The Galvatrons — 22 October, the Troubadour

When I got home last night, I grabbed the first larger-than-my palm notebook I could find, a pen, and dropped on my bed and wrote the following:

I don’t want to take my shoes off, or get undressed, because that means admitting that the night has truly ended, and that means that these memories just might start to fade.  I wish I could just play back my night for you like a video, that I could record it and relive it whenever I wanted to feel that excitement, that thrill.  But I can’t.  So, instead, I must commit as much as I can to paper (and later to electronic words, where this will become a blog post) and be content that as long as the most critical memories remain strong, then I can still be complete.

As usual, I am going to tackle the event of the night in chronological order; because, like any great story, it just gets better and better until the tale reaches its climax and the denouement begins.

The Troubadour is a little hole-in-the-wall on Brunswick street mall.  Doors didn’t open till 8pm, and from the outside they have the “hole in the wall” concept down pat, nothing more than a steel roll-a-door between a café and a bank.  Inside, the Troubadour is a long and narrow space with a bar at one end and a stage at the other.  It’s dark and run down, but much larger than Ric’s Bar, it might hold about the same number of people as the stage area of the Step Inn.  It’s in desperate need of repainting, and the seats are the goodwill kind, and if you’re wearing a nice dress/skirt, you might want to think twice before sitting.

However, at $12 for tickets, I neither want, nor have the right, to complain about the venue.

There were two support acts, so the music started pretty early.  I had visited the bar twice, and the merchandise once (I bought myself a shirt, which I ducked into the ladies and changed into), and a copy of the single We Were Kids, my favourite of the single releases, which also have a highly convenient white border around the cover art, musicians take note!  I was almost tempted to buy a pair of the shoelaces they had on sale.  How cute and retro!  Sadly, I only have one pair of shoes that require laces, and they require a trip to the cobbler before I could wear them again.

The first support act, I believe they are called Buick Six, were nothing special.  They weren’t bad, they just weren’t memorable.  And to be a less-than-memorable band supporting the almighty fucking Galvatrons, then you are going to be, unfortunately, eclipsed.  So, I won’t write much here about it, they deserve no scorn, merely my acknowledgement that they did not shine, and as such have inscribed no memories on my brain.

The second act, however, rocked the house.  A Sydney group called Dirty Secrets, they sounded – to my albeit very untrained ear – like the Pet Shop Boys met the Cure and collided with an awesome 80s rock sound.  Their music, and their front man, was energetic, and had I not been there with a friend, I would have gotten up and danced, looking like a loner idiot be damned!  Their music makes you want to move.

In addition to sounding great, they were all cute, and the drummer was shirtless, with lovely long hair (how well your long hair is maintained is very important guys! you can’t all rock the unkempt look like Johnny Galvatron, so make sure you condition your locks for silky hair that girls like me would love to touch).

The Dirty Secrets did a great job of warming the crowd up.  Before they even finished their set, the crowd was starting to move forward, getting close to the stage in preparation for the big moment, when the Galvatrons were going to hit the stage.  The moment the Dirty Secrets said goodnight, the crowd surged forward.  I managed to stake myself a claim center front, sadly separated from the stage proper by two very large speakers.  This spot became prime real estate once the Galvatrons started playing, and I had to elbow several fan girls (and more than one fan boy) out of my spot.  I knew what I was in for, that’s why I got my spot.  I wasn’t about to give it up.

Planting my friend in my spot stage-front, I quickly ducked into the ladies before the real show started.  On my way back to the stage, I passed the front man of Dirty Secrets in the hall.  Now, I want to go on record as saying that in the entire night (starting with dinner at about 7ish), I’d had less than three drinks, so I wasn’t even a little buzzed, apart from the sheer excitement in the air.  So, when I stopped, hesitated, and said “hey” to the front man of the Dirty Secrets, we can safely say that my courage wasn’t even being supplemented by booze, that was all me.

But, no matter how much of an idiot I sounded and felt like, he stopped and said hello.  So I stammered out something that might have been “you guys were fucking awesome out there.”  He thanked me, and introduced himself as Jarrod.  He asked my name and offered his hand.  He told me I had a pretty name, and kissed me on the cheek.  Simply wonderful.

SIDEBAR: You want to know what I hate?  Crappy photos.  In a move that can only be considered “retarded”, I didn’t bring my camera with me to the gig.  Which turned out the be an incredibly stupid move as Warner Music actively encourages the audience to snap photos of the Galvatrons.

So, I have to apologise for the amazingly crap quality of the photos I took.  I used my phone, which despite having the best in-phone-camera I’ve had yet (and I’ve had a lot of mobiles), has a very long delay on the shutter, so the photos are rather lousy.  I’ve done my best in photoshop to touch the pictures up a little, and I apologise for the terrible quality.  That being said, at least I have some photos!

So, I went back out to the stage and staked my claim, thighs pressed against the speaker in front of me, dancing a little bit to the Cure that was playing in the background.  Finally, the boys came out and started setting up.

the Galvatrons,Johnny Galvatron,Galvatrons the Galvatrons,Johnny Galvatron,Galvatrons the Galvatrons,Johnny Galvatron,Galvatrons
You probably can’t make it out in the photos, but the badge
on the guitar strap reads I <3 Optimus Prime.

Finally, Bozza seats himself at the drums and hits a button.  The speakers erupt with And so They Invade…, one of the most awesome synthrock tracks ever created, and the audience begins to scream along with the lyrics WE’RE HERE TO SAVE THE WORLD!

Out comes the superlatively charismatic Johnny Galvatron, in a red super-hero cape.

When I say that there aren’t quite any superlatives that accurately cover the charisma that oozes from front man Johnny Galvatron, I’m not kidding, and I’m not exaggerating.  At VNV Nation, there was a large male component to the audience, fan worship built on Ronan’s talent.  But, Johnny Galvatron is not just talented, no! He shreds a mean riff, he can play and sing at the same time (don’t laugh, some musicians confess that they simply cannot keep playing and lyrics straight at the same time), he is sexy, he is confident, and he can stand center stage and announce I HAVE AN ERECTION while the ocean of female fans scream.

When he gestured, the audience imitated.  Every fist pump was returned by the audience.  When he told us to tell him how awesome he was, every voice complied.  When he shouted I’M GETTING LAID TONIGHT, I had no doubt that was true.  When he said “I don’t normally say this, but” and told us that Brisbane audiences were the best in Australia, we actually believed him (or at least we did until we thought about it later, and realised that we were a little too dazzled by his awesomeness, and of course he says that to every city he plays in — though there’s still a part of me that says “shhh! of course it’s true! shut up!).  There was even a moment when he stood at the front of the stage and the audience began doing this:


We’re not worthy!

He worked the crowd artfully, coming to the edge of the stage while the crowd pulsed forwards to reach out for him (but never touching, as per the unspoken law of gigs), but never reaching back for the audience, never giving that implicit permission that we can breach that final half-inch that stands between us and our rock idols.

During their rendition of Laser Graffiti, Johnny claimed that he was too lazy to sing the repeated lines, and invited three audience members on stage.

the Galvatrons,Johnny Galvatron,Galvatrons the Galvatrons,Johnny Galvatron,Galvatrons

Midway through the gig Gamma Ray had solo on the keyboard.  Such clever fingers, such awesome sound.

So, now, it is time to talk about the single most important event of the night.  Though Johnny had played the crowd like a finely tuned violin, there was one point where he stepped onto the speakers that I was leaning over to get close to the crowd.  Up until this point, except for one moment when he reached out to the audience and touched their hands (I’m sorry, that still feels weird to say, like ooooooh, he deigned to touch, we are just so special! Doesn’t make it any less true!), he had been pointedly distant.  Untouchable.  ROCK GOD.  He had ignored my hand, and I had been disappointed.

But he came out to these speakers, and he let us touch him.  This only happens rarely at gigs, no matter how often these idols touch us, it is a rare moment when they consent to let us touch them.  And I did.  Standing right in front of him, scant inches away, I reached up and I placed my hand on his chest.  But it gets better.

I mean, apart from his groin being right at my face (and here I thought I’d never need/get to say that again in my life), except for the guitar slung at his hips between me and his jeans.  There was even a brief moment when I thought “I could just reach up there under his guitar and totally grope him, and no one would know but me, him, and maybe one or two people at the front who weren’t 100% focused on Johnny being in such close proximity”.  Don’t worry, I didn’t do anything like that, but my hand did brush his thigh as I dropped them to my sides.

He inched closer to the edge of the speaker, and indicated for us in the front to make room, and so I inched to the side a little and he reached down and TOUCHED MY HAIR.  Just a quick flick, tousling my already head-banging mussed tresses.

Yes.  Others may have reached out and he touched them.  Others might have gotten to go up on stage.  But it was me that he reached down and touched!  Me!  I would like to pretend that when he didn’t touch my reaching hand, it was because he was saving something special for me, clearly the most die-hard fan in the house.  If you DARE attempt to disillusion me of this fantasy, I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you.

To bring the night to a close, they played Robots Are Cool, which is more than just a geek anthem.  The entire joint thumped as they rocked a song about playing video games (you can still get it for free here).  I think we can all agree, geek or no: ROBOTS ARE COOL.

There were no set lists (at least none on the stage).  This was a little disappointing for me, as I like to collect the set lists from gigs I go to – especially if I can get them signed by the artists.  However, in a flash of insight that I will call fate, I had bought a copy of We Were Kids, and put a pen in my bag when getting ready for the gig.  Reaching into my bag to find the pen, I actually missed Bozza offering one of his drumsticks to the audience (he must go through a lot of those), such a shame, but I don’t begrudge those girls their competition for that drumstick.

I held my CD and pen out to the stage, with an imploring and hopeful look on my face.  One of the boys came over and signed, thanking me for coming out.  This is a custom I don’t understand!  As much as I realise that bands need people to show up at their gigs if they hope to be anything even imitating success, isn’t it I, the fan, who should be on my knees in gratitude for the sheer awesomeness of them bringing their music to me? Possibly offering blow jobs, while I’m down there?  I stupidly replied that they were too awesome not to come out and see, and boldly asked if he would fetch Johnny (who had already left the stage) to sign my CD as well.  And he agreed!  Wow!  He even tapped his brother on the shoulder and pointed him in my direction.  And so the boys came and signed my CD one by one.  And they didn’t just sign, either.  They each wrote a short message.  This is the kind of generosity that makes for truly die-hard fans, I promise you.

Turned out Johnny Galvatron wasn’t in the band room, but I finally grabbed him on one of his thousand trips from the band room to the bar and back over the course of the whole night (though already having the other three signatures, this was the first time I had enough courage to actually speak to him, or try to get his attention).  He took the CD and pen and said to me “I saw you, you were rocking out harder than anyone.”  Charisma like that is deadly, folks.  Johnny Galvatron is now my favourite artist of all time, no question.

When he handed the CD back, I suddenly said (surprising myself more than him I’ll bet), “can I kiss you?”  I’m not sure what he was trying to say in answer to that, but he put a hand on my shoulder and I placed a hand on his opposite shoulder and gave him a peck on the cheek before (literally) bouncing away.  Oh yeah, I KISSED A ROCK GOD.

the Galvatrons

It occurred to me today that, as much as I want to apologise to the bands that visit Brisbane for the shitty venues we offer them to play, I don’t want to imagine a world where I can’t stand at the edge of the stage while my idols stick their groin in my face (come on: I love, they love it, we all know it).

This afternoon, I also noticed that while I managed to come out of the gig with barely bruised knees and no obvious aches or pains, I seem to have damaged just the section of my vocal cords that deal with my highest pitch range.  You know, the range at which I would scream.  I wonder how that might have happened?  It couldn’t have been all the times I screamed, setting off the other fans in the audience, could it?  Or the shouting of lyrics?  Nah…

* I did a quick spell check to make sure I didn’t suffer any severe typing fails while writing this before I hit “publish”.  Obviously “Galvatron” is not recognised by the spell checker, but the fact that it suggests JOHNNY SALVATION instead might be a point of concern… or worship.

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~ by ghostwolfe on October 23, 2009.

One Response to “The Galvatrons — 22 October, the Troubadour”

  1. Reading this post, my friend who attended the gig with me had the following to say:

    “I had almost forgotten the fact that Johnny left you as the only hand he didn’t touch in his initial touching phase. I remember feeling almost disappointed for you, as though he had personally snubbed you. Clearly, that was not the case, and he was just saving it up for some personal touching for you :)”

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