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...
TAME IMPALA + THE SILENTS + LIKE LEAVES "INNERSPEAKER ALBUM TOUR" @ THE GOVERNOR HINDMARSH / Thursday May 20th 2010
So here I am on a Thursday night breathing an audible sigh of relief.. "PHEUUUW!!". Witness to one of those rare few Thursday nights where I'm not scrambling to complete yet another episode of Spoz's Rant running waaay over "schedule". Where I'm not hilariously sleep deprived, wracked with writer's block, screaming obscenities, and all for what? a regularly updated website, a few lousy hits and an increasingly asinine infamy in the Adelaide scene!? and I don't even get paid for it!? "AAAAHAhAhAHaHA GET FUCKED!!". But none of that shit concerns me right now. HELL NO!! I'm right where I want to be maaan.. it's my night off from all of THIS stupidity! I've got my feet up, ipod spinning, cradling my cup of coffee, serene smile, surfing the interwebs as my mind goes blank; fuck it, later on I might even go watch me a retarded arse DVD.. YEAAAS!! Mind numbing nirvana is miiine baby! I mean shit duuude, I don't need to explain why I need this cerebral "brown out" right now, or what's looming laaarge over that horizon, it's apocalyptically insane: it's countless album launches, international DJs, national tours, long anticipated live debuts, festivals, birthday parties and "must see" shows (like Mad March all over again!? SAY IT AIN'T SO!!) and this right here is my ONE chance to chillax the fuck out before everything fucking kills me with all the "excitement" again? Yup take a deep breath people, FEELS GOOD TO BE ALIVE!! But then, just before I can get TOO comfortable here, my phone starts buzzing. "OH CRAP, there goes irony to bite me in the arse!". Yup it's from Like Leaves, they're supporting Tame Impala at The Governor Hindmarsh tonight. The show's totally sold out, only they've been "kind" enough to doorlist me. Only this is the first time I've heard about it at 7:23PM, and they're starting at 8PM!? "YOU BAAASTARDS!!". Yup and as much as I'm entertaining the notion of telling them just where to go for pulling a stunt like this, aaaah screw it.. who am I kidding!? we all know I'm THAT guy, I've got nothing better to do, it's Like Leaves and Tame Impala ferfucksake! And so, cursing and swearing, I find my shoes, find my camera and fly out that door. Another wacky episode of Spoz's Rant? HEEERE WE COME!!
And so here I am frantically flagging the next bus down Henley Beach Road (a whole half an hour later), after which I'd usually stop on Currie Street opposite The Ed Castle, take West Terrace past Micky D's and HQ to North Terrace and catch a second bus out to The Governor Hindmarsh. Only that would result in me waiting an extra 15-20 minutes, and in the blasting cold too: both time and effort that I simply couldn't afford to waste tonight (just as I couldn't afford to blow $20-$25 on taxi fare either). So instead I figured fuck it.. I'd sprint from the last bus stop on Henley Beach Road before the Bakewell Underpass, as fast as my swiss cheese carcass could carry me down Port Road, and with luck I'd get there a whole lot more exhausted maybe, but at least 15-20 minutes sooner. PHEUUUW!! Along the way I also passed by The Squatters Arms: previously known as an hilarious titty bar, since taken over by Paul Belial (lead singer for both Circle Clan and NFI) who's now running it as a shiny new live venue. And the reason WHY I'm mentioning this now? well not only have I been meaning to do him a "solid" for the past ten months in covering it on this blog, but Paul is also standing outside and yelling "OI, WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOUUU GOING!?" as I'm flying past, arms and legs flailing, barely able to explain (or apologise) for why I'm apparently ditching out on his shit AGAIN for some other gig.. AAAAHAHAHAhAHaHA one day Paul, ONE DAY!! Still there's little time to pause and reflect on all that NOW.. as thanks to me sprinting, stumbling, falling over my arse laughing hysterically (and twittering idiotic updates) I've finally arrived at my destination at 8:32PM. And better yet I can STILL hear Like Leaves playing inside!? YAHOOOO!!
LIKE LEAVES (N/A) myspace :: Of course there is a damn good reason for why I'm in such a hurry.. I mean shit duuude wouldn't it be exceptionally "bad form" of me to accept a last minute doorlisting from Like Leaves, only to skip out on their set? OF COURSE IT WOULD!! Oh and it also helps they're one of my favourite bands in the Adelaide scene (except yeaaah let's forget I'm really that biased and I'm always "impartial" shall we!?). Which is why I've arrived here just in the nick of time to catch the last two minutes of their last song Bazooka. YEAAAS.. TWO MINUTES!! And even more needlessly insane? instead of simply catching my breathe here, doubled over gasping in a sweaty mess front of stage; enjoying what little of their set remained as Juliet Hunter on violin on Ryan Manolakis on drums went beserk for a double drumming finale!? I figured I'd rush a littany of photos and bullshit a write up regardless (oh yeaaah, I'm awesome at taking a night off aren't I? YOU EIIIDIOT!!). As such this obviously won't be a "proper" write up, there won't be any live video, and there won't be an accompanying "rating" either (but yeaaah let's assume it's somewhere between 4 and 4.5 shall we?) but I DO have some tell tale "clues" to work with here over how it might have played out. First off there's their setlist. Opening with the metronomic crunch of Tissues For The Convoluted, they then followed with the punchy antagonism of Swordfight, the droning sonics of Falling For A Fleeting Moment, the haunting blues of Mercy Sound, the propulsive juggernaut of Fruit and finally the face melting rollercoaster that is Bazooka. The omnipresent Matt Hills was mixing them tonight so the live sound clearly didn't blow a horse, I'm told they opened this set to a near empty room only to fill it by the time they finished (which as much as it's clearly got nothing to do with them and more to do with everyone flooding the venue for Tame Impala? is always a plus), and better yet I've also gleaned fresh news on their long anticipated album. Word is they'll be completing and mastering it in a "studio" somewhere in August and then launching and touring it in September this year. Which admittingly is the exact same "spiel" they gave us this time LAST YEAR when they first announced it (tell me about it!) but with the special breed of skull fucking genius they've been cooking up in the past year or so? duuude trust me, they could just as easily spend ANOTHER year working on it and it'd still be "album of the year" almost by default. Yup that was Like Leaves. As much as I wasn't here and this wasn't much of a live review, it's the thought that counts riiight?
THE SILENTS (***1/2) myspace :: With the first band done for the night and a little "abruptly" at that (I mean c'mon, they only gave them thirty minutes? WHERE'S THE JUSTICE IN THAT, HUH!?) I staggered over to the bar in search of a beer and perhaps a much needed "moment of clarity" to explain to me just why I was killing myself stupid for this accursed blog AGAIN tonight (fuck I dunno? it's freaking hilarious when I read back on it a week later!?) only to begrudgingly return to the front of stage for our second act.. YAY ENTHUSIASM!! Yup this is The Silents, they're from Perth, and if we didn't know any better (short of the fact they easily look waaay taller than five foot and older than say.. twelve?) you'd almost confuse them with our headlining act Tame Impala. I mean suuure they're CLEARLY rocking their OWN sound that's at least five kinds of wildly "unique and original", mixing in everything from The Flaming Lips' "Embryonic", Pink Floyd's "A Saucerful Of Secrets", The Stone Roses' self titled and Wolf & Cubs' "Vessels". One that's marked by its impenetrably heavy use of brown fuzz distortion (the sort that's redlining so severe it sets your teeth on edge.. WOOOO!!) slow swirling guitars like a giant washing machine and narcoleptic vocals that make even Ozzy Osbourne's mad mumblings sound like Shakespeare (and hell it's already getting my thumbs up from the first five minutes). Except yeaaah it's pretty much the exact same schtick you hear from Tame Impala. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing as they DO do an exceptionally good job of it. They even give it a slight "Madchester" feel that I dig something fierce (in fact I like to think its the best thing about them) and if we're really splitting hairs here they might even possess a tad more stage presence (as in they actually HAVE one). But otherwise it's kinda like a blind Coke and Pepsi taste challenge trying to tell them apart (fuck duuude.. maybe they're twins separated at birth!?). Still you gotta give their lead singer Lloyd Stowe due credit for selling it regardless. Swaying about like a scarecrow, voice midway between a nasal twang and an adolescent shriek (or kinda like Craig Nicholls from The Vines all loopy on Stilnox) his whimsical "stop animation" presence fixes your attention front and centre like he's nothing less than the real deal dope fiend. The rest of the band surrounding him swim about the stage like they're an intangible mirage, more fluid than terra firma: Jamie Terry all gangly limbs on guitar to the left of him, Sam Ford on bass hiding in the impenetrable blackness to the right of him (like he's auditioning as Carlos D's replacement for Interpol), while Michael Jelinek on drums flails his frizzy afro into a motion blur behind him. In combination they hit you like a slow swirl of chemicals, the sort that totally imbalances your brain, feeds it fuck full of hallucinogens, reverses your inner ear equilibrium, and has you floating free a few inches off the ceiling. And sure it may just be "same Tame, different Impala" helped in no small part by their drummer Jay Watson joining them on keys and backup vocals (see.. totally separated at birth!) yet you still can't help but drift along to them with a blissful smile. Yup that's The Silents. They might arguably be bordering on downright indistinguishable in the company that they keep; but when it's a dope "deep brown" groove like this? even in duplicate, it's STILL a winning formula.
TAME IMPALA (****1/2) myspace :: Which at long last brings us to our headlining act, the one headlining act everyone's been waiting WEEKS for in mad anticipation (so much so it sold out weeks AGO), with the possible exception of me showing up here on a whim (and admittingly a begrudging one at that) as I was half expecting, nay secretly dreading that I'd be facing off against the SAME retardedarse clowns that greeted them when they last toured here back in October. Yup, thanks in no small part to Adelaide Uni Bar being overwhelmed by the "Wolfmother brigade" in knuckle dragging low brows and wife beaters, playing fisticuffs with the crowd, spilling their beers everywhere, piggybacking on each other's shoulders and shrieking "OI PLAY 'REMEMBER ME' YA FUCKERS!!" (or in other words easily my worst live concert experience of 2009) I'd almost given up on this band altogether.. and it wasn't even their fault! (I know Triple J high rotation truly has a LOT to answer for sometimes). But thankfully there's none of that shit here tonight. Nope instead of being assaulted with every representative of "The Ascent Of Man" evolutionary chart (short of the last two on the right) we're instead greeted by The Baby-Sitter's Club, or maybe it's the Adelaide chapter of the Justin Bieber appreciation society? or is it MTV's prize demographic now!? AAAAHAhAhAhAHAHA!! (ooooh no wait.. they're clearly way too old for that!) as The Governor Hindmarsh is absolutely inundated with girls aged 12-17 all giddy in hysterics. Which yup, not only makes this the first Tame Impala show I've ever been at where the audience actually looks YOUNGER than the band (no mean feat) but also makes them one of the least psychotic; so although I'm still at odds amongst this anklebiting lot? at least the vibe is far more cruisy. Also slightly different is the band's lineup: their mysterious fourth member Paisley Adams has now been swapped from guitar to bass (as apparently he was lacking in the former but exceptional with the latter) and it also appears the other three members haven't been feeding him since October either.. what with all his jutting cheek bones and pained expression, he's starting to resemble one of the Olsen Twins (or better yet one of those puppets out of The Dark Crystal). And no shit, it's the freakiest damn thing about this band tonight; so much so I can't help but imagine hoards of ravenous stoner bands roaming the beaches of Perth like seagulls scavenging for food (and maybe Paisley is the one who fakes a "missing leg" for the sympathy feed). But other than that glaring distraction, this is still the same Tame Impala we know and love and smoke copious amounts of drugs to. And when they're playing live? duuude it's damn near impossible NOT to buzz off them. Performing songs mostly off their new album (with "Lucidity" and their first single "Solitude Is Bliss" being the most memorable), what strikes me the most is how everything melds together so seamlessly in a way not too dissimilar to Chemical Brother's "Exit Planet Dust": both in how it unfolds like a blissful DJ set, but also in the chemical bleeps and repeating delays that extend out into in the segues. In overal vibe it's like falling asleep in the back seat of a car as a kid after a long road trip in the country, or that ethereal floating feeling you get whilst lying in a field of green watching the clouds drift on by. Nothing is tethered in place in what they play, it all swoops and soars of its own natural accord. The band seem to be more at peace on stage too, more conversational and chatty. We're awash to a chilled out groove, one which you usually only could achieve through an ounce of "Brown Betty" and tripping out to bird documentaries. And as much as we may think them overhyped or overrated any other time? THIS is where they prove themselves time and time again. This is where they weave their world; a world where we aren't separate sects and social cliques screaming at each other's throats but united as one blissed out and swimmingly sea green; a world we never want to leave. Yup that's Tame Impala. Close your eyes and let your mind float free? it's the only place to be!
Moments after the show on my way to buy their album (one which surprisingly holds up well with repeat listens) I bumped into a late arrival, some knuckle dragging baboon with a befuddling expression on his face who stopped me in my tracks and asked who was playing tonight, only to appear even more befuddled when I told him: "you're taming WHAT now!?". Yup, order has indeed been restored.. TAME IMPALA IS SAFE FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION AGAIN!! WAHOOOO!! And as much as I was itching to "celebrate" that fact at The Governor Hindmarsh tonight (likely until well after closing) I had business to attend to: videos to youtube, photos to process, notes to compile, fuck I even had a documentary film crew looking to interview me at The Exeter tomorrow (yeaaah.. it's a long story!). Either way I had to run, run like hell down Port Road thrashing and flailing, run past The Squatter's Arms again, only for Paul to spot me and yell out "OI, I DO ALL OF THIS FOR YOUUU YA KNOW!!", run like hell to catch my last bus home. Of course I never DID get to that bus in time, I missed it by miles, just like I sacrificed my "night off" to all hell and hilarity; but I still caught one fuck of a headlining show. And in the end.. isn't that what makes THIS all worthwhile?