Nine photos and nine extended captions for Go Genre Everything, Scrabbled, Gravel Samwidge, The Legend, Nana Vigilante and Bent on a Saturday night in Brisbane. Although I didn’t see Bent and no photographs were taken. That was my own fault for having a self-inflicted bad day and feeling uneasy about leaving the house. It was just boredom, fatigue and nausea at the fucked-up state of the world in general.
(Note: You can find the original review here on Collapse Board).
Nana Vigilante The best kind of rapping. Especially in dingy Brisbane pubs that have promo models replaced by bands for the night, as the normal clientele disappear. It’s called Chardons Corner Hotel, but don’t let the classy name fool you.
Everyone seems interesting, but also daggy so it’s comfortable and I don’t feel this air of everyone being ‘on show’ and watching everyone try to suck each other off as they all bask in their mutual coolness.
Singularity isn’t disappearing – even though there’s a whole machine at work, eradicating space, time and the person. Nana Vigilante is a tough kind of individualism, the kind many were weaned off during school. It’s a girl and a backing track, shitting over whatever Aussie hip-hop is (which in Australia is generally a white heterosexual male activity, which probably explains why it’s all complete crap). There are songs about Brisbane and references to Galileo; like all decent rappers, she’s a poet.
The Legend! A month or two ago Everett True said to me: “I don’t know why no one wants to perform with me. I’m fucking great”. It’s one of the few non self-deprecating things he says about himself. And he’s right. He also has a fucking great backing band (see Everett, some people do want to perform with you).
The best part goes something like this:
“I’m 12 years old and I’ve been sent home for hospitalising my teacher. I’m 18 years old and I can’t see straight, fucked up on alcohol and cunts are running the world. I’m 23 years old and I can’t see straight and I’m fucked up on alcohol and cunts are still running the world. I’m 28 years old and I can’t see straight and I’m fucked up on alcohol and cunts are still running the world. I’m 32 years old and I’m spewing out of a cab sideways. I’m 33 years old and I’m spewing out a cab, helpless on my way to a destination I’ll never get to.”
Over and over again The Legend! is saying “There’s a man going round taking names”, and up on the TV screen Channel 9 is showing adverts for The Big Bang Theory and some other sexy new show that has a delicious mix of nudity and violence that only conservative 50-year-old’s find kinky.
Everyone starts off hopeful, but certain dreams do flicker and die.
There’s an old ‘zine from the 80s/90s called Ablaze! that managed to piss off everyone from Morrissey to Thurston Moore. In one ‘zine Karren Ablaze! interviews Kim Gordon, and Everett’s name is mentioned (at least I’m sure it’s Everett – if not, it’s fitting all the same).
Kim’s talking about Sonic Youth’s involvement in the Stuffed Animal Liberation, where the band had stuffed animals at their shows and on their album artwork, saying: “It’s funny how a stuffed animal can take on ET-type proportions, in terms of lovableness”.
Karren then writes, “This isn’t always the first adjective that springs to mind when old Ev’s name is mentioned, but I let this pass”.
Gravel Samwidge A sudden down-ness reminds you of gravity. It’s violent, it’s angry but it’s quietly sophisticated in the knowledge that pain and anger aren’t good as a creative process on their own.
From the first song even my nerves are humming and they’re one of the best local bands I’ve seen in a long time, and two days later I’m still listening to them and only them.
I am not difficult; I just want boundlessness. Music as an experience of boundaries that’s both quietly and overtly aggressive, melodic, noise-driven.
I spent the next day asking anyone I saw if they had ever seen Gravel Samwidge and everyone mentioned how they had been around for years. Which sort of implied that I should have seen them earlier (completely true) and that considering they’d be around so long they should be more successful by now. (A weird, dumb idea, especially considering we have a system where we don’t allow popular artists to set their own terms for success.)
Again and again you see the brutality of what happens when people try to fight a system on the System’s terms; it’s futile. It isn’t Brisbane’s marginalised, but music’s perimeters.
Being different isn’t always glamorous and is rarely rewarded with dollars.
Scrabbled Being concerned with being authentic keeps you from being authentic.
Bek Moore is authentic and blazing as she stands down on the ground, her token boy band behind, while everyone fits in snugly around her. I’d been watching her all night as she championed the bands. It’s everyone’s time and we have Bek to thank for that.
Music is just energy at the end of the day and that’s the best way to describe Scrabbled, as Bek screams and the band dysfunctionally goes on, and Dusty Anastassiou starts yelling and joins in the barbarism.
And it’s communal. When everything can be gathered and found online, performance is having a reawakening. It’s just a way to get out of isolation and have some physicality before we say goodbye to the real world altogether. It’s the need to move, to touch and to defy the security of standing and observing and it’s soothing to listen to everyone else be frustrated.
Often I read and hear lots of conversations about whether punk or even alternative cultures can still exist and whether we’ll ever have the conditions for such a movement to happen again. I find it stupid and boring because the basic tenet for punk still, and always will exist: people who are not only alienated by, but disgusted with, the mainstream culture and status quo. It can’t ‘happen again’ because it’s never completed and all of the bastards are still in power. This doesn’t make it futile, but even more important.
Go Genre Everything Hysterical enthusiasm, nothing detached and all sorts of weird like lost pygmies. They’re like mutants and I felt like a native daughter.
Zach Von Bamberger and Jen Tait are furious and absurd – talking over each other, mimicking in each other in some parody of the hyped performer. I’m dazzled by Jen, screaming, singing, drumming and keyboard-ing all at the same time and Zach, loud and caustic as they both devolve (or evolve?) into spazzed out frenzied monkey screaming and hooting.
And you know, punk noise primal rock is childish – that’s what’s so liberating. It’s people who’ve never grown up – and why would you want to grow up anyway?
So let your children out. Let them scream and carry-on and play things that don’t sound quite right. Let them fuck things up and maybe get fucked up in return. Let them grow old, as we all must – instead of growing old, deaf and dumb to the world, in front of a TV set or computer.
Let your children know life’s darker joys.