Review of TISM show at Heaven 2, Brett Buttfield, dB magazine, 28/11/01


TISM, well it's always an experience isn't it? Musically they can be a bit rough in places. Their performances are alternately chaotic, tightly choreographed, hilarious and bewildering. The thrill is unmistakable though, and there's never a dull minute at a TISM gig. As those accosted during Saturday Night Palsy when Humphrey B Flaubert and accomplice took off into the crowd discovered, this is a band that you ignore at your own peril. The wonders of a radio mic allowed Flaubert to clamber about Heaven, surf the merchandise table and still make it back to stage without missing a beat. The same cannot be said for Ron Hitler-Barassi who suffered his usual assault and unmasking as he dove aggressively into the crowd during I'll 'Ave Ya.

Age has not wearied them. Kudos go to that dreadlocked roadies who's been with them since time immemorial and is always at the ready with a rescue wrestle and re-mask - mate, you're a legend among supporting players. The same goes for the pulchritudinous rock chick who bared her formidable breasts whilst playing catch with TISM during Schoolies Week - madam, I salute you.

Support band Fez Perez put on a good show, lean muscular rock (the kind that remembers Eddie Cochrane) on songs like Beef and instrumentals with that surf quality so popular among Australian bands doing instrumentals. They strut their stuff nicely in the best handsome boy cock-rock tradition and got a good nodding reception from a crowd who, let's face it, were there for one thing. TISM's audience may well be getting older with them, but that seems to make for the right balance between mosh frenzy and rapt attention. Every song recieved solid applause. New antics like playing T-ball during Fourteen Years In Rowville met with a Life Be In It level of enthusiasm. When Hitler-Barassi slumped down stage left to catch his breath, punters shook his hand as if he was a campaigning statesman, prompting him to pull his sweaty socks over his paws and hug a girl for a photo opportunity. Someone, somewhere has those socks as a souvenir of this gig. Me, I got a handful of the gold tinsel which shag-carpeted their stage suits.

From Defecate On My Face to Channel Turd, TISM asserted the abiding brilliance of their poo jokes. The masks, the song title cards, the rhyming rants - the ritual elements of TISM only throw into contrast the surprises. Who would have expected Flaubert to attempt the whistle solo on Thou Shalt Not Britney Spear or anticipated Hitler-Barassi doing the entire outro rant to BFW? To call them national treasures would be to neuter the real beauty and terror of TISM's art; Don Bradman may have been many things to many people but he never looked as if he might attack at any moment. TISM are the boy band for people who are just fed up. They give good show.

Finishing up with an encore of (He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River and the always driving Death Death Death Amway Amway Amway before a brief second encore wherein they harmonised beautifully on a desperate plea for a root, they no doubt left the closing line of the mid-set rant echoing in many a mind: "Looks like TISM are back again!"


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