Swamp Donkey Justin Bishop

Süßes und Saures – MOFO Delivers Both At The German Club

As all young Ameri-stralian kids know, Halloween is a time to dress up and wander the neighbourhood bludging lollies and the like, from people who probably have much better things to spend their money on, like German beer.

On the other hand, in the Fatherland, the occasion (known as “Halloween,” ha those crazy Germans!) is celebrated with metal, more metal, grungy metal, metally grunge, a bit of hip-hop and then some metally hardcore punky stuff. And so it was that the respectful crew at mofo cancelled the rootsy irish folk acts they had flown over ‘specially for last Friday night, and handed Klaus and his merry band of stein-filling pranksters the hard loud gear that they so craved.

Easing us gently into the evening were the smooth sounds of Salacious, the six-piece actually handing up their usual take-no-prisoners approach and smashing relentlessly through the opening set. Perhaps as tribute to their departing axeman Bretto, there were no appearances of acoustic guitars or down-tempo tracks, just 40 minutes of their typical energy, delivered regardless of whether they’re on a big stage or in a small room. Scary as their music was, it was no match for Pete’s costume, the memory of which kept me awake for all the wrong reasons later that night. Corpses and mass-murderers I can handle, but that clown? dude!

Once Pete had headed outside for a well-earned beer with his mates, I just had time to regain my composure when the formerly-rotating-title quartet Swamp Donkey kicked off their set with my personal favourite amongst their covers, Goin’ Out West. Their originals are rapidly squeezing all the covers out of their set, which technically is a good thing, but one day I’ll hear them Waitsless which will be a little sad. Anyway enough about me; the Donks were loud, clangy and dissonant in all the right ways (if you don’t believe me, check out the Nana’s Chook Yard clip on youtube.) They’re playing again thie Saturday night (8th) at the Grand so if you missed them, or indeed even if you didn’t, get along for their swampy yet somehow still donkeyish vibes.

Being a genius mathemetician I knew right away that the following act was appropriate, the duo of Ponch the Dutch ‘n’ Jimmy Flypshyt taking it down then up again. Halloween lyrical stylings abounded throughout, underlaid with the always impeccably smooth production, and the set was deserving of a bigger crowd than the intimately Bavarian surrounds offered on the night. Most bands will tailor setlists to particular crowds or events, but the way these guys had evidently written material specifically horror-themed really stood out.

Once again bowing to the teutonic tradition of donning Mexican wrestling masks when playing the final spot at Halloween gigs, and simultaneously throwing my band member math sequence completely out, Meat Bikini wound up the evening with what I mistakenly expected to be croony lounge covers but was actually a little more punk. Acerbic, angsty, clever and brutish, these guys never fail to bring back the sound of when punk was actually punk. Actually, they’ll also be rocking the Grand this Saturday, if the Donks weren’t enough to get you there, and I trust there will be at least as many moshy shenannigans as they drew from the die-hards who were hanging around ’til the death (lame topical joke there.)

Once again a vindication of Deutche custom and a fabulous evening of live entertainment, mofo’s Smelly Jeans Halloween definitely rocked the German Club, and probably their neighbours for a couple of blocks. See you at the next one!

Jon Niehaus

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