Monday, December 26, 2011

Show Time!

OFF! - CHAINSAW HOOKERS - PROJECT MAYHEM - Amplifier Bar, Perth, Australia - 3rd December 2011

I'd never been to Amplifier Bar before, but heard plenty of shitty things about it from other people. It seemed like a completely average venue-cum-club to me. Apparently it turns into a townie disco at the stroke of midnight, curtailing any gigs that inexplicably want to run on later than that. Personally, if the bands around here actually shared backlines (like a community) then changeovers would be 5-10 minutes instead of 25 minutes, and a four-band show could be done in under three hours instead of dragging on all bloody night. But I digress.. The stage was a sensible height, with no barrier (something a lot of these places seem to love sticking up) and kinda diagonal in a corner. Overall, the setting seemed good for a band like OFF! to get people moving.
OFF! came on shortly after we got there - having intentionally sat out the first two (rubbish, local) bands in the pub around the corner - but considering the pedigree of the main band, the venue seemed barely half-full - we were able to stand front and center without any problems. Keith Morris fitted the cliché of "seeming shorter in person", and compared to the majority of spare-tired early-Eighties hardcore dudes I've seen still playing in recent years, he looked in pretty great shape for a geezer of fifty-five.
From the live sound on two of their three "videos", and the 'Live At Generation Records' 7" I knew they'd be good, but as soon as they crashed into 'Black Thoughts' everyone went nuts. I can't remember the last time I saw/dodged quite so many stage-divers. The band barely stopped, aside from a brief explanation behind the eulogising song 'Jeffery Lee Peirce', (who was the singer of THE GUN CLUB, and one of Keith's closest friends), The set was something like 16 songs long, which simultaneously seemed to last forever while it was happening, and then seemed to end horribly quickly. The band were tight and energetic, and despite the vocals being a bit low, sounded altogether incredible. After the last notes rang out, the sweaty masses began demanding "ONE MORE SONG! ONE MORE SONG!" (I wanted at least a dozen!), before the band re-appeared. Keith explained that when BLACK FLAG were starting out and they didn't have enough songs for a full-set, they'd do what they were about to do tonight, and start over. So then we got the first two songs over again ('Black Thoughts' and 'Darkness'), I was half hoping they would do the entire lot - but even that pair made the room go mad. All in all, it was an awesome show and clearly they're a band doing it for the love of it, not to make a quick buck. (Their shirts and merch were cheaper than the local bands'.)
Alex Leech (Jerk Store zine)

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