A Weekend: Bored Nothing, Lenin Lennon, Unity Floors
Remember back in 1998 when we decided to launch a new little sub-section of our webspace called A Weekend, capturing a few days in the life of someone doing something? It started with such a bloody bang (thanks Sir Tenzenmen) that we were just too afraid to follow it up. Not really. It's just we, the regular gatekeepers of this little dusty corner of WWW paradise, aren't the most exciting bunch of socialites and you (probably) don't want to read about us watching Law and Order re-runs, taking funny photos of Law and Order characters and just getting mildly Schiff-faced in our living rooms.
But last weekend was a bit different. We got our sparkly, knee-high, party boots out from the back of our closet and proceeded to lace them up. It took a few hours, but by the time we were finished: a) we looked ace; b) we looked a little bit camp; c) those loveable cunts, Bored Nothing, were banging on my front door demanding to be filmed for our PoA Live series...
Thursday, January 10: Jonny's Backyard/FBi Social - Bored Nothing
Coming soon to a Vimeo near you.
Later that evening I went and saw Bored Nothing play at FBi Social. The solo acoustic stuff at the start was ok, but the full band second half was a zillion times better. Especially the louder ones. Shit For Brains curdled my ovaries.
To be honest though, I think they sounded better in my backyard. Unhelped as well by the fact that FBi Social is a bit of an atmosphere vacuum and that the mood was possibly dented beyond repair by opening act, Jonny Telafone. You can listen to a detailed critique of what Rav thought about his set on our latest podcast episode, but in a word — awkward. In another word — probably on purpose. Which I get. But, being deliberately confrontational and abrasive has it's obvious drawbacks and is especially faltered when you're the opening act. I also get the feeling that it's one of those examples where everyone says they like his music because they're too afraid to say they don't get it. I don't get it.
Friday, January 11: Sly Fox, Enmore - Lenin Lennon, Hira Hira, F'Tang
I missed the first Circle Jerk "night" because I was colouring my hair. Worth it. But there was no bluddy way I was missing the next instalment, especially as one of my current favourites Lenin Lennon, who, due to scheduling conflicts (probably hair colouring) I'd never actually seen live.
A million years ago I used to regularly frequent the Sly Fox because of it's close proximity to my residence at the time. And my lady liked the cheap cocktails. It was always a shithole. The kind of place permanently half a moderately-priced schooner away from imploding. A dyke on a bike appears from nowhere, pins you up against the wall and dares you to repeat that under-your-breath Sinead O'Connor comment. The (recent?) refurbishments have really cleaned the place up. And, of course, by that I mean — there's now cool little "industrial vintage" lights hanging over the bar.
The Sly Fox is still confused though. Posters promoting a four week Learn To Salsa class, a goth permanently lurking near the pool table and open mic comedy night advertisements. It has a fairly good opportunity to make music a huge part of it's identity (decent P.A set-up etc) but at the moment it seems hell-bent on just trying to cover everything. Except food. But, I guess you/me/everyone probably couldn't "try the fish" if the Sly Fox had a bistro, right?
F'Tang are an instrumental band that rose from the ashes of Sydney legends, Ghosts Of Television. As I got to the venue they were just wrapping up their performance, smashing away with wonderfully climatic theatrics. They're tighter than a nuns corset, but the lack of vocals immediately limits my level of involvement.
Hira Hira and I have drifted apart over the past few years. I call, but they're always out somewhere. Probably at a park, sniffing glue and being moody. Nothing wrong with that, but I preferred them when they were smashing bottles and slicing unsuspecting emo glue-sniffers from ear to here. Compared to their former life, they now seem somewhat restrained. Or possibly just less chaotic. I guess they're playing the long game now and ensuring that they'll still be functioning as a band in the future. Nothing wrong with that, but, judging from this particular performance, it feels as though that transition is still underway.
The Lenin Lennon tape has been dominating my life for the last month or so. Thankfully, all that rim-stabbing goodness transitioned successfully, even somehow living up to my large-scale expectations. Speaking of big stuff, there was an overwhelming volume of sound created by the three members. Brutally loud and bloody relentless. With a beer full of belly and a filthy little bit of sweat forming in-and-around my Everything, it was the absolutely perfect setting.
This photo articulates my point a bit better...
Circle Jerk Part 3 has just been locked in and once again it's a corker of a line-up — Black Vanilla, Darren Cross, Matt Banham and Magic Hands. Highlight Friday, March 8 in your Pocket Planners.
Saturday, January 12: The Old Fitzroy Hotel, Woolloomooloo - Unity Floors, Chook Race, Adults
Woolloomooloo is littered with government housing and it's inevitable offspring — the shirtless gang banger. Nestled amongst all the grow houses and burnt our cars, there's "The Old Fitz". A charming little old pub, with decent boutique beer selections, a barrage of hordered memorabilia and a small theatre downstairs. On this particular evening slapstick champs, The Umbilical Brothers, are playing in the basement theatre, with the rock show relegated to what would have been "the supper room" in the 1600s.
The space reminds me of the second level at the old Newtown Hotel, before Hemmesy restored the facade and chased all the lovely homosexualness out of it. It's not purposefully designed for musical performances, just a collection of pokey little spaces with various openings connecting them all together. No proper stage either, just a designated corner in the largest of the rooms. Unlike the Newty though, the Fitz unfortunately doesn't have any cages with scantily dressed hunks parading their junks.
Adults won't probably survive past the summer. Their hawaiian shirts will get messed up in the first warm wash cycle of the long winter months. It's ok, it all feels fairly temporary anyway. Kinda like how Straight Arrows were when they first came out. You never thought they'd actually grow into a "real band" or stick around long enough for the next house party to get organised. Eventually, Straight Arrows became something more, so maybe Adults will grow-up (pun intended). But for now they're just playing tropical pop hits, with a tongue firmly lodged in their cheeks and a rough punk steer on their dials.
I made the mistake of going downstairs to get some air right before Chook Race started. I came back in and it was too crowded for me to re-enter the main room. They sounded OK from my position, off to the side, lodged between a jukebox and a Dead Farmer (the tall-ish one) but hard for me to pass genuine judgement given the fact the house PA was unable to stretch that far.
Seizing the opportuntity of spaces vacated by exiting nicotine addicts, I re-positioned back into the main room for Unity Floors. Not long later the whole place is packed again, well beyond safe guides and documented capacity. Good on ya boys. It seems like only yesterday we were chasing you two around town, front row at every show like herpes-carrying tweens. Now everyone's caught that same disease and we feel like proud parents watching their sons and daughters grow up and become high-price hookers and notorious file-sharers. Respectively.
Right from the outset it was always going to get a bit messy. That guy on pills pulled his hood over his head and charged forward, easily getting to the front. Moments later he's throwing himself and everyone else around. That old guy (Papa Unity Floors?) who'd planted himself in the front row early on is forced to relocate across to the other side of the stage to avoid getting a Converse through his hearing aid. Another wave of drunk patrons push forward, resulting in spilt beers and ruined cream shoes. Squashed between more sloppy sweaty six foot drunk guys than a Sydney Kings after party, the chaos continues, only paused momentarily between songs for polite applause. People are hoisted up into horizontal positions and wedged between the wall and the above-average-height crowd, pumping their fists into light fixtures. No sign of security to cool things down. They either don't exist or are busy out the front turning away meth-addicted locals.
Destroyed cream pumps. A metaphor
If this was my first time seeing Unity Floors I would have disappointed. Not because of their performance — they battled through the shitty PA with their usual grinning gusto — but because it was almost impossible to simply enjoy the show. The distracting continual chaos making it more of a memorable experience than an enjoyable performance. That said, it sent a rush of shivers up my spine to witness the sheer number of people unashamedly enjoying themselves, thrashing their bodies around and yelling along to every line they knew or were able to pick up.
This wasn't a show for Unity Floors to win new fans, but rather a celebration with those already sided with the band. A farewell, of sorts, as it's most probably the last time you'll see them play in such a fittingly ramshackled venue. They seem destined now to migrate to bigger stages and larger audiences once their full length foetus takes it's first breathe of oxygen in April. As a tribute to how far they've come and a hearty "good luck" cuddle, this was an absolutely perfect show.
As the show ends, more in a shambolic collapse than with any form of triumphant grandeur, people gasp for air and quickly retreat, seeing no reason to try and bait the band for an encore. Pushing out onto the street for cigarettes and oxygen, we're unhindered by that uncomfortable feeling of the cold night air drying out our sweat-soaked t-shirts. Just pissed enough to not be scared of our surrounds anymore, barely able to hear the escalating domestic violence dispute over our ears ringing. Someone has spat on the window of our car. Lovely. But at least they didn't steal it or use their pocket machete to carve "wooly cuntz" on the side panel. There's not too many bands I'd fight my phobia of the Woolloomooloo Ghetto for, but Unity Floors are (still) definitely worth it.