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...
STEERING BY STARS (****1/2) myspace :: Yup there was a damn good reason for why I picked this show at The Ed Castle tonight (bordering on a "perfect storm" of the downright ridiculous and head explodingly miraculous) and I swear it totally punched me in the face with five kinds of fuck off awesome the minute I walked through that door too! or perhaps a few minutes after that once they soundchecked and I got two or three beers into me (to counteract the fact I only had two hours sleep last night) as to make all these live reviews even more retarded in excess praise!? I totally got paid after a month long "drought" tonight, the weather's been humid to the point of sub tropical, so all these beers I'm drinking right now truly haven't tasted better in my entire life.. WAHOOOO!! Or in other words? you really couldn't do better than THIS as your opening act.. NO SHIT!! And yeah yeah I know I already covered them just last week (and fair warning? you're totally gonna be reading about them again next week!) but as brilliantly accomplished as they were that night.. seeing them again here tonight (at the exact same venue with the exact same setlist too might I add) makes me realise just how brilliantly they "fucked it all up" (or more accurately a teeny tiny technical glitch with Rory O'Connor's guitar sure as shit did) and for the most part? short of Rory's crazed expression swapping instruments about and a subtle hint of "shitstaining terror" in the air wondering just how they'd hold it together till the very end, I didn't even notice it!? FUUUCK!! In fact I'm rather embarassed to admit just how wrong I got it, because tonight in comparison they did so many of the same things ridiculously RIGHT (and how!) they shouldn't even be considered the same band in polite conversation! In short Steering By Stars totally nailed it compared to last week's show: duuude they nailed it shut, buried it six feet under, salted the earth and sprinkled holy water on it lest it rise again to kill some more! It was a thing of beauty through and through! For one they managed to eliminate most if not all of the technical issues: short of a static sample off Lachlan Wilson's keyboard mixed a little too loud at the beginning of "Magnets" (and his vocals perhaps a little too "coherent" without the drowning reverb and hiss in opening number "Dissonance".. but maybe that was by intent) it was downright seamless from beginning to end! not a note or errant noise out of place! and thanks to this near flawless run? it appears they were actually playing the songs AS listed on the setlist too! As what I thought were songs "Magnets" and "Cables" from last week's set were actually last minute "segue" substitutes to cover for Rory's none too subtle panic attack in swapping his shit around (hence my embarassment in not noticing their glaring absence in reviewing it.. ooops!) and their returned presence tonight made this performance that much more vibrantly explosive.. maaan it hit like a musical burst of B12! From the driven dirge attack of "Magnets" (punctuated by Adrian Reveruzzi and Tom Smeeth's thunderous rhythm section), to Rory and Tom's tandem glockenspiel opener in "Cables" building upto a maddenning crescendo, there's that much more energy, aggression and emotion on display. Only to raise the stakes with their single "Closer" sending the crowd into rapturous hysterics in the middle and the mother of all psychotic breakdowns in "Blood-Letting" at the end (seriously watch the video and prepare to mop what's left of your face off the floor). The band were that much more invested in it, tearing it up with murderous glee, thrashing and flailing like wild animals (or perhaps simply registering relief for the fact it was working out so well). The crowd reacted in kind, if somewhat more paralysed in gobsmacked awe.. I mean what a fucking show! Steering By Stars. I feel like a total bastard for only giving them the rating that I did here (as it would've killed with a headlining crowd) but this is still ongoing proof of a band very much on the verge of bigger and better things: if not for the ludicrious praise I lump on them? then for the fact: good or bad, headlining or opener, they never fail to elicit every emotion in performing it!
FIRE! SANTA ROSA, FIRE! (*****) myspace :: And wouldn't you know it? but it only gets better!? FUUUCK OFF!! But before I do elaborate in what will surely be entirely unnecessary terms just how much this second band SO rocked the shit out of shit: every public toilet in a one kilometre radius so suddenly unencumbered by it actually floated off into space never to be seen again "wait.. what!?" lemme just tell you how much I'm loving the shit out of the stage lighting too tonight, and for once I'm not even kidding.. NO SERIOUSLY!! it's freaking retarded just how much everything's coming up Milhouse for me tonight! And the reason WHY!? well initially I assumed it to be thanks to Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!'s band manager (aka: Matt "Bastard Prick Of An Arsehole" Hayward) for pulling everything short of a Daft Punk pyramid on the blinkers and faders.. so much so I might even have shouted him a beer in mad celebration, only to bribe him a subsequent beer in the hopes he'd pull more of the same for the headliner. And as much as he WAS a contributing "fuck yeah!" factor to it? more of it is actually thanks to one Alex "Clown Head" Ciaravolo:long suffering house mixer and his tireless work exorcising the unholy rig that for far too long has been the bane of my ongoing existence.. FUUUCK!! I mean I don't know how he did it all exactly: short of moving two spotlights away from the windows (so they're actually pointing in the RIGHT direction) and adding an extra turquoise and magenta.. for as much as it's still as dark as before? it's so beautifully blended with all the colours and shadows cast now it's like I can't lose! I mean just look at all those photos I'm getting now! JUST LOOK AT THEM!! Somebody erect him a bronze statue (or at the very least put him in The Ed Castle band room hall of fame) he's THAT MUCH of a freaking legend to me! But of course he can't be here to accept this honour himself (as he's off playing in 20th Century Graduates at Jive tonight), so Aidan Moyse (drummer for Hawks Of Alba) has been called in his stead. He's the one you can hear over the microphone just prior to the set, hushing the crowd into silence as he gets each individual band members to soundcheck (and in the most whimsically polite way possible) and I must say he's doing a bang up job of it too! And the reason WHY I'm mentioning all this incidental crap instead of reviewing the band in question? well.. let's face it: I know it, the band knows it, everyone else who was here sure as shit knows it, so there's really no point in me embarassing them any further over just how face meltingly brilliant this was (as much as I'll likely do so regardless). Yup Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! truly could do no wrong. They fucking annihilated it. I mean you see all those toilets floating freely off into space right now!? that's their doing! WE WON'T BE NEEDING THEM NOOO MORE!! And in many ways it's no surprise either! They've been gigging hardcore for the past few months supporting Dappled Cities and Seabellies (and Grinspoon starting just next week) on their nationwide tours. And it shows. They're so much the precision battle weapon now it truly makes your head spin. From the clockwork interlock of Josh Flavel and Sam Stearne on bass and drums. To the interweaving riffs of Art Zinoviev, Nathaniel Morse and Dave Williams on keys and guitars. To Caitlin Duff's increased confidence as lead singer (like she can almost actually "project" her voice now!?). To the fact they're so damn familiar with their setlist, to the point of ripping it in their sleep (and stifling a yawn) that they're adding all these extra flourishes and fills now to keep things fresh. Better yet they're already moving well past it (live favourite "War Coward" was almost an afterthought) and coming up with a wealth of new material, with three new songs making an appearance tonight. The first "Maze Behind Your Eyes" for all its lush widescreen texture probably needs a little more work to find its place, but the second and third "Bloodwood" and "Panther Shrine" already punch well above their respective weight in apocalyptic promise (the latter to be releasing as an upcoming single) giving us every indication that they might very well detour the whole "sophomore slump" altogether they're THAT mad gunning for it now. Better yet they're living it up with the home crowd advantage, they're quipping jokes verging on insults with each other and the crowd's lapping it up in spades, duuude it's nothing but a mad buzz start to finish! Yup that's Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! To be honest I so didn't need to write this live review, I've clearly embarassed myself here, but if you saw this too? you'd entirely agree.. they SO rocked this "shit" I simply have no shit left to give!
SEABELLIES (*****) myspace :: And to think this mad winning streak only but continued with our headlining act!? WAHOOOO!! And yeah I know what you're thinking. I can see you all rolling your eyes at me. Just like I know OH I JUST KNOW some "anonymous" arsehat is gonna post all these comments accusing me of being nothing but a "sycophant" for praising this shit, but the fact is all these "glowing reviews" never come easy maaan! they truly don't, they weigh on my mind constantly! I look for every infantile excuse to insult them.. EVERY EXCUSE!! which is why I'm here to see the Seabellies again. Who the fuck are the Seabellies? (besides the fact they're from Newcastle and they've been high rotated on Triple J blah-di-blah whatever-the-fuck!?) well I asked myself that same question six months ago, only to be totally blown away by what I saw.. duuude they were totally awesome! and I totally wrote it up as such, and ever since then? I've been half wondering if I they'd gotten away with murder. You see I didn't exactly see them under the "best circumstances" that night: I'd been to a wedding on only one hours sleep, drank nine beers at the reception, went to an EP launch at The Metro, drank four more, only to end up catatonic drunk at The Ed Castle and catching this band totally skull fuckingly blind.. and of course they were nothing but "brilliant" pfft.. obviously it was nothing but the beer goggles talking! Only I was totally gagging to buy a CD of their shit afterwards (only they'd totally run out of singles or EPs) so maybe they had SOMETHING going for them. So what better excuse for a second opinion than here at their album launch tonight where I could totally score me some of that shit (especially one where I could use both their support acts as a-grade collateral.. WIN!!). Except as luck would have it: not only is it their album launch, it's the last night of their tour, so everyone's in a fuck off mood to celebrate (on top of everything else that's been going our way!?) yup try as I might to be a "total fucking arsehole" in raging "objectivity" tonight? it's pretty much impossible to hate this band even if you try! For the Seabellies truly are nothing but a winning combination through and through: not only because they're an allstar ensemble, but also because they're a ridiculously "euphoric" allstar ensemble: the most diabolical of them all. As such I lazily figure them for a mix between Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire and M83 with a little bit of I Heart Hiroshima, Parades (and maybe even a little Polyphonic Spree thrown in for good measure!?) only equating them with ANY of those bands on record would clearly be missing the point. Nope with this band it's all about the spontaneous burst of energy in experiencing them live: that explodingly jubilant just short of a catastrophe collaborative coming together of six musicians constantly swapping instruments that damn near brightens up a live stage like a mad summer's day *phew* I mean it's as much a total headfuck as it is a riotous celebration, as much as there's so many of them flying about all at once that you half wonder if YOU'RE in the band too (along with the rest of the crowd) and you just don't know it yet! As such it's a little difficult to truly dissect this shit but at the very least considering how frenetically they're throwing it all together tonight? it's amazing just how cohesive it all sounds. Especially with Stephanie Setz who seamlessly juggles everything from keys, guitar, glockenspiel, saxophone to backup vocals in delivering it (and often in the same song) but pretty much everyone else in the band is in on it too: most bewilderingly so when lead singer Trent Grenell swaps over with drummer Sean Kelleher so he can let loose with the trumpet. They perform an extended fourteen song set: the highlights of which entirely depends on which songs you found least annoying high rotated on Triple J.. that being said, it's still hard to fault any of them when you're all but blissfully swept away by the giddy euphoria of it: all those soaring orchestrations coupled with acoustic guitar and gang vocals, all that mad collaborative energy that never lets up in letting loose.. its total madness! And since it's an extended set too, and the stage lighting was so ridiculously awesome to accompany it that I got every conceivable insane angle on camera, leaving me with more than enough time to laugh it up like a pisstwit pulling shapes in the crowd? (who were lapping it up like a locust swarm) till I forgot where the hell I even was half the time!? shit duuude HOW COULD I NOT LOVE THIS!? Yup that's the Seabellies. Clearly they got away with murder AGAIN (and how.. they just about slayed everyone in the room begging for more!) but at least I now know why: with shit this loose you don't need to overthink it maaan.. you simply drift off with a spaceyarse grin, and let those tides take you where they may!
But all that didn't matter a thing when you stepped out into the beergarden maaan! It didn't matter that it'd been raining intermittently all night long and everything was swampy as all fuck! it didn't matter that we were upto our pink nips in aussie hip-hoppers (Poetikool Justice fans!? hell no! they're nothing but blissed out hippie reggae "surfer stoners" duuude, they're the best kind of crowd to party with!). Nope none of it mattered at all as long as you were right HERE in the thick of it living it large! A perfect storm the likes of which The Ed Castle hasn't seen since.. fuck? WHO KNOWS WHEN!? Oh.. and as for what ANY of this has to do with Dave's supernaturally sized nostrils here!? shit! I didn't think you'd even notice.. but still? HOW RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME ARE THEY!?
1:57AM - But in saying all THAT I've still left out the best bit here. The "best bit" that will surely have you kicking yourself repetitively into a retarding head concussion for missing out on tonight and I'm not even kidding you, you're SO gonna hate me for this! For here in the deepest darkest recess of the beergarden tonight we uncovered something the likes of which will surely be spoken of in legends for weeks to come, maybe even months: mini burgers, I repeat.. MINI BURGERS!!
Yup this is Seb. He makes mini burgers. He'll be back here again next Friday, fuck.. maybe even next Saturday doing the exact same thing. Mini burgers maaan! MINI BURGERS!! seriously am I blowing your mind yet.. OR WHAT!? and oh wait.. hold that thought, I'll be right back in a minute.
2:09AM - Yup I know it seems insane, utterly illogical even for someone who's only had all of two hours sleep last night and has been happily drinking himself hysterically blind for the past five hours to cover for it (who me!?) but I just had to leave The Ed Castle right now. Why? WHY IN THE WORLD OF ALL THINGS UNHOLY AND IMPROBABLE MAKING THE ED CASTLE THEEE MOST HEAD EXPLODINGLY "A-GRADE" PARTY PLACE IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE TONIGHT (BAR NONE) WOULD I EVER WANT TO LEAVE IT!? *cough* well shit duuude.. why keep something like this to yourself!?
2:18AM - But more than that I was still feeling a little bit guilty over all the OTHER eight or nine shows I was missing out on tonight (nay gravely offended by my absence) by going to The Ed Castle instead. Especially that Coopers Alive showcase at Jive: completely unrelated to the fact it was the closest one within walking distance just now, and absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it might've been attended by the one dude who organised it (who may've been foolish enough to doorlist me to every event) and maybe I should've made an appearance at some point if I wasn't being such a total jackass about it (I know! I KNOW!! I'm SO the worst person alive aren't I?). For despite the fact they're already rocking a two man crew armed to the teeth with HD video cameras and full multitrack recording equipment in covering it tonight (and who the fuck knows how many ninja photogs popping teledildonic zoom lenses every which where but in front of the stage) they were STILL totally bummed that I didn't show. So in effort to make it up for them I was told that they'd still be partying on here till well after 2AM and I totally should make an appearance then. And true to their word they WERE still partying hard.. or at least it was until 2:01AM at which point they were thrown out by barstaff and security. So by the time I got here? it was all but deserted save for Matt Hills buzzing past me on his scooter giving me the "sad face" and Jeremy Lake: drummer for 20th Century Graduates who looked for all the world like I'd just murdered his puppy. Yup there was only six words I could say to save this situation: "Ed Castle", "beer garden", "mini burgers".. and believe me that's all it took! As without another word (save for the last two repeated in a continuous loop) we made haste back to The Ed Castle.. "MINI BURGERS MOTHERF**KER!!".
2:27AM - And yeaaah I know I gotta be talking them up waaay more than they're worth, but just LOOK at Jimmy from Jimmy & The Mirrors here totally losing his shit over one of these bad boys. No seriously? remember that movie "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle"!? I want you to burn that movie for me.. no.. no, I don't mean on a CD or DVD, I've already got a copy! I mean pour petrol all over it and set it on FUCKING FIRE! You don't need it anymore, it's right here maaan and it's FUCKING REAL.. it's like every one of your taste buds having an exploding orgasm in your mouth, all at once, and you don't know what to do with yourself they're that spasgasmically tasty; as much as they were arguably a little on the "dry" side.. but who fucking cares!? MINI BURGERS BIATCH!!
2:32AM - Now obviously we needed a little something to wash them down with; and not because they were a little on the "dry" side, pfft.. what are you crazy!? WE HAD TO CELEBRATE THAT SHIT!! And so I ordered up a beer, Jeremy shouted us jägerbombs, then he disappeared off to the front bar to scam some beers off of Seabellies' rider (only it turns out those shit weasels had already drunk theirs.. arseholes!) so instead he came back with this jug of apple cider.. why? HA HA HA WHY THE FUCK NOT MAAAN!? IT'S FUCKING HILARIOUS!! (plus I'm pretty sure it has vitamins in it). Oh yes we were truly living like kings here tonight weren't we!? And let every photo in following be testament to everything YOU MISSED OUT ON TOO in not being here to experience it for yourself!
With the possible exception of THIS photo.. as obviously this wasn't me, I never took this photo, nor can I explain WHY this sign was propped up the men's urinal: only it was like that when I got here *cough* I mean DIDN'T get here, I mean..? aaaah fuck it! let's just forget we even saw this.
4:06AM - Instead we'll fast forward a few hours later when it suddenly occured to me that maybe we should hit Supermild next.. because quite frankly we were having so much retarded fun at The Ed Castle we actually forgot this place even existed.. "HA HA HA NO REALLY? THAT SHIT ACTUALLY HAPPENS!?" duuude in a night like tonight all things are indeed possible! Funnier still upon arriving here? somewhat later than usual I might add, the security posted upstairs (aka: Señor Sketchy my personal doorman) totally looked at his watch, registering genuine surprise to see me and says: "wow you're running a bit late aren't you!?". Yes.. yes I am, just as I might be receiving a package here next Tuesday and if you can totally sign off on that for me, then that'd be awesome *cough* but yeaaah that's neither here or there. Instead I'll direct your attention to this curious "specials menu" above the bar. Not necessarily because "Ruby" is apparently on special here tonight for $12 (a bargain in anyone's books!) or that "Griffy Griff" is going for $11 (pfft.. you can totally get him cheaper in a box of 40 at Central Markets) but more for the fact that "Lucy" isn't listed here at all because she was traded off to Humble Pie last night for $50 and a case of Heineken.. true story!
4:08AM - Now obviously we didn't order from the above (we're far too classy for that shit) and instead opted for two longnecks of Coopers Pale and two hits of this wacky "watermelon" concoction that Jeremy shouted, that he assures me contains neither: Smirnoff vodka, soylent green or nitrogylcerin but may possibly contain "trace amounts of weaponised anthrax" (but not in any way that would constitute a "lethal dose"). Naturally I accepted it without question, not just because it sounded like the maddest shit ever, but also because I'm pretty sure I was declared dead about twelve hours ago (better yet if you drink it to the bottom? the remainder totally looks like urine!).
4:09AM - This is Jeremy attempting to look gangsta with that shit. I'll let you make your own mind whether he succeeds.. but if it helps? legend has it he totally drank Tim DeLaughter from The Polyphonic Spree under the table "that one time at Sugar" and it took only him fifty tequila shots to achieve it, and now he keeps his skull as a coffee table ornament; or perhaps I simply made that story up (the bit about the "tequila"? it was actually black russian.. the rest however is true).
4:57AM - This is Jeremy attempting to light his cigarette with one of those upright gas heaters. I forget WHY exactly I took a photo of it just now, only that it's clearly the most hilarious shit ever in the history of anything and I dare any one of you fools to dispute me on this "fact".. HILARIOUS!!
5:10AM - This is me all but oblivious to the fact we're still in this beergarden only it's well after closing now (no really.. what is up with that shit!?). Because instead I'm utterly "transfixed" by all these chairs here. And especially that particular one stacked up on top of that table there with the fuzzy black bar cloth hanging over it, and whether it's meant to act as some kind of makeshift "ceremonial throne" and if so.. for who or WHAT supreme ruler does it serve? (and will it offer us free drinks if we deliver human sacrifices to it!? because shit damn am I thirsty right about now!).
5:26AM - This is Jeremy becoming acutely aware just how ridiculously late it is, that everyone else has already left (including the bar staff who've fled screaming a few moments ago), all the lights have been switched off and that THIS door leading to Hindley Street has since been locked. Hmmm.. now I don't want to leap to any kind of "conclusion" here but that's pretty freaking weird!
And this is me celebrating an unspecified time afterwards, after I surreptitiously disposed of all the "bodies" by ditching them over the back fence.. except if anyone ever asks? Jeremy isn't dead, he totally took an "indefinite trip to London", he's going under the name "Julian Barratt" now and everything else you hear to the contrary is nothing but a lie.. HA HA HA no seriously it wasn't me! (just like I totally didn't drink the bar dry at Supermild until well into Saturday morning.. YEAAAS!!).