The Adelaide music scene: to many of you it may 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...
TIGER CHOIR + ZEAL + SUNSETTLER LIVE @ THE EXETER / Saturday May 22nd 2010
"Alcohol is not the answer.. but it does help you forget the question". Yup I remembered reading that once, quite recently in fact (might have been a facebook status or something.. go figure?). And as much as it isn't an actual quote but a conversation attributed to Mahatma Gandhi (of all people?) and some guy called Vijay Mallya it's no less true of my Friday night.. "Oh maaan did I get well and truly skull raped or what!? WOOOHAHAhEhEHeHAhAHA EAT THAT COMMON DECENCY!!". And no I'm not saying that like I'm proud or anything (well ok maybe just a little) but I dare say it served its purpose well. I mean the fact is sometimes, a blog as wildly and weirdly popular as THIS one, can be an absolute bitch to write for. And by "an absolute bitch" I clearly mean that as an understatement, as the words I need to express such seething rage are expletives that have yet to be invented. It's a self inflicted curse I know. Just as I also know that I needed to wipe that slate clean.. of pretty much everything, and re-enter the world like a babbling infant, if ever I want to keep enjoying this ridiculously awesome blog called Spoz's Rant that we all know and "love". And all it took was a 9:20PM screening of Iron Man 2 at Palace Nova, a few too many dark ales at The Exeter watching The Desert Crooks, a few many pale ales at The Ed Castle pulling mad shapes to a DJ set by both Shane McIntyre from The Amcats and those psychedelic shitweasels from Lady Strangelove, only to piss on at Supermild (or should I call it "Stupormild") until well after closing, only to wake up nine hours later without a single fucking clue HOW I got home or why I wasn't dead and dissected in a lab yet.. "he has two livers!? duuude that explains everything!". But either way? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!! Oh maaan it was the BEST freaking night I had in ages, I didn't remember anything, didn't have to remember anything HA HA HA it was gonna be a total write off, YOU WOULDN'T HAVE SEEN SHIT!! Until quite predictably, some evidence of it did start to surface on my facebook feed thanks to Ruby Chew: the cutest most adorable bartender you will ever damn near meet.. until she starts sending you photos like these. I mean what IS that fluffy haired freak on the left doing in that first photo? GUH!! No.. on second thoughts I don't even wanna know!
Fast forward six hours later, two panadols, one steaming bowl of "who the fuck knows what" in an incomprehensible packet of three minute noodles (fuck damn I live for that shit too!) and me cowering from the light under fifty blankets and a quilt, listening to Mogwai at low volumes lest my whole head explode.. and it's now Saturday night? YEEEOUCH!! Except clearly none of that shit ever happened, because clearly I NEVER get hangovers, I don't even know the meaning of them, just like you believe all the OTHER drivel I ever write about on this site or anywhere else for that matter (no really would you believe "Spoz Spozington" is NOT my real name!? pfft.. GET OUTTA HERE!!). Either way I'm clearly not operating at 100%, or at whatever percent my blood alcohol was at last night before it achieved "ignition".. and thus I'm clearly not up for doing anything "rash" tonight. Still there's countless options at my disposal: not least of which The Granadiers throwing an album launch party at Enigma Bar, Plus One's first year anniversary at The Ed Castle or Jeff Martin and Jay Cortez performing at Jive. But instead of all of that I decided to take the road less travelled and return to the "scene of the crime" from my night before to see just what I could find.. like most of my higher brain function for starters. Yup, do we call this "hair of the dog"? do we call this the stupidest mistake I could ever think to make TWICE!? either way it all starts at The Exeter!
SUNSETTLER (***1/2) myspace :: In our opening act tonight I find a kindred spirit in one Alexander Stefan Fewings: lead singer, guitarist, drummer, scatterbrain savant extraordinaire and mastermind behind Sunsettler, or simply "Señor Twitch" for short. Not an actual nickname, I only made it up just now but fuck damn he's a legend all the same! I mean suuure we don't always see eye to eye; in fact most of the time he simply scurries out of the room in a mad panic at the mere sight of me. "Awwww but c'mon, I used to love Mona Lisa Overdrive!". Just as I rarely understand a single word he's singing in his Bob Dylan via Lou Reed via "Weekend at Bernie's" sketchy as fuck vocal delivery. But tonight we speak the same language maaan.. a language of broken typewriters, busted word processors, batshit predictive texts, and scrabble sets thrown into ceiling fans. And this innate "understanding" comes not through any small victory either. Señor Twitch is truly a one of a kind, quite possibly a national treasure, or at the very least something worthy of heritage listing along with those snot green Balfours "frog cakes". It took years to decipher and appreciate his genius, it took years to realise the "rosetta stone" simply involved a blinding night on the turps and the inability to process solid foods.. but here tonight I'm witness to an epiphany! For in the shabby chic surrounds of The Exeter with its substandard (but masterfully mixed) PA system and nonexistent stage lighting Sunsettler have never sounded better. Which is all too ironic, because it may very well be their last show too. Callan Shultz on guitar and bass (aka: "Sid" from Skins) is soon leaving for overseas, or interstate, or to a witness relocation scheme indeterminate so their whole future is "up in the air". Underdale Facepalm has already declared them R.I.P. as a result (perhaps prematurely.. but hell it gave me a damn good reason to attend tonight), Dave Wilke and Marguerita Marinos on drums aren't quite so fatalistic, while Señor Twitch flat out announces it during the show.. to all of ten people who've arrived this early. Yup, as far as "farewells" go, its hardly the most audacious. But for me its no less auspicious, almost equal to that moment last night when I discovered dark ales here for $5 a pint (aaaah memories long since obliterated!) so fuck it to me it'll still be a night to remember. Sunsettler. In essense you could think of them as a lysergic mix between Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and The Velvet Underground (granted I stole all that almost verbatim from my last review, but its no less true tonight) but it's merely surface ephemera in appreciating them. For where the TRUE value lies is in the delivery. Lead by Señor Twitch's loose delivery in shakey hand gestures and nervous ticks, and translated and expanded upon ever so subtlely by the band around him: the feeling here is one of dappled sunlight, falling leaves, watercolours and charcoal sketches. Everything has an unfinished, rough hewn quality, but one who's charms come to you in connecting the dots between the spaces like faces forming in television snow. Their stage presence is downcast, introverted, almost embarassingly modest to a fault but it makes the music itself communicate so much more boldly. And here.. hopelessly hungover, holding onto my beer for dear life, in this Exeter band room? oh I'm getting it! I mean I'm REALLY getting it, I'm tweaking out to all the frequencies, even the ones only dogs can hear.. I might even be mentally ill to this shit, but I think we can all agree with a band like THIS we're in good company. Sunsettler. This might be the end, this might just be a new beginning; I know for one the three remaining members hope to continue in one form or another (if not under the same name) either way from what I'm hearing from Señor Twitch and co tonight? this is a journey well worth taking just to see where it'll all go!
ZEAL (***1/2) myspace :: Two or more dark ales later and I'm feeling decidedly less "shakey". Gravity is returning to its default setting pointing downwards instead of shitting my synapses all over the walls and ceiling, I'm feeling less like a Gollum and more like a Andy Serkis.. which understandably is a subtle difference at best but I'm feeling good all the same. "YEAAAS, WELCOME BACK REALITY!!" and yes I'm aware of the inherant irony when it's ME who's saying that.. wait, where the fuck I again? oh yeaaah, attempting to form a coherent thought pattern and failing spectactularly! Up next we have our second act who I haven't seen in a good long time, and one which I dare say in styles esoteric and electronic I've missed most dearly. For Zeal, aka: Robert Jarvis, aka: Bilbo Baggins Of The Shire, aka: Seth Green of Robot Chicken fame is an elusive sort in the Adelaide scene (some may say downright extraterrestrial) and even more so ever since he relocated to Melbourne late last year (or was it early this year?). Yup, I only saw the one show of his back in October 2008: with We Grow Up and The Warsaw Flowers but I dare say it was a colourful one. I mean it's not often you get to see someone rock the shit out of a Guitar Hero controller, a laptop and a melodica.. but he does so in spades. Tonight he's returned to preview his new album (as yet untitled) and give away preview copies without covers from an orange CD spindle (which as of yet reveals no tracklistings in itunes) and live on stage his music is no less the oddball enigma in unravelling it. In closest comparisons you could think of him as an introverted mix between Hot Chip, Thom Yorke, The Postal Service, Beck, Bjork, Beirut and all sorts of batshit insanity you'd find on Warp Records; he may even be the Australian equivalent of Squarepusher.. but this clearly is only scratching the surface here. Where it really starts is in his voice: this mad mosquito buzzing, needle nosed whine, and humming buzzing frequency that builds through countless echoes and delays to form this wall of sound that's then accompanied by a clusterfuck littany of lo-bit kinetic beats, buzzing, drones, chimes and cheesy uber synthy 80's guitar. What's most astounding though, is in how the more jarringly artificial it gets (practically to the point of ridiculous) the more human it starts to feel. It's a sound that's infinitely geeky and gangly yet innately relatable, endlessly technobabbled and discombobulating yet sweetly poetic. There's an underlying blues feel that weaves through it all too. One which we could all relate to in our "post industrial malaise" of fleeting status updates, twitters, text messages, emoticons, memes, living life in social synthesis; living life like a ghost in a world of smoke and mirrors.. oh I get all that and more. Still in saying all that, I get MORE of it from the album (which is brilliant by the way) and not necessarily from the live show tonight. I mean when he's crammed in this teeny tiny "band room", with a sound fudging off into the utterly disjointed it's not quite translating in full. There's a visual component that's perhaps missing (he's been known to do projections at other gigs) even though in his humble apologetic presence Zeal DOES prove to be quite the congenial host. So all in all it's a bit of a "mixed bag", and in any other circumstances I'd usually not think so highly of it; but he's trying something different here maaan, something much more ambitious! I mean c'mon IT'S A GUITAR HERO CONTROLLER FERFUCKSAKE!! (that's gotta count for something?) that makes what he's doing so much more worthy of praise than a thousand cookie cutter fashion bands. Yup that's Zeal. He may not be from this time, space or dimension, he may be a bit of a freak.. but that's what makes his music all the more special.
TIGER CHOIR (****1/2) myspace :: Now four to five dark ales in and I think I can safely say we've "cured" this hangover. In quite the same way a sprinkling of lit gunpowder "heals" an open wound, or in quite the same way imposing a 3AM curfew in every licensed venue in town and abolishing all happy hours totally "fixes" a binge drinking epidemic; in that it totally doesn't, but at least we can pretend that we're being all "proactive" about it moments prior to my liver falling out (but don't worry, if rumours are to be believed I actually have two of them.. SCORE!!). Which is just the kind of hazy headspace we'd want to be in for our headlining act. As more so than Zeal before THIS band truly comes from a place that's extraterrestrial and otherworldly to us: Tasmania. In fact this may actually be the first time that I've ever SEEN a band from Tasmania. "No shit, they actually have a live scene there? WHO KNEW!?" in quite the same way Melbourne and Sydney likely say the same thing about us (if they even remembered we existed.. HA!!). Yup if this was any lesser internet publication (or more accurately let's all just pretend for a moment that it ISN'T) I'd likely follow this up with a littany of tired Tasmanian cliches. But as much as their scruffy appearance DOES have me imagining that their entire "live scene" amounts to little more than a ramshackle collective of suburban house parties, midnight cow tippings, and the occassional serial killer epidemic (oh yeaaah I totally do MY research!) in the ethereal sounds they weave? we quickly forget all that because FUCK DAMN do they make for one killer first impression. In essence Tiger Choir are a three piece angular indie ensemble featuring Elliot Taylor on vocals and guitar, Hamish Cruickshank on guitar and Sam Nicholson on drums. Or maybe they're an ecclectic electronica outfit featuring all three members hammering a bewildering array of synths, keys, pads, effects and tweaker boxes. Or if you could somehow reconcile both extremes in a way that doesn't involve something as pretensiously wanky as the Midnight Juggernauts (thank fuck!) and THAT'S what's playing in front of us tonight. And in the way that they've got all their equipment propped up on black milk crates in the middle, rats nest of cables spiralling out with their hoodies up? it's almost like we're witness to a 21st Century pagan ritual short of a rising plume of smoke (or perhaps it's a mid nineties Chemical Brothers film clip) and in musical influences!? they're even harder to place! Initially I had them pegged as everything from These New Puritans, Mountains In The Sky, Massive Attack Vs The Mad Professor, The Klaxons and all manner of cockney oddball futuristic shit you'd find in NME (which clearly they're not). Until it finally dawns on me that they're actually Gerling's "Children of Telepathic Experiences" meets The Animal Collective, or perhaps they're like none of the above; either way I'm inspired! I mean this right here is the sorta shit scene geeks like me freaking dream about: a fresh musical discovery.. and this band are that and SOOO MUCH MORE! I mean the way they build their songs through synth, guitar and drum; endlessly reverbed and resonating like an otherworldly choir? The way they ebb and flow from such serene silence to shredding crescendo in that hypnotic organic synthetic pastiche of theirs? How they make all those dream drenched math tones, kinetic percussion, start/stop attack dynamics, unintelligible filtered screams, yelps and hooting catcalls so alien, angular yet artfully accessible? DUUUDE!! I mean as much as this whole trip to The Exeter tonight was merely me seeking out my much needed "hair of the dog" thinly disguised as a live music blog, THESE FREAKS TOTALLY MADE MY MONTH!! Tiger Choir. I'm not even kidding, hunt them down by ANY means: whether it's on the interwebs, in a live venue, bottle shop, food court or a dole queue starting a small fire in a waste paper basket.. you don't want to miss out on THIS!
1:32AM - By now I've completely lost count of how many dark ales I've had tonight. I don't know if it's been five, seven or sixteen. Or even if I've been mixing them with pale ales as well. Or even if I've been drinking half to none of that all. Aaaah fuck it, it's all the same riiight, it's all beer? we can all coexist in harmony can't we? *burp" of course we can! CAUSE WE'RE FREAKING AWESOME THAT'S WHY!! WOHOOOO!! Oh yeaaah there's no doubt I'm the life of the party now. I'm one bulletproof badass fire belching beast of doom! I'm every epitome the "celebrity douchebag" you imagine me to be in your nightmares: all shit eating grin with a camera all up in your face. "YEAAAS!! EAT THAT INTERWEBS I OWNS ALL YA SHIT!!". Which is why there's nowhere else better to be than The Ed Castle right now: where being a pretentious arsehole is an artform all of its own! And all it took was 15-20 minutes of me blind stumbling down Rundle Street, Rundle Mall and Currie Street to get here? SCORE!! Yup as I mentioned earlier they're celebrating their Plus One first year anniversary here tonight, and quite predictably there's a fuckoff lineup waiting outside desperate to get in, but pfft that's piffle to someone with MY freakyarse superpowers riiight!? Yup sure enough after some frantic flailing at the door I'm through in a flash! Aaaah dear doorbitch Anika, where would I be without you!? (peeing on the walls outside The Ed Castle that's what!).
LYLA (****) myspace :: First stop the bar, obviously. I mean we're talking a serious "hair of the dog" investment here four times the size of a Saint Bernard.. HA HA HA this hangover doesn't stand a chance! But eventually I DID manage to pry myself away from all the hipster hysterics exploding by the front bar: all those DJ's pounding their asinine Italo Disco cocaine classic to idiot excess, all those fashionistas fluttering about like "pretty young things" only to splatter drunkarse and disorderly all over the dancefloor (and not to mention all the shitcrazy shennanigans happening in the beer garden? WOWEEEE!!) at which point I found their teeny tiny janitor's closet/band room, fell arse backwards through the black curtain, only to be shocked to discover it was packed full of people? and they're all here to see Lyla tonight!? "DUUUDE, WHAT THE HELL KIND OF ED CASTLE HAVE I STUMBLED INTO!?". But no this wasn't a dream or a nightmare.. oh it was dead REAL maaan, we were witness to something truly special! And no it wasn't an album, EP or a single launch, and it wasn't a debut or a farewell, it was just Lyla headlining a one year anniversary show and shit DAMN were they going off like a motherfucking A-bomb! Now I know what you're thinking, because YES I did take a shit load of photos here, I did capture a live video of their new song "Cadillac": which they played for the first time tonight (and dang ain't it just the catchiest ditty too!?) and I might've even gave them a four out of five star rating which clearly isn't arbitrary in any way shape or form *ahem* but this ain't a live review.. OOOOH FUCK NO!! (I mean for one this paragraph is only half the size going on excessive, there's not nearly enough expletives in all caps, and I haven't made nearly enough fun of keyboardist Stefan "Blobby" Krcmarov). Nope this is simply me making a Rorschach inkblot of myself on the dancefloor: "is he a bat, a bird, Bill Bailey having a cardiac arrest or is he just happy to be here!?", laughing my arse off having the absolute time of my life (and clearly the room in record time) and the rest is just retarded "blogger instinct" kicking in. Lyla. Go see them sometime, better yet get completely shitfaced drunk THEN go see them.. they don't half suck!
2:11AM - Half an hour later I stumbled blind drink and shit grinning out of the band room and back to the front bar to keep on drinking (I mean there's no point stopping now, I'm clearly on a winning streak). And as much as I love to take the absolute piss out of The Ed Castle any other night to the point it's bordering on incessant abuse (oh it gives me SO MUCH to work with it really does!) I dare say tonight it was nothing less than freaking awesome; fuck maaan it was the best! I mean sure half of these DJs didn't have a clue what they were playing: not least of which Josh Moore from The Touch who insisted on spinning the Baywatch theme again (seriously dude, it was only funny the FIRST time you played it.. now it's just getting disturbing!), and as much as we were invariably upto our frosty nips in jocks, preps, fashion nazis, hipster elitists and crack fiends, and yeah yeah don't get me started again somehow all of this shit combined as a whole, cancelled out all the negatives tonight and gave us nothing less than a party to end all parties.. yeaaah either that or I was waaay too drunk to care, but do you really see me complaining? OOOH HELL NO!!
2:17AM - And if there was one sure sign we were witness to one hell of a hipster hootenanny here tonight? it'd be THIS hilarious bit of "interior decorating" that happened mere minutes before I arrived. DUUUDE!! Now obviously I didn't get the exact particulars over HOW it all happened (or maybe I did but I was far too drunk to remember), or how many people were involved, only that it managed to shatter one of those expensive stain glass windows in the corner. But as you can see, it's amazing what a little cardboard and electrical tape can do to cover it up.. good as new I say!
Of course I couldn't just leave it at that, oh no this calls for a celebration! And so obviously I had to drag in Ross Osmon, the man of the hour, the "genius" mastermind behind Plus One (and part time Umpa Lumpa) to join in on the fun. And no I don't quite get why he's grown a moustache either (just as I'm sure he's had that thing for the past six months or more) but you can tell he's proud all the same.. YEAAAS!! Let's get some sangria mix, sledgehammers and some pink paint and let's bulldoze the joint *cough* oh wait that's just me thinking that? yeaaah nevermind then.
This is Benny. Obviously he's gotta be in on this shit because let's face it he's a human pencil with a fuck off afro and that immediately makes anything more hilariously awesome when you put him in front of it.. and hey am I wrong or am I right? fuck damn this is a gift that just keeps on giving!
And you know what makes it even MORE hilariously awesome? when you zoom up on it.. SCORE!!
Yup, I think it's clear to say we've got a bona-fide tourist attraction on our hands. One that pisstwit pilgrims will come from far and wide to see: just like The Crown & Anchor, only minus all the mice faeces. I mean just look at all these smiling faces! What are they all pointing at? WHO THE FUCK KNOWS!? Seriously let's come back next week and see if anyone slams a car through a wall, or crashes a Cesna through the roof, we could start fires with all the furniture and there'll be lineups around the block. WOOOHAHAHAhAhAHA it'll be complete and utter madness!! Yup I don't know about you maaan but I'm excited.. binge drinking ain't a "public liability", it's an opportunity!
3:06AM - And now totally unrelated to all that: here's Stefan "Blobby" Krcmarov showing off an "glassing injury" he received earlier tonight.. yup and I swear I have NO idea how he got it either.
3:15AM - It's at this point that I suddenly realise I've spent the last hour or so distracted by all the hilarity of this joint and I haven't been putting nearly enough effort into continuing with my "hair of the dog" regiment. I mean the way I see it? it's like a comprehensive course of antibiotics: you've gotta take the full dose right until the very end even if symptoms have abated (or even if they've been replaced by entirely different set of symptoms) otherwise WHO KNOWS what might happen? "good personal hygiene, a regular nine-to-five job, 2.5 kids, a wife, and a mortgage? SAY IT AIN'T SO!!". Which is why I'm joining Benny here in a shot of "who-the-fuck-knows-what!?" that I'm pretty sure he didn't EVEN buy but we both swiped from the bar when nobody was looking. Yup it tasted just like fish oil, smelt like a gas explosion (or perhaps that was just me) and I'm pretty sure I lost vision in my left eye for about three minutes there but shit damn did it hit the spot!
3:40AM - And as for this photo? I have absolutely no idea why it's here, I have absolutely no idea if this is my drink or if I "contributed" to it, although I think the truth is closer to the fact that it was "half full" when I saw it and I merely "followed through" (except clearly you didn't just read that and it never actually happened.. it's all done in Photoshop I swear!) either way I think we can safely say tonight has been a roaring success and we should all totally do it again sometime.
3:51AM - But of course my night wasn't finished there. Oh no, there was still a third and final chapter to go in retracing my steps through last night's pissdrunk escapades, here to Stupormild: where thankfully no further photos have since surfaced of what I did until closing.. GOOOD NIGHT!
Yup, for the record I didn't get another hangover on Sunday, of course I didn't! I mean we all know the infallible logic here don't we? two consecutive nights of drinking totally cancel each other out, it's like a science or something. Just like I totally I managed to solve that first "problem" I had thanks to two nights heavy drinking, by completely forgetting what it was in the first place. I'm a blank slate again, I'm a well documented history doomed to repeat itself over and over like a bad sitcom premise until my whole head explodes and I need another weekend like this to fix it. And suuure you could say there's a "lesson" to be learnt in all this, and shit maybe there is? but when it's THIS much fun!? aaaah fuck it duuude, I choose to ignore it! Who's up for another round?