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...
Yup in every sense that I'm clearly not scraping the bottom of the barrel here in my first "live blog" back for 2011, I stepped out into the "whistle blown void" on Saturday night, aka: the Adelaide scene that can only ever handle the one "mindblowingly epic event" in a week without collapsing in an exhausted heap (unless it's during Festival Fringe) and arrived at The Governor Hindmarsh just in time to skip all three support acts: Nick Balcombe, The Melons and Spine (because let's face it, it IS my first "live blog" back and I seriously couldn't be arsed) to cover the headliners... YEAAAS!! Still as lame as that sounds? Olivers Army DID make one hell of a first impression. Not only in choosing to host their EP launch AT The Governor Hindmarsh: a suicide mission in anyone's books (as it takes twice as many people to fill as Jive without making it look like a total embarassment), or for the fact they almost achieved that in screaming female fans (well it was half capacity at best, but it easily made up for it in mad hysterics) but for their fancy pants set decoration. Yup that ain't some pissyarse banner or projection screen you see there above you; they're embossed letters! "like totally made out of stainless steel and shit!?". YOU BETCHA!! They probably even wired those fuckers into the wall with nails and screws, and even now roadies for UK act The Unthanks (they're playing here on Wednesday) are frantically hacking at them with chisels cursing and swearing BECAUSE THAT'S HOW STUPIDLY BADASS THEY ARE!! (oh I bet they had to repaint and plaster the walls too, the maaad fucks!). And what about that epic drumkit logo? is that someone suffering a mild stroke moments before being impaled in the head by a garden rake!? HA HA HA NOOO YOU DUMB BASTARDS!! That's a composite image of brothers Ryan and Todd Oliver (hence the name) blinding you with their overblown design budget! Which clearly isn't me implying they must suck as musicians by comparison "EMBOSSED LETTERS BIATCH!!" pfft nooo... why would I ever say that!?
Just like I'd never suggest (not even for a moment) that Ryan Oliver handing me this beer just prior to their show will have any bearing in me giving his band a "glowing review" no matter what...
Yup this is Olivers Army and THIS is their EP launch, and they are without a doubt the single most mind blowingly awesome band I've ever seen; except wait... is that a Hahn Super Dry!? HA HA HA yeaaah *cough* nevermind then. Still I do rather appreciate their failed attempt at "bribery" here (and a beer is still a beer) and at the very least they DIDN'T completely blow the hindquarters of a goat within the first five minutes of playing live tonight (or even a teeny tiny hamster if you could locate the appropriate "air valve" to inflate it) so I won't discount them outright just yet. In fact to be perfectly honest? there is a lot to like about this band, especially if you're into that sorta thing. And by "that sorta thing" it all depends on your opinion on Coldplay. Ooops did I just say that out loud!? yeaaah ok that WASN'T implied as an "insult" (I swear!) but if that DOES elicit an allergic response!? like the overwhelming urge to kidnap Chris Martin's wife, stuff her decapitated head in a carboard box and mail it to someone as a package (what? they totally did that in a movie once!) then perhaps this band isn't for you. Why? because Olivers Army are as white bread as they come! They're as white bread as FUCK with the crusts cut off! They're the proverbial diet pepsi, decaf, margarine, vanilla flavoured antithesis of everything punk rock vowed to destroy back in the 70's all wrapped up in a live band positively beaming with Brady Bunch smiles... YEAAAS!! In fact not only would your mum totally love the shit of out of them; she'd totally disown you and your siblings in a heartbeat just so she could adopt them all as her own "children" (but in a really pleasantly inoffensive way you could almost forgive her for how creepy that'd sound) as much as they could be part of a cult (at the very least it explains all the female fans flocking from far and wide) if only I hadn't already been avalanched by upteen OTHER Adelaide acts aping a similar "Cliff Richard" aesthetic of late (or in other words Anthony Wignall you have a LOT to answer for!) so much so I'm deeply concerned for the youth of Adelaide if THIS is what they've confused for "teenage rebellion" now. But yeaaah maybe I'm exaggerating a little (wouldn't be the first time either) I mean I DID mention there's a lot to like about them, riiight!? So perhaps a better way to describe Olivers Army is to think of them as a mixture of the following: Coldplay (ooops there goes Gwyneth Paltrow's head again!), Mumford & Sons, John Butler Trio and Vampire Weekend (egads!) but before you reach for that barf bag... maybe even a respectable dose of Paul Kelly!? I mean yes they're a mild mannered folk rock act that likes to "fang out" in ways about as edgy as a bag of marshmallows, but they're also equally as welcoming if accompanied by a warm cup of cocoa (or horchata?) and they're surprisingly accomplished musicians at what they do. Their songs are suitably understated with moderately thoughtful (if cheesy) lyrics from Ryan Oliver, shredding guitar solos from brother Todd, and the less I mention about bass player Adrian Plevin and drummer James Pounsett both originating from Jupiter Lead the better (aaaah c'mon they ain't half bad!) but at the very least it should distract you from the fact I have absolutely nothing hilariously insightful to say about their keyboardist Ryan Hutcheson (but hey it kinda looked like he was doing stuff riiight?). Nope what impressed me the MOST about Olivers Army tonight was their willingness to experiment with the occassional "creative tangent". I mean for every five or more "stirring ballads" with Ryan on keys singing about birds... for what THAT'S worth? (ie: try and resist the retarded urge to wave a lighter in the air when you watch the video) they also monkeyed about with the odd 90's style banging dancefloor number in quite the same way U2 sounded exceptionally dumb (yet oddly inspired) with "Discotheque"; only if you could imagine John Butler singing it instead with his "squirrel" in a vice (it sounds wrong I know but it kinda works too!). In fact I'd almost suggest they experiment MORE with that wacky "folktronica" shit and then they might end up with something hilariously eclectic (thus a-grade stupidly inspired) like My Morning Jacket's "Highly Suspicious" meets the Postal Service, or it could just sound like complete crap; either way? there's definitely a potential here!
But of course being an EP launch, next to nobody in here gave a crap about all the "finer details", pfft... they were simply here to party! Or more specifically, especially with all the screaming female fans flocking to the front moments before they arrived on stage? (to the sounds of Elvis Costello's "Oliver's Army": which I admit was quite clever of them) they were simply here to whoop it up like fuck with a band as stupidly "easy on the eyes" as Olivers Army. I mean I dunno if you've noticed from all the photos, but damn Ryan and Todd are a cheesily "wholesome" looking bunch! Ever so clean cut and squeaky clean with the band all dressed in white? shit who cares what they played maaan!? THEY'LL BE HIGH ROTATED ON NOVA FOR SURE!! (and is it just me, or does Ryan look like a weirdly shrunken version of actor Bradley Cooper from "The Hangover"!? DUUUDE!!). In fact one fellow blogger in the crowd (who's name I dare not mention or imply by linking to his blog) even sent me an joking SMS remarking to that effect: "something eerily Hillsong in the way (they) were all confident and smiley and pitch perfect" yes, yes it was! and dare we poke fun at that when they do it so well!? nope Olivers Army knew how to play the crowd like a fiddle, they owned that shit from beginning to end! Not just with their carefully crafted image and stage presence "EMBOSSED LETTERS!? BWAAAHAHaHAhaHaHahAHA!!" but also with their calculating choice in covers. Firstly with "Somebody To Love Me" by Mark Ronson & The Business Intl, and then with the Bonnie Tyler 80's classic "Total Eclipse Of The Heart". And as much as we might roll our eyes at such "diabolical tactics"? (especially if we assume they're at the expense of something else). I believe this stage invasion during their encore pretty much speaks for itself! Yup that's Olivers Army showing us just how it's done "professionally"! I mean they may have potential for growth as artists in the future; but with a rapturous reception like THIS!? sheeiiit they've got all the winning formula they need!
12:14AM - And yes that sounded a tad cynical of me didn't it? But no they ARE stupidly adept at what they do, and I'd totally recommend them, especially if you're into "that sorta thing" (Gwyneth Paltrow's head in a box... squeeeeee!) I've just been to waaay too many launch parties maaan and I dunno if I've quite fully recovered yet! (and I covered what, almost thirty of them last year!? GET FUUUCKED!!). So as much as The Governor Hindmarsh WAS filled with excitement and colour and thirty odd people up on stage well and truly losing their shit with shakers and maracas just now and it was a beautiful thing to behold? I'm doing my best not to stifle a yawn, stare at my watch and wonder how long it'll take me to walk to The Ed Castle next... WHOOOP-DI-FUCKING-DOO!! Or at least I WAS feeling that ambivalent until I stepped out, discovered a waiting tram conveniently parked across the road and I was whisked to my destination like a dream on a cloud! WHOAAA!! No shit, that ONE tram ride may've been the most spastically awesome "highlight" of my night!
12:50AM - Now obviously me mentioning anything else I did tonight is just gonna sound like a massive letdown by comparison (first time I've been in a tram since they did the tram extentions? WOOOO!!) but I know you, you SO wanna hear about all that shit anyways! you wanna see all the hiiilarious trainwreckage in pissheads doing incredibly stupid things on camera with accompanying batshit commentary waaay into the wee hours of stupid, DON'T YOU!? YAAA FUCKS!! And despite it being that fateful night after the Adelaide Big Day Out when not a single thing is stirring in this city, not even a mouse!? The Ed Castle sure as shit didn't disappoint the minute I bumped into Jon Wignall here. Yup you might recognise him as the bassplayer for the 20th Century Graduates, The Keepsakes or that "lanky tattooed bastard" sprung pissing on your lawn at four in the morning (hmmm possibly more the latter?) either way it's kinda hard to miss that ridiculous bruise he's sporting on his arm there aye? THAT I'm told is the after effects of him wrestling a bear earlier this week, or perhaps it was an ox, or a moose, or a rhinoceros, or all four of them combined with an ostrich perched on top of his head attempting to form the world's weirdest multi-species pyramid (did I mention he wasn't wearing pants?) or maybe he fell arse backwards off a trampoline? yeaaah I'll let you decide for yourself which "theory" sounds most plausible and/or embarassing...
Suffice to say: since he managed to fuck up his elbow producing this "mauve masterpiece", he won't be performing with 20th Century Graduates tonight as originally scheduled... bummer aye?
But never fear, for quite like the irony inherent in this tattoo here... the "best" is yet to come!
12:54AM - AND HOW!! for no sooner did I stop taking the piss out of Jon Wignall? did I then discover this: this whatever the fuck it is that I'm pretty sure wasn't here last week; or perhaps it WAS and I was simply too blind drunk to notice (pfft... like that ever happens!?). Yup far be it for me to wildly speculate on such matters, but it appears those mad boffins at The Ed Castle have just built themselves an outhouse, or perhaps it's a conveniently sequestered dutchie closet, last drinks called "nookie hut" or methamphetamine lab (fuck it, it's pretty much multipurpose as far as I can tell!). Yup I dunno about you duuudes, but I'm excited and perhaps a little bit aroused!
And then shit JUST WENT NUTS when a barstaffer promptly arrived with a bucket, turned a key, cracked it open and proceeded to collect ice from it. WHOAAA NOOOO FUCKING WAAAY DUUUDE!! (or at least he did once I stopped giggling uncontrollably taking photos of it...) "Spoz, what ARE you doing!?" HA HA HA what AREN'T I doing!? seriously, screw all that other shit tonight, this is the single most mind blowing thing I've witnessed all night... IT MAKES ICE!! HEHeHAHaHaHAhA ICE!! WOOOO!! YEAAAa... *cough* wait, did anyone else see "The Mosquito Coast"!? film from the mid 80's? directed by Peter Weir? had Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, River Phoenix in it? aaaah fuck it!
20TH CENTURY GRADUATES (****) - Yup clearly this night is faaast spiralling down the plughole with what little remains of my "sanity" (and to think I was still "sober" at this point!?) a passing "status update" that clearly bears no relation to our headlining act and their whizzbang performance tonight... OOOOH FUCK NO!! Except to point out (perhaps all too conveniently?) that unlike last year I won't be providing indepth reviews of every single live band I see in a night: and not just because I've seen THIS particular band a trillion times before, and they clearly need no introduction, and they're at least five kinds of spasgasmically a-grade in exploding candy coated awesomeness IN YOUR FACE!! or that quite the contrary to my glowing endorsement? tonight's set might have blown the proverbial "big one" (aaaah Captain Ahab would be proud!) HELL NO!! but at the very least 20th Century Graduates might appreciate it if I don't go into too much "detail" here. Suffice to say it was their first show back for 2011. Andrew Marshall swapped over from the horn section to cover for Jon Wignall's glaring absence on bass (whilst covering up for the fact he'd only been jamming that shit since Wednesday... ooops!) only to drag Jon back up halfway through their set to play the tambourine; because there was no way he was gonna get away with it THAT easy. They played maybe five or six songs, most you'd be well familiar with save for "Pig Skin" (save for the fact they goosed almost every single one of them in execution). Only for their wildly escstatic fanbase to be waaay too busy celebrating and laughing themselves silly to care WHAT they played, let alone pausing to notice if anything was amiss. In fact I was hard pressed to notice either (until they told me afterwards, you fools!) as moments into the third or fourth song Larissa handed me a stupidly oversized sunflower, after which I proceeded to make a dickhead of myself dancing up a storm with it front of stage (and here's hoping no one got any incriminating photos of THAT!!). In short everyone had the absolute time of their lives, it was a mad fucking buzz, which only seemed to confuse them more... especially Jeremy Lake on drums and lead vocals who wondered out loud afterwards why they weren't paying any attention to how much HE was making a mess of things: "damnit if they go nuts to us when we're shit? what does it say about us when we actually play an awesome set and THEY STILL DO THE SAME THING!?". Hmmm do I dare answer that: lead man who hides behind a drumkit at the back of the stage for the entire set, while your "cheerleader" bops about all perky and exciteable at the front (and Spoz with a sunflower dances like a prize dick in the crowd!?) no... no we won't. 20th Century Graduates? simply put, you got away with murder!
But of course there are always "repurcussions" to bear when monkeying with the natural order of things: especially when said "monkeying" is being able to masterfully bullshit your way out of what could've been an hilarious trainwreck on Spoz's Rant (I mean c'mon I gave them FOUR STARS!? BAAASTARDS!!). And so in lieu of any actual incriminating "evidence" I would've otherwise provided to poke fun at them with? (damn that sunflower!) here's five minutes and forty four seconds of pure "comedy gold" as Andrew Marshall (and nothing but Andrew Marshall) attempts to play bass during "Misery Jane". HA HA HA I know... and to think YOU all went to the Big Day Out instead!?
1:31AM - And no that wasn't the only head exploding excitement you would've missed out on if you "foolishly" stayed home to nurse your nowhere near life threating case of post Big Day Out hangover, heatstroke, sunburn, salmonella poisoning, kidney failure or sudden onset spontaneous combustion resulting in death (aaaah we've all been there haven't we!? GOOOD TIMES!!). Like this glowing "octopus thingy" hanging off the keyboards... aye? aaaye!? IT'S BRIGHT PINK AND SHIT!? And is that a blue starfish shaped tambourine? I mean it just don't get much better than THAT!!
1:38AM - Or what about the ever photogenic Matt Hills: Adelaide uber producer extraordinaire? who HEROICALLY cut himself loose from the IV drip, the icebath, the EEG machine and slipped past the attending psychiatric staff (after whizzing off his tits to Primal Scream last night) just so he could be here tonight to not only mix for the bands (as house mixer Alex "Emo" Ciaravolo was otherwise occupied pulling mad shapes on stage for 20th Century Graduates) but also to slam the dopest DJ set The Ed Castle "janitor's closet" had ever seen... since pretty much the last time he did this and they had to pry people loose from the ceiling with crowbars and dynamite they were THAT mad keen for it! And yes I know that may come off sounding like sarcasm, but he had that dancefloor pumping like a pro maaan! and that glazed expression? WE ALL FELT THE SAME WAY!!
2:28AM - Or what about Zinta here? "wait what...? who the fuck is she!?" yeaaah I wish I had a clear answer to that!? save to say she's a friend of a friend of someone I occassionally get drunk with at Supermild (I think?), she has the nickname "Jaws" or "The Ferret" and I've been told on good authority (or maybe I simply made this up on the spot just now) that her teeth can apply "200000 newtons of crushing force": which is easily enough to lift a tractor trailer off the ground, bite through six inches of steel, thirty feet of concrete and treat the average suspension bridge like its made out of tissue paper (not like I'm suggesting she'd ever try that... but hey!). Or in other words? I totally took this photo just now as "evidence" with aims to send it to a physics lab for "confirmation". To which they promptly replied on Monday morning with: "STOP WASTING OUR TIME!!". Awesome huh!? I know, sometimes I truly do write the most hilariously nonsensical shit.
2:38AM - And speaking of the fact I clearly have nothing better to do on a Saturday night than take random photos of people in The Ed Castle beergardens (only to spend a good portion of my midweek writing a fucking blog about it) here's my new favourite/annoying game I've invented in the past few weeks: namely resting a half full glass of beer on someone's head then taking photos of it until they freak the fuck out, except they CAN'T, because then they'd tip the beer all over themselves... classic! In this case however it appears Jeremy from 20th Century Graduates is quite the dab hand at it (he even had a preferred "flat spot" on his skull to position it). Larissa however is ever so subtly losing her shit over it, and this amuses me to no end. Both things may be unrelated though, as I've also observed she has the same reaction to: snakes, spiders, turtles, irregular sunspot activity, slow moving escalators, Fred Basset comic strips and the colour yellow.
Yup, when people ask me? this is seriously what I call my "career" now.
Or this Mick Doohan sponsored "road saftey advertisement", complete with oversized crystal skull.
3:58AM - And on a completely "unrelated" tangent: here's a glass of cider I found at Supermild. Or at least I thought it was a "glass of cider" until I picked it up and discovered it was warm. At which point I looked at the glass, looked at the urinal, looked back at the glass, thought about it and then walked away; but not before tipping it out and refilling it... except forget I ever said that.
Aaaah I know! aren't you so glad I'm "back" for another year!? I KNOW I AM!!