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...
So as much as I might still be pacing back and forth, cursing and swearing like a "caged animal", taking all these photos here hoping it might take my mind off things? (and it's kinda not working) yeaaah don't worry it's just the "Pavlovian response" kicking in the minute I walked in through that door tonight: too many years of conditioning triggering a flood of bad memories and one message looping over and over in my head in case I'd ever forgotten winding me up like a cuckoo clock: "never again Rocket Bar! AAAAHAHaHahaHAhAHA!! NEVER AGAIN!!". Yup the fact is it simply hasn't dawned on me yet that THIS night's going to be the exception, and any minute now it's gonna sink in (or at the very least the beers will!) and aaaany minute now it's gonna be me beaming grins all round because tonight we're doing this for charity! But until then, is it just me? or does the padding on this back wall remind you of a couch you'd find in a psychiatrists office!? No I don't mean in an ACTUAL psychiatrists, more like the cartoon (as it might surprise you to know that I've never been to one and thus wouldn't know if the "upholstery cliche" holds true) as much as a night spent at Rocket Bar, any night, is surely enough to drive you INTO therapy... and wait? are the bands about to start already!? *phew* I swear ten more minutes of THIS? and I would've fucking exploded!
THE RULES - Now considering all three of these bands here tonight ARE donating their time, and effort, for free, for a flood relief fundraiser... and they totally didn't have to do that, and yes it's a ridiculously awesome thing that they did, and "YAAAY FOR THE GREATER GOOD!!" and wow did that just sound weirdly uncharacteristic of me to say that (and I think I need to take a shower!) it'd just be needless, nay psychotically cruel of me to review them all in turn. I mean what kind of mean spiriting shitkicking arsehole DO YOU THINK I AM!? (no wait... please don't answer that). As such there will be no "ratings out of five" provided here and no harsh criticisms dealt: as much as I'll still be taking the piss out them regardless (I mean shit duuude I gotta have my fun somehow!) noooo let's just this once give them all the benefit of the doubt and say at the VERY LEAST they were spectacularly adequate at being a "live band" (no mean feat). Just like I won't be providing you with a lengthy dissertation explaining just WHO these hysterical arseclowns are, and whether or not you'd want to hunt them all down on facebook or attend their live shows (or youtube their shit purely to slag them off in the comments) because you should already know that! Or at least you should... with the possible exception of THIS band, because it's only their second show and they're totally brand new. Yup this is The Rules. In the simplest terms they're a "kill them all" blues band combining all the best bits of The Dead Weather with Death From Above 1979 with perhaps a few side sprinkles of early EP Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Santogold and Zach De La Rocha's "One Day As A Lion" (no really hunt that shit down, it's fucking tops!). And yes I've already reviewed them once before back in December, I praised the living shit out of it (in my own weird way) and they sure as shit didn't dissapoint tonight... but this no isn't a live review. Just like I'll only be make passing a reference to their guitarist Adrian Zammit: who despite all appearances ISN'T Serj Tankian from System Of A Down moonlighting under a "goofy alias" (admittedly it's a cheap shot, but c'mon!). Ditto to their fill in drummer "Sam" who's only had two rehearsals with the band (and he's doing a bang up job too!) as their actual drummer: who's never actually played a gig with them, has just been chosen to perform with Circus Solei in Europe (and yes I SO wish that was a punchline too!). No this already overlong writeup is dedicated to their lead singer Carla Lippis and WHAT THE FUCK IS SHE WEARING TONIGHT!? I mean to her infinite credit she IS owning the stage like a hostage situation rapidly gone "Stockholm": so it's definitely within character for her to be dressed like an aerobics instructor with all the "subtlety" in stage presence of a boot camp drill sargeant; I mean she's got balls maaan! except no wait, no she doesn't... and it's a little bit awkward that we can all see proof of that (mmmm shiny!). Oh she's a one of a kind! A good part of their live set tonight is me politely distracting myself from the slapstick sight of her bouncing off all four walls, the floor and the ceiling a few shades short of falling off the stage (at the very least she did take her heels off after the first song) jiggling her bits about, shouting blue murder and singing like a mad diva in a spastic blur of sheer black, boobs and leopard spots; but hey that's Carla in one! Bringing the "LEAD" back to "lead singer". Or more accurately bringing back TWO leads hooked up to a car battery while her band cranks the ignition; and after years of covering awkwardly indie shoegaze bands (and the occassional Matt Banham) shrinking into the shadows? I wholeheartedly applaud its return. The Rules: like a mad punch to the face you can dance to, duuude what's not to love!?
THE SALVADORS - Now before I provide you with a teeny tiny insight into our second band's live performance tonight, in ways I swear won't constitute an actual live review: because otherwise I'd actually have to provide the occassional constructive criticism or (dare I say it?) actual bona-fide "praise" to balance out all the insults (and HA HA HA I so ain't gonna do that if I can bullshit my way out of it with some lamearse "fundraiser" excuse.. squeeeeee!) I have a confession to make. I've been waaay too harsh on this band. I've harboured an unfair bias against them. And I don't just mean all the jibes I've cracked at lead singer Tom Opie's expense: all those "oversized bar of soap" jokes everytime he plays an acoustic to the point he's actually developed a complex over it (and that's why he plays an electric now...? awesome!) what are you kidding me!? I do that shit for sport! I DO THAT FOR FUN!! seriously being an obnoxious baaastard at every available opportunity (and getting stupidly drunk whilst doing it) is the ONLY REASON I review live bands! It's hilarious! I love that shit! It's what I freaking live for! it's also one of the main reasons why I added that "five star rating system" in the first place simply so I could crack more jokes at your expense and you'd STILL think they're compliments! (and to think bands keep inviting me back? SCORE!!). No the fact is I haven't given them my fair balanced appraisal (or laughing approximation) because I freaking HATE Vampire Weekend. Or maybe "hate" is too strong a word, because I do have both albums and I've even played them on the odd occassion (hehehe they're so preppy!). And it's not nothing to do with Ross Osmon at Transmission/Plus One banging "A-Punk" to the point I want to wrap my head with tinfoil and stick it in a microwave... although that certaintly doesn't help! It's more that I hate what "Vampire Weekend" have become: another lazy stylistic "shorthand" for beige bands everywhere to abuse (along with The Killers, Kings Of Leon or Coldplay) in lieu to any semblance of individuality or personality in effort to get high rotation airplay on Triple J. YES I'M LOOKING AT YOU, HUNGRY KIDS OF HUNGARY!! And for the longest time I've been suspicious of The Salvadors for just that reason, as much as they may deny it AND take offense to being compared with their most bleedingly obvious of influences... "no! no! it's Paul Simon's Graceland we swear!", because I dunno if you've noticed? but they sound just a teeny tiny bit like them! But if tonight's set has shown me anything? it's that their love of "preppy afro-pop" is more than genuine, their continual comparisons to "you know who" purely coincidental (aaaah fuck it... I'll give them the benefit of the doubt!) and their Triple J adoration more than justified. I mean granted I'm a little bit drunk right now and it's summer... so sounding like a goofy, happy go lucky "summer time band" is starting to sound wildly appropriate; but damnit they're making it really hard for me hate them! All their bouncing ball beats, perky ping pong keyboards and slide guitar melodies? Their infectious gang harmonies and the fact their bassplayer Jeff Glue is bravely holding his shit together despite teetering precariously close to breaking a "25 year drought" in projectile vomiting? (and no, I don't quite believe that statistic either) I mean it's nothing but beaming smiles in here! Which for a band "ripping off Vampire Weekend" playing to a room to someone who hates Vampire Weekend? (or you know blah di-blah blah indie stereotype: "yay! let's start ripping off Mumford & Sons!") comes as nothing short of a revelation. The Salvadors? you duuudes are fucking alright by me!
1:16AM - And as much as ALL THAT above clearly says everything you need to know about Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!'s "head explodingly awesome" live set tonight AND SO MUCH MORE...? short of well, you know: me aspiring to any kind of "journalistic standard" in covering it and providing a few too many allusions to a metaphorical goat being felated (HA HA HA well... you know what they say about Rocket Bar!) I AM leaving out a few tiny details in regards to the actual "fundraiser" part of tonight's "flood relief". Namely an auction held between the second and third bands tonight: where DJ Sex Pest's infamous "Prince t-shirt" was sold, with the proceeds going to charity. And yes I did take photos of it, lots of photos! Only it was later agreed upon in private that I would never publish said photos... and not for the "reasons" you might think (pfft what? they're "metaphorical" goats!) but more because the person in question: "DJ Sex Pest" didn't want his secret identity revealed in public. Which may seem like an odd request from a former lead singer of a sadsack Adelaide indie band reknown for his luxurious beard and demasculating stage presence (no, not that weeping wet blanket from Love Stereo / the other one you threw bottles at) but I'll still "honour" his request regardless. And so in his stead here's the winning bidder Nathaniel Morse: who claimed his prize for a princely sum of $30 (and yes I'm aware of what I did just then and I'm so very very sorry).
1:18AM - Now usually with the bands finished for the night I'd be looking for ANY excuse to to flee the fuck out of Rocket Bar as quickly as inhumanly possible. Seriously! I'm not even averse to taking a running leap, smashing through those windows overlooking Crazyhorse, and taking my chances on the pavement below. I mean it doesn't look that far. And if I aim it right? like say the roof of a passing car, relax and go completely limp before breaking my fall? I reckon I could walk away with little more than a few bruised ribs and a limp. Hmmm. And yet here I am: against all improbable odds, challenging Clare "Moon Daze" Nica to a mad dance-off, on the dancefloor, so blissfully oblivious (ie: drunk) that I was actually challenging a professional dancer to this, and I even won! (or she simply conceded defeat on grounds of "insanity") and all this was happening at Rocket Bar!? FUUUCK OFF!! Yup say what I will about this place but sometimes, just sometimes it surprises you with improbable awesomeness... such is the nature of our "love/hate relationship".
4:02AM - And in another whizzbang installment of "it's totally not name dropping if nobody outside of the Adelaide scene knows who the fuck you are": here's Rodney from Fasterlouder doing an exceptional impersonation of someone who's NOT currently flapping spastically about Supermild with about as much "finesse" as a Blackhawk helicopter crash. Nope, he's totally got me fooled!