Review of Jock Cheese's Melbourne show, Elizabeth McCartney, Beat, May 2003

Evelyn Hotel

Moondriven's set was welcome respite from a particularly vicious game of Spot The TISM Member-Unmasked! that was proving increasingly fruitless - the audience being predominantly male mid-late 30s.

Lots of sparkled, layered guitar emblazoned atop sad, occasionally seething vocals make for music that brings to mind a year-long calendar of Halloween nights, with no treats, just tricks. Not the type of tricks that make you squeal with delight either, but the type that leave you foolish and lonely. Moondriven fire up mid-way through their set, then run for cover once more. They're like the moon, like that. They give a quarter, then half, then pack a full-blown punch with Movers And The Shakers, then pull back, half-strength, then wax then wane again. It's lush and introspective and a sharp contrast to the expansive purpleness of Jock Cheese, tonight's headline. Jock is kingpin tonight, and takes the stage in an immense purple cape, like the type Liz R wore last century for her big ordination. Only Jock chose satin, not velvet, and Spotlight, not the cobwebbed chest of Victoria. This is the first of three costumes tonight. The purple cape is thrown off to reveal coveralls embellished with big spongy phallic prongs, and this in turn is discarded, to reveal Jock, the bare bones: bike shorts, sleeveless T and balaclava. Bare legs and arms but no distinguishing scars, tatts, or track marks. His mystery lurks, unchallenged. He is everyman. A pre-recorded voiceover introduces each track from Platter.

If this band had been kicking as a unit for the past few years, they'd be pretty okay. But considering they came together in the name of Jock only a few weeks ago, they're remarkably unreal. Sean Kelly - the other one - plays guitar like he's been impregnated with these licks since TISM sprung from their butchered birth canal 20 years earlier. Sure, he needs a lyric sheet for Guaranteed Fame With First Two Names; there's alot of two first names that guarantee fame and you don't want to leave anyone out. Venom works those drums like he won't be putting his clock back for daylight saving observance, no way, this is rock. Cheese lets his heart hang out for Friday Night Shakespeare and I Done It With The Drama Teacher, and La Traviata completes this emotive trifekta of heart-on-a-sleeve-if-one-wasn't-wearing-a-sleevless-T tunes.

Why Don't You Go And Get Fucked (Professor Derrida Deconstructs - Ms .45) directs all eyeballs toward Cheese as the band have a smoke. Why is this song beautiful? Because the lyrics beg sympathy for a man with a lifetime of regrets. And you feel sympathy, you really do. Yet you have no intention of actively helping this man. So Cheese calls your bluff, tells you were to go. Thankyou Cheese, we needed that.

There's no Just The Straight Dope tonight, Cheese has too much to sing about. The live sound is stronger than the album, which suggests Cheese has finally worked through his initial fears of taking a momentary solo career route. He shows signs of increased strength, which may flag that this is a road he won't chucking a u-turn on for a while yet.

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