Thursday, March 01, 2007
I do declare those backyard shindigs held by the Applecore gang really encapsulate what this city’s got going on: community spirit, feel for good times and rock and roll fun.
This is how it unfolded for me: Carla arrives at Unstoppable Forces Headquarters (UFHQ) at 12.30pm on Saturday. I hand her a Bloody Mary. We listen to some prog. De Campo knocks back a cranberry vodka. I pour ‘em both a refill. We listen to some more prog. Armed with Doritos and an Esky full of champagne we head out the door. We hail a cab, we buy a slab, we put the beer in the boot of the cab. We find the party. We pay our fee ($5). They hand us an apple. I fail to partake in apple goodness, but anyway, I like it here, it’s nice. Tables and chairs, an old, rusted tin shed, a stage with a gazebo, a van with Applecore sprayed across its windscreen, an outhouse and several fruit trees.
An integral part of Applecore is Ricky French, superstar, daredevil axeman for Actor/Model. Ricky works for Harry the Hirer and has delivered all the furniture, including a gazebo in a big truck. Suze, Toby, James, Miranda and Felix are here and Dane Certificate is on stage. Excitement levels are rising. A dreadlocked bassist who busts out a solo reminding me of early Nirvana even though I have no idea what that might sound like. I’m pretty sloshed by 2.30pm standards. Anyway, it’s a starter dish as good as any cup of Dooger’s Clam Chowder (Seaside Ore, est. 1981).
Aleks and the Ramps go nuts with ease and we almost die of fun. Their good spirited guitarist Simon has sideburns closing in on his nose. I suggest he shaves his moustache and goatee in order to look like Abe Lincoln (De Campo will pursue this directive and finally succeed six hours later with a blunt razor – OUCH!).
I take James and Miranda’s boy Felix onto my lap and he gets comfortable by suckling my arm. His parents reveal the hickeys he has given them. I am impressed and hand Felix back to them and go to the toilet.
Sadly I am unable to relax my urethra. They are playing Wowee Zowee between sets, merely one of several external forces that have caused me to booze excitedly. “I don’t need a minister to call me a groom.” The voice outside the john is familiar to me. Hey it’s Carla (oh my, hot, hot Steve)! So we sing a few bars together ("We call her Barbara/ Breeding like larva…Dental surf combat/ Get out those hard-hats/ And sing us some skat!!, etc. etc.) before I mosey over to Toby and Suze’s place three doors down to use their toilet in quietude. Toby is playing Sleepy Township’s Caribbean Delight and we dance like fools. Toby puts his hand through the window. Luckily De Campo is there to bandage it because I am gone.
The next three acts recall classic bands on these labels: 4AD (Pikelet), Sub Pop (Scissors for Sparrows), Kill Rock Stars (Applecross). Talkshow Boy is more of a DIY’er. "Talkshow Boy I make you fishball soup! Fishball!" is uttered by who else but the lovely De Campo, fresh from bandaging Toby's finger.
Something happens between the start of the Shooting at Unarmed Men and the end and I don’t mean it just gets dark. Everybody starts going a bit crackers. Percussion instruments are tossed into the fray and we fight over them like hyenas, celebrating in a mad, drunken manner that continues on through Actor/Model’s set. How I don’t fracture any bones I am not sure.
We leave the party singing Pavement, sing Pavement in the cab all the way to the After Dark and sing Pavement walking in the door of the bar, Outward Obtooce, Carla, Coinflow Dollar, De Campo and I, as Pikelet strums a guitar for a hundred or so hushed sitters.
The night indeed becomes very surreal, hard-to-explain by this point. I am moved in very special ways. The Kes Band unleash a jam that is completely utterly extraordinary. I feel like I am in the Scottish highlands at an obscure pub being surreally blown away by an otherworldly jam band. I love them.
Postscript: Well, I just hope the vodka tonic that overturned in my lap occurred after Kes played because I recall making a right spectacle of myself out on the dance floor. The next morning the back of my shirt was thoroughly covered in cranberry juice. Very Odd.
Stay tuned for next week’s episode of Unsolved Mysteries. Robert Stack is going to have a go at this one and its complexities could very well spell his demise.