En route

Aqua Velvet has proven itself to be not only the best live venue in Raglan, but the best live venue for people in Hamilton. It’s fun for Hamilton gig-goers to venture over the hills and spending some time in Raglan.

Sadly tonight’s gig at Aqua Velvet will be the last for a while. There have been all sorts of noise complaints. It’s not a simple matter of Aqua Velvet playing too loud music. There’s all sorts of politics and money coming into play, and it’s meant that Aqua Velvet have to shut up or lose their liquor license.

Fortunately it was a really good gig: Bob Log III supported by The Shrugs.

I was a bit late (I need to work on my gig-going timing) and only saw a handful of Shrugs songs, but they ended with “Mustang Song” which is one of my favourites. It starts off slow and mellow, then builds into a rockin’ guitar explosion.

Bob Log III is a one-man blues band from Tucson, Arizona. Interestingly enough, he’s the third one-man band I’ve seen at Aqua Velvet this year, Pumice and Nodrog being the two others. Bob Log sits down wearing a studded shiny jumpsuit and a motorcycle helmet. The helmet has a telephone receiver attached to it which is what he sings into. This set up allows him to focus on his guitar and his killer blues playing.

Aqua Velvet, with the windows and doors closed to keep the sound in, was getting hot in therre, and the packed venue soon became all sweaty, which was just what was needed. Bob did mean things with his guitar and did please the crowd with his scorchin’ guitar skills. I liked his styles so much I bought his CD.

Oh, I should mention the naughty stuff. Bob Log III has two tricks. One involves getting to girls from the audience to sit on his knee while he plays. He managed to get two ladies to participate. All the guys in the audience moved forward to take a look at the special lap dance.

Bob’s other trick – and he has t-shirts dedicated to this – is the boob scotch. This is where he gets a lovely young lady to dip her boobie in a glass of scotch on the rocks. He reckons it tastes better. After the show (and he had changed into a shirt and jeans and had transformed into an ordinary looking, really nice, friendly guy) I asked him what his success rate was.

While a number of chicks gravitated to the front of the stage, no one did the boob scotch at Raglan, but he’d been lucky the night before in Auckland with one chick who did double boobing with two glasses. In America, he has a fairly high success rate. I think he said only four towns where he’s toured have resulted in no boob scotching. He said he knew which towns they were and planned on going back to try again.

In Europe I think he only got about a quarter of the gigs with a boob scotch, and in Japan no one would do it. He said the Japanese were too nice. Instead they’d just hold the glass up against their chest. That’s as good as it gets there.

The problem with doing the boob scotch is that there’s always going to be a bunch of people with digital cameras, so you’d home from the gig and find your boobs all over the internet. Yeah, like that.

Y’know, with the current body part of choice in popular music being the big ol’ butt, it’s nice to find a musician who still likes boobs.

Shrugs, not drugs

I tried making Thai chicken green curry (or something involving the words curry, green, chicken and Thai), but it didn’t quite work out. At least it wasn’t like the one that the Thai place in Mercury Plaza does. There was something in the curry paste that made me cough. Dammit, all I was trying to do was cook some delicious ethnic food, and instead I created a health risk.

I didn’t manage to scam a ticket to the bNet awards, but, like, I don’t care. I don’t know who was awarded what, but probably all the Auckland bands won, except in the downbeat category, and then a Wellington band will have won that.

Instead I went to Edens Bar and saw Assassin, The Shrugs and the Hollow Grinders.

Edens Bar is downstairs from the Vegas strip club. This maybe would give it some kind of sleazy rock cred, except for the fact that it’s been kitted out as a Korean karaoke bar, which is very un-rock. Ok, maybe a little rock. Oh, there was one of those energy saver light bulbs in the ladies toilets. It was saving so much energy that it didn’t actually emit enough light to light up the toilet cubicles. Ever tried to pee in the dark? It’s tricky.

Assassin are one of those rock ‘n’ roll bands that the kids and/or the music press are so into at the moment. They started off with a rip-roaring tune that got a few people jiggling, but their set soon devolved into a long sonic masturbation session that didn’t even have the courtesy of giving the audience a reach-around (that metaphor doesn’t work, I know, shut up, I like it).

This was the first time I’d seen the new Shrugs line up. The angry young man rhythm section had been replaced by a kinder, gentler couple. They can still rock out when necessary, but there’s also a kind of sensuality and tenderness that the olde Shrugs didn’t have. “Mustang song” was great. Oh, and Geoff Shrugs gave me a copy of the Shrugs new CD “The Doggler Effect”. It’s pretty much a collection of all the singles they’ve released over the past few years. It has all my favourites, so I’m happy.

The Grinders ruled. They did a solid, very fun set. There was one song in particular that was as great as “Mustang Song”. I can’t remember what it was called, but for posterity I shall note that it was about four or five songs into the set and Otis played lead guitar on it. Later on I found myself thinking impure groupie-style thoughts. That’s what rock is all about, I think.

Electric boogieloo

Beer + couch + The Shrugs’ November EP + […] = well, theoretically it’d work.

Today at los mindo controllo culto it sucko’d. It was hard. It was about dealing with stuff I didn’t want to deal with.

There’s a 30 minute documentary on that was on BBC Radio1 about New Zealand’s current music scene. One of the D4 talks about the “legendary” King’s Arms. But he also says it’s an Irish pub and rambles about going out into the garden bar and engaging in “illicit” activities. But really, there’s the King’s Arse, the Dog’s Bollix , the Temple and… where else do bands regularly play around this town?

Actually, going back to the aforementioned Shrugs, I would like to share this item from the news section on their web site:

Band plays at Pub

The Shrugs played a show at a pub. In other news, the band is heading into the studio to record their next single. Andrew Dean will once again be pressing “record” and “rewind”. Sources close to the band have revealed that all their songs are too short. However, the Shrugs were unable to hear this advice as they were permanently deafened by Rawer, ‘the loudest band on the Kapiti Coast’.

More bands should write stuff like that. It’s funny and it’s true, man.

Bagel of Love

“Fuck Auckland!” says Chris from the Shrugs.
“Fuck Auckland and fuck ironic mullets!” says Robyn.

Ok, so some very cool friends of mine are going to London on Monday and were having farewell drinks at the (not inappropriately chosen) London bar. There was lager and mushy peas (not as good as the mushy peas from that pie cart in Newcastle, but still quite good), and good company and a jazz band. What’s a white boy jazz band doing playing at the London bar?

After a few hours the remaining hardcore went to the Kings Arse. The exciting thing about the ‘Arse (apart from the fact that the Shrugs were playing) was that the ceiling has been raised, and the stage has been enlarged and raised. It’s, like, a proper rock venue, man.

There was a band playing, but I can’t remember their name. Their bass player threw his bass in the audience, but didn’t seem particularly angry. Next was Rawer. They were really loud. So loud that – and this is the first time I’ve ever done this – I went outside to get away from the noise. Actually, I have done that before. When I was about two years old I went outside during my brother’s christening complaining “much noise! much noise!”. All those horrible people singing horrible hymns.

But tonight the good people known as the Shrugs were making the good music. There were quite a few covers in the set, and they should have done more originals, they especially should have played “The Hollies” cos that just rules. But they played “Exhibit B” and that was so bloody good. I love the Shrugs so much.

Next was Xanadu. They have one of those strap-on keyboard things. I thought those were banned in the ’80s, but it turns out they’re still around. Xanadu managed to make the strap-on keyboard thing sound like a guitar sometimes. They seemed to have lots of girl fans. Very good.

I want a bagel. A bagel of love.

Couch

Last night I saw The Shrugs and the Hollow Grinders play at Aqua Velvet in Rag Land. The Shrugs were as rip-roaring as ever. The Grinders had a shitload of tension happening. It was a good night. Everyone loves the Shrugs (except for the guy who called out “boring!”) and they are destined for greatness.

Ok, that is all.

Ah yeah, ah yeah, ah yeah

Happiness and joy can be found in the mp3 of Nsync doing the a capella Bee Gees medley at the Grammys. When they do “How Deep It Your Love” it’s just brilliant.

MCC was good today. Today we confronted our bullshit. I’m loud and rude and obnoxious but I try to be really nice and polite and well-mannered around people. Arrgh! But the advice is to just ride with it, to not try and ignore the shit. Hey, cool.

I saw the Shrugs play at the Temple tonight. The sound wasn’t all that great, but the Shrugs put on a scorching show. It was big and loud and really bloody choice. Plus also and, all of the Shrugs are hot, and that is what makes rock roll. Yes, come down with me into the swamp. They’re playing tomorrow in Raggiz and I’m going to see them again.

Thrills and bills

A few months ago my laptop fell on the ground. I was visiting my parents and had put it on a bed – an unexpectedly springy bed. When I sat down on the bed the whole side of the bed sank down and the laptop slid on the floor. It hit the carpeted floor on the side where the power cord plugs in. The computer was fine, but the plug got a little bent. I got some pliers and managed to get it back into shape.

I could get the plug back in, although sometimes it needed a bit of twisting to get a proper connection. Things were ok until last night. The plug was in its slot, but no electricity was getting through unless I actually held the plug in a certain position. Then when I was going to bed, I pulled the plug out and there was sparking and crackling. Uh oh.

So today I went along to my local Mac dealer. It’s the normal Mac practise to not fix components but to replace whole parts, so I had to shell out about $230 for a new power supply. It’s a little bit stylier, but still. $230, maaaan.

This month has been full of billz, billz, billz.

But today I checked my post office box and the Shrug’s November EP was there. It’s so good. I heart the Shrugs. They’re playing at the Temple on Thursday. Hooray!