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...
THE AMCATS (***1/2) myspace :: Which brings us to our opening act, playing to all of twelve people (obviously not including barstaff, security, mixer or me openly mocking them with this statistic right now.. ooops!) but rest assured there'll be least five times that number bopping their heads by the time they're done. And surely we don't need to ask why.. "WHAT, ARE YOU NEW HERE!?". Because The Amcats are an Adelaide institution well beyond the "mental" suffix and me screaming hysterically in a corner in bold type (ooops guess everyone saw that huh?). No they're three years going strong in the Adelaide scene, representing the very BEST in gasoline fueled blues guitar and slamming four to floor "ear candy" not already milked to death by The White Stripes through their first four albums.. and let's face it did anyone really listen to them AFTER they released that wacky "xylophone record"!? pfft.. FUCK NOOO!! THIS IS WHERE IT'S AT BABY!! yup they're a gift that keeps on giving, I truly mean that! And ever since their inception they've been the exact SAME band in delivering it too, they've never waivered in crafting their winning formula: Shane McIntyre "bag of cats fighting a trash compactor" on lead vocals and guitar, Renee Andrighetto "coin operated boom boom heart beat hooked up to a megaphone" on drums. Every song lands its killing blow in exactly the same way, only with a slightly different button mashing combo. Every seven inch vinyl release they put out is better than the last, only I'm pretty sure I'm missing one in a split release with Isle Of Vision from two months ago!? (help a fellow scenester out yo!). But in saying all that, we invariably reveal a "critical design flaw" in their "master plan". Every song they play may be brilliant in its own right (and believe me I totally lose my shit everytime they play "Jang Jang Robot".. woooo!) but combined as a whole they pretty much sound like the SAME song thrashed out in maddenning repetition till your ears bleed out. Or rather like the Adelaide scene equivalent of a Model T Ford: "you can have it in any colour, as long as it's black". Or maybe it's just me as admittedly I've seen them waaay too many times in the past three years now for it NOT to "colour" my judgement.. which may explain why I sound increasingly sarcastic and insane everytime I write about them (aaaah remember when I cribbed an entire paragraph from The White Stripes' wikipedia entry, only to swap the names out!? GOOOD TIMES!!). And as such the one thing that stops me just short of completely losing my shit here? and stringing every expletive together in the one screaming "outburst" so I never have to review them EVER AGAIN!? "HA HA HA YOU CAN ALL GET FUUUCKED!!": short of the fact that they're two of the nicest "mild mannered" cats you could ever care to meet (or the fact that Renee IS all kinds of ridiculously cute behind a drumkit *ahem*) it's by focusing on the "small things", the teeny tiny incremental upgrades that they've added into the mix to keep things fresh; and yes you may need a magnifying glass to spot them too. First off they're dabbling with gang vocals, call and response, or just in getting Renee to sing vocals in general. It's probably just a "confidence" thing on her part for why they've never tried it before: but when they DO in both "When I Wake Up" in the middle of their set, and their last song (simply called "NEW SONG") it adds just that little more spark and vitality to keep things interesting (in fact it's the ONE thing that I'm most eager to hear more of). Shane dabbles with a few instrumental tangents too, working a "Led Zeppelin IV" blues funk in one, and something decidedly "prog rock" in another (and no they weren't one and the same) and just to sweeten the deal they also threw in a mad cover of Canned Heat's "Going Up The Country" in the middle of ninth song "Truck Stop" (I didn't spot it myself, but I don't doubt it blew minds). Yup that's The Amcats. Arguably they're ONE "winning formula" drilled well beyond the point of dementia, but it's that teeny tiny hint of "something new" that keeps me coming back for more.
THE MAGIC BONES (****1/2) myspace :: Which brings us to our second act, they're from Melbourne, they're totally "brand new and shit" or at least they've only been around for a year (if their myspace is to be believed), this is the first time I've ever seen them live, let alone heard of them.. which if we follow the increasingly "world weary" tone of this piece? pretty much makes them my "new favourite band" because YES I really have become one of those increasingly fickle "scenester blogs" who's only ever interested in bands if you've never heard of them before, or at least I will be until they release an album and sign to a record label at which point I'll totally discarded them for the next one (and here's a link to an mp3, squeeeeee!). Speaking of which, tonight's their single launch, yes that's right: they're throwing a single launch WITHIN a single launch for "Space Between Us", and they're selling 40 limited edition copies at the merch desk. Awesome huh!? *cough* I know.. I find it a little awkward too. Weirder still I'm told they're even launching this shit well in advance of their home territory of Melbourne? "wuh, what!?". Yup granted that may just be a trivial matter of booking this tour well in advance and not knowing exactly when their CD was going to be mixed, mastered, pressed and delivered from the manufacturer. But considering they couldn't just sit on that shit and they decided to "jump the gun" anyways? either makes them super eager to get it out there, stupidly confident that it's going to totally blow our minds like a microwave bag of popcorn, or just really REALLY naive to how the music industry is supposed to work. "HA HA HA Adelaide? seriously!? THIS IS WHERE MUSIC GOES TO DIE!!" (and yes sometimes I admit when I read back on my own shit, even I'M surprised when it comes out sounding like that arsehole doctor from "House"). Still to their infinite credit, it appears that this is a ridiculous gamble they might JUST be able to pull off tonight (to all sixty odd people who are present so far) because believe me, they make one shit hot first impression! (and if you don't? just tune into that song they closed their set with.. FUUUCK!!). Yup this is The Magic Bones. I'll spare you the two to three sentences of me making fun of their name ("Magic Boners" anyone!?) and just skip right ahead to me fumbling a detailed description of why they're awesome. In short they're a cross between 60's garage and 70's psychedelia.. or equal parts Woodstock high meets vicious Altamont comedown (and feel free to look up that second one to understand the "obscure" reference) and it tears a new arsehole out of both like nobody's business! Or to be more precise? picture a witches brew of everything from Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones (circa "Let It Bleed" to "Sticky Fingers") to somewhat more current (but equally retro) shit like Kasabian, The Black Keys, The Black Angels and maybe even Wolfmother (but only if you forget everything they did AFTER their brilliant self titled EP so it doesn't sound like an a-grade insult) and you'd be a little closer to the mark. But what really melts your face off with this band, is the raw musicality of it. They're not just bandwagon jumping hacks, but fuck off assassins at their craft; and they're not short of "showing off" in their own unassuming away either. I mean if they're not cooking up the maddest in lysergic arrangements, or shredding the fuck out of their solos (my face.. in a puddle.. on the floor!) they're also swapping instruments. And yes granted we've seen this swapping schtick COUNTLESS times before, it's almost tiresome watching every dickhead and their dog do it now like it still means something.. "oh whoop-di-fucking-doo! they're playing guitar, now it's bass, now it's drums? CAN'T YOU JUST SETTLE ON ONE AND BE DONE WITH IT ALREADY!?". No what makes it more genuine in this instance, is that they split it right down the middle between Dylan Thorpe and Richard Bowers. The former doing lead vocals and guitar for the first half, only to swap with the latter on drums for the second half, and better yet they totally nail it on both!? Yup and when you combine that with all the gang vocals, the hyperspeed guitar shred from Dylan, Richard and Kiri O'Connor, Michael Hale's chugging bass rhythm, how the drums punch you in the gut over and over like a spastic jackhammer.. and how almost every one of their songs is about The Devil? sheeiiit how could you possibly go wrong!? Yup that's The Magic Bones. You may not know them yet, but give them six months to a year tops? and I'll totally get to say I told you so!
12:42AM - Yup, this is the TPI Association (near the corner of Hutt Street and South Terrace in the south east corner of town) humbling servicing South Australia's "Totally and Permanently Incapacitated" ex-servicemen and women for the past 50 years. Or in words slightly more colourful, it humbly serves: "war veterans who had lived through too much macabre truth and had become irreversibly deranged, those who were too horrifically disfigured to ever be able to show themselves in public again, those who were so profoundly damaged that they could never again participate in those institutions the lives of normal people seem to revolve around" or in other words? wow that sounds waaay to close to describing my "rapidly deteriorating mental state" right now, so much so we should all step away from this web browser nice and slowly, don't make eye contact with it, and run like hell to the "exit signs" before these very words come out of the screen and eat our souls.
And here's the two "lovely individuals" who ferried me here (across the River Styx perhaps?), Warwick "Wokka" Ing and Heidi Ing (and yes the latter is very much freaking the fuck out over the prospect of being stuck in front of my camera lens right now). Their hobbies include: snorkeling, bee keeping, musical theatre, live vivisection, Satanism and full contact competitive Wii.. and short of that last thing listed? (NINTENDO WII!? EGADS THEY'RE SERIAL KILLERS!!) they truly are the nicest people "once you get to know them". So much so it doesn't concern me in the slightest when they speed off in a squeal of car tires laughing, moments after this photo was taken.. hmmm?
12:46AM - For as it turns out.. not only is this place host to the maddest hippest hootenanny happening tonight you never even knew WAS "happening" (only to be reminded in none too subtle terms about it now.. woooo!) but you'll very likely be kicking yourself stupid for missing out on it too, and if not? YOU SHOULD BE!! Yup welcome to "Totally And Permanently Incapacitated" the craziest damn house party of the year: and trust me, if you're not already totally and permanently incapacitated upon arrival? you WILL BE by the time they're done with you.. or at the very least once you get passed the front door, thanks to some exceptionally stringent security measures. And by "exceptionally stringent" I pretty much mean a locked wire screen door, you scratching on it whimpering like a dog for five to ten minutes, until some random pissweasel spots you, and after a little convincing.. "um I'm Spoz, that idiot who writes that blog? let me in damnit!" you'll be ushered in with a smile (and a waived $5 entry fee) into nothing short of paradise on Earth (or at least the ramshackle Adelaide scene equivalent). Yup we're talking a "house party" in a mansion, A FREAKING MANSION PEOPLE!! high ceilings, multiple rooms, most notably this huuuge foyer in the middle leading to a purpose built live stage at the end (easily the size of an "Adelaide Uni Bar" or "Producers Bar" in scope) and populated with a veritable bog roll of pretty much every scene related wunderkind and weirdo you've ever added drunk on Facebook in the past three years, in various stages of blitheringly paralytic having the absolute time of their lives!? Oh yes THIS easily pisses all over anywhere else I could be right now.. HA HA HA DUUUDE DOES IT EVER!! So much so I'd happily see the rest bulldozed into dust just so we could live out here like a doomsday cult!
Now I should point out, this place has long since abandoned its venerable status AS a veteran's home: that was a few years back as much as I'm aware (and it's since been put up for sale) but with that being said it's still far from a vacant lot, and we're hardly squatters, vagrants or vandals in occupying it either.. OOOOH FUCK NO!! The organisers tonight have gone to great lengths to ensure that this place feels right at home.. or more specifically if your idea of "home" is a smelly share household fuck full of chronically unemployed, arts students, musicians, hospitality staffers and drug dealers (and shit duuude who DOESN'T want to live in a swinging joint like that?) only on a much MUCH larger scale. For instance? all throughout you'll find the walls festooned in wide array of these bright, colourful and quirky paintings, tapestries and illuminated art installations: which at the very least should provide a nifty "visual cue" to notify you when your acid trip has kicked in.
(I believe some of these were handpicked especially from the "Guggenheim" section of Crime Converters in Torrensville too: you can't miss them next to all the fixed gear bikes and musical instruments stolen from The Ed Castle on a Saturday night, the colours.. so whimsical, so playful!).
Or this resplendent "smokers lounge" in the atrium outside. And yes it might have been hideously cramped, smelly, and so utterly pitch black you couldn't hope to see anything or anyone around you any further than five inches from your face; but it more than made up for it in people to trade all manner of cancerous paraphernalia with. In fact out of all the luxurious locales on offer here tonight? THIS ONE easily proved to be the most popular of all; and it's not hard to see why either!
And how could you possibly pass up the "gorilla groove emporium" walking in? well actually it was all easy to (it was hidden behind closed doors marked "band members only" and everything). But if ever you did poke your head in here? you would've been greated by a dedicated crew of eclectic creatives having an absolute mad jam. Watch as one guy on an acoustic does a duet with another on clarinet, while a third: a wizened blues traveller in his late 40's to early 50's, sporting a case filled with anywhere upto eight mouth organs (each set to different keys) considers his shining moment to make it a trio? Yup right here is where TRUE genius was born again lemme tell you!
And foosball? did someone say foosball!? OOOOH FUCK YEAAAH!!
12:56AM - And here's the ONE diabolical mastermind we have to thank for all this (or at least just ONE of a team of co-conspirators who agreed to have all these ridiculous photos taken of them just now). Yup you may recognise him as Tom Capogreco: violinist for Todd Sibbin & The Opposite Ends, Oh My Guard! (or various solo and collaborative ventures in between) as much as you wonder out loud just how in the FUCK he managed to scam all this shit together in the first place!? Personally I never quite got to the bottom of it (or more accurately I never bothered to ask) but at the very least I heard all manner of wild rumours claiming he either owned the building, his uncle owned it, they were both subletting it from TPI Association to host the occassional "Boer War reenactments" using nothing but vast quantities of compacted dirt, department store mannequins and high powered explosives (and if it helps, it's not like we're anywhere near any residentials here to "file complaints") but at the very least for pulling off THE maddest house party of the year? (with the possible exception of Oktoberweenerfest three weeks ago) duuude.. what a freaking legend!
12:58AM - Of course I'm still only barely scratching the surface here.. as much as I spent the first half hour or so upon arrival yammering spastically bug-eyed at the mad spectacle of it all (and how could you NOT!?) and better yet almost all of it, and I mean pretty much EVERYTHING you see here before you came together at the very last minute!? YOU BETCHA!! And you couldn't have organised it better even if you actually tried weeks in advance. For instance Dan Varricchio: sound engineer for The Exeter and guitarist from Like Leaves, only got the PA system setup at 2PM today. Josh Calligeros, guitarist from Sincerely, Grizzly only dragged in all the furniture (mostly $11 couches he scored from the auction store where he works) to furnish this place at around 5PM. And the projection screen visuals? that only got setup around 7-8PM just in time for the first bands to arrive around 9PM. I know riiight!? but sometimes, "happy accidents" like this really DO happen!
And here's all the mad apparatus in charge of working the PA puppet strings: including the DJ decks off to the distance (don't mind the beer bottles), where they'll be spinning tunes almost as long in between the bands as the bands themselves will be spending on stage (as admittedly they did experience a few teeny tiny hiccups in "streamlining" the changeovers tonight). Of particular note also is their oldskool VHS machine hooked up to the projector screen (and filtered through a series of psychedelic post processing) with a whimsical selection of cult sci-fi features to feed it. Granted in all the time I was there they mostly just screened the final scenes of 2001: A Space Odyssey fast forwarded and rewound in a loop, but it may amuse you to know that they also had "Plan 9 From Outer Space". No really, let's all just take a moment to appreciate the fuck out of how AWESOME that would've been. And if they had 70's Sesame Street too? I swear we'd never leave!
Better yet they even had a laptop fed through the desk here recording everything into Logic Pro. So who knows, maybe there'll be some kinda whizzbang live compilation available anywhere from now to a few days/weeks/months time? and if so could someone hook me up with a copy of that!?
But what REALLY took the "cake", dipped it in a fuckload of chocolate frosted awesome and put a glazed cherry on it so big not only would it blot out the sun for whole seasons at a time but it would possess it's very own teeny tiny orbiting "cherry" satellite system (hmmm wait.. is that too much hyperbole?) was something as downright simple as THIS persian rug placed in front of stage here.
So simple an idea in fact it shocks me to think that no other live venue in Adelaide has ever thought to do this shit before.. "no seriously, A PERSIAN RUG IN FRONT OF THE STAGE!? FUUUCK OFF!!" save maybe for all the piss, vomit and "miscellaneous" stains it'd likely attract in droves like seagull shit to a statue (let alone all the jagged glass fragments) but pfft.. does it really look like I give a flying fuck about any of that crap right now? HELL NO!! right here duuude, we got it made!
1:34AM - As such it'd clearly be an affront to the free wheeling "spirit" here to even think of reviewing any of the live bands in following (yes there were live bands.. OF COURSE THERE WERE LIVE BANDS) as much as they were half the reason for why I was here in the first place (the other was simply a once-in-a-blue-moon keyword combination of "party", "mansion" and "in the Adelaide CBD".. SHIT YEAAAH!!) as much as three of the five bands had already played earlier tonight and I should've been featuring them at length if it weren't for me covering some silly "launch party" at Jive instead. Namely Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity, Doe and Strega & Sparksitter (I mean shit duuude, how could you NOT blog the fuck out of an illustrious lineup like that!?). But obviously I don't want to leave you completely empty handed, so while we zone out on the persian here with mile wide grins? here's a little video of act four Steering By Stars performing their song "Magnets".
2:02AM - And moments after their set here I am enjoying my first frosty beer of the night, courtesy of Mathias Northway from Two Suns (duuude you're a freaking champion!) and yeaaah I should probably have mentioned this before aye? but yes this rather neatly illustrates the only teeny tiny "drawback" to this party: it was a strictly BYO affair. Being at a launch party at Jive of course I didn't think to secure any of that shit in advance (as to be honest I wasn't too sure if I was even gonna make it here on time without missing out on all the action) and all the bottle shops had already closed well over an hour ago (including any pub takeaways), but it also made THIS beer taste all the sweeter for it. I also should give due props of gratitude to one "Kream Kracker" (aka: "Totally Not Seth Rogen") for passing me a swig of his Baileys' bottle, just as it may be worth mentioning that they had plenty of free water and cups in the kitchen to compensate. All things considered though with everything else shit awesome at this party? it wasn't even an issue.
2:08AM - Obviously I couldn't keep a party like this secret, it was too damn awesome (even if it was BYO) as much as I was acutely aware I needed to exercise a certain level of "restraint" in WHO I told too (I wouldn't fuck up the easy going vibe that had going here). So with that in mind I let word slip to a few members of Ride Into The Sun (mentioning it'd make an ideal "after party"). Only most of them couldn't make it, so they forwarded the invite to The Magic Bones and some of them arrived just a few short minutes ago. But the most amusing outcome of all this would be have to Matt Hills. Arriving fresh from mixing at Jive tonight and playing with Ride Into The Sun, he was looking forward to soaking up the persian like the rest of us, only to be roped into mixing duties at the very last minute (as TPI's resident house mixer Dan Varricchio was due to play in headlining act Like Leaves, leaving the position glaringly vacant) only for me to spot him moments later, trudging about the stage, shoulders slumped going "oh maaan.. why did I ever agree to this Spoz? WHAT DID YOU MAKE ME DOOO!?". So just to rub salt in his wound, I figured I'd take THIS whimsical photo of him bumbling behind the desk just now, whilst laughing my arse off, while he tried making heads or tails of their shitcrazy setup. To his infinite credit however? it didn't take long until he polished this "proverbial turd" so damn shiny you'd swear it was a freaking Kit Kat.
3:22AM - With the Like Leaves done for the night and the last of our live entertainment along with it, I was in no hurry to leave.. sheeiiit I don't think anyone else was either (especially those passed out on couches around me). For right here maaan I'd truly found what I'd been missing out on all these weeks, maybe even months now! And no I don't mean a mad dose of Vitamin D, a decent night's eight hour rest and a longterm career aspiration that doesn't lead to liver failure and total financial ruin. Nope all it took was a little something out of the usual, the ordinary, the all too predictable "well worn" path from Jive to The Ed Castle to Supermild to light a fire in me again. Or at the very least light a brain fart or two in giving me due reason for why I write all this nonsense in the first place. But then, before I could get too comfortable in soaking up this newfound nirvana like a battery charger from red light to green? my phone starts buzzing off the hook beckoning me to my "inevitable", post haste. And so with a long sigh, I drag myself out that door to meet it.
3:32AM - No prizes for guessing where I was headining next (at the very least I was waaay too sober NOT to feel the gravitational pull of the Coopers long neck and the one places that sells them) there was just the matter of HOW I was going to get there. Hmmm. I briefly entertained the notion of walking, then a taxi, then how far I'd need to walk to catch said taxi.. only for Matt Hills to offer me a lift instead. So in return, for no good reason only than we found it amusing at the time, I got him to stand next to this "For Sale" sign outside of TPI. According to some random "font of knowledge" who started up a conversation with me on the bus into town tonight (weirder still because he recognised me from this blog?) it's been for sale now at least for the past three years. Current asking price is $2.5 million, only that may've passed as "expressions of interest" closed on July 9th, and yet it's STILL for sale, so fuck it.. if you and enough of your fuck up friends want to chip in some loose change? who knows what insanity you could unleash in the future!?
3:41AM - Aaaah Supermild: the place where all my punchlines go to die! Why do I not grow sick of you? why do I not tire of you? why do I continue to write all this aimless gibberish every time, standing outside like an idiot, like a schmuck, when everything you have to offer me is INSIDE!? (and yes there's no point in answering any of that now, because we all know they're rhetorical).
4:12AM - Walking in tonight I'm clearly waaay too sober for ANY of this shit (and waaay too stubborn to go home just yet). So in effort to placate both sentiments: I order up a long neck of sparkling, retire to the quiet corner of the bar to sort through my photos in the one place I hope no one would ever hope to find me (not at all ironic considering I'm trying to hide in the one basement bar where EVERYONE who ever reads my blog will know where to find me) and it's just as well I did too.. as moments after draining that long neck and putting my camera in order I bump into these two colourful nitwits. Joe on the right there has already been declared dead hours ago after a solid night's black and blue imbibement (and likely "intestinal inversion" to follow on the footpath outside). Whilst Simone on the left seems to be exhibiting the whimsical side effects of nagging ear infection, Codral cold and flu tablets and vodka rasberry. If it helps however? I believe most of what we're seeing here can explained by the fact they're both getting married in two weeks time and they've spent a large part of the past three weeks trying to organise it. Awesome huh?
4:24AM - And then moments later after regaining my "senses" from all the blind panic, the shrieking and the flailing that lead me to find my frantic escape to the beergarden (yeaaah no real reason) I bump into Lucy (just try and guess which one.. AND I BET YOU'LL BE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED!!) who sensing the rising panic herself, opts to hide herself behind her hands here rather than face it. Which is not only a brilliant survival tactic in itself, but it also acts to arms her to the "teeth", or more specifically the digits in defending herself, with the most unnecessarily vicious yet delicately feminine of knuckle dusters. No really! I'm told on good authority if ever she lets loose on you in "hand to hand" it's rather like being gently caressed by a blue ring octopus while your face gets buzzed by an orbital sander. All things considered? wouldn't be a bad way to go..
4:30AM - And speaking of "worse things could happen to you", no sooner did I think it safe to return inside: as I might have heard word that somebody, or perhaps two somebodies may have finally caught that taxi home (and maybe I can relax the grip on that fire extinguisher I've been brandishing *phew*) I bump into these two. I don't know their names per se, only that I recognise the one on the right as one of Sincerely, Grizzly's shitcrazy entourage (ie: dude totally NOT in a bear suit in this photo from their EP launch) but regardless it was a chance meeting that needed documenting in this blog (at least according to them) to celebrate the outrageous "good fortune" of the dude on the left there.. I mean I don't quite get why I'm posting it either, but yay for them!
4:33AM - And another sure sign I'm nowhere near drunk enough for Supermild tonight no matter how fast I try and catch up? (but sometimes the universe will totally give you a freebie to speed you along your way!?), is when some random girl passes me THIS near the dancefloor and says "Spoz! thank fuck.. can you drink this? I can't finish the rest!" before heading out the door. Awesome huh!? And yes I know what you're thinking in following, but (a) after a few teeny tiny cautious sips I AM pretty sure it WAS sparkling she handed me and not something a few degrees warmer *ahem* and (b) by the looks of the label here she must have had the "BEST" night ever.
4:34AM - Which I think we can all agree is what I had the minute I bumped into these two fantastic individuals fanging it out in the beer garden. Inspiration? OH WE GOT PLENTY TONIGHT!!