Caterpillar Now; Team Jedi, Grosvenor Hotel, May 18, 1996

What a great time to catch a couple of mooted maestros of our megalopolis! Ensconced in warm loungerooms throughout Perth, most of the local gig-going public were doing their benchpresses for this week’s Kiss My WAMI marathon, thus the hardest of hardcore heads got their chance to swing cats in near empty venues and check out up’n’comers in comparative comfort. Elbow space, even.

Much had been whispered about the mighty Team Jedi. Absolutely brand new on the scene, not a trace of whisker on their cheek, the three-piece compiled simple riffs into bite-sized morsels of sound.

Fronted by a Billy Corgan-inspired guitarist, vocalist and all round bouncing boy, the Jedi way emerged as that instantly-appealing mix of dancable, mop-shaking hit material and passages of whining angst which are bound to bring in the kid parade. And me too! For it wasn’t so long ago that I spouted these same words about Humbug.

With the new zest of actual stage presence hitting the traditionally-staid boards of Perth, we can now add the name of the Jedi.

Caterpillar Now rose fast through the Perth ranks before they took off to Britain last year, probably too fast and to the detriment of their live work. So, fresh from a long break, their extremely complex arrangements needed more care than most to come off on stage – but this eve they were just plain, irritatingly sloppy.

The shining, blazing, dazzling lights were, as ever, the voice of Kirsty Oehlers, the gorgeously out-of-place glam moves of guitarist Mitchell and their well-rehearsed tracks from Salty Tapdancer, but huge rasberries must resound for the half-hearted jam session they called the rest of their set.

Tinges of brilliance alternated between heart stopping, Favourite Game-esque chops and soaring sensuality … only to be drubbed in the next song by the souls of ten different, badly-executed riffs trapped in a four-minute shell. It would have been excellent if they had torn off their masks to reveal the players from O!, but I’m sure that wasn’t the idea.

With a brilliant album like their debut, Salty Tapdancer, under their latent-genius buckles and belts, hope, pray, sacrifice things for a little sharpening of the Caterpillar Now live set.

Adam Connors