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 FINISHING SCHOOL + THE BAKER SUITE "THE HOPEFUL CHORUS LINE" LAUNCH @ JIVE / Saturday May 29th 2010
Brrrr FUCKING HELL is it freezing cold out here tonight! Yeah I know it's a bit lame to talk about the weather like this but it's hard to miss it when it's nipping at your heels. Sheeiiit! I'm like Marcel Marceau impersonating a tree here, I'm like a dead cockroach, like a decrepit old man hobbling my way inch by inch towards Jive. It's been raining all day too, did you know that? oh of course you do! you heard it all day now didn't you, that soothing pitter patter? I think I stepped in a puddle at some point and now my foot's gone numb.. that was half an hour ago on my way to the bus stop. I hope they don't have to amputate it, it keeps dragging behind me like a ball and chain! I'm reaching for my phone now, must be set on vibrate.. nope just me shivvering my arse off again. Damnit, that's the third time that's happened too! Oh I bet you're laughing now HA HA HA because ONLY A CRAZY PERSON would ever leave the house on a night like this, riiight? Oh you've got it all sussed out haven't you, you resourceful little squirrel you! Crackling wood fire, or maybe it's a gas heater, or an electric blanket, or you've got your head stuck in the oven, or maybe it's just your significant other farting in your general direction with a tricked out lighter? And you're buried under a thousand blankets, a doona and maybe even a snuggie too? huddled with all your pets like it's a BBC documentary: you're the communal carcass, they're the pride of lions nuzzling? 2/3rds of your way through a bottle of wine, or a bag of goon? watching Man Vs Wild, he's stuck in the Sahara and you can feel that scorching sun like a lizard basking on a flat rock!? Oh you must be sooo snug in your home theatre huh? in your bomb shelter, your climate controlled cocoon.. but I don't envy you! OOOH HELL NO, not even for a minute! My testes may have shrunk like tic tacs up into my abdomen, I may be stumbling down the street like I'm kung fu fighting an invisible enemy, but I KNOW I'm onto a good thing here! Because tonight I get to tell YOU what you missed out on! YEAAAS!! Because tonight at Jive we've got our own thing cooking.. JUST YOU WAIT AND SEE!!
THE BAKER SUITE (***1/2) myspace :: Yup that was one epic journey and a half lemme tell you! I mean suuure I might've just been exaggerating a teeny tiny bit in the teaser for "dramatic effect" (pfft NOOOO!!) but it was nuts out there maaan! I lost three of the four Sherpas I was teamed with (and then I had to eat the last one for fuel.. aaaah you know how it is) but now that I've finally made it? oh it was SO worth the effort! it's so toasty warm in here tonight I wish I brought marshmallows and a pair of welding goggles, it's freaking awesome! And then there's the crowd, welcoming in their presence. They're weirdly "weather appropriate" for one: decked out in a muted colour palette of woollen scarves, beanies, gloves, jumpers and cardigans. Secondly they're more comfortably suburbanite (perhaps they live out in the hills?) more sedate, less fashionably flighty: the sort you see at a country wine tastings, exhibition openings, book signings or amateur theatre productions politely applauding at the back. Obviously they're an older demographic, especially in how they're chatting away just now: "wow I haven't felt carpet floors THIS sticky since the Arkaba!", in how they cradle their drinks like they're a finite resource (and less like they're putting out a raging fire). Clearly I don't recognise any of them personally, as obviously I'm a borderline "brain malfunction" prone to howling at the moon and pissing up trees (if that aint bleedingly apparent from the freaks I like to hang with), but the fact we're both here for the same reason is a wondrous thing. The Baker Suite, formerly The John Baker Duo are a weather beaten duo but endearingly so. Featuring John Baker on guitar and Gayle Buckby on accordian they're like a lighthouse in a storm beckoning us to safe harbour. Or a little like Simon & Garfunkle, Iron & Wine, Leonard Cohen, Paul Kelly, John Taylor and Beirut. Or in other words simply picture the general warm "fuzzy" feeling you get from The Garden State soundtrack and that's pretty much the ballpark we're talking here. Songs are world weary in weight, bittersweet, slightly sea shanty in delivery and they have all the time in the world to paint their picture in slow sweeping brushstrokes. A lot of them seem to be about escaping the "mad hustle and bustle" of the rat race and the city centre for simpler times, they even have one dedicated to "escaping from The Exeter" like it's a horror story to spend a night in there (yup had to laugh at that one). John's voice has a measured husky feel to it, rich like honeycomb, or like a fine malt whiskey. Gayle channels a slightly French provincial feel in the slow ebb and flow of her accordian. All in all it'd be great music to host a dinner party to, crack open a bottle of wine to, or sit on a porch and watch the sun set.. and obviously it's really not the thing I'd usually be into, but on a night like this where it's whistling hollow outside it does wonders to warm up a crowd; so much so you could mime rubbing your hands and hold them towards the stage like it's an open fire and STILL feel the colour return. Yup that's the Baker Suite. Quite like the name suggests they're like freshly baked bread: all you need is the pumpkin soup to go with it and duuude you're all set!
THE FINISHING SCHOOL (****1/2) myspace :: Which brings us to our headlining act and the main reason I've dragged myself out of the house tonight short of the fact I'm a raging alcoholic for this shit (well pfft obviously, it's an album launch duuude! where the fuck else would I be!?) but not without its fair share of tough "negotiation" behind the scenes to make it all happen. You see originally they were scheduled to play on Friday night: the same Friday night Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! were scheduled to launch THEIR album at Rocket Bar, the same Friday night Wolf & Cub were set to play at The Ed Castle, and the same Friday night countless other shows were happening next to everywhere else that I would've totally gone to if they WEREN'T up against Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! and Wolf & Cub. Or in other words? HA HA HA good luck with THAT you idiots! But being the raging suckers for punishment that The Finishing School are, they STILL did their utmost to convince me otherwise. I mean it's as if they've never read an episode of this blog.. "DON'T YOU KNOW I BREAK UP BANDS, I'M PURE FREAKING EVIL DAMNIT!!". But nope, their lead singer Emily Combe simply kept asking me again and again (till it almost got to be annoying in how freaking nice she was being about it.. GUH!!) till I almost entertained (then dismissed) the notion of sprinting between Rocket Bar, Jive and The Ed Castle to make it all happen. But then after much fierce to and froing, being the badass "uber blogger" that I am (I know I can't take that shit seriously either) we finally came to an agreement and they shifted their whole production to Saturday night instead.. YEAAAS!! (as clearly it had nothing to do with the guy who produced their album: Matt Hills also being unavailable on the night *ahem*) AND SO HERE WE ARE!! And I tell you what, I'm so glad that they did it too because The Finishing School truly know how to warm up a venue in style on a cold winter's night. Firstly they've fronted up in their formal finest, which helps their namesake to no end. Secondly they've brought in some extra members to fill out the stage: Kym Worley on cello, Beth Christian and Alice Combe (Emily's sister) on backup vocals (and they're no slouches either). Thirdly they lead into the show with a screening of their new film clip for "Childhood Witch". And then they launch into their set proper, and what a slinky smooth sound it is too! In description think of the following: Jeff Buckley's "Grace" album, U2's "One", Radiohead's "The Bends", Angus & Julia Stone, maybe even a bit of Norah Jones. Which makes them far from cutting edge "indie" in approach (at least by the scenster elitist Pitchfork recommendations we're usually familiar with) but more "adult contemporary": more jazzy in style, or something you'd expect to play at a wine & cheese festival but never in a bad way. I mean what strikes me the most about this band is that they all seem to be classically trained. From Emily Combe on violin and vocals: holding her own like a fiesty flamenco dancer in miniature; to her brother Thom on guitar and vocals, eerily ethereal in the shadows: with a serene singing voice you could damn near solve a Middle East peace crisis with (even if most of the songs they both sing are extensively about failed relationships.. HA!); to Lyndon Gray and Andrew Gaborit on bass and drums, capably filling out the rhythm section like they're "slumming it" in between shows at a 1920's speakeasy; they're consummate professionals. Most of their setlist is mirrored from the album in order of appearances, short of a few classics: the most memorable of which a seven minute rendition of "Good Luck" that just about floors everyone in the room (short of one hilarious drunk who attempts to "slow breakdance" to it). They play two subsequent encores, but we could easily have wanted more. I mean what can I say duuude, The Finishing School are a quality act through and through. Just like smoking a fine cigar, savouring a fine wine or a premium blend coffee and living the high life rarely seen outside of a James Bond movie? Yup, surely too much of it would be deadly but in the right doses like this, they're just the cure for anyone's ills!
12:12AM - Yup it's been a classy night here at Jive tonight, probably the classiest damn night I've had all year. No shit! I infinitely feel that much more cultured, sophisticated and postgraduate educated and not the least bit intoxicated by any of the beers that I may have been drinking in the experience of it: every epitome the Frank Sinatra stuffed in the ill fitting belching body of an orangutan.. OOOOH YEAH!! But I'm also well aware that this might be an isolated incident. As despite it being ridiculously cold tonight, despite all the rain falling throughout the day, this city is alive and thriving with feral freaks of every illbient persuasion and I know this fact because one of them has been posting me updates all night. Yup we're talking gratuitous binge drinking, friends I know (who I dare not name) being mysteriously dragged off by 3-4 police officers, getting refused entry into The Casino, etc etc.. all of it disseminated through text messaging. And yes I couldn't help but piss myself laughing at it too, if it weren't for the fact that we'd likely cross paths at some point in the future. Either way with Jive slowly filling up with people for yet another installment of "Gosh", predictably twice as many as for the show before, I figured it'd be best if I moved on. And so after downing a few more "beers for the road" (anti-freeze I tells ya!) it's out the door again.
2:20AM - Now I don't know about YOU but I'm a mad fan for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, pretty much ever since "Fever To Tell": one who ironically enough has never seen a single live show of theirs but still has all the albums, EPs and even sourced down a shit load of rare b-sides and remixes as well (seriously that song of theirs "Art Star" off the first EP is the maddest shit ever). But when it comes to their drummer doing a DJ set? yeaaah you didn't really miss much. It was pretty much him hunched over the bar side of the DJ booth, back to the crowd with an ipod, playing obscure as fuck underground hiphop; he even cleared the room a few times it was THAT wildly "exciting" to be around. And yes I would've loved to get photos of it regardless, except: (a) he'd probably think I'm some kind of fuck off paparazzi if I was blasting him in the face with the flash, (b) it's only a DJ set for fuck sake, (c) I was perhaps a teeny bit intimidated by the whole prospect. I did however "accidently" steal his cupcake. And no that's NOT a euphemism for "something else": it was an actual bona fide dark chocolate cupcake with a soft serve swirl of cream icing AND IT WAS THE BEST SHIT EVER!! And yes I kinda wish I got a photo of THAT too, except I was mostly paranoid I'd get caught out with it (it was pretty spur of the moment decision on my part). So instead here's Matt Minucci and Dave Mazzarelli from Lyla playing their DJ set a whole half hour later. Yup, not only was Brian Chase DJing a total non event, it was an all too BRIEF non event too. Awesome huh?
2:22AM - And as for Lyla's? I mean shit duuude what WASN'T to like about it!? Anyone who spins Eagles Of Death Metal, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club AND The Chemical Brothers in the same set easily gets my vote. And I'm not just saying that because we're getting hilariously and hideously shitfaced at the time.. isn't that right Sammy Bruno skolling from a jug of beer? YOU BETCHA!!
3:20AM - Which is clearly unrelated to THIS "award winning" photo we took an hour later, pissing ourselves laughing in the beer garden: because not only did we find all those shitcrazy bracelets Stefan "Blobby" Krcmarov had on his wrist to be five kinds of fuck off hilarious, but we were also dumbfounded and amazed by his kung fu ability to block Mathias Northway's face with them from every conceivable angle we tried to shoot it from. Brian Chase? pfft what Brian Chase!? I bet half the peeps in this beer garden didn't even know he was here! Aaaah FUCK I love The Ed Castle!
3:28AM - Yup, it's probably obvious to everyone by now that we've drunk nearly enough alcohol to be utterly "impervious" to any extremes in temperature but hopefully nowhere near enough to lose our grip on gravity (it's a thin line, believe me!). And so to celebrate that "fact" we figured we'd hit Supermild and KEEP on drinking, in the hopes none of us would make it at all ironic by falling down a flight of stairs along the way (HA HA HA HA but how funny would it be if we did!?).
4:12AM - Upon arrival, at first I was a little surprised that there was actually anyone left in here on a freezing night like this. But more so that the bouncer upstairs had actually let half of them in considering just how blitheringly shitfaced they were; completely unrelated to Kyle here of course who's nothing less than a sober and "upstanding individual" (no really he could totally babysit your kids and everything!) but more so "all the usual suspects" that I'd been receiving updates on since I was back at Jive (cheers Simone!) who are now blissfully passed out cold both out in the beer garden and by the dancefloor (I mean really how the fuck!?). And as much as I could've taken photos of either of them for.. you know, blackmail purposes? I seriously couldn't be arsed tonight. But if you're really feeling like your missing out here, don't worry I practically have a gallery devoted to it on facebook now. Heeey maybe I could host my own exhibition sometime? YES!?
And so here we are at the end of the night living it up to the fullest, while you were home curled up in foetal position under all your clothes, blankets, pillows, pets and pink bat insulation STILL shivering your arse off after setting fire to all of your furniture and electrical equipment. Yeaaah who's the envious one now huh? Don't you wish you could've been HERE at Supermild with us? I mean just look at Kyle and Simone here, don't they look ever so cozy huddling for warmth.. in a way that DOESN'T imply Simone would rather squirm the fuck away at the nearest instance and beat Kyle to death with the nearest bar stool screaming hysterically lest he get any closer? Awww I know, you could almost make it a Christmas card couldn't you? SEASON'S GREETINGS EVERYONE!!
Yup, it may've been waaay too murderously cold tonight, or maybe it wasn't and I'm simply taking the piss (because clearly I've never done THAT before and I'm nothing but dead serious in everything that I write.. HA!!) either way with a scene THIS hilariously dysfunctional often I simply have no choice but to seek it no matter what; there's simply way too much to see and do! You may need to find some shoes, find an outfit, find some friends, scrounge enough cash for piss, catch a bus.. maybe two to get here (only to realise it's going to cost you another $50 in taxi fare to get home again because our urban sprawl is fucking ridiculous and we don't have enough late night public transport to support it) but once you DO? it's well worth it duuude (and fuck it you can always split a cab). Excuses are just excuses, warmth is only a state of mind, easily fooled into being after 5-6 drinks. It's barely even winter yet, it's only gonna get colder from here on in but that don't matter where WE'RE going: for going out is just another night "indoors" you haven't tried yet!