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...
COLOURISE (***1/2) - But of course they're not the only band worth writing about tonight; as much as I was only planning to review Bronze Chariot when I walked in just now, until the sound of our opening act very much started to convince me otherwise. Yup this is Colourise and I could've sworn they were a touring band from who-the-fuck-knows where? (but I lazily assumed Sydney or Brisbane from the look of them) only apparently they're local and they've been gigging like mad in the Adelaide scene since sometime late 2008? (if their myspace is anything to go by). Only since they've never "played" The Ed Castle (or at least not that I was aware of until I saw evidence that concluded otherwise? ooops!) I never knew they existed. Awesome huh!? HA HA HA I know, I really AM that fucking complacent! but still if ever there was a "better late than never" to be introduced to them? THIS would definitely be it, because I swear they sound exactly like I feel tonight... and by that I mean they're doing a bang up job in FIXING just how I feel, rather like a "hair of the dog" in a three piece band. Yup I like to think of them as the archetypal "pub rock" sound in that respect: that mongrel breed, that bastard blend of pretty much anything they care to throw out there from the gutter blues, crooning ballads to upbeat indie all filtered through the trashiest of TRASH rock sensibilities; except in a weirdly infectious way that only gets madder the more you hear of it. Or better yet think of them as an all too improbable mix of Queens Of The Stone Age, Nirvana, Tom Waits and The Strokes (or rather like you'd imagine the bass heavy chunk of Sex Bob-omb from "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" would sound like if they'd partied hard with Tommy Lee for 15 years straight... and lived to tell the tale!) as much as they sound like none of the above, and sound more like chainsmoking chimpanzees, whacking a chain link fence with a crowbar, while someone revs up a V8 engine to the sound of dogs barking (complete with shitcrazy shredding guitar solos). As much as I'm also told they used to be a two piece blues band: between Kahl Hopper on vocals, drums AND bass simultaneously with Mick Durant on guitar. Only they've since added a third member to take over on the drums, except it was quite recently so he's still rusty as hell and kinda more trouble than his worth tonight in fucking up the intros to half their songs; and yet they have such a jokey, laid back manner to them (to the point of taking the absolute piss out of their own band name) that they totally get away with it. They also use a lot of unconventional verse/chorus structure, so no two songs come out sounding quite the same way twice: some with weird handclap interludes, others with ever more intricate interweaving textures in guitar and bass (so you can tell there's considerable thought put into this). As much as their drumming is mostly four four belted out to its most retarded extreme and a lot of their vocals are shouted out like they're piss drunk geriatrics. So they're a bit of a dog's breakfast, as much as they're a wild contradiction, as much as they're all the better for it, as much as this review very much shows they confuse the hell out of me the more I try and unravel them. But that's Colourise. Beats me what the hell I should make of this insanity? but the more they "equal" just how trashy I feel tonight, the more I think I like it.
Which then brings me to our headlining act, Bronze Chariot: here to rip The Metro a proverbial new one (with accompanying glowing green exit sign) on a Sunday night; or at least that's what I was very much hoping for... the louder the better. And not just because it's the very last night of The Fringe Festival and I'm fucking relieved to see the end of it this year, so much so that me being here at The Metro as far away as possible from all The Fringe "festivities" blowing my brains out to this band? seemed like the best remedy EVER to exorcise all that "bohemian batcrap insanity" out of my system (and maybe then I'll actually get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep for the first time ever in over a month without my whole head exploding!? SHIT YEAAAS!!). But more because in all the years that this band has been in operation (and by my recollection that's been all the years since 2008 when I missed their first show at Urtext for "Bone Machine"?) I haven't nearly featured enough of them in this blog, and increasingly it's become a glaring oversight on my part that very much needs addressing. WHY? well look no further than the comedy "gift that keeps on giving" that is their lead singer Ben Cooper. Yup without him? Bronze Chariot just wouldn't be the same! In fact some of you may even suggest that they'd be a lot better off... A WHOLE LOT BETTER OFF, and maybe they'd be a serious a-grade bona-fide blacker than black "funeral dirge" instrumental act if it wasn't for all his spastic squinting, thrashing and flailing (and by "some of you"? I'd even lump myself into that category when I reviewed them back in February 2009... ooops!). But nooo, Ben Cooper totally makes this band worth writing about! And to clarify? picture if you will a dark and dour mix of the following: Black Sabbath, Isis, Russian Circles, Nine Inch Nails, Dirty Three and The Drones as performed by stone faced mourners at an Irish wake through a fuck load of distortion. Picture abject pain and misery with the volume turned waaay up, chugging in slow circles, playing for what seems like hours to an eternity; or just the kind of epic dirge you'd use to soundtrack a medieval battle from hell. Now picture Biff Tannen from Back To The Future fronting it, wearing a ridiculous Hawaiian shirt and totally losing his shit to it... HA HA HA I know riiight!? And by "totally losing his shit to it"? I mean everything from bitchslapping the air around him, grimacing, glaring, lurching and falling over his mic stand, doubling over screaming and howling like he's passing a kidney stone that looks like an angry pineapple (only it's the size of an elephant) and generally looking like a spastic overblown caricature of well and truly "pissed off" x1000. Duuude he totally makes this band! Even more so when you consider the rest of them are doing their utmost to sell this as deadly serious: all life, death and eternal damnation; and there he is doing the same, only it's with a tambourine and you can't help but piss yourself laughing? duuude it's freaking gold! And as much as you might think it would only detract from the oppressive nature of their music? I like to think it adds just that little bit of unintentional "levity" to help reel you in. So as much as I could mention that tonight's set ALSO acted as a "stocktake sale" in retiring a bunch of their old songs they no longer have any need for live, in the lead up to their debut album that they're releasing in May? Or the grand contribution that Garret R. Cooper and Matt Barlow on guitar, Mark Draper on bass and Scott Williams on drums brought in making this sound every inch the existential ordeal, that trial by fire, that ultimate "exorcism" in a live set to put me to rest after three weeks of Fringe Festival? or how they were barely on stage for more than thirty minutes in performing it!? For me it's all about the slapstick antics of Ben Cooper. Yup it might seem like an insult, but when you've seen countless "lead singers" perform live over the years, and unless they were Matt Banham (or a few other notable exceptions) they did little more than stare at their shoes? it's insanity like THIS that should be encouraged! Bronze Chariot. Come for the music, stay for the shitcrazy theatrics; and maybe you'll discover just like me what gold you've been missing out on for all these years!
And with Bronze Chariot delivering just the kind of "psychotic catharsis" I was looking for tonight (AND HOW!!), as much as I arguably spent most of it pissing myself laughing getting idiotic photos of Ben Cooper to base an entire "live review" on, instead of paying attention to (or providing any specific details on) ANY of the songs they might have actually played (aaaah pfft... but who are we kidding!? this IS Spoz's Rant afterall!) I briefly considered doing a little something afterwards: you know... to "celebrate" the conclusion of The Fringe Festival. Maybe having a few drinks, getting a little rowdy, getting a little loud and stupid, or at the very least experiencing all the head exploding fun and frivolity that is The Garden Of Unearthly Delights this year before it disappears for another year (at which point I'll surely ignore it again... SHIT YEAAAH!!). Only I was SO completely catatonic by this point to the point of being near delirious; despite the fact I wasn't even drunk enough to warrant it... or at all? (which I assure you was completely unrelated to the fact I might have drunk myself near comatose LAST NIGHT celebrating my headlining DJ set at The Ed Castle on only two hour sleep, only to end up in Norwood somewhere with the 20th Century Graduates drinking goon and watching The Tim & Eric Awesome show till 5AM... nope! it's totally the sleep I didn't get in the three weeks PREVIOUS to that!) that I might have stumbled all the way to Supermild instead, fell down the flight of stairs to the front bar, dranks two glasses of water, crawled right back out again and caught a taxi home; only to spend the night till dawn editing up all these photos. But since you likely don't give a crap about any of that (or just how insane it might make me sound in the retelling of it) here's a video of what Bronze Chariot played for their encore tonight. Because yup they totally played an encore and where the fuck were you!? totally missing out, THAT'S WHAT!!
*Phew* and now I'm done with all that, I'm gonna get me a shovel... GOODNIGHT EVERYONE!!