15/09/2011 Apricot Rail, Zeks, HiHelo, Sprawl, Frozen Ocean The Rosemount Hotel Review by Axel Carrington
SOME BANDS THAT I DONE SAW
I always find it inexplicably difficult to begin a column/review, providing some sort of exposition and let you the reader in on what I feel is the most important aspects to take away from my furious pounding of word vomit. This review is of course no expectation. To wit: here is a paragraph describing the Chicken Parmigiana I ate for dinner, mere minutes before our opening act.
The spring night was brisk, with the faint suspicion of moisture in the air. I ventured into the brightly lit and raucous establishment THE ROSEMOUNT where in previous times in my life I had once accidentally danced violently with a good ladyfriend to the detriment of our relationship and also intentionally called a guy who was wearing blue face paint ‘a honky tonk-style blowjob’. I had convinced old school friend, now regular friend B.Dingle to accompany, have a few beers and ‘shoot the shit’ as they most likely say in Southern California, I’ve read this in a book. Giving up this pointless charade in about half a sentence, I deftly moved toward the bar and ordered my meal as well as a pint of ale to assist the Chicken through its course.
IT WAS A GOOD MEAL. I ESPECIALLY LIKED THE HAM AND THE ONE QUARTER TOMATO THAT WAS IN THE SALAD. I ALSO LIKED THAT ON THURSDAYS THEY ARE $4s CHEAPER.
Seeing as this is my first (and possibly last, if people don’t mind being jerked around by some guy pretending he’s of the same ilk as David Foster Wallace) assignment for the Fattest of Shans, I thought I better take quote unquote ‘craploads of notes’ to help my notoriously shoddy memory. Hopefully my phone does not die as I read fragment after fragment and think ‘what did I possibly mean by this remark?’
PROFESSIONALISM: Thursday at the Rosemount is marketed as ‘Spaceship Thursday’ which is a neat way of saying this is the night where you can catch something a little left of centre. Tonight was no exception of course, with all five bands bringing a nice well rounded wedge to the proceedings, maybe akin to having a big ol’ party and hey somebody’s got a wedge of lime, somebody’s got a wedge of lemon, let’s all have martinis. I’ll stop beating around the bush now.
Band #1 and organisers of Tasty Thunderous Thursday Tea (name rejected by higher-ups for self-evident reasons) were SPRAWL, a name most apt for their approach to sound. Here is a group with oodles of potential and some great ideas that are hindered by certain aspects of their sound: for one, for every guitar break or Isaac Brock-esque holler or bursting busy drum fill there was a sense of nostalgia, it made me pine for The Lonesome Crowded West but that’s ok, I enjoyed the muddled, hazy sound and let it wash over me. These hollers and moans were also buried in the mix under the deluge of bass guitar, making it especially hard to me to hear their earnest amphetamine adventures. They were also unfortunate ‘victims of spaghetti’ (their words) where their gear continued to malfunction and showcase a lack of showmanship: engage the audience dudes! Tell a joke! Do a flip! I feel that with more shows under their belts they will grow in confidence and really deliver a primeval stew of delicious goodness. Sorry I’m still thinking about that Chicken Parma.
After a quick break where B.Dingle and I discussed particular kinds of socks we had the next group take the stage, a pair of rough and ready beautiful bastards known to the world as FROZEN OCEAN and here’s a band, here’s a GODDAMNED band that exist in the same spectrum that house Crass and Rudimentary Peni: you go to a Frozen Ocean show, your shit gets punked up and you leave with your head in a daze. Their fucking ferocious fight sounded like if Hank Williams learnt how to sing, strum and snort from GG Allin and their control of dynamics and tempo was with a touch so deft it nearly gave me the vapours. Without a doubt one of the most exciting and important bands in the local scene, I await Frocean’s upcoming album launch with baited breath: through their relentless gigging schedule they have improved out of sight, something that should be a beacon of light for other groups playing around the place. Play a tonne, you can only get better.
Before HiHelo commanded the stage, I took the opportunity to piss out of my dick. It was a glorious stream. Anyway, I had seen HiHelo (so named after a tune in David Lynch’s nightmare fuel masterpiece Eraserhead (as an aside though: I thought the song in that film was ‘In Heaven, Everything is Fine’ which gives us the far less effective acronym IHEIF. Actually IHEIF sounds like an insurance company)) before and I could not for the life of me remember whether I liked them or not. I like the taste of beer. So I remembered this: while I do like the chiming guitars, the unpolished ‘rough around the edges’ sound and the fact that the bass player seemed to be the only dude having a morsel of fun on stage, I thought that this sort of Post-Rock/Shoegaze/Wigwam in this idiom was on life support or that Bauhaus had already come and gone. It was like they were trying to will Bela Lugosi back alive, which is admirable but ultimately not my thing. Like Sprawl however, these guys have the opportunity to transcend their influences and really make a sound their own.
I almost doubled the amount of crap I wrote down for the next two acts and as such I would like to take a break from the essay format and give you my humble sexy readers some dot point observations.
ZEKS (an anagram for SEKZ)
-The singing in the first song sounded like Ron Hitler Barassi from TISM: some definite brownie points from me. -Like all good things Zeks know their records and their heritage, taking lessons from The Horse and The Rat and The Swan to heart. -Bass Player did what no other band up to this point: effectively communicate with the crowd. I wanted to hear more about Gordon Ramsay’s midget porno double’s troubles with death. -‘Zeks conjured up for me the sound of insect repellent, if it had a sound, in the way that it smelled weird but you’re glad to have it around’ (excerpted sentence from my upcoming pamphlet Why I Think Zeks is Ex!(cellent)) -‘Their sound is like a street preacher perpetually out of breath, angrily commanding you to hell while throwing ashtrays at your face’ (another excerpt) -A slogan: ZEKS INCITES CARNAL PASSION (some couple started macking furiously in front of me, no doubt a reaction to the primal barrage of noise. Stupid Sexy Zeks.) -Farewell Michael!
And but so then we had the final act of the evening APRICOT RAIL and I have a truckload of overwrought sentences for these guys. Hold onto your hats!
-An Equation: Plethora of instruments + technical difficulties + slightly tipsy and tired Axel = annoyed Axel. -‘like a drunk witnessing the dawn as the waves break’ (excerpt from the biography Why I Drink: How Apricot Rail’s magnificent relaxed approach to transcendence drove me to again drink whiskey on a beach.) -My cat Matthew (it’s a real name for a cat!) would really enjoy this music, it seems like something he’d enjoy before drifting off to sleep. That is definitely a compliment. -‘a breeze blowing through the spring mist’ (Ernest Hemingway is dead.) -Apricot Rail used all the chord progressions and melodic flourishes that I cherish: it was like witnessing emotional battery. -‘like if the Penguin Café Orchestra were actual Penguins’ (excerpt from Depressed Footwear: My Life after Happy Feet) -‘gentle like a warm glass of milk’ (this trick started off cute, now it’s contrite)
I then ventured home to my abode where I sit typing up this nonsense before dreaming of misplacing the university’s library’s DVDs. When they find this out I stand trial, am deemed guilty and then thrown into a hellish pit of despair and also Harry Connick Jr. records. Anyway,
SUMMARY (TL,DR): I thoroughly enjoyed myself on this ‘Spaceship Thursday’, a true showcase of the sheer diversity and quality of the Perth Music Scene. I gasped, sighed, moaned, wailed, laughed and smiled as these few, these lucky few played their material to a receptive audience. I also enjoyed that Chicken Parma I ate, that beer I done drunk and that one quarter tomato I chomped, while ruing and lamenting the fact that not all of my Thursdays are this enjoyable. All of the bands on the bill were either marvellous or showed the necessary potential to be marvellous later on down the trail.
Thanks for reading! Hopefully this doesn’t incite riots or masses of angry hate-mail, so I can report again SOON!
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