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...
LIVE REVIEW / THE TOUCH (****) "WAREHOUSE PARTY" @ TUXEDO CAT / Sunday June 12th 2011
As much as I STILL do derive considerable enjoyment out of this Adelaide scene, and I'm ever so happy to be part of it and I wouldn't give it up for the world (but by all means Melbourne make me an offer! WHAT? I got nothing left here but beer and broken dreams... and I'm all out of beeeer!), it's not nearly as much "fun" as it used to be; at least not in the writing of it. I mean we can all see it can't we? "reading between those lines": all that cynicism, that sarcasm, the weight of every word wrapped up in such snide hilarity!? HA HA HA THAT AIN'T NO JOKE YO!! And suuure I could continue to "shine it on" in a crass celebration of the trivial, fuck maaan... why ELSE do I drink!? but it's long stopped being a "shiny new adventure" for me, the excitement is long gone, and I've been writing this same schtick for what... seven? SEVEN YEARS!! a lot of it every week, day in day out, forsaking what was once my "personal life" to deliver it? (but if it helps I'm not entirely too sure I even HAD one to begin with outside of this insanity, nor would I want one now... weeeeee!) no really, what's left to be said? "I love this shit, it's a love that robs me blind, and in the end it'll surely kill me!?" NOBODY WANTS TO READ THAT!! (again); and yet I'm still here writing all this shit, why!? pfft... why else duuude, IT'S FUCKING HILARIOUS!! Yup as much as I'll happily continue to enjoy this scene, document it in photos and share it all with my "fuckup friends" (kindred spirits maaan... I'd be lost without them!) it's gonna take me much more than the same old "suicidal scene routine" ending at Supermild to write blogs about it. No I need a story, I need an angle, I need something ANYTHING to inspire me so I don't simply blow my brains out over just how utterly senseless and relentless this live scene can be! Or failing that? fuck it... I'll just invent one ham over fist (hold the baloney) AND OOOOH SHIT DO I HAVE ONE FOR YOU TONIGHT!! two in fact! One's this "venue" I've picked tonight. And as for the other, ie: the elephant in the room who'll be headlining it!? (or feel free to replace said "elephant" with an animal slighty more apt) yeaaah I'll get to them soon enough. But first the venue... Tuxedo Cat. It's the first time I've ever been and maaan was it a bitch to find!
Or maybe it was piss easy to find if you knew what you're "looking for", as much as it doesn't really announce its presence till you've practically tripped over it... but yup here it is! bring rubber gloves, a syringe, a surgical saw and some garbage bags and it'd be just about perfect for a "first date"! except no waaiiit, you mean to tell me it's INSIDE the building!? (yeaaah I think I peed in one of those corners once anyways) *cough* anyhoo... if ever you're looking for it? it's 131 King William Street (I think?) between Waymouth and Franklin Street, opposite Town Hall. And as much as I AM a "first time caller" here tonight? I HAVE known about this venue for the looongest time, perhaps even as far back as early 2008 when it originally ran as a "rooftop bar" at 15-19 Synagogue Place off Rundle Street. And yes I am kicking myself retarded over the fact I never caught any shows there too (it usually operated during Fringe Festival's yearly "shitstorm" though... so perhaps that's understandable) but even more so since it changed places to our current location and I missed out on that spastically shit awesome Format show here a few weeks back: featuring God God Damnit Damnit, Strawberry Fist Cake, Pink Flamingos (and no really who the fuck are half of these bands!? WHO THE FUCK CARES IT WOULD'VE BEEN INSANE!!) and headlined by Jet Boys: a punk band from JAPAN!? except nooo, I picked pissy 'ol Bronze Chariot and their (admittedly badass) album launch at Jade Monkey didn't I!? FUUUCK I so have the worst "journalistic" skills on the planet! but NOT TONIGHT!! Nope tonight I'm making up for all these past "wrongs" by... well potentially, by ADDING more wrongness to it (again I'll get to THEM soon enough) here at this teeny tiny sandwich board; or more accurately a little bit past that... up some stairs and through a doorway to the right. Again not the most OBVIOUS live venue in Adelaide but perhaps that's all part of its charm... hmmm?
Because the real "action" (at least as far as tonight is concerned) is being hosted HERE in the main room that follows. Again the similarities to Urtext are altogether uncanny... although, despite what these photos might lead you to believe? short of that impressively high ceiling it boasts, it's not nearly as expansive as you might expect (especially for what was billed as a "Warehouse Party"). But hey it still beats another night spent at The Ed Castle... as much as it's also filling up with that special kind of "tragically fashionista" none to dissimilar to what you'd often find AT The Ed Castle (or possibly even more tragically so? frequenting Transmission, Sputnik, Electric Circus or Sugar) only if it's at all possible? even MORE tragically "designer label"; but I spose that's to be expected considering who's headlining... SHIT YEAAAH!! (and again we'll get back to them later... and I bet you can't wait for that shit too! WOOOO!!). And so to suit, the DJs are pumping a plethora of indie disco/whatever-the-crap's considered "edgy" right now (ie: whoever's ripping off MGMT of late?) which is doing WONDERS for the crowd looking artfully disinterested while comparing handbags and shoes at the bar sipping gin & tonics, and otherwise giving me the stink-eye wondering why the hell I'm HERE taking photos (aaaah it's like they know me ALL TOO WELL!!). And as much as I'd love to laugh that up for all its worth? It's Sunday night, I'm dead sober and I'm waaay too dead broke to do anything about that... so yeaaah until the bands start, maybe it's best if I keep moving?
But seriously, how awesome IS that ceiling!? duuude I can't get enough of that shit!
And so I next step out into what they've called the "Courtyard Bar". Although that's possibly ONLY accurate according to the sort of wildly exaggerative "real estate" mentality that likes to call what I saw inside a "Warehouse Party": as it simply consists of one catering caravan serving up drinks (that's since closed for the night), a teeny tiny fire grill belting out more smoke than actual heat, surrounded by plastic stools and propped up on loose planks of wood, that wobble precariously like a waterbed whenever you walk on it... but credit where credit is due? this IS a makeshift venue so it's somewhat to be expected (renovated by Renew Adelaide no less!) and I'm rather enjoying the piss hilarity of it. But what amuses me most here are the portaloos... because obviously I've got the mental "maturity" of a five year old and thus I really felt it important that I document them...
And it was then... as I was sizing up a more suitably "epic angle" in which to encompass all that "portaloo brilliance" (ie: by stepping out into the gravel backlot further back) that I was hit with an all too eerie feeling of "deja vu", only to then explode into riotous fits of laughter when I finally put two and two together and realised "HOOOLY SHIT I'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE!!". I mean yes granted I might be mistaken: as it was pitch black pissing with rain at the time in October when we originally (and allegedly?) "crossed paths", and maybe I had to duck under a wire fence covered in mud to get here... all the while wondering if the cops would return, with attack dogs to chase us away, and *ahem* yeaaah perhaps I've said too much!? Suffice to say here's a photo I took last year that might have been this venue in question BEFORE it became this venue, here's the story it inspired AND WOWEEE AM I TRIPPING BALLS FIERCE JUST NOW REMEMBERING IT ALL... HA HA HA FUUUCK!! So much so in fact? I was literally flailing arms about shrieking hysterically over this mad epiphany, only for someone huddled by that fire grill to angrily glare at me and say "you don't have to shout you know, we can hear you from here!" and yeaaah *ahem* perhaps it's best I go back inside?
And so after awkwardly excusing myself from THAT "social faux-pas" (wow tough audience!) I then return to the "Warehouse" inside to more properly assess the stage arrangement... because yes I really AM that boring when I'm sober. And on the plus side, yes it appears to be an actual "stage": with an actual curtain backdrop (and quite the luxurious velvet it IS too!), with two upright house speakers somewhat comparable to that of a Jade Monkey live PA (with similar goofy acoustics). There's a mixing desk partially hidden off to the left (stage right) propped up on milk crates, while the DJ booth is propped up on top of (what I'm assuming is) some heavy duty scaffolding behind the stage so it peaks ever so slightly above the curtain. Bit eccentric maybe, but I'm down with it.
On the flipside however it's a really shallow stage, barely deep enough to fit a drumkit, so much so the rest of band kinda has to setup on the floor in front between/behind two pillars to fit. More awesome still? there's absolutely no stage lighting (oh yeaaah I'M SO GONNA LOVE THAT SHIT!!). Or perhaps that's not entirely true as there IS "lighting" kinda pointing towards the stage of some description, dimly illuminating the action off to the right... but for the most part all those lights, in registers screamingly red (ie: perfect for fucking up a camera's image sensor) are trained squarely on the walls and ceiling above us to give the illusion of size and grandeur (well yes, they've kinda got me there) whilst simultaneously ignoring what I assumed, besides the bar selling cheap drinks tonight, was meant to be the "main attraction". But hey I DO rather relish an "impossible mission" when I see one, it's why I signed up for this shit in the first place (amongst other reasons ripe for ridicule). And before you ask? yes I DID consider using the flash instead: perhaps even a slow synchro "arty fart" flash effect to let what little of the ambient lighting there was; except it looked like complete and utter balls when I tried it and yeaaah... let's just say you SO don't wanna know how much Photoshop I'll be abusing to pull this one off, OOOOH YEAAAH IT'S GONNA BE BRUTAL!!
TEA (****1/2) - Which FINALLY brings us to the first of two acts I'm here to see tonight, or at least the ONE I was legitimately "here to see"; as opposed to the second, the headliners who are purely providing the "comic relief" I can shamelessly exploit for this writeup... but again, more on them later (nooo really... I swear!). The same opening act, who by a funny coincidence were also (allegedly) set to play here back in October for that infamous show I dare not mention (or at least moments before ##### and then the ##### and a whole LOT of ##### ##### happened? aaaah and if only I was there with a camera too!) which means in many ways they rather "suit" this venue perfectly (and no that's not meant AS an insult, but it still works as a compliment if I do!). Yup this is Tea. Quite possibly the shittiest, shonkiest, most ill-begotten ragtag bunch of fuckwits ever to form a garage band (at least since Diesel Witch) that next to none of you have ever heard of before... YET IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY!! and thus... the more "ramshackle" the live venue conditions you throw them in? yup the better they'll invariably sound; awesome huh!? HA HA HA YOU BETCHA!! As such: as much as there may've been next to no stage lighting tonight? let alone enough room ON a stage, with most of the band within "fist swinging distance" of the audience; if only most of that same "audience" weren't hiding out in the back at the room, at the bar, cradling their G&Ts staring at the ceiling and otherwise contemplating just how much they should bid for those "super cute" suede ankle boots they saw on eBay that are SO "on trend" people will swear you've got an on again/off again "friends with benefits" with a gender ambiguous extraterrestrial catwalk model from the future who gives you mad runway offcuts and they'll simply die of jealousy? (I know, and to think people have REAL problems!? pfft!). Or more specifically: as much as one of their microphones may've been misfiring so horrendously (only for their room acoustics to stifle anything else they yelled off mic as well) a mouse sneezing through a hankerchief would get more attention here? yup it only makes them perform all the better! Yup between "barely" keeping their shit together and a few shades short of complete fucking disaster: watch as Dave Blumberg on the left tears into his guitar like he's speed plucking an oversized unruly chicken (or perhaps it's vice-versa?) while Ray Dalfsen on the right stoops, lurches and swings about erratically on the microphone further and farther afield with a mad "hiss and spit" blues register equal parts James Brown, a jar of crunchy peanut butter possessed by Satan, and a bag of cats fighting (and it's truly mesmerising shit too!), while new and rather "no-nonsense" bassist Jake Rollins (at least I THINK that's his name!?) reigns in the rhythm section with Ben Kuerschner on drums like a pro only to all but disappears into the proverbial lighting "blackspot" on stage so I can't photograph him (or more accurately that part of the stage that's even BLACKer than the rest). Delivering the loosest set I've ever seen them play, and yet in doing so proving once again to be just the "happy accidents" that could pull this shit off like a masterstroke? Yup that's Tea. Like all the best bits of The Ramones, The Clash, The Saints, Wavves, Black Lips to Brian Jonestown Massacre beaten black and blue with pipe wrenches then shouted drinks and drunk riotously under the table? Yup even sober, surly and ever so slightly sick of it on a Sunday they made attending this show tonight ever so worthwhile!
And for extra bonus points in the end? they even got their unruly rent-a-crowd to pick fights with them in the final song. It was a trivial occurrence maybe, crass publicity stunt at worse, but as the support act playing to a proverbial "brick wall" here tonight... a tactic no less retardingly welcome!
Yup it's disturbing to think that out of all the DJs who've graced the decks at The Ed Castle, on a Saturday night, for Plus One (and hey, we've all been there haven't we? GOOD TIMES!!) it's almost always been THESE blithering idiots who've been most popular and attracted the biggest crowds...
Except when... yeaaah *cough* let's just forget we ever saw this then?