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...
RADIO SPECTACULAR!!! + NEON ELECTRIC + THE HONEY PIES "SUGAR BABY, HONEY CHILD" LAUNCH @ ROCKET BAR / Friday August 27th 2010
Every week I swear this shit drives me completely fucking insane. EVERY WEEK! It drives me to the very brink and beyond, it drives me laughing over the edge of a cliff for a five point crash landing (read: exploding fireball) arms and legs akimbo, it throws me a little party in the impact crater, we toast our success in all things howlingly stupid and nonsensical and then it drives me back again good as new (hangover be damned!) so we can do it all over again next week like Wile E. Coyote? OOOOH FUCK YEAH!! And it's the best feeling ever lemme tell you! I mean why ELSE would I repeat this shit well beyond the point of ridiculously retarded and redundant? to keep a "live music blog" regularily updated on the Adelaide scene!? FUCK THAT!! I totally do it for me maaan! I do it for the mad fucking buzz! I do it for a general sense of wellbeing! (ooops there goes my liver again!). For as much as it DOES drive me "completely fucking insane"? (and then some) I like to think it keeps me totally sane too.. HA HA HA no shit duuude! (no really, why are you looking at me like that!?). As despite all evidence to the contrary I'm a tourist here not a resident. This is my five star freak retreat, this is my extreme sport for the mind, THIS is how I stay weirdly centred in an increasingly asinine and dysfunctional society! Or at least it does in theory. In practice? yeaaah it's a little more complex. Every week this shit accumilates a long list of hilarious anomalies, errors and excess baggage to deal with (and I'm not just talking about all the demo CDs, singles, EPs and albums I'm continually emptying out of my pockets either.. oh I never get sick of those!). Every week it's a battle and a half to clear them all out of my head in time so I don't totally lose it before the next one hits (duuude don't get me started!). Winter's clearly the worst for pushing me over that edge and leaving me there, especially now after three long months WAITING FOR IT TO FUCKING END!! (yeaaah not like you've noticed!) and this last week of it? oh maaan it's been the WORST!! It's been nothing but the same dull grind every day: nothing but freezing cold melancholy in wind, rain and grey skies eating at me until there's nothing left save for writer's block, sleep and sunlight deprivation and a raging case of "cabin fever" screaming up these four walls. And to make matters worse? after all that shit, out of all the blackening "hell holes" in Adelaide (thinly disguised as live venues) that I swore I'd never EVER return to? I'm here at Rocket Bar tonight!? GET FUUUCKED!!
Yup tonight was a tough call. "What? even tougher than last Friday at The Ed Castle!?" pfft.. are we even comparing the two!? that was freaking rainbows, kittens and lollipops compared to this shit (and never a more apt description for Princess One Point Five too!). Nope I just didn't have the energy, I just didn't have the motivation, I just didn't have the raw animal drive to do anything at all but stare blankly into the infinite abyss and blow bubbles in my mind, it might've even sounded a little like this too: "pfffpblpblpblpblpbl.." awesome huh? TOTALLY, I spent all week practicing it! But of course not everyone shared in my "enthusiasm". At least not Radio Spectacular!!! who were launching their shiny new EP at Rocket Bar tonight with a whizzbang "1000 Colours Party" (yes 1000 colours at Rocket Bar, I'm aware of the irony!) and they would've given the world for me to attend or at the very least a free bag of lollies and a door spot to sweeten the deal. Awwww I know! and I believe my response went something like this too: "so what you're saying is? if I bring my camera into the very heart of Mordor, crawl hands and knees up the scorching surface of Mount Doom, screaming obscenities all the while and take some photos, or not (it's upto me) you'll totally give me a cookie?". Or in other words, yeaaah did I mention how much I FUCKING HATE Rocket Bar!?
"but.. but.. we got balloons! BALLOONS!! everyone loves balloons riiight?".
For in the end I figured I might combine all the above plans: launch party at Rocket Bar, a few quiet drinks with Simone and possibly me eating Heinz on a toilet seat if time permits (well I can STILL dream can't I?) into the one big "monster plan" whilst simultaneously annoying the piss out of the organisers of said launch party (hi Radio Spectacular!!! regretting your insane decision yet!? WOOOOHAHAHAhAhAhAHaHAHA!!) by ONLY agreeing to cover it on the condition they not only put Simone on the doorlist, but totally presented her with her own complimentary bag of lollies too. I mean hell.. if worse comes to worse and they flatly refuse thinking I'm the world's biggest arsehole for bargaining this shit (well we certainly have enough precedent for that don't we?) I can stand firm happy in the knowledge I won't ever have to step foot in Rocket Bar, they can totally dodge a bullet on me writing that live review (aaaah I know Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! if only huh? if only!) and I can totally get drunk somewhere else off the record tonight.. EVERYONE WINS!! Except as we can see they totally caved into my demands (pfft.. you fools!), I never got to eat out of a can (excuse the pun) and HERE WE ARE a bag of lollies in hand like the prize jackass I am!? SHIT YEAAAH!!
And ain't everyone simply OVERJOYED to see me too? here at Rocket Bar: the deepest darkest blackening "crack den" of the Adelaide scene? Rocket Bar: where everyone's hopes and dreams go to die? hosting a "1000 Colours Party"!? oh yeaaah, this is SO gonna be the BEST. NIGHT. EVER!!
THE HONEY PIES (***1/2) myspace :: Which brings us somewhat ominously to our opening act. And NO I'm not the only one feeling this way either (or at least if their lead singer squinting awkwardly into the stage lighting is anything to go by) and yet for once all this "blackening dread" might be totally unfounded and simply in our minds. Strange but true! I mean sure, Rocket Bar might STILL feel ever so uneasily like someone, or a great many someones up and died in here (and possibly because they were gassed in a mass execution/act of genocide). Or possibly it was just that ONE person peeing in the corner during a hiphop show (after eating a too much cabbage and/or onions?) and now it's haunting the place like a ghost. Or perhaps they're keeping reptiles in here now (shape shifting reptilians!? it would sure explain a lot!). Or maybe it's just all three combined into the one rich "potpourri" and it's somehow gained "omniscience" and now they're worshipping it as a God!? (just as I still swear Electric Circus broke in here earlier this year and hocked off all their furniture for drugs.. let alone all their lamps, paintings, anything resembling "warmth" and "character"). But even so? check it out duuudes: for the first time here in well over a year they totally have some FREAKING STAGE LIGHTING!? YEAAAS!! FUCKING YEAAAS!! YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS!! (well actually you do, you need only read every other blog I've ever posted about Rocket Bar since late 2008 bitching about it). Still as much as this IS a miraculous turn of events and it's doing wonders for my ability to photograph this band tonight without having to throw my camera clean across a room screaming obscenities at it (save for Tony Marshall on guitar all but disappearing off to the left there, but yeaaah we can't have everything) it couldn't have picked a worse night for it to happen. For Jon Marco, lead singer of The Honey Pies has been cruelly struck down with a mad case of the pink eye. YES, PINK EYE!! and oh look now we have all this shiny stage lighting just to make it even MORE glaringly obvious!? JOY!! And this wasn't just a "teeny tiny you'll barely notice it" pink eye either. OOOOH FUCK NO!! We're talking "repetitively punched in the right retina by Mike Tyson" pink eye, we're talking "acid spitting xenomorph threating to burst out of his skull any minute now" pink eye, we're talking "OH MY FREAKING CRAP ITS LOOKING RIGHT AT US!! RUN CHILDREN RUN!!". Or as Jon rather whimsically refers to it as his "chlamydia of the eyeball" because as it turns out he was savagely rogered in the eyesocket by a Mongolian plague bearing rat and now each and every one of us is going to die! And lemme tell you, I'm damn thankful it did too! and not for all the heartless reasons you might think of (well ok.. it kinda is). For as much as it IS cruel and excessive of me to make such light of it and admittedly I WAS briefly tempted to get a close up photo of it and laugh myself silly over publishing it for the whole world to see (only to reconsider at the very last minute); since my only real course of action at Rocket Bar tonight, after agreeing to all this shit, was to drink myself so skull fuckingly retarded I'd never remember being here in the first place (which considering I'm writing a blog about it kinda makes it laughingly redundant) means I actually didn't remember much of anything of their live set tonight.. OOOPS!! Or at least not in detail. Or at least not in any detail I actually made note of (yeaaah not like you'd ever notice from anything I've written so far). So tonight it's all about Jon Marco's pink eye "PINK EYE!! AAAAHAHAhAHaHA PINK EYE!!" and fuck all else. Still as much as I CAN gather (or guesstimate) from the rest of it? their set was hard, fast, loose, like they were in a mad hurry to get the fuck out of there and as much as this made for an all but understated outing? in the very least Jon Marco didn't break any strings on his guitar; which is an awesome victory all in itself. Yup that's The Honey Pies. It was a "blink and you'll miss it" affair tonight (sorry.. bad pun, couldn't help myself) and very likely the stupidest damn review I've ever written about them in following (and I totally missed out on the first four song too!? SCORE!!), but for providing such light relief in the opener? aaaah it's still ever so welcoming all the same!
NEON ELECTRIC (****1/2) myspace :: Now at this point of the night (if you hadn't already picked up on the "subtle" subtext here) I was very much tempted to blow the whole thing off: bands and all, doorlisting be damned "duuude it's not you, it's me and my dysfunctional relationship with Rocket Bar that's to blame!". Oh I wanted nothing better than to get hideously and hilariously drunk ANYWHERE ELSE BUT HERE (yes.. even at The Ed Castle!) wake up the next day pissing myself laughing in a gutter somewhere or floating out to sea (either/or is fine by me) only to eventually realise, a billion received text messages later (ooops!) that I might've accidently "forgotten someone" in my mad panic to flee; eventually come back to retrieve them shrieking hysterically and swatting at imaginery bats in the corner; and short of a few months of intensive psychotherapy and a shitload of ciprofloxacin? I think we could totally put this whole experience behind us (as much as it's actually been rather pleasant so far, go figure?). But all THAT was before our second act made an appearance on stage: one of those chance few live acts that I dare say suit the "soul sucking blackening interior" of Rocket Bar, and even more surprisingly still? are all the better for it! Yup this is Neon Electric. You may recognise them as both Mario Spate on vocals/synths and Tony Irish on drums from The Killgirls. And in the simplest terms you could consider them their "paired back" electronic counterpart, in quite the same way that Van She Tech acts as companion piece to Van She (or in somewhat less insulting terms? Too Many DJs to Soulwax). And as for WHY this suits Rocket Bar? well I guess I've always had this vision ever since this place started back in 2005 that it'd be perfect for the darker more malevolent edges of indie. Think monochrome post punk, angular art rock and electroclash. Think uber fashionable Pitchfork recommendations flipping you the bird. Think the nearest touring scene equivalents of Interpol, Ladytron, The XX, The Knife, The Liars, Peaches, Animal Collective and Deerhunter. Maaan they'd totally rock the shit out of this joint something fierce, they'd totally make all this impenetrable "evil" resonate in a way that'd make it damn near beautifully poetic (or at least much more poetic than fucking Jupiter Lead). In fact some of the best nights I've ever had here have been just that. Teenagersintokyo instantly springs to mind, My Disco, Young & Restless, Steering By Stars (if the douchebag DJs didn't kill the buzz in the intervals), Zeta's EP launch party back in 2008, Bit By Bats in 2006; and Neon Electric in following tonight? very much fit that bill. In essence you could consider them a Modular / Ed Banger / DFA dancefloor mindset. Sharp as fuck, chunky 8bit brutal, mechanoid electro, Mario's icey synths and falsetto vocals (frequently filtered "split personality" style through a robot vocoder) perfectly sliced and diced by Tony's metronomic drumming. Or in other words mix in everything from Pnau, Digitalism, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Cut Copy, Bag Raiders and Groove Armada's "Black Light" together and you'd get pretty close to the mark. And yes I know what you're all thinking, and YES you'd be dead right too.. for all the above influences I WOULD usually pick them apart as being nothing more than a hipster tragic wank fest (dare I cite examples!?). But that's only because it's been rare to find a band that nails it as authentically as this one and better yet adds to it; and not just all the surface sheen, but all the darker depths as well. Every song nails it in itchy trigger precision. Every song's utterly and instantly infectious in a way you SWEAR you've heard it all before, only you've heard it for the first time. There's nary a dud note among them to the point you swear they're coin operated: especially in Tony's drumming that very much references the cold calculating attack of a mid 90's Chris Vrenna from Nine Inch Nails (check out the video, it's freaky as all hell!). They do a mad cover of Blur's "Boys & Girls" only to crossfade it into a cover of New Order's "Blue Monday". They're every awesome exception to my ongoing belief that all indie disco should be buried with a bullet, a shovel and a salting of the earth.. Neon Electric!? Seriously duuudes, you totally made my night!
RADIO SPECTACULAR!!! (***1/2) myspace :: Which brings us somewhat "comically" (but I swear in no way anticlimatically) to our headlining act. I mean just look at them pulling such sublime "uber goober" shapes on stage: Norman Bates "The Next Generation" Vs. Bette Midler's dorky kid sister? or is it Pee Wee Herman Vs. Ugly Betty? or is it the sci-fi convention "bizarroverse" of Mulder Vs. Scully done like an episode of Art Attack on a mad tab of acid!? either way maaan we've totally hit the jackpot here, there's no doubt about it! and to think it was such a "hard sell" for me to leave the house tonight, let alone agree to this shit? HA HA HA DUUUDE HOW COULD I NOT!? I mean they're the gift that keeps on giving! They're everything this retarded-arse blog was damn near invented for in piss taking hilarity! And it's not just thanks to all their shitcrazy balloons, streamers and inflatable menagerie they have exploding everywhere like a children's party gone horribly wrong (and check out that inflatable flamingo, how ridiculously awesome is that!?) or the fact they've got most of their instruments propped up on an ironing board in lieu of a proper keyboard stand (with a flowery pink cover!?) or the fact "Dweebie Nicks" there is wearing a cape, A FREAKING CAPE PEOPLE? "HA HA HA wait, I gotta catch my breathe here.. WHAT THE FUUUCK!?". Yup this is Radio Spectacular!!!, every one of their three exclamation points is very much integral to their name (nay part and parcel of their "nerd-gasmic" sex appeal!) and they are without a doubt THE DORKIEST BAND ALIVE in the Adelaide scene. And I don't just make that claim lightly either. As we've arguably seen our fair share of exceptional uber goobers in the past from Meanwell College, Clue To Kalo, Love Zombies, Zeal, Mad Shapes to Pablo Libido & The Wild Robots (to name but a few). But no other band quite compares to their a-grade level of head exploding geekiness.. OOOOH FUCK NO!! they're in a loud and proud league all of their own! In fact this may be as much a blessing as it is a curse, especially in their near impossible attempt to conquer Rocket Bar with their "1000 Colours Party" tonight. And it's not just because we can't shake that inescapable feeling we're watching R2D2 and C3PO here single handedly take on the fucking Death Star with a sonic screwdriver (and yes I'm aware I'm mixing two sci-fi franchises together and I'm not afraid to admit it!) but more for the fact this ISN'T the first time they've tried it either. Nope, most recently that was back when they played here in October 2009. Naturally it was pitch black with no stage lighting to show for it (or any lighting for that matter save for the bar and the Crazy Horse sign across the road), guitarist Harry Worth couldn't see where the fuck he was going, fell off stage, broke his wrist and the band was put on ice for six weeks. SIX WEEKS!! (but at least he wrote an hilariously nerdy blog in the interim, so it wasn't a total loss!). But now like the ridiculously doe-eyed deer they are? OH THEY'RE BACK BAAABY!! And tonight they're everything head explodingly awesome from Hotchip, Chicks On Speed, Architecture in Helsinki, Datarock, Le Tigre and Devo all rolled into one. They're both Harry Worth on guitar and Phebe Rendelic on keys busting a mad puppet show pantomime in oddball facials, spirit fingers, bubble gun cascades and robot dancing (as much as I suspect Harry looks this goofy even when he isn't on stage). They're every single one of your geek gamer fantasies come to life.. YEAAAS!! Still it's obviously an uphill battle for them, Rocket Bar would truly offer nothing less in an impenetrable gloom. Just as I was equally waaay too hilariously drunk to remember fuck of anything they did in triumphing above and beyond it as much as it taunted them too (for one drum machines always seem to lose out in volume to live drummers and it bugs the crap out of me!). Either way I was pissing myself laughing for a good portion of it so that's easily a good thing, and by the time "1000 Colours" hit in the finale? ooooh there wasn't a dry leg left in the house, from mouth breather to pencil neck we were united as one in a roaring shouting mass unanimous; what an experience! what a show! what a memory long since obliterated! Yup that's Radio Spectacular!!! They might be the proverbial underdog here. They might be the ongoing butt of my jokes (and how!). But they're building a cult following, we saw them all out there tonight. They're honing their craft, they're turning that tide! And one day soon? duuude they'll have you dork dancing like there's no one else in the room!
12:48AM - With the show ending in much rapturous applause, as much as you can't quite tell from the video (but check it out Phebe's totally emptied out her bubble gun in all the excitement, it was THAT fucking crazy! YEAAAS!!) I'd usually love nothing better than to soak up all the good time vibes customary at such a "triumphant" EP launch party. I mean there's all the drinking, the drinking and did I mention all the drinking? and maybe even a slow dance with their inflatable lion (I like to call him Cedric) but pfft who are we kidding here duuude!? And no I don't mean YOU Radio Spectacular!!! no.. no.. I freaking love you dweebs! (I bought your EP "Sugar Baby, Honey Child", spun it more than once and I'd highly recommend it to everyone!). No, it's obviously me and Rocket Bar, we've have an icey relationship at best (even if tonight was one of the "better" ones) I mean c'mon.. it feeds on children's tears, it stuffs puppies into blenders, IT'S VERILY THE BEAST INCARNATE!! and the sooner we get out of this corrupting piss stain and I scream myself sane in a shower cubicle? THE BETTER!! And so after I retrieved Simone, or at least what I THINK was her: walking into a wall over and over making "whimpering" noises (she rather liked the first band though.. go figure?) we briefly entertained the notion of smashing out the windows facing Crazy Horse, flying two stories down to break our fall on a passing taxi the fuck out of there; only to reconsider at the last minute (she didn't want to ruin her shoes) and take the stairwell instead.
1:01AM - Now usually I'd simply hit The Ed Castle next.. ie: in my quest to drink all memory of Rocket Bar out of my system (if I hadn't already achieved that) not necessarily because of any "winning preference" in mind, more just a lazy proximity. Except as it turns out they had another installment of Transmission Live on tonight (featuring who!? yeaaah who the fuck cares!) and they were charging door entry. Which granted wasn't an issue for ME, as I'd long bluffed my way onto their "semi-permanent" doorlist for reasons that STILL utterly escape me; but more for Simone who looked ever so subtly like she wanted to strangle "someone", possibly me, for dragging her to Rocket Bar tonight (well hey.. at least I got her free lollies! aye? aaaaye!?). So instead we figured we might hit The Exeter, only to realise we'd have to walk there, or worse still lift an arm to hail a taxi. So laziness being the mother of invention here.. I pulled my very best (read: hilariously drunken) impersonation of a "Jedi Mind Trick" and bluffed both of us in for free.. FUCK YEAAAH!!
1:55AM - And WOWEEEE wasn't I ever so glad we did that too! what with all the colour, the excitement, the mad disorienting head exploding spectacle of it!? FUUUCK ME, IT WAS INTENSE!! (seriously my teeth STILL feel a teeny bit loose and tingly just thinking about it!). Which is why I obviously had to post THIS photo of East End Villains' setlist tonight whistling in the breeze out by the beergarden just so you wouldn't be completely overcome by it.. huh? HUH!? I KNOW, RIGHT!!
2:13AM - Clearly that was too much for us to handle.. so we made haste for Supermild; or at least until Simone found this intercom box. Now at first I couldn't quite understand WHY she found it so fascinating; especially not worthy of documenting on this blog (yeaaah not like I've posted anything weirder here before). Until she told me of all the teeny tiny voices trapped inside of it. And since they were in obvious distress over such a horrible predicament (apparently they took a wrong turn at the last drive through speaker box they were trapped in), Simone figured she'd set them all at ease with one of her soothing "lullabies". Aaaah yes, just one of THOSE nights huh?
3:04AM - And once we got here.. I couldn't for the life of me remember what happened, no really I've tried hypnotherapy and everything! And I'm not even too sure what happened to Simone either? although I was told by several eyewitnesses later on that she was seen hanging toes and fingernails from the ceiling screaming abuse at random passerbys (aaaah if only they posted that on youtube) and I'm totally taking their word for it! And as for me? yeaaah the only thing that comes to mind (as I twittered it, so it must be true) was this ONE hiiilarious incident where I was stopped by a random passerby in the men's urinal who asked me: "so you're Spoz right!?". Only for me to respond: "of course not! I'm that OTHER idiot you see pissing himself laughing taking photos of beer bottles for no good reason HA HA HA! WOOOO!!". And I can't remember if he gave me a weird look and promptly left the room or not? (as I was urinating at the time) but I'm pretty sure I DID claim one of these beer bottles for myself. I like to think that's a "win/win" situation.
5:18AM - All in all it's been a great night, an awesome night even, duuude I'm so ever thankful I left the house to live this to fullest.. FUCK YEAAAS!! As much as there's little or no evidence to support that, because clearly this blog never happened and you never read it (save for all those ridiculously awesome bands I caught at wherever-the-fuck!?). But lemme tell you maaan it's been the best! and nothing's more fulfilling at the end of it, than digging into a pile of what I believe are "pancakes" (by the loosest description of the term I'm sure) as ordered off the breakfast menu at Micky D's on West Terrace. Aaaah yes I swear.. life truly doesn't get much BETTER THAN THIS!!
Yeaaah isn't that right Simone? huh? HUH!? (awww crap.. I think I broke her!).
Yup every week I swear this shit drives me completely fucking insane, it makes me a dribbling basket case, it beats my brain black and blue laughing its arse off, it totally fucks me up in every sense of the word and then some! (as much as I'm frequently at a loss for words in describing it!). But since I do it "willingly" every week without fail? duuude I freaking love it like a mental illness! Even in winter when I openly resent and despise it with a screaming burning rage that will not quit? IT NEVER GETS OLD!! It's my routine, it's what I feed upon for inspiration, it's what I live for in all its idiotic eccentricities and I'd be totally lost without it! Which is why wherever possible? I like to inflict this shit upon as many of you mad fools as possible.. YEAAAS!! For if ever I do drive myself screaming over that edge for good? I'm totally taking every one of you WITH ME for the ride!