So Luger Boa resembled The Saints, huh ? Well, the real deal were pretty bloody impressive yesterday at All Tomorrow's Parties, on Cockatoo Island Sydney.
The Island was a great venue, a short ferry ride there, before having a good nosey around it. Over the years' it's been a prison, reform school and boat-building yard.
There were four venues (one big, one small, two medium) scattered around the island.
After a look at the Louis Wain art exhibition (psychotic cats, etc), it was time to check out the first bands...
Hunter Dienna played swooping pop music, good but nothing truly amazing. The Stabs are an abrasive Melbourne trio, they resembled The Gordons, so I was sold on them from the word go.
On the main stage, Bridzilla, who were until a few months ago a schoolgirl band, played very twisted pop, but without guitars, utilising sax, violin, drums and bass. The actor, Jack Thompson, came on and guested on harmonica for their final song, which was a cool little bonus.
The Holy Sea were a perfunctory, melodic pop band; capable, but nothing else beyond that. Beaches were an all female quintet (three guitars plus rhythm section; they play intense pop songs which really took off when all five sung in unison.
Conway Savage, Bad Seeds pianist, played an impressive set of stripped-back, melancholic ballads.
Up on the main stage, Hoss played dirty, fuzzy, swamp rock.
Around on the (medium) Shipbuilders Stage, I saw Japanese duo Afrirampo give the first truly stunning show of the day. Using just drums and guitar they played truly warped fuzz-rock, that had all manner of bizarrre arrangements withen each song. The singer / guitarist hollered away brilliantly, while the singer / drummer went totally mental.
Their set finished with them going into the middle of the crowd, setting their drums up there, pounding away and getting everyone to chant along. It was goddamn magic, some of the best original music I've heard in years.
On the main stage, US trio Dead Meadow let rip with some solid, blasting, psych-rock.
Back on the Shipbuilders Stage, Harmonia made the whole trip worthwhile. As a major krautrock fan, I never thought I'd ever, ever see these three men. And they did not let me down. MIchael Rother effortlessly hit into his motorik guitar groove, while Roedelius and Moebius laid out their legendary electro-grooves. They were, it mut be said, transcendent.
A reformed Laughing Clowns were just as stunning, their eerie post-punk / jazz really came across strongly and seeing them proved that Ed Kuepper is one of the most under-rated guitarists ever, while Louise Elliot played some very spooky sax lines.
I caught a bit of Robert Forster (great version of 'Quiet Heart'), before going to the small stage to see former Birthday Party guitarist Rowland S Howard. The guy's as skinny as a rake and has a voice flatter than three-day-old lemonade, but it was entirely appropriate to the serated, direct songs. The guy's guitar lines are still utterly unique, as well. As with Harmonia, someone I never thought I'd see and he lived up to his reputation, too. Mick Harvery played drums for him, incidentally.
I caught a slice of The Necks delivering their drony, minimalist jazz, sounded pretty good.
Back on the main stage, The Saints were a pleasant surprise. I'm not overly familiar with their material, but they hit the sweet spot nicely. Chris Bailey's a hell of a front man, while Ed Kuepper again proved to be worth his salt. Great version of 'I'm Stranded' which the crowd went mental at.
Then it was Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds; this was the third time I've seen them over the years and, again, they did not let me down.
Cave was even more OTT than usual, while Warren Ellis's contributions on guitar and violin really flesh out the songs magnificently. Plus, it must be said, Thomas Wydler is one hell of a drummer. They manly played songs from Henry's Dream, Let Love In, Dig Lazarus Dig and selected '80s classics like 'Tupelo' and 'Deanna'
Around on the Turbine stage, Silver Apples poured out their proto-electronica; as with Harmonia, this was weird grooves at their best, plus Simeon's languid voice really suited the songs and general atmosphere.
It'd been a hell of a day / night and I made my way to the ferry, very, very delighted with what I'd seen.
...and yesterday it was onwards to...Sydney ! Mucked around at my brother's place in the morning, had a quick nosey around town in the afternoon, then met up with some mates at a pub in Newtown, hammered the Cooper's Ale into the evening.
Today I trundled around the music shops, bought a couple of Sonic Youth and James Brown cds at a JB. But the real bonanza was at the Virgin store inside Myers on George St. There was a big table full of $5 cds.
Most of it was crap, but I scored stuff by Ornette Coleman, The Wickerman soundtrack (the classic original, not the crap recent remake), Augustus Pablo's King Tubby's Meet's Rockers...and a bunch of other stuff that would've cost me a bundle a Redeye, etc.
Tomorrow I'm off to the All Tomorrow's Parties music festival on Cockatoo Island: Nick Cave, Spiritualized, Harmonia, Silver Apples, The Saints (orig. line-up), and loads of other cult faves.
I'm about to fly up to Christchurch. Then tomorrow morning, I'll be flying from there to...you'll have to wait for the next exciting episode of "What Grant did on his holidays"...
I'm sticking to the argument as much as robbery ever has. He's seen fit to question my knowledge and capabilities, misrepresent my comments and generally be as rude as he feels like (where were you at that point, by the way?), so it's only equal time to question his.
Where was I ? Doing other stuff, to be honest. While I know a lot about music I know sod-all about IT, etc, so a lot of the technical discussion just goes straight over my head, therefore I couldn't comment on it.
Mark and Sasha: Please refrain from making personal insulkts, stick to the argument, please.
I don't know Robbery personally, but several people I know do. They all agree with Simon that Robbery has made a significant contribution - for well over two decades - to the local music scene, especially the Chch scene (no, he's not Roger Shepherd, before you ask).
I'm not in the BDO target demographic like I once was and other than Neil Young, the line-up is just not my cup-of-tea.
On the other hand, I'm pretty excited about going to ATP in Sydney on Jan 17: Nick Cave, Spiritualized, Dirty Three, Harmonia, Silver Apples, The Saints (orig. lin-up), Laughing Clowns, Robert Forster, The Necks, James Ulmer...
RIP, Ron Asheton, guitarist for The Stooges. :(
(Not strictly on-topic, but significant music-related news, unfortunately).
The Police have also been infiltrating Unite and other lefty unions, according to an interview Matt McCarten's just done on RNZ National.
He gave various examples of infiltration and how that paid informant Russell mentions had been identified by Unite members.
This is really going to get nasty and the police are going to have a lot of explaining to do over this.
and I could have written about scootering around this great city
I was unaware you lived in Dunedin, Damien. You'll have to join the Dunedinista for a beer when we next meet.
And the Ralston column is hackneyed, inconsistent, wrong on facts and one of the worst things he's ever written.
Why do his articles never carry a byline concerning his connections with the National Party in general and its parliamentary leader in particular?
He discussed that issue in a recent post in his blog at stuff. As he sees it, he himself has nothing to do with the National Party, but his wife, Janet Wilson, her company does work for Key, so technically he only has a connection through her is his argument.
That's the gist of it - read his post for further elaboration.