A five-band bill of which you could speak no ill

nunchukka bowloBlackie, Julien and Ray from Nunchukka Superfly.

Nunchukka Superfly
White Knuckle Fever
Bitchcraft
Babymachine
Garry David
Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney
Friday, February 21, 2020
                                                       
Friday night and gig-bound, I really had no idea what to expect. Part of the thrill of seeing a multi-band bill is to be blown away by a group you're unfamiliar with although I was armed with the knowledge that only one, Nunchukka Superfly, is familiar so I was attending with an open mind.

First up was Garry David. Without previous knowledge who Garry David was, I was expecting, maybe, a solo guitarist singing busking style songs with an inner city bent? Wrong.

Everybody had a Johnny good time

hoody y frontsHoody from The Johnnys revels in a pair of undies last seen on a stage when Tom Jones played Marrickville Bowlo.

The Johnnys
Molting Vultures
Jupiter 5
Marrickville Bowling Club
Friday, February 14, 2020

After a hard day of work at the end of the week, the temptation to see three A-class bands at Marrickville Bowling Club was hard to resist.

I don’t usually plug bistros but I have to say that what might appear to be basic club or pub food was done exceptionally well at the Bowlo. Hats off to the Marrickville Bowling Club for having a fantastic diner.

After that meal and time well spent watching planes from around the world fly over as the sun set over the greens of the club with a Young Henrys Newtowner beer in hand, it was time to see Jupiter 5.

It's the Department of Youth - 45 years later

department of youthAlice Cooper
Airbourne
MC50
Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Tuesday February 10, 2020

Batty Kay photos

Before I start, if you love rock'n'roll and miss these shows I'm telling you now, you don't love rock'n'roll.

In fact, if you do miss these shows, I'll never speak to you again.

Wait, that's not much of a threat.

See, I told The Barman I ain't doing no more reviews. But we're in the midst of a horrible upheaval and I can't write anything except song lyrics and reviews right now.

Bastard, Barman. Taking advantage of a poor lost Adelaide boy.

Okay, let's start with the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The 2010 edition ran to 32 volumes, over 32000 pages.

Now, I think you'll agree that every rock'n'roll trope deserves an entry in a Rock’n’roll Encyclopaedia. Right?

Righty right, droogie.

Touring roadshow brings stoner doom to the Lansdowne

Burden Man ThreeBurden Man make their point.
 
Menagerie Festival
featuring
Hobo Magic
Khan,
Rufflefeather, Hypergiant,
Burden Man, Buffalo Trio
& Dead Eye Currency
Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney
January 11, 2020
Words and Photos: James Wallach
 
You have to hand it to the revived Lansdowne Hotel. It represents diversity in the genres of bands it presents and the fact that th booking policy supports both upcoming and established acts - much in the tradition of the original venue.  Tonight was no exception, with Menagerie Festival 2020 described as a touring heavy psych/stoner/doom extravaganza.

With an early start of 5.30pm, Dead Eye Currency opened proceedings with just a handful of people attending. Described as a stoner, psychedelic band on their Facebook page, we also find that this is their last gig as members are going on to other things.

Latte? What latte? Make mine a Minibike with some Stompin' Riff Raffs

nao pbsNao of Stompin' Riff Raffs. 3PBS-FM photo. 

Stompin’ Riff Raffs

Northcote Social Club
Minibikes

Merri Creek Tavern
Saturday, December 14 2019

One-time I-94 Bar writer Trevor Block once described Melbpurne suburb Northcote as "the capital of the People’s Republic of Darebin". Trevor’s colourful description had some currency at the time: you could still find Californian bungalows inhabited by half-a-dozen social security recipients-cum-performance artists, including an aging dreadlocked hippie who quoted Engels over late breakfast and invoked Proudhon in defiance of the sticky note instruction to avoid using the carton of soy milk in the fridge.

But times have changed. Northcote is still, according to psephologists, the hub of the Melbourne inner-city leftie latte culture, the loud, politically correct class who drown out the quiet Australians of the suburbs and regions. True, there is plenty of good coffee to be found in Northcote, but the fact that the only significant community uprising in recent times was about the council’s plan to restrict parking (“What? I can’t park both the Beemer 4WD and the Jeep Cherokee in front of the house? And where will I park Angus’s new Mercedes Sport?”) says everything about the sanctimonious hypocrisy of the middle-class.

Hard-Ons deliver in homecoming gig at the Lansdowne

the mis made lansdowneThe Mis-Made in fulll flight at Sydney's Lansdowne Hotel. 

The Hard Ons + Arse + The Mis-Made
Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney
December 13, 2019

Didn't think I would get to see this gig but very happy I did. If anyone says that girls can't rock, they obviously were not at the Lansdowne tonight to see The Mis-Made.

Mis-Made kicked off the proceedings with a tight set of blitzkrieg killer metal tunes. This is the sort of set that gives you goosebumps. Guitarist-singer Jessamine Finlayson's vocal style reminded me of Patti Smith and the band was tight.

Arse came up next with a toxic concoction of brutal, kinetic energy. In your face rock and attitude. Always a pleasure to watch.

The Kid is alright

alexLianeris.binicKid Congo and the NDE

Curtin Hotel, Melbourne

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Alex Lianeris photo

It's said John Curtin (whose name was taken by tonight's venue) used to get on the sauce a lot, back before he became Australian Prime Minister and took on the mantle of one the Labor Party-endorsed accolade of "Australia’s greatest ever wartime Prime Minister".

In truth, there’s not much competition: Bob Menzies was only PM long enough for his Country Party colleagues to politically knife him, and back in the heady days of World War I, Billy Hughes’ leadership style made him less friends than a Metwurst merchant in downtown Paris.

Anyway, I digress. Curtin cleaned up his act, got the PM gig in 1941 and dropped off the twig four years later, two months after Russian tanks had barrelled through Berlin, and a month before the Enola Gay put a brutal end to the war in the Pacific.

Kid Congo used to do a lot of shit, a lot of bad shit that probably should’ve killed him a few times over. His band mates and friends haven’t fared so well; some years back Kid realised his own habits were suffocating his love of music, and his punk rock attitude, so he quit the juice, the sauce, the gear, the candy, the rock, the powder, the stuff and the snuff.

Harry Howard had his own near-death scare; indeed, his health was so dire his doctor still reminds him how close he came to mortality (the scare provided the inspiration for the title of Howard’s band – NDE (Near Death Experience). Indeed, one of Howard’s NDE members, Dave Graney, got his own rude awakening some years back when he coughed up blood on the Paris Metro.

Kid is back in Australia for the fourth time in under five years, coinciding with the launch of his old friend Kim Salmon’s new biography. The Pink Monkey Birds have stayed home, so Kid’s picked up a local backing band in the form of Harry Howard and the NDE. It’s a neat synergy – back in the day Kid Congo moved in common circles with Howard in Crime and the City Solution and These Immortal Souls, and with Dave Graney and NDE drummer Clare Moore during The Moodists’ UK tenure.

Tonight is Kid’s only headline gig at the (John) Curtin Hotel. It’s a packed crowd, squeezed in the Curtin’s sometimes sub-optimal confines.

Kid is as iconoclastic as ever. He’s wearing a middle-age man’s wig that probably deserves its own flammability warning, his face contorts into a myriad of deranged expressions last seen on the 11.34pm train to Hurstbridge and his arms flail around like a psychedelic praying mantis. When Kid tells a story, it rambles like your eccentric uncle telling a story about his latest entrepreneurial plot, seems like it’s getting to a notional conclusion than ambles out to pasture. But no-one cares.

Dave Graney is as sartorially impressive as ever, the combination of brown bowler hat and pencil moustache suggesting a devious banker on the sidelines of ‘Peaky Blinders’ (and special mention of Dave’s periodic bass guitar swipe across the front of the crowd – that man knows moves). Harry Howard churns out those chunky post-punk chords that makes his band so good, and Edwina Preston could be playing the phone book and it’d still make the band even better. Every band Clare Moore has ever played in has been shit hot – and that’s more than simple coincidence.

|The set starts in Pink Monkey Birds territory ("LSDC", "I Found a Peanut", "Black Santa"), then slides into some NDE ("The Only One") and back in time to The Shangri-Las ("Sophisticated Boom Boom"). The band sounds just like you might think it should – dirty and garage but in a post-punk sort of way. "New Kind of Kick" is intense without intimidating, and the cover of Suicide’s "Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne" provokes shit-eating grins across the crowd.

Then it’s back to NDE territory and a call and response between Kid and Ed Preston on "She Doesn’t Like It", before rounding out the first bracket with The Gun Club’s "Sex Beat".

The encore starts with a Bowiefied cover of Spencer P Jones’ "When He Finds Out", and we remember that Spencer’s last ever appearance on stage was alongside Kid, 18 months earlier. Age shall weary Spencer no longer, tragically for all who knew and loved him. Then we get The Cramps’ "Garbageman", the ultimate trash song in more ways than one. We’re all garbage in a sense, waiting to be put out when the time comes. But until that happens we’ve got Kid Congo to remind us why life is worth living.

Smiles a mile wide as Shonen Knife puts the fun into art's home

shonen knife sydneyCraig Norman photo. 

Shonen Knife
New South Wales Art Gallery, Sydney
Wednesday, November 7, 2019

In which we discuss the topic "can art be fun?".

Most young New South Welsh men and women encounter the Art Gallery of New South Wales but once on school excursion.  Packed off in buses to pay respect the big historical back drops and listen as the dead beat teacher saw the modern stuff and hear them proclaim they could have done that.

Of course they didn't.  They wouldn't be teaching mongrels like us if they could.

Do you want to be in my Gang? Oh yeah.

andy gill rick de pizzolJohn 'Gaoler' Sterry. Rick de Pizzol photo.

Gang of Four
God God Dammit Dammit
Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide
November 5, 2019

Gang of Four are touring Australia and New Zealand and played Adelaide earlier this week. They were fucking brilliant. Exciting. Brutal. Gigantic. Fun, too. But ... pointed and magnificent.

It's a no-brainer. Go see them while you can.

Right, well. A little context. When I was asking a few friends if they were going, one said, 'they sound like every other band' ... well, no they don't. See, the thing is, over the last 40 years a lot of other
bands have picked up on their style, which is now familiar.

I-94 Bar