still need to do all your own poster promo, street press listings and rope in as many people as you can through all that facebook whatever the fuck: as there's no regular crowd or resident scene short of the occassional mental patient and yammering drug addict. There's no guarentee either, bands simply take all the door (so feel free to set it as high or low as you need) while the venue takes whatever they get over the bar. Rider's usually a carton of beer, and bring your own mixer too as they usually don't supply one. Or in other words simply drag in the first "aimless drifter" you see wandering the streets with offers of a "packed cone or two" and yeaaah you'll do just fine. This one calls himself Todd Loro: he used to play bass in Trixie Plain and apparently he's a shit hot sound engineer. I know, go figure huh!?
And if you're still looking for that little "something extra" to make your show truly memorable? then you can't go past THIS shitweasel! Yup, you may remember him as the infamous "Fleck" with the shitcrazy mohawk: one of the many colourful characters you used to find lurking about in The Crown & Anchor, until like many OTHER of The Crown & Anchor's "colourful characters" he received a lifelong ban and we never saw him again. But tonight? he's nothing less than the life of the party!
(hmmm yup.. now where DID I leave that tranquiliser gun again?)
THE DIRTY MONKS (**) And speaking of fun and games at Glenside Hospital, here comes our opening act.. YEAAAS!! This is the first time I've ever seen or heard of them (and here's hoping it's not the last!). Apparently they used to go by an entirely different name, which they've only changed just recently according to information I can no longer cross check to elaborate upon (so maybe I simply imagined it all!?). And short of hearing that their bass player Darren "Diggler" Van Dam used to be in Innervision: a late 90's Adelaide band of some repute that used to also feature Luke Ashby on lead vocals and W. Shane Forster on drums, and an utterly nondescript facebook page listing 39 fans (!?), there's absolutely fuck all information on them anywhere, and by "anywhere" I clearly mean through a simple google search (I mean pfft.. what do you think I am? a freaking journalist all a sudden!?). Yup they have no MusicSA, no myspace, reverbnation, bandcamp, twitter or youtube channel. Just as I'm sure none of them have a working mobile, landline, fixed address or a tax file number, and they all live under a bridge or in a caravan park somewhere. Just as you'll be sure to find any one of them frequenting your neighbourhood bottle shop or servo in search of his daily fix of passion pop, a carton of cigarettes, a jumbo bag of beef jerky and a few instant scratchies. Aaaah I know they're just a gift that keeps on giving aren't they!? Still as much as they DO very much resemble the "suburban rock ghetto" archetype: right down to their spastic marionette moves and curious taste in late 90's fashion attire (I mean electric blue crushed velvet has SO gotta be making a comeback one of these days riiight?) the crowd here, including some exceptionally loud drunks thrashing away up front, are absolutely loving the SHIT out of them. In overall style they resemble everything from Live's "Throwing Copper", The Police, Jack Johnson, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Matchbox 20. Or in other words they're the cheesiest surf guitar, white reggae and commercial rock radio you've ever heard delivered hardcore and "in your face" to the point of self mockery (no shit, they're so awesomely generic in sound they practically make Bryan Adams sound "experimental"!). They perform a cover of "Another Brick In The Wall: Part 2" by Pink Floyd, it totally blows my mind. They hammer the fuck out of every one of their guitar solos, they make every note count. Their lead singer especially is pulling all manner of shitcrazy shapes like something out of Tim Burton's "A Nightmare Before Christmas"; like a cross between Peter Garrett, Perry Farrell and an emaciated Christian Bale out of The Machinist (seriously, he's the best thing about this band!). And as for the non-existent stage lighting and the pissdrunk baboons hooting around me? oh yeaaah, I TOTALLY made the best decision in coming here tonight! The Dirty Monks? like all the golden olden hits from the 70's to 90's as performed by a dole queue at Centrelink, duuude what's not to love!?
ANGELIK (****1/2) myspace :: Now after all that shit, you could say I was a "teeny bit" relieved to see our second act tonight, but to be honest I was simply more relieved to see anything at ALL. For as it turns out somone DID finally figure out the stage lighting. Apparently there was both an "on" and "off" position to it and that somehow confused the hell out of everyone (no really? you'd think all these live venues would've had that figured out by now.. yeaaah isn't that right Rocket Bar!?). And woweee what a difference it made too! Yup with just a simple "flick of a switch", The Sandbar suddenly became so much MORE than just a seedy "seaside resort" to drink yourself blind, punch up with your former cell mates, and piss over the balcony; and more like one where you could totally do all the above whilst simultaneously hurling beer bottles and hilarious abuse at the band in front of you because NOW they're the sole focus of attention. Awesome huh!? YOU BET IT IS!! (it's like we're having a Renaissance here all a sudden!) and such was the riotous reception that greeted Angelik on stage tonight; and rightfully so too! Kicking on for ten years or more, playing all the hilarious shitdives around town (and believe me I know, my pissy little "live act" even supported them at a house party back in 2000!) they're not just a regular pub rock band to us, OOOOH FUCK NO!! they're a band that makes loud, lewd and retardingly shitfaced into an artform all to their own. In fact in so many ways you could consider them the Adelaide scene equivalent of Magic Dirt. And of course BEING the "Adelaide scene equivalent" means next to no one outside of Adelaide has likely even heard of them before.. but trust me they're no less volatile in impact. Lead by Laken Smith on vocals and Sam "The Bullet" Baroudi on guitar (he's a lecturer at Uni SA dontcha know!) and a rotating roster on bass and drums (currently Pete "Freddy Krueger" Kearnes and the infamous W. Shane Forster respectively) they tear into their setlist tonight quite like a Rottweiler into raw meat. Everything is rough and ready and rowdy as all fuck, not only in W. Shane's junkyard style of percussion (that finds its quality not so much in the art of "precision" but more so in howling aggression) but also in Laken's whiskey throated vocal delivery and Sam's screw face Neandarthal riffage (aaaah and always a fave to photograph too!). Most of the songs here fit pretty much the same "winning formula": shred loud and fast, start stop, explode, rinse and repeat (think The Distillers meets late 80's Nirvana and you'd be dead on the money) but there ARE the occassional detours too. The first being their opening number "The Ferry Man" (see video) that has Laken doing a punctuated Ting Tings style "percussive jam" to lead into the song that proves to be just about as hypnotic as the first time I saw it back in December. And the second is "Cut Myself From You" that practically has them aping The Kills in a slow boiling blues jam before exploding into the next song. The crowd are naturally going completely fucking beserk to it (as let's face it, it's the only natural response you CAN have / give or take a few too many beers to inspire it) so much so one of the more exciteable nitwits next to me is seen slam dancing off the stage and taking one of the foldback speakers with him in the process.. OOOOH SHIT YEAH!! Yup it's a complete and utter circus, it's a fucking massacre, they're showing us exactly what The Sandbar could be like every week: nothing but sinking pints, losing your mind in the moshpit, climbing the walls and ceiling, passing out cold, and waking up floating out to sea. Angelik? no shit duuude! Causing irreparable damage to both your kidneys, liver and higher brain function has never felt so good!
But in saying all that, and as good as the rest of their songs were, it simply pales in comparison to the REAL highlight of Angelik's set tonight, when the aforementioned Fleck (see I told you he was the lift of the party!) jumped on stage and joined the band in a fucked up, and some might say all too authentic, rendition of Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell". Yup it's been a frequent addition to many of Angelik's live shows since early last year when they launched it as a single, but I doubt it's ever been performed QUITE like this! Yup if ever there was a reason to kick yourself for catching whatever-the-fuck lamearse show YOU caught instead, this right here would be it, in a youtube window, begging you to click play. Oh maaan it SO rocked the shit out of this joint tonight, they totally had to import MORE shit in just so they could rock it out some more.. HELL FUCKING YES!!
THE MILTON EXPERIENCE (***1/2) myspace :: Now you'd think after all THAT The Sandbar wouldn't even need a headlining act. I mean fuck they wouldn't even need any music at all as likely we'd all be far too drunk "celebrating" to remember anything short of simple shapes and colours and the inside of an ambulance; and yet heeere we are? witness to the "luckiest band alive" that gets to follow Angelik after they pull a trump card like that!? WHOAAA FUCK!! Yup such is the "awesome fate" that this band gets to face tonight, and shit damn they must be ecstatic about it too! In fact I distinctly recall their lead singer Milton "West End" Barton muttering a little too loudly over the microphone moments before the show: "I might just take a piss first if that's alright" as clearly he was SO overcome with the unenviable task that lay before him that he had to empty out his bladder, either that or his back teeth were floating? but either way, what a stupendous moment in history huh!? Yup this is The Milton Experience. Or as their myspace would have us believe: "The Milton Experiance" (as the "a" apparently stands for "awesome"!). Yup turns out they'd already broken up a year ago (possibly because of the whole spelling thing) and tonight is their reunion show: which I admit is a little weird for me, reviewing them for the first time and all.. but what the hey riiight? so heeere goes nothing! In a nutshell think of them as a caricature of every early 90's slacker stereotype rolled into one. Think Beavis & Butthead meets Bill & Ted's "Wyld Stallyns" meets Dante & Randle from Clerks meets Frenzal Rhomb. Or more accurately, with all the dissonance they're cookin up: think a mix between early 90's Smashing Pumpkins (ie: back when Billy Corgan actually had both hair AND talent), Nirvana's "Incesticide", Soundgarden, The Butthole Surfers, Mr Bungle and especially Mudhoney. Or in other words think pretty much anything with a raised middle finger circa 1989 to 1994. In delivery they're at least five kinds of snot nosed belligerent, antagonistic and wildly sarcastic. Milton himself introduces each song with this weird "kid doing an adult voice" baritone by way of a mumble that sounds like he's taking the absolute piss out of everything but you're not quite sure.. only for the band to launch into a shitstorm of droning guitars, wailing feedback, throat ripping vocals and rapid fire drum and bass carnage. Still amongst all the intestinal shredding and raging apathy there is a lot to like about this band. For one there's that primal shit kicking energy to it that's downright infectious. The guitars occassionally hits that melodic "sweet spot" that Pearl Jam used to mine so effectively. Vocal duties shared between Milton and Jamie Seyfang do their utmost and almost succeed in aping Kurt Cobain and Thurston Moore at their psychotic best. Or in other words? if your not doing yourself a grinning "head injury" to this shit by the second song, then there's something seriously wrong with you (and believe me, quite like Angelik before them? there's no shortage of kamikazes in the crowd willing to die for that very cause). Oh and last but not least? just to sweeten the deal they also throw in a cover of Mudhoney. I forget which song it is, but Milton rather helpfully suggests "get your dicks out for the next song", only for a girl to shoot back with "well, what about if I don't have one?" only for Milton to respond with "yeaaah? make one!". I mean seriously how can you possibly argue with logic like that? The Milton Experience. They may have already come and gone, and this may only have been the "reheated leftovers" tonight, but just think what would've happened if we teleported them back to Seattle in 1992? duuude peeps would've totally lost their shit to it. Wrong time, wrong place maybe, but totally the right sound!
1:06AM - Now if this was just any other suburban shitdive on a Saturday night, like say The Jetty Bar (or what many Adelaide bands love to refer to as the "bayside ATM") the minute The Milton Experience would've dropped sticks tonight, we would've high tailed it the fuck out of here. And not a moment too soon before all the "angry villagers" wielding pitchforks and burning torches would've chased us out (aaaah fuck I love the boondocks!). But damnit, it was just so inviting here at The Sandbar tonight, we couldn't help but stick around and drink ourselves blind for another ten minutes or so. Enjoying the salty sea breeze on the balcony (just far enough away from the Torrens "effluent outflow" so our nostrils wouldn't sting), having a riotous laugh or two with the "locals". Or maybe these two likely louts from The Kemp Brothers, long serving survivors from the 90's scene. Back when Adelaide had more than its fair share of suburban venues like The Backpackers, The Holdfast, The Royal Kent Town; back before the pokies decimated everything; aaaah those were the golden days weren't they? "NO THEY FUCKING WEREN'T, THEY WERE SHIT!!" But yeaaah it's amazing how a few too many brews can make you feel oddly nostalgic anyways.
"So.. when are we catching that next taxi out of here again? soon? AWESOME!!".
1:41AM - The journey back to "civilisation" is never one without peril. Maybe it's the fuck off loud bhangra music the taxi driver's invariably blasting out of his stereo, maybe you've had a few too many brews before you left and now your bladder's set to go off like a bomb, or maybe it's the inherent time difference travelling from 2000 to 2010 (or are we back in 1990 again?) as we head from suburbs to city. Either way it usually pays to top up on your sodium levels. I don't know why "sodium" exactly, I just read it on a Froot Loops packet once so it's got to be true. And so Sean Kemp wisely suggested we'd drop by here first at this yiros joint opposite Worldsend to load. A place which according to him serves the BEST yiros in Adelaide. And hell, who am I to disagree!?
1:46AM - Of course I barely touch this junk meself (all those "fresh ingredients" totally throw my chakras out of whack or something) so I thought it'd be funny to take photos of Sean eating it instead, because clearly that's the sorta thing we ALL want photos of on this blog now don't we!? Oh suuure.. laugh at me now, but trust me the ratings are gonna go through the roof on this one!
2:22AM - With that out of the way, and being in the west end and all.. we briefly entertained the notion of hitting The Ed Castle, only to laugh ourselves stupid at the thought, only to hit The Grace Emily instead: where all notions of fashion, time and space are utterly irrelevant, yup.. for all the twenty minutes we were here until closing. It may also have been at this point that Sean decided he had to suddenly disappear into a taxi, not at all related to that yiros he may've eaten and how much it may've thrown HIS chakras out of whack, and by "chakras" I clearly mean I read it on the back of an Indian takeaway menu once so it must be true. Hmmm so where DO we go next!?
2:26AM - And so with nothing left to lose (and still being waaay too early for Supermild) I took a risk and headed to The Ed Castle, only to hesitate briefly outside wondering if I was actually insane enough to step foot in here. I mean shit Matt Van Schie's on tonight, it's gonna be a jock infested indie disco nightmare! And so I figured I'd take a "quick peek" through the window leading into the front bar to confirm either way, only to attract the attention of all these hysterical nitwits instead.
3:14AM - Turns out next to everyone had already fled The Ed Castle, possibly to chase Matt Van Schie down to Electric Circus (or wherever-the-fuck else he was banging his arseraping tunes at) leaving little more than a lightly packed front bar and a DJ. Yup all things considered I turned up here at exactly the right time.. short of maybe Josh Moore from The Touch flapping about exciteably, but hey you can't have anything! Either way a few brews later and it was back on the street again. By now the rains had already come and gone and washed most of the revellers away, but in doing so it did leave me with quite a few arty farty photo ops on my way to Supermild.
3:18AM - Aaaah just like Taxi Driver I swear: only I ride the bus instead and I'm pretty sure I'm not a borderline homicidal maniac stalker madly into porn.. but give it time maaan and who knows!
4:43AM - And so here I am at Supermild, or more accurately have been for the past hour or more. And unlike last night's snooze fest? it was an absolute riot and a half to be in here tonight. NO SHIT!! This joint was buzzing like a mad refrigerator, we were laughing it up like nobody's business, Lachlan from Steering By Stars made an appearance, still drinking himself blind after Josh from Sincerely Grizzly's shitcrazy birthday shindig (and maaan that cat can party!). And when Scarlett Johansson turned up (or at least she sure as shit looked like her) the stories we could tell? I swear they'd totally melt your face off (yeaaah if only I could remember a word of it). Which is obviously why I'm posting THIS photo instead of the encrusted air vents in the toilets, because believe me you're best of not knowing all the bits we left out. Good times baby.. gooood times!
Yup tonight was just one of "those" nights, one of those detours into regions unexplored, largely unknown and sometimes best untold (waiiit you mean The Dirty Monks!? pfft.. they were freaking hilarious!). For the Adelaide scene doesn't just begin and end at The Ed Castle or The Metro. OOOOH FUCK NO!! It's not just the "glowing city centre" where all the butterflies flitter about. It's everywhere maaan! It's our entire metropolitan area from Elisabeth to Noarlunga, Henley Beach to Tea Tree Gully. It's up in the hills and well beyond that, where all the freaks, geeks, cannibals and the cultists congregate around the proverbial toilet seat and let fly! Fuuuck, even now we've barely scratched the surface of what actually exists out there (Squatter's Arms anyone!?). Every week there's another suburban shitdive happening, they're putting on shows, they're starting facebook groups.. and they're waiting for YOU!! Yup, I don't know about you duuude, but I'm excited!