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...
ST JEROME'S LANEWAY FESTIVAL
CITY WEST CAMPUS & FOWLERS LIVE / Friday February 11th 2011
To begin with I should apologise for what will surely be an exceptionally lame writeup/review of this year's Adelaide St Jerome's Laneway Festival. "HA HA HA but duuude aren't they always kinda lame anyways!?". Yeaaah okay, damn good point... *ARSEHOLE*, because yes this IS Spoz's Rant: the near incoherent ramblings of a resident "town drunk" providing little more than compact camera "happy snaps" to illustrate his increasingly ill advised opinions on the Adelaide scene (and don't we just love him for it too SQUEEEEEE!!) so "lameness" is pretty much a given; but no seriously this is gonna be lame and do you wanna know why!? pfft... OF COURSE NOT!! but I'm SO gonna tell you anyways. Yup fact is I just can't top last year's effort, I CAN'T, that shit was STUPIDLY EPIC!! (even more so considering a "bellend" like ME even scammed it in the first place). For not only did I gain free entry, but I totally scammed it through Spin Magazine in America. Yes THE Spin Magazine (or more accurately just their international online subsidiary "Spin Earth" but seriously who's counting?) who actually thought it'd be wise to hire ME as their online correspondent. HA HA HA you eeiiidiots! Better yet they even gave me a "press pass" to the photo pit (where dreams DO come true!) and so naturally I abused the fuck out of it (who wouldn't!?) and long story short... it totally won me an award and a free HD video camera to boot (SHIT YEAH BAAABY!!). Only for all of Spin Earth to go belly up six weeks later (duuudes got their arses fired!), me never getting sent said camera in the post and paying upwards of $120 to writeup Laneway Festival again this year... YEAAAS!! One which I didn't even THINK to get a press pass for, despite the fact Spoz's Rant might have been eligible for one anyways (really!?), as to be honest until just three weeks ago I wasn't even sure I was still writing this crap (yeaaah not like you had any doubts). And so here I am now: standing in Fowler's Courtyard on a Friday afternoon a little past 5PM, playing "human centipede" to a crowd at least a thousand over capacity (4500 people!? what the fuck were these organisers thinking!?) wondering just what the flaming bag of crap I'd gotten myself into? Oh yeaaah, best festival writeup EVER!!
But to their credit? it was here IN the proverbial back nine that the organisers totally got their shit sorted. And by "sorted" I totally mean the head explodingly awesome City West campus cafeteria and all the riches contained therein. And I'm not even kidding you, THIS (and possibly those goofy market stalls run by Five Thousand) were hands down the best things about Laneway Festival this year! Yup no longer must we subsist on that one pissy "bake potato stand"... because festival goers apparently are BANDITS FOR BAKE POTATOES!! (or at least the upwards 75% of the hipster population who are inexplicably "vegan", except when they eat chicken or fish, ARE). Or that stall that professes to sell "pizza slabs", but only if you categorise anything that is: luke warm, clammy, burnt on the edges, of the vague consistency (and flavour) of stale peanut butter, containing larger than your recommended daily dose of cockroach shells and/or rodent droppings as anything even approaching a "pizza slab" (dare I show you the photos!?). Suffice to say this year's food setup was definitely a marked improvement on that. I mean look how space age shiny this looks!
So obviously with all the "wealth of options" available (not least ironic of which, the fact you could order up a "butter chicken & chips" for $5.50 whilst simultaneously being charged $8 for "butter chicken with rice"... GEEENIUS!!) I instead opted for two packets of Skittles, two cans of coke, one bottled water, and for dinner THIS gastronomic disaster in the making: a lukewarm hotdog covered in cold cheese sprinkles (what... would it have killed you to melt it first!?) drenched in barbeque sauce and here's the kicker, absolutely inundated with bacon bits!? Or fuck it, perhaps I could've just gone that cardboard tray filled with nothing BUT bacon bits... because them alone would've totally made it worth my while! And with their mad cafeteria setup how could you possibly go wrong rocking it horizontal in their uber comfy airport lounge seating, aye? aaaye!? FUCK YEAAAH BABY!!
WARPAINT(****) - But obviously you don't give a flaming rat's arse about all that festival foreplay crap (that was $3 with rice in case you were wondering), no you just want all the money shots: nothing but half baked/badly researched live reviews, posted one after the another on bands I clearly know next to nothing about (or at least I didn't until just now... thanks wikipedia!) but which you clearly know EVERYTHING about: down to their shoe size and blood type (thanks to all the mp3 blogs YOU obsess over daily) and all of it accompanied by a laughably arbitrary score out of five, crappyarse "happy snap" photos taken from really ridiculously far away (to the point my digital zoom reduces everything to a snowstorm of fuzzy signal noise... because yup I totally forgot to get a "press pass" to the photo pit *facepalm*) and wherever possible? a shoddily shot live video of their least known/most obscure song!? after which you can proceed to anonymously berate me in the comment box below for everything I've done to "grievously insult" your delicate hipster sensibilities!? *ahem* except wait... clearly you weren't thinking that were you!? PHEEEUW, THANK FUCK FOR THAT!! (I swear all these years writing for the internet has made me paranoid) because I'm still totally gonna do that anyways... YEAAAS!! Yup this is Warpaint from Los Angeles, and until yesterday I swear I didn't know who the fuck they were. In fact I was rather loudly weighing up my options on facebook/twitter whether to catch THIS or Bear In Heaven playing simultaneously at Fowler's Live (purely on the merits of Triple J spinning them like a mental illness... or shit maybe that was Boy & Bear!?) until someone helpfully suggested I watch THIS youtube of Warpaint in "action", after which I'd have no other choice BUT to see them. And so here I am now in NO WAY giggling uncontrollably like "all my Christmases" have come at once; nooo not at all! I'm merely enjoying this on the immeasurable merits of their music, and truly mindblowing it is too! What with their darkly seductive witches brew of shoegaze guitars, brooding post punk rhythms laced with tribal beats, and their all girl gang harmonies beckoning us like seafarers to crash haplessly on the jagged rocks of their bittersweet siren song *sigh* (or if I can actually think clearly for a moment here? picture equal measures art rock and shoegaze psychedelic, or rather like The Cocteau Twins mixed with The Cure and perhaps a twinge of My Bloody Valentine, but pfft... WHAT DO I KNOW!?). All of it clearly unrelated to the fact it's being performed live here by four ridiculously cute looking indie girls, or that I may have fallen hopelessly in love with their bass player Jenny Lee Lindberg doing the slow shimmy booty shake on stage... AAAAHAHaHAhahAhAHAhA OOOOH HELL NO!! (just like it's not the least bit embarassing that out of all the bands I'll be featuring in this writeup, this one just so happens to sport the most live photos *ahem*). But looking past all that (and believe me their bassplayer is making that a tall order!) there IS a surprising amount of substance to this band and they're doing a masterful job of doing it justice live. Jenny's brooding bass and Stella Mozgawa's lockstep drumming in "Bees", the yelping catcalls of "Composure", the swooning harmonies of "Undertow" and the hypnotic guitar work between Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman (both trading lead vocal) are just the thing to get everyone in the crowd blissfully swaying as one; aaaah no shit, Warpaint totally made 2011's Laneway Festival worth my while. Encore! ENCORE!!
BEACH HOUSE (**1/2) - Now as much as I've "gathered" (or lazily assumed with aims to insult the intelligence of just about everyone reading this "review" in following... squeeee!) pretty much EVERY hipster/scenester douche and their dog were mad keen to catch our next act. And shit why wouldn't they duuude!? Their latest album "Teen Dream" had been hyped to death on all the relevant mp3 scene blogs for the past year or more. Songs like "Norway" and "Walk In The Park" had been high rotated like shitballs on Triple J for the past six months; so they got the whole "Pavlov's Dog" response going with all the "indie mainstream" recognition (ie: if Triple J thrashes it, it will become popular no matter what, even if/and especially if it's Dizzee Rascal/Kayne West). No better than that, they got that all important "Beach" bit in their name... which means along with Wavves, Surfer Blood, Best Coast and The Drums they could totally cash in on that whole "blissed out summer stoner/surf guitar" schtick that's become stupidly fashionable with the artfully aloof out there; or at least it DID well over six months ago (and now it's clearly been relegated to the trash heap along with dubstep, afro-pop, freak folk and whatever the fuck everyone saw in Grizzly Bear back in 2009) irrespective of the fact they'd been getting mad accolades for it since releasing their self titled album 2006 (which is where my fartarse attempts at research pretty much begins and ends, yay wikipedia!). Yeaaah I know, I'm clearly being a total arsehole here... and yes I'm pissing myself laughing for doing so. Why? well short of the fact I LOVE dumping shit on hipsters? that's actually a good point, WHY AM I DOING THIS!? Because in many ways I CAN understand the mad appeal of Beach House from Baltimore. They've got that whole "dream pop" thing happening: what with those slow crooning vocals, how every one of their songs swoops, drifts and floats ever so effortlessly into the next one; just as I readily admit I've got their album "Teen Dream": it's on my ipod and I may even have played it more than once! It's just that short of that all too rare 4AM moment on a Tuesday morning, or while the sun's setting on a still winter's eve, or while I'm completely incapacitated with the mother of all hangovers and I'm all out of painkillers...? duuude it just bores me to tears! Granted they're doing a beautiful job in translating it live. They're note for note perfect to what you'd hear on the album (as much as it's balls trying to photograph any of it against an overcast sky slowly dimming). Just as I love how they're making no attempt in "stage presence". Alex Scally: birdnest hair slumped over his guitar, gently strumming. Victoria Legrand: channeling her very best Stevie Nicks impersonation straddling the mic, tickling the ivories and slowly swaying like she's clearly on "something". It's hilarious! Just as I don't doubt if I was equally blazed out of my skull on some mad "orange icky" (size of a baby's fist) with my arms wrapped around a girl, I'd totally be feeling it too! And shit maybe that's it? It's totally music for couples to slow dance to, and me being single it's lost in translation. Hmmm. Or maybe I simply prefer music that DOESN'T put me to sleep like a heavy duty tranquiliser... fuck it, each to their own I guess.
ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFFITI (*1/2) - And now... wuh, wait? who the fuck are these arseclowns!? Yeaaah ok, I admit should've known better than to simply blunder into THIS "hipster clusterfuck" unawares when I arrived at Fenn Place. I should've done my research. As much as I HAD my reasons, namely avoiding Two Door Cinema Club over at the Courtyard stage: because hell anything's gotta be better than gouging out my eyes and ears to Ireland's blandest "white bread" indie disco and a shitstorm of shrieking fangirls (and guys) gushing over just how "pretty" they all are (and ooops guess I get now what YOU must've felt suffering through my retardedarse praise for Warpaint huh?). As much as I actually CHOSE this shit over Cloud Control at Fowler's Live, simply because I've already seen them twice before; and fuck it... they're kinda "local", so I'd surely see them again by year's end. But seriously, WHO THE FUCK ARE ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFFITI!? Well in all the twenty minutes I saw of them live, before I thought better of it, ducked off for that bacon-bit hotdog (with extra powdered cheese!) only to return for another ten minutes sizing up my "parking space" for Deerhunter...? no really, WHAAAT THE FUCK!? Well as much as I could be arsed researching on wikipedia just now: "Ariel Pink" is a Los Angeles based recording artist "sometimes associated with the freak folk and nostalgia pop scenes". From what I could gather seeing him and his band live? it floated somewhere between half-arsed "wink wink", hipster ironic or pretty much crap. Or rather like Pavement vs the Klaxons (on valium) as performed by a spasgasmically fashion dyslexic version of The Village People as fronted by the perverted "love spawn" of Kurt Cobain and David Lee Roth lurching about all kinds of clueless in an aqua green jacket. Hmmm clearly I was missing something crucial here, "something" that could only be found from spending far too many hours on 4chan, fashion blogs and cooking up glitchpop covers of Justin Bieber (in other words I'm way too old for this shit and WHAT THE FUCK AM I STILL DOING HERE!?). So in effort to clarify my confusion, I asked the nearest hipster I could find (or failing that just Ben Revi from Cheer Advisory Council...) who mirroring my perplexed state, said "no you're right they're complete crap" (or words to that effect). However I was later told by someone in the know, that if you were massively chonged and into Frank Zappa you would've LOVED THIS SHIT.
DEERHUNTER (****) - Now THIS was a band I was totally mad gagging to see tonight; pretty much ever since they made the first announcements for Laneway back in September 2010 and I totally lost my shit hooting and applauding... "FUCK YEAAAH DEERHUNTER!!". As to be honest short of !!! and Cut Copy? they were pretty much the only band I had half a fucking clue about; no more than that I'd been thrashing their shit for a good eighteen months now and bugging out to it ever since that shrinking shitweasel Lachlan Wilson from Steering By Stars totally recommended them back in 2009. In fact I often love nothing better than to spin "Cryptograms" or "Microcastle" in a continuous loop each week whilst writing my blogs (I usually prefer the older stuff to the new stuff) and oh wait... did that just sound as tragically hipster in my head as it does on page here? "writing blogs to FUCKING Deerhunter"!? and to think I'd just made fun of all those hipster dweebs who worship Beach House? WHAT KINDA HYPOCRITE AM I!? (oh I like to think the best kind!) aaaah fuck it... either way? here on stage tonight they SO didn't disappoint! Now as much as I'd love to provide a detailed dissertation over just why a great many of us present loved the shit out of this (and then some) I'm not one to remember individual song titles from this band, or which of them they might have played tonight (I tend to play their albums in full) as much as I DID recognise songs from "Cryptograms", "Microcastle" and "Halcyon Digest". I don't know jack on the extended back history of each and every member of their band, or Bradford Cox and his whole "Marfan Syndrome" thing (although now that I mention him? I did rather enjoy his side project Atlas Sound and their second album "Logos"). I'm no trainspotter, never have been, never will be... it was just a no brainer I'd wanna trip balls to it tonight. And it was the mad driven rhythm section that did it for me the most. That gunning hypnotic dirge churned in a loop between Josh Fauver shit grinning on bass and Moses Archuleta all but disappearing into the smoke machine haze behind him, that put you in a mad trance. Coupled with the chiming guitars interwoven between Bradford Cox and Lockett Pundt; Bradford's freaky read thin voice, channeling the inner geek/space cadet within us all; the occassional joking asides between songs in regards to Laneway's heightened security this year: "this is for the drug sniffing dogs, they only want to be loved!" (which coincidentally mirrored Yeasayer by the Courtyard stage also joking about being searched for drugs ten minutes before they got on stage... go figure?); which made it all the funnier when you saw both Bradford and Josh on bass smoking these ridiculously long (possibly "goofy") cigarettes for the majority of their set (the latter especially sporting the cheesiest of glazed expressions.. SCORE!!). And sure they had a few "sound issues", not least of which the whole right side of stage blowing its PA; possibly indirectly or directly caused by Bradford Cox mad flailing about pulling the plug out on his guitar. But short of those teeny tiny nitpicks? it was still a dope journey well worth the price of admission.
LES SAVY FAV (****) - Now I don't know how, I mean I REALLY don't know how (and I'm not entirely proud of the "things" I might have done to achieve it either *cough*) but I made it, FUCK YEAAAH I MADE IT!! Because shit damn duuude, there was no way in hell I was going to miss experiencing first hand the sublime madness that is Tim Harrington, lead singer for Les Savy Fav. Granted I knew next to nothing about his band from New York (shit, did any of us!?), but I had heard of the growing legend of their live shows... not least of which word of Harrington's shitcrazy antics at Melbourne Laneway Festival a few days ago: where not only did he put a birthday cake out on his chest (and yes it's best not to ask "but wait, why the fuck was there a birthday cake on stage!?"), but he also took a leap into the Maribyrnong river, crawled out and finished the set by drinking some of it from his shoe. Yes... HIS SHOE!! Better yet imagine all this from a fat, balding, fully bearded FREAK of a man, who's frequently prone to perform near naked and sweaty on and off the stage molesting anything and anyone in sight (and believe me peeps are more than happy to be willing victims) and you've got a golden recipe for all-round winning awesomeness! And as for tonight's set in Adelaide? well the verdict entirely depends on where you were standing. Arriving late, most of Fowler's Live was already well packed and there was no way in hell I was gonna get any closer to the action than the back wall (without losing a sizeable number of my teeth, eyes and/or functioning limbs) so I did miss some of the more "visceral aspects" of the performance. As such feel free to adjust my rating up a half to a full point according to just how long you needed to wash off all the stink afterwards laughing your arse off, huddled in a shower cubicle (or wait till the pregnancy test gave back a negative result) because it was pure fucking madness! I didn't get any live photos obviously, and to be honest I didn't even dare to (as most of them would surely consist of nothing but hairy arsecrack) but I DID capture plenty of fucked up video footage and kept a running tally of some of the "stranger" things that happened out there. Namely Harrington ripping a clock off the wall, whizzing the hands around in time to the music, only to smash the fuck out of it with his microphone and flinging it off like a frisbee into the crowd (see video). All the times he attempted (and failed) to set fire to a fistfull of sparklers, only to attempt to set fire to his beard instead. The countless stage lighting he got a little too close and personal with (and I can't quite remember if he shorted any of them out... but I don't doubt he did). Only to close the set on the tail end of countless audience "invasions" (in more ways than one) by donning a ridiculous multicoloured shawl, ploughing through the crowd to the bar (and allegedly?) right out the door and into the street beyond. You'll note of course that very little if any of this "running commentary" has anything to do with the music... the fact is it hardly mattered. Call it art rock influenced party punk, call it Fugazi meets Bloc Party if their wikipedia is to believed (because I sure as shit wasn't paying attention to what the REST of the band were doing) either way? it was definitely an "experience"!
HOLY FUCK (***1/2) - The next band performing at Fowler's I knew even less about than Les Savy Fav, I knew nothing of their reputation, their origin, their sound or even WHY they were called "Holy Fuck" in the first place (but let's face it you can't help but be a little curious to find out aye?). Still from what my laziest attempts at "research" will tell me? (after the fact) they're a live indie electronica outfit from Toronto, Canada that uses all manner of shitcrazy instruments and non instruments (like toy phaser guns, keyboards and 35mm film synchronisers) to create a mad jamming sound that echoes all the hallmarks of electronica: without ever relying on the overall harsh synthesis, sequenced loops or heavy use of laptops that "electronica" is otherwise known for. Hmmm. Which if you're anything like me means absolutely squiff-all until you actually hear it for yourself... or better yet get to experience it live. As such playing here tonight they actually make for quite the mesmerising first impression. For what they surely lack in overall "stage presence", shrouded under smoke machines and low lit red-hued stage lighting so as to make it next to impossible to photograph them (especially when you're stuck well back in the crowd trying to get a fix on anything.. GUH!!) they more than make up for in infectious grind. With two "keyboardists" tweaking a rack of knobs, sometimes singing through weird filters (and on the odd occassion a melodica) with rhythmical backing supplied by a bass player and live drummer; or Brian Borcherdt, Graham Walsh, Matt "Punchy" McQuaid and Matt Schulz respectively; they crank a relentless distortion tinged booty jam that's equal bits breakbeat, shoegaze and industrial. Or rather akin to what Primal Scream's "Swastika Eyes" would sound like covered by Fuck Buttons. It's a gunning live arrangement too that shares a lot in common with such eclectic (and more locally well known) electronica acts such as Mountains In The Sky and PVT; or simply think 90's big beat run through a contemporary flannel filter; and I dare say watching it first hand it's damn near impossible not to want to bop your head along like a busted bobblehead toy, or better yet twist a spastic pretzel on the dancefloor. In fact no sooner did I capture that live video below, did I feel weirdly compelled to walk out... not because I wasn't enjoying the FUCK out of it, but because the sooner I hunted down an internet collection to download the fuck out of their back catalogue *cough* I mean the sooner I "legally acquire" it through itunes... aaaah fuck it, with shit this mad? the sooner I window brick a big chain record store and steal the CD right off the rack THE BETTER, it's that stupidly infectious!
12:21AM - But of course before I can even think to do that, I'm ambushed once more by that ginger nitwit from Mondo Phase Band gagging for another photo op (DAMN YOU!!) and not looking to waste time arguing here? I figured fuck it I'll simply take the photo and cook up a clever retort to insult him with later... hmmm yup, one "world class burn" coming aaany minute now: I MEAN C'MON!! HIS BEARD'S FREAKING BRIGHT ORANGE AND EVERYTHin... aaaah screw it I got nothing!
CUT COPY (***) - Which is probably the best way to describe Cut Copy's "headlining" set in following *YEEEOUCH!!*. Oh c'mon don't look at me like that, I actually happen to LIKE Cut Copy! I even own all three of their albums, I've totally thrashed "In Ghost Colours" to death... TO DEATH!! and loved it; at least when nobody's looking (well I DO have a reputation to uphold). It's just that thanks to the tireless work of one Ross Osmon, the Transmission crew and countless Saturday installments of "Plus One" at The Ed Castle (that have made high rotation of Vampire Weekend's "A-Punk" tantamount to a violation of the Geneva Convention) most of us more sensible sorts not prone to chronic amounts of fluoro, skinny jeans, v-neck t-shirts (with shitcrazy geometric patterns scribbled all over them), 80's porn moustaches, "Flock Of Seagulls" indie undercuts, fake tans and an overwhelming fondness for microkorgs (dare I mention it? everything indie disco!? EGADS!!) wouldn't be seen anywhere NEAR this shit! But being the headliners: a world reknown indie disco act from Melbourne, and on my "kill list" for a good four to five years now (as they have an annoying habit of only touring Adelaide when there's a festival on) I'd be utterly remiss if I didn't "bag and tag them" for the sake of this blog. So I take my photos from ridiculously far away: and a lot of them are surprisingly good (I just couldn't be arsed publishing them), I shoot some live video and I try the best to be "enthused"... and to be fair the crowd assembled here are loving it up like a yacht club party, whooping up a storm, handbags in the air, jocks punching circles in an attempt to "dance"; shit what more could you want in rapturous reception!? Just like Cut Copy are delivering all the hits from "Bright Like Neon Love", "In Ghost Colours" and even throwing in the occassional single from "Zonoscope". But yeaaah I dunno... something's "missing" here. Maybe it's because I'm alarmingly sober because I have this silly rule about not "drinking" at festivals, ie: I freaking hate waiting in line for an overpriced beer served luke warm in a plastic cup (especially if I'm gonna be hit by a horrendous hangover around 11PM instead of 8AM when I can sleep it all off). Maybe it's their music that's very much inspired by all that early 80's Italo Disco blah blah "Giorgio Moroder" crap that prides itself on being artfully detached on a pleasure cruiser in the Carribean, bikini models in tow banging on like it's Weekend At Bernie's; when you're not otherwise punching walls to a mad cocaine fender bender (as much as I do love me a bit of New Order). Or maybe it's because Cut Copy are pratically phoning in their entire performance, note for note, like they've simply slapped on the CD and they're running everything in autopilot. I mean they're undeniably shit hot professional at what they do, they're hitting all the right cues, the crowd are all giddy in hysterics, and I can't help but laugh at some of the hilarious between song banter and stage antics (between Dan Whitford and Tim Hoey especially)... but compared to what I saw with Les Savy Fav hours earlier? it's just so sterile and "animatronic". Where's the element of danger? where's that hint of "teetering on the edge of disaster"? no really, WHERE'S THE HUMANITY!? Or perhaps if I'm not whizzing off me tits enough and mad licking the walls to "get" it? yeaaah that's gotta be it.
!!! (****) - Either way it truly makes for a marked contrast to the "warm reception" I received the minute I blundered my way into Fowler's Live afterwards only to be slapped silly by the upbeat antics of !!! from Sacramento. HA HA HA DUUUDE THEY WERE FREAKING INSANE!! And yeaaah technically they're still classified as "indie disco", "nu-rave" or "dance punk" (as much as all three terms have been well and truly raped in the arse by Art Vs Science in the past two years AND DON'T WE JUST KNOW IT!!). But you so don't give a shit WHAT THEY ARE the minute you see them live: you just wanna crack spastic like a ping pong ball in a proverbial tumble dryer they're that stupidly infectious... and I think I've figured out why too! I mean the way I see it? you needn't have to get well and truly "fucked up" before you can appreciate good music. You don't need to conform to a fashion, a genre, or a decade in music that's been bled SO desperately dry by now: no amount of shoulder pads, saxaphones, fluoro oversized sunnies and autotuned falsettos are gonna fix it. Good music itself is ALL YOU EVER NEED. And you getting further "fucked up" on an A-Z MDMA of dyslexic "vitamins" only but enhances the experience. And it's this teeny tiny distinction that very much describes the immediate appeal of !!! tonight (pronounced "Chk Chk Chk" for those of you not in the know) no matter what your "preferences": whether they be chemical, musical, sexual, extraterrestrial or otherwise. NO SHIT!! if you stuck around to the very end to catch these freaks (and they may've been the last band billed at 1AM? but believe me they were well worth the wait) that mad irrepressible urge to make a complete dickhead of yourself on the dancefloor was damn near undeniable. YOU HAD NO CHOICE but to fuck yourself up like an octopus thrown into a ceiling fan (and yes a great many of us did just that). Now a lot of this was perhaps thanks to the music itself: this unrelenting booty grind cranked well beyond the point of abrasingly slapstick; or rather like whacking a stick along a chain-link fence, only mad syncopated in a universe where George Clinton and Bootsy Collins control the laws the physics. Or maybe it's their anywhere upto eight piece kitchen sink "clusterfuck" of musicians and musical instruments (to be honest I didn't really keep count on just how many where up there tonight... but there were definitely bongos), not least of which Shannon Funchess their soul diva who provided everything (just shy of a pack of smiley faces blowing whistles) to a fullblown "Madchester" rave party. But the real icing to this cuckoo clock "cake" came in the form of lead singer Nic Offer. Not so much for his singing, but more for his signature dance move that could only be described as Kermit The Frog attempting to rhythmically wrench himself free out of a straightjacket crossed with Kung Fu. Granted I'd already received fair warning of this when I saw their music video to "Heart Of Hearts" back in 2007, but it's all the sillier seeing it live. And it's even sillier STILL when you realise it's his ONLY dance move, and he keeps on repeating it, and the more he does it the more you can't help but piss yourself laughing. And if that ain't an open invitation to lose your freaking mind in kind on a dancefloor? I dunno what is.
Of course quite like Les Savy Fav before them: just how beyond "ridiculous" this experience was, and by extension just how expensive your dry cleaning bill is (and thus how much you may've wanted to adjust my "four star rating" up or down to suit) would've entirely depended on your proximity to the front of stage; but perhaps only "relatively" speaking. As even at the back of the room where I was shooting? peeps were still mad losing their shit to it; even more so anytime Nic Offer threw himself into the crowd and did a fly by (which he did all too frequently). But when they hit the second to last song? they cranked this celebratory shitstorm up to a whole OTHER LEVEL of shitcrazy when they figured "aaaah fuck it... let's just invite half the audience up on stage!" and I'm not even kidding you, there were at least fifty to a hundred people up there, IT WAS NUTS!! And no it's hardly the first time I'd seen it happen (shit even Olivers Army pulled this prank just last week) let alone at Fowler's Live: the Presets pulled it back in 2006, N.A.S.A. pulled it just last year when THEY closed Laneway Festival in 2010; but it never gets any less insane. No shit, if you didn't stick around for this? YOU SOOO MISSED OUT!! Just I totally realise I'm a world class idiot for taking photos of it instead of taking part in this meself, but hey... someone's gotta make fun of these "prize turkeys" don't they? (isn't that right: Travis Cook from Collarbones, with the dumbfounded expression, standing two people to the left from front and centre? SHIT YEAAAH!!).
2:15AM - And now that we've left, that all too pressing question now presents itself: where next should we drink ourselves stupidly blind (or in Luke's case: that teeny tiny fraction more so) until we invariably end up at Supermild... but only because going there THIS early in the night would only result in us waiting in a stupidly long lineup outside; and I can't believe I'm still writing about this shit in 2011!? For instance, should we go to The Ed Castle? Should we hit up the uber exclusive "Laneway After Party" at Rocket Bar where we'll likely have fuckall chance of getting in? Or should we simply loiter about the exit like idiots taking photos...? yeaaah let's totally do THAT instead!
2:25AM - Which rather neatly segues into me demolishing !!!'s rider, moments later, backstage at Fowler's Live in every way that it clearly doesn't begin to explain much of ANYTHING; except to suggest I'm a "warlock" of some description... except no wait, WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED HERE!?
And did someone just hand me a free beer? FAAANTASTIC!!
2:41AM - The fact is none of us have the first fucking clue HOW we ended up backstage, or how we ended up stealing all of !!!'s rider, only to suggest that we simply followed the person in front of us and by the divine power of bullshit (that fills in the threadbare plot of many a "half arsed anecdote" here on Spoz's Rant) HERE WE ARE!! Which then brings us to Dan Varricchio. Who the fuck is he? HA HA HA WHO THE FUCK ISN'T HE!? For not only is he the guitarist from Like Leaves and resident house mixer for The Exeter, and yeaaah fuck it... the details really don't matter; what is important however is that he managed to miraculously reconnect the cables on three guitar pedals, in 45 seconds flat, for !!! tonight after their improvised "stage invasion" (resulting in fifty or more people on stage who totally weren't there moments earlier) totally ripped it all asunder; thus TOTALLY SAVING THEIR ARSES (despite not actually being their official guitar tech tonight). Which I readily admit STILL doesn't explain just how I ended up backstage, or just why he's peering at his cracker (or maybe it's a cheese slice) in such a peculiar way... but still it's a hell of a story, huh?
3:02AM - Just like I don't have the first foggiest clue who THIS guy is: only to suggest that he's kinda familiar in that really vague "I probably added him on facebook months ago for some utterly unrelated reason only now I can't remember his freaking name... FUUUCK!!" (wow this is so gonna be embarassing if he reads this too!) but again that's not really important and I'm just rambling. What I DO want to point out is that along with the rest of us he's now leaving backstage (as it's closing) with a giant block of cheese, a pear and a can of solo. And as much as I can't vouch for that last item (he probably drank it), the first two were last seen resting on the bar at Supermild until they vanished... the mystery disappearance of which remains unsolved, TO THIS VERY DAY!!
3:48AM - And in other "highlights" in the life of Spoz you're probably better off not knowing. This is "Andrew", who regrettably I DO remember adding on facebook (for reasons that are completely beyond me... only I don't doubt it was hilarious at the time!) holding a small teddy bear with a blue knit sweater at Supermild. And I think I speak for all of us when I say: if ever you DO see this man roaming your neighbourhood with said "teddy bear"? you should call the cops immediately.
4:32AM - And this is "Donny": who I swear is no less the very pinnacle of the human condition to which we could all aspire to; completely unrelated to the fact she might be the presiding doorgirl at Supermild responsible for bluffing me in for free each night *cough* no not at all! It's more for the fact she's pimping the hell out my hat here (and how!). Except it's not really my hat, I stole it off Anthony Candlish from Ride Into The Sun on New Years Eve and he's yet to reclaim it. The moral of the story being? never ever let Spoz steal your hat or he'll post random shit like THIS with it.
4:51AM - And in no way a segue here? here's two busted seats I found in the toilets. HA HA HA I KNOW RIGHT!? And there's actually a hell of a story to go with it too: only I walked in just after it all happened and all I heard was some "dude" suggesting to some other "dude" nursing his head and grumbling, that perhaps he should get it "looked at" in case he has a "head concussion". And as much as we could endlessly speculate how both are connected? all it REALLY tells me is, next year if ever I cover Laneway Festival again? I'M SO GETTING MYSELF A FREAKING "PRESS PASS"!!