rifles - The I-94 Bar
Here’s a record that’s as unassuming as an undercover cop with agoraphobia in a grand final football crowd. You’ll only find a bare bones mention of it on the Internet because it buries rather than hides its bushel under a tree, but it’s superbly played and overflowing with easy rocking charm.
Anytime James is led by Michael Gibbons, once a member of Asteroid B612’s guitar arsenal in the early ‘90s and now living on the New South Wales Far North Coast. That’s about as far removed as you can get from the hard rocking pubs of Sydney’s northern beaches of 15 years ago, but then Gibbons is drawing inspiration from a wellspring that runs deeper than just Sydney via Detroit.
Ripley Hood stands in for Mick Blood in the Lime Spiders. Steve Whelan photo
Ten bands. One bill. Despite being run (a.) in what is, these days, a notoriously taciturn live music town as Sydney and (b.) in direct competition with some obscure code of football’s grand final, it made sense.
Blood Bank was one of four benefit shows in as many cities to assist Lime Spiders vocalist Mick Blood, rendered unable to work after an altercation a few months ago in a pub in his newly adopted home town of Newcastle. Mick suffered a brain injury and is on the mend but it’s going to be slow progress on a long road.
The story of the Celibate Rifles starts in 1979. We're looking back at their gestation - in schools, surf clubs and garages on Sydney's Northern Beaches - and eventual birth.
As we take it up, our narrative stars a stark collection of individuals. Some of them were there fron the start, others came in later.
There was a time when Sydney’s northern beaches beaches were a hotbed of high energy rock and roll.
Since the decline in the Sydney live music scene (and the demise of the Manly Fisho's Club) the opportunity to enjoy local bands under one roof has been rare. An event at Narrabeen RSL on March 28 is trying to revive those days.
Sunken Ascension is a mini-festival, headlined by the home-grown Celibate Rifles, and running across three levels of the club.
It’s free from 2pm and all-ages until 8pm, after which it’s $25 (or $20 pre-sale.) For that you get cheap beer, inexpensive food, a downstairs cocktail lounge and a local shuttle bus.
Celibate Rifles, C.O.F.F.I.N, Captain Kickarse and The Awesome's, The Archaic Revival, Gutter Tactic, Bloody Kids, Taelor Jane, Bilby and Asia Hatton are playing and tickets are here.
Their “On The Quiet” remains the best example of the “unplugged” concept we’ve ever heard so it’s a penny-dropping moment to hear Sydney’s iconic Celibate Rifles are heading north to Brisbane perform an acoustic set on April 23.
O'Malley's Irish Pub in Queens Street, Brisbane, hosts a fortnightly, mid-week live music club called ‘The Bunker’ and that’s where the Rifles will strip things back to showcase tunes spanning their impressive 35-year career.
The one-off show promises to be a rare treat and the Cellies wil be joined by local support acts, Weezal and Thirteen Seventy, also in rare acoustic mode.
A very limited number of pre-show tickets go on sale midday Wednesday 11th March for $20 +BF here or from The Bunker
Some tickets will be available at the door but numbers will be extremely limited to keep the event intimate. The Bunker is proudly presented by O'Malley's Irish Pub, and community radio 4ZZZ 102.1FM Brisbane.
STOP PRESS: Two more amplified Rifles shows announced
It’s 14 years since the last Celibate Rifles release, the accomplished studio effort “Beyond Respect”, so this one’s timely. It’s the third live album in the Rifles’ 39-year history and a departure of sorts.
If you expected trademark explosive guitar from the outset (a la “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”) adjust your expectations. “Meeting the Mexicans” - the title refers to playing to people in Melbourne - is from a half-electric/half acoustic gig at the Thornbury Theatre in Victoria in mid 2017. The first half is the Cellies mostly unplugged, with the full-blown configuration front-and-centre for the last five tracks only.
The unplugged thing has been going on for a few years on the Celibate Rifles’ infrequent live runs. It’s an idea that links back to the 1996 “On The Quiet” album and mixes things up for fans and band alike. Considering the bulk of their songs were written on acoustic guitars before they were taken anywhere near a studio, it works. Plus, you get to absorb the words in a way that doesn’t happen at a “normal” gig.
Reach for your ear plugs: Iconic Aussie firebrands the Celibate Rifles have extended their acoustic Brisbane performance by adding two extra amplified dates in Queensland.
Originally announced to be playing a one-off acoustic show at The Bunker in O’Malley’s Irish Pub in the CBD on 23 April, the band will play The Underdog Pub Co on 24 April and The Coolangatta Hotel on 25 April.