Nirvana – Nevermind the Singer

The Fringe has brilliantly recaptured the essence of many a great musical era over the years, with cover bands inspiring the new generations and yet fuelling the nostalgia of many seniors who come back to a simpler time temporarily, in the short captivation of a single performance. One talented group, in all its glory, milks the essence of the 90’s precursor of grunge. Nirvana- Never Mind the Singer by Great White Productions became a little something to diversify the Fringes’ entertaining reaches across Adelaide.

Upon entering the well renounced Crown and Anchor venue just a corner away from the action of Rundle Street, the back room had filled to capacity. The crowd formed a hoard of ex-rockers snug up against the stage front and inevitably piled all the way to the peeling band posters at the rear. It wasn’t long before the screeching of distorted guitars arose the morbidity and excitement of Kurt Cobain’s unique style and so, as the pun intends, the band kicked off in chronological order the tracks from Nirvana’s Nevermind album, with the hit song Smells Like Teen Spirit in the lead.

In an unexpected twist, the band featured two females of the five vocalists, which produced an aura of perpetual tone shifts amongst the high octaves and the low octaves in each piece.  With some dominating as lead and some supporting as backup, the transition of vocal ranges made for a great show all in all, achieving a wide spectrum of sound that any trained ear can appreciate.

The instrumental efforts were close with the original recordings, and for the fans, that really fulfilled the desire to witness a live act of such a pioneering sound.

Loud and abound, the atmosphere continued to increase, and each song began to peak higher and higher as the voice boxes of the singers began to tear. Personally, the energy from Territorial Pissings blew me away, as the notable song to end in Cobain’s chaotic screams, you could see the exertions upon each face as they screamed in unison.

Unfortunately, the show was a one night only. However, if you have a chance, come as you are to see Nirvana: Nevermind the Singer.


Four stars

Words by Sarah Ingham

Lennon Through a Glass Onion

The opening night of the Fringe Festival was, inevitably, hectic. Bustling and hustling, the people of Adelaide and their guests hurried to the city for their festival fix.
As I approached the venue, the line for the show reached around the block. I was amazed at the turn out, and I was also intrigued. Being 20, I was by far the youngest in the crowd, which made me even more eager for what was to come. The ambience of the spectators was vibrantly excited. Chatter echoed across the hall, and in my seat from the balcony, I could observe from above. As I had never experienced being alive at the same time as Lennon, this was my chance to come as close as I ever could be to seeing him live.
From beginning to end, I was enraptured. Through intimate first-person narration interspersed with iconic songs, John Waters portrayed a perfect John Lennon. With only a piano and a guitar as their set, John Waters and Stewart D’Arrietta performed breathtakingly. Experiencing the duo at work was truly inspiring, the two musicians a brilliant combination. The show combined an amazing harmony of lyrics and gentle piano work to briefly bring Lennon back to life. The songs from times past transported the onlooker to a time of leather and denim, peace and war.
A minimalist set gave them the opportunity to utilise their instruments without any over the top theatrics. Coloured lighting engaged the audience to create subtle emotional overtones from angst to patriarchy. Mist from the special effects acted as a grainy screen, mimicking an old television set. This simplicity allowed an entire focus on the music.
Through the two-hour show, the two performers laid prostrate Lennon’s childhood, raw humanity, and his inner thoughts. Gloriously heart-felt, the show aroused a vast array of emotions throughout everyone watching.
In a crowd of many, the act still felt very intimate and emotional. Waters and D’Arrietta took the songs that you’ve always known and turned them into an experience to behold. With the audience clapping along to classics such as ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, and ‘Imagine’, it was hard not to burst into song along with them.
The show emotes passion and nostalgia in a way that nothing else does. If you can catch it while it is still showing, please go and see Lennon, Through a Glass Onion.

 


Words by Sarah Ingham.

5 stars.

Lennon Through a Glass Onion is playing Sunday, February 17. Tickets available here.

Florence + the Machine at Botanic Park

A week ago, Botanic Park served as an enchanting setting for a flawless group of performers. We were gathered, by the hundreds, to see Florence + the Machine: the evening was pure and utter magic.

Before I dive into the perfection that was Florence + the Machine, I must elaborate on the curtain-raisers that set the foundations for everything wonderful to come. First up was the strapping Marlon Williams. Marlon appeared on stage in sports shorts matched with

marlon 2
Marlon Williams – part Elvis, part San Cisco’s Jordi – at the Botanic Park.

high socks and dress shoes, making quite the first impression. One of my pals managed to describe him to a ‘T’: Marlon Williams, in music and persona, is a sweet, sweet combination of Elvis, with his hip movements saying it all, and San Cisco’s lead singer Jordi, with his cheeky, alternative vibe. Marlon’s blues and folk music is far from generic and a pleasure to listen to. Wowee, this New Zealander is one to add to your list

 

Next to the stage was Leon Bridges who brought with him enough swag to make the whole of Adelaide ooze with grooviness. His band, possibly the most attractive collective you will ever lay eyes on, were spectacular in accompanying the singer’s silky tones. This

leon bridges
Leon Bridges, performing before Florence + the Machine.

soul artist, wearing the most fabulous pants I’ve seen in years, is huge in the US: Leon Bridges performed for some of his greatest fans, Michelle and Barack Obama, in their humble White House. I know in my music mix soul is severely underrepresented, and Leon successfully fills that void. Do yourself a favour and give this guy spin.

Now to the top spot, the shining star, the main attraction. Allow me to set the scene: Florence + the Machine. Botanic Park. A steamy summer night in January.

From the moment the barefoot goddess took to the stage, the audience were completely hers. Florence entered in the most dramatic and graceful fashion, slowly exposing herself from behind the wooden on-stage sets before belting out June from her new album High as Hope. As she pranced, lept and swirled across the stage, her immaculate vocals echoed out over Adelaide’s most spectacular park in clearer tones than heard on any recording. Florence wore a flowing, sheer, lavender dress that, along with the microphone, served as an extension of her body. The lighting design was exceptional and spotlights caught the red-haired beauty in a way that accentuated her presence and power.

florence 1
Florence Welch performing January 16, 2019.

 

Florence + the Machine was not a music concert, but an emotional event that demanded our participation. The night was filled with expressions of hope, love and change – expressions that this tender world needs at present. Florence revealed elements of herself, such as her shyness and her anxious tendencies, which made her more endearing and inviting than ever expected. The audience responded to her honesty, particularly in how they celebrated her music. Florence + the Machine’s recent hit single Hunger was belted with strength from every corner of the Park, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. South London Forever tinkered on heart strings and brought forth conversations relevant those who are lost and finding purpose. By the time we got to Dog Days, the crowd were moving powerfully as one. I had to remove my dangly earrings just so I could jump along and match the energy those around me. Throughout the night we were asked to hold hands with those around us, hug others, even strangers, and tell them we love them, and to put our phones away so we can have an ‘experience’. It was all intensely visceral, and as one of my friends so wonderfully expressed, Florence is more of a force than a woman.

During nights like these, there is always something bigger at play. If we learnt anything, it’s that Florence and the artists that joined her on stage signify the role art plays in this world. These individuals demonstrated how creativity and mediums such as music allow for connections that are missing in our sometimes fragmented world. If art makes life palatable, life was very, very tasty the night that Florence and her crew came to town.

Later that night, our humble city of Adelaide was the first Australian city to receive a thank you from Florence + the Machine on Instagram. Looks like they felt the love too.

 


Words and performance photos by Michelle Wakim.

In Conversation: Boo Seeka

Boo Seeka are coming to Adelaide on November 24 and 25 to play two free shows at the Grand Bar and the Walkers Arms Hotel,. The shows are part of the Corona Sunset Presents tour which will see the electronic hip-hop duo tour five states for twenty shows. Tulpa Magazine leapt at the chance to talk to Ben Gumbleton in the lead up to their tour.

Beginning by enquiring what attracted them to the tour, Ben says that it was a couple of things. ‘One, we’re a big fan of Corona’, and ‘two, I think it’s an amazing thing what Corona are doing bringing these Summer Sessions to launch in to summer’. He adds that the Sunsets tour allows them ‘to give back to our audience by doing free shows at places we’ve never done any free shows since the beginning of Boo Seeka’.

It’s quite an ambitious undertaking,twenty shows across five states, spread over a month and endingshortly before Christmas. But that didn’t phase Boo Seeka. ‘To bequite honest we were saying “how many shows do you reckon we cando?” and “how many can you throw at us?” We love touring. Wewould play 365 nights a year if we could,’ said Ben. Last year theydid a tour for their first album Never Too Late as well as atour for their single and those ‘were about 35 shows a tour aroundAustralia and that was before jumping on a plane and going and doing56 shows in the States and 47 shows throughout Europe and the UK’.

With talk of their international endeavours, that necessitates the question: where is there favourite place to tour internationally? Ben’s answer is clear. ‘I really liked America. We’ve been over there a few times. I love Europe and the UK as well but there’s just something about America and they just seem to be way more into their music. Especially playing to the college kids – they’re just so into having an amazing time and enjoying life.’

Turning to the duo’s favourite place to tour within Australia, Ben says that’s a harder question to answer. ‘Every show’s a bit of a new experience and even when you go back to the same place it’s somewhat of a different show’ and can be altered by factors such as ‘playing in a bigger room than you were last time or the people know more songs than they did last time or it’s on Saturday instead of a Thursday night’. He stresses that there’s not ‘one place that’s better to play than others but we really love to play new places and seeing people show up knowing the songs’. He does add, however, that there is something special about playing a new town. ‘We played Tamworth and Armidale on the last tour and a lot of the kids there didn’t really think it was going to be us that were going to show up because they don’t really get any bands going out there and it’s kind of a shame to hear that. I really hope that more bands would go out and tour rurally.’

One of the selling points (or it would be were the tickets not free) for Corona’s Sunsets Presents tour is that they play in more out-of-the-way, community areas. Rather than just having an “Adelaide” performance, they will play at both Glenelg’s Grand Bar and Walkerville’s Walkers Arms. ‘I think these venues are going to be a lot different to playing the Gov or the Fat Controller and that’s the amazing thing of going out with Corona and playing all these very different places. We probably wouldn’t have played these venues if we were going back to South Australia on our own tour.’ He explains that it’s ‘probably going to be a very different crowd’ as people will come to a Boo Seeka show for the first time as tickets are free. ‘That’s one of the main differences, playing to maybe 50% of the crowd that’s never been to a Boo Seeka show.’

In a career that has seen many heights and successes across its recent years, we wonder what has proven their highlights. ‘I know it’s a cliché but it’s the monumental things like getting our song on the radio [for the first time] to selling out our first show to selling out our first ever headline tour. Getting to play Splendour in the Grass, Live at the Wireless, and playing with all these amazing bands that otherwise I’d be standing out front [of the crowd] with Corona in hand, saying how amazing the festival or show is.’ Ben says, ‘It’s just amazing how now we get to do this for a living. Sometimes you’ve got to pinch yourself.’

With all this the duo has achieved and all they are currently doing; the future will have a lot to live up to. ‘We’re actually right among the decision-making of when we’re going to put out the next single. The next single’s ready to go.’ And a new album is on the way too, ‘I can safely say that now.’

Until then, you can check Boo Seeka out at the Grand Bar in Glenelg on November 24 and the Walkers Arms on November 25 in the Corona Sunsets Presents tour series. You can find the rest of their tour dates here.


Words by Liam McNally

A Nice Time to be Alive: Ruby Fields, San Cisco, and Ball Park Music live at the Thebby Theatre

On a mild Friday night in the bloody beautiful city of Adelaide, a keen crowd gathered to watch Ruby Fields, San Cisco and Ball Park Music at the Thebarton Theatre – a one off spectacle! Let me give you a rundown on the fabulous night it was.

A little side note before we get started: it was polo shirt night, meaning every performer was adorably dressed in a polo-shirt. Oh, the aesthetic!

We kicked off with a beauty, I had no idea Ruby Fields had such a following! The crowd was far larger than expected for any pre-show at the Thebby and we were well and truly taken by this groovy gal. We spent most of her set having a good old jive to her upbeat tunes, such as ‘I Want’ and ‘P-Plates’. Don’t get me wrong, there were also sensitive moments: I got a lump in my throat half way through Field’s performance of her most recent single, ‘Dinosaurs’ – a song about the simplicities of childhood. But really, Fields won us over the second she mentioned our beloved Hahndorf.

Next up was Jordi, Jen, Josh, and Scarlett, San Cisco were in the house! When debriefing with my buddies later in the night, we couldn’t help but notice how wonderfully unique San Cisco are; no other band are so brutally honest yet pleasurably palatable. Lyrics such as ‘why does it feel so good to be self-destructing again?’, ‘I want to be with you forever, but I need space, you should stay at your place’ and ‘if you’re going to break his heart, could you break it gently please?’ are about as real as it gets. However, the best part is that their music is somehow it is angst-free. The harsh truths hide behind fantastic guitar solos, Jordi’s high vocal tendencies and the up-beat tempo of their tunes. They featured some of their most recent works like ‘Hey Did I Do You Wrong?’ and ‘Slow-Mo’, alongside some original San Cisco such as ‘Fred Astaire’ and ‘Magic’, before finishing the set with ‘Too Much Time Together’. San Cisco speak to those in their early 20s in a way no other band can.

After all this excitement the crowd flocked to the bar to get some well-needed fluids into their system. A couple of Adelaide gems were spotted in the lobby, with the likes of Liam Stapleton, one half of the Triple J breakfast radio show, and Callum Hann, runner-up from MasterChef 2010, floating about. Oh Adelaide, you always see a familiar face.

For Ball Park Music, my friends and I decided to take a seat. This is the first time I have ever sat down at a concert – it had been a long day, we were hot and bothered and our feet hurt (we are only 21, I promise). So, we cushioned ourselves in the well air-conditioned seated section at the back of the Thebby with a dead-centre view of the stage. And I am so glad that this is how I experienced the magic of Ball Park Music.

There is something breathtaking about sitting back and watching a sea of people share emotional experiences through song. We saw the crowd hush, cheer, dance, and bop in unison. Ball Park Music are often taken for granted – they have been a consistently good band for the last decade. I honestly forgot how much I loved them until I saw them play in this environment. Their music had been the background to many significant moments for me in the last few years, and I hadn’t even noticed. I’m sure others came to this realisation as well. The melancholic nature of their lyrics, mixed with Sam Cromack’s calming yet energised familiar voice give you those tingling goose bumps.

I will admit I got emotional many times during their set, particularly listening to the crowd singing along to ‘Everything is Shit Except My Friendship With You’, ‘The Perfect Life Does Not Exist’ and ‘Exactly How You Are’. ‘It’s Nice to be Alive’ – possibly one of the most uplifting songs of our generation – met every expectation as a spotlight landed on Cromack and the crowd sounded out each word, loud and clear. They also offered sweet Adelaide a treat, finishing with a song which they hadn’t yet performed their tour: they belted out a phenomenal rendition of the Beatles classic, ‘Hey Jude’, which left me thinking that although the perfect life does not exist, this moment in this life comes pretty damn close.

I enthusiastically suggest that you get around all of these artists – they all encapsulate the most relatable of experiences through their music. They were the perfect trio, performing in a perfect venue, in a perfect city, to a practically perfect crowd. It is VERY nice to be alive.


Words and photography by Michelle Wakim.

Spotlight: The Jade

The Jade has long been a staple of Adelaide’s music scene and nightlife. It’s seen live music aplenty, creative readings, album launches, weddings, birthdays, and plenty of other varied events besides. Recently, Liam McNally sat down with Jade owner Zac Coligan to talk about the Jade’s history, it’s unique style, and even the establishment’s year-long absence as they moved venue.

 

You’ve been here for a while now. How much has the business changed over that time?
A fair bit. When we first moved in, we were expecting the older model of 95% live music and so we’ve set this room up, double insulated the roof. We do get lots of live music still but a lot of it is special occasions. I think some younger bands are a bit intimidated by this room. We get a lot of CD launches and things like that. In saying that, we’ve got a bunch of gigs happening. But what it’s morphed into is a lot more of a café culture here as well.

 

And perhaps more of an events space as well?
Yeah. People start to hear about us – and for us, it’s always word-of-mouth. We get a lot of different theatre shows, and seminars, and Music SA have done a lot of things here with guest speakers. We’ve got much more diverse events here which has been great.
This space is here to be used and it’s really quite a good space for all sorts of things. Especially quieter events.

 

How different is it to the old venue? (The Jade Monkey, on Twin Street).
When we initially started it (the Twin Street venue), we didn’t realise when we got our licence, we could only open from 9pm. We got an extension after a few years. It was a night time thing. And it was all about gigs. Every week there was two or three gigs on.
We’re mixing it up a lot more here because the space is a bit more flexible, whereas the old Jade was about the live music scene fundamentally.

 

Was there a conscious choice in changing the nature of the venue? You call it the Jade now rather than the Jade Monkey.
To be honest, we dropped the ‘monkey’ because my lovely wife Naomi hated that for years.
It was an interesting decision when we set up this place because we wanted to make it bright, and maybe ‘prettier’, if you will. It’s interesting as when you do a place like that, it kind of evokes the style of clientele you have. We get a good range here. Most people feel comfortable. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious shift but at the same time we wanted to entertain everything. And that’s the way it’s rolled, to be honest.
We made a real effort with this space. It’s a great spot for bands and it sounds wonderful in here.

 

Where did the name come from?
Initially it was because it was hidden little space and there’s that whole thing behind finding the jade monkey which is also a Simpsons joke.

 

How did bringing the food van, Phat Buddha Rolls, in change things?
It’s made a huge difference. We do everything ourselves, Naomi and I. There aren’t many places when it’s just two people running a venue, particularly of this size. We did food at first and it was very time consuming and difficult to get the numbers out quick. We did it for a little while and then went, ‘you know what? Let’s just outsource it’. We decided to approach Fork on the Road and get a food truck. It’s been really, really good.
It’s been about bringing people here to sit down and have a coffee, for us. And to bring people to sit down in the afternoon, to have a café culture, you need food.

 

What kind of difference has the location had?

 

Jade exterior
The Jade’s courtyard.

[The proximity to] Rundle Mall didn’t have any advantage to us at all at the old Jade. We were only really open after 9pm as well. I feel that with this place because we’re lucky enough to have a really nice garden, and we’re set back from the road, people are often a bit confused about what’s going on. We’re not fans of putting a big ‘$10 parmi’ sign on the front. Every day we get someone who comes in and says they’ve walked past the place 50 times and now they’ve come in the door. Once we get them in the door we usually get them back.
Having a garden makes a huge difference. People love hanging out here. In summer, it’s just wonderful. A good space to be.

 

There are more separated spaces here than there were at the old place.
And that’s a huge difference for me. When you were part of the old Jade, you were part of the gig. If the gig bombed, you felt that. If the gig went off, you felt that. Now because [the bar is] separate [to the performance space] you still feel it but it’s a different thing.
It’s really good in that respect because you can have the front bar open all the time. People can just drop by for a drink any time they like but also you can have your own space here where everyone’s here to see the band.

 

How did that changeover period between the Twin Street venue and here go?
It took us a year. A lot of the problems were finding a space but also a year before we started looking at this place, a club called Heaven had been started here and terrorised the neighbourhood. They ended up in court and then they did a runner. We still saw some bills coming in that weren’t for us.
The neighbours didn’t want us here. I reckon there were about six months of roundtable discussions with liquor licencing. It was us against the residents, the church, and an architecture firm across the road.
We just persisted and they gave up in the end because we made a good case but they were trying to wait us out to get us to not do what we were doing.
People ask me about that time, did I think it was going to happen again? I had no doubts it was going to happen again. I didn’t know when.

 

The last weekend of the old Jade was a big event.
We did a big final weekend. I just handpicked all the bands I wanted to play. It was good. It was a really fun weekend. My manager here now, Josh, played on the Thursday night with his band, the Funky Scum Rumour. I got some rock bands like BTA and indie bands like Steering by Stars and my band, The Sea Thieves, played on the Sunday. It was a good way to see it out.

 

Considering your neighbours in the St Paul’s Creative Space, does that have an impact in who tends to come here?
We’ve done a lot of good things with those guys. And they’ll come over and say they want to do something and we go yeah. We’ve got a really good relationship with them. It’s funny because lots of people I’ve known for years in the music industry are working next door.
As far as neigbours go, couldn’t be any better.
They take up the lion’s share of the building so we wouldn’t have moved in without something like that next door. You don’t want someone starting a club there. Not that they’d be able to. There’s no way anyone’s going to do that ever again because they’ll end up in court before they start.

 

Did you get to have such a diversity of events at the old place – like spoken word events?

 

We did, but to be honest, the old place was all about the local music scene. So that’s what we had going on. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, we had gigs. We did have some spoken word nights though. We were 100% reliant on the event to make our money for the night. We still are to a certain degree here but we’re already open every Thursday and Friday night regardless of whether we’ve got something on or not. You can take a bit more of a punt as well. Some band gets in touch with us and says they’ve never done a gig before and they want to go a gig. We can go ‘sure, maybe a Thursday night, see how it goes and go from there.’ It’s even better for us here because we don’t have to concern ourselves whether they bring 300 people or ten. It obviously helps but it makes it a bit easier to entertain that.
We definitely had to rethink the nights we gave people at the old place because that’s 100% what we were about [there]. Bands brought people, we made money, they didn’t, we made no money.

We’re separate rent, separate tenancy – everyone thought we’re on some government-funded thing which was quite annoying because we are not at all. It’s all down to us.

 


Words by Liam McNally

Thanks to Zac Coligan.

Pictures: The Jade Facebook page

Sunset at the Grace Emily: Chase the Sun by Only Objects

On July 1, local band Only Objects kicked the month off with the launch of their new single Chase the Sun at the Grace Emily. The song marks something of a change in style for Only Objects, a band already marked by its ability to try a variety of styles. Still very identifiably a part of their established “sound”, the song seems to stretch them to achieve new things.

Patrick Lang, writer of the quartet’s new song, acknowledges the band has always been eclectic and relishes new challenges. Of the song’s sound, he states he ‘wanted to write a piano ballad of some description, but I also wanted to allude to that neo-folk kind of feel’.

The song has more of the folk music feel about it which is perhaps unsurprising as Patrick says before he loved the trappings of electronic music, he was, ‘at heart, a folk musician’. The result is a happy marrying of these two genres that would surely appeal to the tastes of lovers of both.

This move away from the ultra-modern in the song is mirrored by the lack of references to modern life. As Patrick explains, ‘some human experiences are universal and transcend time and place’ and that he aimed to make the song sound like it ‘could have been written anytime in the last several hundred years’. He says that, to him, ‘it’s a melody in the folk tradition of something like Wild Mountain Thyme or The Parting Glass.’ He adds, ‘not at all to compare it to those absolutely timeless songs, but there is just a drop, a dram, a tiny part of that feeling in Chase the Sun.

Even the track’s accompanying artwork has something a little unique about it that sets Chase the Sun apart in the Only Objects oeuvre. A ship sailing in a glass bottle – the image (by Jesse Miles) – is simple and evocative. As Patrick says, ‘it’s both entirely unlike us and, in an odd way, entirely us.’

The timeless element of Chase the Sun permeates every element of it. The band embracing older methods, combined with the artwork, and even Patrick’s own statement of his previous leanings towards folk music, all conspire to ensure the track possesses a perfectly appropriate quality. The intention to create something very genuine and honest proves a thoroughly successful one.

And what of the experience of a different style? ‘A lot more stringed instruments than what we are used to, that’s for certain!’ Patrick adds that he ‘really enjoy[s] the recording process in terms of finding little hidden melodies and ideas in songs, and this was certainly no exception.’

Patrick offers particular praise for Matthew Vecchio, who produced the track for Only Objects, who ‘has a really lovely light touch as well’, helping to ensure the track played to its strengths and kept a clear balance. ‘Balance’ is perhaps the word best suited to this track that steers well clear of both the more large and bombastic, and the meeker of sounds – the track remains assuredly and earnestly in a place of balance, succeeding in the band’s effort to evoke a folky, stirring element to the listener.

Asked whether the band aims to try new things or whether new experiences are a by-product of their songs, Patrick told Tulpa: ‘It’s a mix, really! We often become fascinated by structural ideas, particularly from electronic music, and then try to work them into songs.’ The band has tried their collective hand at a wide variety (such as last year’s You Only Kill for Love) which could prove difficult in less sure hands.

Only Objects were preceded by Fleur Green who treated the crowd to a series of original songs, including a debut of a new one, a cover, and even a part of thousand year old Persian poem The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. All in all, a fairly standard Sunday evening in July. Fleur had the audience captivated and gave the audience an excellent performing of her own.

When they took the stage, Only Objects were generous in their own set. They offered a good sampling of their work and added a cover of a Frightened Rabbit song in tribute to the recently passed Scott Hutchison. Chase the Sun had penultimate place in the set list of the night and saw the highlight of a night of highlights as the audience joined together in song.

The night may have been for Chase the Sun – and truly that offered a great moment of the evening – but the night was filled with a celebration of music and generous offering for all who braved the cold of a July evening in Adelaide.

 


Words by Liam McNally.

Thanks to Patrick Lang.

Cover artwork by Jesse Miles.

Howl n Bones launches at the Ed Castle

On June 30, Howl n Bones celebrated the release of their debut album II. Not only was the launch met by the energetic crowd packed into the band room of the Ed Castle but also the support of three bands joining together to help mark the night. First up was The Straight Jacket Tailors, a band sharing some of the same roster of talent as Little Captain (previously reviewed and interviewed in Tulpa) who stormed the stage to set the tone of bold and powerful music. The night of festivities was continued by Victorian band, the self-proclaimed ‘stoner rockers’ Jack Harlon and the Dead Crows. The final set in preparation for the Howl n Bones main event was another South Australian product in Somnium.

The launch felt less like an album making its first tentative steps into the wide world and more like a full blown, confident takeover of the Ed Castle. The atmosphere was almost one of carnival celebration.

Starting at 9pm and going late in a test of the passion and determination of music lovers, the night was an unabashed celebration of music. Surprisingly, the crowd had not thinned much, or indeed at all noticeably by the time the headline act, Howl n Bones took the stage after midnight. It’s got to say something when the crowd can brave Adelaide’s bitter winter nights for hours of music.

Howl n Bones own album, II, is difficult to describe. One can choose the band’s own description of their work as being of the genre ‘scum funk’, a genre of their own creation but whether this goes anywhere in preparing the listener is another question altogether.

The collection of musical offerings were plenty. No-one could have gone home that night saying they had not been offered a generous helping. The event catered best for lovers of some of rock’s more unusual and experimental edges but was sure to offer something to the taste of most people. The relaxed atmosphere that saw the audience ebb and flow (but always come back for more) throughout the night and allowed the audience to mingle with the performers added to that full-to-bursting offering. As the performers of each band joined the audience to support and cheers the other acts, the entire three-plus hours of bold sound had the air of all joining in mutual support, and mutual celebration, of the roaring music scene.

The credit for the assembly of such a cavalcade of sound goes to the work of IMB Presents in whose stable of talent both Howl n Bones and The Straight Jacket Tailors can be found.

The night proved a banquet of many, many courses that could fill even the most music-hungry and allowed the audience to take as much they wanted.

Howl n Bones’s eight-track II has been released and coming in at a little under 40 minutes, is no small offering. After the powerful display of June 30 by all four bands, though, what else could be expected? With tracks such as I Get High and Stoned Horse, the band announced Jack Harlon and the Dead Crows were surely not the only band present with a claim to the ‘stoner rockers’ genre. These two tracks live up to their names and Howl n Bones’ own album cover art with its Lovecraftian horror-beast, certainly makes it clear to any prospective listener that the band is not aiming for some laid-back easy listening but rather something pushing the boundaries and attempting to explore the new and the strange.

II winds back the clock and takes cues from elements of music through the recent decades to form something of their own blended from the rich heritage of musical endeavours that boldly planted its flag on the reaches. After a listen to the album, it becomes clear why the band decided to name their own genre to work within.

 


Thanks to IMB Presents.

Artwork: Album cover.

In Conversation with: Little Captain

Having seen Little Captain play the music of The Velvet Underground at the Grace Emily during the Fringe, Tulpa decided to catch up with the band to see what they have in store for the future. A residency at the Grace Emily throughout May will be first on their agenda. This time, however, it won’t be The Velvet Underground, they tell me, it will be their own music.

We’re sitting upstairs and outside at local bar Proof, where Grace Goodfellow, Todd Bennett, Kris Jaw-Moss, and Josh Pullinen let us at Tulpa in on the ideas they’re currently working on.

In the lead-up to their Fringe performance, Little Captain had been preparing since October and worrying about how many people the lure of The Velvet Underground would attract, eventually playing to a packed Grace Emily. The result was not just the old die-hard Velvet Underground fans coming along, but also others new to their musical offerings. As Grace Goodfellow recalls, some of the audience came up to them afterwards to say they didn’t really know the Velvet Underground but thought they’d check it out. All agree it was nice to do something a bit offbeat.

Covers will still be present in their May residency, alongside their own original offerings. What the covers will be is resolutely kept a surprise. Sadly, no exclusive here on that score. All I can get from them is it will be a bit more contemporary than The Velvet Underground.

With a host of support bands to compliment them during the May residency, the band look forward not just to taking the stage with their friends but also debuting a new song. The band expresses a shared fondness for the Grace Emily so the oncoming residency is an exciting prospect on their horizon. Little Captain consider the Grace Emily a champions of local artists and very supportive of local music. The free beers don’t hurt much either.

Beyond the May residency, what does the band have planned? As far as plans go, nothing concrete, but Little Captain have goals for more recording, the release of another single, and taking what comes next as it comes. Having played a lot last year, the band wishes to turn their focus towards recording and writing some new songs, as the experience of booking, planning, promoting, and playing was an exhausting one.

The band, having originated with Grace and Kris, has a number of songs, so the prospect of adding to their collection seems to be one they’re passionate to undertake this year. Or possibly going to Morocco for the year and returning tanned and possessing bongos, offers Josh.

How do they find the balance? There’s the one side of planning their gigs and getting everything ready, and the other side of the performance itself. The answer is it’s something of a work in progress. The band is playing every weekend this May, but they feel a residency is a better plan than being a band playing a pub somewhere in the city every weekend and risking the apathy of the crowd. It seems the band plays by the old adage to always leave the audience wanting more.

Asking what the audience of their Velvet Underground Fringe gig can expect to find different about their own shows, I learn it will probably not be quite so loud. Possibly fewer drug references. Though there’s no great consensus on that. There’ll also be just as many – if not more – guitar solos by Kris. Maybe a larger crowd too (the show is free).

The future, Little Captain hopes, also sees them playing further afield than the Grace Emily, much as they love the place, and a desire to grow their presence – being played on Triple J being a major goal.

They have already played plenty of other venues including Jive, the old Rhino Room (where they played in the last ever show), the Cranker [Crown & Anchor], and the Semaphore Music Festival. Little Captain has even played as far afield as Melbourne where they played at the Workers’ Club and The Old Bar in Fitzroy.

The Grace Emily has been their ‘constant’, though. They played their first performance as a whole band there. They also built their initial duo there. Grace [Goodfellow] was opening for musician Patrick James and Kris [Jaw-Moss] joined with guitar. After this, a reviewer wrote they considered the best part of the set to be the duet which led them to opening as a duo for others.

As new drinks arrive, we enter a deep discussion about the merits of mint and its importance in cocktails. It’s a conversation that slowly, and indirectly turns towards the origins of the name ‘Little Captain’ after the conclusion of an exhaustive list of mint-based band names. With two ideas for the new-born band’s name being ‘Little Silver’ and ‘Captain Gentleman’, the two proposals were merged, resulting in the eventual ‘Little Captain’.

The band discuss how the name Little Captain has, on occasion, led some to come to their gigs expecting a sweeter style than theirs (though they hasten to add they do offer some gentler songs), leaving the occasionally surprised punter. Across my hour with the band, I learn that what they lack in sweet songs, they more than make up for in ‘dad jokes’ as all band members offer their best (or worst) dad jokes.

During the residency at the Grace Emily, Little Captain will be supported by Elli Belle and Beyond the Picture on May 4, Georgy Rochow and Bromham on May 11, Ron the Ox and Ty Alexander on May 18, and to round the month out is Panacea and Hey Harriett. The band members have ties with many of their colleagues from being high school bandmates, to being neighbours, to playing in connection with them.

Should the audience come back week after week, I ask. With two different support bands, free entry, the unique nature of the Grace Emily, and of course, the talents of Little Captain, yes, is the answer. You can get told you’re a great audience every week, they say.

On a broader note, how is the current state of Adelaide’s music culture? The answers range from ‘brilliant!’ to ‘it’s pretty good’, so generally a good and hopeful view from the band. There’s more variety, and every night offers a good gig somewhere in the city, they tell me. It’s come a long way in the time they’ve seen it grow, resulting in the challenge of picking support bands due to the high quality of bands around the city.

With a good future predicted for Adelaide’s musical climate and Little Captain sailing towards broad and exciting horizons, I leave them, finding myself enthused for the future of Adelaide’s gigs and shows. At least until the May residency, when it seems the offering will be too good to turn down.

Perhaps we’ll see you there!

 


Words by Liam McNally

Thanks to the members of Little Captain.

Little Captain will be playing at 8pm at The Grace Emily every Friday during May.

The Brewster Brothers play Bob Dylan

The Brewster Brothers play Bob Dylan is a thoroughly enjoyable and rousing tribute to one of the world’s most famed and celebrated songwriters. The Brewster Brothers, John and Rick, of Australian band The Angels, are accompanied by Nick Norton another Brewster in Sam at the German Club in their entertainment of a packed hall. Sadly, this was a one-off performance, so I can’t encourage you to go and see the next one but the barnstorming success of this show is such that the next time they are performing a show (or should they return in Fringe 2019) this is not to be missed.

The crowd was large, passionate, and diverse. There were older members of the crowd whose lives likely flowed alongside the career of Bob Dylan, those much younger, and some wearing ‘The Angels’ t-shirts. The performance was not necessarily simply for those who already had a pre-existing love of Dylan’s work. It was simply an opportunity to revel in the joys of great music.

The show was scheduled for 75 minutes and when the time came, the band was dragged back on stage not once, but twice, by enormous vocal demand of the crowd. In that minute or so after the band had bid the audience goodnight and left the stage, the hall was filled an uproar of demands for ‘one more’. As it happened, the Brewster Brothers offered not one but three final songs to round out their tribute to the freewheelin’ Mr Dylan.

If there are any critiques to be made, they would the lack of such major songs Chimes of Freedom and the songs from the album Blood on the Tracks.

The Brewster Brothers do a remarkable job of conjuring up that unique element that saw Dylan rise above the rest. The famed troubadour would surely have been proud of the care and detail taken by the Brewsters in paying tribute to his long career.

The Brewster Brothers read the crowd to perfection, with the deftness and skill that comes from their own successful careers. Their 75-minute performance blew out in length and I couldn’t shake the feeling that the band were having as great a time as the audience when the final song came around and they kept it going as long as possible. The final, lengthy song, gave each performer a chance to showcase their own individual skills in a marvellous send-off to the rapturous applause of the crowd. A total success.

 


Words by Liam McNally

4½ stars.

The Brewster Brothers play Bob Dylan was a one-off performance at The German Club.