Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kim Salmon and The Surrealists @ Ding Dong Lounge

Photos taken by Mandy Hall and can be viewed here along with her other work.

Opening up the night was Pistons Misfire, a ‘supergroup’ of sorts, containing members from various bands such as Kamikaze Trio, Group Seizure, Digger & the Pussycats and The Cheats. This band was loud and brash, with a clash of distorted guitar and deafening drums, as if the result if Jay Reatard collaborating with Wolf & Cub. It was punk, with psychedelic undertones but still maintaining a contemporary appeal. I admit that the Wolf & Cub comparison may appear to be somewhat lazy, as this band too had two drummers booming their way through an electric set.

Second was one of my favourite bands Witch Hats, showcasing some new material. With hectic lyrics about everything and nothing at all, matched with static, manic guitar and crashing drums there is a genuine punk brutality in this band live performance, matching that of punk predecessors such as the Birthday Party. Placed amongst the newer songs were Summer of Pain, Jock The Untold and Hellhole, the live renderings of these dirty, sharp songs coming to life even more so, possessing a real viciousness, though hearing some of the new, unknown songs was a great indicator as to what is to come from this amazing band.

Coming into this gig, I know very little of Kim Salmon. I knew of how influential his music in its various form (The Scientists, Beasts of Bourbon, The Surrealists) has been not only on Australian bands, but world-wide, but basically went into this blind, not knowing what to expect. The songs has a muddy distortion to them, with Salmons vocals traveling from barely-there whispers to deafening screeches and growls, with the music often doing the same, with moments of bass heavy riffs, to barley-there, almost silent spaces, strung together with piercing guitar. I was watching, and could see how this man and all of the musical catalogue he brings with him has influenced so many over the years, I could see how this band had influenced Witch Hats, who played just before them, though for some reason something about his performance just went straight over the top of me head. Whether it be that we’re just too many generations apart for me to be able to fully appreciate what he was doing, or maybe it was just a genuinely shrug-worthy performance, I am not sure. I feel somewhat disappointed in myself for not seeing what many people there obviously had seen in the past and continued to see this night, but something was just not happening for me.

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