Owen Brown's Impressions of the live Jock Cheese show at Kelts Bar

[There's a companion piece on the Melbourne gig at Richard Miles' Linkatron.]

To: crap@suburbia.com.au
From: Owen Brown
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003
Subject: tism: Don't bore 'em all JC

Hey Guys...

It was a long train hike for me to get to Blaxland which gave me plenty of time to catch up on the war. Anyone who wants to slag off tabloid publications can get stuffed because at least they're easier to hold on the train. Blaxland was cold and I got to the venue when it was still quite quiet and a DJ was playing. I found Vaughan and his friends who bought be beer, thanks for that! This was the first night of fthe "Stiff Cheese" tour. There were posters but they had the same old photo that we've all seen before.

The crowd grew slowly larger to a moderate turn-up, mostly rusty old-school fans who would rather stand up the back. I ducked outside for a smoke which got me all the more excited about seeing Jock's first show. The band made their way to the stage first playing some intro music, rather un-flashy and dressed in black. Jock came out of the side door holding his guitar in the air and ran around the bar area before getting on stage. He was wearing bright orange with cylinders of foam sticking out of his costume, some with mirrors on the ends. Each song was introduced with a computerised voice which also added some indecipherable comments after the song title was announced. They opened with "Up there Calisi".

The music was fantastic and Jock's rather unanimated entourage played well. The drummer seemed rather young. The bassist was short and looked like a token Native-american character from some B-grade 80's film (I think this is Paddy Chong from the Fuck Fucks - Ms .45) and the lead guitarist was a tall and dated looking man who resembled Red symonds and acted like Buddy Holly (this is Leak Van Vlalen, former TISM guitarist - Ms .45). He had a support microphone but he only managed to sing bits where screaming was necessary. Jock sang in a rather monotone style for most songs, as you know the studio songs have layered vocals, as he probably can't hit the high notes all the high singing was programmed. It sounded OK but at bits where the programmed voice kicked in (eg. "If music be the food of love, Play on says the umpire") you'd expect Jock to strike a pose that would usually accompany such high notes but as it was the 4 track doing it he just stood there singing in the same manner he had for the rest of the song. I personally found it off- putting because I'd like to see a bit of passion when hitting high notes, especially in "Friday Night Shakespeare". It's amazing I took all this in whilst stoned. The ends of the songs were drawn out but done very well in well timed rock finishes which was a treat. One song that was played I never heard before, the setlist said "Moonlight", I don't ktnow if it is a cover or what (this is Moonlight Over Vermont by Captain Beefheart - Ms .45). I also met a lurker called Steve, Hello Steve.

During the set and in the middle of a song Jock ran offstage to change into his purple cape, a costume very reminiscent of the "Incontinent in ten continents" video. The highlight of the evening came in the second half "Professor Derrida Deconstructs" It was an absolute crowd pleaser, not just because everyone was happy to hear a TISM song but because it was well done, very loud and powerful. I believe that it would be great if TISM had a go at playing it live. There wasn't much Grandoise or much in the way of antics but it was still enjoyable. I spent the rest of the set tripping and thinking of how much of a dork the guiarist was with his twisty leg movements. All songs off Platter were played as well as The Moonlight song and PDD.

I took quite a few photos which I will upload ASAP. I had to leave during the last song to catch the train home so I don't know if I missed a big finish but I am sure I will find out tonight at the Annandale, I hope to see some of you guys there!

Bye bye..

Owen.

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