white knuckle fever - The I-94 Bar
All I Wanted Was a Kebab - White Knuckle Fever (self released)
Strap yourself in. Or strap it on. It’s going to be that sort of ride.
White Knuckle Fever is Sydney duo Celia Curtis on vocals and Ross Johnston on guitar and everything else. Ross used to be 3kShort in Machine Gun Fellatio and Celia goes by the name Cruella, Lady of Steel, in macabre vaudeville act Circus Bizarre. So they should be easy to find if the cops issue a summons.
In live performance (remember that?) the duo supplements things with loops and the like. On recordings, they sound like a five-headed Hades houndog that's chewing on the scrotum of Satan.
You want me to write a year in reflection? Well, where and how to start? I will bang on these keys and most likely bang on in my usual stoic warm way.
Mind you, I rarely write about music these days. I look back and reflect on the shit I once wrote and it seems all so naïve, sycophantic almost. But here’s a try and since it’s not the 10 best gigs, nor the 10 best recordings, I have license to mix it up.
Best thing that happened – helping out with the band bookings at MoshPit, a small unpretentious little bar down the south end of King St which now fits 120 people. Yes, it’s small, and don’t go there if you feel paranoid or claustrophobic as you’ll probably hate it. But, in the vein of CBGB’s in NYC, Frenches which was on Oxford Street (Darlinghurst) the Old Bar in Melbourne, and its local counterpart Midnight Special in Enmore, this place oozes fun.
Where else can you put on your favourite bands and liken it to your best ever lounge-room party. There’s a whole range of yummy booze, great staff, the co-owners Pat n Wax, + two sound people who know what they’re doing within limitations. Nunchukka Superfly, Thee Evil Twin, Face Command, White Knuckle Fever and Los Monaros are just some of the great local acts that graced there in 2019. We was lucky and their goodwill was priceless. Sydney needs venues like these so in my unbiased best, please support.
Best things I listened to – newish stuff from Pallet, Small Town Incident, White Knuckle Fever, Sounds Like Winter, Syntax Error, Joseph Leonard, Wreckless Enterprise Recordings volume 1 and 2 – compilations featuring Dirty Slutz, Babymachine, Leftards, Minor Surgery, Space Bozzies, Bitchcraft, Piss to Eme.
Venue helper, organiser and frontperson for both Garry David and Beijing Bikini
2020 in a nutshell
Let's not start with the boring and the obvious - the moan that goes 'oh, what a shitty year that was' or how "Sydney is dead co's it aint what it used yo be'"- yawn. That rhetoric and emotion doesn't belong here - we're on an onward and upward trajectory - yep, the good gigs plus the other good stuff.
Vocalist for White Knuckle Fever and Stone Cold Fox
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Celia Curtis’s Top20 of 2020!
The gigging landscape undulated wildly in 2020 but it was by no means barren. The absence of the annual stagger to (and from) River Rocks Festival in Geelong definitely stung a bit, but there were some corker live gigs and streams in 2020. Here are some of my favourites I was lucky to attend/ play:
1. Jan 4 2020, PUNKNATS, The Old Canberra Inn
Due to raging fires and road closures, Crapulous Geegaw, Tweekers and Grim couldn’t make it. But you just can’t stop the rock. Lucifungus, Oaf, the Dirty Sluts, Minor Surgery, rooted, Hymn, Herxhaim, DuShkanu,White Knuckle Fever and(my personal faves) Thee Cha Cha Chas all went hard.
It was 44 degrees Celsius in a tin shed. Literally the worst air quality in the world. A late southerly that brought out the p2 masks and a blanket of apocalyptic Orange smoke. But fuck it was a great day. Milly, Tilly and Outtaspace Presents did a top job organising once again and The Old Canberra Inn was as hospitable as ever.
PETER ‘ROSSY” ROSS
Celebrity Roadie, Jupiter 5 bassist
This is a list of things that have caught my eye in 2020 - in no particular order.
WHITE KNUCKLE FEVER
Everybody’s favourite two piece have been kicking goals all through the year culminating with a new double single release that is killer. Ross and Celia are not only hard working but one of the funniest bands in Sydney.
Milly and Adam have been working their rings out throughout the year, releasing high quality record after record. It’s been great watching the rise of their Central Coast colossus. Now they’ve even got their own venue in Woy Woy, The Link and Pin! Honourable mention also goes to Wreckless Enterprises.
LIVE MUSIC OFFICE
Sydney’s dormant live music scene won’t return overnight to prominence, and it doesn’t happen by accident. Blokes like John Wardle, and his team, have been pushing for legislative support and reforms to remove the barriers to get live bands into back into venues. They’re kicking some goals and it would be remiss to not acknowledge their massive efforts.
MONDAY EVENING GUNK
Live from the little venue that tried, Sydney’s version of CBGBs The Moshpit, MEG was one of the bright spots in a difficult year. Driven by The I-94 Bar’s Barman and Jill “Force of Nature” Dures, it was one part history lesson, Rockwiz knock-off, Molly Meldrum’s Humdrum and a live gig packed into a one hour live stream for 10 weeks… a garage rock version of Countdown if you like. A technical conundrum handled with style by Zac Ruokari from Zenn Streaming, the show was fun to be involved with and we can only hope it gets another airing in 2021.
I-94 Bar barkeep
“Monday Evening Gunk”
My favourite thing to do on a Monday night. Props to Jill, Wax, Pat and Sonjaat MoshPit, News and Brews co-pilot Rossy, tech-head Zac, photographer/chronicler of choice Shona Ross, and the many guests and hosts involved. My original Top Ten was going to be a chronological list of Gunk episodes because it would be like picking a favourite child.
“Goose Lake” – The Stooges (Third Man Records)
What a fucking trip.
"If This Is The Hand I'm Dealt" and "I'm Gonna Cheat As Much As I Can" solo albums by Peter Black
Got to these very late in 2020 and the Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superfly guitarist just goes from strength-to-strength with his quirky, catchy and compelling solo work. One acoustic, one electric. Get a full hand.
Blackie, Julien and Ray from Nunchukka Superfly.
White Knuckle Fever
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.
Join Celia and Ross of Sydney's White Knuckle Fever when they chat with special guest Dave Faulkner of the Hoodoo Gurus and The Victims on our "Monday Evening Gunk" Internet TV show at 7.30pm Sydney time on Monday, October 12. You can stream if free from the MoshPit bar Facebook page or catch up here on the day after.
RSA Blues - White Knuckle Fever (White Knuckle Fever)
Some explanation is in order - especially for those not watching at home: “RSA” stands for Responsible Service of Alcohol, an Australian rule that puts the onus on bar and pub staff to stop plying punters with booze when they’re as full as a fat lady’s boot. To continue service is to risk a draconian fine and imprisonment in a gulag.
While it’s true some Aussies can’t handle their grog, they’re a minority. That’s OK. We always legislate for the few. If only we were Europeans and could be trusted…
Now you’re wised up, “RSA Blues” is the lead song on a four-track, double seven-inch vinyl effort from White Knuckle Fever, the formidable - and fucking funny - psychobilly blues rock duo from Sydney, Australia. Celia Curtis (vocals, blues harp and burlesque behaviour) and Ross Threekshort (guitar and programming) are one of the best nights out this side of a Scientology building burning down.