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.

Josh Lord: Art for work's sake

josh lordJosh Lord is, despite the agit-prop-like art, a conservative. The morning after the opening of his Melbourne exhibition, Josh rose at 7am and started work on his next series of artworks. Then he went to town and did an interview. Then, finally realising he was still wrung out from the night before, he crashed.

Now, if most of us had worked all year and put everything into one night - granted the exhibition runs for a while yet, but the opening was “the event” - we’d be reeling around all wibbly-wobbly and a bit dazed for most of the following two days.

Josh is a working man, really. And art is his business. Whoever said that all capitalism is evil? Josh makes art which criticises both art and capitalism, but capitalism itself doesn’t have to be evil. There’s a lot of evil nasty sods out there. And it only takes a small percentage.

Kim Salmon and Hugo Race: Separate shows, many parallels

kim at wheatyThis was the weekend that Hugo Race and Kim Salmon played separate shows in Adelaide on successive nights. At first glance, there might seem little to compare the two. But there’s plenty.

Both guitarists, both swimming against the stream writing songs which are, essentially, written as much for the ages as us. Both Hugo and Kim are touring professionals who love playing live, giving to a crowd.

Arguably, both also make the kind of music which seems to endlessly slip between the cracks in a modern world so devoted to novelty (rather than a trend) and the appearance of substance or significance, as opposed to any depth or meaning.

Kim Salmon - Mandy Tzaras photo

The Sonics slay Sydney

sonics at manningIan Amos photo

The Sonics in Sydney? What you got out of this gig depended on what you wanted.

If you longed for a show by the “classic” Sonics lineup of “Boom” and “Here Are The Sonics” albums you were always going to be fresh outta luck. That band hasn’t existed since 1967 or ’68. If, however, you wanted a great rock and roll gig with spirited and often inspired renditions of the band’s back catalogue, you almost certainly walked away with a big fat smile on your dial.

In most minds, The Sonics were the surprise packet of the first DIg It Up! travelling revue in Australia a few years ago. Sunnyboys might have been sentimental favourites, The Fleshtones the dynamic attention-getters and Hoodoo Gurus the much-loved headliners, but The Sonics tore the house apart with a raw and righteous set that belied their superannuant appearance.

Let’s make it plain: The Sonics unwittingly made the template for garage punk in the ‘60s and did their reputation justice in Australia.

The Reverend who makes the world a better place

reverend horton heat astrideSo, ho to the Governor Hindmarsh, best rock pub not only in Adelaide but in Australia as far as I’m concerned. Off to see The Rteverend Horton Heat. Dead opposite the monstrous Ent Cent with its vast bowl of an arena, where the punters, grim at the thought of mystery beer in a disposable plastic cup at a fool’s price, head to the Gov for food and drink made by real human beings for real human beings.

It occurred to me tonight, that if I lived around the corner, it’s likely this place would see me once a day for something or other, whether it be for lunch or the occasional after workie, or a slap-up dinner for four mates - rowdy, but still, you know, civilised. The bar staff, without exception, have always been excellent, which is not something you can say of most pubs. Those in the band room tonight are brilliant.

Rockabilly has had a huge revival over the last couple of decades. I remember the first revival, spearheaded by the Stray Cats tour in, I think, 1981; a large number of punker types went and, the following weekend, about five percent were wearing quiffs. And it kinda grew from there, I think, mostly as an underground thing, but it never quite had the spotlight turned on it in the way that the Cats copped it.

But with the Reverend Horton Heat playing alongside what they call “punk rockers” in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and sharing the same label, Sub-Pop, as Nirvana, when Cobain and co. suddenly broke all over the world, everyone interested in Cobain and co. bought LPs from Sub Pop - and the Heat had a sudden increase in fans world-wide. Without really intending to, Jim Heath (as his custom scratch plate declares) was the spark-plug that triggered an engine of revolution.