Spectrum: Somewhere Between Too Much and Not Enough

Sonic Boom

Quickly following on from last week’s JAMC show, there was another blast of seminal 1980s proper indie noise this week courtesy of ex-Spaceman 3 co-frontman Sonic Boom in his Spectrum guise. Until I moved to Brisbane my most seen live band was Spiritualized (8 times) – the band formed and fronted by Sonic’s ex-Spaceman 3 bandmate, Jason Pierce. However, despite that achievement, I had never actually seen Sonic before. (Incidentally, my current record for most seen live band is probably a close tussle between Sixfthick and tonight’s opening support band, Butcher Birds. Although I don’t have the advantage of being able to see Spiritualized every week at Ric’s…)

Straight from the start of the set there were technical issues from the tangle of leads and power supply units, resulting in signals not getting out from the table of instruments and effects.


When he told the audience that this was as good as it got it was hard to tell if he was joking or not, but the continuing self-deprecating comments and the look on his face told you he wasn’t having the best of times. On stage sound issues weren’t helping things (the front of house sound wasn’t too hot either, played at a really low volume, prompting one member of the audience to shout “turn the PA on…I mean up”) and resulted in before-song, after-song and even during-song vitriol emanating from the stage in the direction of the soundman for the duration of the gig. Sonic got support band Dimmer back on stage for a run through of the Spaceman 3 track ‘Suicide’. At the end of the song, whilst the last notes were still reverberating the soundman started up the background cd over the PA system…. A revenge of sorts, I guess.

Personally, I thought the crowd reaction was pleasing; people seemed to be willing him to pull the show out from the flames during his set and there was no shortage of people wanting to shake his hand and say thanks for coming at the end even though it was a real train-wreck of a gig. Despite all the setbacks, there was a degree of redemption at the end, with ‘Suicide’ giving everyone a glimpse of what the whole show might have been like on another night. Hopefully he has more luck with his Sydney and Melbourne shows (with reports of those gigs indicating that that was the case) and that Brisbane will get another chance of seeing the show that everyone was hoping for in the future.

It was pretty dark, with only a couple of lights (both red…), plus some light from the OHP being used to create the psychedelic backdrop effect. The photos aren’t that great, but I’ve put a few more photos on flickr.

One Response to “Spectrum: Somewhere Between Too Much and Not Enough”

  1. gargonole says:

    i gave sonic ecstasy before the show which may have added to his confusion

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