Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why march when you can riot?

Well, there’s another music-based protest group in town. This time, it's a mob called Melbourne Locked Out , whose cause is the recent legislation which venues clubs from letting punters in after 2.00am, in a bid to stop the rampaging hordes of party heads who roam the streets from bar to strip joint to all nighter in a desperate frenzy of entertainment lust.
Seriously, though, I don’t think that people who move on from place to place are the root cause or the major cause of trouble. That goes back to our old friends, young men and alcohol, as well as the fact that the venue which gets you pissy drunk has no responsibility for your behavior once you walk out the door.
I myself rarely do the rounds- once I’m at a place I usually stay there til the bitter end. Though having said that, last Friday I went to the Double Agents gig at Cherry, caught part of Spencer Jones’ set at the Spanish Club, and ended the night watching Johnny Casino & the Secrets at Bar Open. All this was before 2.00am, though, so I guess it doesn’t count.
Anyway, you know the form- Friday afternoon, meet, march, yell, then go home. No, go to a club, til at least 4.00am. Good luck.

Janine Hall

My friend Janine died last week. While the circumstances are still a little cloudy, they’re not really important. What matters is that she’s gone.

Born in New Zealand, she was an enthusiastic and notable part of the Australian music scene. She was a member of Melbourne’s legendary Young Charlatans back in the early days, playing her bass alongside Rowland Howard (pre-Boys Next Door/Birthday Party) Ollie Olsen (pre-Whirlywirld/NO/Max Q) and Jeffrey Wegener (pre-Laughing Clowns). Janine later joined the Saints for two albums (“The Monkey Puzzle” and “Out In The Jungle”- yes, that’s her playing on “Always” and “Follow The Leader”) and plenty of live shows in the early 80s, before moving onto Mick Thomas’ Weddings Parties Anything. That’s some CV- and that’s only the edited highlights.
She trained and worked as an acupuncturist in recent years, and as a sceptic I was surprised by the difference a few treatments from her made to my tinnitus. And she never really let me pay her for them, either, preferring a few beers and a game or two of pool at the Tote to cash.
Her funeral is private, but there will be a wake held for friends at idGAFF on Thursday afternoon, 29 May, from 3.00 til 7.00pm. See you there.

Pic- Janine and co. on the back cover of "The Monkey Puzzle"

Update- this just came to my attention:
There will now be a funeral service for Janine Hall.
The service will be at Lonergan WG Raven at 187 Queens Parade Clifton Hill at 2pm sharp on Thursday May 29.
A wake will follow at IDGAFF 160 Hoddle St Abbotsford from 3pm.
All those who knew Janine are welcome.

Please pass on the info.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Four way action weekend

There's a lot going on.

On Friday, The Double Agents play a farewell show at Cherry before heading off on their second European tour.

The Double Agents are bidding farewell to their beloved Oz, as they head off on their second sojourn to Europe in early June. Taking a stellar new line-up, regulars Dave Butterworth, Kim Walvisch and Chris Loughtman will be joined by Callum John Barter(Ancient Free Gardeners) on the skins and Dave Larkin (yes, he of Dallas Crane infamy) on bass guitar. Playing their blistering brand of garage country swamp in one final Melbourne show before heading to France, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy & Belgium, the tour will also celebrate the vinyl release of their last album “Seemed Like A Good Idea…” on prestigious French label Beast Records. Dave Larkin kicks off the evening with a solo slot before The Agents smack you across the face with a set (or two). ‘Tis an early show - done and dusted by 11:30pm. Expect their usual bar-rattlin’ shenanigans as well as a raffle of rare and unique Double Agents memorabilia to help raise touring funds.

See? It's an early show. So a bit later on Friday night, you can probably make it across town to see Sydney's Johnny Casino bring his Secrets to Bar Open in Fitzroy for a one-off freebie with the Shimmys and Midnight Woolf.

This is an opportunity that's impossible to pass up- did I mention it was free? Here's some YouTube of them doing "Cowboys And Indians" to whet your appetite, if you need it.
Then on Saturday, there's are two more excellent lineups. At Ding Dong:

Rowland's stick insect silhouette is a familiar enough sight around certain parts of town, but I haven't seen him play live for ages. And he's playing with Kes, too. I really shouldn't have to say any more- this is guaranteed to be intriguing, and entertaining.

BUT there's stiff competition from the Espy, where you can see Dave Graney & the Coral Snakes with the almighty Wagons, who are headlining if the relative sizes of the band names on the Espy's gig guide wall is anything to go by:

That's for free too, by the way. And no, I don't know who that bloke is.
Finally, on Sunday, there's an open day at St.Kilda police station in Chapel St., from 10.00 til 3.00, if you fancy it. All sorts of entertainment is planned- but I just want to see if my phone number is still scratched into the wall of womens' cell number three.

Friday, May 16, 2008


As one of the main players in Melbourne's gang wars heads home to jail, it's time to confess my part in the drama- I once lived in the same street as his sister-in-law. Yes, that ugly house that was put up (and lost) as bail surety was just up the road from me. I remember the day they had the fully-grown palm trees hoisted over the fence and planted next to the pool. In Coburg.
The TV series itself is excellent, though admitting you've watched it here in Victoria may lead to some interesting outcomes- possible prosecution for breaching a Supreme Court order, and certain exemption from jury service on any future trials being two options. It's certainly notable for being so Melbourne based- the story comes from and was completely filmed in Melbourne- yet avoiding any of the usual cliches. I've yet to see Luna Park or Flinders Street Station in the background, for instance, although both the Westgate and Bolte bridges feature a fair bit. "Neighbours" or "Secret Life Of Us" it isn't.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Nathan Hollywood

I've had this CD for a couple of weeks now, and it's very good indeed.
Dark, moody, country stuff, with an echoing sense of melancholy that is not specific to any place- it could be coming from the Mexican desert, the Australian outback or the Norwegian tundra.
Anyway, he's launching it tonight at the Northcote Social Club, with the Kill Devil Hills. Get there, if only to see someone play the saw on stage.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Production difficulties

Well, things got away from me earlier this week- here's a basic draft of the chatter that mattered. You'll figure it out, bright penny that you are.

Normal service will be resumed when I finish this bottle of red wine.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Cut Rate Masters

Well, them Cowboys did the business last night. Garry, Mark, Penny, Nick & Stefan pulled out all the stops. Here's the list:

Once again, I got grief from some ape-fucker idiot of a bouncer when I grabbed this, during "We Love You". Like, it's not as if the band need it at the end of the set- and anyway, there were three or four others dotted around the stage. This time round, Mr. Gray saved my bacon, by lurching off the stage, grabbing me in a bear hug and bellowing " Of course we do..." into my ear and the mike simultaneously. A dream end to a dream show.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


The Sacred Cowboys blow back into their spiritual home, St. Kilda for a one-off in the Greyhound back room, with support from the Exotics and the Frowning Clouds This is pretty much a must-see. If you never saw this band in their early 80s heyday you missed a real experience, some of which can be captured on their double CD “Nailed to the Cross”, just out on Savage Beat, with excellent liner notes.

Fans will be reunited with memories of their compelling combination of mesmerizing lyrics and swirling wall of sound guitars which saw them quickly become one of the hottest alternative bands on the scene back in the day, and a
major drawcard especially in hometown Melbourne and Sydney (where they found kindred spirits like The Scientists).
Something of a post-punk supergroup (with members drawn from the original line-up of Models and Suicide Records group The Negatives), The Sacred Cowboys gained instant notoriety when they appeared in '82, thanks to frontman Garry Gray's chainsaw wielding antics on stage. They played a wild, dangerous and completely unique brand of rockn'roll inspired by the artists whose material they covered, including SUICIDE, ALAN VEGA, CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, CRAMPS, VELVET UNDERGROUND, CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL and ALEX CHILTON.
A reconstituted Sacred Cowboys line-up will be playing a showcase of special Victorian gigs during their Australian tour in April/May 2008. Featuring founding members GARRY GRAY and MARK FERRIE with PENNY IKINGER on guitar, and the band's second phase 'Trouble From Providence' rhythm section of NICK RISCHBIETH and STEPHAN FIDOCK.

More St. Kilda shenanigans tomorrow night- Elbow Room launch their stage version of seminal dirty book “Venus In Furs” at Theatreworks in Acland St.
Venus In Furs inspired the diagnosis of a whole new category of sexual perversion. Since the 1800s, masochism has largely shrugged off its unsavoury reputation, attaining a kind of underground ‘glamour’. Today it has well and truly been embraced by the mainstream, its ubiquity obvious in the burgeoning popularity of all forms of fetishistic entertainment, particularly the recent resurgence of burlesque. In revisiting the original text, Elbow Room brings to the stage the source of an entire genre of sexual gratification and entertainment in a timely reminder of the continuing influence of Sacher-Masoch’s novel.

My 1970 edition of this is illustrated:

But not in as saucy a manner as you may expect, and it is still as dull a read as ever, regardless. What can be done with it onstage remains to be seen.

Note- if I could have been bothered I’d have put a segue in between those two, about the Sacred Cowboys playing “Run Run Run” live or something. But I didn't. Sorry.