The introspective wait before the beginning of a performance that takes hours and the relying on the most unreliable of creature (the musician) are, I’m sure, the reason why so many of these people smoke and drink like immortals with a keen sense of the macabre. Hours pass (4 in total), bugger sound check, I’m going for a drink. A couple of $2.70 beers, a kiss from my wife, 3 cigarettes and a pizza dubiously covered in lamb and fetta at the recently destroyed venue of the past, Vic On The Park and I’m better – if not a tiny bit depressed about the lack of a stage, live music and atmosphere that made that place such a hub for live shows only 5 years ago. Shame on every dreadful bastard that replaces music with disease…with gambling…with decay. Music’s the only thing available at a pub that could be considered good for you(unless of course you ordered the salad…which you didn’t).
Then I am at the Factory for The Sound Of Failure Festival, a collection of performances and audience members as diverse and strange as you will find. There were no lines drawn…they couldn’t draw lines…the lines had been stepped over by each and every one of these folk so long ago that to draw one would just result in a confused look and the sound of amplified hissing, crackling and humming white noise instead of the intended boundaries of control.
The performers (too numerous to name so I won’t name any out of fear of leaving someone out…aaaargh!!!) that I actually managed to catch on the evening were strange, funny and brilliant. More strange than is normally accepted in live music which believe me is refreshing as a performer AND an audience member.
There wasn’t much being restrained at this show.
This all said, there are always tradeoffs with this kind of night. You’ll never get the numbers of some dreadful whore band that gets national airplay because their label had bribed every radio station and record shop to jam their rubbish down everyone’s throats. But…you don’t get a crowd of zombies eating their fast food pop rock garbage as they’re told to like good little children.
You don’t get a lot of dancing and jumping around of the audience members. But…you will get an attentive audience who shows interest and intelligence (even if there is the occasional wanker who thinks that heckling improvised sound will add to the body of art…or the occasional wanker who feels he has to write about it).
You don’t really get any “songs”. But…when you hear this stuff you realize that that’s not the point.
The visual and sonic aspects of this show fills a gap in Sydney that has come with the less and less common ‘What Is Music? And NowNow’ type events this evening. I hope that it will continue to fill that gap and introduce people to new ways of thinking about performance and music as a whole. Come on masochists and sadists…plug yourselves in and keep torturing each other!
Everybody who was involved should feel fantastic about themselves…crowd and performers and crew alike…for putting on a show like this. Except for whoever the bastard was that took my stash of beer that I was saving for when I finished on stage.
You’re a bastard.
But I still love you ’cause I would’ve taken it too if I’d found it. 2am…12 hours later…heavy lifting…avoiding the giant malarkey on Parramatta Rd (kids…learn an instrument…go see someone who has already…STOP BLOCKING THE GODDAMNED ROAD!!!)…feed the cats…falling gently to sleep with ringing ears and dreams of bacon, eggs, cheese, black coffee and NOISE…now…where’s that damned cat?