As Fringe collapses back into the rut of the mundane, Adelaide slinks back in the face of the coming winter to hibernate in the only way it knows how; to stay indoors. Finding comfort away from society does nothing to erase the reputation this amazing city has as a place with nothing to do. Even many Adelaidians will agree that compared to our neighbouring cities, it’s a lot harder to find entertainment outside of beer pong and Game of Thrones. However, there is no denying the tremors of something growing underfoot.
Winds of change have preceded the coming of autumn, silently and slowly pumping the streets with an idea that has always struggled to make itself a reality in our town. An Independent music scene is beginning to emerge from the cracked and deserted pavement like a rare and exotic flower, filling the air with the amazing scents of curiosity and possibility. More and more artists are coming together to form bands or solo acts than ever before and new and intimate venues are beginning to offer them a place to play.
This segment of The Adelaidian is devoted to keeping you in touch with gigs, bands and venues making the circuit around your local music scene. With fortnightly reviews and interviews, you will hear a detailed insight into what makes Adelaide music work from the artists and bands, promoters, sound engineers and venue staff.
This past week I caught the live set by local band Zero Days at The Crown and Sceptre. Opening performances by thrash blues rockers Gun It and grunge rock outfit Dead West set the tone of the night with powerful music and vocals, pumping the crowd with a relentlessly raw energy. As the droning feedback of the opening sets shuddered into silence the stimulated crowd was at its peak as Zero Days fired to the stage and jammed out forty five minutes of their invigoratingly catchy melodic punk.
Fronted by the party animal shirt-donning lead vocalist Duncan Berce, the bands natural and animated chemistry immediately stamped them as a band with potential to go great places in the Aussie punk scene. Lead guitarists Will “Bags” Somers and Anthony Cochrane took turns shredding solos and hammering chords and the skins were tearing at the seams under the whirlwind sticks of drummer Harley Wilson.
The group demonstrated an in-depth understanding of the broad world of punk, reflecting sounds from the old school, new school and of their own class of original music.
There is a lot to love about a band with a theme and Zero Days have definitely found theirs; a pessimistic yet joyously moshing reflection of the world seen through their eyes. Their mix of tooth-spitting thrash, indie-pop charm and melodic technicality signify them as a band playing on its own terms.
As their lyrics so eloquently place it;
“We are not here for you,
We are here for us nothing to prove, to lose,
So stay or go,
Coz we are doing this for us alone.”
Zero Days – Balls Deep
SOUNDS LIKE: Violent Soho, The Vines, Rise Against
Zero Days will be performing on May 2nd at the Producers Bar.
Fresh from the blistering set played by Zero Days I caught up with Darren Gitsham, owner of the Crown and Sceptre. For those of you who are unaware, the Sceptre is one of the many emerging venues highly sort after by bands because it offers one of those live settings what a lot of the more traditional venues lack; intimacy.
In the cleared restaurant room out the back, The Sceptre offers a dark space, large enough to fit in a decent crowd yet small enough to make even the smallest crowd seem big. With a great light presence and cosy beer garden sporting free table tennis the venue is quickly making a name for itself as a relaxed and intimate scene with many bands coming back to play more than once.
How long ago did you take over the Crown and Sceptre and since you did what sort of changes have you made in regards to making the place more fitted for bands and musicians?
We took over the hotel in January 2014 after it had been closed for almost two years. We re-opened the venue in May 2014. The approach we took from the start was one of functionality. We removed the old stage in the band room because it was too big and dominated the room with its height (it was two feet tall). We brought in a (portable) modular stage and placed it at the eastern end of the band room, previously the old stage was on the Northern Wall. This allowed for more people to fit comfortably in the room and also for the room to be used for multiple uses.
We also enlisted the guys from Nova Tech do install a sound system in the venue that would allow for industry leading sound quality without unsightly speaker stacks and excessive visible equipment, which was important as the space is not always a band room. We also installed a new lighting bar with a basic but effective lighting setup.
Have you noticed a lot more activity with bands since you made these changes?
Absolutely, we have seen bands in the venue go from strength to strength. The venue has had a really positive response from live music.
Who are some of the names that have come through and what were the shows like?
We’ve had so many amazing live local bands through in the past twelve months. Local, interstate and international acts include, Luke Million, Clint Boge, Teenage Crime, Dallas Royal, Funk Latin Union, Zero Days, Squeaker, Boneseed, Orelia, Oxymoron, Dear Plastic, Jupiter, Eddie Boyd and The Phatapillars, Pink Noise Generator, Prophets of Impending Doom, Phat Panda and so many more…
The shows have been great. Because we generally don’t charge entry fees we get a really diverse and enthusiastic crowd to the shows at the Sceptre. It of course would be great to see more people come out and support live local music, but lately the market does seem to be trending back to bands and live venues. I think the public appreciate that if they want to be at the “cliff face of cool” then listening to DJ’s regurgitating other peoples music isn’t the way of the future.
How much advertising have you needed to do/are you doing and has this affected the amount of people who attend shows?
We do a lot of our advertising on social media, we use posters internally in the venue and we have a weekly advert in BSide Magazine. This has had a lot of positive effect on the numbers through the doors. But all venue owners/managers would say the same thing; this is no substitute for a dedicated and enthusiastic band. Bands that genuinely promote their own shows (and mainly this is done through free media outlets) get the best numbers. With the peer to peer marketing that occurs these days, venues can promote to a point but hard working bands always see better results and those bands receive the rewards.
What nights do you hold shows and is it busier on any particular night?
We host original bands on Friday and Saturday nights and are about to launch a world music and Uni party night on Thursday’s called “Bongo” which will feature local bands and DJ’s with an international flavour. We also do a variety night called “Monday Night for The Lonely Soul”, and in June we are launching a fortnightly quiz night “Matt Vecchio’s Musical Jamboree” which will be unlike any quiz night Adelaide has seen before.
Are there any up and coming shows that you are particularly excited about?
Ha ha ha, I’m excited about every show coming up at the Sceptre! I am really excited about the launch of Bongo on May 7th and also the amazing variety of bands we have coming up.
That’s Darren Gitsham, Director and Owner of the Crown and Sceptre.
ALRIGHTY lovers of noise and fans of sound, this has been the first segment of many that will be covering the important comings and goings of your Adelaide music scene. Every two weeks you will be introduced to new bands of all genres making the Adelaide circuit and getting a name for themselves along with interviews, photos, links and information on just how to stay in touch with your groove and mood.
What does the future hold for your ear canals? Everything you make of it. Will you sit back on the sidelines and just watch or will you make yourself a part of your city? You can be the vital lifeline of a slowly awakening giant by getting out and seeing shows, supporting local music and becoming a part of the rising tide of Adelaide culture.
Love your man, Slam.