Monday, October 15, 2012

I.D.G.A.F.F.


I.D.G.A.F.F.
[“I Don’t Give A Flying F*ck”].
We shall be returning to this acronym, later.
Since a few weeks before leaving for ‘straya, we’d been pre-warned about Footscray. First I heard was R1 breakfast host A-diddy Hawkins posting on Facebook, “I can’t believe you’re going to Footscray.” Believe it. We did. Wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, to be honest. We arrived in the afternoon to discover we were playing in the back bar at the Reverence Hotel. Great in terms of having plenty of time to set up without getting in anyone’s way, and the tech spec was really pretty decent [EV Rig, old A&H with some O.K. outboard at FOH]. These back room spaces, however, do miss out on a bit of punter traffic by being pretty isolated from their parent bars. Even an audio nerd like myself would rather battle a few punters in the main bar while setting up, in order to have more traffic around come show-time. Nonetheless, a bunch of expats (man, LOR have some faithful fans over here!) and a good crowd of fans of the support bands rocked up, and we had the customary big-loud-rock-themed party.
First band ‘Seven Hearts’ rocked up and started pretty well on time at the hair-raisingly early hour of 8.20p.m. Apparently Aussie liquor licensing is equally, if not more f*cked up than NZ stuff when it comes to music venues. Nonetheless, lovely female / male vocals and acoustic guitar, and a weirdly cool RATM cover in this kinda downbeat-acoustic-format worked weirdly well.
Next to take the stage (and accidently, our hi-hat clutch, haha[!]) were Qlayeface. Prog-rock in the vein of Karnivool, according to one of the band members. In the vein of many Aussie bands, they brought their own engineer, and a fair bit o’ their own backline. More on this later. Cool ambient guitar-work, and an interesting approach. Random addition to the bill, I must say, but that’s been the joy of these shows, seeing who turns up to walk on stage, having a beer with them, and enjoying the lack of genre-specific rubbish one encounters in certain sectors of the NZ music scene…
Next on stage, unexpectedly, were Cotton Sidewalk. I’d chatted with their drummer, Luke, who rolled his own kit onto stage for their set, and he explained that:
A)   They played melodic Indie rock. Or something along those lines.
B)   They had been moved forward on the bill (from last to third-last on), as the band that were supposed to be playing in their slot were running late. Fair enough.
What he failed to mention was that:
C)   They had their own engineer, played with all their amps facing the back of the stage(!), used a weird variant on in-ear monitors, and sounded great.
D)   The rhythm section, (Luke + female bass player), finally exemplified what we often find missing in bands in this genre. Aggression, commitment, and solidity. All very well to play music with a certain type of sensitivity / sensibility, but if you can’t nail it in a way that sounds AUTHORITAVE, please, go home, kids, ‘cos we’re all wasting our time. Fortunately, Cotton Sidewalk’s rhythm section know exactly how to hammer it home, and I really, really enjoyed it.
Cool songs, too. A kinda Verlaines-meets-Oasis-and-uncomfortably-talk-aesthetics-in-a-shady-back-room-bar-in-Footscray, kinda thing.
 LOR did their usual thing, Stevo’s bro Andy Marshall helping out on lights making a significant difference, and we all enjoyed making a bunch o’ big loud noises. The band previously known as the-guys-who-weren’t-around-when-they-were-supposed-to-be-playing arrived, LOR cut their set a bit short, and they jumped up and played their particular brand of stoner rock. Cads of Yore were great, although they were playing their last show together, instead opting to devote more time to the lucrative country band they apparently all play in. OK(!). A great bunch o’ guys, and a good way to end a night that was really, really random. We threw everything in the trusty X-Trail, and hit the road to St Kilda to check out the Friday night ‘Espy Vibe,’ and grab some Jalapeno-laden Subway sandwiches, which we enjoyed on some public seating outside a knock-shop, across the road from a very loud, very good covers-band’s show. Classic stuff.
 Right, so, IDGAFF.
We moved accom from Andy and Kate’s place on Saturday morning, to J-Lee and Ragey Coote’s apartment, where we’re currently situated. Unfortunately, the GPS wasn’t our friend on this trip, and we found ourselves running a bit late in dropping our bedding and clothing and getting to IDGAFF in Abbotsford (no, not the previously mud-slipped suburb in Dunedin, you schmuck, the run-down punk venue in Melbourne).
 First time in a good while I’ve found myself standing outside a venue an hour after the scheduled load-in time, wondering, “is this show actually going to happen?” A bunch of phone-calls later, Seedy had the owner on the phone, someone turned up, we set up the fairly less than ideal vocal p.a. plus some backline, and we had a show on our hands. Opening band Jalapeno Punch (whose name we found pretty hilarious, given last night’s spicy-sandwich exploits) were hilarious. Punk / Ska kinda stuff, but with the most awkwardly amusing redheaded front man you can imagine. His stand up routine was second to none, to the point that even Seddy wondered how he was going to top his on-stage banter. 
 Oddly enough, the venue packed out pretty nicely for LOR, and we put on a bizarre sort of daytime-café-reggae-meets-sludge-rock kinda show. Refreshing to work with just a vocal PA again, and a great reminder of why I tour with these guys:
-       Without all the big-production stuff, the band can really play. Really play. And really sing. Haven’t run across another group who can do so with such proficiency and reliability, doubt I will in the near future.
-       Regardless of circumstance, we all know how to get in, get out, and give the audience what they came for, even when there are two shows in one day (five in three), beggar-all sleep, and a schedule that most bands’d need to sit down to have read to them, let alone attempt to keep up with. Good times.
 Following the show, Seedy sold a bit more merch, attempted to leave half his worldly possessions behind, and Kaney, Mets and I threw everything in the vehicle, rounded up all Orlando’s stuff, and got us on the road out to Hopper’s crossing.
I want to be pissed off about IDGAFF. The promoter had asked us if we wanted to bother with the show, so we knew we were in for something random, but we thought we’d give it a crack, and it actually turned out pretty well, all told. We all saw the funny side of a venue that take their name / mission statement so very seriously, and it was a pretty cool experience for all the LOR fans, and random passers by, that came out. IDGAFF.
Gapping it out to Hopper’s crossing, I had a fair idea what to expect. If anyone from the Auckland Metal scene, or the MIC crew is reading this, they’ll know what I mean when I say the place reminds me a lot of Coda lounge in West Auckland. Awesome people running a rehearsal space / venue in an isolated warehouse location. Dean, the owner of the joint was amazing. Hooked us up with backline for the entire Melbourne leg, and had all the P.A. stuff set up on our arrival. I simply swapped a few mics, we shuffled some gear, checked, and headed to Red Rooster(!) for dinner. A bizarre but great night. Kaney enjoyed chatting to the female guitarist from the Divine Fluxes, who apparently ‘had the right idea,’ most of us missed the first support band, ‘Goodbye Galaxy,’ who Mets categorised as ‘decent heavy rock with synths,’ and we prepared to do our thing on a stage in a warehouse in the middle of nowhere for a bunch of committed locals. Cool show, a great venue, and we all left blown away by Dean and the crew’s work, having sold a bit more merch (this has been our mission and our a huge asset on this tour), and ready for some late-night Macca’s and a good sleep. Five shows in three days, done.
 A few general thoughts on the ‘Melbourne Vibe’ before Mikey signs off:
-       Some great bands. A lot of bands in general. A pronounced ‘way of doing things’ that’s a bit different from how we do things back in NZ, particularly at pub gigs (what is this everyone rolls in a completely new backline, line checks everything all over again and takes half an hour in the process, when they’re not exactly playing at a 3000+ pax festival!?).
-       Great to see some familiar faces. Louis Smith and the cats are bang on with their track ‘I am Dunedin.’
-       [LINK]
-       Everyone f*cks off to Melbourne. And it’s been great catching up you all – thank you, sincerely, for making the last few days an amazing, exhausting, party.
-       I’m working on growing some kind of moustache. I’ll let you know how that goes. My money’s on a terrible failure…
Churs,
-Mike-orth.

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