Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Pugs, Dead Riot, Wheat Paste, Isaac Graham @ Browning Street Studios.

I'm sitting here nursing a slight hangover and watching early morning Rage on Channel 2. It is being guest programmed by some unnamed woman in her late forties who is obviously still stuck in the 1980s. I'm barraged a crushing wall of 80s pop hits featuring the likes of INXS, Eurthymics as well as a terrible Fine Young Cannibals cover of "Suspicious Minds". As I type, Run DMC are battling Aerosmith on the subject of appropriate ambulatory etiquette. It is all a bit depressing really. Oh shit, here comes Billy Idol.

Much to my livers despair, I attended the Browning Street Studios last night to see a friend massage his bow along a cello along with some other musical types. I admit that I was partially sold the gig by the venue's generous licensing (BYO) which in these "tough economic times" make the more financially prudent members of the Brisbane's social tapestry (i.e. me) more inclined such bargains. If you haven't been to the Browning Street Studios, the venue is nothing much more than a rehearsal room in a house with a PA system that may need a coat of paint or at least a few strategically placed posters on the walls. They did have an interesting cat-like sculpture in the toilet. Dave was convinced it was a leopard but I'm still unsure.

Tonights line-up featured four performances by four bands/artists - The Pugs, Dead Riot, Wheat Paste and Isaac Graham [Links below]. I'd never heard any of them before, nor any of their music, so excuse the following hodgepodge summary of the gig.

Despite the vocals being nearly unintelligible, I did enjoy the set by local punk band The Pugs. They got the whole Pogues thing going on, mixing traditional music with punk-rock aesthetics. Some fun songs, such as 'Rentre Chez Toi', feature some interesting instrumentation such as upright electric bass, mandolin, piano accordion, banjo, concertina, and with the more obvious drums and guitars. The highlight of their set had to be the closing instrumental number that witnessed the demonstration of some dexterous piano accordion proficiencies from a man with more interesting facial hair than my own.

Dead Riot are a punk band who tonight are allegedly performing "unplugged". However, I still see someone playing an electric guitar that is most definitely turned on. Its all so confusing and reminds me of the time when Cobain played an electric guitar on his version of 'Man Who Sold the World' on "Unplugged in New York". That confused the fuck out of everyone. My friend Harry added some cello skills to the songs which fleshed out the sound more, and particularly filled the sonic space made evident by the missing bass. In relation to the set, I enjoyed the first half, which featured more upbeat and faster music, more so than the second half, which became more reflective and brooding. But then again, thats the type of guy I am. I like the more energetic numbers. I cannot comment on which individual songs stood out due to the fact that the more acoustic nature of the gig makes it hard to correspond what my alcohol sodden memory tells me with the tunes on the Dead Riot arse-space page.

Unfortunately, during Wheat Paste’s set, I was outside drinking tallies. From what I could hear, it sounded entertaining. Sorry!

Isaac Graham is from Sydney. He is also a good bloke. He gave me a beer when I had run out and this immediately endears him to me. Graham plays an impassioned set of storytelling acoustic numbers in the vein of Paul Kelly and Billy Bragg. Harry chimes in from time to time with a few strokes of his cello bow., but otherwise, it’s the Graham show here. “When I Find Gold” is a highlight.

My night was then rounded out by attempting to get a taxi home from the dead zone of West End, negotiating some pizza slices from a local take out joint, and performing some impromptu acrobatics at the local commonwealth bank branch. Not necessarily in that order though. My knee really hurts this morning for some reason.

Both Isaac and Dead Riot play tonight at the clubhouse in the Valley, so if you have nada to do, perhaps you may feel like checking them out.

Arse-Space Links.
Dead Riot -
The Pugs -
Isaac Graham -
Wheat Paste -


Anonymous said...
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Joe said...

Hey this is Joe from Copyleft Records, thanks for writing your impressions of Isaac's performance!

Darragh said...

Hey Joe. No worries. Twas a good show.