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...
LIKE LEAVES (*****) myspace :: And it only gets better with our second act too? Yup it's been MONTHS since I'd last seen them live. Back in May for two minutes of a "blink or you'll miss it" support slot for Tame Impala at The Governor Hindmarsh and before that back in April in support of Die! Die! Die! here at The Ed Castle where they sounded rather like what it'd feel like to be stuck inside a cement mixer being wheeled through an Iraqi soundstorm while terrorist insurgents go off like a 21 gun suicide salute around you (no seriously check out the live video maaan.. it'll make your ears bleed!) both not exactly the best showcases of their "head exploding talent" I readily admit. But tonight it appears they have none of these issues, in fact it's quiet the opposite even, in fact I'd almost go as far to say that this set was downright A+++ in every conceivable way.. seriously! I mean if ever you're wondering what qualifies a live show for a "five star rating" like this? (yeaaah pfft.. what do you care!? I'm not Richard Kingsmill, I'm not RollingStone, I WRITE A BLOG FERFUCKSAKE!!) and there are SO many ridiculous ways to achieve it too! Unique celebratory circumstances (nail a launch party, farewell or once-off event and it's pretty much yours). Overwhelming crowd support (usually as a result of nailing the first.. exploding moshpit or otherwise). Me getting so hideously wasted before the show that your band suddenly becomes the most fuck off awesome thing to ever happen in the history of "awesome" (although I'm not nearly as susceptible to that shit now as I used to be). Pulling the ultimate smackdown on a hecklerand/or hecklers (especially when they're the same "heckler" who wrote a bad review about your Wolfmother support). And then there's what I like to call the "The Crying Game" effect (ie: by being so fucking godawful you're suddenly brilliant). But in the case of Like Leaves tonight? oh they've pulled off the rarest of the rare: the flawless execution. I mean there's just no way you could mess with this shit EVEN IF YOU TRIED!! Firstly you can tell they've rehearsed the fuck out've it, and by "rehearsed" I mean they've been recording an album full of it for well over eighteen months now (in fact I distinctly recall it was going to be released either August or September LAST YEAR) secondly it helps that they've been playing most of their setlist too going on two years now.. but it's more than that tonight. Thanks to all their recording? they've been adding all these extra flourishes, fills and lyrical refinement to the songs. You can hear it in the percussive detail Ryan Manolakis adds to Fruit and Swordfight. You can hear it in the lyrical depth and character Juliet Hunter adds to Mercy Sound. But it's also thanks to the live mix bringing so much of it to the surface too, and yeaaah I know I've mentioned this all before with Friends, but seriously whatever-the-fuck house mixer Alex Ciaravolo is "smoking" behind that desk tonight? deserves a freaking "five star rating" of its own. It's freaking insane! Not since June 2009 at Jive has this band ever sounded THIS GOOD. Patrick Saracino has this totally badass chunk to his bass guitar that feels downright three-dimensional; you can actually hear him harmonising those vocals with Juliet on Bazooka too it's THAT high fidelity. All of Ryan's kitchen sink drumming explodes like a forest where you pick out every individual twig and branch. And the real test of it? comes with Falling For A Fleeting Moment: where for once Daniel Varricchio's distinctly "dissonant" guitar chords DON'T sound horribly out of tune (trust me it's a bitch to get those frequencies right) but more like a quizzical soufflé they're THAT ridiculously righteous! I mean I could go on and on about this shit for days but I swear it was like all the planets aligned with all the atoms in our mind and they all danced as one.. and THAT was Like Leaves' set tonight!? Yup it was a psychedelic symphony, a smorgasboard for the senses, a synaptic shitstorm in blissed out serenity bar none and if they sold it as an opiate on the streets tomorrow? we'd all be dead in days, but shit damn we'd die happy!
Which then brings us to our headlining act tonight: here to launch their new album (three years in the making might I add) but before we get into all that? since it HAS been a few years now since they've last found themselves put under the proverbial spotlight, blowtorch, magnifying glass or whatever the fuck we want to call it for Spoz's Rant tonight (as I suspect you might have sneezed and missed out on their last "cameo appearance" for Friends' album launch back in June) a quick refresher course might be in order on what to expect here; all of which can also be conveniently found on stage while they conduct their soundcheck too.. like THIS setlist for example. One that appears to double as a shopping list for the Island Of Doctor Moreau; or more accurately an "alternative reality" version as co-run by Syd Barrett, Devendra Banhart and Dr Seuss tripping balls on a phone book full of blotter acid. And my personal favourite listing here? a song that appears to be entitled "Segway Goosehead". Awesome huh!? TOTALLY!! (it's even better when you lick it!).
Or what about these "song lyrics" here? Now I know what you're thinking (and please don't try to correct me as you'll only strain your neck in doing so) but I haven't posted this photo upside down by mistake, it's the right way up, I mean c'mon.. look at the perspective ferfucksake! I mean what are we: bugging out on the ceiling to this shit!? (at least not YET we aren't). Nope in actual fact they've been written in Russian cyrillic script, or perhaps it's one of those wacky reverse cursives that Leonardo Da Vinci used to employ for all his engineering sketches back in the 15th century, or maybe they're not lyrics at all but a genius dope cookie recipe.. either way duuude, who's hungry?
And speaking of UFOs.. check out these cymbals. WHOAAAA!! are those "screws" jutting out from the top there? did someone drill that? and for what foul purpose!? I MEAN WHAT THE FUCK KINDA INSANITY ARE WE DEALING WITH HERE!? And as for why I'm making all these esoteric observations just now INSTEAD of reviewing this band.. could it be anything to do with the fact it's taking them almost a full hour to setup this shit!? OF COURSE NOT!! I mean why'd you even think that!? (no really.. what's taking them so long? have they misplaced a theramin or something!? SHEEESH!!).
TAUGHT BY ANIMALS (****) myspace :: But at long last they DO begin.. and duuude has it been a journey and a half in getting here too! Yup for those of you blissfully unaware Taught By Animals used to be all over this Adelaide scene like a spastic pandemic back in 2006 to 2007.. maaan they were practically inescapable they were THAT ragingly omnipresent! But the good news however? is that they were just THAT kind of serial offender (before the term "Mona Lisa Overdrive" was even invented) that you could totally imagine seeing six billion times in a row and STILL find something new to trip balls to.. duuude they were that ridiculously inspired! Calling them a "psychedelic band" clearly sold them short for this shit; picturing everyone from The Pixies, Sonic Youth to a tribe of Colobus monkeys jamming in a wind tunnel might get you close; but they truly had no comparison in the Adelaide scene. The last time they ever released anything on record however was a seven track self titled EP back in January 2007 (as much as the band now suggest it's an album). Since then they lost two band members in guitarist/bassist Matt Hills and drummer Neil Clark in 2007-2009; with some suspecting that their one original member Jonny Walsh on lead had completely lost his mind as a result (little did they realise that he was that colourfully shitcrazy to begin with). Only to gain two "new" members in guitarist/bassist Gerard Liddle and Luke Fazakerley on drums (only just this year). And as much as it has been a ridiculously epic odyssey in getting here tonight? (most of which I won't even get into) it appears they've at long last found their "power trio" again. Firstly it's with Gerard's utterly insane antics matching inch for inch every one of Jonny's hysterical outbursts on lead. I mean you can't miss him covering the length and breadth of the stage like the very personification of ADHD with an amplifier, and I readily admit the first time I ever saw him pulling this shit? it was like a mad hit of the bends (I think it even caused me a nose bleed!). But once you combine that with Luke on drums? the whole dynamic starts to make perfect sense again. I mean I didn't pick it before but he used to be the drummer for Winter's Lament and he's totally out of his "Einstein" mind for this shit. For one he custom built his own kickdrum.. all 28inch diameter of it; even going as far as to design the shell on CAD so the skin would fit seamlessly like a glove. He built his own sampler, HIS OWN FREAKING SAMPLER.. from scratch! And if we gave him nearly enough time? oh he'd totally give H.G. Well's "Time Machine" a run for his money if he hasn't already got one on stage tonight (in the very least it'd explain why the walls are oscillating in such a peculiar way) and it's with him that they find their newfound "stability", but it's also in the way that both Jonny and Gerard push him to the most ludicrous extremes that gives them the infectious energy in pushing it forward. In the loosest of terms you could describe this shit (as in their current incarnation) as being rather like The Flaming Lips circa "Embroyonic" covering Aphex Twin's "Richard D James" as reinterpretted by The Mighty Boosh's "Spirit of Jazz" only with all the spastic fuzz cranked up to a thousand; or rather like every one of Jim Henson's hallucinations come to life. It's all chaotic time signatures, rapid fire guitar riffage, bass rhythms going off like a motorbike, nonsensical shrieking catcalls with a billion and one frenetic changeovers in between, and it totally does your head in the first time you hear it; but then it actually starts to grow on you something fierce. It's like you just let yourself sink into the sublime insanity of it all, tune your mind to static, go ever so slightly cross-eyed to Gerard's utterings between songs: "this will totally end the debate on whether we're more than just a salamander" (along with Jonny's weird "oollaa space creature full power" catch phrases he loves to pepper throughout) and it all just becomes so clear like a mad acid trip. They cover the length and breadth of their new album (with a few optional extras like Deer Antler Song off their "first album"). It only gets weirder and weirder with each song. And somehow I survive it all whilst staying (relatively) sober and it only gets better!? Yup that's Taught By Animals. They put the aphasic back into art rock, they sound like a lunatic aslyum set to music, they're rising from the ashes like a phoenix? aaaah welcome back you hysterical space cats.. it's been far too long!
And also for this wacky lego man novelty keyring that she was waving about in my face all exciteably that, wait for it.. totally comes with it's own night light!? "WHOAAAA FUCKING FUCK FUCK!!". Yes I know! And you should've seen the billion and one OTHER photos we took where she was pulling silly faces with it too, let alone all the photos where she was twirling about in her dress because she was attending some random work function whatever-the-fuck earlier tonight and she totally wanted to show it off and..? yeaaah *cough* aren't you so glad I edited all this crap OUT!? I mean I know she's at least five kinds of adorably insane and everything.. but enough is enough!
3:49AM - And so, many many hours later after "accidently" editing out all the other hysterical gibberish that Simone might've wanted to contribute to the blog this week.. although I'll readily admit that yes that keyring DID totally blow my mind (and I'm not even shitting you!) we find ourselves here at Supermild. And just to signify this utterly auspicious occassion (in every way that it's totally not?) here's a whizzbang photo of the floor leading out into the beergarden. And not just because it's even MORE stupidly awesome than all those other stupidly awesome photos I didn't publish tonight (she twirled her dress people.. TWIRLED HER DRESS!!) but also because.. yeaaah I think it pretty much speaks for itself now doesn't it? and is that dude wearing shorts!? AWESOME!!
4:25AM - Here's a photo of Simone gagging on her beer (or shit, maybe it was my beer!?). And I know what you're thinking.. the crucial difference being? she wasn't looking to have her photo taken at the time and thus it'll amuses me to no end to publish it (over a few hundred others where she DID.. tee hee!) because yes I'm an utter bastard, and yes I'm perfectly ok with that.
4:27AM - While I think we can all agree that THIS photo of Simone here using Mathias like a "spastic poodle wig" is the single most awesome photo of the night (no really tell I'm wrong!) in quite the same way that Mathias is likely wishing there was a spare fire extinguisher nearby. I mean just LOOK at that shit, is that freaking hilarious or what!? huh? HUH!? yeaaah screw this I'm outta here.. but not before I take a few more shots of him looking hilariously awkward. WOOOO!!
Yup tonight I was the calm little centre of the universe, or maybe I was a chewy nougat centre, or maybe I was caramel, or maybe I was a caramello koala..? or wait, errrr what the fuck am I talking about again? Nope all ridiculous distractions aside (and believe me there were plenty to chose from tonight.. DAMN YOU SIMONE!!) this was just what my beer battered brain sorely needed (especially after last week which I sorely needed for the three months BEFORE that) that one teeny tiny night of relative "normality" where I could stay blissfully "sober" against all the odds stacked against me (and here I was stupid enough to seek it out at a freaking album launch!?) except for all the times "you know who" kept buying me drinks (except for those drinks at Supermild!?) where I could be at peace with all my thoughts at last.. or at least until Taught By Animals totally scrambled them, poached them, fried them? boiled? devilled? pickled!? aaaah crap! Yup if ever there was a lesson to take from tonight (and believe me I'm struggling here) it's that no matter what I do for Spoz's Rant now? yeaaah I'm pretty much screwed! But hey? all debilitating brain damage, writer's block, insomnia and "missing Saturday night episodes" aside.. would I seriously want it any other way!?