"Honey I'm home" - A return to live music with Sydney-based photographer James Adams
What do Dinosaurs, the FBI and an Art Gallery have in common?
About as much as a truck full of flowers and a small city on a mountainside in Canada…. The answer is - absolutely nothing. That is, unless, you were lucky enough to find yourself at Oxford Art Factory last Friday night. If you were there you would have noticed (at least I hope) that you were in fact at a Dinosaur City Records Fundraiser show for FBI Radio. DCR is a Sydney-based record label that happens to boast some favourable names such as Flowertruck, Big White and Solo Career – hopefully, this is all starting to make a bit of sense to you now. As we all are experiencing of late, the live music scene in Australia has been a bit of a minefield to navigate which is why this show was put on in the first place. They managed to raise a huge $2400 for FBI which is proof that live music isn’t dead, it is in extremely capable hands and is exactly why I couldn’t resist the urge to go.
I guess walking into a venue is a feeling you get used to when it’s an often occurrence - for me it was almost every night.
I understand that most sane minded people miss the thrill of live music and watching it with your mates but there are other sensory moments that ride side by side with the musical performance that are easy to forget about, that is if you even realised they were there at all.
The venue smell. Never thought I’d miss that mix of stale booze and sweat covered in chemical cleaner. But yes, it virtually had me salivate smelling that tang again. That foul tang that says… ‘prepare your ears for a firm massage’.
The between set music. Those playlists are so bang-on it’s ridiculous. Usually drowned out by the conversation of the drunkards, the limited capacity birthed breathing room to hear the list of grooves that had me dancing in my chair like a toddler in a sandpit.
Even the branded signage was catching my eye and that’s when you need to start questioning your mental state. Have I lost it? Am I that easily compelled? Should I have called it a night when a dated beer banner evoked my thoughts? If that’s stimulating am I at risk of fizzing out when the bands started?
I stayed, and the bands started.
You know what I learned, it’s hard to take photos with a grin on your face. Even harder when your huge head is bobbling around to the tunes, like a toddler again.
Solo Career opened the night and looked very familiar being that they consist of half of Body Type. Their magically unique beats and comfortable onstage chemistry was exacerbated by everyone’s favourite instrument of wind based hypnosis - the flute.
Big White are a great live band. Very reminiscent of the classic Aussie bands of yesteryear, they felt familiar, they were super tight and it was almost nostalgic even though I know I hadn’t seen them play before. I could have watched this band all night long, maybe that’s why their set felt short, it was done before I even knew it had started.
Flowertruck played as though it were the last night of a residency. Super smooth, tight and unrivalled onstage flow. Aside from the bass amp wigging out Flower Truck careened from song to song delivering power, harmony and clarity with their trademark quirk that makes you want to do something wild. Like cut in a weird hair cut or sport a turtle neck to the gym. They make you want to take a risk you know you can live with.
That’s how tonight felt. Live music felt excitedly dangerous again like using a fake ID to get into a pub when you're 16. There was a risk but it was managed and was it worth it? What do you think?