Thursday, January 08, 2009

NOW IT'S JUST A BLUR


The excellent Chapter Music celebrated its 18th birthday over the weekend. Coincidentally, I was in the same neighbourhood as the Tote, and since I couldn't not be drawn to the location of the most xxxtreme hardcore Melbourne indie rock action, my attractive girlfriend and I went and got drunk and nodded our heads a little.

Over the last couple of years, Chapter's been responsible for some incredible retrospectives of Australian punk and new wave, so when we found out there would be a surprise mystery guest we basically got appropriately excited. Another hint of a totally thrillzy reunion gig was dropped when we overheard some guy at the bar telling a tiny baby that mummy's band would be on soon. WERE WE ABOUT TO WITNESS ACTS OF COMPLETE BABY BOOMER MAYHEM? We stood around for a little while looking at the stage and trying to identify the baldy shouting at the sound tech. They were setting up their own gear, so it wasn't The Birthday Party. Eventually, the baldy announced that they were in fact Primitive Calculators.

This ruled, since Primitive Calculators are basically the most badass band in Australian punk history. They were together for two years between 1978 and 1980, during which time they released exactly one seven inch single and put on “Little Band nights”, where bands who’d rehearsed maybe twice could get up and play 15 minute sets. They were doing no-wave and DIY before anyone even knew what it was called. Badass.



It was pretty inspiring to see you could be bald and fifty and still hate the world real hardcore. Frontman Stuart was going off with classic lines like “What’s that fucking noise, Denise?” and “Have you got that fuckin’ thing loaded, Dave?” Dave would say things like “Uh… um, 90%” while Denise looked all sheepish and apologetic at people in the crowd. It was awkward. Some guy who was a massive PC fan got up and tried to auction off the first test pressing of their only album, but the bidding peaked at $3. Stuart called him a shithead and they played a song called “Cunt Life”, which features the line “You live in a hole/You work in a hole/You stick your dick in a hole/It’s a cunt life!” Badass.

It was pretty excellent to see a band who were really committed to being rude to their audience, especially next to bands like Sleepy Township, Panel of Judges and Crayon Fields, who still sounded good but were generally low-key and appreciative. I guess that’s how punk bands rolled back in 1979.

[Primitive Calculators MySpace]

[Buy Primitive Calculators from Chapter Music]

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