The Clashing Pumpkins

The Clash and The Smashing Pumpkins might seem like an odd double-bill. But it makes sense. The Clash where the ever-evolving British punk rockers of the late 70s to mid-80s and The Smashing Pumpkins were heavy-hitters in the 90s alternative grunge scene but constantly diverged into different rock sub-genres. The two never pigeonholed their sound, a potential factor as to why they remain staples of the periods that defined them.

The Clashing Pumpkins is a worthy ode to these iconic periods in music.

“The Clash”

Local punk outfit Young Offenders kicked the night off. The band consisting of Kyle Landman on vocals, Anthony Kantern on bass, and Leigh Shags on drums (with the addition of Nick Nancarrow from OKO on guitar and Tom Morris from Angels of Gung-Ho on keyboard/synth) dished out one hit after the other. Successfully spanning The Clash‘s discography from their self-titled debut to 1982’s Combat Rock, Young Offenders knew exactly what the crowd wanted.

True standouts from the night where London Calling, Rock the Casbah, Should I Stay or Should I Go, I Fought the Law, Bank Robber, and Safe European Home (prefacing it by saying “this one is about Brexit). Young Offenders had a great punk sensibility with plenty of cheekiness and banter between songs, successfully winning over the older crowd with their passionate intensity. Landman, having an English background himself, has to be praised for his excellent vocal substitute for Joe Strummer’s own. Kantern, Shags, Nancarrow, and Morris worked with great precision in covering the diverse range of instrumentals found across The Clash‘s discography.

Their set was short, fast, loud and succinct like any great punk record.

“The Smashing Pumpkins”

Tork jumped on stage shortly after to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Smashing Pumpkins seminal double-album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Another local Adelaide band (but fitting into the indie/grunge genre) comprised of Josh and Michael Morphett, Sam Rogerson, and additional keyboards/synth and guitar from Tom Morris and Jack Cunningham (also a member of Angels of Gung-Ho). Josh Morphett accurately mimics the distinct vocal afflictions of Billy Corgan, proving himself more than capable of handling Corgan’s lyrics. Morris, (or as Josh calls him “The Chicago Symphony Orchestra”) provides a brilliant substitute for Mellon Collie’s more orchestral/ classical sounds. Michael, Rogerson, and Cunningham pound the crowd with grunge-like intensity and further showcase their musical abilities in the quieter and more refined moments.

All the standouts tracks are played (Where Boys Fear to Tread, Tonight, Tonight, 1979, and the ultimate crowd-pleasers: Zero, and Bullet with Butterfly Wings) in addition to deeper cuts, and Siamese Dream’s hits, Today, and Disarm. In addition to these moments, Tork also played Fleetwood Mac‘s Landslide (covered by The Smashing Pumpkins in 2018). While Tork certainly delivers, the more contemplative moments (while technically brilliant) create a slight lull between the anthems. The bands cover of Landslide was great but didn’t feel all that necessary.

Their set was sprawling, raw, and moody much like any great grunge album.

 

4 1/2 stars


Words and photography by Isaac Freeman

The Clashing Pumpkins season has now ended

Under the Covers

Under the Covers is presented by our home-grown adult circus school Zigzag Circus. The performers were met with an enthusiastic and supportive audience, contributing to the warm vibe of the Empyrean, a charming circus tent.

I am always truly fascinated by physical theatre and I have a great deal of respect for those with the skills and capabilities to perform in remarkable ways with their bodies. This applies to Under the Covers as students from Zigzag displayed raw talent with dances, ribbon routines, balancing atcs, and aerial arts. The individual showcases of talent were impressive and entertaining, and the students had appeared to be granted artistic license and freedom over their work, resulting in a show full of integrity.

Under the Covers as a title holds double meaning, as it is not only reference to the show’s description as a ‘late night pyjama party’, but it is making comment on the fact that the routines are performed to the best and worst cover songs of our time. This is an appealing idea, but if audiences had not read up on the show and had no prior recognition of the connection between cover songs and performance acts, this cheeky layer of Under the Covers may have been lost. It would have been good to have a reference to the covers within the performance.

As a collective production Under the Covers could have been smoother and more refined as there was the occasional technical hiccup or display of nerves. But credit should be given to the performers’ commitment to their artistic endeavours. This was also the ensembles’ first Fringe show, yet they generally handled themselves with control and composure. I take my hat off to Zigzag Circus; they are made up of a group of performers who rehearse once a week on top of life’s other commitments. We need to keep supporting these local acts as with greater experience and exposure in festivals like the Fringe, these already enjoyable shows with continue to grow, the fine-tuning and polishing will become more prominent, and the professionalism will be enhanced.

Overall, Under the Covers is an amusing show to add to your Fringe calendar.


Three stars

Under the Covers is playing at Gluttony until March 3.

Words by Michelle Wakim