God bless those wonderful creative people who say: "Screw this boring world, I'm gonna do what I want to do". Because, when all is said and done, we won't be here forever, and if what you fancy makes other people dance and leap about like they've got uncool illnesses, so much the better.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone who claims to love rock'n'roll has their own idea of what rock'n'roll is.
And, it's a suspicion of mine that a hell of a lot of rock'n'roll bands exist because no-one is playing the kind of rock'n'roll they want to hear (this may have been one of Kim Salmon's reasons for re-emerging with another Scientists in 1982).
Last week we saw The Animals, sharp and bright as a new nail, rejoicing in the simple power and beauty of the r'n'b explosion, and the determination to stay stable in a troubled world.
Original and current Animals drummer John Steel. Mandy Tzaras photo.
Can't take her anywhere. This writer's photographer pissed and moaned about the walk from the car to the venue in the usual female preposterous high heels, wibbling and wobbling all over the shop. That'll larn me, in future I'll drop her off outside before parking the car.
Anyway, Jello-On-Springs tipped most of her first glass of white all over me while we were chatting with a friend (I'm sure I deserved it) in The Gov's rather lovely Front Bar (they always have a band on there, so the locals and regulars have some live music if they're not interested in, say, Tweefolkies, The Smythes or Iggy and the Squeezevomits).
Hello I-94 bar users and abusers; it’s been a while but I'm very pleased to let all you Melbourne punters out there know that the wonderful Bombay Rock (on Sydney Road in Brunswick) is back up and running as a venue.
The State of Victoria has championed the Australian underground music industry. Fuck, it is good to see Bombay Rock back. Run by Smash, the wonderful lady who also backs up playing bass and looking bad-arse with Ferocious Chode (more later), who has hand-picked all the venue’s acts.
Then, there’s the most friendly crew of bar staff - shit, they make you want to drink just that few more - and for the prices, this old pensioner can certainly do that. So folks, I highly recommend this fine place. And Smash, you are awesome.
Vic Conrad's band The First Third has a drummer who plays hard and owns the kit, a guitarist who knows how to dance in and out of a tune, a bass player who, like Vic, runs a record shop.
Vic himself sings, plays guitar and two keys. They're really damn good. Sixties structures sieved through to now. Apparently they'll have a new CD out soon.
But I'm here to see the Pretty Things.
As I left, the two original members and one of the more recent recruits were answering questions and signing merch, while the bassist and drummer were chatting at the exit with assorted fans. This is a band who are comfortable with their crowd. Because, to them, they're not that far removed.
Let's get rid of the "original members" thing. Like a lot of bands who came up through the R & B scene in the 1960s in England, not only was their lineup not always been stable, some of the band were linked to the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd and god knows who else.
Phil May, the vocalist (looks a bit like a movie star) and one of the band's songwriters, is one of the two members who've stayed the distance. The other is the incomparable guitarist Dick Taylor, picured right.
Lou Reed posed the question: "What becomes a legend most?" and it's a fair bet that playing a Wednesday night in Sydney at theFactory Theatre wasn't an answer uppermost in his thoughts.
But that's the lot of the Pretty Things on this temperate Aussie evening. A fact of life for one of the original wave of British blues-rock bands and a band who were contemporaries of the Rolling Stones, briefly giving Mick and the boys their first bassist before they'd even settled on a name.
Schadenfreud is a German term that translates loosely to "watching Collingwood lose".
OK, maybe that’s too harsh: anti-Collingwood (that’s the Australian rules football team for those born above the Barassi Line in Australia, and any of the Bar’s overseas readers) sentiment is tied up with class-based bias, and a lingering resentment at the club’s rampant success back in the day. The modern Collingwood team is great to watch, and would have been a worth winner, had the battle-hardened Weagles not worn the Pies down.
The prospect of heading to The Tote, nestled in the edge of the old Collingwood flat, on a night of Magpie disappointment, was potentially worrying. In the end, the Pies fans were thin on the street, no doubt drowning sorrows in some other sporting bar.
Remember ABBA? No, you probably don't want to, but there are a lot of reasons why you should. And I'll come back to this. For now, just remember ABBA.
Now, I've been wanting to see The Braves (pictured right) for several years now, and every time I've been near Melbourne they've not been playing. Finally (after touring Europe), they've decided to "do" Adelaide.
Apparently there was mulled cider available, which no-one told me about until too late. And while I missed the first act completely, and gasbagged in another room while The Howling Fog were on: but they sounded good, and people whose opinion I trust enjoyed them, so I'll have to check them out. They're on Facebook.
Iconic first wave British R&B and psychedelic cult heroes, The Pretty Things, will perform some of their final live performances in Australia in October.
The band has announced it will cease playing electric shows with a final hurrah in London on December 13, with special guests Special Guests David Gilmour, Van Morrison and Bill Nighy. Securign the Pretties for a run through Australia is a coup for promoter David Roy Williams.
Tickets are on sale from 10am (AEST) on Friday here.
Wednesday 3rd October - Sydney, FactoryTheatre + Tumbleweed + DJ Owen Penglis Thursday 4th October - Brisbane, The Zoo + Golden Age of Ballooning Saturday 6th October - Melbourne, Thornbury Theatre + Sand Pebbles + The Electric Guitars Sunday 7th October - Melbourne, Caravan Club + The Breadmakers Wednesday 10th October - Geelong, Barwon Club + The Living Eyes Friday 12th October - Melbourne, The Tote + The Living Eyes + Banagun Saturday 13th October - Adelaide, Fowlers Live + Somnium Sunday 14th October - Perth, The Charles Hotel
Dave Kettley and Rob Younger marshalling the New Christs at Marrickville Bowlo on Saturday night..
Sydney, you’re such a contrary beast with this live music thing. And you fucking know it.
A year ago, this same bill of the New Christs and Melbourne’s James McCann and The New Vindictives pulled close to a full room at Marrickville Bowlo. This Saturday night, the place isn’t empty by any means but the head count is much lower.
Was it the cold weather? HTFU! It’s winter. Maybe a spot of fatigue with great rock and roll shows seemingly happening weekly? For sure, we’ve been spoilt. It was also the third New Christs appearance in these parts in as many months. if you were one of the waverers that stayed home, it really was your loss.