I’m gonna fight ‘em all

January 30th, 2006

I just realised how hungry I am and there is seriously no food in the house. I need to stand still for at least 5 minutes and write a grocery list. Actually, I should have done that yesterday instead of A) counting my CDs in the morning and B) laying on the couch and watching the cricket for an hour in the afternoon. Or maybe I should have thought about my stomach when I was driving home from work. Oh well, serves me right I guess.

Today was a bit of a shit fight, and it didn’t help that I felt really tired. My head didn’t wind down until about 3 last night, and it’s only because I slept in yesterday. I’m sure it’s psychosomatic, this whole unable to sleep thing, but I need to find a way to switch it off. To say, ‘hey, I’m a great sleeper!’ and for it to be true. Maybe I need a mantra. Or a clue? :P

So I saw the White Stripes nearly a week ago now, at the Horden Pavilion. It’s unlike me not to gush for pages after seeing a gig as good as that, and I’m not sure what was so different about this one. I think that I had a whole day of other STUFF after it, and it sort of got shelved in my head. So here I am with a step ladder removing it from the shelf.

I pretty much panicked the whole way there because the traffic was fucked. Still, I made it in heaps of time (after a quick change of plans and meeting Hell at the gig) and we got pretty good seats. We got there before the first support started (there were two, which I didn’t realise) – an Australian band called The Situations. I’m really not sure how on earth they landed that gig, unless they found a way to give the promoter head or something. I mean, one of their songs was called Situation Situation. By The Situations. PLEASE. Lyrically crap and just pound pound pound with the electric guitar and drums and they lead singer sort of screaming, rather than singing. The only thing I can think of that might be similar to their stuff is Frenzal Rhomb. On a bad day. Without the funny parts. Aha OH and they finished their set, got a little polite applause, and launched into another track. Ah, guys, I don’t think 10 people clapping constitutes an encore. But that’s just me.

The Greenhornes came on next, and they were actually pretty good. A little Beatles-esque and pretty tight. They had a bit of confidence about them and the lead singer seemed to have a bit of personality. Still, it got a bit samey after the first couple of tracks, and Hellen and I were more interested in talking to each other by the end of their set than listening to the music.

Most of the stage was covered up during the first two bands. There were drapes over what was obviously Megs drum kit and a baby grand. I was a good bit of excited about the gig before I got there, but I got increasingly so as the set was unveiled. When the drapes were taken off the drum kit the growing crowd really began to make some noise. The whole set was in red, black and white – the potted palms at the front of the stage had actually been spray painted white. They had some great canvas back drops behind the instruments on stage and even the instruments were red, black or white.

I had read somewhere that they don’t play to a set list, and that Jack is the one who dictates throughout what the next song would be. I wasn’t sure I should believe that, but it was really evident during the night. He’d whisper something in her ear before the start of some songs, or, he’d announce to the crowd what the song was (like, just before My Doorbell, he said Meg’s going to bring this one in and it’s called My Doorbell so she starts with the boom TISH boom boom TISH). Sometimes she’d sorta have to wing it though and just run with it when he’d already started. She’s not the greatest drummer in the world (although I guess if you’re making art, not music, keeping time is a secondary concern), and she can’t sing for shit, but she kept up with him pretty well and she’s pretty to look at. She can seriously get some noise outta that kit too :)

Jack, though, is an amazingly phenomenal musician. There was a marimba on stage (I found out what this was later), he had 3 (maybe 4?) different guitars, a funky organ and a grand piano. And he played them all, and sometimes two at a time. The intensity of his performance, while he was making the music, was really something. Like he was channelling something else. He didn’t talk a lot, and when he did it was high pitched and really fast like he was really nervous or peaking. When he started playing though it was all about the music.

Just before the last song he broke a string on his electric guitar, and I’m not sure if he meant to do it because he systematically started going to other strings on it and tightening them till they broke. I’m sure the guitar tech was freaking out because when they left the stage, after the last track, we felt like we were clapping and stamping for encore for at least 5 minutes. Good thing the performance was worth it :P I can just imagine how quick that poor tech was restringing the damn thing.

They played a lot from Get Behind Me Satan, which makes sense, a couple from White Blood Cells and a few from Elephant. Some other stuff too that I didn’t pick. I heard he doesn’t often play his covers live, but for encore he did ‘I just don’t know what to do with myself’ which was really, really great. The whole crowd sang for that one. And of course encore also had Seven Nation Army and Blue Orchid.

And he played Forever For Her (is over for me). If I could kiss him thanks then I would, because it made my night.

So yeah it was great great great. Part rock, part hillbilly, part performance art, part theatre, and a lot of cabaret. Like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Australia Day for me was interesting. We went to breakfast in the morning (mmm, omelette) and then I caught the bus to Darling Harbour, where I was meeting the boat. OH MY GOD the people. I don’t really ‘do’ crowds at the best of times, but combine many tourists + misguided patriotic Australians brandishing flags + street performers + security staff + general workers and you get a mind blowing, headache inducing chaos.

I found the boat, and I was the first one there (which felt a little strange). It was nice just waiting and people watching – I think, in a crowd of people like that, so long as they were leaving me alone and I wasn’t navigating my way through them, I could do that for hours. Anyway the rest of them finally arrived and we set off. It was nice actually, being on the water, even though it was really tough getting some space to myself. And people don’t seem to understand that, and constantly ask you to the point of driving you nuts if you’re okay or upset. No, I’m fine really, I’m just enjoying sitting on my own here looking over the water. PLEASE LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE. Ahem.

This week promises to be manic, because I have a course in the city for 3 days and then CRICKET on Sunday. I’m looking forward to the cricket, but the course can bite my ass. Ugh.


One Response to “I’m gonna fight ‘em all”

  1. Gravity is nothing to me · Sing sing sing on March 9, 2007 11:55 pm

    [...] Anyway, this was actually my first gig for last year, and a very good way to start.  I’d never seen the band live before and I’d read enough to be really curious.  I wrote a pretty long-winded review of it at the time, so I won’t rabbit on about it too much again now.  It was a great deal of fun though. [...]

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