The Gov, Adelaide
April 24, 2019
Jeremy Tomamak photos
One of the things that really got to me the very first time I saw the film "Alice's Restaurant" (on late night telly, back in the days when Adelaide only had four stations) was the mutation of black humour, intelligence, and improbability running through the film like a twisted thread of opal.
Not least is the fact that Arlo was (in 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War and the draft) declared by the US Army as “not moral enough to join the army.”
As Arlo told Rolling Stone: "I never thought of “Alice’s Restaurant” as being an anti-war song, but you can’t run a war being that stupid. You won’t succeed in the war and you won’t succeed in other things either. And I think that’s some of the lessons we still have yet to learn, you know?"
And tonight, I wonder what we're in for. His father, underground folk guitar hero Woody Guthrie, died of Huntington's disease (HD), also known as Huntington's chorea in 1967, at the age of 55, and when Arlo was just 20.
The World's Forgotten Boy. Miriam Williamson photo.
Sydney Opera House
Monday, April 15 2019
Miriam Williamson photos
Iggy Pop and band put the torch to the Sydney Opera House the same night that a fire devastated Notre Dame in Paris. Coincidence? I think not.
The Pop has been a semi-regular tourist to Australia since 1983 and I’ve caught him on every run but one. Stooges excepted, this was close to his high-point.
It is true that at age 71 - a pubic hair’s breadth away from bringing up 72 - James Osterberg moves a little more gingerly these days. The stage-dives are gone - at least where hard-backed seats are fixed to the floor - and he’s clearly pacing himself to go the distance.
Sydney Opera House
Monday, April 15, 2019
Lisa Doust photo
Firstly, you have probably all heard that Iggy still has it and he does. But the damage is there. You can see how fucked his leg is. And when rugby prop forward size fans manhandle him, you see that he's actually a five-foot-one man* in his 70's who may have shrunk an inch or two.
Stage security takes much greater care of him. Iggy also takes more care of himself, adapting the old poses into well timed rest breaks. Once or twice, he lives on his back. He feigns leaps into the crowd only to step back. He has learnt how not to be dragged off stage. He makes robot like motions to cover the limp. He uses the stairs.
The Gov, Adelaide. Friday, April 12 2019
Photos by Somnambulist Dillinger
The morning after the night before I'm trying to make sense of it. My ears are still hissing like a grumpy king brown, so I guess it's time I used earplugs at gigs.
Here's a question for you. What does Angry Anderson, rough'n'tough rock'n'roller, taste like?
I'll come back to this.
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.
Gergely Csatari photo.
Mick Harvey and the Intoxicated Men
Harry Howard and the NDE
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.