Do not adjust your TV set: Thirteenth Floor Elevators - live! - in Texas

Elevators live shot
Speak to Austin natives and not all will have heard of Roky Erickson – not your average man-in-the-street at any rate - but by having a few decent conversation with various Austin locals, commonalities begin to emerge. Everyone will have either seen a UFO first-hand or have a close friend or relative that has, including a 40-acre behemoth that buzzed the ranch of one, G.W.Bush, just a few years ago. 

Austinites love Beer, UFOs, Barbeques, Guns and…..MUSIC. Just as Sydney is the home of the world’s best Detroit music, Austin then, is the Global Capital of Psychedelia – thanks to seminal legends the Thirteenth Floor Elevators!

Enter Psych Fest, an ostensibly alternative/independent festival that debuted in 2008, and was reportedly instigated to some degree by local psychedelic outfit, the Black Angels.  Held over three days, it has since grown to accommodate even more local talent, as well as swelling to include many top-notch overseas acts. This year’s line-up reads like a who’s who of altered consciousness – Tame Impala, Jesus and Mary Chain and Primal Scream were three of the previous evenings’ acts.

Hugo Race plus The Battle of Flowers in Adelaide

hugo at the wheaty

Hugo Race makes a point

Adelaide's Wheatsheaf Hotel (aka the Wheaty) is one of those modernised, forgotten pubs with pricey but excellent wines and beers. Local families bring their kids and they run amuck.

There is a beer garden, but few people smoke (which I can’t understand). Coffee and hot chocolates are available at the bar. There are no pokies and no ATM (you withdraw at the bar). They have exhibitions of art, photography, hairdressing and whisky tasting.

The back room (where bands play) is essentially a newish tin shed with a ceiling, lights, formica tables and period chairs, and everyone squashes in somehow.

Leadfinger with Soberphobia, the C-Bombs, The Toss, Drunky Blunders and Ben Gel & the Boneyard Saints in Adelaide

leadfinger adelaide

As far as I was concerned, the night belonged to Leadfinger.

It ain’t often in this town that you wish you could attend three gigs at the same town. However, when I was young and malnourished, in the '70s to about 1983, there was sometimes one brilliant gig, and a handful of ‘hmm, may as well, nothing else is on’ gigs, and always about three or four parties every Friday and Saturday.

Adelaide parties of the very late '60s on were sometimes legendary… the ones which didn’t stop all weekend were rare but they happened from time to time. A band would come from interstate and play Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights, often at the same place, and I remember … uh, I may be about to digress.

The point is that in the actual '70s, you just would never have anything like this; two gigs showcasing 12 or so bands, all the bands good enough to dance to and fling beer over, some much better and some even better than that. So there. You can’t go back. But by fuck you should get out to more gigs. Sod the kids, bring ‘em along, put ‘em in a sound-proof booth like what Pete Townsend bounces around in and drip feed ‘em over the top.

Javier Escovedo, BP Fallon & Churchwood at SXSW

javier

The South by Southwest showcase for Saustex media took place on Thursday March 19th at the Saxon Pub in Austin, TX. The headliner for the evening was Javier Escovedo with support from B.P. Fallon and Churchwood.

I always attend South by Southwest and I was happy to learn that Javier Escovedo was participating this year. I've been a fan of his for years. I purchased The Zeros "Don't Push Me Around" single back in 1977. Then, in the 1980s, I had the good fortune to see him play with The True Believers several times in Oklahoma City. He always sang the cool covers that they played. These included "20th Century Boy", "Walking with a Mountain", "Drivin' Sister", and "Alone in a Crowd".

The Saxon Pub is located on South Lamar. I've driven by it many times but have never been there before. It is a nice room to hear music.

Sunnyboys with the Riptides and New Christs in Sydney

sunny sideof stage

And so the return, and rise, of the Sunnyboys continues. If you said they could top this one, you’d need to back it up.

They billed themselves as Kids in Dust when they stepped back onto a stage for the first time in 21 years at the Dig It Up festival in Sydney on April 24, 2012. The nom de plume was supposedly to avoid performance anxiety or to ramp down expectations, maybe both. It didn’t matter; any tentativeness was swamped by a roomful of love.

Nor were there any misgivings in evidence at the same packed venue, the Enmore Theatre, last Saturday night. Just an irresistible king-tide of energy and good spirit.

Blow The Bloody Doors Off in Adelaide

terry bleddynWarning: Some non-rock 'n' roll content ahead with lots of laddish, British crime and action 1960s films relevance.

"Blow the Bloody Doors Off" is a triumph of ingenuity, intelligence, organisation, talent and sheer bloody guts.

Once or twice I reflect how damn lucky Adelaide is. "Blow the Bloody Doors" off isn’t touring the rest of Australia, though it should, and soon.

Its star is Terry Edwards (pictured right) with guests including Zephyr Quartet, Seamus Beaghen, Rosie Westbrook, James Johnston, Trevor Nichols … you get the picture. It’s an all-star cast.

The Pop Group live in Adelaide

pop group liveTom Way Army photo

Supports Simon Barker and Brian Ritchie were on first. Barker had me enthralled, utilising his kit like it was a series of implements to make specific sounds. The musical pieces he and Ritchie made were enthralling. Ritchie (the, er, violent femmes among you may recognise the name) played a succession of rather out-sized flutes.

Now, given that we were in the Freemason's Hall, a very macho, secretive kinda place, and that Ritchie was wearing a sort of rubber cape (with a zip), what looked like Indian love beads and wielded those protuberent, suggestive flutes... well. And there was a dancer, who worked hard but I didn't really enjoy. I was just transfixed by the music. Beautiful, sometimes crushing ... and rather lewd ... hmmm.

The Who’s Tommy at the Adelaide Fringe Festival

tommy adelaide festival banner

Tommy is, of course, that double LP rock opera what the ‘Oo done, back in 1969.

Pete Townsend was a powerhouse of creativity and, since he didn’t own an opera company or a film company, we can say he made a pretty impressive stab at both over the four sides of vinyl back in the day. Streets ahead of the competition by a forward-looking rock band, Tommy rebooted the Who back into the limelight…and you know the rest, I’m sure.

There’s been an opera version, a musical adaptation, a film, and there’s been several reissues, including a Super Deluxe Edition. And now…this…extraordinary, louche, beautiful, moving interpretation of a record which is well and truly in I-94 Bar reader terrain.

Mark Steiner And His Problems in Adelaide

steiner-adelaideAdelaide's Metropolitan Hotel is on the corner opposite Her Majesty’s Theatre, a favourite venue of Barry Humphries and host, in a few weeks, to Leo Sayer. The difference in capacity between these two venues is significant.

Touring Norwegian-via-New York musician Mark Steiner's guitarist, Henry Hugo, made the comment that for all the millions of flowers, only a few are seen.

I might add that certainly, as we get older, we tend to flock to the art which made us happy in our youth, and that we tend not to examine the new as rigorously or with such delighted determination as we did all those years ago.