Australia - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 3 - 01/23/97
The Sloppy Soup
Brisbane, Australia. Find it on your maps and you'll see that we're
hardly the impressive geographical location that we'd like to be. A
couple of million people crowded into a sprawling suburbic city that has
played host in the past to Commonwealth Games sporting events and even a
World Expo, and is currently (arguably I must say) home to the mecca of
the Australian independent music scene. This is not to say that any of
our bands go on to fame, riches and international world domination
(though the Bee Gee's once called Brisbane home) or that many major
labels release much of our music, but our self-perpetuated music scene is
threatening the likes of our former key cities Sydney and Melbourne.
Being a Brisbane band, much stands in your way. A handful of independent
music labels not given the worth that they deserve down south, the next
touring city being almost a thirteen hour mini-bus drive away, and only
one local radio station to entrust their support, but still Brisbane
holds fast its reputation as being one of the best cities for an
upcoming band to focus on their musical journey ahead. We have an eager
audience and a lot of places - from full-fledge nightclubs to pubs to
music friendly shops lending their backrooms - all willing to take a punt
with fresh faces and organise shows.
All that said and done, Brisbane does promote a few local bands embarking
on national and international success, and I'm talking about bands other
than the Bee Gee's (Brisbanites do like to harp on the fact that we're
orignal home to the seventies disco kings). There's Regurgitator,
currently the hottest thing in Japan since Hello Kitty dolls, with their
agressive guitar based rap and sampling sound which slots alongside
American greats, the Beastie Boys, and of course Screamfeeder's quirky
guitar tunes and the bubblegumish pop of Custard, so far the national
perceived holy trinity of Brisbane bands. But being in Brisbane you know
that there's so much more than that. Beer-bellied rock with brass in the
form of Blowhard or Nancy Vandel, the burgeoning under-age scene promoted
by Biro, later known as Small Fantasy (with their side band Adults Today)
and our all time favourites The Melniks (famed for their cover of Canadian
television show Degrassi Jr High song Zit Remedy and air swingin'
guitar arm circle moves).
But hold on a second, there's still lots more.
Slint based rock with its introspective lyrics and musical stops and
starts has come back in a big way in Brisbane, leaving us to ponder are
we really five years behind the rest of the world or do we just
appreciate a good thing. In this field we have Cardigan,
Not From There, and to a lesser degree Nipper, all of whom play regular shows
entertaining the local crowd and drawing interest from record label
big-wigs down south. There's the classically trained John Lee Spider who
have transformed their musical competance into hard-core jazz cum punk
with sampling ability, or the experimental sounds of Minimum Chips,
Tripod, Wonderous Fair,
and Small World Experience. Not forgetting of
course my personal favourite band to emerge from Brisbane, Turnpike,
whose dual guitar and songwriting team divulge the sounds of Sonic
Youth's entangled guitars mixed with Pavement's quirky art-rock lyrics
and a dash of Sebadoh honesty thrown in. It appears to have become quite
crowded on the Brisbane scene.
But what perpetuates this diversity of bands and sounds and styles?
Brisbane supports its scene. It's as simple as that.
Copyright © 1997 Tricia Waterman