Botticelli’s Angel; Mutt; Flashing Tablet, MX, May 4, 1996

Perth’s sonically-disjointed, indie-rock outfit Flashing Tablet would probably be the first to admit a slight genre clash in their place in this line-up … not that they disappointed. Here was a case of indie kids gone metal!

With the Botts and Mutt crowd outnumbering wayward shoegazers and Tablet fans, I watched in awe as most punters bounced compliments between each other as the guitar squeals of Karl Properjohn and Richard Sewell went into total melee mode.

This was the most distortedly-perverse I had ever seen Flashing Tablet, but I also recall that this was the venue that gave Thermos Cardy a heavy metal mix three weeks ago … which brings us to the mixing engineer.

For all bar the final four songs of Mutt’s set they were a pulp of barraging noise, a sound not dissimilar from aircraft screeching. Was anyone there to mix the exasperated Mutt?

Cannonballing through their huge collection of short thrash songs and ably driven by a new guitarist, whose speedy hammer-on solos were also buried in the grind of the unrequiting sound slush, Mutt looked as mean and fast as ever, an almost-veteran Perth speed metal band paying their last homage to frequent stage buddies, Botticelli’s Angel. Vocalists like Mutt’s Wade Humphries have learnt well from the stage presence and prowl of Botts’ Declan Barry.

And thus the main event, complete with Declan falling on his arse during the first song (just like that still-hilarious campus band final five years ago) – the final hoorah of the local grandfathers of the Faith No More, funk metal explosion back in the early 90s. With a kiss on the forehead for crowd-bound, ex-guitarist Tony King (now with Externals), the on-stage disintegration began.

It’s hard to figure how peeved the Botts’ engine room may be about Declan leaving for Non Intentional Lifeform, but the usually playful slapstick shared between Declan and guitarist Brad Gill was tonight transformed into spitting, pulling out guitar cords and other coy nasties for the assembled friends and colleagues. Yes, ooh’s and ahh’s all ’round.

And if the on-stage (play?) spats weren’t enough, there was also the problem of guitarists and bassists alike having to walk out next to the front-of-house speakers to hear themselves. Maybe their angst should have been turned to the real villain tonight, behind the sound desk.

With a swag of Botticelli’s Angel standards ringing in our ears, mainly the Bullet For Your Thoughts album and a gloriously sick version of The Cars’ My Best Friend’s Girl, Declan did his final split, Brad rolled his eyes and the John Moriarty/Mark One corner huggers all thrashed out to Simon Jeromson’s drum flail for the final time.

Torn between two lovers … I hate it when a band breaks up.

Adam Connors