Flashing Tablet; Bluetile Lounge; Tucker Bs; Adam Said Galore; Apartment 99; Panelbeater, MX and Grosvenor Front Room, August 3, 1996

words – 610 (though with 6 bands! please?)

For the first time, by my memory anyway, the thoroughfare between the Grosvenor’s front and back rooms was finally opened to the trampling of the ordinary punter through the Grosvenor’s pool room. When both rooms are open, as in an impromptu mega-gig like Saturday’s, this little corner in East-ish Perth becomes a veritable hive of scenesters and shysters simply celebrating the opportunity of choice between snug pub or big venue, soft or loud, a bar to lean on or carpet to jump upon. All power to choice, I say.

The first choice was of a welcoming committee – the huge hairy arms of Panelbeater or a singular Gary Wiseman. Having missed their cassette launch, penance was due to be paid to the savagely good looking Panelbeater, Conor Cairns resplendent with a new close-knit hairdo accentuating those chainsaw-proof sideburns.

Much more Helmet-orientated than I remember, the extreme staccato brutality of faves like Fugly Stick and Karma Sutra never waned, even when they became a two piece – Cairns losing his bass strap and dancing instead truly exemplified the roar of Luke Marinovich’s singular guitar muscle.

Meanwhile in the Front Room, Apartment 99 displayed the other side of the three piece – quiet, beautiful, simple and lyrically potent. Braced high and delicately finger-picked, their guitar lines revolved around complex and emotive chords driven by intricate drumming and moody bass. With subtle muse to clear the air, the overwhelming positives of the chatty and chummy pub venue came alive again.

Drawing the biggest crowd of the night, Adam Said Galore took the contents of their kitchen cabinets and gave them an almighty rattle. Discordant yet tighter than their local contemporaries, these four whippersnappers have got creative urgency surging through their twisted songs, wholes constructed of synchronised yet separate, individual melody lines. Adoration was duly paid by the patter of dancing feet.

What can I say about the Tucker Bs that hasn’t already been said – they take the sweetest Thermos Cardy references and beef it up with even sweatier farmhand belches. I could go on but must sway instead back to the Front Room where Bluetile Lounge again filled the room with their epic density, notes hanging in the air long enough to take a bite out of. I saw one guy laugh at them at the beginning, but by the end his line of drool was making rainbows, quivvering as each note hit the little spittle string.

With nary a concern in the universe and high on beautiful music, ears intact and a shandy within reach, the Flashing Tablet main event was at hand. Up went the volume to knee-grasping heights causing everything on the stage to feedback. ‘HA! SUCK!’ screamed the crowd, torn between the brilliant music screaming forth and thoughs of ear syringes in the morning.

And it was brilliant music – a total 70s glam r.o.c.k machine purring forth images of arcing arms and large silver stereos with big knobs, Karl Properjohn’s glitzy axe and Richard Sewell’s celebration of Green Dress(es), Creme Supreme(s), Two Stroke(s) and the topper, Homosapien by Pete Shelley (ah, 1982 With A Bullet was one of my first ever purchases).

Add to this the biggest bass drum I have ever seen, repeatedly kicked by Mr G (ex-Wormfarm) and Flashing Tablet bolted past the post to grab the honours for the night. No longer a novelty but still with a dodgy name, FT are the new style councillors of the rock set with knobs on.

Adam Connors