We you what’s up everyone.
Thought I’d update you on what’s been happening in the Spec-osphere.
Wedding season is well and truly over and I’ve enjoyed a couple of months of relaxation. Been booking a few weddings for this winter, Spring and a couple in 2017 which will take me from Margaret River to Coral Bay, as well as my home town in Mandurah.
In the meantime I started a new project during my residency at my favourite seedy live music venue ‘The Monkey Bar.’ I’ve been playing tunes and getting local musicians down while I record them live. Slowly becoming a better videographer and learning new tricks with some new equipment and editing software. Check out a few of my videos at the Dog’s Brunch youtube channel.
Thought I’d go back into my music library and give you something from about eight years ago. The main piano chords were written on guitar and reworked on my midi piano – hence the working title Kinky Piano.
This was a pretty simple ditty, never one of my favourite, but I like the bass and kick connection. Figure I’ll never do anything with it, keep it umastered and let you have a listen to some old Spec-electro.
Well Coral Bay wedding season has kicked off with a bang. After being off the road for such a long time I headed out for three weeks on the road to play and DJ two weddings in Coral Bay in late March/early April.
We were incredibly fortunate to miss the final cyclone of the season and had beautiful weather for both weddings.
The first was a small wedding of thirty guests with an Irish flavour. Nice people who were very welcoming to me. The small wedding party started slow but I was stoked to have enough Irish material (as well as my usual tunes and their requests) to finish the night with some manic highland flinging. The Father of the Bride also sang two Frank Sinatra songs a cappella which were a definite highlight and floored the whole wedding party.
Thanks and good luck to Dave and Elaine, I’m sure I’ll bump into you again if I ever head back through Newman and the WA interior or, more likely, you’ll see me trying not to look like the palest guy in Coral Bay.
A week later after a round trip to Geraldton began the second wedding. The immaculate decoration of the beachfront marquee was bewildering, especially the effort and forethought to create the atmosphere in such an out-of-the-way place as Coral Bay. This was more of a contemporary country theme with an abundance of white decorations set off with the most beautiful native floral centerpieces I have ever seen.
You can check out the florist and decorators’ site at
The wedding party of about 85 had come from all over WA (and further) and embraced the combination of wheatbelt Aussie fair with some specially chosen Afrikaans moments to celebrate the bride’s heritage. It turned out to be a really fun night with some epic African/Aussie dancing and singalongs. Again, thanks to Lauren and Clint for a spectacular night.
I’ve had this zany scheme of recording and videoing some of my favourite local musicians for a while now and managed to rope in a good friend, Benj Bernal, as my guinea pig.
Benj plays around Perth and the south-west of Western Australia and has always impressed me with his beautiful voice and ability to perform cruisey acoustic music with his magnetic ease. I have a great respect for how he plays and love his varied selection of cover songs. The fact that his performance style is so different to mine excites me even more and I feel like I’ve learnt a couple of things from him over the last year or two.
So I got him around my house along with talented videographer Amanda Oliver from Highlight Life Video (link below), set up a couple of microphones and cameras and told him to do his thing.
I was particularly stoked that he chose a song from one of my favourite bands to cover. Amanda did a great job on the project, filming and editing as a favour for me. She’s building her portfolio and is already an accomplished photographer and videographer – an excellent choice for your weddings as she has a stack of experience, a terrific
eye for photos, and is great with people.
So enough waffle. Here’s Ben playing Radiohead’s ‘House of Cards.’ Check him out live if you get the chance and feel free to swoon. He’s available for weddings and private shows – get in touch with him on facebook or contact me and I’ll put you in the right direction.
As another year slips through our fingers I thought I’d give a little retrospective musical summation of my own.
Often people who see my live show or hear me at a wedding will ask what kind of music I’m into. Usually it’s a very long-winded answer that I can’t be bothered getting into. The music I play or DJ is often a far cry from what I choose to listen to. So to address those who are constantly trying to delve into the Spectacle musical psyche I’ve decided to give you a little tasting platter of my 2014. My tastes are pretty mainstream and I consider myself a lover of pop music albeit a little perverted.
You may discover something new that you like and, more likely, may find some of these choices rather distasteful. Both reactions are great, feel free to let me know some of your favourite new music. With a busy schedule I have finite time to be listening to as much as I’d like but love hearing fresh sounds and finding out what has been twisting your nipples!
Oh and there are some naughty words and themes below to be avoided if you’re squeamish. They are just words though – take a chance.
FKA Twigs: With her first LP entitled ‘LP’ Twigsy has allowed us into her mesmerising and twitchy world. Every element of music is considered with a voice that is obscenely sensual. ‘Papi Pacify’ is off a 2013 EP but this hit me very hard as the first song I’d heard and is complimented by a brutal yet fascinating filmclip.
Had heard this song numerous times before seeing the performance on Letterman. It truly is a great moment in music and leaves me speechless everytime. Make of it what you will.
With his work as part of Major Lazer piquing my interest, Diplo has hurled himself into my mindset as the man at the forefront of electronic musical culture. Dependent on my mood, this music can exhilerate me no end…or exhaust me and make me want to put on a Norah Jones best of album. He seems to have an overabundance of creative energy and a awe inspiring sonic presence. Crank this.
Meg’s first song ‘Every Lie’ came to prominence through Triple J’s unearthed and within a year she has proven herself as a noteworthy addition to the Australian musical scene. This Bill Withers cover cemented it for me, with a great electro underpinning for her towering soul voice. She has a true ‘x -factor’ and I find her deeply interesting – she is going to be a huge star in Australia and I can’t wait to see where she goes next.
Skrillex was hurtled into prominence as the archetype of the Dubstep scene a few years ago. Thankfully the genre devoured itself and fizzled out at about the same time that most of the public had discovered the rather confronting style of music. I thought it was a real sign of our times that the first Skrillex album, from the dude who was the face of one of the most defined new sub-genres of music of the last decades, came out after the genre that he was spearheading was already dead. Are our attention spans that short or was it a flash-in-the-pan? Anyway I love this song that steers away from dubstep and shows him off as an amazing producer with a good head for melody and songwriting.
Lana Del Ray
Love her or hate her, Lana is back to make you smoulder. I love this song with the erratic drum fill, sleazy alt-rock production, multilayered vocal melodies and chorus(?) tempo change. Lana is arrogant and sexy – my kind of pop diva.
Aphex Twin’s new album was always going to be overhyped after waiting a decade or so for release. He is one of the most influential musicians of the electronic generation and was making enviable sounds twenty years ago without the ease of a macbook pro and ubiquitous DAWs available to every man and his dog. He may no longer be the game changer he once was but I’ve enjoyed my moments with this rather subtle offering – great before bed or while you’re doing some facebooking or other such nonsense.
What’s to say? I love singing along to this song even though I only know about ten words. Makes me smile, makes me sing, makes me dance – what more do you want?
Lyrically my favourite song of the year. So punky, so heartfelt. Some lines are so specific and honest, others poignant in their metaphoricalness. A searing inner-monologue from the jilted. I like to think everyone has their own mental picture of this coarse 3-way relationship
DJ and super-producer Mark Ronson is back with his horns and featuring Bruno Mars effortlessly inhabiting the funk. If the slap-bass doesn’t make you move we simply simply can’t be friends.
Run The Jewels
I’ve just scratched the surface of this new album by Run The Jewels but was immediately impacted by the heavy-handed production and gravity of the lyrics. With Aussie hip-hop trending towards juvenilistic bubblegum, it’s great to hear some American hip-hop with unmitigated aggression, unexpected musical scapes and going beyond the vapid reverence for $$$s and hoes.
….the greatest pop song of the past twelve months. Finally I can sing this at people and it will be appropriate in the Southern Hemisphere.
I’ve got a few days off over Xmas in which I’m looking forward to immersing myself in some Caribou and Flying Lotus. Have a great Xmas and New Year everybody.
xxx = S p ectacLe
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It’s strange though…everytime I receive one of these messages I feel a little bit proud of my work.
So don’t take it from me…Spectacle rules…three dozen Nigerian princes wouldn’t lie.
Hi everyone. Football season is over and it’s time to get ready for summer and the festive season.
Spectacle is booking up very quickly so if you’re considering your office Xmas party I insist you contact me asap. Make your function memorable with premium live music and DJing through Spectacle Enterprises.
if you scroll back right to the beginning of this blog you will see mention of one of my best friends and favourite visual artists ‘Luke Watson.’
In a huge milestone he’s celebrating the 300th episode of his web-comic ‘Confabulation,’ based on the random interpersonal conversational happenings between he and his wife.
To aid the celebrations I’ve composed a theme-song for the comic which you can check out here.
It has been a fun little project and I am stoked to have a finished product for him just in time. Check out his web-comic as well as some of the other collaborators who have joined the party by contributing their own spin for #300.
= Spectacl e
I think the title explains it pretty well. Having performed and DJd at five weddings in the last few months, still without advertising, I’ve decided to offer my services for weddings in the regional areas I once trekked. I’m going to need to give a few calls to let wedding planners and venues know but I’ve decided that I may as well bring my honed skills and wealth of equipment to the people that supported me for so many years.
Now I’m sure there are already wedding musicians and DJs in this area but I like to think I have an excellent product that I can take on the road, and I believe that people should be given an option on who they hire for their big day. I’ve often found in my travels that regional people don’t always get the best of entertainment and I’d like to offer something fresh and special, professional and reliable, instead of what may be sold to potential clients or simply what they are led to believe is available for that area.
So, Spectacle Wedding Services is throwing down; love to hear from folk if they are interested in what I have to offer for their big day.
0422 182 807
Just received a bit of feedback after my first wedding of the season.
Beautiful spot down at The Redcliffe on the Murray near Pinjarra – perfect for events and functions and tops in the warmer months to see some quality original music. One of the best wedding dances I’ve seen as well as a surreal drunken garter removal made for a very entertaining night.
Hi Brad! Just wanted to say a HUGE thankyou!! You were amazing! Matt and I are so stoked you were apart of our dream day! So many people are saying how awesome you were :) Thanks again! Ash & Matt Spicer ;) Sent from my iPhone
Nice to be loved haha. My wedding equipment is still expanding with additional lights and my new macbook pushing my DJing set into new territory Still some availability for Xmas functions but get in quick as I’m filling up rather quickly.
= S pecTacLe
Hi guys, exciting news!! My first collaboration piece with newcomer producer ‘Bould’ has finally arrived!!! It won’t be to everyone’s taste but definitely more in the direction I want to be taking my music.
Don’t panic, you’ll still be able to see me strumming my guitars and crooning for you around town but there will be a lot more electronica starting to come out of my lab. Original Spectacle music is always what it has been about and I can’t wait to start wheeling out some new tunes for you.
Available through iTunes, Google Play, Shazam, CDbaby
Happy birthday to our departed friend and musical cohort David Bridges.
I think he would have liked a poignant quote from a great 20th century author so I’ll go for a bit of Hunter S. Thompson:
“There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
Dave confided to me that he didn’t like this more obscure song (above) that I had written and it was a rare occasion that he went momentarily mute after I told him it was partly based on him and our mutually destructive relationship. He never told me what he thought of it after that.
Many of you are probably wondering where I’ve disappeared to over the last few months.
I guess for all my regional fans I’m afraid that my touring regimen of the WA outback has finally slowed to a halt and at this stage I can’t really say when the next time I’ll be able to visit with you. Needless to say that the next time I come back will be with an exciting new show for you with some new music and gizmos to wow you.
At the moment my new cover band, ‘The Desert Bells’ is laying the groundwork in Perth and I strongly believe that we will become a highly sought after act in Perth’s pubs and at the corporate level. Myself and amazing guitarist/vocalist Ben Elphick are forming the core group with various drummers and bass players rotating through as we play a couple of residencies, corporate shows and high profile Perth pubs. The musicians playing with us are some of the best and respected in the state and I dare say in the country – it’s just a matter of time now for us to settle the line-up, get a bit of notoriety, and conquer.
Check out and ‘like’ the new facebook page for ‘The Desert Bells’ – just put it on fb before I posted this – pretty barren at the moment but it should grow very quickly as we gig each weekend. (Thanks to Amanda Oliver for the pics the other night)
Love to see you at a show as our repertoire and cohesion grows – I can guarantee it will be quite epic once we get going.
= Speak soon.
Here’s a bit of writing that I scribbled in my diary after a sleepless night flying to Melbourne. It’s been edited a touch but still in the scattological stream that my sleep-deprived, coffee-addled mind spewed it out. Kept me busy for a few hours anyway – hopefully gives an insight into my thoughts if you ever see me walking around like a zombie or sitting vacant on a train with my headphones and diary.
An old woman shuffles past the bus terminal at a painstakingly slow pace. The elderly know how to attack the dawn. They make the rest of us look confused and suspicious. I have literally nowhere to be in the Melbourne CBD at six-fifteen in the morning yet she is relentless in her mission. She walks with her snail’s vigour everyday along the same path. It will be three hours before I can enter my ramshackle hotel perched over Chinatown. Three more hours before I have a cold, stiff mattress to power through a few hours sleep and meet the city anew with dappled eyes and an unfogged brain. How boring a world of sumptuous sleep will seem.
The sun has risen unperceived by the inhabitants of this cold city. The streets remain uncharacteristically barren, populated by clustered handfuls of the morning’s victims – the sleep rolling out of the city’s eyes. Though masked by the vehement clouds the dawn sun offers a transparency to the Melbourne streets and alleys, a clarity of hazy spaciousness that disappears once the crowds take up their daily march . The indifferent atmosphere hemming in the skyscrapers is too dull to be truly gloomy. The inhabitants would barely recognize the old town were it not overcast.
Despite her laborious movement, the old woman surprisingly passes me as I unconsciously drift out of her way. Her wilted figure portrays an untiring attrition, a stoic homunculus determined to outlive the changing facades. Her cataracts bring a uniformity to the shopfronts and hotels in their varying states of decay and rejuvenation. She belongs to the city, Spotted in a sepia photograph amidst the stern hat-wearing crowds she would never have been a young woman, but walking as now with bent shoulders to her purpose.
Coffee becomes necessary in this climate. The bounty of whirring cafes represent a moment’s respite from the stagnant grey. A slightly too heavy, slightly too old businessman commandeers a portion of the pavement with his onerous bulk. Expertly squeezing his satchel between his knees he simultaneously sucks a cigarette into the concavity of his cheeks while clasping a corrugated take-away cup of skinny latte with two sugars. At this time of morning his family is dead. They don’t know him, nor he himself. The sleeves of his navy-blue jacket are too short and always were – an exhausted beast of burden tarted up for no-one’s amusement. People smoke their cigarettes in an attempt to give themselves dominion over their awful lives. If they must exist in a grey haze, better it be of their own contemptuous making.
The bums take up their positions. In this lurid sleepless morning I know their homeless pain. I have no idea of their homeless pain. Casually dressed people mutter to themselves with strings of unpunctuated sentences. When I find myself talking to myself it feels like short, violent outbursts of self abuse at a moment of weakness or frustration. Perhaps it feels the same for this lusty bunch but their lapses in self-propriety have no end. I fear that one day an unshowered, unshaven, unsavoury bum will pick me as one of his own, heave his pile of ‘Big Issues’ onto my chest and skip away whooping. I will be left to take over his lot for the rest of my days.
While I slyly take in the passers by I catch their unambiguous glances at me.
Six hairy feet of contradiction. Too comical to be tragic, too tragic to be comical, too benign for anyone to really care. I make their day and am forgotten in another moment.
An almost immeasurable spattering of rain perturbs the people only by it being a cliché. Everybody’s packing an umbrella, more fashion statement than utility. I search for another coffee to allow myself a place to sit out of the damp and cram my thoughts onto paper. Nothing comes for free. A wild-eyed Catalonian hobo in Barcelona taught me this years earlier, singing and capering in English each night for the passers by.. The lyrics hammered home that unavoidable truth. ‘Nothing is for free.’ He was certainly a few strings short of a guitar – which he strummed at adamantly. “Not even sex is free coz you have to buy a condom.’ The song cost me a Euro. A chair out of the rain cost me four dollars.
A statue of Dr Sun-Yat Sen, insultingly tall, gold and anglicized tells me that ‘all the world deserves love’ or some shit. On the other side of the nation, Bon Scott poses, insultingly small, heroically espousing a message of spittle, denim, venereal disease and rock ‘n’ roll. Whose statue will stand longer? The well known sculptures litter the street-corners and malls, barking out Melbourne’s artistic credentials, exulting its bicentennial heritage, begging for a global authenticity. These carefully placed extravagances have been usurped by their swirling counterpart in the form of graffiti. Having fought so hard to be taken seriously, the ‘street art’ seems a touch contrived. Does a hipster hate on graffiti?
The old woman passes the show district, each banner heralding new and exciting theatrical experiences, reflected by the signage of the tram carriages as they clatter by. The titles are all familiar and resonate in a dusty memory, a well-beaten story unfurled with fresh lacquer, an actor of unplaceable notoriety. She knows the promises they proffer won’t be delivered. The heights will never be hit. She knows this despite never attending a show. In a town obsessed with football and horse-racing, no self-respecting local has.
She walks with unerring direction and frankness – no need for appearances. Never again to hopscotch through the sprawl of trendy suburbs in cabs and tramcars to discover new bars, boutiques and eateries
Having reached her destination the old woman ducks hard from the footpath into the warmth of the beaming Hungry Jacks.
feel so nice.
Look at my fresh white teeth.
Aren’t they great?
Don’t you love my shiny teeth?
Ima smile all the time
so you admire my lovely teeth.
Bite your skin
but just a bit.
Leave a print,
impression of my teeth
for a moment
like a memory of my smile
for you to remember with your finger.
My mouth alive in your skin.
Teeth are precious.
Teeth are personal.
Ain’t give away a single one.
Take good care
of your teeth.
Floss-floss, brush and brush.
In and out with wood splinter
sprinkles blood in the basement.
Make pain in the core of your gums
That hurts so sweetly
Teeth don’t taste.
Teeth have no taste at all or
all day we’d taste teeth.
Last year I discovered a fantastic Australian competition in which people are asked to score a short movie for Aussie film-festival ‘Tropfest.’
It was my first time trying anything of this nature and needless to say I didn’t come close to winning. At the same time I enjoyed the challenge of making music to pictures and having a deadline, and it gave me a project for the time that I was moving house and re-setting up my primitive studio.
I think I did a ‘good’ job, nothing spectacular but I’ve posted it here for you to have a listen.
Unfortunately, you can’t see the visuals for legal reasons however check out the 3 finalists here
Most certainly the winner Ben Allen has a great career in production ahead and I thought his score was excellent and a deserving champion.
Now a year on the comp is on again, and I’ve just moved – again – and set-up my studio – again. Got a month to have a crack at a new film – let’s see what I can conjure.
Well hello there,
Long time no blog.
The Spectacle roadtrain has been furiously criss-crossing WA in the pursuit of cash in the dry season in the north of the state.
Last couple of months have been brutal having travelled over 15000 kilometres (less miles) and I must admit I am mentally and physically exhausted. Throw in blown speakers, vehicle failures and overly worn and Pilbarra-reddened sneakers and I’ve come to the conclusion that I will be winding down these long-distance solo tours.
I’m very much appreciative to the venues and audiences who have given me the mandate to do this job over the years and you have kept me buoyed in some of the hardships I’ve been facing. I like to think I have fulfilled my goal of delivering a higher standard of entertainment than often you are subjected to, and to treat my audiences with a bit more musical respect than some of my contemporaries do.
I’m certain I’ll be visiting your far-flung regions again however less frequently than I have been in the past (you can’t get rid of me that easy). I’m hoping to spend more time at home to focus on building my reputation in Perth and working on my music production and songwriting. This means that when I do come back I’ll be fresher and delivering you an even bigger and better Spectacle experience, perhaps even with some of my esteemed muso buddies coming along to dazzle you.
Additionally I will have a bit more time to put some mind-blowing tidbits on this here blog for your amusement.
Am sure will see you all soon, hold your collective breaths.
= S p E C t aC L e
Alright, nothing new for me to post but have spent last week creating a music score for Australian short-film festival tropfest. A 3 minute short-film comp that I had my first attempt at creating music for with absolutely no guidance – and quite possibly no clue.
Can’t show you what I did for legal reasons but instead thought I’d put up links for 3 of my favourite filmclips.
Aphex Twin – Come To Daddy
One of the world’s true musical geniuses with music that is incomprehensible to us mere mortals. Teamed up with director Chris Cunningham (also check out Aphex Twin – Windowlicker) and filmclips with Squarepusher, Madonna, Bjork and more) this dude has pushed the boundaries of experimental cross-genre electronica .. and he’s at Future Music Fest.
Next we have Laurie Andersen – so memorable seeing this (as above) on Rage for the first time. Wicked song, poignant lyrics, a woman after my heart.
hmmm, and to finish off let’s go with this one…
45 million views – it must be good.
Now it’s your turn, inform us what you’re favourite clips are. My internet is painfully slow but I am ever so curious to be enlightened.
Just moved into my new apartment in Inglewood and plan on secluding myself to work on my production skills over the coming months. Got some new hard and software and am hoping my new surroundings will supply some inspiration to build on some old tunes, complete a couple of projects and begin a some new material.
To tide you over I thought I’d give a little Xmas challenge to all budding guitarists out there. Have put a tab (tablature for the uninitiated) for a short guitar ditty I (ostensibly) finished recently entitled ‘Mesmer’ after one my favourite 18th century scientists/weirdos/perverts. The riff sits somewhere between Grieg’s ‘Hall of the Mountain King’ and Panteras’ ‘Cowboys From Hell.’
There’s no info about tempo, timing etc but the idea is to play it as quickly as your fingers will allow in (mostly) 16th notes – makes for a great ‘pinky’ finger exercise.
Will record a version soon for you to hear and am encouraging some guitarist friends to learn and improvise the tune in their own style. Learn it and play it for me next time you see me on my travels – good luck.
And for those not instrumentally proficient I thought I’d regurgitate an old poem from the vault that I tweeked recently called ‘The Switch.’
As always, am happy to hear some feedback and happy to receive any of your artistic contributions requests on where you’d like this site to be going.
Maybe next time some photos, stories, music demos?
Well, in the last month I’ve played/DJed 2 weddings with another couple lined up in the New Year – I have become the wedding singer. Not too bad a lifestyle getting to encourage people to drink, dance and get soppy and usually a good deal of cake to be eaten if one is so inclined.
The first was Mike and Tatjana’s wedding at the Mount Lawley Golf Course. Despite their planning the rain was insistant during the ceremony but cleared up as the night wore on to reveal a beautiful Perth city skyline. Tatjana’s brother spoke and toasted on the projector screen via Skype, most impressive dressed in a suit and with glass of sparkling wine despite the bleery-eyes and early hour of wherever he was phoning in from.
Certainly though, the highlight of the night was the beautiful bride Tatjana and her cousin performing a Croatian dance (left) and the finale of proceedings consisting of groom Mike performing ‘The Worm’ to ‘Kung-Foo Fighting.’ Fantastic.
Lovely ceremony with some friendly folk and funny speeches – one of the groomsman giving the ‘wolf-pack’ speech from The Hangover was priceless. Also brilliant to see Groom Marcus rocking out with best-man to some ‘Warrant.’ Bobble-head bride and groom on the cake, extravagant lolly selection and Marcus giving an ode to VB during his speech – terrific mix of old school Mandurah charm with elegant food, service and setting.
Can’t wait for the next wedding to see what’s in stall…
I’ve been threatening to update this for a while and thought I’d begin by introducing one of the more interesting characters I met on the road.
Jim introduced himself at the Coral Bay,Ningaloo Club backpackers while I drank a beer and strummed my guitar. The 67 year-old American’s faded tank-top dangled from his body along with the skin from his bones and he acquainted himself by rolling a cigarette and advising me he was a cousin of Crosby, Stills or Nash – I forget which one. Jim didn’t much care for their music anyhow, declaring that Crosby, Stills or Nash was better when he played solo.
Jim liked to talk – I dare say he still does – to anyone willing to listen. The staff at the backpackers had already heard his regaling ad nauseum and some of his bizarre behaviour made him a source of dread and skepticism amongst the occupants. And though I usually shy away from conversation with drunken weirdos, I was lonely enough to sit and take Jim off the hands of other people who otherwise might be aurally affronted by this skinny old-codger.
I trundled off to bed after a long drive that day waking bright-and-earlyish in Coral Bay, my favourite place in WA, readying myself for a jog to combat the beer, coca-cola and pub/servo food that makes up the greater share of my diet while on the road. And, as one could guess, as I wandered to the water’s edge I bumped into Jim who had been up since dawn and had been heard singing at the rising sun, loudly, from some hill top overlooking the small community. He told me he used to run marathons (he’d done many things) and would join me. I like to run alone – it’s one of the few centring things I have in my ramshackled existence, but allowed him to tag along.
And he talked. I thought it respectful when we got past the rocks to ditch him, galloped away and picked the shirtless man up on my return. To remain at his pace seemed ingenuine and, being quite open with him as he had me, I told him so as we wandered back.
As we walked,slapping occassional words in edgewise, I listened. I don’t really talk to old people. Am I biased against them, frightened by them, disconnected from them? Probably, but I don’t think I’m alone. And so I listened to a man, past his prime who had lived a life. He told me everything – no subject off limits, including his daughter who had taken her life, his failed marriage, his foot fetish and so on…and on…and on.
I think he just wanted to tell of his experience, the same as writing a song or making a movie, and his audience was any willing participant.
The next day I gave him a lift to Exmouth as he wanted to see it. I put my dictaphone on the seat of the whining O’Brien Hiace and told him to speak – and he did with barely a breath for 2 hours.
So I’ve edited a snippet for you to listen to and decide if you’d like to further delve into Jim’s story in the coming months.
Give me feedback – is Jim’s life worth your hearing??
For many years touring with Dirty Blonde, on and off throughout Western Australia, the gentlemen and I have had opportunity to eat at an enormous assortment of regional pubs and restaurants.
Life on the road involves a keen appreciation of monotony and thusly, good food before we tear into a gig is always a highlight, giving us time to centre ourselves before a performance and to see what exactly the venue is trying to get across to its customers. We would always joke that we should write a monthly magazine and score the restaurants as we pass through. This would allow the public at large some knowledge of where they should and shouldn’t spend their food budget when on holiday, keep the chefs, managers, owners and staff on their toes, and finally feed our own esoteric amusement.
Now, being solo I don’t get to discuss with my fellow band-mates the calibre of food and have only limited stomach to try all the food on a menu – however I thought I would take on the onus of pointing out some of my favourite venues that I get to visit – these selections from my last tour.
Run by Paul and Liz this restaurant oozes passion for food, utilising the local seafood for which Exmouth has a cornucopia. American head-chef Paul has realised his dream of owning and running his own restaurant, providing generous, exotic meals (for a small beach-side tourist community) while retaining the charm and relaxed atmosphere of the town. I tried the boulibase this time I was there and the seafood gumbo previously. Sensational, by the end of the gig I was eyeing off other delicacies such as the entrée stuffed chillies (a favourite of The Sneaky Weasel Gang – see previous blog) and the juicy comfit of duck. I’m already pushing to get back to Exmouth in August – salivating all the way.
2. Best Pub Food – Gascoyne Hotel – Carnarvon
‘The Gassy’ isn’t the prettiest pub to look at – it’s got a dartboard, couple of pool tables, a stage in the corner for some Spectacle action, and a small courtyard. What makes the place special is the effort that Marie, Lauren, Andrew and the rest of the crew put into the place. You can feel that it’s family venture and these guys strive to make people feel welcome and to squeeze the most out of their hotel. They book music for Friday nights which is a huge bonus for the town that may otherwise get little entertainment. Most importantly, however, they do fantastic honest meals. Think of pub food but a step up. It’s reasonably priced – heck similar to other pubs you might have dinner while watching the footy – but goes that extra step in satisfying. I have had the seafood platter here twice, somehow managed to guts it down both times despite the mindblowing array of fruits of the ocean. Enormous, tasty Carnarvon prawns – unbeatable – keep up the good work gang.
3. Best Newcomer – L’attitude 28 – Geraldton
Although I’ve only played 2 gigs here and eaten only once, I’m already excited about upcoming gastronomical experiences here in August, November, December and onwards. The newest entry to the Geraldton scene, L’attitude 28 is situated in a slightly posh northern part of town. The restaurant/pub is handsome, colourful, funky and fresh with glimpses of the ocean and perfect for a Sunday session. This is where I come in – a large inviting stage to play to the portion of the public who demand a little more from their entertainment. unlike a lot of venues I play for, Clare the booking agent wants quality acts to come to town and will certainly attract them with the great venue, fun relaxed audiences – and of course the food. OK so I have only eaten here once and I was pretty famished at the time – but a fat pork pie with a hint of spice, some mash and beans = happy days.
So, come on WA, impress me. I’ll keep you informed of the goings on in different venues as I travel and where you should go if you find yourself stranded in a place like Port Hedland or Kalbarri. I’ve had great experiences at so many different hotels, pubs and restaurants and look forward to visiting some old standards in the coming weeks. Will see if I can get some of the other musos I know to weigh in with their favs. So stay tuned for all the goss of a travelling muso in this big ol’ landmass of WA.
Check out Spectacle on facebook for additional photos from the road as well as upcoming gigs in a venue near you. Bisous – Le Spectacle
I’ve just returned home from a 2 weekend tour of the mid-north of Western Australia, including performances in Kalbarri, Geraldton, Exmouth and Carnarvon. Would have to say it’s the best solo tour I’ve done with every gig being immensely fun and well received. Had the best shows I’ve played at the Kalbarri Motor Hotel, and the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at Geraldton’s Camel Bar. Some great food along the way (more in next blog) and met some terrific, interesting, and diverse people.
Perhaps the best part of the trip was hanging out with one of my favourite Western Australian bands, The Sneaky Weasel Gang. These young, committed musicians have won awards, respect and a huge fanbase playing a variety of blues, reggae, and funk – depending on their mood and inclination. They have some serious musical chops between them and, just as importantly, are cool, down-to-earth dudes.
They have a mandate from the WA public to travel around playing their own music while people groove out. Hanging out with them in Exmouth – one of their favourite places to play and where they are immensely popular – was a treat for me after long haulage by my lonesome.
Dan, the visionary band-leader, singer/songwriter/guitarist is a musical tour-de-force. He has an uncanny knowledge of his guitar which he plays with the natural ease and belligerant confidence of a 70 year old bluesman. Behind the scenes he has an incredible passion for amplifiers and instruments (anything vintage and scuffed), recording units (strange tape contraptions of a distant past), and an unquenchable thirst for musical knowledge. Aside from being one of the states most intriguing guitarists I have no doubt he will become one of Australia’s best known studio engineers within the next few years.
Bryn, the 9 foot tall drummer plays with a lackadaisical style, it’s truly mesmerizing that he can appear so laid-back while delivering such speed and precision. He has a strange burning intensity that only seems to be satiated when his gangly arms are weaving behind a drum kit. His passion for music is palpable as he tackles any available stereo with bursts of unbridled enthusiasm, pointing out some exotic drum-beat or instrumental flourish that captures his attention – “There’s just one thing that got me trippin'”.
And finally Jay, the heart of the group, subtle bass player bridging the manic drums and animistic guitar. Jay is cruisy. He emanates a sort of implicit wisdom that usually only a 140 year old confucian soul might exhibit. From behind his thick hair and accruing beard, slowly becoming indistinguishable, he discusses his new employment as chaperone for his grandparents, and teaches random backpackers magic and card tricks. He never seems too perturbed by any obstacle thrown at them on the road and when he has a bass strapped to his body he grooves away side of stage, the balancing foundation that keeps the other two Weasels in check.
Between the three best friends and band-mates there is an aggregate talent that is rarely seen in musicans 10 years their senior. They have a passion for boutique music while retaining an understanding of performance and how to connect with an audience without compromising their own vision. They are currently working on new material which Dan will be no doubt producing himself. I can’t urge people enough to go check out the Sneaky Weasel live show and see what they are about.
For more photos from my trip away check out the Spectacle facebook and say “g’day”