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...
*Ahem* and yes if you read that last line in your head with a voice bordering on the tad hysterical? (and yes it WAS very much implied that you should!) then you may begin to appreciate just WHY I stopped writing this gibberish in the first place as to be honest? I was just looking to find a little work/life balance outside of this blog again (and it's funny how writing what amounts to an honours thesis every week defending your "argument" against every single anticipated act of "anonymous" comment box abuse tends to get in the way of that...arsehats!) but more to the fact? this is a bad BAD time of year to be wanting to write anything other than a proverbial "suicide note" with a laugh track attached. WHY!? Because winter is HELL, winter is punishing, unrelenting and abusingly cruel! And winter in Adelaide especially is like fucking Groundhog Day The Musical, and it grinds you to a fucking nub and there's no "Andie MacDowell" in this film (huh...who!?) or...shit maybe there IS? but they ain't leaving the house! *sigh* WHY WON'T THEY LEAAAVE THE HOUSE...WAAAUGGHHH!? (because only an idiot would do that in this weather!? YEAAAS!!). Nope the only ones who genuinely DO love winter are "married couples", or have a cat, or they're married TO their cat, or their many cats plural (oh and we all know who's wearing the "pants" in THAT relationship *cough* what!? I'm not feline-a-phobic...they may be cute and furry and inspire all manner of whimsical viral youtubes but they're whiskered psychopaths I tells ya!) and they're certainly not out on the town attempting to provide running commentary for a live music blog such as THIS, not when they've got awesome "central heating" at home they can huddle up to (nawww!) and yet HA HA HA here I am rambling nonsensically over another photo of a drumkit instead!? GUH!! I'M OUT OF MY FUCKING MIIIND!!
But thankfully I'm not the ONLY ONE going batshit insane out of my "climate controlled cocoon" here. Nope I'm truly in like minded company tonight...see all those claw marks climbing the walls? (and perhaps we mean those "claw marks" figuratively!? yeaaah let's just say that!), ooooh we're practically ground zero to its very epicentre peeing into milk bottles here at Producers Bar tonight! I mean suuure with a cursory glance this establishment might be "keeping its shit together" with its soothing "lowlit aesthetic" looking equal parts 90's Nine Inch Nails video, Sunnydale Hellmouth and that musty Venice catacombs with all those rats burning alive in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (aaaah the sound of rape whistles ringing shrill in unison? it truly is music to my ears!). But peek a little bit closer; and by a "little bit closer" I mean it's bleedingly obvious once someone points it out to you: me, my current yammering state of "winter wellbeing", and this venue tonight? may have a lot more in common in hilarious dysfunction: especially when it's the SAME venue still littered everywhere with streamers "fresh" from Isle Of Vision's EP Launch; a full two weeks ago...
Or these television sets from that same launch: who's exact purpose that night I was never quite clear on...but maybe that was because I was drunk at the time and I wasn't really all that clear on anything? but even less so now for why they should STILL be sitting here!? I mean c'mon duuude they're freaking television sets! shouldn't someone have collected them by now!? except yeaaah they're cathodes and nobody watches TV on cathodes now, or on a TV at all for that matter...not when you can simply download everything (and watch it on your iphone instead) but no seriously doesn't anyone clean up in this shitdive!? THERE'S STILL SHATTERED GLASS ON STAGE, PEOPLE!!
And as for this coffin they still keep back stage behind the curtain? (and if you don't believe me go look for yourself! FREAAAKY!!) yeaaah *ahem* perhaps the less we say about THAT the better...
But hey I'm not just here to take cheap shots at Producers Bar's expense (but c'mon duuude they keep a freaking coffin in there? WHAT THE FUUUCK IS UP WITH THAT SHIT!?) as much as I readily admit that YES they are providing me more than enough "inspiration" for this wondrous shit kicking littany of insults thinly disguised as a "live gig writeup". Nope I'm here more for the live acts, their suitably winteresque sound and how could we possibly forgot Adelaide's very own omnipresent Matt Hills here who'll be mixing said "sound" to perfection tonight who quite possibly crawled out of said "coffin" above mere moments earlier? pfft...no seriously!? WHERE ELSE WOULD YOU WANT TO BE HUH? HUH!? somewhere slightly more reputable and less resembling a rape tunnel in the west end where the live stage isn't littered with shattered glass and spastic streamers from two weeks ago, or just somewhere anywhere with a heater and a piping mug of hot milo!? HA! WE LARF AT YOU!!
RACHEL CEARNS (***1/2) - Which then makes for quite the curious...or perhaps just shy of "comical"? contrast with our second act. And the reason why? is made immediately apparent the minute their lead singer fronting her eponymous band (although to be fair, technically they haven't come up with a proper "band name" yet) practically skips onto stage tonight with a goofyarse grin, all chirpy, chipper, whizzbang exciteable to be here. Or rather like the Adelaide scene equivalent of following up someone like "PJ Harvey" with "Delta Goodrem", followed by all our heads exploding. And as a segue? yeaaah it's a little "jarring" to say the least; almost bordering on a brutal case of the "bends"; but this doesn't make her and her band any LESS the accomplished live performers; far from it! Nooo it's more like mixing milk with gin & tonic and a few of the audience members tonight might be a tad "lactose" intolerant? but give them a moment for their "stomachs" to settle and the walls to stop spinning!? oh I'm sure they'll "win them over" in next to no time! (and if not? aaaah fuck it...there's always alcohol to "anaesthetise" the difference!). Yup this is Rachel Cearns (the band) and all stylistic explosive decompression and figurative nosebleeds aside? "YAY!!" they actually provide for quite the "modest" affair here tonight...or at least in comparison to their head exploding "symphony" in formal attire they presented at The Promethean back in March (I mean no shit duuude they even had a freaking grand piano? and it was all spit polished, shiny black and everything!? WHOAAA FUCK!!). No think of THIS set tonight as being less orchestrally gargantuan, and more your friendly neighbourhood fairy, garden gnome and a few leprechauns throwing a little tea party *ahem* as much as their setlist they're presenting is very much the SAME: equal parts "adult contemporary" meets twinkle toes goth and green pastures folk/country. Or as much as I can foggily figure it: a cross between say Tori Amos (minus all the angst), Casey Chambers, Sarah McLachlan and aaaah pfft...who the fuck knows!? I mean it's not the sorta thing that usually tickles my personal fancy in music (ie: it's one plucked harp and a few sweeping synths away from being freaking Enya) but I gotta hand it to them they DO make it ever so appealing all the same. Or at the very least so delicately inoffensive with their homespun charm you'd feel like a right bastard "beer belching" Neanderthal if you hated all over it. Nope what continues to impress me about this band, and the singer who fronts it: is their esteemed level of professionalism. We're talking the very epitome of "classically trained", schooled in years upon years of training. They've got all the mad theoreticals nailed, they certainly a dab hand in writing and performing a song that triggers all the right moods, in all the right tones and scales. But it's also a bit of a double edged sword once you start delving into all the lyrics...especially the twee cuteness that inspires them. I mean to put this delicately? Rachel Cearns might be a badass musical professional bar none, but in lyrics she is a wide-eyed innocent...and it shows! Almost every one of her songs is about...oh I dunno? a tree outside her bedroom window that she thinks is kinda pretty, or a dying snowman, or wow the sun is shining and YAY IT'S BAMBI SKIPPING IN A FIELD OF DAISIES AND AIN'T LIFE BEAUTIFUL!! I mean it's powerful stuff don't get me wrong! but you can't help but wonder how much more mindblowing it would become if say Nick Cave got involved (I mean shit it worked wonders for Kylie Minogue!) or Leonard Cohen, or Gareth Liddiard!? HA HA HA NOOOO that'd be a fucking massacre! Or *cough* yeaaah maybe this weather just makes me too bitterly bastard-arse cynical to truly appreciate the innocent wonder on offer here!? (and before you say "well...what about 20th Century Graduates!?" have you delved into their lyrics maaan!? they might sound happy-go-lucky but THEY'RE SAD AS FUCK!!) so yeah maybe it's just me? Rachel Cearns. There's a lot to like about her and her band, and your nanna will freaking love them! But until spring comes? they might as well be singing in elvish and dancing barefoot with unicorns. Brilliant yes, but tonight? a tad bit extraterrestrial too!
THE DUNES (***1/2) - Which at long last brings us to our headlining act: here to launch their debut single "Going Under" at Producers Bar; here to provide me with the real reason why I dragged my wearyarse carcass out of the house and into the bitter cold to risk certain death and/or possible frostbite dismemberment this Saturday night to go see live; perhaps even go so far as to inspire this entire batshit insane blog writeup in the first place...or yeaaah perhaps I was bored!? I mean I DID just spend five nights to Friday night watching ALL EIGHT Harry Potter movies in a row and wait...DID I JUST ADMIT TO THAT SHIT OUT LOUD!? HA HA HA FUUUCK!! *ahem* no if nothing else THIS right here embodies everything you could ever wish for from a live show happening in the dead of winter not otherwise hosted at The Wheatsheaf on a Sunday afternoon (but while we're on the subject...how awesomely magical was that shit!?) I mean we're talking the ultimate antidote to all that "ails you" this miserable mid winter's eve: that bittersweet blend of cocktail melancholy, shoegaze and the smokiest of smokey-smokey blues!? Yup that's The Dunes...or at least how we imagine The Dunes may sound in a few months time because they're only just starting out; either way? I first caught them a few weeks back when they played at the Jade Monkey in support of Red Apparition and believe me that was all the incentive I needed to go see them again here tonight. Despite the fact they're also a band; or more specifically a two piece act featuring one Matt Reiner on guitar; and the reason why that would cause me caution (because don't get me wrong this ain't anything personal: ooooh no as a human being he's a capital cat! he's a gentlemen's gentleman! he smokes tobacco in a pipe...IN A PIPE!! who wouldn't want to party with a whizzbang 19th century caricature like that!?). It's just I reviewed one of his former bands once of which he was the lead singer (The Pleasure Of Books back in late 2008 I believe?) and it was the musical equivalent of watching grass grow and paint dry whilst eating an entire packet of rice crackers...I mean it was so "dryly" methodical, meticulous and painstakingly narcolept enducing *ahem* yeaaah suffice to say since then? haunted by that ONE experience? I've been secretly dodging almost every other band he's ever been in (of which there have been countless, in fact an entire "Quiet Pop" phenomenon devoted to them...YAY!!) I mean it was nothing "personal"...UNTIL he saw fit to start this band with Stacie Reeves on vocals and him on guitar. Which contrary to all else I've said about his musical output so far? is nothing but a masterstroke, duuude it's freaking GENIUS!! Him: infinitely geeky, academic and emperically precise? paired with Stacie Reeves on vocals: free flowing instinctual and tethered only to this plain of reality by the sparse compass points he plots? has forged this ever beguiling dynamic: this two tone minimalism that draws you in hook, line and sinker to explore its ever magical depths. With nothing but guitar, vocals, a little tambourine percussion and a shitload of reverb and delay they weave textures within textures; forming songs that appear to draw most their inspiration from the likes of Mazzy Star and PJ Harvey; only paired back to their elemental roots; only to pull the odd u-turn when Matt Reiner swaps to ukulele for that one song and it goes all weirdly Hawaiian (still works a treat though) and if anything? the only thing that's missing here, is just how far your mind and your imagination needs to travel to fill in all the blanks. Which ISN'T helped all that much visually by this venue's utterly "spartan" stage surrounds tonight; especially in comparison to the Jade Monkey where I saw them last (ie: given little more than a black curtain and a harsh spotlight to work with? doesn't exactly do wonders for conjuring up atmosphere!) but is aided considerably in sound by the richness of reverb and delay, and the pristine live mix that Matt Hills at the desk is providing them; especially in some songs where Stacie is practically singing a chorus with her own shadow (and it's trippy as hell!). So at worst? think of The Dunes as a work in progress, or a "charcoal sketch". Already possessing the two tone basics, the solid foundations to forge something timeless once a few more instruments are added to fill that canvas...but still a band that very much exists in our heads as a concept. A "concept" yes but with a lot of potential.
12:24AM - With the dust now settling on stage; or more specifically all those spastic streamers and shards of shattered glass are (like teeny tiny "snowflakes"...only ouchy!) I took a moment to breathe it all in...this moment in time. Figuratively speaking of course (because I sure as shit ain't breathing actual glass into my lungs, pfft...WHAT ARE CRAZY!?) but it's a definitely a moment to take stock netherless. I mean THIS may've not been the most ambitious or audacious of launch parties I've ever been witness to, but it does provide a convenient sign post...or at least it does for me. For in this seemingly neverending night? in this miserable bastard-arse winter that I swear this year has driven me to the very BRINK of despair? (and beyond!) we have now passed the halfway point! THE HALFWAY POINT!! There's only six weeks to go! SIX WEEKS TO GO!! and then it'll all be over and it'll be spring at last! AAAAHAHahAhAHaHA SPRING AT LAST!! FUCK!! YEAAAS!! YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS!! WAHOOOO!! except *ahem* yeah you're probably wondering what any of this hysterical "vitamin D deficient" gibberish has got to do with a photo of The Dunes' setlist and all of Matt Reiner's accompanying effect pedal instructions, huh!? oh nothing really...but how wacky is it!? OOOOH YEAH!! the wonders never cease at Producers Bar TONIGHT lemme tell you!
12:36AM - Yup even with all the live acts done with, there was still more than enough whizzbang "entertainment" on offer here to celebrate the FUCK out of this launch party well into the wee hours of the night. As both Adam Vanderwerf from Ride Into The Sun (resident DJ for this shindig) and Matt Hills at the mixing desk (ipod in hand) did battle the "DJ battle" TO END ALL DJ BATTLES!! I mean hey it might not look like much in this photo...it might look downright civilised! But shit got fucking brutal maaan...IT GOT FUCKING EXTREME!! One song after another: *BIM! BAM! BOOM!* tag-teaming hits between the two of them like a bareknuckle boxing match gone horribly wrong! EACH SONG SELECTION MORE HEAD EXPLODINGLY INSANE THAN THE LAST!! Who was winning? who the fuck knows? HA HA HA WHO THE FUCK CARES!? but we were totally "gobsmacked" all the way!
And yet the minute Matt dropped the theme tune from Shaft!? I mean you could just tell it in his eyes huh? In Matt's mind at least he could not be beaten...ooooh that smug SMUG BAAASTARD!!
And now here's a photo of Adam and his cousin..."huh, what!?" yeaaah I've got no freaking clue WHY I took this shot either; but the way I figured? yeaaah maybe it's best not to argue with them.
1:46AM - Which on a totally unrelated subject...eventually leads me to The Ed Castle. It took me a whole twenty minutes walk to get here, I've spent the past twenty minutes or so upon my arrival laughing myself near delerious with all the world class "dickheads" and "degenerates" here having an absolute tits of a time at "Plus One" on a Saturday night (and I'm also told I missed one fuck of a set from their headlining act: King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard...no like seriously duuude, totally look 'em up!) all of which: in all their teeming multitudes and head exploding hysteria I SO couldn't be arsed documenting now. In fact a great many of you present tonight, possibly sitting at the table just behind me now, are probably rather thankful that I DIDN'T (well yeaaah *ahem* I do have a reputation you know!) because yup here's me posting a photo of an "empty" beer garden instead. Aaaah I know! all we needs are wind chimes...and we could totally meditate to this shit!
2:00AM - And here I am moments later with a photo of an empty band room. And originally it WAS going to include a teeny tiny "background cameo appearance" from one Triple "B" Benny Benny head exploding afronaut extraordinaire (ie: see file photo). Until he remembered rather astutely what happened when former Ed Castle barstaffer "Eleanor" tried pulling a similar stunt last year hoping to get a photo, only for me to shoot video TELLING her it was a "photo" (aka: pulling a "Nick Hadley") which I then posted to youtube, because yup...I'm an arsehole! (awww c'mon, it was hilarious!) and so yeaaah...this is pretty much a photo of an empty band room. Awesome huh!?
2:29AM - And here's the round of tequila shots I had a half hour after THAT with Jeremy and Alister from the 20th Century Graduates; which I totally mooched on their dime; because hell when you're an increasingly brokearse bastard like me in the darkest depths of winter running a low rent live music blog like THIS!? yeaaah you'll pretty much scam all the free piss you can get. SCORE!!
2:31AM - And here's Josh Moore from The Touch...because yeaaah you know what? FUCK 'EM!
3:10AM - It was somewhere around about this point (possibly or not related to whatever the fuckarse retarded Josh was "spinning" on those DJ decks back at The Ed Castle) that it was then decided we should hit Supermild; in as much as that "decision" wasn't entirely conscious (more a "Pavlovian" response) just like whoever amongst us thought it'd be a "genius idea" to drive there? (even though it was all of five minutes walk away) was clearly thinking with all the entirety of THEIR mental faculties too. And no I won't name and shame who that "Einstein" was, or even why ANY of this shit is worth mentioning at all...save for the fact it now gives me a legitimate excuse to post this photo of Alister. "Designated driver" HA HA HA what!? I don't know what you're talking about!
3:33AM - But hey it wasn't a total loss from here on in; even if it did take us all of ten minutes to find a park once we GOT there (yeaaah okay, maybe I made that bit up to make a point about walking instead...idiots!) only to be stuck in the lineup outside for another ten minutes; HELL NO!! Because it's then that I bumped into THIS awesome individual. Who is she? HA HA HA who ISN'T SHE!? or wait...no actually I don't have the first fucking clue who she *cough* noooo ho ho! we go way back! WAAAY BACK!! (and excuse me while I go check my facebook) "Jacqueline"? EXCELLENT!! except for that bit where you thought it'd be utterly brilliant to get a photo, only for me to ruin it by blundering my drunkarse into shot!? No seriously, I spend the past month doing my utmost NOT to appear in my own blog AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENS!? GUH!! it's all "J what'sherface's" fault I swear! Or no wait...can you half tell I'm laughing hysterical drunk and out of my mind here? NOOOO!?
4:35AM - So obviously I figured I should address any "confusion", by declaring to one and all without a shadow of a doubt that yes I COULD totally pilot a helicopter in this condition AND land it safely without too many fatalities and aaaah pfft...who am I kidding!? oh except to point out that despite appearances? most of these drinks aren't actually mine...or at least I didn't pay for them.
4:37AM - And again I must apologise to "Jacqueline" here. No really it was lovely to meet you! from what little I can actually remember of it...errr? As much as I don't have the first foggiest clue which one of us thought it'd be "genius" to get MORE photos for this blog that regrettably I had to appear in as well (wait...you DID know I published a blog right!? HA HA HA OOOPS!!) as much as next to everyone ELSE I was here with at the time was smart enough to flee screaming the minute I even thought to take a photo of them (yes, even the lunatic who "drove" us here...I KNOW!!).
4:47AM - And no, how the fuck did I end up here all a sudden!? yeaaah...GOOOD TIMES!! But at the very least I DO know this ridiculous adventure was totally worth leaving the house for; although possibly not in the writing of it just now...I mean what the hell was half of this shit that happened tonight? "newsworthy"? ummm...YOU TELL ME!? But even so, here in the very depths of winter when it's darkest before dawn? there's always something new to look forward to in the Adelaide scene. Like bus timetables changing on July 24th...? aye? aaaaye!? YEAAAH YOU BETTER BE EXCITED!!
Yup, when I write up a blog now it's utterly worth reading innit? HA HA HA TOTALLY!!