I thought after 800 million trips to and from the old place to the new place, carrying a weird assortment of things, from almost five years worth of Vanity Fair magazines, to a handmade Melvins statue, I’d go into some kind of hibernation and reemerge in a few months to face the world.
Instead came The Week of Gigs. I haven’t eaten dinner since Sunday night, because I have not been home before midnight almost every night since then. And the chance I did get to eat a leisurely meal today was ruined by an amazing act of vomitechnics by The Wuz.
First up was Faith No More at the Hordern Pavilion. There are a lot of things I really don’t like about the Hordern. It’s hard to get to get home from and a lot of the time the mix is really muddy. Unfortunately, for a band like Faith No More, it’s Sydney’s default venue. So to there, after work, we trudged [or bused. On a overcrowded bus in the lovely damp that passes for summer in this city].
First up was America’s Funnyman, Neil Hamburger. I have seen Neil a bunch of times. I have shamed myself in front of Neil once and that’s really saying something. It wasn’t the best venue for the stand up stuff, it’s much better in an uncomfortably small room with a few locals who have no idea who Neil is, but he also had his country band with him, which I thought was super funny, particularly the song Jug Town and another which really resonated with me, The Recycle Bin, which was all about people who are too stupid to realise what you can and can’t recycle. I want everyone to wave at my ex-neighbours right now, hello you fools.
Next up, were Eagles of Death Metal, without Josh Homme. I don’t know why I feel like I have to keep telling people that, maybe because EODM posters and promo shots all seem to feature Josh Homme? Maybe ’cause Josh Homme is about the most interesting thing the band has to offer? Anyways, I had no idea they were going to be the support, and by the time they hit the stage, I’d found myself a comfy seat in the stands. I don’t dig their music, it doesn’t grab me on any level and I spent most of their set Googling Jesse Hughes in an attempt to armchair analyse his need to talk about how much he loves the laydees between every song. Jesse Hughes really loves the ladies and he wants you to know it. Also, he’s a speechwriter for the Republican Party. Interesting fact!
The venue was sold out. I don’t know the capacity of the Hordern, but it’s thousands, and it was interesting to see the difference in EODM trying to get the crowd amped up and Faith No More coming on stage and having the entire crowd spontaneously go nuts. Amazing. For a band who haven’t released any music since 1997, and who have been on their current tour for about six month, the set was incredible. Faith No More were just so energised and they’ve re-worked a bunch of the songs to build tension before huge choruses, and even though it had to have all been rehersed, it never felt like they were going through the motions. I keep hearing people say that even now, days later, they still feel really buzzed from the gig, and I have to agree. The set list, for those interested, was as follows:
The Real Thing
Land of Sunshine
Gentle Art of Making Enemies
Last Cup of Sorrow
I Started a Joke
Surprise You’re Dead
Ashes to Ashes
Just a Man
Edge of the World
Digging the Grave
This Town ain’t big enough for the both us
The next night was Isis at the Manning Bar at Sydney Uni.
I am a big Isis fan. They’re definitely a band I recommend to a lot of people and I’ve seen them on their last two tours, at the Annandale and Metro, respectively and they are always so good. I’d never been to Manning, so I was a bit apprehensive about it being a smaller venue and was imagining it being packed and gross. After a slight ticketing panic, and some booze, Alice, Jess and I wandered to the venue.
Two things struck me. First, I love a good metal crowd. Almost always it’s the exact opposite of what you’d expect. Sure, it’s mostly dudes, but it’s mostly dudes in really good moods, who are really chilled out. There’s not an Isis gig I’ve been to where I haven’t struck up a conversation with someone in the crowd. Metal gigs seem to attract people who are 100% focused on the music and just having a good time. Secondly, the mix was amazing. I don’t know the history of the Manning, but the acoustics are incredible. Every single instrument was so clear. Big thumbs up.
I think we missed the first band, but the second band were from the US, Baroness. I’d never heard them, hell I’d never even heard of them, but I was really impressed. By far the best opening act for Isis I’ve seen. I need to hear more of their stuff to explain it. It was progressive, but the guitars had kinda ’70s metal throwbacks. I really dug both their music and their appreciation of the crowd, and in return, I imagine I will soon purchase their back catalogue. See how it works bands? Be good and lovely and I part with my cash all easy like.
Their set list, I believe, was:
The Sweetest Curse
Machine Gun(Jimi Hendrix cover)
A Horse Called Golgotha
War, Wisdom and Rhyme
Swollen and Halo
Rays on Pinion
Isis were tight, as Isis always are. I maybe wasn’t in the best mindset for the gig, being tired and heading out from work. The music is really pretty overwhelming and I would have liked to have appreciated it more. They were sort of at a polar opposite to Faith No More who burst on stage and immediately started getting the crowd amped up. Isis gigs kinda build slowly, there’s no between song banter, you just get more and more into the music as the gig progresses. Their set was:
Hall Of The Dead
Hand Of The Host
20 Minutes / 40 Years
Threshold Of Transformation
Celestial (The Tower)
Finally, last night one of my aunts took me to Max Gillies’s new show, Godzone. It was super funny. Rudd, Gillard, Abbott, Turnbull, Christopher Hitchens, Barnaby Joyce, Howard and possibly more that I am forgetting, all got a serve. I liked his Hitchens and Abbott the best.
I am also quite a big nerd, so as well as being excited to see the show, I was that person, who [thankfully internally] was going ‘Oooh! There’s Neville Wran! And Julian Morrow! AND BOB ELLIS!’ I was sitting almost directly behind Bob Ellis, and although his eyes and eyebrows project a kind of wearisome acceptance that he must share air with the likes of me, he has huge smile creases. He must laugh a lot. I’m going to start dressing in nothing but crumpled shirts and slacks and leather loafers, with my glasses on a chain. I tried to sneak a look at what book he had in his bag, but I was foiled, foiled in my attempt.
Tomorrow I start uni and thus, for the next few years, a run of gigs/events like this is probably not going to happen, so it was a good way for Free Julia to go out.