DRUNKS, GUNS AND LIVESTOCK IN THE STREETS: LIVE AT THE TURKEYNECK BAR & GRILL 1979-2001 - Various Artists (Turkeyneck/Corduroy)
Had enough of compilations that spruik umpteen million styles, trying to cover too many bases to please everyone? If you're not a fan of the compliation genre, you're hardly going to go apeshit over a live disc, are you? Live releases can be hit-or-miss and most fail to capture the true ambience of rock in the raw, right? Then again, this one emanating from Brisbane might just change your mind.

There's a common thread running through most of the 17 tracks on "Drunks, Guns and Livestock..." and it comes down to the sense of frontier that being a band from Brisbane seems to carry with it. Long the focus of oppressive attitudes towards the rock and, let's face it, still a step up from a country town (listen to Pebo Bryson Experience's narrative "Freaks" for an explanation), this is the place that gave us Tex Perkins and a good part of the Beefheart-meets-Johnny-Cash culture that permeated Sydney and Brisbane in the 1980s.
This 17-song disc is the spawn of Andrew Leavold, who fronts the cleverly-named Brisbane cowpunkers They Might Be Vaginas and operates Brisvegas' finest trash video shop (called www.trashvideo.com.au strangely enough ). It delivers 17 live tracks, ranging from better-known bands like X (contributing a hot "That's Not Nice"), the Onyas ("I'm Not Your Mate") and the Cosmic Psychos ("Dead Roo") to legends in their own Brisvegas backyard like the Hymies (whose "Dockside" borders on speedcore.)

Truth be known, this is not actually a Brisbane compilation but more a meeting of bands from that city and Melbourne, with "cowpunk cabaret" a fair tag to hang on about half the bands. I Spit On Your Gravy, Pedbo Bryson Experience, Elvis & the Burger Kings, The Chookie Band, They Might be Vaginas and The Gravybillies all have roots in either or both camps. Unlike the university revue-inspired acts of the late '60s like Captain Matchbox, it's neither smugly self-satisfied or elitist.

Corpse Grinders put in an almost polished take on Syndicate of Sound's "Hey Little Girl" but it's not always easy listening: Mr Bastard's "Woman" is especially heavy going, with a rhythm section that gives a whole new meaning to the term "unsubtle", while the hidden spoken word track from I Spit on Your Gravy's Fred Negro might just put a new spin on the term "stuffed chicken" while getting him arrested. Think I'll pass on ther jug of beer at their next show. - The Barman




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