MOFO’s Musical Montage at the Balaclava Hotel

As all foodies know, fusion cuisine can be a risky proposition. Perhaps today’s cooks want to feel ground-breaking, yearning for that elusive coincidence of disparate cultural offerings combining to give a unique taste experience, but I’m one of those who doesn’t really see the need to incorporate szechuan spiced chicken onto a pizza. Pepperoni is fine.

Similarly (and colour me unsophisticated if you will) but I think shoving Irish folk melodies into a rock band via violin doesn’t work, quite tragically. Sorry Corrs. If popularity is any gauge, and it certainly should be, I’m dead wrong here. Also rather hypocritical too.. because I have a dirty little secret!

I like bogan funk.

What seemed to me initially as an immensely wrong idea, akin to anchovy custard just to throw up a culinary metaphor (copyright warning: Anchovy Custard is the name of my as-yet-unformed proto-hardcore-electronica duo,) is actually funky, awfully Aussie, and bordering on outright groovy.

I saw the original, and possibly only, bogan funk band on Saturday night last week, at another delightfully intimate yet bangingly loud mofo gig at the Balaclava. Their name is The Don Johnson/Butlers, the heritage of which I have preferred to keep a delicious mystery although the legendary smoothness of an ’80s actor coincidentally named Don Johnson may have played a part. Their sartorial and instrumental stylings are pure funk, and their lyrical and refreshment leanings are pure bogan. In a nutshell, if George Clinton’s future funkadelic band members had worked on the South Australian docks and hooked up with Barnesy, this could have been the result. All the words are familiar (mostly Aussie-) rock standards, but the tunes are danceable rather than neck-fatiguing. At what other band’s gigs can you actually dance, 70’s style, whilst singing along with Working Class Man?

Anyway the night was another very enjoyable mofo experience despite the occasional smoke alarm intrusion. The Don Johnson/Butlers gave an over and above performance, especially in terms of time frame – these guys totally ignore scheduled finishes. This was lucky because the preceding sets by metalcore young ‘uns Avenge The Sin (energetic, angsty, metalcory,) Beat Basement hiphop representatives Vainz ‘n’ Jimmy Flypshyt (engaging, smooth, hiphoppy) and prog-stoners Peyote (broody, bleak, prog-stonery) had set an impressive standard. A montage of musical flavours, if you will… what could potentially have turned out to be an eggy dessert with fishy overtones, but was actually more like chipotle rib pieces on a caesar salad. Dammit, there goes my integrity.

Jon Niehaus

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