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 MOURNING SONS + RIDE INTO THE SUN + KITTYHAWK LIVE @ THE CROWN & ANCHOR + THE JADE MONKEY / Friday April 16th 2010
Yup, quite like I predicted last week there is YET ANOTHER launch party happening in Adelaide tonight. And yup the sound you're hearing right about now IS in fact the squeezed trigger of a shotgun followed by the chewy nougat contents of my skull forming a "Jackson Pollack" splatter all over the walls and ceiling.. "OOOH FUCK YEAH!!" or at least it would've been if I was insane enough to accept it. And I mean pfft.. how could I not maaan!? For not only is it Auberon Dance Academy, celebrating the release of their skull fuckingly dopearse debut EP at The Promethean tonight (emphasis on "skull" being right royally "fucked") but they're being supported by Fountainhead, My Echo and Szarbs, which for those of you not in the know feature former members from In Fiction, Scissor File, Lomo and The Hot Lies (whoaaa wait, did someone say HOT LIES!? SQUEEEEEE!). Yup, and even better!? it's an all-ages show too! And we all know how much I FUCKING LOVE all-ages shows riiight!? (no really.. where DID I put that shotgun again?). Hmmm yup so clearly that shit's out of the question, but it's not like I'm starved for euthanizing alternatives either. For instance if I was feeling particularly "adventurous" tonight I could've hit Rocket Bar for Jimmy & The Mirrors' "Flower Party": supported by Dusty Adams & The Good Time Five and All Night Girls (a new band apparently featuring former members from Tyger Tyger!? DUUUDE, NO WAAAY!!). Which would've been as ridiculously awesome as it sounds except for the fact that it's at Rocket Bar: a "live venue" that I'd all but blacklisted since September last year.. YEAAAS!! Or what about the riotous relaunch of Rendezvous at Live On Light Square: featuring Van She Tech and Adelaide's finest indie disco DJs.. aye? aaaye!? AAAYE!? yeaaah fuck it, I think we can see where this is all going can't we? And after I finish off these happy hour beers at The Crown & Anchor *burp* (scuse me) THAT'S exactly where I'll be at too! No.. no, it's not the fiery depths of hell (or The Ed Castle for that matter) it's quite the opposite. It's the Jade Monkey: my one and only antidote for all self inflicted insanity!
KITTYHAWK (****) myspace :: For if ever there was someone in desperate need of some peace and quiet here at the Jade Monkey tonight: preferably whilst curled up in a foetal ball, in a snuggie, while sipping on some Chinese green tea laughing themselves retarded.. it'd definitely be ME after everything I've put myself through for this Adelaide scene of late (and I mean seriously, do I need to explain why?). And as for the perfect soundtrack to said "peace and quiet" short of The Pixies "Where Is My Mind?" set to the sight of our entire financial district being demolished in front of my eyes (aaaah Fight Club! will my joking references to you ever get old!?) it'd definitely be THIS our opening act. Yup this is Kittyhawk. And no, they're not launching or promoting anything tonight.. THANK FUCK!! nor are they supporting any other band who may be launching or promoting anything else either. They're simply Caitlin Duff and Dave Williams (lead singer and guitarist from Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! respectively) and on the odd occassion Nathaniel Morse on second guitar, playing humble folk acoustic the way nature originally intended it: without a single butchered Jeff Buckley, Oasis or Powderfinger cover in sight.. OOOOH FUCK YEAH!! And after the last two months I've had? Yup, I couldn't be more overjoyed to see them too! In fact it could be fair to say they're quite simply overjoyed to see us too. For with nothing but a small crowd hushed in awe before them (no mean feat mind you.. especially considering how many OTHER acoustic acts have been buried here in the past) and a crystal clear mix provided by the ever infamous Matt Hills (aka: that one uber producer in Adelaide who could practically serve up steaming poo on a plate and it'd still come up smelling like roses) they're a crackling fire rich in warmth and personality, they're goofy grins and jokey banter aplenty, and looking very much at home in their low lit surrounds tonight they fill this room with the most delicate of weather beaten compositions. Aaah such bliss! In listening to it, one could figure it as an eclectic mix between Grizzly Bear, Atlas Sound and Angus & Julia Stone; but to me they most remind me of two meowing alleycats. You can hear it in Dave Williams' voice warbling and crackling like a adolescent caricature fresh from The Simpsons (but quite artfully so) while Caitlin's voice ducks and weaves around him like a dive bombing toddler (but y'know, totally like meowing alleycats too.. at least in my own head?). And in combination they make for quite the soothing melancholy, one bittersweet arrangement at a time, with the most minimal of guitar accompaniment. Most of their setlist you may recognise from Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!: with at least three songs from their album "Sea Priest" getting an airing tonight, and you may mistakingly take them for covers too, except most of them curiously originated as Kittyhawk songs and not the other way around. "All Of Us In The Water" is perhaps the most striking of the lot, as it's practically identical to what's on record (and no less haunting when performed live) but the other two songs "Test Crowd" and "April / May" are no less captivating in their respective "minimalism" either. As such they're a band who's charms may not be immediately apparent, existing predominantly in the spaces between notes like dappled shadows, and they certaintly were lost on me the first time I saw them (yeaaah let's just forget I even wrote that review shall we?) but give them time and they'll definitely grow on you.. firstly in relation to their full band Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! (as a curious "character study" in contrasts) but also as a quirky acoustic act in their own right. Kittyhawk. With the weight of a weary world rendered as light as a feather in their presence? yup they truly are music to soothe the savage beast. And in so many ways? just the opening act I was looking for.
10:38PM - But alas my trip to the Jade Monkey is all but a brief detour tonight. The real action for me lies elsewhere. And by "real action" I clearly mean anything else that isn't YET ANOTHER FUCKING LAUNCH PARTY. And so I ducked out just now before Humble Bee hit the stage (as quite frankly Ben Revi is REALLY starting to tire of all the "newborn giraffe" jokes I keep cracking at his expense.. tee hee!) and in following skipped out on their headliners Quiet In The Lab! too (as let's face it they probably don't need me to review them EVER AGAIN since I gave them such a "glowing review" for their debut show two weeks ago) and instead hit The Crown & Anchor. Why!? Well as much as I often ask myself that SAME question whenever faced with the prospect of entering this "human toilet" with anything less than a full biohazard containment team and a flamethrower, my reasons are threefold. Firstly because of the ridiculously awesome bands they have on offer here tonight, secondly because they're free entry (and we all know I'm a cheapskate) and thirdly.. dare I mention that I MISS this shit dive!? I mean duuude The Crown & Anchor used to be my every week, my running cliche, my raison d'être cunningly disguised as a botulinum outbreak.. and look how far we've grown apart!? Well not tonight maaan! for tonight we're kicking it oldskool.. I mean quite literally, I may have stepped in some walking through the door just now. Mmmm stinky!
RIDE INTO THE SUN (***1/2) myspace :: Of course in arriving here at this "late" hour I've already missed out on their opening act, who as it turns out wasn't Cortez: as I already bumped into their lead singer Tom Spall tending bar at the Jade Monkey earlier tonight (which is possibly why they pulled out at the last minute.. go figure?) but instead a "brooding" irish folk act by the name of Aphelion. And if you want to know how THAT shit would've turned out: simply read my review I wrote on them a year ago at The Crown & Anchor (almost to the day in fact) and yeaaah it's possibly the exact same shit here short of a few new songs. Still in saying all that I'd totally recommend you go see them, especially if you dig Opeth or "Thirteenth Step" by A Perfect Circle (or if you dig listening to shaved metalheads being all "angry acoustic" and shit) because yup they're totally badass like that. Which then brings us to our second act Ride Into The Sun. You may remember them from their debut show a month ago. You may also have remembered them for being an hilarious trainwreck too, but then I caught them for their second show at The Ed Castle a week later (more or less off the "record" here) and it was at least five kinds of face meltingly sublime (no shit, I totally had to get a new face and everything!). So what of their third show tonight? Well considering it's being held at the ever infamous Crown & Anchor: where the band room is ever so musty and rich in farty smells? where the floors are sticky and crunchy with spilt beer and shattered pint glasses? where their live PA is held together by termite spit, gaffer tape and wishful thinking? well shit duuude HOW DO YOU THINK IT WENT!? pfft like nothing short of legendary that's what! Yup and it truly was too, all except for the teeny tiny fact that their live mix tonight was absolute balls: all high end and low end and not nearly enough mids. Hmmm. Still as much as this befuddled their delivery somewhat (kinda like burying your head under a dozen pillows and listening to it on a shittyarse Sony Walkman) The Crown & Anchor DID more than make up for it in richness of "character": which is good news for Ride Into The Sun because (short of good mix) that's pretty much what they're all about. Firstly with their signature sound: a dishevelled blend of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Josh Homme's Desert Sessions, The Doors and Mazzy Star; all widescreen film noir mixed with antihero western; or kinda like George Miller's "Mad Max" meets Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man". Secondly with all the idiosyncratic quirks that each of the band member brings to the fore. From the passive aggressive overtones of their lead singer Anthony Candlish: part Neanderthal, part gnarled tree trunk with a wickarse hangover; filling the room with his blackening soul and haunting falsetto. To Luke Mayes on guitar: like a James Dean caricature, like a fundamentalist devotee to the school of 60's psychedelic art rock "because as we all know, music began with The Velvet Underground". To Jessica Honeychurch on keys: like a cross between Queen Cleopatra and a column of black smoke as she slinks and sways hypnotically in front of you with a long distance stare. To Adam Vanderwerf on bass: all wide-eyed and goofy, like he's a Luke Skywalker in search of an evil empire to unwittingly overthrow. To James Thomas on drums, who doesn't so much as play his kit, as stab it savagely and repetitively until there's nothing left to kill. Yup for what this band may currently lack in experience or diabolical reputation they definitely more than make up for in stage presence and promise. As such they've been madly cooking up new songs every week: this show showcasing at least two of them. They've been recording in the studio for an upcoming debut album release. It's early days yet, but trust me they're definitely onto something here, and the best is definitely yet to come. Ride Into The Sun. Just like Clint Eastwood teaming up with Lou Reed, the ghost of Jim Morrison, and Hope Sandoval as reinterpretted by Hunter S. Thompson? I mean duuude how could you possibly go wrong!?
11:58PM - Of course in saying all that, I've still left out a "sizeable" chunk of the story here. Not least of which any ACTUAL insight on their setlist tonight. And YES for the record their cover of Mazzy Star's "Wasted" WAS as ridiculously awesome as it was the first time I heard it; as well as another song "You Didn't Know" they performed for its trippyarse combination of rattlesnake tambourine and falsetto chorus that damn near put goosebumps on my goosebumps (and then some). Or for the trivial fact they might have played through an earthquake without even flinching.. at least if you could call 3.8 on the Richter Scale an ACTUAL "earthquake" and not just a teeny tiny hiccup in the tectonic continuum (and would you believe I was shooting photos of Adam on bass at the time.. and I didn't even notice!?). But more shockingly still for what their drummer James Thomas did to his floor tom. I mean seriously check it out duuude, that murderous bastard damn near tore it in two and everything? HOW FREAKING BADASS IS THAT!? YEAAAS!! WOOOO!!
And so instead of acknowledging just how "harrowing" and "hair raising" it was to live through the biggest seismicological event Adelaide has ever seen since AC/DC played Adelaide Oval on March 2nd 2010 (or perhaps that actual "earth tremor" we experienced over twenty years ago that felt rather like a mosquito passing wind) and perhaps calling on a few thousand Facebook friends just to check if they were still alive (and then checking up on our actual friends and family) here we were hooting like triumphant chimps over a busted floor tom? Awesome huh!? OH YOU BET IT IS!!
THE MOURNING SONS (****1/2) myspace :: Yup sometimes without even intending on it, even so far as going to the opposite end of town in effort to avoid it, you'll find yourself witness to history in the making. And no I'm not talking about a pissy little earthquake here, pfft.. WHAT ARE YOU CRAAAZY!? No I'm talking about a "game changing moment" in music that you'll witness first before the rest of the world catches on (and yes it's one of the many reasons why I write this blog too). Like take that chance Friday night waaay back in April 2005 for instance, when I caught The Grates play a show at the Jade Monkey, and nobody knew who the fuck they were, and they simply blew the roof off the joint? Or what about when Mammal played The Crown & Anchor on a Thursday back in February 2007 and Ezekiel Ox their lead singer had to actually heckle the crowd (who were all hiding in the back of the room) to even pay them any attention? Or what about when Midnight Juggernauts played Rocket Bar in June 2006, or when Children Collide played it in April 2007? Or what about when The Middle East played that teeny tiny show at The Ed Castle back in February 2009 in support of Leader Cheetah and all our jaws collectively hit the floor? I KNOW!! Of course clearly none of this shit has anything to do with The Mourning Sons from Melbourne, especially not after they played that head explodingly insane show at The Ed Castle in October 2009 in support of Kytes Of Omar and only fifteen people showed up. HA HA HA OF COURSE NOT!! but still it does make you think doesn't it!? Because I swear duuude I said it back then and I'll say it again tonight: this band is gonna be huuuge! Like we're talking Godzilla swatting fighter jets, crushing skyscrapers and playing ping-pong with the moon kind of fuck off retardingly huge, or at least they damn well should! I mean fuck, here they are playing The Crown & Anchor to maybe fifteen to twenty people? and it freaking blows my mind that nobody has caught onto this shit yet! SERIOUSLY!! To explain picture the following: Soundgarden, Nirvana, Queens Of The Stone Age and A Place To Bury Strangers all mixed into the same band. Awesome huh!? Now imagine it rendered as the filthiest, nastiest, loudest, fastest head exploding ear candy you've ever heard, delivered one psychotic 3-4 minute blast of noise at a time. Yup we're talking gutteral screams, razorblades and chainsaws played like guitars, bass and drums drilled like oversized hummingbird adrenal glands going a million miles per hour; we're talking the end of life as we know it! Now imagine standing point blank to that with a beer in hand, before anyone else has discovered it, like your Christopher Columbus and shit.. and duuude I swear it's like all of your Christmases come at once! I mean suuure maybe it's an XY chromosome thing, maybe I've simply gotten waaay too much shittyarse indie disco in the last eighteen months to last a whole fucking lifetime and I'm latching onto anything here that even remotely resembles a "turning of the tide" but still The Mourning Sons are THAT fucking good! I mean I don't even remember fuck all of what they played here tonight, short of that new single they were promoting called "Burn Motherfucker Burn" (I know huh? and check out the live video too.. it'll totally make your week!) and you know what!? I couldn't even care less! I was just happy to lose me shit out front and drink myself comatose like I was toasting the Viking Gods of Valhalla! They've got a debut album "Pipedreams" coming out later this year. It was produced by Dean Turner (bass player for Magic Dirt) so you know it'll be insane. They're touring again to launch it. Think about it. You'll wanna get in on this action before Triple J thrash it. Before all the hipster fashionistas and all the no-neck bogans ruin it quicker than you can say "Tame Impala". No trust me duuude, you'll totally thank me later! The Mourning Sons. I'm done with words, they don't even need words at this point, simply picture loud shouty expletives as "reasons to attend".. AND GO SEE THIS BAND!!
1:49AM - And then a few beers later I returned to the band room where our Friday night DJs "Neon Electric" were laughing themselves retarded, spinning a mad selection of tunes, having the absolute time of their lives, NO SHIT DUUUDE IT WAS AN ABSOLUTE RIOT.. yeaaah all except for the fact they were entertaining a dancefloor with no one on it. Hmmm, now I don't know quite what The Crown & Anchor are setting out to achieve with all this shit tonight, BUT DAMNIT I LIKE IT!! And so in keeping with what is obviously the "spirit of the occassion" tonight, and clearly inspired by all the wall projections, smoke machines, Jim Beam logos and all the chirping crickets forming a rambunctious choir around me, I briefly considered cutting loose on the dancefloor like a fucking madman, thought better of it, promptly finished my beer and then got the fuck out of there.
2:18AM - Now if this was any other night in the east end, I would have simply slipped off to The Exeter and either drank the bar dry until well after closing, or until I woke up in the emergency ward with several metres of rubber hosing being forced down my throat (or you know whichever comes first). Because as I think we can all agree, even when it's completely dead, it's never short of hilariously dumb shit to do (isn't that right Anya? GOOOOD TIMES!). But tonight I had other plans, plans that would ultimately take me all the way to the west end and here to The Grace Emily. Why? aaaah who the fuck knows? but isn't it nice to see I'm trying new things regardless!?
3:12AM - At some point in the next half hour or so Sean simply "disappeared" without a trace. I forget exactly the how, what or where, as quite frankly I was rather drunk at the time (pfft nooo you don't say!) but this photo may suggest that he actually flew home. Hmmm. And as much as you may doubt the plausibility of this occuring? he's actually a lot lighter than he looks. No really you should see him when he lights his own farts.. duuude goes off like a hot air balloon I swear!
3:28AM - And of course, no sooner did Joe Blogs arrive at this party, but he's seen departing too with this long neck of Coopers Sparkling in his hands. Which is quite the accomplishment really: for not only is he still standing well after he's "checked out"? but he's still drinking his beer too!? WHOAAA NO WAY!! Still being the "responsible friend" that I am, I couldn't possibly leave him like this.. OOOH FUCK NO!! And so I took that beer out of his hands (you know for safe keeping *burp*) rolled him up like a carpet and threw him into the bottle pit out back. Aaaah and you should've heard the sound he made on impact too.. totally made it my ringtone and everything!
4:37AM - A little over an hour later after I promptly polished off a long neck and a stubbie (on top of everything else that I clearly didn't "borrow" from either Sean or Joe when they weren't looking) I figured this was as good a time as any to make my getaway. And so I crept ever so surreptitiously towards the exit, doing my best not to make eye contact with anyone, only to slam straight into Ed Fraser instead (lead guitarist for The Mourning Sons) who was more than happy to shout me tequila shots for that utterly batshit insane (and possibly "glowing five star review") I might have given them back in October last year. Yeaaah I know it's a terrible habit of mine, and I really should stop doing it, but there was also no way in hell I was gonna refuse all this free piss now was I!? And so with grim determination I took it all head on, beat it resoundly hooting in triumph, only to completely forget just where the fuck I was for the next hour or so. Awesome!
5:28AM - Eventually I regained "consciousness" here. Of course I was initially unsure where this "here" was exactly, only that I was pretty sure it wasn't a hospital (due to the alarming amount of airbourne fecal matter) only to soon realise it could be nowhere else but Hepatitis J's on West Terrace (where this amount of airbourne fecal matter clearly falls within "acceptable limits"). Yup, as it turns out I actually walked here after Supermild closed, after walking to Mickey D's on Hindley only to discover they were already serving the breakfast menu.. DAMN YOU!! (and all while I was still unconscious!?) as let's face it: after spending a good portion of your night gargling upto your tonsils in slow acting neurotoxin? the last thing you'd ever want is a Hash Brown and an Egg McMuffin. Still it somewhat escapes me how this place could be any better? "waaait, did someone say Breadless Whopper with twice the meat and triple the artery clogging cheese!?" YES PLEASE!!
And it was then that I discovered just WHO I was sharing this retarding fate with, yup it was none other than these two dribbling piss stains from Ride Into The Sun: Anthony Candlish and that other nitwit who plays drums for them, who they keep calling "Balf" for reasons that utterly escape me (although it may have something to do with his peculiar habit of shoving fingers up people's noses in effort to gain "sustenance"). I mean seriously how do I always end up in all these fucked up situations!? yeaaah wait, don't answer that. I already know, and there's a damn good change I'm simply gonna repeat it again tomorrow night. Why? because it's freaking hiiilarious that's why!
Yup, I may have done my very best to avoid all the launch parties tonight: all the mad face melting spectacles, all the shitcrazy shindigs and the head exploding humdingers that have been unleashing heaven and hell unrelenting in the west end for the past two months or more. And yet even HERE: hiding out in the fringes of society, in the east end and beyond, where shows are promoted in proverbial small type, scribbled on the back of beer coasters, and transmitted through chinese whispers? the end result is still the same, the crowds may be smaller, but you'll still get just as laughably shitfaced at the end. For as far as I'm concerned every night's a launch party maaan! every night's a one in a million moment in history waiting to be uncovered, it's all just a matter of perspective. Bring a shovel, bring a snorkel, dig deep and who knows what you'll find!