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March 11, 2006

A Life Of Music pt. 2


So where was I? That's right...cheerily nestling the bosom of Rivers Cuomo and company and starting to think, as I clumsily wandered over the chords to "I Wanna Be Adored" and "Undone (The Sweater Song)", that maybe I could write, too. It's a peculiar realisation and an even more curious transition from mechanically learning someone else's work to penning and pruning your own and wondering if other people get it. Few things are as personal as musical tastes, and to tap into just a handful of people's on a level that tiptoes beyond tolerance is an achievement in itself. Much like writers, artists, designers, chefs, florists - there's nothing quite like hearing someone other than your immediate family say, "I like it". So I took to the streets, or, more specifically, the burgeoning bunch of clubs and bars that saw a financial glow in their weekend afternoons with all-age gigs - why not suck a little more life out of the place than merely waiting until the evening when the +18s came with their lifeline? The places were monotonous, sure, and the bunch of people regularly attending became a swirling, incestuous pot of familiar faces (though the onset of puberty ensured new developments were continually being thrown into the ring), but, by God, there was soul. It was oozing from the walls, trickling down sweaty faces, being passed, mouth-to-mouth, from one growing adolescent to another. And, what's more, you could feel it.
The local scene was booming as bands like Turnstyle, Bluetile Lounge, Thermos Cardy, Beaverloop, Cinema Prague, Mach Pelican and the redoubtable Adam Said Galore carved a path of music equally catchy and challenging and, unconsciously, glued a group of individuals in a way that would never be lost.
So, for some time, it was never a question of what you would be doing on any given weekend, but who it would involve. Custard thrilled with their frenetic sets that were tight and, surely, propelled by some druggy mix; Not From There came and hopped between delicious melodies and sonic assaults, leaving a major dent before assuming their clandestine guise in Queensland; Sidewinder threatened to rip your face off but never really got above 3rd gear, and You Am I repeatedly entertained, enthralled and got very, very boozy. Numerous others left an unfading mark on an entire generation of music lovers who believed that, really, the bright lights weren't that far away; it was uplifting, it was adhesive and it was real.
Now in varying stages of aging, those same faces persistently pop up at the select venues that still see promise (and a little cash) in promoting original music, but it's hard to see where the relief will come from. The internet, already feruled for starting the demise in sales of music buying, has chased teens away from the live music scene with the promise of another world based on ease, comfort and apathy. Simpler it may be to download a live clip and save on the train fare/door charge, but where are the other people to share it with and the edification that comes with unconditional support? Thankfully, galvanised by the wild success of some local bands, a slight revival seems to be taking place, and it will be interesting to see where that leads. But for those who remember the early to mid-nineties as the beginning of a lifelong love and appreciation of live music, the vibrant all-ages scene will forever remain a blazing light kindling otherwise dark afternoons.