Steve Lucas at the Newtown Social Club. Murray Bennett photo
X is a Sydney band.
I can’t think any other outfit that personified the street-level, brutal and at times minimalistic music of Sin City Sydney of the late ‘70s like X. Theirs' was a world of squats with a city awash with Terrence Clark's cheap smack, the odour of brown bags of dirty money and nightly beatings at Darlo police station.
It was a world of corrupt pollies and police in the post-Askin Sydney. X captured that harsh, nihilistic inner-city world. One that has long since been gentrified.
Tamara and Evil Dick. Caroline Burston photo
In a parallel historical universe the vast southern continent now known as Australia might have been conquered by France.
While France was still a functioning monarchy at the time Captain James Cook invoked the now discredited legal fiction of Terra Nullius to claim the territory on behalf of the English throne; by the time Arthur Phillip lobbed into Botany Bay in 1788, France was starting to buckle in the face of rising bourgeois unrest, and had bigger internal fish to fry (or heads to lop, as the case may be).
Headliner Kim Salmon: No fish out of water. Campbell Manderson photo
Every time I go to Melbourne, something elbows me in the ribs and, somehow, things don’t go according to plan. The last few weeks have been short pay weeks, so I didn’t have quite enough dosh as I expected.
Of course, I had also completely forgotten that hotels now want a deposit against impromptu extra day stays and so forth, just in case you take the toaster into the shower or, to settle an argument, see how just far down the emergency stairs you can surf on the bed.
So, somewhat impoverished, I set off for St Kilda, a once-magical place of genteelly-crumbling art deco, dread gangsters (the real kind), assorted equally impoverished students, musicians, dealers and migrants and so on and so on. The event is the 16th A Day By The Green, a long-running Melbourne rock and roll institution.
Credit: Barry C Douglas (Barry Takes Photos)
Zurich-based Henry Hugo has been in Melbourne for a few weeks, playing with a variety of Melbourne talent so glittering it fairly takes your breath away. I believe there might be a couple more gigs to come, so I suggest you get your hat and coat and wallet and get out the door right now.
Before I go on, I missed opening act the St Morris Sinners. I have heard endless good things about them and I must catch them soon. But it wasn’t to be tonight.
Jesse the Intruder of the Psychotic Turnbuckles
The Kings of The Combat Zone, the Psychotic Turnbuckles, returned to Sydney from Pismo Beach last Saturday night for a one-off Xmas show, presented by the I-94 Bar.
They were joined by Melbourne's Stoneage Hearts and Sydneysiders The Prehistorics in a no-holds-barred tag-team contest at Marrickville's Factory Floor. Shona Ross captured these images as the Turnbuckles triumphed in front of a packed house. Click more to see the images.
Truth be told, Lucinda Williams’ last tour of Australia in support of the "Little Honey" album was a little disappointing. And by a little you can read a lot. I had pretty much said I would never attend one of her concerts again. Ever. All right. It was more severe than that. Blood was spilled and oaths were sworn. A goat may have been sacrificed.
So what was wrong with that show? Vague and disorientated, Ms Williams stumbled around the stage in a manner suggesting someone had slipped her a Rohypnol and it may well have been her. She kept telling us how great it was to be playing in a rock and roll club. The “rock and roll club” in question was the all-seated Enmore Theatre.
The seats were so tightly jammed against each other that you couldn't clap for fear of putting someone's eye out. The band laid down a brutal four-on-the-floor boogie. She indulged in strange off beat dance steps, shifting weight from foot to foot and clapping hands above head. These activities seemed to bear no resemblance to the placement of snare and bass drum.