Three Gigs, Many Bands, Much Laughter, Wanna Go to Darwin

This week I emerged like a big ol’ shiny dolphin out of the depths of a fairly loner/lonely period, and dove straight in to such-comfort-with-myself feels that I went to three gigs in one week, as well as encountering two more at my place of work while strolling through the band rooms collecting glasses and beer bottles and sweeping up after dickheads who break shit because i served them all that clumsy-making liquid. Feels like I’ve absorbed heaps of live music lately. So I’ve got a lot of music to talk about. Won’t be able to fit it all in, but I’ve got to start somewhere, so I guess I’ll start with my main man Pete, seeing as he’s been involved in all three gigs.

Peter Peter Peter Bibby. When he’s not in town, I go out a lot less. When he’s not in town, I prefer to hole up in my room and watch films and paint. Especially when it’s cold. Going to gigs in the cold can be a total pain in the ass, as I’m sure most of you reading this will know, and Melbourne gets pretty cold and shitty this time of year, that antarctic wind blown’ all through the gridded streets, making your face all tingly and weird. It’s kind of pleasant at first, but then it gets tiring… but then Pete got back in to town after his UK sojourn just in time to help keep my bed warm, and we remembered how lovely it is to be in each others company, and I couldn’t really stand the thought of shivering alone on all these nights he had gigs booked, especially with that aforementioned loveliness coming so easily to us both, so i rugged up and followed him out in to the cold, looking forward to whisky and beer and heating and smiles of love and appreciation of my pals doing music they love.

I’ve mentioned WASP to y’all before, they are an improv group of which Pete is an original member, the drummer infact, all doomy and loud and kind of ridiculous. They played their second Last Ever show last Thursday night, this time with the proper line up (plus one extra) because Pete was away last time they did a Last Ever show, so it wasn’t a proper Last Ever show because Pete wasn’t done with it yet. Between you and me, I don’t think it’ll be their actual Last Ever show this time either because those guys actually love doing it too much. They’re not all done with it yet.

I was filming Thursday’s WASP performance (which was at the Tote), helping out my friend George with footage- he had a camera too, and he set up a go-pro up above the drum kit. Turns out Pete filmed the first half of the set with his iPhone set up on the bass amp facing towards the crowd, and the dude who opened the night’s gig (under the name “Fuzzsucker”, he was fucking awesome weirdo rock’n’roll pisstake pop star extraordinaire originally hailing from Canberra) was in the crowd filming it all with his smartphone as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to piece together something watchable with all those camera angles. I am concerned about the watchability of my footage, mostly, because it had been a while between filming assignments and my arms muscles aren’t quite up to the task of filming freehand for almost an hour, so I was shaking more than i would have liked (I left my home-made steady-cam at The Bank after a drunken night of filming for The Shabbab music video I made recently).

And I was having a great time because it was so good. At one point I realised it would be best if I jumped up on stage with my camera. The last time I did that on that stage was when Guitar Wolf played a few years back. Anyway, I got great footage of some dude in the crowd reaching over to mess with Jay’s guitar pedals and Jay launching himself off stage at the guy (good on ya mate), also, John decided to go for a crowd surf with his violin, and he was pushed above the crowd nicely. Georgia got up on stage and sung what I think was supposed to be a John Farnham cover – i’d like to mention here that when WASP say they’re about to cover a song (they don’t rehearse) they just do their usual improv shit and Alan (the vocalist) will moan and sputter and shout his version of whatever the lyrics are… i don’t know if Georgia was keeping true to Farnsy’s words but whatever she was doing, it was great, undulating her body and yelping all constrained and hectic at the same time. The audience was good and loving it all. What comes of this footage we got should be pretty entertaining.

Sunday night saw Pete playing a set in the bar at the Gasometer Hotel for their first birthday party. A bunch of our friends came down- Shiny Joe Ryan and his band of merry men (The Cosmic Microwave Background) were in town for a gig the next night, so we were all in the crowd watching Pete do his crowd-pleasing solo set, full of cheeky smiles and charming quips, with a few die-hard fans up the front singing along to all the words. I went and stood up on the stair ase with Finn and Charlie, our mates from Darwin who play in a band called Gorsha (they’re about to do a tour with Pete driving from Melbourne to Darwin), looking down over the crowd and the show, smiling and laughing and drinking to Pete’s charm. Then we played pool and smoked ciggies and drank beer for hours. It was quite a time. Quite a time indeed. One of the guys who works there got fired after that night, that’s how “quite a time” it was. Teehee.

The next night, Gorsha played the last night of their 5 week long residency at the Evelyn Hotel. That’s where Shiny Joe played too, in support. Flew over from Perth and everything like the wonderful friend he is. Pete opened the night wearing a monkey mask, joined onstage by Lucas (also wearing a monkey mask) and Perth’s own Dirty Dave on drums (wearing a Dalmation mask) for a set of droney doomy tunes he improvises on guitar under the name Chief Richards. The Shabbab played too, but I was too tired after the loooonnnng weekend to do the amount of body movement and dancing this band usually draws out of me (though others in the audience seemed in much more capable). Gorsha are swampy, serious and a little on the dark side musically, but they are refreshingly cheeky and hilarious between songs. Finn’s lyrics are just as sharp and true and wary as he is, just as clever too. Charlie is hilarious when he talks, and is a good bass player. Noah drums likes a sensual pool-boy. Peter Bibby and Gorsha doing a tour “up the guts” from Melbourne to Darwin is a great idea, not only because they fit well as musical outfits but because they’re great friends. It will be the perfect thing, and I’m bummed there isn’t enough room in the car for me to join them and take photos and make a music video or two. FINGERS CROSSED I CAN GET UP THERE TO MEET THEM.

And that’s my week of music. The end.