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...
IF A PICTURE'S WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS...? 20TH CENTURY GRADUATES @ THE JADE MONKEY / Saturday June 25th 2011
Okay... so admittedly I only really decided this on a "whim", and I may change my mind back on another whim (ie: when my spirit finds me again) but this blog you're reading... THIS? IS THE LAST BLOG I'M EVER GONNA WRITE, FUCK IT!! or wait? perhaps it's just the last "live review"? or perhaps it's just... oh *shit* and now you're thinking that...? NOOOO!! I'm STILL gonna be publishing blogs duuude! plently of awesome hilarious blogs; only they'll be photo blogs, yeaaah, PHOTO BLOGS!! I FUCKING LOVE PHOTO BLOGS!! (shit I might even bring back the video blog too!) hell, Spoz's Rant ain't going anywhere! I ain't ever leaving you! seriously!? (aaaah but what I wouldn't give to tour!?) I freaking love this shit! it's just that... ooooh crap, I just don't fucking know anymore! except all I DO know for certain is I fucking hate "writing" blogs now! you can't imagine how it eats me alive! Or perhaps you do, because for the most part that's all I ever DO write about now! Or perhaps it's just the weather? HA HA HA no shit, is THAT doing your head in too!? In fact a friend even gave me a diagnosis for it last night: "seasonal affective disorder", in effort to explain my sadsack expression at Supermild looking for all the world like I wanted to throw myself off a fucking bridge rather than face another night of it (aaaah yes Fridays... GOOOOD TIMES!!). Nope winter in Adelaide is a war of attrition alright, I know that! where days are dark and depressing and city streets hollow out like a cemetery? I know that shit ALL TOO WELL!! It's like the live scene equivalent of "Into The Wild": yeaaah you know that movie riiight? directed by Sean Penn? where the main protagonist abandons all pretense for civilised society, disappears off into the depths of Alaska, and dies alone, horribly, then the credits roll and then you wonder "no wait, what? WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT ALL ABOUT!?" but with that really awesome Eddie Vedder soundtrack? ooooh it's done a "number" on ME alright! And yet I'm still here "out and about" anyways, WHY? well pfft, what else I'm gonna do? GIVE UP!? (except wait, didn't I say all that junk about me... ummm? YEAH BUT I'M STILL HERE AREN'T I!!).
Yup I STILL do have a blog to run, this is my "job" afterall (written or no written) and even if I am going insane on the surface of the Moon or Mars here and all signs point to the contrary (or those "signs" simply pack up their bags and move to Melbourne or Sydney instead... GUH DAMNIT!!) I'm still gonna say there's "life" to be found here and dare you to disagree!? it's damn near teeming with it AND YOU KNOW IT!! (if only you know where to dig!). But it IS an increasingly tough sell to make in winter, especially an Adelaide in winter, and you don't have to tell me, I totally understand duuude! I mean it's cold, it's brutally cold! sure it's not Canadian cold, it's not even Melbourne cold (ooooh you can totally hear them all snickering at us can't you?) but there's hardly an incentive to brave that "cold" is there? not when most our live venues are concentrated about the city centre; most of our gig going population are out in the burbs, waaay out in the burbs, where all the buses, trains and trams stop running at midnight and taxis cost upwards of $50; but we're all brokearse students, barely employed, or on the dole, and drinks over the bar are waaay too expensive; and we'd much rather hit up our "corner store" for a bag of goon, huddled around the gas heater with our cats or dogs, or friends with benefits, or fuck I dunno "it's complicated"; surfing viral youtubes or hacking into each others facebooks leeching off that wi-fi signal from that one house/flat/church nextdoor who were naive enough not to passcode encrypt it; than risk attending some shitdive we hate, with a cover charge we can barely afford, featuring a local lineup we wouldn't even have heard of before if it weren't for some fartarse ambiguous 3-4 star rating I gave them on this blog a few months back; and wait did someone say midyear uni exams!? pfft of course not... because we all dropped out of uni years ago and joined the ranks of the "professionally vague" (in protest over a cafeteria menu that didn't offer nearly enough "vegan dishes") and... HA HA HA WHOAAA SHIT!! *ahem* Yup, as much as I was simply gonna turn up here regardless, because shit duuude it's what I do, every damn week, well beyond the point of it being called a mental illness!? no matter what your excuses!? right here at the Jade Monkey tonight, was the place to be! right here's where we're gonna bask in the warm glowing glow of guitar pedals and drink the midnight sun! YEAAAS!!
And this "entry stamp": that the attending doorstaff got all giddy and exciteable about; or perhaps it was just "Miffy" who possibly never ACTUALLY worked the door tonight... or perhaps she did!? "oh you better believe she did! she worked that door off its brass hinges! SHE WORKED THE SHIT OUT OF THAT SHIT AND THEN WE TOTALLY GAVE HER A STANDING OVATION!! WAHOOOO!!" either way? *ahem* it's apparently HER stamp and she's totally insisting I take a photo of it. Awwww I know! And since I clearly have nothing else better to do right now!? (actually that's probably not a lie... I really, SERIOUSLY DON'T!!) aaaah fuck it, why not oblige her in documenting it? (HA HA HA yeaaah you're so gonna miss me providing all this witty written commentary in future blogs aren't you!?).
MOUNTBATTEN (***1/2) - And speaking of running commentary we could probably ALL do without (or at the very least THIS BAND could definitely do without) especially considering it'll likely consist of little more than me letting loose a littany of crass character assassinations wrapped up in backhanded compliments/insults very thinly disguised as a "live review" accompanied by photos of them looking increasingly uncomfortable and/or awkward to be here... SHIT YEAAAH!! (and to think this shit actually got bands signed in the past!? no seriously, I swear that actually happened once!) along comes our opening act Mountbatten, and... OOOOH CRAP!! But to be honest they really don't have all that much to worry about from me tonight. Nope. For as much as I truly HAVE hit the jackpot in being presented with the geekiest, gangliest, goofiest ragtag "chess team" ensemble of mouth breathing dorks and dweebs; oh and new member Alister Douglas on drums: who arguably avoids any and all flying insults from me tonight (but perhaps only because he's so damn difficult to photograph behind that drumkit, hidden behind everyone else back of the stage... you weasel!) pretty much since Clue To Kalo, Radio Spectacular!!! or any number of their bass player's "all-star clusterfuck orchestras" tripped the "newborn giraffe" fantastique for this blog (oh such ripe comedy fodder I've had with them too!) they can still hold their heads with pride. No really! for as much as I could make mocking mention of their guitarist Walter Marsh? how he's SO freaking the fuck out over the prospect of me taking photos here tonight: he's actually made a concerted effort NOT to look all awkward and squinty in any of them just so I couldn't take the absolute piss out of him for it (pfft... noooo! I like to think it more a celebration of his unique character!). Or how their bass player Ben Revi took it one step FURTHER? in turning to face the wall anytime I dared approached HIM shooting with a camera in hand (save for all those badass photos I got before he thought to do that... score!) because apparently he was "bored" tonight, so he figured he'd make a game of it and apparently it was the most fun he's had on stage in ages? (heh!). Or how in all the photos I've got of Anthony Golding singing? he almost always reminds me of a galah gasping for air on a hot summer's day crossed with Bill Murray suffering a mild stroke (hiiilarity!). Seriously! as much as I've already wasted a considerable part of this "review" already? making light of their comical stage presence INSTEAD of giving you any meaningful insight over how they sounded or what they might have played tonight!? it really doesn't matter! All that DOES matter: is that since forming their "full lineup" back in February (and quite quickly at that!) they've actually become quite the respectable live band; I shit you not! I mean both Anthony and Walter might STILL sound a little too unsure of themselves singing, how their voices "crackle and warble" ever so slightly like nervous teenagers (and how that somehow make me feel all the more hungover and sketchy to be in its presence this early in the evening) and some of it still might be a little too "twee" and "doily" for my tastes? But they've also reined in a lot of that madenning clutter compared to their first gig, they're rocking a more pleasingly paired back "minimalist" symphony to their acoustic guitar, electric, cello, bass, glockenspiel and drums (which is quite the triumph considering there's all SIX of them up there), so now you can focus more and appreciate their "forest" for the trees here, namely their songs. Which if your tastes say... encompass the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, mid 60's Pink Floyd and The Polyphonic Spree? you're sure to dig the lightly dappled hell out of; and that new one "City Limits" with Carly Whittaker on vocals? duuude what's not to love!? Mountbatten? Yup, if they keep "doing" what they're doing and their songs ARE speaking for themselves (which is just as well because they do have a knack for writing them) they'll truly have something! And by "something" I mean a band who's music will surely become that much more fascinating than the sum of their eccentric parts.
THE SCARLET IVES (****) - And speaking of focusing waaay too much on the trivial here at the expense of the "greater picture"? yeaaah that's obviously NOT a segue in introducing this our second act, nuh uh! For as all four stars of my grand "approval rating" here suggest: The Scarlet Ives ARE a band you should totally both envy and admire, and one who's meticulous attention to artful songcraft should not only be celebrated and applauded at great length but verily studied on an academic level right upto and well beyond that of the post graduate... or at the very least you could totally alphabetise your sock drawer, do your taxes, or solve grand mathematical equations listening to their shit; duuude they're a bona-fide mad blast of "musical ritalin" in soothing even the most idiosyncratic of ADHD inclinations (not unlike a velvet sledgehammer pounding out your frontal lobe) or perhaps they're the complete opposite? yeaaah it kinda gives me a migraine just thinking about it, but WOWEEEE!! Like their delicate and ever infinitely nuanced interplay between negative and positive spaces dancing between my ears? Especially in how their guitar builds upon itself in layer upon layer and then retreats like crashing waves upon a shore? or yeaaah you know, that wacky "whoosing effect"!? what is that a flanger or a phase pedal? HA HA HA WHO THE FUCK KNOWS!? Or how their bass and drums work ever more intricate and complex compositional forms, folding and unfolding like musical origami? Or how the vocals kinda remind you of a Kermit The Frog dropped an octave, dosed near delerious on valium, attempting to fight its way growling out of the tightly wound coils of a bugle horn!? Or how the...? oh I'm sorry I didn't realise you were STILL standing there listening to this (as much to next to everyone else has long since fled to the beergarden in effort to escape it) because in case you haven't figured it out: for something that's essentially meant to be three to four minutes of post punk/indie performed one song at a time? (and by some "definitions" I guess it still is) DOES IT HAVE TO BE THIS FUCKING CONVOLUTED!? Yes... yes it does! and the reason why (and why you're now clutching your head and screaming) is Gavin De Almeida. Yup through two band names and at least four lineups (I think they even had a cello player once) he's been this band's lead singer, guitarist and "guiding light"; as much as he's also been their biggest "achilles heel". I mean I wouldn't call him anal: more artfully fastidious? perfectionist? totally and utterly uncompromising in striving towards... no you're right he's anal as FUCK (to the point his "creative sphincter" for want of a better term has its own event horizon) but shit damn he's entertaining to watch whenever he and his band performs on stage! Yup he's the one who asks me for my smoke machine before the show (because yes I own one, no you can't borrow it, okay YES... but only if you buy it off me). The same who asks if something can be done about Jade Monkey's "stage lighting", spends above and beyond the allotted time fapping about with the mic levels and foldback like he's tuning a satellite dish, "fluffs" the start of their first song at least two times (possibly three) after barely playing the first note (I'm assuming he didn't like the tone), only to spend the entirety of the show shuffling about frantically between his guitar amp and pedal board tweaking and tapping switches and dials incessantly to the point I swear it almost gives me a nose bleed keeping track of it all... but even SO you can't deny it gets results! With Gavin on vocals and guitar, Brent Carraill (from Quiet Child) on bass, and Matt Birkin (from who the fuck knows where... but I bet he's got mad credentials a mile long!) on drums they weaved nothing short of a subtle soufflé in song after song. The sort that could verily unravel the very fabric of the universe if any of these three members but sneezed the wrong way (and a lesser man COULD describe it as rather akin to Radiohead's first two albums mixed with Grizzly Bear by way of Jeff Buckley's "Sketches..."? NO WAY!!) but duuude, what a performance! The Scarlet Ives. Either they seriously need to lighten the fuck up before they explode, implode, or perhaps they'll produce 2011's answer to Pet Sounds and start up a cult; but even so, you can't deny the craftsmanship!
Which then brings us to our headlining act, the 20th Century Graduates, the one band I was totally here to see tonight... as much as I readily admit for the golden opportunity to "review" The Scarlet Ives again after well over a year now? (and two lineup changes) definitely sealed the deal too; or at least I THINK our headlining act will be performing on stage here aaaany minute now? instead of me casually tapping my watch wondering why I'm STILL wearing it: when my phone, ipod and my camera have effectively made it redundant... "awww but it makes this awesome beeping sound!" but no... as it turns out? they're also pulling a "stalling tactic" of their own (quite like Mountbatten before them). And not because they're waiting for a crowd to show up: as thanks to the ALMIGHTY POWER OF ADVERTISING ON SPOZ'S RANT!! *cough* (sorry had something in my throat just now) Jade Monkey is now filling up quite appreciatively and enthusiastically thank you very much... for what's surely about to assault all five of our senses, and at least half dozen of our howling orifices WITH CANDY COATED SHIT AWESOMENESS!! (lawsuits pending). No it's more because they're killing time waiting for their preferred mixer Matt Hills to make the mad dash from Jive (where he's just finished mixing The Paper Scissors, Collarbones and Sincerely, Grizzly) instead of being mixed by the former keyboardist from Satin Harem (yeaaah but he's got the most awesome poodle perm!). And so while we wait for THAT? I figured I'd amuse you with some of this random shit I found just now that surely wouldn't interest you in the slightest, but pfft... since when has that stopped me before!? Such as this customised setlist drummer/lead singer Jeremy Lake printed up especially for guitarist Alex "Chiavaravolo" Ciaravolo just for the hilarious fuck of it (and yes, each band member got their own) where you'll note especially the parenthesised stage directions given for "Pigskin"...
Or these totally wacky signs I found posted by the door, referencing all the band merch for sale...
And here's some of the ummm... "band merch" in question, and would you believe for the past ten minutes or so both Jeremy and Larissa Perry their multi-instrumentalist-whatever-the-fuck have been folding and unfolding keyboard stands on stage, with mock "clueless" expressions on their faces, perhaps wondering if they'd gotten the right height level to maximise the best "acoustics" ON stage relative to everything else in the room, and how many people are currently standing in it... and no really when is Matt getting here? oh he's just flying through the door now!? PHEUUW!!
But surely me giving them "five stars" (and another hall-of-famer) for doing everything short of pulling the proverbial wool over my eyes here, has gotta be a total cop-out riiight!? I MEAN WHAT KINDA TWO BIT DONKEY PRODUCTION AM I RUNNING HERE!? "Oh pfft... isn't it obvious duuude? it's the dumbest trick in the book! she's only in EVERY SECOND PHOTO!! so of course he's gonna give them five stars, FUUUCK!!" (and I don't doubt that's why they've got her swanning about front and centre in the first place... those diabolical fiends!). So in effort to placate all you "naysayers" who truly think I've "lost my edge" here, who think I'm writing nothing but a retarded fluff piece? well obviously you're dead right and I'm not fooling ANYONE, but even so? I also bring you THIS to support my case: this video that proves I wasn't the ONLY ONE mad bugging out to this tonight, OOOOH NOOOO!! this's an entire crowd well and truly losing their left nuts to nipples in dancefloor hysterics loving the absolute fantastic crap out of it! While yup, here I am doing my best to tune out and be that hard hitting "journalistic guy": taking those photos, getting those angles, collating those hard hitting notes in which to character assassinate the hell out of them with until moments after this footage was taken...? aaaah to HELL WITH IT!! I just couldn't help but want to join in and make a complete dick of myself dancing to it too! It's the dead of winter duuude, I'm pretty much done here... and THIS was exactly what I needed short of a fistful of vitamin C and a shotgun!
2:10AM - But after a few quick words from me in effort to "reassure" Tropeano that no... there won't be any repeat of that infamous "incident" from a few weeks back, the same that we dare not speak of now (but shit damn you should see the photos duuude, they're freaking hiiilarious!) we made our way in and promptly hit the bar. Only to discover to our "misfortune" that no, Producers Bar doesn't (nor did it EVER) condone the practice of giving out "free drinks" from barstaff former (fictional?) or currently employed with the possible exception of THIS round of shots you see here now except, oh no wait? perhaps they weren't free afterall...? and I simply swiped someone else's when no one was looking!? *ahem* either way, whatever they were? I totally recommend them!
2:20AM - And as it turned out, that was also just enough alcohol to ease me over that wondrous "tipping point" where suddenly the concept of me taking countless photos of all my fuck up friends drinking on a Saturday night (wow, imagine that!?) ISN'T the lamest, stupidest and most hideously overdone "schtick" ever utilised in the history of Spoz's Rant (because clearly we've never seen this shit done a billion times before! OOOOH NOOO!!) but INSTEAD is nothing but wildly spontaneous, hilarious and 100% whizzbang exciting and shit and... no really why am I STILL writing this crap!?
"Yes Ciaravolo, when you die you finger the ring!" *cough* WHAT!?
2:25AM - And speaking of photos we'd probably ALL be better off without; but aren't you ever so glad I took them anyways and published them in a blog here! huh? huh!? (please don't sue me!) Here's me forgetting to use the flash on these three likely nitwits: which is an utterly crap thing to do and I should seriously "know better" (after how many drinks?) except no wait... how hilariously awesome is Stacie there on the right? NO REALLY, IS THAT COMEDY GOLD OR WHAT!? WOOOO!!
And yes in our ever so brief visit to Producers Bar tonight (because yes they were slowly raising the house lights on us hoping we'd notice) I probably should mention that I bumped into the one and only Dunja Nedic: tireless writer, music journalist aaand contributing columnist to both Tone Deaf aaand Lipmag (through which she'll be publishing a wildly informative interview with yours truly this week, on a Friday? that'll surely inspire a veritable flood of hate mail my way... *fingers crossed!*). Except yeaaah... since I didn't get any photos of her? there's really no point. So probably best you forget all that and focus instead on THIS photo of Dunja's friend who's name utterly escapes me at the moment, playing the drums. Because no shit, is that a wickedarse awesome shot OR WHAT!?
2:34AM - But alas if those slowly raising house lights weren't giving us enough of a hint? then surely barstaff and security telling us "where to go" repeatedly eventually DID (but only after a few more reminders). Because yes Producers Bar was closing for the night, and no there wasn't gonna be any wild and wacky "after hour" shennanigans, not this night, not ANY night: no sireee bob that shit never happens here! (and whoever told you to the contrary is nothing but a liar!). And so we obliged, we dutifully obeyed, we sadly shuffled out those exit doors; only to arseclown some more just outside said "exit" for yet more photos because pfft... it's freaking hiiilarious THAT'S WHAT!!
But more to do with one Matt Tropeano here, and wow I know... professional at work right!?
2:38AM - And speaking of suddenly needing to be elsewhere (or perhaps I suddenly needed to be before I got "brained" repeatedly by that iphone) it's then that we found ourselves HERE at our second port of call: The Crown & Anchor. Admittedly a shortlived visit however (and thus I'm only offering you THIS in no way mocking "file photo" to signify its golden hospitality) once it dawned upon us that we were AT The Crown & Anchor. Still if nothing else? I did scam and promptly scull a free beer while I was here (and no seriously... cheers to whoever it was who bought that for me!).
2:48AM - Only to arrive here at our third port of call: The Exeter, whom I've been told have just BOUGHT The Crown & Anchor (go figure?) only to be promptly told to leave as THEY'RE now closing.
3:20AM - So obviously there was only thing for us to do now: and NO it wasn't take a taxi home AAAAHAHAhAhahAhahAHaHA!! *ahem* yeaaah good one! But instead with that one punchline that always starts with "Super..." and always ends in alcohol poisoning (the sport of kings, queens and righteous revolutionaries I tells ya!). But not before I bring you THIS awesome video of Larissa attempting to ride a skateboard. And yeaaah I forget why this was relevant? but no really, you'll thank me later! Just as I'm sure Larissa will also "thank me" for posting it by beating me to death with that skateboard whilst making that same hysterical high pitched "eeeeeee!" sound, only to dump my body in the River Torrens after it's been chopped and neatly packed into five maybe six ziplock bags; which possibly ALSO explains why there's no photos of me in this blog because as it turns out this isn't ME who's writing all this and yes I've been brutally murdered... awesome huh?
3:40AM - Still, if we're willing to disregard all the above as nothing but a fanciful work of fiction (hmmm yes... "fiction") we DID eventually arrive at our fourth port of call (and yes no prizes for guessing WHERE) but not without a certain degree of difficulty. And by "difficulty" I obviously don't mean any resulting "arguments" broke out over who was going to "take my place" on Spoz's Rant now, so nobody would be "any the wiser" (pfft... really!? a blind chimp could do my job!) but more because after Matt Hills had agreed to give us all a lift here (champion!) we still had to get rid of a random skater/surfer/stoner dude who'd seemingly followed us all the way from The Exeter (who? aaaah who the fuck knows!?) and by "get rid of" I mean we all "agreed" we'd meet up at Supermild later and NOT me (alive or now recently deceased) agreeing to accept a few tokes of his recently criminalised joint of "Kronic" as a gesture of goodwill. And before you ask? nooo I didn't inhale....
3:57AM - As much as whatever-the-fuck I'm on or NOT at this point (but the minute we finally found our way inside... "oh suuure why not throw in another longneck while I'm at it, WAHOOOO!!") couldn't BEGIN to help me to understand just what's going on with these photos either... eeeeee?
4:01AM - Or prove any LESS disturbing when I discovered them on my camera the next day...
4:37AM - As much as it totally makes perfect sense that THIS firetruck would then "mysteriously" manifest outside of Supermild half an hour later with sirens flashing (ooooh spooky I know!). As if to suggest that somehow, somewhere, "someone" out there totally UNDERSTANDS what's going on! and that perhaps one day they might totally tell us... and we'll totally get it! like it'll totally blow our minds inside out like a spastic pretzel it'll be THAT insane, and yet it'll be ever so eerily concise and simple to understand too like "Spoz you idiot! what's not to get? you get drunk, shit happens! it's the same damn story every damn week! no really, WHAT'S THE FUCKING MYSTERY IN THAT!?". Whoaaa no way? you mean to tell me I've done all this before, and next week I'll do it all again? and I don't need to write anything now because it's already written? HA HA HA THAT'S AWESOME!!
And wait... *shit* (damn you Ciaravolo!) what the fuck was I on about again!?
Oh yeaaah, if a picture's worth a thousand words... why am I still writing this shit!? I'm an artist not an entomologist and I've got a whole music scene at my disposal to document in ways that don't require an accompanying thesis dissertation. So I'm gonna go out there and do that, live it, enjoy the hilarious hell out of it... and until I have a NEW story to tell? perhaps you could do the same; HA HA HA WHAT!? no this isn't the "end"... far from it duuude! it's just another Saturday night!