Jebediah; Bluebottle Kiss; Something For Kate, Shenton Park Hotel, September 14, 1996

The “Unipalosers” may have only played to about twelve people in Canberra, home of our national treasures but little more besides, so finding a wealth of punters at the Shenton Park Hotel could have been quite a surprise for the tired gaggle of Murmur stablemates. And “yip”, they burped, for this was the last gig of their five week Australian tour and Vanessa (Jebediah) was sick of sharing vans with nine stinky lads.

Melbournians Something For Kate eased into the (soon to be manic) evening with their paced, deliberate epics, every song delivered sound and strong and overtoned with the sandpaper buffing vox of Paul Dempsey. While leaving heaps to the imagination in their onstage manoeuvres, their low-riding drummer Clint Hyndman was an absolute mad-thing, every whack of his obviously well-crafted sticks begged shattering destruction.

While this is SFK’s first visit to the West, they impressed enough nodding heads to be welcomed back again soon, that is, if Hyndman doesn’t fall out of a moving Torago again (see Tour Tales Vol 13).

Fear Of Girls, the long-play latest release of Bluebottle Kiss, lurches between sonic blasts, sweet pop and somber plucking, and onstage BBK were as twisted and deliberately confusing as their recorded creation.

Their confident pole-jumping from light to dark seriously impressed my ears though I can’t say the same for anyone wishing to dance to the cacophony. With Outside Are The Dogs satisfying the heavier aspects and Rust And The Time layering on the sugary edge, BBK are an identity crisis begging tolerance. But madness done well is art, therefore they get my vote.

Jebediah. Their name is virtually synonymous with spinning, jumping and lurching, killer concise pop tunes and unbridled adoration … and all this is unconditionally warranted. With the Shents’ “librarian” like crowd (thanks to BBK’s Jamie Hutchings) suddenly turning into a teeny passion dance, the four superspunks rattled off the hits with deft aplomb – Ferris Wheel, Mr Masonic, the as-yet-unheralded mega-smash Benedict … all mouthed by every starstuck member of the establishment.

As their guitar straps got lower, exuding the imagery of wrestling with their uncontrollably-perfect pop impliments, the personalities of the four arose – the Mitchell brothers being almost engulfed by the dragon-slaying guitar swings of Chris and Vanessa. Note perfect while mid-air, falling over, threatening to bite the heads off the kids at the rail or Chris sliding up and down his guitar (a la Girls On Film) to the side-stage hoots of his tour buddies, Jebediah were far from tired after the seven-state haul, they were high on life in the fast lane.

Finally the end-of-tour supergroup was assembled for the final number – Ratcat’s That Ain’t Bad – with everyone wanting to be Simon Day. With three guitars, three drummers and cymbal splashes courtesy of misspent beer, Something For Jebediah Kiss was a frightening summary of life on the road between these ten people. I wish I was there from Warnambool to Shenton Park.

Adam Connors