Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Regurgitator @ The Tivoli

On Saturday night, we went to see Regurgitator at The Tivoli. I was a bit surprised to hear them say it was their first time they've played there, given how long both the band and the venue have been around for. As is the case more often than not, the Tivoli brought out out the best in the performers on the night.

Due to a prior engagement, we missed the first support, but arrived in time to see American band, Ratatat, take the stage. Their electro-doof music did a great job at getting the crowd moving and warmed up for the main event. I'm not overly familiar with many electronic/techno acts, as they seem to be a bit of a hit and miss affair with me, however, I did find these guys to be more of a hit with me. I'm sure the presence of a guitarist amongst the keys and bass had something to do with it.

After a quick change over, Regurgitator took to the stage and broke into Blood And Spunk off last year's Love And Paranoia release. They followed it up with My Robot Friend and continued with highlights from their back catalog including, in no particular order, I Will Lick Your Arsehole, Kong Foo Sing, ! (The Song Formerly Known As), Polyester Girl, I Wanna Be A Nudist, I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff, Black Bugs and I Sucked a Lot of Cock to Get Where I Am.

The fact that I only own their latest album and still recognised almost every song they played really highlighted for me how successful this band, who herald from Brisbane's dark ages of music, has been over the years. Not everyone's favourite songs were played (specifically, there were many requests for Blubber Boy coming from our general vicinity that went unanswered), but they still managed to keep the not-quite sell out crowd jumping up and down in time with the music for the evening.

You also gotta love a band who writes a song called Drinking Beer Is Awesome!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Eels @ The Tivoli 24th April, 2008

[Courtesy of Paul, who went to the gig last Thursday]

I'd been looking forward to this gig for ages as I remember The Eels playing a hard and tight rock set last time I saw them. Unfortunately by the end of the night I wished I hadn't gone as I really don't think I would pay to see them again and that sux when a favourite band lets you down in such a big way.

When we arrived at the Tivoli we noticed the unfortunate set up of seating, which is usually a sign that the gig has struggled to sell tickets. After purchasing a drink for the same price as feeding an African village for a month ($8.50 each) we found a seat, dead centre on the top balcony. A large white curtain was set up in front of the stage so you couldn't see the set up. I was trying to find out who the support were but the reason I couldn't find out was because there wasn't one. This was really the Mr E ego night. Nice and early a documentary started showing about E's search to understand his father's famous Quantum Mechanics theory. We sat there expecting after a few minutes the curtain would drop and The Eels would be there rocking out a big number. After 55 minutes it was clear that this was not going to happen.

After the doco the sheet was removed and an interval took place, by now the crowd was restless and you could see people starting to wonder what was going on. The stage setup was incredible. An upright piano, drums, guitars, a drawbar organ and several other antique looking keyboards familiar to The Eels fans. It looked like it was going to be special.

E came to the stage and sat down (he sat for the entire concert) and started to play the first song. No sooner had he started, he stopped to complain about people using cameras. This was the beginning of the end. He played about 3 or 4 numbers by himself swapping guitars with his roadie at the end of every song which gave an odd feeling because he would start to hand over the guitar as he strummed the last chord. He wasn't really interested in being there.<

He played a couple of numbers on piano, for which he had his back to the audience and the piano obviously hadn't been tuned and not amplified very well. I know he likes a bit of a honky tonk sound sometimes but this was just insulting for an $80 gig. It was like a school assembly.

Finally he was joined on stage by the only other band member Chett(?). He was quite talented and played everything from guitar, piano, drums to slide guitar and the saw. After a few numbers Chett did a reading from E's autobiography and obviously a few in the audience decided that they had had enough and were giving him a hard time. E didn't take this well and started to heckle them back and complain about people talking. They played a couple more songs and then did another reading, well people were really restless now and I don't blame them, no one paid to see someone read a book, they wanted music. The final nail came when E started to play the next song and people down the front were still talking. At The Tivoli the noise really carries and he was obviously put off by this. He stopped playing looked over at the guy and told him it was ridiculous and he had to shut up. He kept on at the guy telling him that he was going to start playing soon and he better shut up. !
Well this brought the room to silence. I don't think people were brave enough to even clap, they were just scared that they would be next.

The next couple of songs had some really good free rock sections and would have been very entertaining but he had really soured the audience. The set eventually finished and they left the stage. They came back for one encore. E had obviously had someone in his ear when they went off because he started to make excuses about a long flight and not feeling well. This didn't wash and he copped a bit of abuse for which his reply was. '"It took 24 hours to get here, I didn't really want to come anyway, and this will be our last show in Brisbane"".

For what musically was a pretty good gig I don't think anyone (except the hardcore fans) will remember it that way. I know E can be a bit strange around people, but this was beyond strange. This was just rude. People pay good money for gigs and they deserve some respect. E's ego has obvioulsy destroyed his ability to remain humble and remember how privlidged he is to be able to tour the world doing what he loves best. I really don't think the audience was to blame. I actually think they put up with a lot and he should have known that people were restless because he wasn't entertaining them.

In some ways, I still would have liked to have gone to the gig, if only to see how it panned out first hand. But at the same time, maybe it will turn out for the best and I won't be jaded if and when they tour next time.

Thanks for the review Paul!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Del Toro, An Horse, and Do The Robot @ The Brisbane Powerhouse

On this rather warm April day, we made our way down to the Brisbane Powerhouse for the Sunday afternoon Live Spark session.

The Powerhouse is literally one of Brisbane's old power stations. It was given a new life about 10 years ago and reborn into one of the city's great live performance venues. They've left a lot of the interior and exterior in-tact, which gives it a great industrial feel. It's situated on the river right next to New Farm park, and is one convenient CityCat stop away from us.

The three Brisbane bands in today's session were all from the Valve record label, and were each launching their latest releases.

Up first this afternoon was Do The Robot. This two-piece made up of a guitarist and keyboardist (who also played the glockenspiel & guitar for a couple of songs) had a pretty good sound to them. Whilst I liked the minimalist repetitive style of the songs, I felt they were a little nervous, and as a result, not very tight together. I still decided to pick up their album, Amp On Fire, and I'll be interested to see how much of a difference their recorded sound has.

When I saw Kate Cooper from An Horse on stage to set up, I recognised her from Iron On and was a bit worried about what was to follow. I've had a couple of not so great experiences seeing Iron On play which, although was probably related to technical difficulties at the time, have left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I'm happy to report that An Horse's set today fit in well with the other two bands, and ended up being a pretty good listen. They had the most stage presence out of the three bands by far, which added to the overall enjoyment of their set. Having said that, they still weren't my cup of tea, and they were the only band whose CD I didn't pick up today.

The third and final act today was Del Toro. I saw them once before (back in 2005 apparently) supporting City City City at The Alley Bar. I remember really liking them at the time and was disappointed to find out after their set that they were still working on getting a recording out. Since then, they fell off the radar for me, so much so that I only vaguely recognised the name when I saw their gig advertised.

In contrast to the other two bands, Del Toro were quietly confident on stage. But that's where the quietness ended! Their instrumental set consisted of a number of screaming high guitar tones, interspersed with sharp bass and solid drummig. I recently heard their style described as "desert rock", which is a much more accurate description than I could come up with (along the lines of alt country/blues/rock).

Their set was short but sweet and I picked up their latest album, Hydra, on my way out, so there may be more about them coming soon from this space.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Gigs update 2008/04/11

Wolfmother if you're quick, more Pseudo Play-doh (still love that name), Del Toro, and The Mars Volta. Plus a little visual surprise! All here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Missed out on Smashing Pumpkins

Based on the write up in this week's Time Off and what I've heard from someone who saw them at the V Festival, it looks like I missed out on a really good show. Apparently, the Convention Centre show went for a whopping 2 hours 20 minutes, kicking off with 'Porcelina...' and including classics such as 'Tonight, Tonight', '1979', 'Today', 'Ava Adore', 'Bullet With Butterfly Wings', 'The Everlasting Gaze' and 'Mayonaise'.

And the closing of the main set sounds right up my alley:

... the note-perfect Pumpkins decide to close their set with an epic, and rather experimental, three-song amalgamation (‘Cash Car Star’, ‘Crush’ and ‘United States’) that spans 20 monotonous minutes. With only a handful of prog-rock fans nodding their heads in appreciation, this self-absorbed tripe proves to be a disastrous finish to an otherwise faultless gig.

[Paul China Time Off 9th April 2008]

Sounds like just the kind of self-absorbed tripe that I'm into ;-)

I've always had a theory about the 'Pumpkins; that they went down hill when they kicked out their drummer (Jimmy Chamberlin) after Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness. Whilst Adore certainly has its moments, I think there are a lot more tracks on that album that could have been better with a real drum track. Given that Chamberlin was present again for this gig, it would have been great to hear some of the later material with him behind the kit.

Oh well, maybe next time.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Gigs update 2008/04/02

Today's new additions are Doch (this Friday), The Thrills, Angus & Julia Stone, and The Black Keys.