Sunday, April 5, 2009

Abdoujaparov...

Old Bar, Fitzroy. Wed 25th March 2009.
Brunswick Hotel, Brunswick. Fri 27th March, 2009.

Once a year the journey to the holyland takes place. Pilgrims from afar travel the globe to get to the promised land. It is a long journey, a search of great moral significance. From near and far they seek spiritual enlightenment. From the United Kingdom, Brisbane and Perth all the way to Reservoir, they aim to hear the word’s of the chosen one “There's a monster in my living room and it's slurring all my words, drinking beer and singing songs and chatting up the birds”.

Wednesday night we walked into the Old Bar and recognized the crew from last years Abdou gig. Familiar faces all round including the one and only Les “Fruitbat” Carter. It’s a mixed crowd of old and new fans, most still going from the Carter USM days, Les’ previous band. A smile rests on your face and just gets bigger as the nights rolls on.

UK band Abdoujaparov, named after a professional cyclist from Uzbekistan, consists of Les, guitarist Richard Crocky (Allergy) and a revolving list of members which depends on which city they are playing in that night! For the Melbourne gigs, Danny Pentland on bass (Danny please message me so I can insert bands here!), Pete Yuncken on keys (Burgers Of Beef) and Andrew ‘Pange’ Niemoeller on drums (Longhorn and previously King Daddy – RIP). If you check out Abdou’s site, the family tree is up to Version #47 with a few even since then. The constant line-up changes may give you an insight into the Abdoujaparov phenomenon, the love of music and touring, playing with friends around the world. Abdoujaparov seems to be as much about the fun of playing live to friends as it is about the songs themselves.

When I first discovered Carter it was through ABC’s Rage, late at night and Bloodpsort For All was just fuckin awesome! So much amazing music from the U.K. that era that truly blew me away, as well as Carter, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin & Ride to only name a couple. From what I know, have read and been told by those close and even far from the band, Carter who formed in the late eighties, exploded onto the scene and were on top of the world. The band lasted for a decade releasing 13 full-length albums (which includes 7 studio albums, live albums and the never-to-be-consulted and therefore not-so-endorsed EMI Best Of…). Those that fell into their grasp have never let go. Fast forward to 2009 and Abdoujaparov have now been together for 10 years and still going strong. The fans that literally travel the world to see them play live are politely obsessive and don’t come across as the usual fanatical groupies, which is probably also thanx to the band. When you see Abdou, Les especially, play live, they thoroughly enjoy what they do. Smiling from ear to ear and getting into it as much as the punters. As Les explained after the Friday night gig, sometimes the guys are like the Muppets band, looking at each other and nodding and agreeing, you know, this is cool!

The Wednesday crowd was fewer and the set too short, but the smiles were wider than after we saw the first shots of Britney’s shaved head. Fans walked up to each other and introduced themselves; beers were drunk, the band hung out and spoke to all. For me, a late comer to the Abdou way of life, it is incredible to see the same people that were at last years gig come to both this year. The numbers have grown; the songs are more familiar to me. I am definitely now a disciple. My mate from Brisbane has turned this time of year into his own Abdoujaparov East Coast Tour. He first catches up with them in Brisbane, where it seems the most amount of debauched beer drinking takes place – yes, I heard all the stories – and fly’s down to Melbourne to see them again. Not the only one to organize his tour this time of year on purpose. Les, I didn’t realise is a Grand Prix fan, Melbourne is the ‘cheapest race on the circuit’. From my point of view, Abdou touring is the only worthwhile by product of the race being in Melbourne!

Back in the day, to me Carter was amazing, but yet another of those international bands that were so distant from where I was. I was lucky enough to see them with the same traveling mate at The Venue in Sydney, as well as The Big Day Out, in January 1993. At The Venue gig, Jim Bob had a mouthful of beer from a VB can and passed it out into the crowd for all to share! Hands went up but I got it, pointed it straight at the floor and emptied it (I am one of those extremely rare individuals that doesn’t drink beer in any form) and proceeded to keep it hidden from all eyes. It currently sits next to my desk, in perfect shape inside a plastic Ferrero Rocher box from back in the day. It sits amongst some of my other pieces of music memorabilia that I obsessively collect, signed Queens Of The Stone Age drumsticks, signed Chad Smith snare skin, setlists, guitar picks, the flowers that Perry Farrell through out at 1996’s Big Day Out. It has been there patiently waiting for the return of Carter to get Jim Bob’s autograph… who would’ve thought they would tour again… Come on – playing four albums in the UK live… can Australia at least have a little something…a little 30 Something!!!

After the Friday gig I got to sit and chat with Danny and Les. Danny has the same fascination with music and amazing taste. Touring mate and I had been discussing the best year in music, Australian particularly. Bands that killed it, albums that you could listen to over and over forever, the scene was buzzing, the year was 1992. Give or take a year or two as so many other great releases came out around that time. We spoke about the Meanies, Magic Dirt, Budd, Tumbleweed, Cosmic Psychos, Octoberpus Fest, as well as other local and international bands. I asked Les what his year was… he said probably about 20 years earlier and mentioned a few bands I didn’t’ know (and should’ve written down) as well as mentioning that Simon and Garfunkle made an impact on him, also stating that it was one of their albums he dug that had been redone with drums. After some Wikipedia work I discover this would be the track The Sounds Of Silence. Originally released on the Wednesday Morning 3AM album and electric instruments and drums were overdubbed by Bob Dylan's studio band and then re-released on the Sounds Of Silence album in 1966. One band I did write down is a band that is apparently Les’ favourite London band at the moment, Screaming Tea Party. Have to do some more research…

We also discussed our favourite venues in Australia, how they had changed over time, closed down, eradicated their own flourishing music scenes… and some still going strong! The Annandale, The Lansdowne, a couple of Metro’s, The Tote, I was not at all and also completely surprised that Les was pretty cut about The Punters Club closing down, but I guess if you tour another country enough, why wouldn’t you know what’s going on!?! We also spoke about different areas in Sydney, Melbourne and the Valley in Brisbane. It was a pleasure chatting to the guys about their memories; Les was describing what the scene in London is currently like. Sounds like they are better off than we are over here. Going out and seeing a few great bands any night of the week. Seems his local in Brixton is smaller than where we were sitting and chatting at The Brunswick Hotel, but set up well. The owner has a passion for live music and the band booker has his finger right on the pulse. On first approach some of the bands may seem a little hesitant but once they play there, always want to come back through on their next tour. I always find it great talking with those that have such a great musical lineage. Great music, great conversation, now fucking great memories!

Thankyou so much to Les and the guy for a couple of awesome Melbourne gigs and for the conversation, that really made it fuckin amazing!



After one listen you will realise this is the anthem for every generation…

Beer Scooter.

“I've got news, I can't lose, I've got booze
Who the hell is gonna carry me home
Without a drink, my life stinks, I can't think
Who the hell is gonna carry me home

Beer Scooter, Beer Beer Scooter, Beer Scooter, Beer Beer Scooter
Beer Scooter, Beer Beer Scooter, Beer Scooter, Beer Beer Scooter

Who the hell is gonna carry me home ? !!!”



I also recorded a couple of tracks on my iPhone. Seems getting them off isn’t as easy as I thought. If it actually happens one day, I will put up links on here….

Photos courtesy of Matt’s drunken mobile capers… they beautifully capture the bleary haze that followed us through the night...



Websites to check out!
Abdoujaparov
Jim-Bob
Carter USM
Screaming Tea Party

The Impossible Dream – Let’s get Carter USM to tour Australia !!!

1 comment:

Matt said...

Great review dude, it will serve as a good historical account when my brain cells decide to push the actual memories of the night out to make room for next years shows... and beer.