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...
But mostly it's because it's "Good Friday Eve" here (aka: last refuge for the damned) and if I don't get my mad fix of "live music" (read: gratuitous binge drinking) tonight, my head's gonna fucking explode TOMORROW night (when there'll be no licensed venue open in Adelaide who'll service my needs thanks to some barefoot hippy being nailed to a tree in Jerusalem 2000 years ago). And I would've chosen Ride Into The Sun headlining Producers Bar to celebrate this apocalyptic soiree instead: if it weren't for the fact I'd already seen them five times this year... and by covering them again for a sixth time tonight you might begin to suspect just how hilariously biased my blog really is in covering ONLY the live bands I want to see and hey is that Sincerely, Grizzly!? aaaawesome! (if only I hadn't blown that conspiracy open in the previous three paragraphs... OOOPS!!) because it's MY BLOG damnit and you can all get fucked if you disagree... or you can simply start your own blog because hey it's the internet and seriously what's stopping you idiots!? (because you'd much prefer to bitch about it "anonymously" in my comments!? HELL YEAAAH YOU DO!!) and then there's that whole "I'm a sucker for a launch party" thing, but mostly I'm here for our opening act. Yup I've seen them twice before, never blogged them, more to the fact I've been taunting them with it to the point their lead singer Chris-Lian Lloyd has been having nightmares over the mistaken belief that I "secretly hate his band" and it's been driving him insane wondering what I REALLY think of them... and THAT'S just the kind of stupidity I like to encourage on this blog! I mean just look at that "message" he left for me on their setlist: how could you NOT celebrate the mad shit out of that? Two Way Radio!? aaaah fuck 'em... it's ALL about The London Road Poets tonight!
Or yeaaah *cough* maybe I'll just review them next time...
THE LONDON ROAD POETS (****) - AAAAHAHahAhAHahAHA... JUST KIDDING!! (or am I?). No there actually IS a legitimate excuse for why I hadn't reviewed this band yet: because YES it actually has taken me this long (since they invited me to their launch party back in December, OOOPS!!) to figure them out; or yeaaah okay mostly it was just to fuck with them; but mostly because it's seriously taken me this long to figure them out and whether I actually liked their shit or not. For The London Road Poets are essentially TWO bands rolled into one with two wildly different "personalities" split into two different sets. In the first half they sound rather like a super cheesy Top-40 power ballad: like Shannon Noll, Bryan Adams and Jimmy Barnes teaming up to cover Mumford & Sons (although admittedly they do a bang up job of it). Or rather like seeing Russell Crowe's Thirty Odd Foot Of Grunts in a suburban pub on a Wednesday night... and yes it's totally my "dream" come true too! (moments before braining myself to death with an ashtray). It's all throaty, husky vocals from Chris-Lian Lloyd, lingering refrains, sweeping odes to long roads less travelled, all that alt country/folk/70's beige rock whatever-the-fuck (or in other words The Eagles "Hotel California" has a LOT to answer for here) and me seriously reconsidering my whole "I'm not drinking/I'm a REAL journalist!" schtick I'm running with tonight (please no pause for irony). But moments before I DO reach for that bucket and snorkel and that medical disclaimer, to sign my organs and a good part of my longterm memory away...? they then kick into their second half and I gotta say: my mind is just that teeny tiny bit blown! It's the maddest, grittiest hit of journeyman blues. It's freaking Joe Cocker at his Woodstock best meets Bruce Springsteen jamming. It's a pack of cigarettes serenading a whiskey bottle at a truckstop diner in a sandstorm while you drop acid with Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider. And it's no facsimile, it's a downright "demon possession" in just how well they've got the stage presence nailed. And arguably you could say both "extremes" are merely two sides to the same coin with a tempo change in between... and it's merely a lifetime of my personal prejudices here rearing their ugly head and Shannon Noll's (and all those other cock knockers') fault for ruining the slower songs. Because sooner or later this band WILL floor you like a tonne of bricks (especially in that one song I got on video... SHIT DAMN!!) you'll be standing their arms crossed thinking "this is shit, this is shit, this is shit" but then it'll be like "SHIT YEAAAH!!" because it happened to me here tonight! And once they reconcile all that into the ONE signature sound to call their own? we might have a serious contender on our hands (or at the very least 2011's pisstaking answer to Lyla). Yup that's The London Road Poets. It's a wanky band name I know, but sooner or later they'll grow on you something fierce!
IVORY (***) - Which then brings us to our second act here tonight; or at least it did after twenty odd minutes of me spacing out on the satin sofa cusions (which is admittedly one of the best things about The Promethean: they're total mad bandits for luxury style furnishings), sifting through upteen dud photos on my camera for swift deletion, stifling a yawn to near abouts falling asleep (as short of The London Road Poets who fled the fuck out of here the minute they finished tonight I didn't actually know anyone in here... weird!) only to be handed a sweet bribe in the form of beer from Two Way Radio's singer Tim Vann (duuude that's so not needed, but thank you!), only to almost fall asleep again (clearly from all the excitement), only to think "fuck this!" hitting the bar for a can of coke to pry my eyelids open again. Only to return to front of stage just in time for our second act here (YIPEEE convoluted introduction!) only to discover someone seated in one of the tables a few metres away (but in a plum spot) has got his iphone out filming the entire show and unless I want to flail about like a demented albatross in front of him he's now blocking me, which is of some concern because by the look of him he's possibly a parent here to see his kid's show tonight and it'd be rather rude for me to interfere (I mean who the hell am I riiight!?) and now the band's requesting the mixer turns down their stage lighting to a dull glimmer!? AWWWW CRAP!! Yup this is Ivory and clearly this ain't the best night for me to be writing a review on them, because they actually have a LOT of promise; at least once you get past just how near impossible it is to photograph any of them in the swirling inky blackness before me, besides their lead singer (which after "researching" it on facebook, myspace, unearthed and reverbnation I can only say with any kind of certainty is named either "Byron" or "Rob") the same who's apparently celebrating his mother's birthday tonight: she's in the crowd smiling and waving (awww isn't that nice?) next to his dad with his iphone filming and wait, why the FUCK aren't I at Producers Bar getting howlingly drunk right now rather than deal with this!? oh that's right I write a "music blog"... AAAAHAHAhAhAHA!! *ahem* Yup Ivory DO have a lot of promise as much as it's kinda tricky to figure out WHY. Their sound is somewhat ambiguous: like equal measures 90's UK indie and prog metal, or rather like a handful of other bands recently surfacing in the Adelaide scene like Red Apparition and Popy Jane who are equally ambiguous in sounding like equal measures Radiohead and Tool; or perhaps like post grunge Silverchair circa "Neon Ballroom" to "Diorama"; as much as in this instance you could also throw in everything from first album Coldplay, Muse, Verve and The Stone Roses and still not get any closer to unravelling what makes them tick. But at the very least they do form quite the entertaining stage dynamic. In both guitarist/vocalists "Byron" and "Rob" (or perhaps its the other way around!?) making a dab impersonation of early 90's Thom Yorke: the former with the spastic facials, the latter with the rat's nest hair and how that plays ever so colourfully against their bassplayer "Brent" who's fapping about with about as much cartoon intensity as a Wes Borland from Limp Bizkit. Yup ambiguous riiight? quite like the name "Ivory", seriously what the FUCK is that about!? but there's something about them, their mix of sounds, as undefined as they are (and let's just ignore the fact that "Rob" barely looks any older than twelve... yiiikes!) that might actually lead somewhere. Give them a year or so and who knows what they might come up with!?
LIKE KITES (**1/2) - Which brings us to an even "harder to define" third act, as much as they give us a whopping big clue on where they're coming from, when in the final quarter of their set their lead singer Thom Gardiner announces they're gonna perform a cover of his favourite band: "it's an Australian act, sing along if you know the lyrics, it's by Gyroscope"... and that pretty much sums them up doesn't it? *cough* I mean, yeaaah perhaps I should elaborate a bit further? Like Kites are an indie rock band. Yup, an indie rock band. In as much as that tells you absolutely shit-fuck-all on what they really sound like, as much as me listening to them for the full forty five minutes of their set tonight doesn't tell me much EITHER... save for the fact that they're comprised of guitar, bass, drums and lead vocals; and they like to thrash them loud. But if I would hazard a guess? I'd put them in the same ballpark as say British India, End Of Fashion and a whole host of other high rotated Australian acts on Triple J that I've long since forgotten the names to (anyone?) just as if I went ever so slightly crosseyed and squinted real hard I could almost imagine them sounding like an homogeneous mix between Placebo and Kyuss or rather like a diet coke version of Kasabian mixed with Queens Of The Stone Age. Hmmm. This isn't to say they're bad at it, in fact quite the contrary. They're brilliantly adequate as "musicians". From Thom Gardiner puncturing a lung (or two) belting out his lead vocals (equal parts Josh Homme and Brian Molko). Both him and Josh Marks thrashing their guitars like revved up chainsaws. Law Stapleton pulling mad shapes on bass like Lurch out of The Addams Family. To Paarth Sharma absolutely killing it on the drums. Duuude they have all the urgency, the focus, the mad aggression and the fuck-off intensity you could ever ask for in spades and shovels beating you upside the head... it's just that they're missing a little something I can actually relate to like a personality or a soul. I mean to me? it just sounds like "beige" being blasted a full volume, like an indie rock factory preset, like a whole lot of shouting in black and white... or perhaps I just need to listen to more Gyroscope? aaaah who the fuck knows!? Like Kites. Think of them as the musical equivalent of Budweiser: they've got all the alcohol and if nothing else they'll STILL get you drunk, but I ask you... where is the flavour!?
TWO WAY RADIO (***) - And now before we review our headlining act for their whizzbang EP launch and the real reason why I found myself here in the first place (ie: they invited me and silly me I accepted, maaan I SO GOTTA STOP DOING THAT!!) I should probably mention the music that's been playing between bands, and the not so teeny tiny part it may have played in tonight's proceedings. I mean granted it's not something I'd usually mention, or would ever deem relevant to any ongoing live band discussion; just like it's entirely pointless telling you now that the entire venue here, we're talking the entire Promethean Theatre (capacity approximately 200) is serviced by only TWO public toilets (one handicapped, one women's) and a single serve sized men's urinal, I mean pfft... who gives a fuck riiight!? (unless more than two people desperately need to take a crap at the same time... TRIVIAL DETAILS!!). Because arguably YES this "music" was just a stock standard shuffled playlist running straight off of someone's ipod (possibly the mixer's?) save for the fact it was ripped straight out of 2005. And I'm not just talking a few fluke tracks give or take a few years, I mean the entire selection sounded like a Triple J "Hottest 100" compilation circa 2005: Lily Allen, Bloc Party, Gorillaz, you name it (save for that one song by The Drums from 2010 and that Rage Against The Machine number from 2000?) but THAT wasn't the weirdest part. On more than one occassion (in fact I counted at least 7-8 times that it did this) it kept randomly playing shit off of The Killers "Hot Fuss" album. I mean we're talking almost every other song to the point it thrashed both "Mr Brightside" and "Smile Like You Mean It" TWICE. And the reason why this is so relevant? is because everytime I listened to a band tonight and attempted to access my mental "thesaurus" in finding 3-4 bands they kinda sounded like (standard procedure), my brain would keep coming up with The Killers, only reject it outright, only to come up with The Killers AGAIN, and then I couldn't think of anything else; it totally gave me a mental block. Which then brings us to our headlining act playing here just now, and yup... I could've sworn they sounded like The Killers. I mean obviously they don't, I mean pfft... that's just fucking crazy talk!? But quite like Like Kites before them (and to a certain extent Ivory) they had such an ambiguous "indie rock" meets "prog metal" sound to them I was hard pressed to pin anything else on them to describe it. Still, to their infinite credit? they really DO make it work "wonders" for them. I mean suuure they might sound kinda MOR (and then some!) but they're so blissfully inoffensive with it, effortlessly well rounded in both songcraft and performance they're musical "neurofen" of the best possible kind... and yeaaah that kinda sounds like an insult, but I SWEAR it's totally not! (okay maybe just a little!) but at the very least they DO possess two totally redeeming qualities that may STILL win you over. Firstly it's in Tim Vann's smoother than smooth vocals: like all the best bits of Josh Homme and Brandon Flowers combined, to the point you could "tranquilise" a rhinoceros with it and make it dance a tango, fuck it... you could practically serve his voice drizzled on pancakes, and I swear peeps would go crackfiends for it. Secondly they've got this ONE song "Dusty Ride" with this wacky breakbeat backing and Mariachi "high noon" guns blazing vibe to it: like Queens Of The Stone Age somehow teamed up with The Propellerheads or The Chemical Brothers and it kills like NOTHING ELSE... and I mean that literally, because every other song in their setlist practically sounds like a wet fart by comparison. In fact they should totally take that one song, ditch the rest, form an entirely new band around it and then we'd REALLY have something special. Yup that's Two Way Radio. They may not be the mad "discovery" I was hoping for... but hey, I'll still take all the good I can get!
And yeaaah screw looking for a punchline... I've got binge drinking to attend to!
12:17AM - Now obviously said task was easier said than done on this "Good Friday Eve" as most licensed pubs and clubs and whatnot: quite like The Promethean that I'd just left moments earlier, and in a "dangerous state" of sobriety I might add (and I don't quite get why I did that either!?) were forced to close at midnight, or nearabouts to it, or at least that what I was assuming save for a few notable exceptions like Producers Bar here. WHY Producers bar you might ask!? well actually there were SEVERAL reasons (completely unrelated to the fact I might occassionally scam drinks for free in publically endorsing this "retarded-arse rape dungeon" here on my blog? pfft... noooo!).
Namely spending some quiet time in peaceful contemplation of their cigarette butt "zen garden".
1:16AM - "Tabby Sexpanther": as much as that's not her real name, as much as I've long since FORGOTTEN her real name (as she's changed it so many times on Facebook) goosing it with a spastic novelty two-dimensional oversized cardboard bottle of vodka. HA HA HA I KNOW RIIIGHT!?
1:17AM - Todd Lawrie from Ride Into The Sun: amazing us all with his near "supernatural" ability to fog up a whiskey tumbler (as much as I assume it was actually originally filled with a gin & tonic) and then spell out the letters "S P O Z" around the circumference using ONLY the power of his mind (or perhaps the power of his mind to move his finger after breathing all over it) as much he told me that this photo totally wouldn't work in illustrating his shit awesome ability in "arts and crafts": because the only way we could see all four letters in their entirety would be to somehow use a full surround "three-dimensional camera", or perhaps take a series of photos as he's rotating it and make it into an animated GIF and HA HA HA no really, you're still reading about this shit... WHY!?
1:20AM - And that's Byron counting the bar takings at the end of the night, and yeaaah now it's just getting awkward... I mean is there anywhere else we can keep drinking tonight? ANYWHERE!?
2:10AM - Well obviously there wasn't, if I find myself here in Hepatitis J's: a little under an hour later, with Larissa "Larry Pisser" Perry from 20th Century Graduates, passed out in a booth with a drink on her head... as much as granted that IS amusing us all to no end right now, but we tried EVERYWHERE maaan! And by "everywhere" I clearly mean whichever pub was within the laziest proximity: namely The Exeter and then only because we were really desperate... The Austral, only they were both closing up. But no really, how brilliantly does she balance that drink on her head?