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...
Now obviously I just had to get a closer look at this majestic beast. I mean I've read about them in books, I knew they existed but I never thought I'd see the day when I'd come face to face with one: in the flesh, in real life, within licking distance...? HA HA HA WHAT INSANE MIRACLE IS THIS!?
But no mirage, mass hallucination or far too many hours spent in Photoshop could possibly conjure this undisputed monarch to music most high! That rich smell, that unmistakable taste (yeaaah you'll be able to buff those teeth marks right out again I'm sure of it!). All shiny black, polished to perfection till you can actually see your own soul reflection in it: see your eyes staring back at you like saucers, gobsmacked, drooling, maybe even suffering a mild stroke at the crass impossibility of it... AND IT'S SITTING RIGHT HERE AT THE JADE MONKEY!? AAAAHAhaHAhAHaHA!! *FUCK*. Why if there was no one else in the room? I'd whip that quilt cover off in an instant and just go mental! It wouldn't matter if I didn't know how to play, it would teach me! IT WOULD SHOW ME THE WAY!!
And what about this footstool? this blacker than black leather footstall that I'm in no way getting a half chubby over just thinking about it now... fuuuck the mad sagas we could weave on this alone!
Yup, you might not know who any of these bands are tonight let alone the headliners Mountbatten (I mean who ARE these shitclowns? these arsepuppets? these sphincterheads!?) but it matters not! With a grand piano in the house pulsating pure excellence like a righteous monolith ripped straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey!? this is gonna be a night to tell ALL YOUR GRANDKIDS ABOUT!! This is gonna be the start of something beautiful! A renaissance of all things! A grand flowering of the human condition! Shit duuude, THEY'RE GONNA MAKE MOVIES ABOUT THIS!! and if ever you DO want to get a headstart on that? (Christopher Nolan? David Fincher? Darren Aronofsky? no seriously call me we'll sort this out!) make sure you get the details right. Like THIS poster art for instance? It's a "Carly Whittaker" original. It's thick black texta rendering on white loose leaf notepad paper. And that wibbly wobbly cloud thingy and all the stars? TOTALLY HER IDEA!! No really... take all the time you need to soak it all in (get your assistant to take notes) and if you lean in real close and sniff it!? you'll totally see pink unicorns! *sigh* I know I truly do cover the BEST GIGS don't I? (and did I mention the GRAND PIANO!?) YEAAAS!! this is where "awesomeness" itself will be redefined!
THE LONELINESS OF A MIDDLE DISTANCE RUNNER (***) - Which on a completely unrelated tangent brings us to our opening act... aaaahaha just kidding! (or AM I?). Yup you might recognise this singular figure cowering from the light, doing his utmost not to draw attention to himself (or at the very least not from the laughing jackass whose photographing him right now for the sake of this blog) as Alister Douglas: guitarist and occassional keyboardist/drummer for 20th Century Graduates. And being that we are mentioning the happiest damn band in the Adelaide scene here? (until such moment Sarah Masters from Hawks Of Alba brutally bludgeons to death each and every one of them with the blunt end of her bass guitar, claims the title for herself, and then ushers everyone to move in a few steps closer while smiling sweetly... yeeeouch!) one may foolishly assume that as a solo artist Alister might share a great many of those spastically chipper qualities; rather like a golden retriever who's suddenly discovered the unbridled joy of plastic bin liners. But no you'd be wrong, dead, dead wrong... and I'm so sorry I made that comparison! This is music for sadsick teenagers to burst into tears to while writing reams of black poetry, only to contemplate suicide for the upteen thousandth time (or the many benefits of a vegan diet?) then update their live journal to whilst crying out all the lyrics. In fact he even plays one tonight he wrote WHILE he was a teenager (seventeen to be exact) and I'm not even making that up! (I've got it on video and everything!). But before I go more needlessly indepth on that? let's just acknowledge the "elephant in the room" here. No not the grand piano... we'll get back to that, I'm talking about the title he's chosen to perform under: "The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner". HA HA HA I KNOW!! is that simultaneously the stupidest and most ridiculously awesome band name you've EVERY FUCKING HEARD... DUUUDE!! I mean yeaaah I don't have anything clever to follow that up with, I'd just feel utterly remiss in NOT acknowledging it! I'd totally buy that t-shirt. I'd go to every show; just so that when people ask me? I could tell them the who and totally blow their freaking minds... THAT SHIT SOOO ROCKS MY WORLD!! which come to think of it? is just as well because it momentarily distracts you from the fact that he's a sadsack bastard with a guitar. Yay another one! Yup think early Smashing Pumpkins, Okkervil River, Elliot Smith? (and I probably need to listen to more Elliot Smith to make that judgement... yowsers!). In fact he very much reminds me of Matt Banham's solo work it's THAT depressing, but he really commits to it. Oh and it's also his first solo show, which is impressive of itself. He nails that whiny voice, he draws it out in slow slow songs. He sways about erratically, he does some nifty things with guitar loop and delay (especially in the latter songs). He sings about self medicating the pain, street lights (there's a LOT of songs about streetlights; possibly a childhood trauma?) and in one particularly memorable song: this repeating lyric "you're very pretty with your grandmother's cardigan on" that simply cracks me up (yup that pretty much sums it up doesn't it?). The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner. You likely won't give a crap WHAT he sounds like with a name like that... but to his credit? the name says it all.
MOUNTBATTEN (**1/2) - And now the moment we've all been waiting for: the magic hour! the mad musical climax to all things! here witness to the very perky pink pinnacle of all that we can achieve as the human race; or at the very least as a headliners at their own EP launch? YEAAAS MOUNTBATTEN!! YOUR TIME HAS COME!! except... errr? *cough* oh crap what the hell happened here!? Well before we DO conduct that autopsy? a brief introduction/disclaimer might be in order. Mountbatten are in essence one half of former Adelaide act We Grow Up. Namely: Anthony Golding and Walter Marsh (both on lead vocals and guitar) taking one half of the songs We Grow Up were going to release for their own album (I believe it was due to be their third?) and presenting it here as their debut EP "The Night Is A Dream" which is launching tonight. They've already performed countless times in the past six months as an awkwardly shy folk duo (read: "dewey decimal-core" or as Walter likes to call it "dark bastard pop") to much polite applause and enthusiastic clacking of knitting needles: in fact I may even have inadvertantly caught their first show back in August with Princess One Point Five; only none of us knew at the time as they were actually expecting the rest of the band to show up... ooops! (if it's any consolation though, Anthony did give away free marshmallows and drinking chocolate... WIN!!). And tonight it's their first show with a full band. FIRST SHOW!! I'd also like to point out, that despite all appearances pointing to them being yet another bombastic installment in Ben Revi's All-Star Clusterfuck Orchestra? (ie: see Humble Bee, Cheer Advisory Council, any spontaneous on stage happening where too many cooks spoiling the broth AIN'T NEARLY ENOUGH!!) they also possess all the individual talent and potential for being an exceptional band. In fact Ben Revi may be the best thing about them: just look at that a-grade afro explosion whipping the living shit out of those drums! ISN'T THAT PURE JOY PERSONIFIED!? "but wait... aren't those mallets?" (quiet you!). Just like I can totally vouch for the all-star talents of Carly Whittaker on glock, Seb Tonkin on cello and trombone, and whoever the fuck that OTHER guy is on drums (research? pfft... who needs it when you can be wildly inconsistent!). But shit damn did it sound like a howling trainwreck tonight! Or maybe that's being too harsh? (well it WAS their first time as a full band afterall!) but something was definitely amiss. Firstly the mix was way off. WAAAY OFF. If you were anywhere near the foldbacks like I was the vocals were completely buried; they barely got a word out. If you got the in-house? I heard reports that the vocals were much too loud. But no matter where you stood? you could just tell neither Anthony or Walter with their meek mild mannered cadence could possibly compete with what sounded like everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink having an exploding orgasm around them (made all the more entertaining by the fact they were all jarringly out of sync with each other). Even worse? since they couldn't quite hear their own voices: any attempts to harmonise went erringly off key. It was like the musical equivalent of watching two kittens being blasted in the face by a fire hose over and over; only they're singing at the same time...? "AAAAUGGHH!! FUCK!! I CAN'T BEAR TO LOOK!!" but still it wasn't ALL bad. Their quieter songs, or at least bits of "Kids In Love" and "Ball & Chain" really shone through. They had this haunting, almost hypnotically 60's lysergic buzz to them: equal parts Simon & Garfunkel, Pink Floyd, The Polyphonic Spree and in at least one song "The Engine Underneath"? a vibe not too dissimilar to Beck's "Tropicalia" being punched in the balls. So as much as I WAS wincing over its rude cacophony? I could also sense the mad potential here once they finally get their shit together (their EP for one is an absolute trip!). Mountbatten. They're a "work in progress", they're not quite there yet, but in the words of twee pop idol Zooey Deschanel? one day... THEY WILL BE COOL!
12:31AM - Of course that one day might be a little while off yet... HOW LONG exactly? yeaaah maybe you should ask the "manufacturers" of their EP: word is they sent off the order two weeks ago and were told "three days" and here we are on launch night? and yup NO EPs! And it's not the first time I've seen it either. It's a running cliche of the Adelaide scene (or at the very least a recurring nightmare) as much as it mostly effects those insane enough to release onto vinyl (which is a story I don't doubt The Honey Pies and the full three months they had to wait for THEIR vinyl to arrive would be more than happy to share with you). Still to their credit? Mountbatten did see the funny side to this when they issued these download cards instead. This one in particular I borrowed from Jayne (from Quiet In The Lab!) for the sole purpose of this photo as well as taking the liberty to steal her download code along with it.. YOINK!! (or at least I would've if the band hadn't already offered it to me for free a few weeks ago). And no shit how AWESOME is that promo shot!? I mean you could totally imagine them wearing suits and ties, cruising around on bicycles, you hiding in a tree and taking pot shots at them with an air rifle can't you!? "AAAAHAHAhAHaHAhAhA TAKE THAT YA WATCHTOWER SELLING FUCKS!! WOOOO!!" *ahem* or maybe it's just me then? nevermind!
12:48AM - And since I clearly haven't poked ENOUGH fun at Mountbatten's expense tonight? (awwww go on, do them a solid, buy their EP!) here's a photo of Anthony Golding looking altogether awkward with an amp. HA HA HA I know? it's just a gift that keeps on giving isn't it!? YOU BETCHA!!
3:12AM - Now somewhere between me drinking at The Exeter an hour ago and me stumbling blindly down Rundle Mall HERE an hour later? I may've bumped into Simone. Yeaaah you know: "she who needs no introduction", "the bane of my blogging existence", "surrogate sister", "totally not my girlfriend", my entire viewing audience just now screaming: "FUCK NOT HER AGAIN!?" etc etc (she also happens to be one of my dearest friends who runs my facebook fansite... awww isn't she awesome!?). Anyhoo the reason WHY I mentioned this: is originally we took a series of hilariously pissdrunk photos showing us laughing ourselves stupid at The Exeter having the absolute time of our lives tonight; or more specifically just her drinking from a random Smirnoff bottle we found in an alley off Rundle Street moments after we left (I forgot where exactly?) and looking ever so slightly batshit insane whilst doing so, AND FUCK DAMN THEY WERE BRILLIANT TOO!! And of course I fully intended on publishing them... only she kindly asked me not to. YAY! So instead here's a photo of the City Cross/Harvey Norman sign that caught on fire last week, in the rain, during the Fringe Festival Opening Night Parade, that since got cancelled. Hmmm yup I believe that pretty much sums up everything that needs to be said now doesn't it? "Huh, wait... what!?". EXACTLY!!
4:34AM - So to (somewhat) address what has clearly a glaring shortfall in you vicariously living the very best and worst of Adelaide's binge drinking culture for another week (because you sure as shit ain't tuning in for all the "live music" coverage!) here's Annie Siegmann: bassplayer for Bird Wizdom, bartender and DJ for The Coopers Urban Garden Experiment (aka: that fartarse retarded "pop-up" venue I got drunk at last Saturday night if you're still drawing a blank) balancing a beer on top of her head. A photo that clearly never stops winning FOR SO MANY REASONS. Not just because she's pulling a completely shit ridiculously "duck face" bordering on a fullblown "Atomic Daffy" (that's a true talent lemme tell you!). Or because it also features random photobomber left of frame surreptitiously angling to cop a feel AND he's wearing camo pants. But also because you may have noticed the beer label that Annie's been picking at like a mental patient, and... yeaaah on second thoughts? it's totally the duck face. WOOOO DUCK FACE!! Or in other words? I think it's fair to say my night plateaued at this point and pretty much plummeted straight down after that...