Wednesday, December 22, 2004

It’s hot, hot, hotter than hell outside, so today I shall stay indoors and kill some time listening to that fandangled Homosexuals box some more, a stack of Mingus CDs (having just rented and watched the Beneath The Underdog DVD) and maybe later on even get down to listening to the tapes I just got from Tim over at Music Chamber. The tapes in question are part of Tim’s “Invisible Jukebox” experiment he’s giving to anyone who’ll accept (I took the bait, of course). I gave two of the cassettes a very quick fast-forward run-through last night – which is probably cheating – and didn’t recognise a single tune or artist. Perhaps come Xmas day, a dull day for me by anyone’s standards, I’ll sit down and put my uninformed thoughts down to type for Tim, but until then…

I wish for a friendly discussion here – the comments boxes have again temporarily bombed (what the fuck am I paying Squawkbox for?!), though they’ll be back up soon – you know, in the spirit of Christmas. That’s pretty rich coming from me, I know; god knows I’ve started enough shit-throwing in my lifetime, but in my never-ending quest to achieve true Dorkhood, I’ll list some of my all-time favourite shows, and then list a few true-to-life gigs I wish I’d been able to attend. In that spirit, you shall do the same. You’ll hesitate at first, feel like a complete asshole, then succumb to the nerd within and contribute. You know you want to.

BEST:

Massappeal/My Heart Bleeds For You/God/The Dorks, May 1988, Prince of Wales
MHBFY and the Dorks sucked. The former were lame punk/metal who eventually gave members to one of the most abominable Australian bands of the ‘90s: Caligula; the latter were an inexplicably popular local crossover outfit whose “hits” at the time were “Evil Wicked Goats From Hell” and “Buddha”, a song detailing the joys of smoking copious amounts of bongs. I await the eventual reunion with baited breath. I was there for Massappeal and God. First ever gig, I was 16 and scared as hell, though seeing the similarly-aged God on stage eased my nerves. Massappeal were still in their earlier, ‘Flag-ish mindset and yet to take the leap into the funk-metal hell of their early ‘90s output.

Meat Puppets, Melbourne Uni, 1992.
I’ve detailed this before.

Rollins Band, Corner Hotel, January, 1989.
Ditto.

Sonic Youth, Corner Hotel, January, 1989.
And again.

Boredoms, Corner Hotel, 1997.
Maybe you should just read this.

Hard-Ons, several times and places, 1988-’90.
Before they over-stayed their welcome by a decade and became a bit of a running joke, the Hard-Ons, at least for the teenage punker set, were it. I haven’t played a single tune of theirs in ten years, but let me wipe my eyes for a minute and say this: the memories are still there.

Testicle Candy, Empress Hotel, 1999(?).
TC were a short-lived outfit featuring Ray from the Hard-Ons and Oren Ambarchi of a thousand different musical units. And a few other people. The Empress is a Melbourne establishment known as being the home of every musical wet-blanket in town. If you wear a cardigan, glasses and sing songs about lunchboxes and picnics, you may just be able to nab yourself a show there. Don’t bother putting me on the door. TC came to destroy, and that they did. The bar staff had no idea what they were in for. Tables were turned, chairs thrown, equipment destroyed. Panic was everywhere. TC were ordered to never come back. Everyone left with a smile on their face as the owners mopped up.

Love, Corner Hotel, 2003.
Arthur Lee – he’s still got it. Note-for-note remakes of all the classics played with genuine passion. Sure it’s a rock ‘n’ roll cabaret/nostalgia act, but it’s one done to perfection.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, 2003.
Speaking of old geezers who still have it… Greendale, the show, was much better than expected. It was a little bit pantomime, sure, maybe even shades of Spinal Tap’s Puppet Show gig were present (especially in the ‘Bowl’s environment), but the encore, THE ENCORE!! 45 minutes of the most blazing, messed-up rock-noise to ever hit my ear drums in a live setting. It was IT, kiddo. A friend of mine – fried on a cocktail of booze and mind-bending weed – was staggering around, hands clutched on head, saying the most outrageous things that I must quote them: “What the fuck is this?! This is like Fushitsusha, man, like fuckin’ Guru Guru! This is insane!”. Headline the next day: “Area Hipster Completely Loses Cool At Neil Young Concert”. He occasionally reads this site and will kill me when he reads this. His name is Neil.

Wire, earlier this year, Corner Hotel.
Again, the old men came out to teach the young ‘uns a thing or two about a thing or two. Supported by the homicide-worthy Front End Loader, who played to an overwhelmingly hostile audience (serves ‘em right), Wire cut out the disco antics of their ‘80s output and nailed it with a barrage of recent material which, live and in your face, sounded like a long lost Minor Threat bootleg. Song after song of it. They sneered, they gyrated. We applauded.

Bored!, Sarah Sands Hotel, 1990.
This was the classic Hemensley/Nolan line-up, both out of their minds that night on various illicit substances. The show in itself only lasted about 10 minutes, but it was the best 10 minutes I ever saw them play. Hemmo, two songs in, became increasingly annoyed with a mohawked buffoon up the front who was slamming violently into everyone, so he took off his bass and swung it brutally into the upper body of said punker. I winced as I watched. Ooh, that’s gotta hurt. He’s down. Next song starts. He’s back up again, and up to his old slampit tricks. Tim once again swings his bass and knocks him down for the count. Tim then totally cracks it, throws his bass to the ground, grabs the 5-foot-high stack of amps on stage and begins rocking them. This gets the attention of the nervous bouncers. He sends them tumbling and an earsplitting noise hits the room. The bouncers have had it with Tim. They make a leap for him, Tim scatters off the stage, runs through the crowd and bolts out the door, bouncers not far behind. Gig is over. Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll.

Dictators/Ronnie Spector/Joey Ramone/Murphy’s Law, NYC 1999.
This was at, I think, Coney Island High, a seedy dive in St. Mark’s Place. I went there on my own, since Jason from Perfect Sound Forever, whom I was staying with, insisted on going to a goddamn Pavement gig! Jason, you spoilt New Yorker, you! The place was stinking hot and full to the rafters with old-time NYC scenesters. I stayed near the back, sipped my beer at a leisurely pace and awaited the great New York Rock Experience. Ronnie Spector was OK; Joey Ramone a more-than-passable nostalgia trip (he was ill at the time, give him a break!), though the Dictators tore the place up in grand style. Pure fucking magic. I love the Dictators’ first LP but can take or leave the rest of their schtick. Live, they ripped the roof off the place. Murphy’s Law? I didn’t even know they were on the bill, and they headlined! Watched two songs (before I finally realized who they were: “New York fuckin’ City! We’re Murphy’s Law!”) and hightailed it outta there.

Daniel Johnston, Austin Uni, 1999.
Just Daniel, bloated and extremely nervous and fragile-looking, and a piano in the café. One of my weirdest gig experiences. You felt like hugging him after the show. Beautiful stuff.

Terry Riley, Knitting Factory, NYC, 1999.
Sax, tablas and piano. A strange set-up for a minimalist, perhaps, but the results were hypnotic. A sparse audience, I found myself seated next to… ta-da!... La Monte Young and his wife! I said an awkward “G’day” and the conversation began and ended right there.

Masonna, What Is Music? Festival at the Punter’s Club, 1997.
This little Japanese guy comes out on stage, wearing flares and a silk shirt, long straight hair past his shoulders, armed with only a mic on a stand and an army of effects pedals at his feet. Suddenly he jumps on a series of pedals, screams into the mic and flails around like Iggy/James Brown for half an hour, making an unearthly racket. A noise guy with a sense of showmanship: rarer than hens’ teeth.

I FUCKIN’ WISH

Black Flag/Saccharine Trust/Big Boys/Dicks, Raoul’s Austin 1982(?)

Black Flag/Mission of Burma, Peppermint Lounge NYC, 1980.
Dez-era ‘Flag tearing it up; Boston’s finest warming the stage.

Minor Threat/Trouble Funk/Big Boys, DC 1983.
HC-meets Go-go. What a bill!

Dead Kennedys/Half Japanese, 9:30 Club DC, 1981.

Misfits/Necros/GI/Void, Wilson Centre DC, 1982.

Minor Threat/Faith/Void/Artificial Peace/Iron Cross/Double-O, Wilson Centre DC, 1981.

Flesh Eaters/Die Kreuzen, Irene’s Milwaukee 1982/3(??).

Dead Kennedys/Circle Jerks/Flipper, San Fran 1980.
This is the gig the Teen Idles were supposed to play support to, but instead got bumped to the following night warming up for the Mentors!!

Ugh, there’s too many of these things, and believe me, I would have liked to have seen more than just early ‘80s HC in my life. On to the discussions…

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