Friday, July 30, 2010

What I Got, You Gotta Get It.

It’s funny what sticks in your head while watching a band sometimes. Most of the time, if the music’s right, you’re floating a little bit off the floor as the waves of emotion sweep you up and along. Other times, it’s more earthly and realistic - like the dull ache in your lower back, or wanting to drill a hole in the back of the head of the six-foot-tall knuckle dragger in front of you.

On occasion, however, the band itself provides a shake-of-the-head, what-were-they-thinking type moments which you just know is fast-tracked on to the cringe file in a few years time. Tonight while enjoying’s live coverage of The Temper Trap from Splendour In The Grass, I was struck by bassist Jonathon Aherne’s awkward playing style. At first it was entertaining and quite a thrill, but it soon became irritating as his arms-akimbo schtick and hail-flailing antics proved themselves to be nothing more than window dressing. Blech, check it out.

I got to thinking about how a band’s presence leads a lot to how they’re interpreted. Augie March, for example, are a band who compliments their intricate style with their gentlemanly couture, and it wouldn’t be Metallica without some form of hair-fling (that said, their current collective receding hairline has got to detrimental to a good head-bang). It got me wondering which musician’s behavious lends most to helping to solidify what’s going on with the music. Keeping with the bass player theme, and I think you’d be hard pressed to go past RHCP’s Flea in terms of someone who not only plays what he feels, but let’s that be abundantly known through his expressive movement.

So whatdya reckon? Whose on-stage antics bug the shit out of you? And whose gets your juices flowing the most?


Dr Yobbo said...

This used to be what characterised a band, absolutely and overtly - the lead guitarist's strut was the point of difference, from Angus Young's duckwalk to Pete Townshend's windmilling to Keith Richards' can't-be-arsed slouch. Less so in the shoegazing 90s and onwards though.

Odd little idiosyncracies live on. Bassplayer for Something for Kate (can't remember her name) always looked desperately depressed, a mate used to correllate that with the long-sleeved tops she wore even on 37 degree festival days and predicted trackmarks, I just reckoned it was the gloomy subject matter that old mate Dempsey made her play. Kram from Spiderbait was always fantastic at getting a crowd going, even from behind a kit up the back of the stage - though he usually ended up the front for Buy Me A Pony. Bait gigs were always fun. Liam Gallagher's demended-speed-skater pose when warbling for Oasis always used to annoy the shite out of me. Likewise Bernard Fanning posing flouncily on stage like he was Steve Tyler or Chris Robinson, you're from a Brisbane post-grunge act FFS. As far as Kiwis go, Jonny Toogood from Shihad is the undisputed master of the sweary crowd encourager. Possibly why their shows go fucking OFF.

Albion Love Den said...

We certainly have a winner in all stakes with Mr Toogood. You'd have to be made of cement not to jump around when Johnny gets ragin'. And yeah, Liam's bored disaffection was always a pet hate: my sole purpose of watching them when they headlined Livid (apart from being forced to by the bird whose pants I was coveting), was to lob a hard, sharp projectile at the smug c*nt.

Dr Yobbo said...

We spent most of the set bellowing 'NOEL WHERE'S YER FRUIT PLATTER' (yes that was probably the pair of drunk c*nts behind you) which would have made no sense to him, or to anyone else who hadn't heard the Martin/Molloy sketch about them being chucked off Cathay Pacific.

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

The rhythm of that Temper Trap song doesn't exactly lend itself to dancing so combine that with unco boy and you've got a recipe for disaster. The pulse confuses him a little by the looks :-D

And as for stage antics --- I still wanna smack the tambourine player that wants to get in everyone's face.

Stage antics? I hate it when they replace the musicianship. I saw the Darkness in the Valley (what's the name of that little room at the top of Brunswick on the station side?) a few years back and they were absolutely fucking wasted and hopeless. The fucked around so much on stage that they forgot what they were doing. The soloing turned into marathon guitar frotting matches. Worst gig ever and SO disappointed.

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