Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Live Review - Spencer P. Jones & the Nothing Butts

Published in Time Off (Brisbane), Wednesday December 19.

Spencer P. Jones & The Nothing Butts
The Zoo, Friday December 14th

The evening begins, as most good evenings do, at Ric’s in the Mall.  We sit out the front watching the human flotsam gambol by, a tide of flesh and bone seemingly intent on its own boozy demise, which we can’t truly judge, given the jug of beer adorning our table, the ashtray already filling.

The noise here is too much though. The booming ‘80s tunes from next door drown out Benjalu on the tiny stage inside Ric’s and so it’s only one jug before we’re up and wandering, pushing through the surge, around the corner to the relative safety of The Zoo where people seem more calm and sedate, despite what lies ahead.

An extended soundcheck is in progress when we arrive, and so it’s some time before Six Ft. Hick finally begin, but when they do – booming and crunching right outta the gate, both frontmen writhing on the floor within seconds of getting the green light – it’s a sight and sound to behold indeed.

They’re an odd prospect though – the pre-pubescent punk band antics of front-brothers Geoff and Ben Corbett seem at odds with the ‘house in the suburbs, mortgage, wife, two point five kids’ thing guitarist Tony Giacca, bassist Dan Baebler and drummer Fred Noonan have going on.  But it works, as it has done for the better part of two decades, and despite one of the Corbett brothers pulling out some of his own hair and feeding it to an over-zealous punter, all is well.

To the main event – Spencer P. Jones wanders cheekily onto the stage, followed closely by James Baker, Fiona Kitschin and Gareth Liddiard (making two ex-Beasts and a couple of Drones) and without much ado, they begin.

What follows is a tsunami of guitar-based noise, an intense melding of 12 schizophrenic strings which bend and wail any which way they want, riding bareback over the Gibraltic thump and grind of Kitschin and Baker, who hold the whole ungainly thing together whilst Liddiard and Jones go off on their own tangents.

Yeah, there are songs, most culled from the group’s eponymous debut, and it’s rock ‘n’ roll, it’s hard country, but it’s mainly guitars and then more, squalls of feedback emanating from all sides, Liddiard’s guitar strung down to his knees, Jones’ high on his hip, the sound they produce a physical being, naked and vague and high on smack, likely to backhand you across the mouth before falling over and banging it’s head on something sharp which makes it squeal all the more.

It’s actually quite an exhausting set, even though it only goes for a little more than an hour, but it’s one which shakes you to your core, a sonic pistol-whipping from which there was no respite.  Indeed, highly recommended.

Samuel J. Fell

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