“This is our last self indulgent offering,” says Mike, in reference to Fisticuffs, the latest demo super FLORENCE jam. Oh Mike, why would you describe your product to me as self indulgent? Even if it is just me. Tisk. tisk. Way to kill a sale. Nope, sorry, don’t want one now… Okay, I lie. Give me that.
For four years now, super FLORENCE jam have been playing the Sydney circuit, earning themselves a name under the prog rock banner. In this time they have released 3 official demos which have displayed a journey of change in their musical exploits.
At the Annandale during Feather Fest on Jan 4th 09, double necked bass player Alex declared, “This will be the last time we play Mogar.” They launched into the 20 minute rollercoaster of movements and madness. Hard bluesy riffs with waves of the abstract, geared with rolling drums and a hint of cowbell. Rock n Roll schizophrenia. When I first saw Mogar at the Excelsior in Surry Hills years ago I thought, “What the fuck is this? It’s awesome but I have no idea what it is.”
And then as Alex related that it was never to occur again, in front of the biggest crowd the festival had seen all day, I, standing next to the speakers on a step in front of the black and white graffiti walls above the crowd at the ‘dale thought,
“WHAT THE FUCK does he mean by that?”
In the end, the declaration was more a symbol of change. I guess if I were to interpret it, perhaps the band viewed Mogar as a “self-indulgent” amalgamation of ideas. I did at first, but mainly because I just couldn’t understand it. As a staple of their set, if that was anything close to the last time they play it, I know many that will miss it.
In planning for the future, I’d say an exciting change wafts over the coming months. This is a band that is unafraid of change.
Working as an artist often means that you must not be too precious with your work. There is an element of letting go that you must succumb to in order to change, grow and cultivate. It is often very difficult to step away from it. Yet over the years, from straight blues to progressive rock, super FLORENCE jam reinvent themselves in a way that denotes a test of the waters. Bending elements as Gilmour bends into a note.
Fisticuffs itself is basically two jams in which each instrument pushes the others, back and forth, spinning off each other and taking turns guiding the others into the next section. “What? Is it recording? Yeah” you can hear someone saying between the two ‘songs’. After confirmation, it’s back to work without interruption.
Ultimately they enjoy it. This game of trial and error. It’s more than that. It’s a method. However, how can a band that has essential origins in jamming tell when something they are creating sucks?
“There are sometimes parts where someone has a particular thing in mind and they keep pushing and pushing it but the others have other ideas,” Laurence says.
” In those cases it either completely falls apart or something more exciting than either idea emerges from the conflict. But by and large if we don’t know where something is going, we interact enough to be able to twist it around into an interesting shape.”
It all seems a work of intuition and natural progression by way of traditional bones. Is this what is evidenced on Fisticuffs? Undoubtedly, yet the transformation in seasons is coming. It may be subtle but it’s on the way. Similarly on their last offering Head of Your Department, the idea of being in a state of transience that I perceived when I first listened to the somewhat erratic yet alluring set of songs, calls of things to come.
Playing their last gig for sometime, with the exception of Love Fest at Peats Ridge on 14th February, super FLORENCE jam continue to busk and jam. Change and grow. Obliterate their audiences and attract new fans while refusing to tell us what will happen next!!!
Perhaps they are unsure themselves. It’s ok, we prefer the surprise.
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