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...
TONE DEAF LAUNCH PARTY NEW CLUB NIGHT @ ROCKET BAR / Friday March 4th 2011
What I'm about to suggest might seem foolish, hopelessly naive, maybe even dangerously stupid! but I've seen it with my own two eyes maaan! I know it to be true: Rocket bar is NOT beyond hope, it can be fixed! IT CAN BE SAAAVED!! IT CAN BE MADE "AWESOME" AGAIN!! And I don't mean made awesome again in the "Project Mayhem" sense with a couple white vans wired to blow in the carpark adjacent. Although that thought has crossed my mind more than once (well shit I AM an insomniac in my early to mid 30's with nothing left to lose... so who knows!? AAAAHAHahAhaHAhA!! *ahem*). But no, redeeming THIS proverbial "rape dungeon" bordering on a dictionary definition (wait, isn't it more of a "rape attic"?) wouldn't require such "drastic measures". It wouldn't require explosives fashioned out of ordinary household items, a near fanatical kamikaze deathsquad, or even Edward Norton barking out orders abseiling from a rooftop. In fact it's SO bleedingly obvious I'm surprised nobody's thought of it before! First off: ditch all their douchebag DJs... yeaaah you know the type who thrash all that Modular/Ed Banger crap to such skull raping intensities that only androgynous extraterrestrials could ever listen it for more than three hours straight without blowing their fucking brains out? HA HA HA!! THE SOONER THEY'RE GONE THE BETTER! (maybe even call in an exorcist to salt the exits just to be sure?). Secondly: hire someone to work the lights... and I mean ANYONE!! No shit they've got a stupidly comprehensive stage setup straddling half the dancefloor ceiling and a good part of the back wall, it's easily one of the maddest of ANY Adelaide venue, it doesn't take a genius to figure it all out... and yet everyone still plays in the dark? I MEAN, DOESN'T THAT SHIT JUST BUG YOU!? FUUUCK OFF!! And thirdly: install a teeny tiny "service lift" so bands don't have to lug their shit up three flights of stairs...? AAAAHAHaHAhA I know! but we can still dream can't we?
RED COATS (****1/2) - Our second act tonight Tone Deaf have brought in especially from Melbourne. But its not the first time I've ever seen them: that was back in June last year at The Ed Castle. And as much as they played the shit out that band room with their 70's brand of doom rock psychedelia? (and THEN SOME) they were a little "lost in translation" for me. Partly due to a muddy mix fucking up their louder songs like a cement truck stuck in a sandstorm; but also because they were a psychedelic band wedged between two OTHER psychedelic bands (and we're talking second fiddle here to the lysergic shitstorm of both Two Suns and Lady Strangelove... HA HA HA DUUUDE!!) which was kinda like selling ice to eskimoes; or to be sliiightly more genre specific? like selling us bags of grief when we're inundated with sticky icky orange the size of orangutans (and yes forgive me for somewhat paraphrasing my previous review with that one but it's still paints a mad mental picture doesn't it?) but tonight here at Rocket Bar...? OOOOH they're transmitting loud and clear! Yup for those of you uninitiated? Red Coats could be considered a cross between Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Soundgarden and Black Mountain. They're as fuck off angry and antagonistic as psychedelic gets (in other words they're pretty much late 60's/early 70's metal before it became a "devil horn" saluting cartoon caricature of itself), they'll soon be joining Stone Temple Pilots on tour around the country and all signs appears to be pointing to them being the "next big thing", you know if you're totally into that kinda "thing"; but at the very least I'm really starting to understand why. And it's not so much for Neil Wilkinson's masterful guitar work alternating between contemplative blues riffs and full throttle squealing intensity in the solos; but hey definitely no complaints here! (it puts hairs on your teeth and then proceeds to shave them!). But it's more so for their diabolical rhythm section running between Rhys Kelly on bass and Andrew Braidner on drums: how it churns out this altogether hypnotic, propulsive and pulsing witches brew of ever present dread (and the live mix especially is really cranking the low end in making our intestines twist like pretzels to it) and how their lead singer Emilio Mercuri takes all that, whips it into a frenzy and then proceeds to rip your throat out with it. Pacing back and forth in a constant state of cat-like readiness with a pissed off expression and a wailing falsetto midway between a Chris Cornell and a Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden; fighting a life and death battle with his microphone, glaring straight at you, through your head, the back wall behind you, the street behind that and perhaps the sky above in the hopes he could make the moon spiral into the sun and explode using nothing but the power of his mind. I mean there's "stage presence" and then there's FUCKING STAGE PRESENCE and this cat's got it nailed like nothing short of a demon possession! I mean no shit, if someone ever teleported this shit back in time to the 60's and Charles Manson got hold of it and a mad tab of acid instead of "Helter Skelter" by The Beatles? we'd be arse deep in superintelligent cockroaches and oceans full of shattered concrete by now... because that's all that would be left after civilisation implodes in on itself. And all things considered? it'd be a pretty schweet way to go if THIS was the soundtrack. Yup that's Red Coats. I get it now, BELIEVE ME I GET IT NOW!! Like Rocket Bar is a windtunnel, they're the spinning turbines and for the next few weeks I'm gonna be brushing my teeth embedded in the ETSA building with a window washing platform and a broom handle...? OOOOH FUCK YEAH!!
LADY STRANGELOVE (****1/2) - Which brings us to our headlining act: and one of those chance few reasons why ANYONE in their right mind would ever consider "a night at Rocket Bar" a worthy option without their friends and family giving them an exasperated look and a stern talking down (or failing that a crucifix, a shotgun, a can of petrol, a cigarette lighter and a tearful farewell). I mean no shit... it doesn't matter WHO brought them in here, or for what foul or fantastical design short of sacrificing them to the great Cthulhu that dwells under Electric Circus of course... because let's face it he really doesn't need the "encouragement" (he DJs on alternating Thursdays too!). The very fact they ARE here is all that matters... Tone Deaf you did good, you did REAL GOOD!! Yup Lady Strangelove clearly need no introduction; short of the fact that everytime they've played Rocket Bar they've blown our brains so astronomically out of our skulls (and occassionally as an aerosol mist pissing out our ears) we forget we're even IN Rocket Bar anymore... let alone Jive, Jade Monkey, Enigma Bar, The Ed Castle or any number of other live venues they've played like a proverbial kaleidoscope shat through a megaphone for the past five years. They're an Adelaide institution bordering on the mental, if not ten foot tall bullet proof and belching fire mythological. And tonight was clearly no exception. They were equally as rubberband precise and they were loose as all hell in letting it rip (and the crowd likewise were totally losing their shit in response) just as it's not entirely necessary to elaborate upon all that (as let's face it it's pretty much "business as usual" as far as they're concerned!) except for a few noteworthy observations. Firstly the fact that they were lacking their signature visuals tonight; possibly because Tone Deaf had substituted their own in the form of their animated blinking pyramid logo (which you didn't really notice unless you were really looking for it). And as much as we did kinda miss their spastic technicolour mashup of shitcrazy Disney whatever-the-fuck, dolphins and naked hippie chicks floating through space and the occasional SpongeBob SquarePants? (because yes... it's a stoner cliche for a reason!) in trade it did make them that much easier to photograph. As to rather neatly illustrate what I said earlier? ALL it took was Davison Jones (bass player for Two Suns) to cluelessly flick a few dials and faders and suddenly I was blessed with the most fuckoff awesome and insane lighting I've even seen in this joint in well over three years; and all that FROM A FREAKING BASS PLAYER!? "Yeaaah but have you seen him play the bass!?". Yes I have, point taken: he's a freaking genius and all these ninja shots are very much thanks to him (duuude I owe you one!). Secondly they had a few new songs, or at least I THINK they were new... as they did seem a little bit thrashier compared to the other "new songs" they've been playing recently: as much as they didn't really have a printed setlist, as they're the kinda band that usually makes it difficult to keep track of all the "finer details" anyways from totally losing your shit on a dancefloor (I like to think it's one of their best qualities) as much as I DID recognise that one song they're tentatively planning to make their next single: "Sweet Exchange" (and if you watch the live video you may understand why). And thirdly... aaaah fuck it they're Lady Strangelove duuude! You don't need to be on drugs to appreciate them, they ARE the drugs! they've been gigging like mad for the past two months (they're playing again next week!) saving up cash to hit Weed, California again in June to finish recording another six songs for their album, and for exorcising the mad flailing FUCK out of Rocket Bar tonight...? WE SALUTE THEM!!
But of course I had more "pressing concerns" right now, namely drinking as much free piss as inhumanly possible until my liver, kidneys and spleen all burst out of my eyesockets like water balloons; because clearly any concept of "drinking responsibly" flies out the window the minute you don't have to pay for it... OOOOH SHIT YEAAAH!! As such I would also like to point out that despite any evidence to the contrary here? we totally didn't drink until 5AM, because pfft... THAT'S JUST PLAIN RIDICULOUS!! Producers Bar is only open till 3AM, EVERYONE KNOWS THAT!! (as much as it was technically a private party and it wasn't open to the public anyways). Nope let's just assume for the sake of the "official record" that everything you're about to see happened between the hours of two and three in the morning, at which point the house lights promptly switched on (like swiss precision they did!) and everyone left in a swift but orderly fashion. Just like me failing to provide any times for ANY of these photos in following is clearly an "oversight" on my part and... oh wait is that the bartender pouring round after round of black sambucas and one of them is mine!? oh yeaaah! this is so gonna do wonders for my head the next day isn't it? HA HA HA YOU BETCHA!!
But of course disembodied blue spirits of Ride Into The Sun guitarists: which to my knowledge aren't currently deceased (but would perhaps register as "braindead" if we ran an EEG reading on them right now) weren't my only company at Producers Bar tonight. Nope slowly but surely, and in no way stampeding all at once like a thunderous herd of Rhino, I was greated by an "intimate gathering" of no less than a dozen but no greater than fifty (actual head count a little foggy as I may have been "counting" in duplicate here) and aren't they a cheerful bunch to be around too!?
Or Balf to the left there who was cranking the maddest DJ set until the wee hours of the... *cough* I mean "just shy of 3AM" (what!? it's totally plausible we did all this in half an hour!). Whilst Todd slept soundly off to the right still "registering a pulse" I assure you; but possibly also expelling various gases that have somehow taken on corporeal form and continued to "drink in his stead".
And of course NO opportunity to take the piss out of a "sleeping" Todd should ever go to waste: an opportunity that Tom Pennington was more than happy to make the most of here, until he passed out cold himself. Hmmm. It was at around this time that I began to suspect that maybe Todd's "blue apparition" was in fact a bona-fide gas leak, and since all the doors and windows were shut? this entire room was being starved of oxygen and any minute now we could all collapse, suffocate and die; and maybe we should totally do something drastic about that shit before it's too late!
Or maybe I could take another photo of Todd "drinking" from this beer instead... FUCK YEAAAH!!
Which speaking of blue shit? brings us to Jonnie Fritz here: who's only reason for appearing in this episode is for mad pimping out this blue cardigan, or at least he WAS "mad pimping" it out until I helpfully pointed out it looked a whole lot like the team colours for Port Power. After which he gave me an altogether DIFFERENT facial expression and then proceeded to throw beer bottles at me.