Archive for September, 2011

Regurgitator at the Hi-Fi…
September 11, 2011

A lot of people write comments praising the virtues and energy of being a part of the audience at a live show.

‘Nothing beats it,’ they often say.

Maybe so, but what about when the audience sucks?  It is undoubtedly exciting to drive into a show with the night’s headliner’s album blaring from the stereo wondering which songs they will play, how they’ll sound live, and imagining the hits performed on stage whilst in the midst of a room packed with the like-minded, all jumping, waving, and pulsing at just the right moments.  So often lately though, this isn’t what eventuates, and an audience of alleged fans suddenly devolves into a beast focused on little more than elbowing its way as high and forward as possible.

So it was refreshing to walk into a steadily-filling Hi-Fi Bar to see the floor starting to fill with people actually dancing to little more than the piped music filling the air between sets.

The Hi-Fi Bar, Melbourne, August 26, 2011

Boys Boys Boys! came out and were perfect for those already on the floor to keep going with.  It turns out they are a Perth group and they encouraged the dancing with their own choreographed moves.  The three front-women wore matching sequinned outfits whilst the boys in the band played a kind of pop-rock that reminded me a little of The Harpoons.

They were followed by a solo act calling himself Disasteradio, who seemed to keep much of the audience in hysterics, and I suppose I can understand it.  I mean, I get it, he’s fat.  I just didn’t think it was all that funny.  His kind of laptop electroclash is getting to be kind of run-of-the-mill lately, and there was little to set himself aside from anyone else, a fact highlighted by his vocals mixed beyond comprehension.  But I guess he provided an acceptable routine to while away the minutes before the headliner.

When Regurgitator emerged, they were clad in matching skeleton costumes – which is apparently still all the rage in the local performing industry – and backed, as promised, by animated footage.  The opened powerfully with their crude favourite I Will Lick Your Arsehole.  They continued on to power through a set focused mostly on the classics from their first three albums, which ensured everyone was happy.  I was glad to hear Blood And Spunk from the grossly underrated Love And Paranoia album, and the samples from the infamous new album were promising.  All Fake Everything covered a lot of ground and made me want to rush over to the merch stand to buy the much-hyped badge-format album (but it had sold out earlier) even though I couldn’t tell whether its introduction was paying tribute to, parodying, or just ripping off Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade Of Pale.

Despite Polyester Girl getting tiring when it featured on pretty much every seasonal compilation in 1998, the night’s hyper-speed punkBeat rendition breathed new life into the song.  After an extended encore featuring The Song Formerly Known As and a Kong Foo Sing/Pop Porn medley, few would have been left with any doubt that Regurgitator are most certainly still around and, even better, still going strong, amidst so many local groups of their era calling it quits.


Secret Bogan Juice…
September 10, 2011

Which leads me to my next point.  As much as I love Triple J, and can find no other radio station that plays my favourite music, it is an unfortunate fact that it is also popular with a bogan element within the population.  Whilst this in itself has never been particularly concerning to me – Rosie Beaton has a gift for humouring the drunken masses for just long enough to get a song request out of them before they become too tiresome – it has become apparent that catering to this particular portion of the listenership has become a driving force in the music selection, and has led to a situation of high repetition.

Steph from Monash shows off her tattoo
A lot of people were critical of the results of Triple J’s recent listener poll of ‘The Hottest 100 Australian Albums of All Time,’ and some even more so after Richard Kingsmill released the top 101 – 200 album losers list.  Some felt that there were glaring omissions from the results, particularly when compared with the critics’ predictions, but this was always going to be the case in an opinion poll of a particular sect of the population.  A poll of the general population would probably have yielded some of the critically expected albums.  Whilst it doesn’t make it into my personal top ten, I think that Savage Garden’s self-titled debut should rank highly on such a list, if not at number one.  It has variety and creativity (to the point where some songs were modified to be more conducive for commercial radio play) and was undeniably popular and successful.  I can certainly not think of another Australian album to have generated as many successful singles as this one, and struggle to think of too many from anywhere else to have generated many more.

Of course, I wouldn’t expect it to make it into a Triple J poll.  It is usually fairly easy to pick the songs that will be popular with the station’s request line and ‘Hottest 100’ polls.  When placing my bets, I usually just go with the latest song to feature a chorus that encourages the shouting of swear words (although I did lose this year when Cee Lo’s Fuck You! came in lower than I’d expected.)

A request show should ideally ensure variety, and Triple J’s implementation of theme nights does, to an extent, help encourage this, but it is inevitable that pub rock fans will call in every night asking to hear the latest dance song to find cross-over appeal.  The same song will be played due to popular demand ad-nauseum, and such has been the case since Pnau tapped into a market that hadn’t heard dance music since Sonic Animation released the allegedly funny Theophilus Thistler.  I even heard someone call the SuperRequest show last week asking to hear ‘the song that goes like this,’ before mumbling a tune into the phone, ala Machine Gun Fellatio’s Isaac Or Fuzz.  Remarkably, Rosie and her producer translated the call into Joe Goddard and Valentina’s Gabriel to the caller’s satisfaction, and mine, kind of.

So, what exactly is my complaint here?  Unlike others, I have no qualms with Hottest 100 results or Australian content levels.  My complaint is with the level of repetition that seems to have evolved into the station’s playlist over the past decade, which looks eager to appease the aforementioned (and probably not minimal) section of the listener base.  I like variety, and for a while I haven’t been getting it, but don’t know where else to turn.  Or maybe I’m just afraid of admitting that I might fit into the bogan category too.