Garageland 500 3

Garageland 3 rocking the Grand!

So, I was just rereading my In/Off review from the other week, and marvelling at my excellent flow and lack of typos, when the urge came upon me to put fingers to keyboard and relate the tale of last Saturday night’s musical get-together. Seeing as I’m quite chummy with the bands, though, I don’t want to be accused of pandering to their delicate rockstar egos. So before we start I want to set appropriate expectations for this review. As I’m not being paid I see no reason I need to be less honest or opinionated purely out of politeness. If you play in one of the bands, or are involved in an intimate or even purely physical relationship with someone who is, you may not like bits. To get gushy bio cuts ‘n’ pastes just go and buy a newspaper. Also there may not be complete accuracy in my recounting of the evening because they had some really wonderful people at the venue who exchanged my money for delicious alcoholic beverages, including two-for-ones which bizarrely seemed to be slightly more in price than the one-for-ones (of the same beverage) which followed Happy Hour during what I call Unhappy, or at least, Lesshappy, Restofthenight. But they were only slightly more, so I’m not bitter.

Given the etymology of their band name, and no I’m not talking bugs here, go read that again, you would think the members of kick-off band Swamp Donkey would be either deeply unattractive and lacking man parts, or to some extent misogynistic. But such is the curious custom of naming bands; they’re actually rather presentable boys and quite nice to girls, women, and others of the female persuasion. Upstanding citizens, as far as I’m aware anyway. They treat their instruments fairly well and have a decent level of skill with songwriting as well as doing lovely versions of other people’s songs, especially if those other people have punk/gothic leanings. I’ve seen strikingly similar local bands Band Without A Name and Tectonic, and these guys are even better. if only because they did the best Waits cover I’d seen all day, and have a spare guitarist in case something happens to the other one. Watch out for them or another differently-named but identically-staffed group, dress in a lot of black and be ready to sing along to the less radio-flogged tunes penned by Robert Smith.

Once the last of the evidence of donkeys had been removed from the stage the now-quite-regularly-hyped No Hype continued proceedings in their diametrically-opposed-end-of-the-punk-spectrum style. These lads also seem to have sprouted an extra guitarist since I’d seen ’em last, presumably not to increase their volume because that was hardly necessary. Regardless, having him there didn’t hurt. I’d have to say the underground-loving mofo regulars aren’t the biggest fan of the corporate punk genre, and No Hype are so good at basically being Green Day that their quite polished stage show was a bit counterproductive for this particular gig. Can’t fault their energy, their unflagging enthusiasm in using loud naughty words to try and incite hysteria in the nonplussed audience, or their extremely consistent (I love that phrase) songwriting style. Fortunately the vibe at the boys’ recent Balaclava gig presumably felt less like Jake and Elwood’s appearance at Bob’s Country Bunker, as they won stuff and are off to see how Airlie treats them. Negotiate a decent rider, fellas, don’t end up owing the promoters!

Next up to annoy the poor sound guy were the entirely gig appropriate, but barely less naughty-word-using, Jobstopper. Japes and hilarity abound with these fun-loving clowns, they wave around unrock things, one that looks like keyboard turned into a guitar and even one made of brass. I guess purists and pedants would point out that ska punk isn’t rock and so they can justifiably be as unrock as they want, and to them I say: actually, fair enough. Anyway their music was jolly and bouncy and of the style the crowd evidently enjoyed, with the latter bouncing in a jolly fashion enjoying it. I’ve never heard so many people at one place vow to use future alternatives to the albatross when heading west, and come think of it I don’t know WHY, even though they repeatedly suggested it was for good reason. Must look that one up. One big gripe I have with Jobstopper is, and note this is despite including as a member at least one alleged nacho aficionado: the lack of Mexican wrestling masks. Surely I’m not alone in that I dislike going to gigs and not seeing Mexican wrestling masks… am I?

Someone must have known about my requirement to see Mexican wrestling masks at gigs because the band that considered themselves headliners, came on last wearing Mexican wrestling masks. Unkind people would suggest they played last purely because all the other bands wanted to get the music out of the way and get on with the business of drinking, and being an unkind person I allege that exactly. Regardless, they were last, and wore Mexican wrestling masks. They didn’t wear Meat Bikinis which leaves them open to a potential civil lawsuit for false and misleading advertising, so my legal advice is to change name to Mexican Wrestling Masks. Bet you get more people to your gigs too. Maybe even famous people, famous smart progressive leaders like Campbell Newman who’d maybe autograph your shirts for you. Note my excellent use of satire even though as I may have mentioned, I’m not being paid for this article. Meat Bikini’s music orbits proto-hardcore and is very excellent indeed, even though they have possibly eaten the spare guitarist they used to have, or sold him for components that make the remaining one’s effect pedal even more extra fuzzy. Buy their album for your mother in law ‘cos she probably doesn’t already have it.

OK I have provided far more insight than necessary for the night. Four acceptably skilled musical groups, wonderful people supplying alcohol to age-appropriate customers, and a great big crowd especially for a Cairns Show week Saturday night (more than at some generally far more patronised venues) which screams for Garageland to be given the support to grow in the future. More investment, dare I say it, especially for reviewers and I guess for the artists, organisers, technicians and groupies too.

The End.

Jon Neihaus