Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Too much choice

Coming up on the midway point of this year, and things are looking as healthy as ever. We're spoilt for choice here on Friday night.
After work drinks are easy- at Off The Hip, being entertained by the Ransome Brothers and the Reactions. That's free, from about 5.30 onwards.

After that, it gets a bit tougher. Two highly regarded local bands, both of whom are playing in peak form at the moment, but on different bills. You've got Eddy Current Suppression Ring and friends at the Espy:

or Witch Hats at Roxanne, playing one last show before they head off to the States.

The Espy show is sold out, with only a few tickets available on the door, while Roxanne is a dive of a place, if that makes it any easier to choose. I know where I'll be- but I'm not saying.

Something new on Saturday- what I understand is the second outing for the Sweet Jelly Roll club night, at North Melbourne's Public Bar. As they say:

Sweet Jelly Roll is a monthly night of down and dirty dancing and drinking to the finest tunes from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. Featuring resident DJ’s Razor Totin’ Slim and Pearl Jackson playing rhythm & blues, surf, Vegas grind, latin rythms, doo-wop, rockabilly, gypsy swing and soul plus special guest bands and authentic burlesque performance.

That's a combination that will be hard to beat on a cold winter's night.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

From hibernation to observation.

Those of you who check in here regularly will have noticed this isn't a stream of consciousness blog, wherein I record everything from my morning cup of coffee to the noontime piss it engenders.
And for good reason- those kind of blogs bore me to tears.
I see and do too much to ever try and capture every blink and breath here- hey, I'm busy actually doing things. What you get here at the Tram are edited highlights- or lowlights - of that.
But recently I made a determined effort to capture some of the things that I do see and hear, over and above those I want to talk about, or that I get paid to report on. Here, then, is a notebook sketch of a 45 minute trip into town to see a show in the city last week:
  • There are four or five teenage Asian Guido types in the local liquor store, arguing amongst themselves over who has what cash to buy a $40.00 bottle of Jagermeister. When I go to the counter, the Sikh bloke who runs the joint (and who knows me) winks and says he can't wait to ask them for ID.
  • At the train station, two Maori girls with a slab of bourbon & coke ask me if I want a drink, but then one of them changes her mind- "Buy one, mate, buy one". I walk on, the train pulls in.
  • In the city, I walk down Bourke Street, past an overtanned, overweight, overmoneyed but unhappy couple. Her- strapless, facelifted, him- red faced, wearing a blue blazer. Both are talking at about wine and taxis.
  • There are a bunch of wannabe gangsters outside a notorious cafe a bit further down. No sign of any real trouble, though.
  • When I cross the street, I find a couple of chunky-knit, chunky-jewellery type middle aged lesbians are having a hissy argument over the outside ashtrays, while a lost and lonely tourist family wander past, with the teenage girl whining about not getting to go to the Hard Rock Cafe.
  • In a alleyway just off Chinatown, I see four men sitting at one table in a busy restaurant, deep in heavy conversation, while a huge bald guy sits by himself at a table set for five just next to them, watching every word. Bodyguard? Who can tell?
  • Outside the Exford, a spotty backpacker holds an armful of (cheap, thin, greasy) takeaway pizza boxes like she's trapped them herself, while her buddies inside forget to buy beers and watch the rugby game playing in the back bar's huge plasma TVs instead.
  • I turn around and see a huge ad for a strip joint pasted three stories high over the intersection.
  • I buy some Pretz, (savoury cousin of the Pocky) from an Asian grocery, but then, 20 metres up the street, save a Chiko Roll from certain extinction in a dodgy bain-marie, and then head on through the drizzle.

And that, dear reader, was what I saw on the way, before my evening started.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Graphics free weekend

Well. No pics this week, for various reasons.
Joel Silbersher and HOSS are doing a bunch of shows in the next few weeks, starting tomorrow:

But I couldn't find a handbill for any of these. Still, I would love to go to that Marrickville one.

Also on Friday, Cabaret Nocturne is on at somewhere called La Di Da's in Little Bourke St. I was going to post the flyer for that, but the more I looked at it, the less I liked it. Check it out here and you'll see what I mean.

On Sunday, the Local in St. Kilda is holding it's first "Spectapular" beer festival, with 40 Australian microbrews on tap from 12.oo noon til 1.00am. $25 gets you 20 samples. There's a link to the (crappy .pdf) handbill here.

And that's your lot.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Witch Hats US tour dates

Nice poster.
But those dates are a little hard to read. Never mind, there's a full (very long) list here, as well as a request for help. Anyone got a spare stage, or (more importantly) a spare bed or five? Get in touch- they're pretty much house trained.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I have just spent a cold, quiet week pondering a few things.
The incredibly warming combination of roast pumpkin and tandoori spice, for instance, which is almost better than the traditional lamb and pearl barley.
And what would Mexico be like if it was run by communists instead of drug dealers?

I borrowed that pic from here, by the way.
Anyway, some shows on this weekend.
Tonight, Ninety Nine and friends are at the Old Bar:

No, it's nothing to do with that stupid new "Get Smart" movie.

And tomorrow night sees the first personal test of the new lockout legislation.
Can I make it from the Spencer P Jones & the Escape Committee/Johnny Casino & the Secrets show at Ding Dong, to Gimme Shelter at the Exford, before 2.00am?

I don't know, but I may give it a fucking good try. I mean, it's only a few hundred metres, and it's downhill. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Shindiggers- "Maximum Beat"

Well, this was bound to come along one day.
51 tracks from this frantic mid '80's Melbourne combo, includes complete studio recordings plus lotsa rarities with most tracks appearing on CD for the first time. Comes with 16 page full colour booklet and liner notes from mainstay singer Bill Leggett. All tracks remastered from original source tapes.

I knew the Shindiggers knew 51 songs, at least, but didn't realise they'd recorded quite so much.
These guys were a mainstay in the Melbourne live scene of the early/mid 80s, playing a potent and trashy R & B/R & R blend, usually at a breakneck pace. If I saw them once, then I musta seen them 40 times- here's a setlist from back in the day:

The "Australian Milkshakes" tag doesn't do them justice, and neither did being lumped into the "psychobilly" camp with a bunch of their contemporaries. Their live shenanigans- which for a while included Bill being carried on stage in a coffin in homage to Screaming Lord Sutch, and occasional bouts of inter-band fisticuffs, were always entertaining.
Ahh, they don't make them like that any more. All credit to the crew at Off The Hip for cutting through the (still ongoing) feuds to get this out there.

Gaffstock 08

Yes, it's on again this weekend, featuring too many bands to list, over three days and nights:

This place is one of my favorite bars, and it seems to go from strength to strength. At $10 a session you'd be a fool not to drop in for a while at least.

Click to enlarge the (excellent) poster for full details