+ SILVER APPLES
The Metro, Sydney
January 16, 2009
By EARL O'NEILL
PHOTOS: RICHARD SHARMAN of Blackshadow Photography
Sitting in Hungry Jacks across the road from the Metro, I had good cause to reflect on what a lucky life one gets to live. The Hives last week, Spiritualized tonight, Neil Young next week. I’d been driven to this den of culinary insignifigance by Silver Apples, tonight’s support. They were hip in New York around 1967, a drummer and a guy with a stack of noisy electrical gear.
The drummer wasn’t here tonight. Pity, a strong rhythm wouldn’t have gone astray. The remaining Silver Apple had a bunch of analogue loops going and muttered stuff like “A pox on you, you stole my dope” or something similar. Three minutes of this and an Aussie Burger seemed like a great alternative.
Spiritualized strolled on stage, Jason Pierce acknowledged the audience with a wave, then they picked up their guitars and started playing. They don’t fuck about, they’re here to play music and by fuck did they play some music! Two guitars, bass, drums, keyboard, two black women singing backup – almost immediately there was a marvellous gospel sway in the music, one not dependent on but highlighted by the women.
There was an elegant sense of swing to the music, I closed my eyes and listened and started to sway a bit myself, carried away by the sound.
It’s easy to get carried away by Spiritualized. Multiple layers of sound, multiple strands of influences, C&W slide guitar in this song, blues in another, an awesome electric blast of energy in that one. Oh yeah! I LOVE an awesome blast of abstract freeform noise and at the end of the set, they let rip for several beautiful minutes. This was truly one of the best noises in creation, I flung my arms up to catch every drop of energy. What is it about electric guitars and drums that puts such a huge grin on my face?
Every now and then I’d glance around at the crowd and wonder what the fuck they were doing there. Blokes standing around with arms folded, looking like they were waiting for the bank to open. A couple nearby talked a lot, but it was that compulsive drug-soaked tone of conversation so I didn’t really mind.
A girl near me was the only other person dancing and after a few songs the grumpy fucks had moved aside and we had ourselves a space to sway and shake and do what I always figured you ought to at a rock and roll gig. Dance.
Maybe we were the only people there who really dug it, so you’d have to wonder why the others showed up. Or maybe, as she suggested, looking like you’re having fun is terribly uncool these days.
Fuck ‘em, I had a great time.