Shihad – 28 November, Club 299

The bad news? I may have to burn my Galvatrons gig shirt – I’m not sure it will ever be clean again. The good news? Totally worth it!

My tale starts on a Friday evening, after work. What do young, vibrant, independent women do on a Friday night in the city? Well, I don’t know; but the fat, boring ones check out the opening specials at the new JB Hi-Fi and go home to play computer games.

So, I’m catching up on some slightly neglected emails and social networking when I happen across a message from the greatest band ever formed: the Galvatrons.

The Galvatrons: QLD again this weekend! Shihad shows and That Festival!

Wait… What!? Radio silence from the Galvatrons Mothership since November 19, and now this? (I’m not kidding by half, either, that was posted to their MySpace, but not Twitter or FaceBook) Don’t matter, I’m still going, and this time I’m going to be prepared.

I don’t want to set this whole thing off on a bad tone, but I don’t want to end it negatively either, so maybe I should just skip describing the venue for those of you who haven’t been there. Instead, let’s just say that while I applaud cheap music, I’d be more than willing to pay extra to be able to go to venues where the damn doors on the toilets latch, or even close. I’m going to leave my complaining there, let’s move on to the music!

Waiting for the doors to open (and the ticket holders to have a chance to get in, as I found out too late to order one online), I kept spotting people with shirts reading Fuck Karma. The first time I thought it was curious, but as I saw more and more of them, I decided it “must be a thing”. And it sure was.

The first band of the night was Brisbane locals Endless Nameless (check them out on MySpace). I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Endless Nameless have quite a following here in their hometown (I’m always the last to know). In the interest of ensuring that I had the best seat in the house for when the Galvatrons played, as the crowd inched forward, so did I. Curiously enough, this landed me stage side, right in front of frontman Ash with his fascinating tattoos.

To merely suggest, however, that Endless Nameless rocked would be a gross disservice to these Brisbane boys, thrashing out their tunes between amping the crowd up.

I’ve commented before on frontmen who get drunk before their gigs, and Ash certainly appeared to be pissed off his nut, dragging his guitar out into the crowd while still playing, swinging it around, crowd surfing, and tipping over the 6 or so drinks lined up on the edge of the stage for him and the other band members. That being said, if he’s going to take his shirt off every time he gets drunk, I will not be complaining at all. I am curious if he’s woken up yet, complete with hangover, and wondering what possessed him to smash his guitar, the Clash-style. At least the crowd gave the guitar back.

After their set, they began packing up, and I inched over to claim the centre front spot, recently vacated by the departing Endless Nameless die-hards, oh yes, I was exactly where I wanted to be.

Guess who brought her point-and-shoot to the gig last night! Me, baby, ME. So these aren’t PictureSarah, professional photographer quality, but they beat the hell out of the fuzzy mobile phone images from last month. Trying to find a balance between gathering photographic evidence of Johnny Galvatron’s awesome, and rocking out to said awesomeness is a delicate task., but I’d like to think I managed. Enjoy! [Remember to click the images for larger views!]

As the Galvatron’s began setting up, it seemed to be that Johnny Galvatron looked tired (he was also unshaven, but a five o’clock shadow is on my list of “sexy man-things”, so that’s completely forgivable; he’s also had his hair cut, what is it with boys who keep getting their gorgeous hair trimmed too short?). They’ve been “on tour” basically non-stop for how long now? A more obsessive fan than me would know the answer to that, and one that hadn’t been up all night dancing until her feet were numb would have enough energy to go research this… But you can take my word for it, ‘kay?

Extraneous Caption!

The kicked off with And So They Invade… which is, apparently, now guaranteed to elicit screams of delight from me. Yeah, guess who lost the upper range of her voice again!

I, for one, was disappointed that Johnny wasn’t wearing his cape.

Being as the Galvatrons weren’t the main act, and that they didn’t really let their fans know that they would be playing, the ‘trons supporters were pretty thin on the ground. I didn’t realise this at first (though it turns out that the die-hards consisted of about 5 people lined up along the stage, and the “crowd” was less that two-rows deep). You know, when I’m being shoved into the feedback speakers on the stage, I tend to assume that it’s because others are having as much fun as I am, but weren’t quick enough to land such prime real estate in front of the stage.

However, after being plowed into the speaker* a little more forcefully than one might expect from a surging crowd – and not just once, either – I actually turned around to see what the hell was going on. Well, I’m still not entirely sure, a group of guys were shoving each other around. Go figure.

*SIDEBAR: Granted, the stage at Club 299 is a good size, something that makes me glad. But it has this annoying step, which means although my knees didn’t get battered to hell, there was a lot more “leeway” to shove me over, putting my hand on the feedback speaker to not go sprawling on the steps.

At some point, I was clocked in the head by someone who decided that it would be a good idea to try and shove their way to the front. I still have a lump on my head, roughly the size and shape of a man’s elbow (its has gone down a lot since last night though, barely there at all, and now almost totally unverifiable. I’m not making this up!).

I also, somehow found myself standing next to a rather obnoxious Kiwi, who started heckling during Gamma’s solo. Not cool, not at all. I looked up at Johnny Galvatron (what? I can’t help it!) and he nodded to me and mimed me punching him. Taking the invitation, I might have shoulderbarged the guy. I honestly did not try to shove him, I just sorta bumped him with my shoulder, but he did kinda stumble a few steps over, and I think me might have spilt his drink. Okay! I feel bad, but he deserved it. Besides, when Johnny Galvatron tells you to do something, there is only one option. I was already thinking it anyway, he just gave me the impetus to act.

I saw him talking to Johnny Galvatron after the set, and I think he was bitching about the drink spilt on his shirt. I serious hope Johnny Galvatron told him to stop being such an arse.

Can I take this aside to sincerely apologise Gamma for the ham-fisted attempt I made on the Laser Graffiti remix for the competition? I know they say a shoddy workman blames his tools, but you have to believe me that I was fighting some limitations beyond just my own incompetence. Actually, I want to apologise to all the members of the Galvatrons, and anyone who had to listen to it as well. Sorry.

After their set, I abandoned my prime position in front of the stage and went around the back of the stage (ostensibly, I told myself, to hit the ladies room), when I ran into Johnny Galvatron in the hall. I approached him and when he saw me, a look of recognition passed over his face, and he said “hey,” smiling. Whether he remembers me as the rocking-est person in the crowd, centre front in my Galvatrons shirt; or as the rocking-est person in the crowd, centre front in my Galvatrons shirt, AGAIN; is left as an exercise for the reader.

So, having a real, honest-to-God camera on my person this time (joy!), I asked for a photo. He says “of course”, and apologises for being really sweaty. Well, you and me both, boy.

Photographic evidence, bitches!

Hovering about, but not really wanting to bother the band members any further (maybe next time I’ll get a photo of me and all the boys), I perched against the table that, for reasons unknown to me, sits in the hallway that leads to the bathrooms and band room. I’m watching the band go about their business, stopped every five seconds or so by their adoring public, when Johnny Galvatron comes out with his guitars and sets them down next to their equipment, near the merchandise tables. He looks up and asks if I’ll watch his guitars for him.

Hrmmm? This can go one of two ways: I’m either going to guard them better than the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London, or they’ll be gone before he’s even turned around. As I’m sitting here blogging about this, rather than having gone into hiding, let’s all assume that I took my task very seriously and guarded those guitars like nobody’s business.

I will note that while I was standing guard, Condor approached and added his guitar to the rack. I suppose he felt the need to say something, as I was standing pretty much directly over their kit out, and I answered that I had really come out for the Galvatrons. He told me that I’d like Shihad (MySpace link, did you expect less?). He was right (of course), but I still love my band from outer space more.

After they were safely away in the cases, I was scant inches away from the merch table anyways, so I eyed off the Endless Nameless gear, ending up buying my own Fuck Karma shirt and both EPs. Only $40 worth of stuff, but they gave me a free bumper sticker. Nice. Next time I go out to see Endless Nameless (there will be a next time, Ash is far too cute to not), assuming that no one higher on the t-shirt hierarchy is going to be there, I’ll be wearing that shirt.

I believe the Galvatrons put is best when, in Molotov Cocktail, they sang “falling in love with every [guy] that I meet”. How is it my fault when all these awesome bands are filled with such hotties?

I continued to hover about a bit while the Galvatrons back and forthed, schlepping their gear from stage-side to the car. On one of the pass-throughs Johnny Galvatron puts a hand on my shoulder and makes a quip about having to lug their kit out all that way.

During the Shihad gig (remember them? they’re the headlining act?), Johnny Galvatron came and stood next to me for a bit, leaning over to say that they are his rock gods. Thus the food chain of Rock Godliness is established (as I did with Ken Evans of the Tycho Brahe in the hierarchy of Rock Idols): I am what one might refer to as a “bottom feeder”, the talentless hard-core fans on the lowest rung of admiration-givers.

Watching Shihad from the back of the crowd was pretty interesting. I’ve always (what? 2 gigs? this one didn’t count) been in that front row, so I’ve only been able to judge how excited the crowd are from the amount that I get shoved against the stage. Luke from Endless Nameless was crowd surfing, and the entire crowd was jumping. I was amused, however, when Shihad asked the crowd to ‘play nice’, and thanked then towards the end of the gig for not getting too rowdy. All too late for my poor head, mind!

After the Shihad set (they did an encore, unlike a certain band I could name who played at the Troubadour last month), the DJ set up his gear and kicked off the rest of the night with some Rage Against the Machine. Would you, dear readers, have ever guessed that I was a closet head-banger? And I don’t just mean bopping along to the music, I mean feet-braced, hair-flinging head-banging.

In related news, holy crapbuckets, my neck and shoulders hurt.

Well, seeing as the music was so good, I thought I might hang around and have some fun. Unlike the other “clubs” I’ve been to, people were actually dancing (for all of you guys out there who say that dudes don’t dance, try Club 299 sometime. I think [due to the metal demographic of the gig], guys outnumbered the ladies). Normally, I don’t like “dance” or “extended” remixes, turns out I take issue with “overly extended” or “fucked up with techno crap” remixes. The DJ played a remix of Nirvana’s Lithium that rocked the house. The mix was incredible, covering such tracks as Love Shack, Thunderstuck, You Shook Me All Night Long, The Bad Touch, Billie Jean, Thriller, Keep the Faith, Boom Boom Pow, well, I could go on…

Everything would have been awesome if it weren’t for That Guy. I get it, I was dancing alone, I suppose that makes me something of a target, but damn, by the time I finally shook him, I was peeved enough that if he touched me again, I was going to give him one warning: touch me one more time and I go get security. He kept dancing real close and would tap me on the arm to get my attention. I think he was way too drunk to get the idea that I was ignoring him. At one point, I was brushing my hair out of my face, and he put both hands on my face as if to brush my hair back for me, and I put both hands on his chest and pushed him, and he STILL didn’t get the message.

I did, however run into an adorable metal guy with gorgeous long hair. We mimed the lyrics to Blink 182’s What’s my Age Again? together before heading off the dance floor to grab a glass of water. He complimented me, adding that I really looked like I was having fun. We hit the dance floor twice more until we were really both too trashed to keep it up anymore. Finally, I took out one of my cards and wrote my email on the back, telling him to email me sometime. I plan on being back, on a Friday night, I hope I see him there again. He gave me a hug when I left. I like hugs!

I’m glad, though, that I left the club when I did. It was 3:30 in the morning. I’d been on my feet since 8pm, and I’d been jumping up and down, banging, and dancing for most of that. Getting down the stairs from the club, my legs were shaking!

What an awesome night.


~ by ghostwolfe on November 29, 2009.

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