About two years ago I came over to Melbourne for a visit with Will Stoker and the Embers. One of the bands they played with was a delightful trio called Ouch My Face. I took a bunch of photos of them, drunkenly conversed with all and added them to Myspace when I got back to Perth. So when I heard they were launching their album this weekend at the Tote, I was pumped.They are loud. They’re pretty metal. Sometimes they chugg their guitars.
They covered Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People! That was rad. I love early Manson to pieces (come on, who doesn’t?). And their front woman is a diminutive Eurasian illustrator named Celeste.
One of the interesting things about this band is their fan base. I thought it was pretty standard for a popular band, but given that they were so metal, I realized (and was surprised) that there weren’t many metal-looking dudes. Or girls metal looking girls. Everyone looked as if they were art students, or had art student friends. A few were even straight up Trendy, but I saw a some of those trendy girls hanging off the boys from the Sydney band that played, which explains their purpose for being there I suppose. My boyfriend pointed out that if it was just three burly dudes with beards (instead of the just the one), the crowd would be very different. At first I though it was a silly/unnecessary statement to make, but the more I think about it, the more I think he’s correct. It takes the right catalyst to get anything into wider circulation. For Ouch My Face, despite being a sweet band in their own right, their perceived “thing” is their radical small female singer. And that draws in the boys who like small females with spunk, who in turn bring their friends, who bring their girl friends… And suddenly you have a giant audience that packs out a good sized venue.
Everyone knows how it goes with bands. Interesting/good to look at = more fans regardless of the music. I, like many others, get frustrated with these image based values but what can you do? There is no escaping it. One may as well use it to one’s advantage. And the more time I spend here the more I realize that Melbournian youths are the worst offenders of image bullshit. Tell them it’s cool, they’ll treat it as cool without a second thought.
But that rant can be saved for another time.
A little while back there was a band from Geelong called Bang! Bang! AIDS!They came to Perth, played some shows and spread the love. Their CD, Tales, has been thrashed every spring/summer since I got it. Loud, noisy, fast, awesome. Since the band split up, the front man has formed a new band called The East Brunswick All Girls Choir. They opened at the Ouch My Face album launch, and are definitely something to look out for. Sort of.
The frontman is incredible. He’s the one to look out for. He’s a tortured genius type, and can wail with guitar as well as with his voice. His hair covers his whole face and flops around as he jerks to the music. He writes a mean song and talked in a quiee voice about hunting for shrooms that day. I enjoyed watching, but only because of him. Unfortunately, while the rest of the band members were extremely proficient, they lacked charisma.
The music was too obvious to be put to something as raw and heartfelt as his ideas. I hate it when that happens. I want to talk to him, then play him some Mink Mussel Creek and Pond. I want to tell him all about my friend David Egan and the many incarnations of Carbuncle. He should meet those boys, they can all go on mushroom hunts together and it would result in something amazing.
To finish, I’ll leave you with this thought: The setting of this week’s column, the Tote, is a great pub in Collingwood, a stalwart of the local music scene. It has recently been taken over by new management, and they are closing it down as a live music venue. And why do they want to do that? Because they’re installing a bunch of slot machines. It’s too depressing to think/write about. You certainly don’t get that in Perth.