December 8, 2009

The Snowdroppers,
+ Clairy “Baby” Brown and the Bangin’ Rackettes
+ Kirk Special
The Bridge Hotel, Rozelle, Sydney
Friday 13th November, 2009


I must have been keen for this gig, because I turned up a night early. After realising my mistake I returned the following night to find a pretty quiet venue.. This was to be the final night of The Snowdroppers 4 week residency and I was keen to see what the fuss was about.. Could it be that it had ran a week too long…..It sure as fuck looked like it!

It took me a bit to realise I’d again jumped the gun and arrived early (thankfully this time only by one rather than 24 hours).

I got a nice chair in the beer garden where Kirk Special, Adelaide’s one-man-party-band was getting ready to take the stage (ground??).

Man, I was there in '92, I saw 1,000,000 shithouse three-pieces rise up in the wake of Nirvana, I was there again in 02 and saw another million shitty two-pieces rise up in the wake of The White Stipes (see where I’m going with this????).

I’ve seen a few people have a crack at the old one-man-band gig with varying results. The most notable example obviously being Bob Log III. But where Mr Log relies too much on his kitchy motorcycle get-up, Mr Special gets by on charisma. He was chatty, amicable and obviously pretty happy to be playing in the big smoke for the first time. Kirk peppered his set of noisy, garage-blues originals with a few choice covers. By the time he finished his set with a rousing version of “Beat on the Brat”, he’d left the (by now huge) crowd feeling like they’d walked into his backyard.

Oh yeah, I’ll be there in 2012 when another million shitty one-man-bands start trying to be the next Kirk Special.

And shit it was great to see some music in a beer garden on a summer night. And didn’t the smokers love it.

Back inside to the main stage where Clairy “Baby” Brown and The Bangin’ Rackettes were just about to start.

From the very first song I was blown away. Holy Shit, this band can play. Busting out some of the dirtiest doo-wop I have ever seen or heard. Unlike a lot of acts who ape the bands they love, I believed in them. I got lost in the moment. Make no mistake Clairy ain’t got the greatest set of pipes in the biz, but the crowd would have eaten a shit out of this girl’s hand. She commanded the crowd through a series of dances to accompany one of their final songs and I tell you we did what we were told!

Just when I was beginning to wonder how a band this classy existed under my very nose without me knowing, they let slip that they’d come up from Melbourne, I hope those punters down there know how lucky they are.

Now onto The Snowdroppers. These guys have done their homework. They got the look and the sound down, and they can play no doubt, but I was pretty aware I was watching some guys in costumes…. I just couldn’t get past it. It was like watching the Beatels or something, the sound and the look was right but they were more of a show, than a band for my money.

Not to say I didn’t know what I was in for, but for my part, these guys just got blown away by support acts that didn’t come off like cartoons. While the supports seemed like huge personalities, The headliners were playing characters with huge personalities. Big difference.

For what it’s worth though, I was definitely in the minority. The crowd lapped up their soggy bottom boys routine.

For me though, it was an anti climax and I left after the second song.