The Wax Conspiracy

Fear Not The Monkey (Live reviews from the Brass Monkey and the Enmore)

I'm never sure about whether or not to label a gig "Good" or "OK" or "Bad" or whatever. Normally there are more factors involved than purely the band in rating a gig. For example: the Brass Monkey.

Merge + Mick Greening @ the Brass Monkey, Cronulla (13/4/02)

Imagine sitting in a shoebox, packed with leering and drunk "Shire-folk," waiting 2 hours for pizza, and then getting shafted by a licensed bandit calling himself a bartender. It's combinations of things as these that fill the evening with instant regret and a sense of foreboding.

The warm-up act guy, Mick Greening, wasn't terribly good either. I guess it's an experience thing. The guitarist from Merge took pity and joined the poor bugger onstage for some jamming or whatever the musicians call it.

Merge themselves are a more than moderately tight outfit. They just kept playing and playing. I didn't recognise any of their songs despite having seen them once before purely by accident. I say "accident" because many elements of that evening, also, were comparable to a boathook accident. But the band didn't give me tetanus, and for this I am grateful.

The Brass Monkey, despite all its shortcomings has a good sound - acoustics or something. That's its only redeeming feature.

And Merge? They're kinda rocking, but the vocals had me a little on edge. And to their credit, they did play for a long time. Their guitarist is one of the more skilled on the local scene at this point in time.

Ben Folds + Clem Snyde + Fear of Flying @ the Enmore (20/4/02)

This gig had high expectations, as the last time I'd seen Ben Folds, it had been a few years ago at the Hordern, but with a bigger band.

Back then I was impressed with their presence and on-stage energy, and straight-up musical talent. The support acts were surprisingly good, and made the time before Ben Folds appearance on stage more enjoyable. I was impressed with Clem Snyde; another solo act, this one with acoustic guitar and stranger lyrics.

Despite not having a band to back him up on this tour, Ben Folds still manages to make amazing music in the flesh. This man is both a musician and an entertainer. He is a man who encourages audience participation right from the get go, and invited us to sing for him "Khe Sahn" or whatever it is by Jimmy Barnes.

I should mention now that I dislike Jimmy Barnes as much as I dislike his music, but I wasn't going to let this fact ruin the whole evening. In fact, the whole night was filled with Ben Folds telling which parts the audience had to sing. And in-between songs, he'd tell anecdotes about songs or travel or what-have-you. The set was odd; mostly stuff from his current album, and a few foot-stompers from the Ben Folds Five days. "Song for the Dumped" he changed around from a major key to minor; which really was a mindbender to hear and it changed the entire complexion of the song.

He also belted out a bunch of songs that we can refer to as "contract-obligation-quota-achieving" songs. These filler songs turned out to be pretty comical; "one down, three point four to go," was a highlight to be sure.

Jimmy Weasel

Reviewed on Monday, 22 April 2002

The Wax Conspiracy



Other reviews by Jimmy Weasel