Review and colour photography by Rodney Gitzel
Monochrome photography by Paul Clarke
Australia's Spiderbait, having survived the dubious HMV outdoor stage at Slam City Jam, made good in the Commodore. An interesting mix of everything from metal to country to punk to pop, they easily held the attention of the rather subdued (exhausted?) audience -- which included all of INXS (Seriously!). In a slight twist, the drummer was also the main vocalist, sounding like a mix of Rob Zombie, Angus Young and Les Claypool -- with Meatloaf's sweaty hair -- and he was one of the most animated drummers I've seen. His voice also mixed very well with that of the (female) bassist, especially on a great cover of the Go-gos' "Our Lips are Sealed." "Thanks everyone! Good on ya!" Quite cool. I want their CD!
SNFU were up next, and they put on a solid, if uninspired, show. Granted, vocalist and chief hoppin'-about-er Chi Pig did, let's see, light a devil puppet -- and his shoes -- on fire, don ghoulie masks, occasionally launch himself off the drum kit , and assault the crowd with shaving cream and flour. But I've seen this so many times -- and seen them do it better -- before. Not that the band is not still entertaining, but they are not improving with age, either. Oh well -- we'll always have Paris. The one highlight of their set involved Chi Pig, his bag of flour -- and me! Over the years it's escalated from bonks on the head with plastic baseball bats, to puffed wheat showers -- and now to a bag of flour on my head! I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't getting personal... ;-)
Last up were Tacoma's Seaweed, who blasted through a solid set of tunes, some new, some old. Seaweed are masters of the rawk end of punk, and they were in fine form, though a little bewildered at why SNFU was opening for them and not vice versa. Lots of energy and intensity from the band, and from the crowd, too. You can't enjoy a Seaweed show with your feet glued to the ground, as the crowd understood, and the stage crew was booked solid throughout the show pulling people off the front of the mosh and sending them on their way. It you weren't sweating by the end, are you sure you were there?
All said, it was a good show. Seaweed and SNFU performed as expected, and Spiderbait stole the show. Music West closed on a good note. Can I sleep for a week, now?
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