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(indecipherable)

January 22, 2009

“Tinnitus is the spirit of the age.”
– Bernard Cohen, Snowdome.

Inexplicably, I started at Madam Brussels… Well actually I started at mine, so I arrived with a few fingers of cognac in my stomach. Anyway, Madam Brussels, a bar/tea house straight out of John Waters, an interior of pink walls, astro turf, winding paved paths and white, steel lawn-furniture leading to an outer deck crowded with fey hispsters drinking jugs of Pimms while the floor staff runs around in Fred Perry and tennis skirts. All this right before heading to The Corner Hotel for Fuck Buttons, Dead Meadow and Afrirampo. I accidently bought a fifty-dollar jug of said Pimms and sat at a table with my friend Charles and a group of ten girls in full-blown post-work drinks/mid-week catch up/bitchfest/OMG!!! mode. I thought after this I would be fairly prepared for the noise that was to follow later in the evening. I was, of course, wrong.

bruss

With the cognac still warm in our guts and the Pimms settling in we left for Richmond, arriving fairly early at The Corner, walking in the door, edging towards the merch table only to awkwardly make eye contact with Asian dude from Fuck Buttons. We debated going and saying hello, getting a photo, but decided we were probably obliged to buy something for the privilege. In any case Afrirampo were starting and we moved in fairly close as the two Japanese girls, dressed in red, with war paint on their faces, tossed a beach ball between themselves and shouted “hai”, eventually hitting it into the crowd and starting up a ridiculous mountain of drum fills and riffola. I almost thought it was a cover of Metallica’s “Seek & Destroy” for a second but it went off in some proggish direction, coming back several minutes later for another wail. This opener would prove to be the genesis of much of the set. Weird stage banter/audience interaction, classic riffs ripped from eighties Metallica and 70’s prog solos/breakdowns/build ups. The guitarist was shredding, throwing her hair around like Dimebag and melting everyone’s face. They had songs to back up the chops as well, with good variances to their formula and keeping my attention for the whole set. That their ridiculous half English/half Japanese chatter was hilarious, weird and clever didn’t hurt either, getting easy laughs out of a crowd waiting for a noise band. It might be a schtick, big thrash tunes played by two silly Japanese girls, but they absolutely killed it.

After the last song, we got a round and stood on this mini stage thing, the guy from FBs still hanging around the merch table in the background, making the occasional sale, taking a photo. Charles told me a pretty good anecdote about how a friend of his had met the chick from the Von Bondies at their gig at this same venue a couple of years ago, you know the one who Jack White and the dude in the Von Bondies had a fight over? The mate got invited out to party with the band and then managed to take her home later that night. Charles was particularly impressed because his mate now had some vicariously intimate connection with Jack White. But know that I think about/google it, was this chick ever meant to be going out with White/pretty sure that fight wasn’t over a girl/which of the seven chicks who have been in this band was it exactly? Anyway.

We got another round and headed to the front for Dead Meadow. We managed to get in the second row, slightly behind the two most massive dudes there. Why is it you never come across guys this big in life until they are standing in front of you at a show? Meanwhile I had no idea what to expect from Dead Meadow but from the name I was expecting some sort of Sun O)))) type drone thing and the big whirring sound that came from behind the curtain for their intro seemed to fit this assumption. But the curtain drew and the noise stopped and three dudes kicked out some acid blooze jams. It was okay. They could have been the high school band in a Cameron Crow movie or something, the serious guitarist pretty much carrying the show with his decent amount of talent, given to extended solos, the drummer some wizened old hippy dude with big hair and handlebar, and the bass player looked like some greasy teenager, exactly like that dorky kid you used to smoke weed with when you were fifteen, with the dirty bum part in his longish but not long hair, who was always way too into Floyd or whatever and talking in reverent tones about how Hendrix used to cut open his forehead and put weed or acid or something in there, behind his bandana. Imagine if that guy stayed true to himself and became an incompetent bass player for derivative stoner band instead of straightening up and going into IT. He kept swigging Wild Turkey straight from the bottle throughout the set, a statement of “rock” so retarded I thought it must be staged, that it was full of ice tea or something, but no, he started to get visibly wasted as the show went on and taking to playing his bass lines with one hand, hammering on a few notes here and there as he waved the bottle around in the air then swigged again.

dead-meadow

The songs got pretty samey, to the point where you were just waiting for the verse/chorus/verse to finish so the solo would start. But then the solos started to get samey. Then it was over.

We headed for front and centre to wait for FBs, some bullish chick with an SLR urging us to push further towards the middle as people cleared out to go to the bar. We sat there for a while listening to the soundcheck, which was pretty weird, quick snippets of familiar Fuck Buttons sounds, a stab of thick thick distortion, a floor tom, twinkling keys. And then it began, the curtain coming open on the plainly lit stage, and the press of a button triggered “Sweet Love For Planet Earth” as expected. The post-hardcore looking guy, or: the non-Asian one, squirmed up against the table, around on his toes, playing his little keyboard, lewd. “Ribs Out” followed and both where very faithful to the record but satisfyingly loud and strangely incongruous with the ordinary presentation. The next track I didn’t recognise but had a pretty hefty beat and some good squelchy synth bits once it got going. Then things started to get weird/I can’t remember the exact order of songs but at some stage I got disorientated within a big fat slab of noise that was either too blurry or not blurry enough. Although my mind was getting lost/distracted, the effect this racket was having on my body was beginning to show. As it faded down and “Okay, Let’s Talk About Magic” began my body and head reeled, stunned and whoozey from sensory overload. They then proceeded to ramp things up with “Bright Tomorrow”. Looking around at the crowd, I saw people slack-jaw shocked, girls having a boogie, way too many SLRs and one hippy dude squeezing in at the side of the stage, absolutely losing his shit, crazy eyes in full effect. The guitarist from Dead Meadow came out and watched from the desk for a while and he looked a little freaked out, like he had been out the back smoking with his bass player and then walked out into the apocalypse.

buttons-1

buttons-2

They ended on an extended jam on top of happy hardcore kick drums, featuring a floor tom solo, a distortion solo played with some frequency nob (or something), and delayed percussion from an old Gameboy. My muscles were getting sore from the thick vibration, my ears had crossed the pain threshold and Charles was getting worried about his heart rate. It was fantastic and showed the band are capable of coming up with more ideas than “play song, hit all the distortion pedals, play song again”. Then it all ended in sudden, astonishing silence.

We slowly gathered ourselves and headed towards the door, the Asian FB already back at his post at the merch table. We made our way to the train station, dazed and obliterated, the conversations all around us mostly consisting of the words “whoa” and “intense”, and “fuck”. When I lay in bed later that night the ringing in my ears had mutated into a swirling mid-range drone. Two days later it stopped.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. slap dot permalink
    January 23, 2009 3:10 pm

    I’d hoped to catch Fuck Buttons in Brisbane, but the dollars were too much (so I told myself at the time) and there were no other takers. Instead I went and got drunk at some mediocre band at Empire.

    Anyway, kinda glad I missed out on FB, cause Ive been slack as as usual and haven’t gotten any proper ear plugs, and a gig like that would sure as shit erode large chunks of what remains of my hearing. At the rate Im going, Im looking at a self inflicted death at around 40. Either that or a life of white noise.

    Jesus, thats more depressing than Sack’s one line comments.

  2. January 25, 2009 5:08 pm

    Arrmm in case anyone is wondering what that top comment is all about here is the full post from “http://hkgirls.net” or “Asian Hardcore Sex Asian Hardcore Sex” that trackbacked here.

    “Today I was digging for some info on ‘asian hardcore’ and came across the following section:

    They ended on an extended jam on top of happy hardcore kick drums, featuring a floor tom solo, a distortion solo played with some frequency nob (or something), … We slowly gathered ourselves and headed towards the door, the Asian FB already back at his post at the merch table….The post-hardcore looking guy, or: the non-Asian one, squirmed up against the table, around on his toes, playing his little keyboard, lewd….

    source: (indecipherable), DO THE ICARUS FIT

    Ah, well, back to the drawing board and try again.

    Top Chef Restaurant Wars = Culinary Boner.

    Good bc all weve seen so far is the one sided one between Stephan and Jamie the word lesbian means nothing to him. … Oh no Rhadika should be in the KITCHEN did she just say shes doing front of the house. Stephan is soo bossy. They are doing something Asian. $5,000 just to decorate? Nice. Top Chef seems to have upped to budget….

    source: Top Chef Restaurant Wars = Culinary Boner., Citizenkim’s Weblog

    Not exactly what I was looking for, nevertheless still a interesting read.”

    Amazing.

  3. Sackinton permalink
    January 27, 2009 10:01 am

    ouch….

    i feel obligated to make this comment longer and less morbid.

    there. that should do it.

  4. slap dot permalink
    January 27, 2009 5:10 pm

    Shades of Roast Beef.

  5. Sackinton permalink
    February 2, 2009 3:18 pm

    please write more about the cure in future.

  6. Sackinton permalink
    February 2, 2009 3:19 pm

    oh… and GnR’s. because i am having a love affair with them.

  7. a fork permalink
    February 4, 2009 2:37 pm

    ……and the bass player looked like some greasy teenager, exactly like that dorky kid you used to smoke weed with when you were fifteen, with the dirty bum part in his longish but not long hair, who was always way too into Floyd or whatever and talking in reverent tones about how Hendrix used to cut open his forehead and put weed or acid or something in there, behind his bandana. Imagine if that guy stayed true to himself and became an incompetent bass player for derivative stoner band instead of straightening up and going into IT.

    hey I know that guy Lo……… you could have made a little more effort to obscure his identity!

  8. January 5, 2012 5:24 pm

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