Monday, August 29, 2011

River Of Snakes, Scul Hazzards, Adam Harding @ Old Bar

The Old Bar, Fitzroy.
Saturday 27th August 2011.

I could feel it walking down the street…

We were talking about The Old Bar being my favourite venue in Melbourne and the 90’s fuzz was oozing out the door.

As we entered I just wanted to curl up inside the distortion. It’s warmth keeping me safe and it’s creator, Adam Harding taking me along for the ride…

A great band and to be honest I would normally pay attention to everyone but there I was soaking in the guitar. Without the others it wouldn’t haven’t been so incredible and complete. Adam held all the cards though and it was a royal fuckin hell!

Seemingly a quiet person with a massive passion for creation; film making and music. Speaking of his circle of friends you would say the same. Go on drop some names… NO! You go and do some research you lazy shit! It’s worth it!

Ahhh, the scattered review done at 4am when you get home the night of the gig… it starts out with the best of intentions and before you know it you’re on a highway… eyes closed… the breeze is blowing… Camaro’s are flying past at breakneck speed… spinning round… landing on the asphalt… hand up in the air and grab hold of anything… there’s some helping hands… eyes open and adjust to the light… Adam Harding is squeezing the soul out of his guitar and your heart. It’s perfect.

I was told to check out Scul Hazzards. They happen to be on in between those I was here to see, sure… The Camaro’s had gone but their sinister 18 wheeler was here for your soul and baby you better hand that bitch over! The Scul Hazzards are a beast that’s gonna eat you alive.

All killer muso’s… Drummer, Leigh Fischer, looks like he has a penchant for slaying goats at the alter of Death Metal. Guitarist, Steven Smith, an amazing guitarist with a frenzied chaos mismatching his pretty white Strat. Tonight though it seems I’m focusing only on one in each band. I was at the time alcohol sober but drunk on kick arse bass.

The Rickenbacker fuelled rhythms had more balls than Lemmy teabagging Rose Tattoo. Bassist Tiffany Milne has such strength and a killer style. Sometimes you notice heavier or punked up bass players use a lot of extremely low end and don’t beat up all the notes on the fret board. Hers was a bloodied mess. Chord fights and finger picking more and more of them. Standing there with confidence and getting the praise she deserved.

I wish I took a few photo's but as we came after the set had started we slid into the back of the room...

Shaun who suggested I check them out was right… “SCUL HAZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZARDs” are worth their weight in the sheer volume of blood shed that trails behind them…

I saw River Of Snakes about 5 weeks ago for the first time… I was completely blown away. Completely. I have been waiting, increasingly more and more impatiently, for tonight.

I had little devils in my ears telling me to go and see the Hard-Ons again, but I saw them last night. To go and see Celibate Rifles “you haven’t seen them since like I dunno… the 90’s!!!”. To go see Seedy Jeezus but that was down in Geelong and I’m too exhausted… I took down those little devils one by one and paid them no attention.

Well who do you focus on in River Of Snakes if you’re ears have been glued to one member in each band for the night…

Dante sits behind the kit like he’s squashed right up against the wall. How the hell is he going to play like that? Who cares? He didn’t! He’s one hell of a drummer! None of this 17 symbols and 28 different toms, it’s just ‘here’s what’s needed and I’m going to make these suckers pay for their sins!’

He looks like a poet from the south of France, I have never spoken to him but I imagine an accent. Something smooth. His name also matches perfectly. Dante may have self published 3 books of his own prose. The first a collection of pieces called Silence Dead Silence encompassing his inspirations from such luminaries as Kyuss, Sabbath, Zeppelin et al. The second, Midnight Woolf shares some similar marvels as his third, though is written more in the style of Garage / Surf. The third of course of which I speak of is the masterpiece, River Of Snakes…

Am I trying to be clever? No, it’s stupid o’clock and I’m up way too late several nights in a row and delirium has kicked in!

Snakes bassist Elissa first grabbed my attention tonight walking across the room carrying her bass head wearing heels. I imagine that is no mean feat! Her style isn’t as bad ass as Tiffany’s in Scul’s but Elissa knows how to hit that E like the pick’s gotta go through it. Which I swear it did as I saw it fly across the stage. She just does it with an air of nonchalance.

Elissa seems more introverted than the others in the band. Swaying gently with a smirk as friendly heckles or in band jokes call for the need. Then, just when you think that’s her thing, the set is well underway and she leans into the mic, screams and shreds the fuckin skin from your face like you’re running through a car wash of hydrochloric acid! I love it but we just don’t get the mic volume loud enough. I’d like to hear her sing more… I dig her tones and think she has more to offer the band and the punters by way of voice…

Raul… guitarist to the stars… I don’t know why I wrote that but it just came to mind and I thought it sounded pretty good. Let’s run with it.

When J Mascis is having a mental block by way of the amplified kind… who does he turn to? When Jimi’s great Wah in the sky just ain’t cutting it… whose band room does he haunt? When Slayer’s wall of cardboard cut out Marshall Stacks isn’t loud enough… who do they call? RAUL… Guitarist to the stars!

There seems to be a revival going on of 90’s bands that either broke up and are getting back together and touring or one’s that didn’t split but are touring more… That’s awesome but the sound never left my head. Or my turntable for that matter! Raul has always continued the lineage and brings a hell of a lot to the table. A killer song writer and style that really can’t be compared. Slacker 90’s stoner riffs that cruise in and out of a smoke fuelled haze, rough as guts garage from the nastiest pubs in the burbs to blues from the swamps of distortion, I fuckin love it.

The band really does take you on a journey throughout their entire set and you feel spent after. It’s not exhausting to watch them but appropriately you just feel like you’ve fucked your brains out with a dirty little amp you found in a hock shop.

What a crazy ending to the River set… Raul pushing over and climbing on top of Elissa as they both tried to play on… he got off and kept playing as she was finally able to get back up… Raul getting down on his knees and shoving his guitar’s neck right into the bass drum and gratifying it mercilessly, only for it then to be joined by Elissa’s bass… He truly corrupted the kit tonight creating some sort of German instrument porno. Finally getting up with Dante in his sights, musters all strength and slithers over the top of the kit taking the drummer to the floor with him. And almost like a final salute and to let us know all is ok on the floor out of sight, up comes a hand and lazily hits a symbol….

Oh look at that… three stand outs… River Of Snakes are perfect for me. 80’s garage, 90’s fuzz, feedback and noise to soothe my soul, crazy on stage antics and a hell of a great band!

This piece of shit review has come to you unedited for the thrill of the ride by the writer. He holds all the opinions but none of the right word and editing skills at this hour of the morning. Good luck and I fare thee well….

River Of Snakes
Scul Hazzards
Adam Harding

You can pick up their vinyl and some of those smaller round shiny things from Thornbury Records...


shaun/tenzenmen said...

nice! makes me want to hear river of snakes!

Something Sweet To Throw Away said...

They are well worth it... The introduction to the Scul Hazzards by way of a live beating was awesome!