Horrorshow/Spit Syndicate With: Made In Japan – The Roxbury 25th July 2008

I have been to many an acoustic event and to say that by and large they had left me feeling emptier than Kate Moss’ stomach, would be a mild understatement. However seeing as though the line-up including both Horrorshow and Spit Syndicate, I decided to brave the potential parade of sandy-vagina protest bullshit, and by jove was I pleasantly surprised.

I had unfortunately missed the majority of the opening acts due to general disorganization (so don’t complain about unfair coverage) and by the time I arrived, Made In Japan were on stage. In three piece formation this time, the lads played a solid set of acoustic indie. Guitarist Jono wowed the crowd with his intricate fretwork and strong sense of melody, weaving well rounded song structures out of a bare minimum of actual music.

Now I had been led to believe that Spit Syndicate would be following Horrorshow, but it turns out that in keeping with the carefree and open feel of this one-off event, the two bands combined forces to delivered a set of re-worked covers, and acoustically re-interpreted originals. The band was made up of Horrorshow’s producer/DJ Ad It on bass, DJ Joyride on keys, Jono from Made In Japan on guitar, with Solo MC (Horrorshow), Nick Lupi and Just Enuf (Spit Syndicate) sharing the vocal duties.

The set walked a fine line between singing and rap, with the MCs demonstrating their polished vocal abilities. Solo MC treated us to some interesting pieces, mingling choruses from other songs and other artists with new material, as well as delivering an almost laughably good rendition of Estelle’s American Boy, retitled American Girl, and detailing his encounter with a backpacker in Amsterdam.

The real highlight for me was Waiting For The 5:04, which tells the story of Solo’s journey home from work, painting vivid pictures of Sydney’s impoverished public transport system as well as the relief of arriving home, conjuring up a uniquely Australian, uniquely Sydney-ian image without using an exaggerated accent or having to resort to spelt-out references.

Not to be outdone Spit Syndicate recruited their serial guest vocalist Sarah Corry to add some extra melody to the mix. They stuck to their songs, with Jono again displaying his guitar mastery as Ad It fingered away at his bass like a sex offender. We Ride Till There’s No Rides Left and Beautiful had the audience up and cheering, and when they mistakenly (and drunkenly) announced they would be ending their set when there was still half an hour left, the outrage was not only audible but palpable.

What really struck me about the the Horror-Syndicate show was the fact that a good 80 percent of the songs were about women. Whether it was about a first love, casual sex, or just how beautiful a woman can be, these guys are borderline obsessed. But taking in to account the literal hordes of gorgeous female fans seemingly brought to moisture by the show, I can understand why one might be so thematically occupied.

The show ended, and I was fisted by a feeling of satisfaction. The show had succeeded in every way my previous acoustic excursions had failed. There was no whining and moaning about lost love, no songs describing how unjust the government was, no bollock-searingly long songs featuring only two guitar chords. Instead they recreated their music with acoustic instruments rather than attempt to inject an acoustic vibe and that’s what made their performances so well rounded. Billy Corgan can shove his acoustic 1979 up his arse, these local lads have got it down.

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