Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sydney, it's you

Luved Sydney majorly as it was totally tops and cool as in sweet and nuts as in funny, and hot, especially Saturday when we took the ferry to Manly and came back a bit pink after a long walk on the corso and a school of fish and chips.

Bel was the host with the most and the toast.

We hit gigs both nights and De Campi and I noticed how decent the crowds were. In Melbourne the pretentiousness can at times be positively gag-worthy. Not in Sydney, good people, a polite and rather swell bunch. De Campo thought they were dorky.

'Pretty destroyed' are the first words uttered on Richard Buckner’s newest album Meadow and it kind of summed up his feelings also. When the three of us arrived at The Basement on Friday night, this absolute rustic wonder of a place, we spotted RB in the smoking section, mood ebullient, burning cigarettes down to his fingers, telling anecdotes with a stoned vigour.

Sadly his chatter was spent when he took the stage treating the audience like we weren’t even there and that’s not very nice, retreating into himself like a freaking terrapin. The way he played his songs, as one elongated growling organism, deluded the set, for Richard he be no Fiery Furnace. Olivia later said Bucky was lameo but tears we’re gushing from her ducts when he played certain songs, so what the heck. I probably enjoyed Buck’s set more than my companions (“If Lurch were a minstrel,” zinged the Mistress) but I doubt I’ll put on another one of his records for a little while and that’s no good plus I must say the slow-roasted mushrooms in the meal were the best part and I don’t even consider myself a friend of the fungi.

Met support act Edith Frost, the gel who made Bel reach for her imaginary revolver, in the smoking section afterwards. Edith lives outside Frisco in Hitchcock territory, but she didn’t know that.

The site of a steely-eyed Stan Grant (CNN anchor) front and centre was a bit unnerving at first. The mistress and D made a big deal about how loud he uttered the word trout, which is pretty funny when you think about it. “He really is very handsome,” the mistress said the next morning over coffee and the two of us nearly choked on our seeded toast.

Before Wilco and after Manly, we had a Thai meal next to the open window next to the sidewalk opposite the Enmore Theatre and a nice bottle of Sav with it and life never seemed so good. Wilco were really patchy, I think they may have misplaced their edge, or singer Jeff left it at the rehab clinic, the venue was superb however and they played ‘Spiders (Kidsmoke)’, so I left feeling pretty damn happy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

David Kilgour, The Far Now

When Constable Clean and his smiling heavies swept through Melbourne last month me and the entire cast of Russell Coight’s All Aussie Adventures, started getting down! The hot chicks, hell, they probably dug that shit the most!

I was detained at the box office, but I could hear what was going on from around the curtain and it was beginning to make my toes tremble. By the time I got in I told everyone “hi!” and began slowly devouring a vast quantity of snags Russell was barbequing. Now if I had showed the same modest appetite around the cooker as Mr. Kilgour had brought to the Corner that eve I probably wouldn’t have been sitting down for so long afterwards. Nevertheless, a night of indescribable pleasure was had, but geez Russell, next time go a bit easy on the mosquito coils, it’s a non-smoking venue.

Now Mr. K. he played virtually every song off his latest entitled 'Far Now', a collectionof pleasant psych rock with small stakes set to classy grooves that together add up to a handsome addition to the K canon and as breezy as a slight autumn wind up your rear entry. Opener Sun of God, this weird meditative guitar thing using like 39 guitars or so, including, but not limited to, serene burbles of feedback, stoned drones, a Brian Jones-slide thing that’s a treat and a half among heaps more. BBC World is windows-down action in the order of Kilgour’s charming ’92 effort Here Come The Cars. “I got drunk on the Yenesei,” sings Kilgour on Yenesei before a well-muted Luna-esque jam closes proceedings, guitars howling faintly like a wolfpack across the canyon looking at some dag-nasty animal carcass. But prettier. Like say our own Popolice. Closer ’Out of the Moment’ so rustic and woodsy is like a visit to a logging camp without actually going there and getting hit in the head by an axe handle by your Dad.

The music suffers when Tane Takoma ain’t working the beat like a crime scene reporter, his fedora tilted and his slacks pressed like my man Joe Mitchell. The Dylan influenced stuff kind of stinks too, as Lorraine mentioned that night and that I’m onjly picking up on now, plus the few delicate pieces that don’t seem to go anywhere, they may have been tossed off on the porch or something, they came alive a bit better live and man, Russell cannot get enough of Mr. K. You know he picked up The Clean Anthology and when he’s out in the dust winding up the dingoes, he kicks it to Tally-Ho!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hey, Glovebox Rox

Sure it took place a few days ago but I don’t care dude I’m a busy man I have a lot of things going on in my life and before I can process what happened you know I’m in the middle of something else and so it goes…

Caught Dylan Moran live at the Arts Centre on Friday night. Best thirty-nine bucks I ever spent. We were up in the balcony and it’s a steep one, folks, seriously, it’s like we were carved into the face of a sharp rock and down below, under the spotlight, is this little speck and he’s Irish and he’s pulling his hair exasperated-like and barking out gut-busting indignities at the world, throwing jaffas at the crowd, etc. and it’s so delightful, his misery, so gigantically riveting, this escapism (more the remarkable given that I had just survived an unusually demanding day at work that depended wholly on my leadership, something I do not know how to do or like to do, preferring short bursts of activity and long, slow mental drifts) and so grotesquely endearing I wanted to tuck him into my sock and bend over and watch him rant on my leg.

Post-coital Dylan Moran, De Campi, Tobe and Suze left the city for Brunswick in a tram that became very crowded very fast we were relieved to get off at the Brunswick Green, one of the best pubs in town (and there are many), who happened to be playing some Pixies’ rip-off by Ryan Adams called Nuclear, one of his better songs actually, it's real good, we ate a plate of wildly great chips, gorged hard, this is after De campo complained vehemenently at the price of two longnecks ($18) but hey the chips weren’t even ours, they were Kirsty Stegwazi’s, who we ran into serendipitously, it was her birthday, what a fine lady, we munched her chips and she didn't even seem to mind, nor make any effort to stop us, got to love her. De Campo was noticeably chuffed. Lucky Kirsty luvs her sum De Campo.

We sneakily stormed Cloud City with a slab strapped to our undershirts, still the owners, these young kids, who have had noise complaints and threats from the police and who despite our indiscreetness, tried to stop us from entering, presumably because of our propensity for zaniness (plus the the whole cops thing of course) and it wasn’t until Prince Nania came to the rescue that the chumps cooled their jets and let us in and we extracted the lagers from our undershirts. On stage Barrage (who seemed subdued and not giving a shit), Panel of Judges (rock me Amadeus, I mean c'mon, that new Sister Ray/Krautrock number is the best) and The Renderers, who were country in the places they weren’t Velvety.

We then moseyed up to the Railway Tavern, this three-storey monstrosity because I heard some weird disco rubbish that sounded kind of fun coming from the inside, it was a smart move because eventually we caught Glovebox in their alarming flesh. Good grief, the lead singer looked like a middle-aged aerobics instructor at a Florida retirement condo circa ’86 crossed with a jack o’ lantern, Jackie Stallone and one of Mike Myers' Jewish ladies singing horrific, X-rated lyrics. It was a little hard to take, but still...I danced.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fairweather Accent

I scrapped my Aussie accent for the one I used to have, the one that’s been long dormant like a volatile volcano, so I’m using that and treating the other like ash. When I first came to this country, I picked up the Aussie accent straightaway. I was a type of Zelig person, a human chameleon.

After almost eight years, my original accent, if that’s what you even call it, it’s from a different country, surely it must be something, is now sounding really exotic to me, so I’m reverting back to that, whatever ‘that’ is. Sadly, my Aussie verbal jangle doesn’t captivate me like it used to. I’ve even started pronouncing the ‘r’ in Melbourne again. For any listeners out there, I still put a ‘tree’ at the end of cemetery, but I’ve officially dropped “to-mah-toe” for “to-may-toe”.

It’s kind of odd because I go for my immigration interview on Saturday afternoon. Some of the things I’ll appreciate about being an Australian citizen if they allow me to be is firstly being one; then voting the prime minister out of office, the odious little lap dog, the utterly spineless micro-manager who's guaranteed a legacy of pure rotten to-may-toe-ness; having a second passport and just voting in general.

Easter was fun. I went and saw lots of bands. Saw Deerhoof. They were tops. De Campo got a black, Bonds-t-shirt and a CD by LCD Soundsystem called Sound of Silver. It’s a modern dance record with punk cred and it’s monstrously good. Decampo gave me a book of essays by David Foster Wallace called Consider the Lobster. Read some of that, yeah. It’s freaking great but his intelligence is so bracing the prose comes off as mechanical sometimes and there’s so much information it occasionally reads like it’s computer-generated brilliance, but eventually you realise it’s impossible to fault it and you end up loving it, but become a bit numb with envy because he’s so far ahead of the pack with the brain of a scientist, the sensibility of a hipster and the dazzle of a magician. Disconcertingly great. I’m currently in the middle of an entertaining essay he wrote about the adult entertainment industry. After opening gifts, we rode our bikes to Pascoe Vale and ate prawns with De Campo’s family in the backyard of her sister's place over looking the city. It was our first trip out of Fitzroy (excl. city) and it was excellent.

Otherwise, I spent too much money and partied loads (hi Mom!). Gregarious Melbourne, I spoke in a Romanian accent the entire time. I bought the Velvet Underground in Print at the remainders shop. It’s Loaded and I'm penniless.