Future Of The Left + Turnpike + Tape/Off @ The Zoo, 06.12.2011

Tonight is the night I finally get to see Future Of The Left for the first time. Although they have played Brisbane a few times they also seem to plan their Australian tours to coincide with the New Year and I’ve always been out of town when they’ve been here before.  In addition to the show at The Zoo, they also played a short set at Tym’s Guitars which I really wanted to get to but I end up being stuck at work. I think they only played four songs so it must have been a fairly short set.

I was a bit of a late-comer to mclusky.  So late that it was after the band had folded and after I’d moved to Brisbane when Pete from Vegas Kings had to explain who they were to me when he put on a Shooting At Unarmed Men (featuring ex-mclusky bassist Jon Chapple) show at Rosie’s (from memory it might have been a MereNoise celebration and it it might have been a free show and possibly an invite-only show).

It’s the evening after the night before and thanks to a poorly positioned empty beer bottle, I’ve got a camera that’s far from fully functioning.  Although the LCD screen isn’t working, I can set the ISO, aperture and shutter speed using the display in the viewfinder.  There’s obviously no preview facility to look at the photos I’ve taken to fine tune exposures or keep a record of what and how many photos I’ve got of each member of the band or whether I’ve taken anything that’s any good: Essentially I’m kicking it old school with a digital camera that might as well be a film camera. There are a couple more difficulties though in that I’ve no way of knowing how many photos I’ve taken until the memory card is full and I’ve no way of knowing how much power is left in the battery until it runs out.

It’s also my first time seeing Tape/Off and I really like what I see.  I thought I had seen them before but think I had them mixed up with Lunch Tapes, who I didn’t think much of.  At the start Tape/Off sound a bit like early Pavement but as the set goes on start to sound more like an early 90s shoegaze band.  The highlight of their set is a song called “History” which has some fantastic layered guitar lines and really nice textures and sounds great.  The last song the band plays goes on for far too long but they show enough promise during their time to be the best new (even though they’re not that new) Brisbane band I’ve seen since Dune Rats earlier in the year.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen Turnpike.  They’re a band that are well liked in Brisbane and I want to like them but find them just too technical but don’t have the hooks to make their songs memorable enough.

Future Of The Left are good but I can’t help thinking that I probably would have enjoyed them more if I hadn’t had seen a stunning show from Mudhoney in the same venue not 24 hours previous.  Starting with Arming Eritrea, they play a mix of songs from their albums, a few from their forthcoming 2012 album, The Plot Against Common Sense, and include three crowd-pleasing mclusky songs; To Hell With Good Intentions, Without MSG I Am Nothing and Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues, the last of these providing Falco with a further chance to engage with the crowd when someone at the very front, and who has already checked out the setlist, shouts out the name of the song before Falco has time to introduce it.  Even if you don’t like the music, it’s almost worth coming to a Future Of The Left show just to listen to Falco’s banter.  Throughout their set he gives us his views on a whole matter of things; Ben Elton, Supergrass, Phil Collins, Sebastian Coe, Gavin And Stacey, and deals with hecklers with a caustic sense of humour.  His keyboard is brought on stage for Manchasm and he describes the analogue keyboard as “The twat of musical instruments” and instantly follows it up with “Or the Mitchel Johnson” to a stoney faced and silent crowd other than me.

Having no idea of  how many photos I’ve been taken, I manage to fill up a 4GB memory card, about 160 photos over the three bands, and put my camera away, which means that I end up missing the action in the last song of the night, Lapsed Catholics.  At the end of the song Falco disassembles Jack Egglestone’s drum kit one drum at a time and re-arranges them across the stage, forcing him to move from his drum stool towards the front to keep the beat going, and a couple of girls are brought out of the crowd and given a drum stick each to help out.  I kept thinking I should get my camera back out and put in a new memory card but kept thinking that by the time I did that they would have finished.  The ending goes on for a while though and so I miss out on getting any photos of it.

Hopefully next time I’ll be better prepared with a camera that works.

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