andy doc temple ellard - The I-94 Bar
Doc Temple (centre) with Chickenstones
What's my Top Ten? Now, there's a question best reserved for someone young enough to still have a memory that lasts longer than a week. But as there is scant actual non-payola industry reference around, fuck it. I will try.
First off, I have had a number of recordings thrown at me this year as I rather often do a radio show co-host replacement thing (when one of the usual hosts is off doing what parallel universe shit they do.) This does not, however, make me any wiser or more influential than anyone else.
Some picks were not committed to Pro Tool hard drives this last year but took many, many months of work to do so, thence, they deserve some spotlight, but I subscribe to the Bob Short model of 'Do I have Ten?'. Maybe, maybe not. Being numerically dyslexic, I shall offer thoughts, not numbers:
When you realise we came up to Sydney from Adelaide solely to see The Chickenstones you may deduce from this that I am a tad biased towards the band. However, if I were able, I would simply be at every gig they do, because, to my mind, they really are that good.
However, one of the reasons I can't dash all over the country is the inevitable lack of money (donations are welcome), and another is that I work in a family-operated business, so I fit myself around what everyone else is doing. Mostly this means that there are things on interstate which I would love to see, but can't.
Opening band Dias - pronounced Dee-az - have good songs and the young folk love them. I think they may also be currently in a bit of transition, as some of the songs showed a similarity of purpose, while some of their others seemed to be coming from some other place.
Guitar and vox, bass and drums; it's amazing how varied people can make such a traditional set-up. While comparisons are effectively fairly useless, my photographer was reminded of The Whitlams, a musician in the audience was thinking about The Strokes, and I was reminded a little of early Go-Betweens. Truth is, I'd characterise them as a richly shiny, slow-burning surf waltz.
They went down well with the very mixed crowd (old unionist surfers and their wives, and folks who may as well be their university-aged grandkids... hell of a mixture). I don't know if I'd liked Dias if they'd still had their other guitarist - what interested me was that, as I say, I think they're still trying things out - which is always an excellent reason to see a band.
This is one angry sounding record. Its 11 songs seethe and burn with fuzzed-up, roaring guitars and are propelled by an engine room whose controls are set for the carpark just outside the Gates of Hell.
That’s a place with which Chickenstones main man Andy “Doc” Temple Ellard has become familiar over the last 18 months. In early 2018, he and the band were riding high on the back of a new album, “Johnny Streetlight”, and preparing for a tour of Europe when Doc got a tap on the shoulder from some fucker called Cancer.
Now, that prick comes in many guises and the kind that came cold-calling was especially nasty and persistent. Doc is a Registered Nurse so he had an understanding of what would be involved, but all the forewarning in the world doesn’t make the fight physically easier. Many rounds of treatment later, Doc’s emerged at the other end - with shorter hair and a deeper suntan - and he’s still looking over his shoulder.
Chickenstones main man Andy “Doc” Temple Ellard is fighting a battle against an aggressive cancer but that shouldn’t be the only reason you see his band’s last Australian show for 2018.
Chickenstones are one of Sydney’s best straight-up rock and roll bands.
Doc is also one of the Sydney scene’s most genuine characters, a fine frontman and guitarist and a tireless champion of underground music via the weekly Devil’s Jukebox on 2NSB and Radio 365.
The band’s most recent CD, “Johnny Streetlight”, is out on vinyl on French label Basil Records and the show - at Collaroy’s Beach Club on April 21 - is billed as a second launch for that erstwhile artefact.
The band plans to tour the record in Europe later this year, pending the outcome of Doc’s treatment.
The bottom line is that Doc will appreciate your support but Chickenstones shows are also one big party. For this one, they’ll be supported by locals Dias. Tickets are just $10.