Monday, March 30, 2009

Cat and the Eye

I almost gave up trying to find Roxanne Parlour, but I'm so so glad I persevered. Numerous times I walked up and down Lonsdale and Russell streets, hoping to find Roxanne's laneway that Google Maps had told me was somewhere near. I was going in search of this:


The bouncer at Emerald Peacock (another bar I must check out sometime soon) told me I would find it in Chinatown, but wasn't exactly sure where. I dodged girls in traditional Chinese robes trying to stuff pamphlets in my hand, all the while keeping an eye out for Roxanne. I knew I was getting near when I found myself behind a group of well dressed people singing  "Roxanne, you don't have to put on that red light... " in the tempo of um, drunk. 

There was no signs in the laneway (see, already adapting to the Melbourne lingo!) apart from one for a strip club, so I tentatively asked a bouncer if he knew were Roxanne was. He laughed at me, opened the door and pointed inside. I caught the lift upstairs, it was one of those really awkward ones, where we all knew we were heading to the same place and therefore had some common ground, but weren't sure whether to make polite small talk with each other. What would we say? I'm particularly bad in awkward lifts, all I want to do is laugh out loud at the situation.  I bit my lip. The music that was seeping down the lift shaft from the bar was the only escape from the awkward silence. As soon as the elevator doors opened everyone went their separate ways without looking back. 

I don't know a lot about Australian bands outside those who have been on bfm, played at Camp a Low Hum or those who are on Modular's roster, but I am very very keen to get to know them. I am keeping an open mind, not wanting to judge a band based on their name. I didn't flinch when I heard the band on stage were called 'Scientists of Modern Music'.  I arrived just as the Scientists were ending their set, at which point they announced that their next song, "is called Generic Dance Music." Oh, haha, I get it. Irony. I like it. Unfortunately for them, it actually was generic. I think it was made for people who have never listened to a Kraftwerk or Devo album. It was a lite version of Kraftwerk. Even their synchronised dance moves seemed totally pathetic to me after seeing Metronomy only a few months before. The crowd loved it, everyone seemed to be having a great time, getting all dancey and sweaty and stuff. They have an album coming out later this year so who cares about integrity or originality when you're rolling in it, right?

Van She was the headlining act and the fact that they were late on stage did not sit well with some people. I managed to squeeze my way to the front, right next to the huge speaker that was hanging from the ceiling. Some guy behind me kept getting more and more aggressive as time went on and the sound guys were still setting up. It was pretty rude, he was abusing the people on stage as if it was their fault the main stage was running late. I ignored him, apart from occasionally swatting away his elbows when they got a little too close to my head. When Van She finally got on stage the first thing I noticed was what the lead singer was wearing. Now I know musicians generally dress well in a "skinny black jeans and cool vintage clothing" kind of a way, but this guy had an eye for detail I haven't really seen in a singer before. I was impressed. When he crouched down to plug in his guitar, I noticed tartan socks poking out from his jeans. The girls next to me noticed too and practically swooned at the sight. He was wearing a really nice jacket too, which reminded me of this Karen Walker coat, only a male version of it: 


Here's a picture I took, to give you some idea what it looked like: 


They played all my favourite songs, including Virgin Suicide and Changes. Of course they left Strangers and Kelly 'til the end. The whole time I was just grinning. I had been told that Van She put on a good show, but boy, you really don't know it until you see it. I love them even more now. Here are some more photos I took:






Seeing Sounds was a benefit concert hoping to raise awareness about youth violence and drunken violence at gigs.  Unfortunately the crowd at Van She was exactly that, aggressive and drunk. No one was really looking out for each other and it was a bit of a mess. The speaker next to me was swinging dangerously for most of the gig, I narrowly missed getting hit in the head. Idiots.

Van She Tech played a few hours later, a DJ duo consisting of Van She's singer and synth player/guitarist. Van She Technologic remixes are some of my favourites, especially their reworking of Feist's 1 2 3 4, and Klaxon's Gravity's Rainbow. I ended up dancing til the wee hours, it was the perfect ending to an already great night.



His Whoreness said...

The crowd at Roxanne is always pretty rank and I really don't enjoy the long walk down the stairs for a smoke

Genuinely dripping in envy that you got to see Van She - it feels like forever since I last saw them - what did we think of the guy on bass?

Ellen said...

Haha, the guys in Van She are all pretty foxy. My friend had her eye on the bass player. Me, I like the synth player/guitarist. I think the lead singer likes his groupies. Ew.

As for the stairs, I saw a poster of Cut Copy which someone had written 'wankers!' on, haha. I would have scribbled it out if I had a vivid. I'll take one next time I go.

His Whoreness said...

Doesn't every front man like their groupies?