No rear vision for these Straight Arrows

straight arrows demolitionStraight Arrows. 

Straight Arrows

Bananagun

Tote Hotel, Melbourne

Friday, 22 March 2019

I’m not a big fan of the rose-coloured 1960s discourse. Sure, the music’s great, the anti-establishment political rhetoric is inspiring and the fashion iconic. But the 1960s gave the world Nixon and the first incarnation of Reagan the politician, Engelbert Humperdink outsold Hendrix and it was mainly rich white kids (especially men) who had the socio-economic stability to drop out – because they could drop back in again anytime they wanted to.

The 1960s is a mythical idea, not a corroborated historical construct. We want to believe what it was like, because it’s not like that now. Revisionism. Nostalgia. Self-deluded idealism. There was good shit going on, but there’s good stuff going on now. There was plenty of bad, square and nasty stuff going on then, too. More so than the good stuff.

Banangun sounded like they’d crawled straight out of a '60s documentary. Maybe a Nuggets Acid Rock compilation. I hadn’t heard of them before tonight, though later on it was pointed out to me that their main man is Nick from The Frowning Clouds, and then everything made sense.

An intoxicating evening

Mick Harvey Gergely CsatariGergely Csatari photo.

"Nocturnal X"
Mick Harvey and the Intoxicated Men
Gemini 4
Harry Howard and the NDE
Tiamo 3
Primo!
Melbourne Museum, Friday, April 5 2019

Upstairs at the Melbourne Museum hosts a local exhibit, a collage of images, dioramas, reportage and oral testimonies from the city’s post-invasion history. In a corner of the exhibit can be found a movie telling the evolution of post-war Melbourne, from the faceless images of businessmen in John Bracks’ Collins St, 5pm painting, to the vibrant, cosmopolitan metropolis of the present day.

A black and white photo from 1979 shows five youths staring at the camera, sullen, callow, defiant and charmingly obnoxious. The adult voice of one of those rebellious kids talks of the change in Melbourne’s character: Mick Harvey, Boy Next Door, Birthday Partier, Bad Seed. Back in the day, Harvey intones matter-of-factly, the inner-city was a cultural backwater.

Politics gets left at the door for good time rock and roll

angry bob metroAngry Andrson pontificates and Bob Spencer enjoys it. Shona Ross photo.  

Rose Tattoo
Hard-Ons
Metro Theatre, Sydney
Friday, March 29 2019

Photos by Shona Ross

There were plenty of people giving plenty of reasons why people should not go to this gig. The announcement that Rose Tattoo would team with the Hard-Ons for a the national "Still Never Too Loud" tour caused some people to lose their shit online - and not in a good way. More on that soon.

The more mundane reasons were timing (“it’s a Friday night in Sydney after a long working week, maaaaan”), the venue (“the sound at The Metro is sooooo dodgy”) to ignorance (“I never heard that was on”) so most of it was nothing unexpected. Another apathetic night in the Harbour City.

Then there was The Angry Issue.

A little bit of Magic as jangle pop returns

the magic numbers colour2Subtract-S warm up The Gov. Rick de Pizzol photo.

The Magic Numbers 
Subtract-S
The Gov, Adelaide
March 26, 2019
Photos by
 Rick de Pizzol 

Ho to the Gov once more, to attempt to find a car park which may not exist, to finally succeed in an adjacent suburb, and plodge back the way I drove, feeling not remotely conspicuous as a I pass several pubs with the locals whooping it up, trailing behind a herd of badly-dressed bumpkins heading, it seems, in the same direction.

No, thankfully, they're not; the Entertainment Centre across the road has another do on and the streets are filled with the aforesaid bumpkins and, perhaps needless to say, their cars. I don't know whether the local council is aware of the hideous car parking problem in these suburbs, caused mostly by the Ent Cent, which I thought had ample parking, but I have decided every night from now on I shall drive to where I left my car tonight, and walk to the Gov and back. Excellent cardio.

A roomful of love amid the loss

beasts adl

The Beasts
The Johnnys
The Gov, Adelaide
March 17, 2019
Photos by Alison Lea

It's the last night of the Adelaide Festival and the city centre is abandoned to the tourists, and no doubt some "end of festival" official shindig, doubtless adding anodyne "vibrancy" (one of Adelaide City Council's favourite buzzwords) to the joint.

Meanwhile, Adelaide's finest and most intelligent people are voting with their wallets and pile into the Gov, many having come from miles around. One bloke is here with his wife from Kangaroo Island (more expensive than a trip to Melbourne or Sydney); another bloke flew 300 miles to arrive at 4pm, with a return flight at 8am. There are many happy drunks.

Tonight was the most beautiful gig I've seen in years, if not ever. I cannot remember a more wonderful, cathartic experience.

Smoke, mirrors and substance

jamc adl2

The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Gov, Adelaide
March 15, 2019
Alison Lea photos 

Late the following afternoon I received a message to the effect that I was off to see the Jesus and Mary Chain that night. My photographer, engrossed with preparations for a seven-year-old's birthday, told me where to take myself. I called Peter, I called Bob. Both busy. I called a different photographer and we presented ourselves at the rather wonderful Gov, where I eventually hope to be buried.

Intoxicating Mick Harvey and friends

mick harvey adlMick Harvey:
"Intoxicated Man. Presenting the Songs of Serge Gainsbourg"
Elder Hall, Adelaide
March 14,  2019
Mandy Tzaras photos

Verdict in a nutshell: Brilliant. You shoulda been there. Get the CDs instead.

It's a strange place, Adelaide. A reputation for bizarre and secretive murder blends with a town which happily dozes for most of the year, abruptly jerks to life as summer hits with the subtlety of a jackhammer, and keeps the long-suffering residents on their toes: the steady stream of utter twatheads who emerge from beneath sordid rocks, blinking into the light of the civilised world for the first time; the ubiquitous meth-heads roaming the streets and communing with the sky; the endless and confusing roadworks; endlessly over-running building works; a hospital which doesn't seem to work very well (though it does provide an excellent example of how to make a place unpleasant for the customers with, presumably, the intent of discouraging their attendance for all but the most involuntary admission) ...

These are all everyday local wonders, and frankly we should charge admission. The Festival, The Fringe, the stupid car race, the writers week, WOMAD and so on and so on and so on, all serve to ensure large numbers of normal South Australians keep their distance. 

Jesus and The Mary Chain's perfect pop set to the aesthetics of noise

jmc majotielveCredit: @majortielve

It's easy to forget just how good the Jesus and Mary Chain actually are; how many drop dead classic songs they have recorded. Then, on a Thursday night at the Sydney Opera House (no less), they ram a shit ton of their greatest hits down our throats and they still leave out a huge chunk of back catalogue just to spite you.

They make it look easy. But being this damn good is not easy.

Ghosts of the fallen honoured as The Beasts take shape

the beasts clip

The Beasts

Croxton Park Hotel, Thornbury, VIC

Saturday, February 23, 2019

I’m pretty sure Spencer Jones is the only member of the Beasts of Bourbon, past or present to have played the Croxton Park Hotel, back in ita heyday. That would have been in 1982, when Spencer was playing guitar in the psychedelic cabaret troupe North 2 Alaskans.

Back in those days The Croxton – ‘the Croc’, to its more familiar patrons – was a bastion of the suburban beer barn circuit. AC/DC played there back in the day, Rose Tattoo, The Angels, Chisel, all the Oz pub rock greats.

The Alaskans didn’t really fit in with the pub rock crowd, but they were as funny as a fit, and damn good musicians too. The Alaskans were, in hindsight at least, a link in the chain that led to the formation of the Beasts of Bourbon.