Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vaginabillies reviews

18/09/04 - The 3rd Annual Brisbane Rock’n’Roll Festival at The Rev, Fortitude Valley with Cosmic Psychos, Nightstick, The Cants, Vegas Kings, The Hekawis, Hell Crab City, The DangerMen, El Borracho, Gutterball Pete and The Shaolin Drunks, The Busymen, and The Wild.

[Review from Timeoff Magazine]

Speaking of chaos, The Vaginabillies with Fred Negro may not be playing at The Rev again anytime soon after their mix of burlesque cocktail waitresses, Fred Negro’s penis and bad country songs. Did we mention Fred Negro’s penis? Holy Jesus! It’s like seeing your deranged, inbred uncle flop it out drunkenly at some family gathering. What a great band!

New Year's Eve 2004 at the Pint on Punt with Mole Patrol, Crackwhore, Vaginabillies & the Twits

[Tim Chuma’s review from his blog]

After going to the Espy for the last three years I had been living in Melbourne, I decided that I would be going to the Pint on Punt this year instead (I had decided in March when I first started going there.)

As I had already seen the Twits play several times at the venue I already knew what they would be like. The bands I was looking forward to see were Mole Patrol and the Vaginabillies.

Even though it was only their 5th gig according to one of the members of the Twits, Mole Patrol were great. They all seemed to be having fun and even when they had to start one of their songs again they seemed to take it well. The crowd really enjoyed their performance also. Hopefully we will get to see more of them in the future. I have a crush on their lead singer already.

The last time I had seen the Vaginabillies play they were still playing as "They Might Be Vaginas". This time they played more of Shonkytonk's songs (Fred also played with them), a calypso number and even a Dragon cover. They are right up there in the antics stakes with Stumpy getting very nude by the end.

The Twits played as well as they usually did and the entire band ended up nude. Special mention must go to the "magic trick" by Lush and also Chris standing outside waving at passing cars after the show while completely naked.

New Year's Day 2005 Recovery at the Greyhound with the Gamma Rays, Shonkytonk, Vaginabillies & Sin City

[Tim Chuma’s review from his blog]

As I had nothing better to do I decided to walk down to the Greyhound and arrived about 7pm. When there was still no sign of anyone even setting up by 7.30pm I started to walk up to the Pint on Punt and met Stumpy & co walking down (it killed some time.)

The Gamma Rays played mainly instrumental surf-type music to an enthusiastic reception. Lots of people danced to them as they are good band to do so with. I know they have had several different members but I was surprised to see Scott from the Red Hot Poker Dots on drums as that band usually keeps him really busy.

The ever popular Shonkytonk played a great set. It proves country music can be popular if you play it right (the partisan St Kilda crowd may also be an advantage.)

The Vaginabillies played even better than last night with Stumpy getting up to all kinds of antics - he wasn't even as drunk as last night! They are going back to Brisbane after this gig so it will be the last I see of them for a while.

14/01/05 - Rock’n’Roll Abbatoir #2 at 610, Fortitude Valley w/Gazoonga Attack, Vaginabillies, La Cosa Nostra, The Ten Fours, The Jennys

[Donat Tahiraj’s review from Timeoff 19/01/05]

The Vaginabillies’ unpredictability is but one reason punters always come back to see them. They’re the sort of band where if 50 people come to see them, 40 won’t like them and the remaining will turn into die-hard fans for life. Tonight is a perfect example. Stumpy and his band of casual lunatics are left aghast when their guitarist storms off the stage and into the night during their second song. Through sheer ingenuity, the band press on as their set turns into a camp cabaret choreographed by Timothy Leary. Anyone with some kind of musical talent seems inclined to join in on their psychotic antics, with hilarious results.

If you love ’em, you love ’em, and if you don’t, they’ll behave like good missionaries and do their best to convert you with Long Island iced teas, sweat or just good old fashioned rock swagger.

13/01/06 - Johnny Thunders Tribute at the Rev, Fortitude Valley w/JJ Speedball, The Aampirellas, Dirty Bullets, Susie Loves Dick.

[Donat Tahiraj’s from Timeoff Magazine 18/01/06]

Loosely based around a Johnny Thunders tribute CD launch, Brisbane’s outsider rock’n’roll royalty are here to pay their respects to one of rock’s more decadent and indulgent of performers.

The calypso punk collective known as the Vaginabillies are probably the only band in the known world who have both David Allan Coe’s “Cumstains On The Pillow” and Dragon’s “Rain” in their repertoire. And that’s what makes them not only stupid, but also smart. Cabaret of the finest order.

07/07/06 - Pint on Punt, St Kilda w/Wayne Keys, The Eggs, Crackwhore, Vaginabillies, They Might Be Negroes

[Tim Chuma’s review from his blog]

I was looking forward to this show even if I didn't have money left until next week and I had to leave early. I hadn't seen the Vaginabillies or Stumpy for a couple of years so I wanted to see how they were getting on.

First up was Wayne Keys who did lounge versions of some punk songs including Nazi Punks much to the crowd's amusement. He also managed to get a lot of the women to leave which the Twits usually do when they start.

Due to Lush's injury, The Twits played an acoustic set as the Eggs. I thought it was a good set despite the problems Les had tuning his guitar and Fred filled in the gap by asking everyone their porn name.

Crackwhore were up next they are sounding great. I was given their new single and also managed to catch up with Stacy after their set. I will also try to buy a copy of Punk O'Clock IV which has a track by them on it.

The Vaginabillies have a new lineup with Coral Outcrop on percussion and Carly on keyboards. They played a few strange songs before Stumpy got up on stage and they began the rest of their set.

As a special tribute to Robbie Rocket, They Might Be Negroes performed some I Spit on Your Gravy songs including The Goink, Scotty, Burger Shop Slaughter and Piranha. I think they also played some Fuck Fucks material.

I stayed as late as I possibly could, but I missed the Australian GG Allin show this time. Hopefully everyone had a good time and I will try to catch that show sometime in the future.

11/06/09 - the Step Inn, Fortitude Valley w/Flipper, Slug Guts, Sixfthick, The Vaginabillies

[Tom Hersey’s review from Rave Magazine 16/06/09]

With a shark for a drummer, The Vaginabillies are an engaging and partially hilarious warm-up to the ridiculously cold Brisbane eve. Next, SixFtHick are a Cruel Sea cover band playing original songs. Cynicism aside, their cuts of bluesy garage punk are a strong addition to tonight’s bill. Over in The Step Inn’s rarely utilised corner bar, a crowd has gathered around Slug Guts. With a relentless wall of noise technique and a vocalist walking on the bar, spilling people’s beverages, Slug Guts are a spectacle.

Then Flipper take the stage and a dude in a shark costume playing drums seems tame in comparison. With his voice hamstrung by a nasty sounding cold, vocalist Bruce Loose’s contribution tonight is largely to stir mischief. And just that happens, Ted Falconi’s hypnotic riffs and Rachel Thoele’s rolling bass lines degenerate placid hipsters into raging scene warriors as the pit rips open, fights break out and put-upon bouncers try to keep everything under control. Frontman Loose is not a musical genius – tonight members of the crowd invited onstage are better vocalists than he and his contribution to Flipper’s records could only just pass as singing. Rather, the man is simply a genius; disinterested, laconic and alienating, he has squandered his potential playing in a rock & roll band and he knows it. His banter between songs is as cutting as tracks like Sacrifice, Life and Survivors Of The Plague. After nearly an hour and a half, when Loose’s voice is shot, the amps are switched off, the wall of feedback punctuating their iconic hit Sex Bomb ceases to be and the crowd walks away from the show, some feeling cheated, others blessed. Regardless, the beauty of witnessing a band that makes an audience pissed off, confused, bored, bitter, morose, dumbfounded, disorientated and fucking elated is not unappreciated.

[“Richard Alvarez” review from Timeoff Magazine 17/06/09]

Tonight it’s six different breeds of damaged punk and rock – kind of like the village of the damned, but with the parents in tow.

The Vaginabillies are terrible even though they’re in love with themselves – a country/punk circus freak show that Rocky Outcrop did way better ten years ago. Proceeding in another room are The Insurgents, a trio with spasms of songs that are segued with gaping chunks of feedback-drenched oblivion. It’s polarising but awesome.

Sixfthick are not what they once were. What was the Old Testament eight years ago is now a seedy, urban New Testament of growling sounds, split pants swagger and raw sinew showing. Their newer tunes grip with teeth like their older tunes never could. It’s not necessarily better and there’s no redemption, but it is intimidating. Slug Guts on the other hand pick the flesh off of the carcass of the swamp rock sound from down south that, for these kids, is but a fresh kill that the whole room happily devours.

It’s a weird vibe that kicks off Flipper, with the obese and highly irritating voice of Neil Hamburger incessantly going on and on over the PA while the band morbidly mill around and stare at the floor. The ugly black dirge that is Flipper’s trademark finally rears up, starting slowly with a melodic, grumbling bass sound and twisted guitar lines that dance around it. Bruce Loose declares the band in mourning; there’s been a death in the family even though mumbling obscures the identity of the dearly departed. The first few songs lope around the room and the strange air grows, ‘Survivors Of The Plague’ highlighting an inherent chaos in the band’s sound, if not the band itself.

Tempering the mood, the “Ha Ha Boys” of Stumpy and Co. career onto the stage to bore holes into ‘Love Canal’ – kicking off the night’s karaoke as Loose declares the death of his voice (the band’s fifth member). Somewhere within all the swirling noise and shambolic yet strangely picture-perfect sight before us, the drugs kick in, the alcohol takes hold or something, and the band finally finds a smile and some vitriol – unfortunately though, the band’s stride is not a straight one. Clarke Kent guest vocals ‘Life’ and the train wreck rolls ever closer. Guitarist Ted Falconi watches from the sidelines, churning up his guitar lines and staying clear as bodies and debris come and go. ‘Sacrifice’ displays the death throes of a band having too good a time to care whether the audience still loves them.

It’s all hands on deck for the karaoke closer ‘Sex Bomb’. Again, Stumpy (and a few random others) fill the void and permanently molest the song on behalf of the rest of the room until the wheels fall off and half the band wanders off stage. It’s hard to comprehend if this is what Flipper are meant to be but regardless, tonight it’s great for its twisted highs as much as its confusing and all-too-authentic lows.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wings Hauser Retrospective (2009)


[Catalogue notes for a Melbourne Underground Film Festival retrospective, August 2009]

“Reality can be boring. I like to put a little turbo power into my performance.”

Born Gerald Dwight Hauser, “Wings” earned his moniker on the gridiron field and was set to be either a pro footballer or rock crooner before settling on acting. A five year stint on hit soap The Young And The Restless led the ambitious Wings to the lead role in the low-budget B actioner Vice Squad (1982); he was disturbingly believable as the whore-whipping pimp Ramrod, and similar asshole roles followed, as did off-set stories of Wings' violent, alcohol and cocaine-fuelled misadventures. Settling down somewhat with partner Cali, the Hausers eventually formed their own indie filmmaking company with Wings directing the idiotic Skins (1994) amongst other low-budget action fare. Still a familiar face on network TV and direct-to-DVD features, he's most fondly remembered by trash fanatics in his iconic Eighties video store essentials, Vice Squad and Deadly Force (1983) included, in which his rule as King Asshole was unquestioned. We at MUFF are proud to present for your edification:

Deadly Force (1983)

Director Paul Aaron Writers Ken Barnett, Robert Vincent O'Neill

Cast Wings Hauser, Joyce Ingalls, Paul Shenar, Al Ruscio

“When the cops won't, and the courts can't...Stoney Cooper will give you justice!” Riding the crest of Wingsmania after Vice Squad (1982), Deadly Force returns Hauser to the junky-lined, hooker-heavy streets of LA, this time as NYC cop Stoney Cooper, avenging his best friend's granddaughter's death at the hands of the omnipresent “X Killer”.Naturally Stoney's a loose cannon happy to wave his gun at a mobster or millionaire while leaving a trail of bullet-riddled bodies behind him. If this sounds like a tenth-rate Dirty Harry knockoff, don't fret; it's 100% pure and joyous Eighties pulp, an ultra-violent, cartoonish revenge fantasy dripping with Hauser's ludicrous tough-guy dialogue courtesy of Vice Squad's writer and B-veteran Robert Vincent O'Neill (Wonder Women, the Angel series).

The Siege Of Firebase Gloria (1989)

Director Brian Trenchard-Smith

Cast R. Lee Ermey, Wings Hauser, Robert Arevalo, Mark Neely

Once again the Philippines doubles for the Ho Chi Minh Trail in a war actioner much-praised but little seen since its release. Aussie-based genre specialist Trenchard-Smith (The Man From Hong Kong, Turkey Shoot) distils the Vietnam War to a tense Cowboys vs Injuns scenario, with R. Lee Ermey, fresh from his iconic appearance in Full Metal Jacket, and a clearly off-kilter 2IC (Hauser) on one side of the fort, and the Cong led by a sympathetic Colonel (veteran Filipino actor Robert Arevalo) on the other. Taut direction, claustrophobic action with more-than-regulation explosions, and the powerhouse performances of Ermey and Hauser make Siege... one of the undisputed classics of the Eighties' Namsploitation cycle.

Skins (1994)

aka Gang Boys, Gang Boyz

Director Wings Hauser Writers Maria Dylan, Wings Hauser

Cast Wings Hauser, Linda Blair, Cole Hauser, Talbert Morton

A Hauser Family vanity affair featuring Wings – also on board as co-writer, producer AND director - as an alcoholic father uniting his family AND the Crips and Bloods against a neo-Nazi gang of gay-bashing rapists. A total misfire on all counts featuring Wings' son Cole, wife Cali (wisely hiding in the credits as “Dafna Galili”), Linda Blair wondering at which point her career went to the dogs, and a ghastly Eighties B film soundtrack which at no point sounds inappropriate, as the whole sordid mess feels about ten or fifteen years too late. Needless to say, no Wings Hauser Retrospective should be without this hilarious, first-class howler.