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...
KARL MELVIN (***) myspace ::
Still before we can even get to that (he's launching a solo album don'tcha know?) there's still all these pesky support acts to deal with first.. "awww crap support acts? support acts!? I'M SICK TO DEATH OF FUCKING SUPPORT ACTS!!". Yeah I know, believe me I know! it feels like all we ever DO around here is review support act after support act in support of "blah-di-blah launch party, interstate, international, touring festival whatever-the-fuck" and for what? TO REMIND ME I'M STILL WAAAY TOO SOBER FOR THIS SHIT!? GET FUCKED!! *cough* but yeaaah don't mind me I'm clearly just rambling here, for as much as there ARE three.. count them THREE SUPPORT ACTS to contend with tonight (and if you really want to piss me off? give me four of them!) Matt Banham: being the "colourfully eccentric" alcoholic that he is (and if you're not already familiar with his works then you truly haven't lived!) has provided us with a selection of colourfully eccentric support acts to match. Every one of them (in their own weird way) are an inspiration and a half, and our opening act here is hardly the exception. For this is Karl Melvin. You might recognise him as one of at least a DOZEN guitarists who've performed with the Avant Gardeners at any given time (or shit.. perhaps he plays bass? or both!?). Or perhaps you might recognise him as one of those mild mannered "landscape gardeners" you sometimes see on current affairs shows who boast they've built a shit hot levitating lawnmower engine inspired by the works of Nikola Tesla and extraterrestrials from the Horsehead Nebula that runs on nothing but moonbeams, recycled urine and depleted uranium (as much as all that is clearly a lie, he collects unemployment and was recently released from a mental asylum) "huh what!?" oh I've got no fucking idea what I'm talking about either but at the very least it DOES begin to describe his novel approach to a "solo set". Yup using nothing but a guitar, FX pedals and a laundry list of programming instructions in lieu of an actual setlist (for as much as I'm aware it's just the one song that goes for twenty minutes) he conjures up an increasingly incomprehensible wall of distortion. One which, in the simplest terms could be described as a whale giving birth to a river of concrete, five or six elephants gang fucking in a sandstorm or Justin Bieber at 800th speed singing a gregorian chant with a mouthful of breadcrumbs (no really.. check that out on youtube if you don't believe me!). And it's clearly anyone's guess what three or four bands you could possibly equate this with (as much as you could say it's inspired by anything from Sonic Youth, Pink Floyd to Interpol with distortion levels cranked up to the point that it'd practically microwave your bone marrow) either way the real beauty in this is? it's entirely up to your own mad interpretation. It's less a sonic projection as it is mirror reflection challenging every iota of your imagination to fill in the gaps; as much as it's already been done by a dozen dope smoking guitarists, turntablists (and even violinists) before him and yet even so, no less mesmerising when you see it for yourself. Like tracing patterns in television snow, seeing shapes in drifting clouds or taking so much acid you think the patterns in your wallpaper are the "high priest Cthulhu" come to kill you. I mean it might just be wallpaper, it might just be nothing but bullshit on a live stage tonight.. but if you tune out in just the "right way"? you'll swear it's anything but. Yup that's Karl Melvin, and I can't believe I wrote all this gibberish either.. but in the very least, the fact I DID? means it must've been good!
SHAME SPIRAL (*1/2) myspace :: And speaking of shit that's very much open to "interpretation" here comes our second act. As such you should probably immediately disregard my "one and a half star" rating here, as much as I've put a lot of thought and consideration into it (and by a "lot of thought and consideration" I clearly mean whilst laughing hysterically from my ivory tower as bats circle overhead) as more so than any other artist I'd usually review for this fartarse blog? this one very much depends on personal taste more so than any kind of "objective" judgement. Granted I'd already reviewed her once before: back in September last year to be precise (act nine in an apocalyptic eleven act lineup for "No One Wants To Play With Me".. yeeeouch!) and I pretty much came to the same conclusion and I wasn't exactly looking forward to reliving the whole experience again (also I was half wondering if she'd actually kill me for it). Still in saying that I've also seen her alter ego "Corinna" perform in everything from Holographic Colts, Ringo Stalin to Megafauna and at least one of those bands I kinda dug something fierce (only to never hear from again.. damnit!) and I know she's got some serious "scenester clout" in her favour, so maybe I'm a little conflicted in how I should proceed!? aaaah screw it! to put it bluntly Shame Spiral is one of those "artier than thou" avant garde acts. Yeaaah you know the type, she's so hipster she's practically an aneursym to the natural order. She's equal parts antagonistic in droning post punk and jarring electroclash. She sets out to ever so subtly get under your skin like a burrowing insect. She derides, pokes, prods and unsettles like a black cloud of discontent as much as she aims to entertain the aesthetically aloof amongst you with an angular dance beat. And in theory I totally respect the hell out of it, it's an awesome thing! but in practice it just annoys the living piss out of me like "fingernails on a blackboard" to the point I don't even want to be in the same room as her. But hey, maybe it's just me!? I mean if you dig everything from Chicks On Speed, Public Image Limited and the more abrasive extremes of The Knife you'd totally love the SHIT out of this! If you dig lyrics rich in existential ennui as much as they are jarringly flat in deadpan delivery you'll find some real common ground here! Lyrics that suck the life out of a room in biting social commentary? Lyrics that just make you want to curl up in a tiny ball and die? duuude what's not to endlessly enthuse!? especially that one song where she drones: "it's just a photograph! it's just a photograph! it's just a photograph!" like a dentist drill (made even more hilariously apt when I took photos of her regardless) HELL YES!! The fact is all this might make ME want to gouge out my own eyesockets screaming on the inside until the pain stops? but I'm only one opinion! And more so than any other review, it could be the wrong opinion! She had some really loud beats (so much so they drowned out her vocals half the time), she had some mad buzzing synths, she totally knew how to play that ipod, a female friend of mine totally dug her fashionable choice in hosiery and shoes; I was somewhat inclined to agree! So in the end I'll leave it up to you. Shame Spiral? fuck it, you already know how I feel: watch the video (it's one of her new songs) and make up your own mind.. no really, I'm curious to know what YOU think!
SARAH CHADWICK (***) myspace ::
Which by no small measure of relief (and at the very least to both eyesight and sanity after all the internalised "screaming" Shame Spiral put me through) brings us to our third act that I truly have nothing but praise for. Yup you may recognise her as the lead singer for Batrider: formerly based in New Zealand/Melbourne/London now based in Adelaide (fiendishingly a-grade in their own right) or you may also recognise her from her previous solo appearances at Format Space back in July in support of Avant Gardeners and the Crying Game, or at the Jade Monkey back in September in support of No Through Road's head explodingly awesome "farewell show" (and if you were there that night you'd totally understand that's NOT an exaggeration) or most recently in support of Matt Banham as part of his two week "Self Destruct" stint across seven cities (with tonight's homecoming show being the last of the tour). Either way, every other night I've ever seen her play live? it's been nothing but gold, it's been nothing but flabbergasted superlatives and audiences awestruck into silence, and I've been right there with them maaan bugging the fuck out! And I'm not just saying that like it's a "no brainer" here. It's not! It takes a lot for a solo artist to win over a crowd like this, more so when you're someone like me who's suffered through their fair share of live shows and house parties ruined by some "pretentious twat with an acoustic" who thinks they're the next Jeff Buckley. But Sarah Chadwick cuts through all that bullshit. Partly it's the signature sound she nails like she was born with it, equal parts: Cat Power, Kim Gordon, Courtney Love (no that's not an insult I swear!) mixed with Janis Joplin and J Mascis. But more so for the richness of character and the authentic well worn way in which she delivers it song after song. She's the genuine article, she performs this heart wrenching catharsis like it's a slow feed IV drip, it stops you dead in your tracks and you can only but stand there paralysed to it as it pummels you into glassy-eyed submission. Or at least it has been like that every OTHER time she's played. Tonight however she's fighting a losing battle here. You can hardly blame her for it, she's still giving it all she's got. It's more the crowd assembled here who are competing for volume, and I dare say they're winning, as much as you could hardly blame THEM for it either: as they're simply drinking up a storm in anticipation for our headlining act (and believe me I'm hardly excluded from that.. it's "survival instinct" more than anything to do so). Just as this isn't the first time I've seen a performing artist all but buried at the Jade Monkey. It happened to Steering By Stars (in support of Sincerely, Grizzly) back in February, it happened to The Sea Thieves (in support of Angie Hart from Frente!) in November last year, and most obliteratingly so with Matt Barlow from Thunderclaw a few weeks before that when he was all but devoured by a locust swarm of exciteable idiots who were there to see The Thieves (it was painful to watch too!). But still it doesn't make it any less "annoying" to see it again, as much as you know you can't really do anything about it. Yup that was Sarah Chadwick tonight. She wasn't entirely "here" but any other night? ooooh trust me.. you'll know exactly what you missed out on!
But of course the one thing we'll remember this show for above all else, is what he did after that. And yes it did seemed a little odd for him to play this at the time, but in hindsight (and not just because of all his drinking tonight) it starts to make perfect sense: when for an entirely ridiculous encore (as much as it was totally uncalled for) he launches into a cover of Flo Rida's "Club Can't Handle Me". Except it's not so much a "cover" as it's simply him cranking out the song on his ipod, shouting all the words, waving his hands about and pulling all manner of retarded shapes when he jumps into the crowd. Or in other words? you bet I got a fucked up video of it! I started recording it "just as the chorus kicks in" and seriously if this DOESN'T make you want to buy the SHIT out of his solo album? (in the very least to provide for his ongoing psychiatristic care) then nothing will!
12:28AM - And yet what makes this seemingly "uncharacteristic" move all the funnier, is after the show he simply left his ipod running on shuffle mode only to reveal a proverbial "Pol Pot" of musical skeletons in his closet. I mean who knew he'd be into this shit? but next to every single song in his selection was the very epitome of Top 40 cheese in commercial pop, hiphop and R&B. HA HA HA NO.. SHIT! And I swear it just got funnier with every subsequent song too (and all the funnier still that nobody thought to switch it off!? duuude!). Obviously I didn't recognise any of them (no point incriminating myself here) save for Rihanna's near omnipresent "Umbrella", and that one she did with Eminem on his latest album, "Love The Way You Lie" (otherwise known as the weirdest "trailer trash" music video you'll ever see starring Dominic Monaghan from Lost and Megan Fox from Transformers). But what REALLY takes the cake is how the audience reacted to it. I mean just look at that dancefloor cutting sick!? FUUUCK!! YEAAAS!! WOOOO!! Yup I tell you what maaan.. I don't care where you were tonight, but if you weren't here? YOU TOTALLY MISSED OUT!!
Still as much as everyone in here was tearing it up having the "absolute time of their lives" (or more accurately screaming for the exit signs) it didn't really bother me in the slightest. NOT IN THE *cough* SLIGHTEST!! So much so I even spent the next half hour in this toxic environment (and before you ask.. no there wasn't any Britney) slumped on a couch editing up photos on my camera (well in my defense it was a very comfy couch) while barstaffers Zac and Tom went about their business in near solitude; the latter damn near gagging, choking and dry retching on himself from all the "music" he was being subjected to. Still to Matt Banham's credit? he did have D12's "Purple Pills" in his collection, and I don't care what you say.. but that's a mad jam in anyone's language!
1:10AM - Eventually however it was too much for even me to handle (completely coincidental to the fact I just finished editing photos on my camera.. and I bet you were dying to know about that too!) and I just had to flee to The Exeter for safety (completely coincidental to the fact they had beer). And as much as I would've loved to document every detail in following of my lengthy binge drinking session to drown out all the insanity I witness earlier at The Jade Monkey? yeaaah I just couldn't be arsed. I mean sometimes it's hilarious.. and sometimes it's just me drinking beer for an hour. So in effort to signify this utterly inauspicious occassion? here's a photo of the table outside where I was crouching with my beer, so as to fool the bouncers that I was actually sitting.
2:04AM - And then a full hour later I was curiously compelled to take a photo of THIS: the "wine list" at The Exeter. For the sole reason that I swear on my life that this was the first time I ever actually paid attention to it. I mean no shit.. I've been drinking beer here for what? fifteen odds years now? ordering beers at this very bar? with this sign staring at me? and it never occurred to me even ONCE to look at all these selections they have on offer!? Yup that's right barstaffers of Adelaide! I'm that one ignorant jackass who almost always orders a pint of Coopers Pale Ale, to the point I practically think you have "psychic powers" for serving it up to me before I ask for one, and this photo is proof positive of just how woefully ignorant I truly am *cough* awesome huh!?
2:20AM - Now if you've been reading between the lines here you'd know I'm not exactly all that motivated to be here tonight. I mean sometimes running a blog like this can be a bit of a drag, it really can! So much so I was even considering staying home with a carton of beer and drinking them one by one on my toilet seat until I passed out stone cold, rather than put myself through this shit (because at the very least? it'd definitely be a lot cheaper!). But since I DID manage to drag myself out of the house? I wasn't really in a mood to have a big one. I mean yeah yeaaah, I know I have this reputation for being "wild crazy binge drinking blogger guy", like "WOOP-DI-FUCKING-DOO-AND-SHIT!!", but didn't I do all this shit LAST WEEKEND!? I mean sometimes I crave the exact opposite, sometimes I want nothing more than a "quiet night out", I mean is that really too much to ask!? I MEAN WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT FROM ME!? or at least until I discovered Transmission was on tonight.. and yeah I'm so very very sorry for everything you're about to see.
2:28AM - As such in walking in tonight, most of the "excitement" here was pretty much lost on me. I mean it's simply mindblowing to me to think that so many of YOU hilarious nitwits actually organise your entire weekends around whether to attend the fuck out of these pissyarse "indie dance clubs" or whether to avoid them like the plague. FERFUCKSAKE!! don't you people have better things to do with your lives? *ahem* well clearly I don't because I'm standing here, but meh I'm still not really "feeling" it.. or at least until DJ Ross starts thrashing Interpol: at which point it's suddenly the maddest shit on the planet. As you might've guessed? I AM rather drunk right now.
2:31AM - And so to the benefit of pretty much nobody reading this shit right now: here we are on the dancefloor and behind the DJ decks totally losing our collective shit to Interpol. And the funny thing is? I don't even remember what song it was!? I mean it could've been "Evil", it could've been "Slow Hands", it could've been.. yeaaah this really doesn't interesting you in the slightest does it?
And so, for all those stupid reasons above? here's Anika. You may recognise her as doorgirl for Saturday night's Plus One at The Ed Castle, aka: she's the ridiculously cute brunette who also happens to be a total "bitch" (no Laura.. I DON'T MEAN YOU!). She's also doorgirl here tonight for Transmission. And the reason WHY she's appearing in my blog all a sudden? (besides the fact I'm just being serial pest!?) well check it out duuudes.. she's totally got herself a fringe! A FRINGE!! Isn't that the most explodingly exciting news you've heard all week? and aren't you ever so glad you tuned in to find out about it!? I know, it's times like these I really DO love writing this blog!
2:45AM - Feeling the need to celebrate, I forget what exactly (and it's probably not important) I immediately hit up the bar for a round of THESE. "What are they exactly?".. I bet you're dying to ask me? (and not sarcastically hissed through clenched teeth?) WELL I'M GLAD YOU DID!! because to tell you the truth I don't have the foggiest clue myself.. but at the very least I've ordered them countless times before, only there really isn't an official name for them. My friend Simone (aka: bane of my blogging existence who clearly needs no introduction) likes to call them "Tesquila Tamascamo" (if only for the ridiculous squinty face she pulls anytime she does one) and if you're looking to order one of your own, the instructions are quite simple. Ask for two shot glasses. In one tequila. In the other tomato juice with four drops tabasco. Down each in that order. It sounds stupid I know but it's the BEST SHIT EVER!! So much so I may've even ordered that second one for Anika (apparently I owed her one from a few months ago.. maybe?) and telling from the fact she ran away screaming cursing my name? I think she liked it. Try it sometime, you'll thank me later!
3:06AM - And then completely unrelated to all that shit (because clearly all the beers I've been drinking have nothing to do with this shit either) I then bump into Rodney here: one of the head photographers for Fasterlouder. Obviously this called for celebration in the form of this photo, as much as pretty much anything at this point on a Friday night: short of farting without losing one's own pants, walking in a straight line, NOT pissing on a cop car (or setting fire to one) would also call for similar "celebration". As such I would also like to offer my heartfelt apologies for pretty much anyone we shared a dancefloor with whilst taking THIS photo.. and pretty much anyone else who's reading this right now (as much as we all know I'm being wildly insincere on that last count).
And here's a trivial fact you might not know about Rodney (as much as you might care not to know) as much as I'm aware? the only thing he ever drinks is Ouzo. Yes Ouzo "an anise-flavored aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus" (thank you wikipedia!). Rumour has it he might even brush his teeth with it, as much as his urine would for all intents and purposes also be predominantly Ouzo, and yes you could even run your car on it (but don't take my word for it). I should also note that none of this has any bearing on ANY of these photos I might've taken here.
"Duuude, totally email me this last photo!".. ooooh don't worry, YOU'LL SEE IT SOON ENOUGH!!
3:14AM - And then.. I felt strangely compelled to leave Transmission. As to be honest I was feeling a little too sober to be in there, and yes I'll let you make up your own mind over what my interpretation of "sober" is in saying that. Just as I'm also surprised upon climbing those steps to King William Street that the surrounding area has somehow manifest this "sobriety" in a helpfully analogous way. Even more surprising so? I totally didn't notice this when I walked in an hour ago (better yet? it's been here for weeks now!?). Aaaah Transmission! I ask you, what's not to love!?
3:25AM - Somewhere between there and here I may've since accidently deleted about a dozen odd (read: a few thousand odd) utterly nonsensical photos of pretty much anything stupid I found along the way: from misplaced supermarket trolleys, upturned trash bins, retarded-arse paddlepop lion bus shelter billboards (no shit! it had the freakiest damn facial expression and everything!), random crap scattered on the street that reminded me of stuff and/or things.. or put it this way: if I composed them all into an animated GIF? it would very much resemble a car crash at top speed, or a medical diagnosis for an actual mental disorder (and feel free to let me know WHICH ONE just from the description). Yup if nothing else here.. not only do I half suspect you're endlessly relieved over the fact that I DID delete all those photos (thus somewhat saving you the retarded-arse "running commentary") but you'd be half surprised the bouncers here even let me in after all that; except not only are they used to this crap by now (for well over three years now) but they actually think this is normal. Better yet after all these years? I've effectively pulled the "same" on YOU.
3:40AM - And speaking of being at Supermild so many times now, that not only have you long stopped paying attention to any of the "jokes" I keep cracking in here, but if you hypothetically collected "security camera" footage here from every Friday to Saturday Night for the past three years running and edited it up into a timelapse film: I'd be the only "solid" object you'd see in it (NOOOO SHIT!!) here's Lucy.. say hi to Lucy everyone! (wow.. that enthusiastic huh!?). And before you ask? yup she's here to provide us with a whimsical followup to that wildly entertaining "biting incident" we all read about last week (and don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about either). Turns out that bite mark in question? is now a rather nasty looking bruise (awww I know!). One possibly made all the more "nasty" by the fact I might've photoshopped it just a teeny a bit. Just as my lawyers would like to inform you that this entire episode has been photoshopped, quite extensively in fact, and I never left my house at all, and everything you've seen to the contrary is nothing but a work of fiction. For those of you curious? my toilet is a beguiling shade of "beige".
4:10AM - This is me giving my longneck bottle of Coopers Pale Ale the finger. I forget why exactly, or how it relates to anything else you might've read upto this point, but it amuses me to no end that I've published it regardless. If it helps? me and the beer are still the best of "friends".