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...
No the REAL reason this night may very likely lead to my doom; or at very least leave me with six months extensive rehabilitation learning to tie my shoelaces again without falling flat on my face (or pissing myself) an expensive chiropractic, craniofacial, dental and/or another camera repair bill (or an altogether confusing Sunday afternoon's work for a crack forensics team as they attempt to identify my dessicated remains shat all over the walls and ceiling of this band room..."HA HA HA HYPERBOLE? WHAT HYPERBOLE!? squeeeeee!") would be thanks to their murderous band lineup on offer tonight...very much in the screamingly metal, punk, hardcore vein of "fisting ultraviolence", namely: Coerce, Robotosaurus, Sex Wizard and Valiant Jones. Which some of you may recognise as being all too similar to that hilarious teeth shattering rollercoaster ride that greeted me on that infamous night back in October 2008 (ie: read up on it here and wonder HOW it didn't kill me) so now you're likely wondering why the fuck I'd ever want to relive that experience? Well I'll tell you! Because as much as I DO enjoy covering the more "civilised, sophisticated and sedate" aspects of the Adelaide scene for this blog? yeaaah you know the type...all that shoegazing, math, twee folk, indie alt country "Ben Revi clusterfucking" whatever-the-crap you see populating the stage every other night at Jade Monkey, Grace Emily, Ed Castle and The Metro: where everyone's a cardigan clad shrinkingly shy multi-instrumentalist hiding behind fringes staring at the floor, where too many glockenspiels and guitar pedals ain't nearly enough and "yaaaay here comes another horn section!" I mean pfft, don't get me wrong here maaan I FREAKING LOVE THAT SHIT (for one it's certainly a whole lot easier shooting a moving target when they're too painfully shy to move) but sometimes, just sometimes I love nothing better than to hit up a show that's as much about the music as it is about you totally losing your shit thinking you're gonna die. Suicidal? YOU BETCHA!! the maddest buzz you could ever get here on a Saturday night? duuude, WHERE DO I BEGIN...
VALIANT JONES (***1/2) - Well pfft...obviously I begin with our opening act here; except they're arguably not nearly as "psychotic" as the three bands that will follow them (nooo think of them more as a refreshing entrée of "samosas" before the "beef vindaloo" that explodes out your insides). Only it appears I've missed all but the last three songs of their set (I think?) and not because I spent all that time dick farting about getting those establishing shots above, HA HA HA OF COURSE NOT. I got all of those later in the night, or at least my "reanimated zombie carcass" more than likely did (quite the dab hand with that composition aye?) and I only just rushed in now and yeaaah fuck it...do we really need me explaining this shit? probably not. This is Valiant Jones. A band you may recognise; if not already introduced, by their lead singer Phil Meakin who used to be the lead singer for Marla Singer, who used to be the drummer from Tony Font Show...yes THE Tony Font Show: the mere mention of which will surely overshadow anything else I'll say in THIS review (rumour has it they're even planning a reunion show later this year, except everyone else save for their former lead singer Lee Cowan has emphatically denied that...) *ahem* but more on the subject at hand Valiant Jones; or more specifically the fact I clearly don't know shit on how to describe them and I'm just padding out this entire writeup with "white noise" to compensate. But at a stretch? I figure them for some kinda screaming, fisting, frequently feedback buzzing, slightly mathy accented species of doom metal (or is it black metal? aaaah fuck I dunno) as rendered by vaguely articulate south of the equator Neatherthals. Or picture equal parts Shellac and Sepultura fighting over a mammoth carcass with chainsaws and billy clubs; and Spoz here clearly not having a freaking clue WHAT he's talking about (yup sure to be a theme for pretty much every other band review that follows too...scene expert my arse!) but overall I think I rather dig it. I mean there's definitely a thought out song structure at play here: a pleasingly funked out punctuating pendulum dynamic between all the thrashing, flailing and screaming and the "quiet bits". So if you're into this kinda schtick maybe you'll dig it even more; and if not? screw it, Valiant Jones can deal, and this is me totally not splattered like a "Rorschach" over the walls yet...so all in all? WINS ALL ROUND!!
SEX WIZARD (***1/2) - Which brings us to our second act who have two clear selling points in their favour right from the outset: firstly being their band name...noooo shit, how awesome is it? Sex Wizard? "HAHAHAhAHaHA DUUUDE, IT'S SEX WIZARD!!" I mean what is it with hardcore bands having the coolest fucking names in the HISTORY of band names!? Sex Wizard? Robotosaurus? Space Bong? no seriously! if I wasn't so worried about the ever present threat of having my neck vertebrae shat out through my eyelids attending this shit (and believe me, that lingering promise of "ultraviolence" is definitely starting to crank a few notches here) I'd cover nothing but bands with names as rudely righteous as THIS all the damn time, "HELL TO THE FUCK YEAAAH!!". Oh and as for the second selling point? two drumkits? TWO DRUMKITS!? "aaaah but pfft...is that all they got? duuude I see that crap all the time!". And yeah, granted it is nothing out of the ordinary as far as the Adelaide scene is concerned...I mean it has pretty much been a running cliche for well over six years now thanks to Wolf & Cub and every other dickhead and their dog following them in running it into the ground (yeaaaah, until everyone discovered horns and glockenspiels that is) but Sex Wizard don't make light on it...far from it! they make great pains to express just how diabolically FUCK OFF EXTREME it'll be to see them performing live with two drumkits, TO THE MAX *ahem* by spending a full 45 minutes setting it up; I shit you not! I mean they're out there calibrating, sound checking, tweaking, tuning then double checking those same drumkits to the point of proverbially making themselves go blind with all the excess fiddling...and then they play for all of 10 minutes!? GENIUS!! Well actually it might have been a little longer than that (records show it was around 20, give or take that they're on stage) but at the very least they definitely made the minutes fly by. And again I'm at a loss to explain it in terms of likely influences A, B & C. All I can say for sure is that it was lobotomisingly loud and brutally intense: fuck full of squealing feedbacking guitars, gutteral shrieking and a sound none too dissimilar to a marauding orc, uruk-hai army; or rather akin to what it would feel like to receive a "colonoscopy" from a half tonne gorilla with a distortion pedal/amplifier combo the size of a small 1950's refrigerator. As such, the fact they had two drum kits up there? was probably a moot point at best...as short of the odd tribal style sticks work what one kit was playing was pretty much indestinguishable from the other. More so when you factor in their lead singer Gray Jiggs squinting, huffing and howling about the stage like he's about to give birth to a baby "Cthulhu" out of his bunghole that'll usher in the apocalypse (if only there wasn't a pineapple blocking the way) and then there's the increasingly bloodthirsty crowd around me on top of THAT who are happily "helicopter" kicking, punching, hooting and headbutting every inch of the band room into a bloody pulp (save for where I ducked for cover trying to shoot this insanity either side of the stage by the PA speakers) either way as hilariously awesome as this was? (and believe me it was insane!) and as utterly vague I am in describing details, because...silly me I didn't think to take notes on my phone while this was happening (gee I wonder why!?) I guess we can be kinda thankful they DID only play for 20 minutes huh? Sex Wizard. They came, they slaughtered, and there's sure to be a fuckload of internalised bleeding from everyone present mad celebrating the shit out of them tonight; but even so? I dare say they may only be a prelude of what's to come.
ROBOTOSAURUS (****) - Because speaking of "hell breaking loose"...a definition quite literal if you were standing out there in the open right now and NOT cowering and laughing yourself hysterical in a corner while they're playing..."soooo how many weeks were you in a coma just now? *cough* six years!? HA HA HA AWESOME!!" along comes our third act. A band who truly needs no introduction from me (oh we laugh and laugh about it now...good times!) suffice to say I came well prepared (especially considering all the ominous parallels to that "infamous night back in 2008"). Because to put it mildly? Robotosaurus aren't a band you so much as contemplate for the "finer points"; especially not in seeing them live...not for their songwriting, for their song lyrics, for their artfully articulate chord progressions or their intricate time changes; or that wondrously bittersweet soothing musicality they express ever so vividly that for all the world sounds like an axe murderer masturbating with a chainsaw fed through a megaphone while an entire prison complex burns down around you (hmmm and try not to linger on THAT thought for too long!). Or how do we put this? Robotosaurus are not so much a band you see "live" as...oh wait, you've seen 28 Days Later right? yeaaaah it's pretty much like that only a hundred times crazier and it's a "comedy" (or rather like a live action Happy Tree Friends and someone's blocked off all the exits). And so as an unwitting rock photographer? ooooh I'm not even exaggerating here...YOU PREPARE FOR WAR; in as much as you'll never be fully 100% prepared (short of getting all your "affairs" in order) but you can take certain precautions, ie: don't just take one camera into this shitstorm, you take two...in case one explodes. The second of which, my backup, I stash away in the breast pocket of my leather jacket (aka: my "Wolverine special") because fuck it...even if the weather's forecast at 26C, and the band room's starting to ripen up a fried chicken feel beyond that, I'm gonna need me a suit of armor. I find a safe spot to shoot, except there IS no "safe spot to shoot"...not when there's kamikaze dickheads everywhere punching helicopter fists and everyone's a target; but the next best bet? is by the PA speakers left to right of stage (at least it worked during Sex Wizard). Adopt a "Kung Fu" battle stance, low centre of gravity, elbows out to protect the ribs, eyes on the back of my head in a constant state of cat-like readiness and form an itchy trigger finger punching fist to cover the one "Achilles' heel" all compact cameras possess: a weak retractable zoom mechanism/easily bent or broken; so lens between those fingers, work that shit like a knuckle duster and with luck? I might just walk out of here with all my teeth intact! And the reason why I'm mentioning all of this shit and with such dizzying "attention to detail"? (to the point it fills up a majority of this "live review"), is because, well let's face it: when you're constantly teetering between a "flight or fight" response, shooting at everything that moves like a mad photography "game of chicken" and pissing yourself laughing at the absurdity of it all? you don't exactly have time to "appreciate the music". I mean I have been told they sound like Dillinger Escape Plan; I'll take their word for it...I wouldn't know. But what occassional insight I DO get, is starting to make more sense. There's a growing sense of coherency here: a rhyme and a reason, ebb and a flow, like a junkyard orchestra in churning bowel movements; shit even their lead singer Izzy Stabs has refined his murderous impulses. Sure he still torpedoes headfirst into the crowd screaming and tackling unwitting victims to the ground, but I understand WHY now...those fuckers have it coming to them; there's a method to this madness! They're a free-for-all rage blackout, a rib shattering rollercoaster and a fisting demolition but in the end you'll feel so much happier, lighter and all the colours will seem so much "brighter" (and I think I can safely say they've irradiated me of any and all "foot fungus and brain parasites"?). Yup that's Robotosaurus...and you truly haven't lived, until you've almost DIED at one of their shows!
11:57PM - *phew* so at THIS momentary juncture: totally unrelated to the fact I might've just crawled out of that band room mere moments ago, feeling like a cockroach with a compact camera in hand who's achieved the near impossible in surviving an atomic bomb blast here...YEAAAS!! I HAVE SURVIVED!! I! HAVE! SURVIVED!! AAAAHAHAHaHAhAHahAhA!! WOOOO!! *ahem* (yup, totally unrelated) I figured I might get me some "fresh air", step outside The Crown & Anchor a bit, walk around, perhaps around the corner to The Exeter; I mean it's only two minutes away...and since the latter now owns the former anyways I'd be utterly remiss not to pay a visit now would I? Which granted I wouldn't normally be documenting (because to be honest it's not the first time I've come here tonight and I'm not planning to stick around long anyways) if it weren't for the fact it's been raining for the past hour, the road's all shiny and shit...and how awesome is that photo? eh? EH!?
12:03AM - Except no, it's got nothing to do with that...and I don't even know why I keep tracking all these retarding "establishing shots" to begin with (mental illness maybe?) only that no sooner did I walk in through that front door there? than I stumble upon THIS band playing in the front bar. Now obviously I didn't take photos of them, otherwise I'd be posting them here...and I was only dropping by for a few minutes anyways (and let's face it their "stage lighting" kinda blows too) but being as this is a music blog; or at least a passing facsimile for one, fuck it...here's a video. They're called Sex Uncle...yes, SEX UNCLE (is that the new "thing" now?) apparently it's their debut show for some kinda whizzbang "Save The Bunyip" fundraiser/awareness spontaneous happening drugfucked whatever-the-crap!? along with The Creepers (formerly known as "BOB") and Fungus & The Funguys. And no I've never heard any of those bands EITHER but aren't you so glad I showed you regardless? Stoner surf rockers maaan: near batshit nonsensical, can't get enough of them!
Now I know what you're thinking after all that, ie: Spoz seriously doesn't have a fucking clue WHAT he's talking about and he's clearly saying waaay too much to overcompensate (HA HA HA yeaaah I know, what's new?) just as you're likely wondering in turn WHY it was worth a "five star review"; like WHAT THE FUCK!? Well as much as I can't quite explain in words how some bands like this just nail it on "instinct"? (ie: I suspect they bypass my intellect, my retarding male grasp for "emotion" and my inner critic altogether and appeal directly to the id, the reptilian core). Well screw it, we'll let the evidence speak for itself: with this song they played in the encore. I mean maybe I'm way off the mark, maybe you just had to be here but I could've pitched a tent and lived in this shit for days!
12:59AM - Either way after the show I just had to the buy the shit out of one of their albums; and hell if I could? I would've bought up both the first, the second AND the split release album with Robotosaurus...but alas my bank account was still whistling on empty after barely surviving the winter (would you believe I made all of $10 from running "Spozfest" LAST Saturday!? WAHOOOO!!) so from lead singer Mikey's recommendation I picked up their latest release: Ethereal Surrogate Savour. All of which I bet you're endlessly fascinated to read about too; just like you're wondering what any of this crap has got to do with THIS photo here!? yeaaah *ahem* not a hell of a lot; but can't a dude appreciate a quality Orange amp every once in a while? NOOO!? well screw you guys!
1:16AM - And then with nary a thought I was off to The Exeter again. Now don't get me wrong: this isn't me dissing The Crown & Anchor in my hasty departure in any way shape or form (yeaaah not like all the times I've done it with Rocket Bar until it's practically become a game of "chicken") no it's more that my kind of "illbient freaks and geeks" I chose to piss up with afterwards (or more accurately scam drinks rider from if they've been playing the front bar *ahem*) are more often found here at The Exeter. And hell if they're both the "same pub" now; more the merrier, riiight?
1:29AM - Or at least that's what I was thinking, walking in, only to barely recognise anyone in here; or perhaps I didn't want to disturb the ones I DID...only to inadvertantly bump into my friend "Mel V the Midget" ie: picture a pocket sized Mediterreanean "Anne Hathaway" (only I totally mean that in a good way I swear...because shit damn she's pretty!) and yes this'd normally be the point where I'd provide a suitably embarassing photo of her to accompany said rambling narrative; only she's exceptionally adept at evading that shit. So good at it in fact she's managed to steal my camera instead and shoot all these random photos of everyone else around her. Awesome huh!?
"Spoz! Spoz! credit me if you use them!" *ahem* oh sure thing Mel! I mean I wouldn't dream of giving you anything less than ALL THE ACCOLADES IN THE WORLD for these fine art masterpieces.
With, um...the possible exception of this one? EGADS!!
2:09AM - Yup, clearly the east end was a total write-off by this point; at least in my laziest of assumptions (no really, Shotz was totally pumping riiight?), so obviously there was only one thing for it; which again I wouldn't normally be bothering to document in segue (hmmm come to think of it I'm kinda surprised you're still reading this at all...is facebook REALLY that stiflingly dull today!?) except thanks to all the rain making everything so hauntingly photogenic, and my habit of posting photo blogs of late? I couldn't help but wanna annoy the piss out of you with it, "FUCK YEAAAH!! ADELAIDE'S REALLY HAPPENING TONIGHT". Like this gentle mist falling over east Currie Street...
2:35AM - Or this whistling on empty Ed Castle band room...always a personal favourite (and how could it not be? all those upturned chairs!? shit damn my nips are practically pinging off the walls!).
2:53AM - Now it was here waiting in line, perhaps a little too long twiddling thumbs; no am I the only one who's missed that crazy old coot with the glasses who used to run security here? *sniff* (like my own personal doorman he was!) that I became a tad concerned about their signage here and why it may have been switched off tonight; or perhaps it had shorted out due to the rain, or perhaps it was done like this on purpose!? I mean word has it that Jive next door are now charging $10 instead of $5 for their weekly installment of Gosh...and before you gasp in horror I believe the main reason (besides more expensive overheads) is so they can scare away all the "riff-raff", ie: those borderline retarded Triple J doucheclowns (and occassional members of The Sweet Decline) who flock like flies to shit *ahem* I mean flies to DJ Craig's exceptional TASTE in shit (well he does spin Interpol and The Horrors...so he gets my vote!). Only problem being of course: now they'll think to flock here, and thus in all their wisdom Supermild decides to play dead? GENIUS!!
3:31AM - Only for that same "good fortune" to take a precipitous nosedive when I suddenly realised with WHOM I was drinking said longneck, sitting at this table, ie: none other than Dave "Dain Bramage" Blumberg from Tea (aka: simultaneously the a-grade awesomest and toilet bowl shittiest stoner surf blues garage band you'll ever hear in the Adelaide scene). Who suddenly mad excited about this chance meeting? goes: "HEEEY SPOZZA, GET A LOAD OF THIS FOR YA BLOG!!", and yeaaah I really don't need this shit, I've gone through a lot tonight, A LOT; I almost freaking died on at least two occasions, but aaaah fuck it...what else am I gonna do? NOT take photos!?
*cough* oh maaan...I'm SO not drunk enough for this shit!
4:39AM - And would you believe I spent the past half hour or more, hiding out in one of those toilet cubicles, haunched foetal on top of the porcelain, yammering hysterically: the full magnitude of tonight's many MANY near death defying escapes (shit, even Robotosaurus!) collapsing around my ears like a slapstick tonne of bricks!? AAAAHAHAHahAhAHaHaHA yeaaah you'd like to think so huh!? only it appears I've long since blacked out all coherent memory of what actually transpired before "leaving" Supermild at last: and not in the "soul leaving my body" kinda way, but with me leaving with one foot in front of the other, walking to the bus stop to hail my transport home like it was just "another day at the office", LIKE I DO THIS EVERY FUCKING WEEK; and I'd happily do it every week too! because as long as I don't stop to think about it? I like to think this is normal...
Yup what doesn't kill you, definitely makes life a whole lot stranger.