Gig Reviews

Oxford Art Factory’s First Birthday: Text Message to Self…

As I cloak my bag (and notebook, oops) a dude verbally admires my blackish purple dreads and I offer him a poke. (Of my hair). I’m writing this on the screen of my phone in the dunny line. I can call it that because I’m from Wagga.

Hmmm, hot ladies in large reading glasses… I attempt to envisage the whole evening as I document written slowly in 160 character instalments on my nokia. It’s my first time here and I feel misled in trying to find the dj in the seemingly non-live-band room. My thumbs shall need a rest later I dare say.

On arriving here earlier, I was confronted by about 373 punters in the line before me. I go straight to the guest list and tell them I’m a photographer for music feeds. Little do they or I know that digital camera battery is dead as. Shit, I say out loud to Adrian Deutsch and the real photographers, who don’t hear me over the drone of how-are-yous.

So somewhere I have the idea of doing a full sms review of this party. And I have a feeling that this is said review. Nokia phone photography/wordprocessing, here I come. Been done before? Maybe. In a venue this hot? Maybe not.

As I prowl around texting like a tragic, I feel strangely like a privileged undercover text spy. Why have I never claimed to be a photographer before, By the way? Hmmm. Don’t steal my idea!

It’s 10.40pm and another band are setting up. I previously took a photo of the set list so I’d know who they are. As yet, I don’t but their opening riff wakes me the fuck up. All they have said is seemingly HA HA HA HA in the last four minutes but man have they got my attention! There seems to be much water, hair and energy flying around the stage. This is The Protectors. Just as I notice the blond guitarist wearing a harmonica, he starts to play it. I nearly clap the nokia out of my hands.

After my phone’s operating system shits itself from so many switches between text and camera, I have a convo with a chic re: the refreshment of seeing a band who aint 20 and a half in skinny jeans or wool suits. We both agree to befriend The Protectors on myspace: indispensable groupie bible of the generation. Dare I try taking another photo of these lads? Yep, it outweighs the risk. HAPPY BIRTHDAY OXFORD ART FACTORY, wails the band. The fun I would have playing to this crowd! Fuck these boys know how to rock. Did I mention that?

Fucking battery getting low… how creative do I have to get??

…So I decide to stick with the text and leave the photography to those with more megapixels. The Protectors have finished a steaming, brutal set and I’m asked too many times who they are and where they are from. In the other room, the Vines DJ Set are spinning MIA and it reminds me how much I want to be that girl.

I start chatting with a drunk boy and his bagged longneck. He’s a bit of a tool, but his mate Lewis is a champ and Lewis happens to be the dj who was playing when I arrived. They are planning their next skating escapade and I do likewise as I leave the sound of Tricky spinning and go to rediscover the band room. Battery status: Promising.

The operatic vocals of the current band greet me, along with some punk rock beats and a deliciously vacant couch. This lady has an awesome vocal range and the personality to make the most of it. Sitting behind the projection screen, I realise how visual my personal music experiences are (in that I relate to musicians visually… I guess we all do). To get a better look, I say goodbye to my dry couch.

When your lead singer looks like a model, it really doesn’t hurt your case. Thankfully, she performs like she is belting in her bedroom.  Meanwhile I’ve sat in someone’s beer: Karma for my wine spill at Little Red last night…

Who is this band? She claims that HE ONLY LOVES ME WHEN HE’S ON PILLS. Well, he loves me tonight! Where are these four musicians from, and why are they all suspiciously gorgeous and overtalented?!

It’s their last song, and Peter from The Protectors wanders up to me on the stairs and makes me realise that these are The Jezabels. He asks me if I hate him. O contraire, Peter. I start to wonder if he actually is 20 and a half, because close up, he has really nice skin. His band, like mine, is in a long distance relationship. His is spread between Newcastle and Sydney. Well, you know what they say about absence… But I need water.

I go outside looking for air and water, There is still a massive queue out front. Tool boy is entertaining his friends, minus the friendly dj. Sydney nights don’t get much icier than this. No that’s not a drug reference, although the psychbuzz of Oxford St is working its somatic magic on me. I’m wondering what colour the moist spilt drink stain has made on my bottom.

Back inside, and I’m hearing people refer to Jono Ma as FUCKING INTENSE! I go to investigate and bust a funky jig surrounded by beautiful people – take that as you will – and I notice a pair of panties on the wet floor. Not mine, I swear!

As much as like my club beats, I wander off when the Spanish vocals get too repetitive and the bands call me back. On the way I notice the last dj on the set list. He shares a name with the tool. Andre. Now it all makes sense. Sorry mate, think I’ll pass.

It about Snobscrilla time and man, can they work a crowd! The room is ballistic in here! They break into an unrehearsed mash up as a surprise birthday gift for their keyboardist and Oxford. At this moment, the birthday boy crowd dives and 50 people jump onstage and dance their arses off to “I THINK WE HAVE A PROBLEM, HOUSTON!” This shit is wild style!

This party’s really heating up and I can’t get the smile off my face. And that’s between bands! I think I had better come here more often. From my spot on the stairs, I evaluate the vibe of the dj room via visual means: Not enough bounce or hands in the air. I think I shall utilise this technique to my advantage… Nah, fuck it, I’m going in!

They are playing the original version of Whoomp, there it is and I last five minutes. Going back to the bands, I decide that if I had some drugs, I’d partaking in them about now. I find a seat to rest my weary bones. It’s a hard life, I tells ya!

The curtains open for the next act, and before a note is played, they are wholeheartedly embraced by the atmosphere. I am trying to learn their name. Peter is still flitting about, all over the place, remembering names and being his supposedly flamboyant self. I should have told him how really great his set was, but I think he knows.

The band performing now are busting out some ska guitar and I’m really impressed by their drummer’s dexterity and vibe. Lately, 2 out of 3 people I meet are musicians, and I reckon this crowd is representative of that. I’m definitely buying whatever CDs these guys have released, purely on the merits of their creative drummer. It’s just occurred to me that the wet patch on Fergie’s waj – you know the image I mean – It wasn’t pee or sweat. It was female liquid arousal. As if it wasn’t! Oh yeah, the band was Yves Klein Blue.

Oh God! Art Vs Science! Although the drummer is helped out a bit by synth hi hat, for 3 guys they spew forth significant sounds. Actually the dj on before them played some spot on beats and hopefully that groove will slide ever onwards unlike the probability of this account doing likewise.


I like this venue. I think the next song I write must be plagiarised from toilet walls. Art Vs Science got my legs into a frenzy as the last band of the night, but the next dj goes way too far into 80s and 90s dancepop for my liking. I wonder what kind of audience he will be left with in ten minutes time.

Happy Birthday, Oxford Art Factory for all the good times, but I think for now, this may be goodbye.

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