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...
TEA (****) website :: So it comes as a complete surprise to discover that they're still playing here when I blunder my way into the band room. Even more so that they're barely one third of the way through their set (and it's an "extended" eleven song set too). Even more so STILL when I see the fuck off eclectic indie crowd that they've attracted from far and wide here.. yes even this early in the night at "Plus One", anywhere other than the beergarden or the front bar, AT THE FUCKING ED CASTLE!? (seriously don't make me show you how miraculous that crap is!) and they're totally losing their minds to this!? "WHOAAA SHIT!!". I know I totally had to pause for a breathe too *takes another swig of my beer* but it gets so much worse maaan! For as much as I was mad itching to trash the fuck out of this band and for that to finally be the end of it? (oh how I wish it could be true!) they totally don't blow a horse's hind, a goat or even a teeny tiny hamster wang in performing it! "AWWWW CRAP!?" I know! FUCK I KNOW!! there's just waaay too much idiotic and insane talent in the Adelaide scene right now and it's PISSING ME OFF!! and here we have yet another band that might actually be "worth the effort".. GUH! YOU FUCKING ARSEHOLES!! Yup this is Tea (no seriously, they're a band called Tea!) THIS is proof that they actually exist and in many ways short of some whimsically lax personal hygiene standards (I'm looking at YOU Blumberg!) we can be damn thankful that they do too! In the simplest of terms you could consider them a 60's surf/garage rock revival band. YES ANOTHER ONE. And yet as much as you can roll your eyes at me all you want (in fact I might just join you and make the retinal equivalent of a Mexican wave here) as much as they DO admittedly sound like a cookie "cutting edge" mashup between Wavves and Black Lips? they actually DO possess a teeny bit of "depth and range" in how they throw it all together, with all manner of other eclectic influences too. As such throw in everything from The Ramones, The Clash, The Saints, Brian Jonestown Massacre and fuck it.. just because I'm clearly waaay too lazy to do my research here (and I can't be the only one) sprinkle in a few no-names classics from both the Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs soundtracks too and you'd be dead on the money. But what really nails it is the tag-team delivery of both Dave Blumberg and Ray Dalfsen on vocals (who also take turns on guitar and bass). With Dave: he's channeling everything from the punch drunk belligerence of Gareth Liddiard from The Drones to the snot nosed fury of Joey Ramone from.. yeaaah I don't think we need to say where; and it totally works too. But the real shit kicker comes from Ray: who rips into this gutteral "whiskey stained" register that sounds for all the world like a Louisiana blues musician in his late 80's pan handling for coins, or better yet James Brown after he's been beaten black and blue with a pipe wrench: all hissing, spitting and squealing as he shreds his vocal chords red raw? duuude it totally blows your mind! especially when the band lets him go near "a capella" with it. Better yet this totally carries over into their hyperactive guitar and bass playing too. I mean don't get me started with how many other 60's garage bands I've seen of late who've pulled the whole "face the back wall/swinging gate/disinterested" hipster schtick in lieu of actually owning up to anything (I'm looking at YOU Dud Pills.. sheeesh!) but with Tea here? they're letting loose like fucking terrorists maaan! like the whole world's coming to an end! especially with Dave who does everything short of chase his tail around the room: all rubber kinetic and revving up his guitar up like a chainsaw. And as for their drummer Ben Kuerschner: well as much as he looks like he's all of 12 years old, he still does a bang up job of driving everything forward at a frenetic pace; and overall there IS this volatile energy about this band (bordering on an all out disaster) that just kills like no other: like they're wild animals with machine guns, pissing freely and setting fire to everything like they seriously don't give a fuck what you think, like they're every antic that inspires you to drink yourself hysterically blind (beyond any kind of retarded fashion "resurgence" that they may've accidently found themselves lumped with) no really, they're actually that geniunely good! Yup that's Tea. This is them appearing in Spoz's Rant at last. So now that they've totally lost all street cred as a result? yup looks like we're gonna have to come up with a whole new punchline!
11:49PM - Now obviously Tea weren't the only band playing tonight; except I seriously couldn't give a flying fuck who or what they were: as let's face it.. every single band in Adelaide played LAST night and now we're simply dealing with the "dregs" (wait.. did I just say that out loud!?) so obviously I only had eyes to get obliteratingly drunk in the beergarden. And yes I appreciate the irony in me saying that (especially after posting blogs bitching about just that a few months ago) but I totally had the best plan going. You see, unbeknownst to many: my camera was celebrating its 2nd birthday tonight (or more accurately after midnight) and I'd totally "bought along proof of purchase" to claim that (or at least I SO wish I'd thought of it earlier) and thus was clearly looking to scam $100 in complimentary Ed Castle bar credit in its honour (or at the very least make up for the fact my birthday fell on Good Friday this year). And I think we can all agree, THAT right there is a "mission and a half" for a Saturday night out. No really, you couldn't ask for better! And yet? damnit.. there was just so much excitement and insanity exploding in this band room tonight: comprehensive blog coverage or not, I just didn't have the heart to abandon it. I mean just look at these exciteable nitwits leaping in front of my camera lens during Tea? just look at that spastic orange beard? YEAAAS!! I mean how could you NOT simply celebrate the raging fuck out of that!?
12:43AM - So as much as all THIS totally isn't me reviewing Jay Walker & The Pedestrians right now (and wow they must be really pleased that I decided to "ditch them" tonight just so I could stick around for their set and get abusingly drunk in front of them to "gloat" over it) I will give you some of the highlights. And by "highlights" I don't necessarily mean anything the band might have been responsible for on stage (pfft.. no really? who really gives a flying fuck about that!?) nope for me tonight? it's all about the drunkarse antics happening OFF the stage (by which I mean plenty) or at least in this photo: two pisstwits who had no business being on stage tonight but decided to "crash the party" anyways. Who the fuck are they? HA HA HA WHO THE FUCK KNOWS!? (seriously duuude, I asked the band afterwards and everything, and they simply had no idea.. WOOOO!!).
Or what about "Grimace McGee" here? YEAAAS!! I mean obviously that's not his real name.. in fact I don't even know what his real name is, let alone know if I've even met him before (hi if you're tuning in though?) but I think we can all agree he DOES add a certain "something" to this crowd.
Or what about THIS mad cat feeling all the "vibrations"? aye? aaaye!? is that the maddest shit you've ever seen!? pfft.. OF COURSE NOT!! but it's still pretty freaking nuts all the same. No shit! I SO could've taken photos like these laughing my arse off all night and never find a dull moment!
Or at least until I got bored soon after (completely unrelated of course) and proceeded to take pot shots at Miles and Alex at the mixing desk here: which in my infinite wisdom I decided to shoot WITHOUT the flash, just so I could take fifty of them and not have a single one of them in focus.
Still at the very least I CAN tell you that this was one of the better Jay Walker & The Pedestrian sets I've seen all year. The crowd was totally mad up for it (yeaaah not like you would've noticed). They truly have come a long way. I totally would've given them a four and a half star rating too if I reviewed them (but since I didn't it? HA HA HA it totally doesn't count!). And as it turns out they totally had new songs too. Granted I can't remember the names of them (in fact the band didn't have half a clue what to call them either) but just so you don't go away completely empty handed? here's a video of one I recorded inbetween me stage invading the show tonight and making a total exploding twit of myself (an incident which for the most part thankfully remains "evidence" free).
1:57AM - Now up next there was originally going to be a third "headlining" act: Rocketsmiths from Brisbane. Only as luck would have it they totally goosed up their Tiger Airways flight over and didn't make it in time (and yes.. feel free to tell me just how much I should be kicking myself retarded over the fact that I missed them!). Which as it turns out, resulted in both remaining bands being scheduling later in the night to cover up for the shortfall. Which makes for quite the happy coincidence too.. considering I arrived late myself and would've otherwise totally missed out on the first act, the same first act I was here to see.. WHOAAAA!! And as much as I don't want to imply that Tea might have "phoned a bomb threat in" to achieve any of that (no.. not at all!) I'm instead gonna divert your attention to Alister Pike's kickdrum. What's so special about that you might ask!? Well.. you see that decorative logo he's got covering it? "no really Spoz, get to the fucking point already!". Well would you believe that it only cost him $15? "GET OUTTA HERE!!". No really.. don't pretend to be all enthused on my account! Apparently he cooked the whole thing up in Photoshop, went to one of those crap shack printers, knocked up an enlargement and whacked it on with blu-tack.. HOW MAD IS THAT SHIT!? yup that's a bona fide tip you can take to the bank!
And that's not the only thing they were giving away either! HELL NO!! All these copies of their debut EP "The Rise And Decline Of The Sun"? They were totally giving them away for less than the price of a beer. LESS THAN THE PRICE OF A BEER!! IMAGINE THAT!? And we're talking a schooner of beer here.. not one of your fancy pants pints (or the price of a handle, a middy or a pot for all you interstaters). Shit if you happened to be a hack journalist like myself, it didn't even cost you a dime! In fact I might have even scored fifty to a hundred of them, spread them about the floor in front of me and pulled "snow angels" like a madman. And I swear it was the most fun you could ever have in two minutes (with your clothes on?) without being stuck in an awkward two hour conversation afterwards attempting to explain where your relationship might be heading: "well um, I don't know about you but I always thought it was obvious: I'm in it for the beer YOU FOOL!!".
2:01AM - Now to be honest I'm feeling at a bit of a "loose end" right now. And I don't just mean for the past thirteen odd years (ooooh zing!) I mean more tonight: here at The Ed Castle, here in the band room, taking stupid photos of Jay Walker & The Pedestrians trying to pack their shit away, in the off chance I might pick a fight over it.. aaaah fuck it what else was I going to do with my night? SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE!? AAAAAHAhAHaHAhahA!! And as much as I could've simply switched my camera off, hit the bar, gotten even more hilariously drunk and forgotten I was even writing this blog in the first place (or at least until I ended up at Supermild) I also figured I hadn't been taking nearly enough stupid photos for the past few months (and in my defense I have been a little too weirdly sober to find the "inspiration") which for those of you keeping score? pretty much means I'll keep doing what I've done all night anyways but now I'll totally have "justification". And don't both Alister and Dan here look real happy that I came to that roundabout conclusion too!?
(this photo for instance would look totally bitchin' for their next poster)
2:08AM - And so with newfound purpose.. as much as it's pretty much been the same "purpose" I've had all night: and that's justifying my drunkeness in public by projecting it onto everyone else around me (ain't that the truth!) I headed out into the front bar just now in search of more "unsuspecting victims" to inspire me. And it didn't take long to find them either when I bumped into these two likely louts: Scott Somerville and Tim Whitt (formerly The Waterslides) spinning tunes as The Bottle Rocket DJs (aaaah yes.. I truly do bring out the "best" in people don't I!?).
2:21AM - Stumbling into the beer garden next, most if not all of the people out here simply took one look at me and collectively jumped the fence rather than face me (hmmm come to think of it I kinda wish I got a video of that). Those chance few exceptions that remain however? are quite possibly the ones that disturb me the most. Take Olivia here for instance: "doe eyed deer" if ever I saw one (awwww I know!). Appearing on Spoz's Rant would surely be the last thing she'd ever want, a waking nightmare even. Except everytime I bump into her, she gets this crazy idea into her head that I need to take a photo of her, then insists she inspects said photo, goes "ohhhh gawd I look hideous! DELETE!! DELETE!!" and then insists I take another one. Now as much as this make her little different from all the other "exciteable scene girls" I know (yeaaah it's a hard life but someone's gotta do it) when I get a bad photo? they're really REALLY hilariously bad. I mean she takes really "good photos" too, don't get me wrong she's cute as a button! it's just she excels at the trainwrecks like they're nothing short of an artform. So being who I am? yup I obviously delete all the good ones and simply use the bad ones instead; with the possible exception of this photo where she's rather deftly shifted the focus to her friend here.. I know, she really is THAT GOOD!!
2:33AM - And of course the minute you take one of these photos? quite like one potato chip fed to a seagull they'll come a flocking in greater numbers: flapping their arms about all exciteably, squawking mad and begging for more, knowing full well what the horrifying outcome will become of it when they see them sober a week later. "GUH!! HOW COULD I BE SO STOOOOPID!?". Well if it's any consolation? all but maybe five of the 630 odd photos tagged of me in facebook is every one YOU maniacs getting your own back (proud of every one of them I am too!). Just as I gotta give you due credit for occassionally coming up with truly creative suggestions in which to shoot yours: like this one here that I shot whilst standing over a table. One made all the funnier by the fact that not only did a bouncer come running when he saw this (only to be shooed away by Laura looking weirdly photogenic on the left there: "pfft.. it's cool maaan, he's here all the time!") but also because I ended up shooting a subsequent one, because Olivia saw the first one and shrieked "ohhhh gawd I look hideous! HEEEDIOUS!!" (so.. guess which one I ended up using anyways!?).
3:05AM - Still as much fun as that arguably is? it's still a lot of hard work. And if anything? the very fact that I'm HERE slumming it at The Ed Castle tonight implies I'm looking for the exact opposite of "hard work" or sweet fuckall beyond a simple "drink to face" transaction whilst shooting anything stupid or insane that happens to cross my path (Olivia the golden exception of course). Which is where Brendan Shaw enters the picture. Yup you may recognise him as the lead singer for Lady Strangelove, or as one of the Strangelove DJs who spins here almost every Friday night, or maybe.. just maybe (if legend serves us correctly) as one of a group of shining individuals who may've indirectly lead to The Vines cancelling their nationwide tour due to "mental illness" back in November 2008: when Craig Nicholls made that ill informed "trip" to The Ed Castle (and I'll let you decide for yourself on the "veracity" of that claim). Either way it can't be denied that above all else he is truly a gift to photography that keeps on giving. Obviously words alone cannot express what you're about to witness here.. nope, quite like The Matrix you must experience THIS for yourself.
Somewhere in the middle of all this shit he might have mentioned too, that this was the first night he'd been out "drinking" in six months. To his credit? I don't think anyone would've really noticed.
3:19AM - And then the weirdest thing happened: without warning all the lights went out and we were plunged into darkness. Obviously it would be ill informed of us to leap to any unfounded conclusions here, putting "two and two" together of where two entirely unrelated events do not intersect but I admit, the coincidence was downright freaky (and not entirely unprecedented). Still all was not lost. In quite the same way that excessive dope smoking leads to carpentry, so too Brendan Shaw proved to be a dab hand as a "master electrician" (no really, it's his professional trade and everything!). And in next to no time with bouncers and barstaff gobsmacked in awe, he brought order back to the grid. And then to commemorate the occassion? we took THIS photo.
3:30AM - Obviously we'd stumbled upon something huge here.. monumental! As much as we had absolutely no idea what triggered it, or how, or even if any of this shit was related at all.. who's to know!? either way we tried our utmost to recreate the same conditions with anyone else we happened to find. I mean there's no point repeating the same experiment with Brendan is there? it's just simple scientific reductionism! Find the mechanism at play, replicate, repeat, or at the very least take multiple shots ridiculing anyone insane enough to try whilst pissing ourselves retarded. Subject A: Mathias Northway from Two Suns. Results: confusing? Conclusion: needs more testing.
3:40AM - Obviously there's no logical explanation for why we ended up at Supermild, I mean shit duuude since when is "logic" ever implied or even known to exist at this juncture!? (not this night or any other night.. but especially not THIS night!) nope we're well beyond the point at which even my futile attempts to provide "meaningful commentary" would ever provide sollace to the many questions that must surely be vexing your mind right now. Still at the very least? I did use an entirely different photo to signify it. Motorcycles at 90 degree angles at all times!? spectacular!
4:34AM - Of course they weren't the only ones "worth documenting" in here tonight (or in other words I'm so sorry I had to put you through all this shit). Except most were already forming a screaming stampede out the back door jumping the fence at the mere sight of me (half their luck I'd say) except for Dan Varricchio here from Like Leaves. Apparently he was one of the few poor souls didn't get what all the "flashing sirens" over the bar meant when they ushered my arrival a whole hour ago. And better yet he's holding an entirely "ridiculous" looking wine decanter (which as we all know is the only excuse I ever need to photograph the living shit out of it). And as for that whimsical pair of bunny ears popping up behind him? yeaaah funny you should mention them: as no sooner did I show Dan this photo, the owner of said "bunny ears" poked her head in, went "awww crap you got my armpit!" and so we agreed to shoot a second photo (which in my infinite wisdom I've decided NOT to publish here as it was so damn awesome she'd likely kill me for it).
Yup so there we have it: an entire Saturday night blog concocted for the sole purpose of writing about a band some random pissweasel at Supermild's been bugging me to see for months now that very few of us even knew existed, let alone believed COULD exist with an hilariously fucked up name like "Tea" (Tea? no really? TEA!? WHAT THE EXPLODING CRAP IS THAT ALL ABOUT!?). Better yet I didn't even have to go to all this effort in the first place as it turns out: as days afterwards I discovered they'd already booked to play this following Friday night with Bird Wizdom, Fake Tan, The Aves (and about a billion other fartarse bands you've likely never heard of) for some hit and run "alleyway show" (aka: what could be better than catching five or more bands stuffed into a "heritage listed" warehouse/firehazard with little or no stage lighting or PA system while hundreds of teenagers drink goon and tear shit up!? NOTHING THAT'S WHAT!!) the same show that I was totally planning on seeing anyways since, fuck I dunno.. August? (which pretty much means I wrote up this entire blog up for nothing!? HA HA HA aaawesome!). Yup as much as many things in this music scene might still be a "mystery" even to me after all these years, at least it's obvious now why I get drunk. Because if I didn't? all this insanity would begin to make a whole lot LESS sense.