Biased? No, I'm not biased. Why do you ask? See, Adelaide's Fear and Loathing (aka FAL) is the band everyone should see, experience or endure, at least four times in their lives.
First gig: At the sight of a bunch of late 40-somethings making what they sometimes call music and what everyone else calls punishment, you will feel an uncontrollable urge to get extremely drunk. You will not remember getting home.
Second gig: Still hungover from last time, you turn up because you've realised that you didn't quite take it all in, and they've got this hypnotic scrunch about them. By now you're tapping your toe, occasionally jiggling along gingerly. You find yourself buying the band numerous jugs of pale ale. You find yourself driving home at midday, fairly certain you're going in the right direction.
Blondie and her session men plus Clem Burke (obscured). Dean Ertl photo
I come at this review as a fan. Since 1976 (earlier if you count the Dolls and the Velvets), I have been enamoured of that New York New Wave sound. It's a broad church. Suicide could thrash synthesizers and Television could probe the stratosphere with spiralling lead guitar lines. The Ramones could make dumb look smart.
The Talking Heads sounded nothing like the Heartbreakers. The Fast sounded nothing link Mink DeVille. But the scene was still recognisable as a whole.
Blondie lived in the spotlight of eternal summer despite spending a lifetime dodging sun rays. You could be walking through the Lower East Side, see a boy you liked and say hello. Even if you found yourself charged with solicitation, everything would be all right because you are young, beautiful and in love.
Heads up: Rickie Lee Jones was magnificent. As well as being a great gig, it was quite a strange evening.
So, ho! Once more to the magnificent Governor Hindmarsh Hotel (aka The Gov), to which I have been arriving in all sorts of moods to see all sorts of bands since I think 1979. No Fixed Address (many times), Drum Poetry (once), The Birthday Party (the last of three memorable nights in Adelaide). And so on.
Actually, because the Gov is such a great venue, if you are coming to Adelaide, it is one of a handful of ‘I gotta go there’ venues. Thankfully it’s not a toilet like CBGBs or the 100 Club used to be: the Tonkin family have long-since revamped and reworked the place into a rather wonderful, cosy, recreational area for grown-up. The food is always good, bar or restaurant, the staff always fit into their team (I’ve never encountered a shit or indifferent staff member) and the place seems comfy and perfect even on Adelaide’s famous disgustingly hot days.