We're all Happy Men and Women

sluggo enmore lightsIn days to come, when rock and roll has finally been relegated to the cultural nursing home to be read its last rites. It'll be a nice room with dappled sun, shared with other old cogders like Jazz and Rolling Stone magazine.

People will reflect that some of its best times were in Sydney in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. They’ll also realise how good things were, and how easily they slipped away.

This wasn’t going to be one of those high faultin’ essays on the fragility of cultural scenes and the futility of trying to recapture them (because, you know, things can never be like they were.) About how you can’t put your arms around a memory. Telling you: Don’t Look Back. But a story "angle" can just happen.

Sometimes we try to bury nostalgia or pretend it’s not a valid thing. It’s so easy to hope you die before you get old when you’re in the full flourish of indestructible youth…and then you want to take it all back when you realise that the future's not so much uncertain and the end is increasingly near.

So let’s make the observation that if nostalgia isn’t so much the elephant in the room at the Enmore Theatre tonight then it’s taking up much of the available space in the foyer. And that's fine. More than ever, with so many people who were influential in rock and roll dropping off the twig. We all crap on about how bad 2016 was for that sort of thing but of course it's only going to get worse. 

Right: Sluggo from Flaming Hands under the Enmore lights. Shona Ross photo

Sunnyboys bring the magic

Murray Sunnyboys shotMurray Bennett photo

I set out this afternoon towards the Enmore Theatre with every intention of taking some notes, keeping a rundown of the songs, and trying to come up with the sort of review that some people actually get paid to write.

Unfortunately, this grand plan fell apart by the time I’d been at the Warren View Hotel for an hour and met 26 (yes, I counted them) people I knew and ended up in more shouts than it was feasible to manage. Coopers Red is a great beer but a lousy friend when you’re trying to make a plan come together.

By the time I got to Phoenix (or at least the Enmore) it was 7.15pm, the Shy Impostors had just come on stage, and I was carrying enough Red on board to ensure that an in-depth profound analysis of the gig was as unlikely as AC/DC inviting Dave Evans back into the fold. So you’ll have to put up with this instead.

Into Our Arms: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds triumph in Sydney

nick cave lax charismaLax Charisma photo

Alexa Clayton-Jones and I went out to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds last night at Sydney's voluminous and brand new International Convention Centre.

It blows my mind that for a few weeks in 1984, I played in the Bad Seeds, and I’m remembering bouncing around Europe in an old GMC wagon and some of the more colourful venues we played.

PJ lets Adelaide (and the Thebarton Theatre) shake

pj harvey alison leaPJ Harvey makes her point. Adelaide laps it up. Alison Lea photo

BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM

Poor old Thebby.

BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM

Poor old Thebby, and its heritage-listed planks.

BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM

After posting on Facebook that bits of poor old Thebby’s ceiling were falling around them, I’m fairly sure Sunn 0)))) had to turn down the volume a few months ago. Not that we noticed.

Henry Hugo, Andrew McCubbin, Michael Plater and friends in Adelaide

henry hugo exeterWho the fuck does Henry Hugo think he is?

Argentinian. Lives in the evil gnome capitalist capital, Zurich. Will only eat meat-lovers pizzas. No poncy vegetables or fruit for this Dark Lord carnivore. Would probably munch on dwarves if he could catch them unawares. One of these sentences is a fib.

And here he is, this Henry Hugo, writing songs like "Cold Night in Warrnambool", "Deep Lead Creek" and a whole host of others inspired by … erm, well. Us. Orstrilians. Strayans.

Well. There’s a lot of people in Australia. Millions born here, born and bred, who are, frankly, so repulsive in themselves they should be taken out to sea, tied to an old fridge and set free…

Henry Hugo is, like several other overseas-born artists, an honorary Australian. He loves Australian culture, the country, the people, how and why we live here. It’s not a political thing. He’s not a potential Swiss immigrant who complains about the cowbells, or a Muslim grumpy because we don’t [fill in the assorted blanks here], nor is he a reffo.

The Prehistorics, The Stukas & The Dunhill Blues live in Sydney

guy stukasIt's Saturday night in Marrickville and the outside space at The Factory is packed with folks in black but most of them are going upstairs to the Theatre to see some punk/hardcore.

The slightly older folk are here for three bands at the Factory Floor.

First up, The Dunhill Blues. Now, "The Dunnies" have always come across as being semi-shambolic, more about fun than artistry but of course they then turn around and whack out great songs that are short and to the point. This is my first time seeing them with “the new guy” on guitar who has replaced Jeff Pope.

Now, to expect him to pick up all of Jeff’s sonic sounds and not have any input of his own is unfair but to my ears, they seem to have a lost a bit of variety in their sound with Jeff’s departure

To be fair, he was done no favours by a mix that was too loud overal l- more about that later - yet curiously he was hard to hear during his solos.

Don’t get me wrong, they were still fun and enjoyable but just a bit off form compared to the other times I’ve seen them. Nice to see Jeff get up and join them for their last number.

The Stukas (pictured right) are a band I didn’t get around to seeing in the olden daze. I used to see their name on handbills etc and thought they were another Detroit-y band of the ME262/Trans Love Energies type.

A bunch of old Wild Things who made my heart sing

troggs the gov

Chris Allen and Chris Britton up front of The Troggs, 2016-style. Mandy Tzaras photo 

The original Troggs were Ronnie Bond (drums), (guitar), Reg Presley (vocals) and Pete Staples (bass), and their first hits began over 50 years ago. Along the way, they profoundly influenced ‘60s garage rock (not to mention glam) and seem likely to have been the inspiration for “Spinal Tap" when a spirited recording session was recorded, edited and bootlegged ("The Troggs Tapes").

Those reasons alone would be good enough to shell out your $70+change and hurry along to the fine establishment on Port Road in Adelaide, The Gov.

Scrotal sacs and mankinis: Just another quiet afternoon in the City of Churches, really

x3


X3 Lodge dpoing what they do, live in Adelaide.

“X Factor”, I see from that reliable source of intelligence, has been rocked by accusations of performer manipulation and general bastardry. Strange place, Facebook. You can set up any FB page hating all manner of innocents, and they’re fine with that. Indeed, I should imagine Channel 7 pay large sums to FB to ‘get their message across’.

We all know Facebook is filled with the ‘politics’ (a rash word to use in a music review, I admit) of the modern age. Post a picture of a mum suckling an infant - a mundane enough sight as you head to work each day, or as you munch a burger and chug a thick shake at the local cholesterol emporium - and you’re banned because you “don’t meet community standards”.

Another Heroic Friday night

leadfinger friday night factory

In an alternative universe where justice prevails, Leadfinger would be spending their Friday night cranking out a two-hour set to a packed Hordern Pavilion. Five-thousand sweaty people would be singing along to every word of every song from their newest - superb - album.

Instead, they’re middle-of-the-bill and out front of a half-full Factory Floor in Marrickville. And the thing is, to watch them and to listen to those brilliant songs played with such passion and fire and love, you wouldn’t know the difference on stage.

This was only my second Leadfinger show. My first was at the Blood Bank Benefit for Mick Blood in 2014. I’d heard of them but not heard them. I spent the next 40 minutes standing there with my jaw on the ground going “Who the fuck are these guys and where have they been all my life?” Now to be fair, I had waged a blitzkrieg on sobriety that day and only remember general amazement, and a scorching cover of “City Slang”, but I blabbered about them for ages to everyone I spoke to in the real and cyber worlds.