Okin Osan, Deep Space Supergroop & Imperial Broads at Vic on the Park, March 10
Marcus: It’s already March 28. Are we going to review a gig from three weeks ago?
Jo: Why not? I wouldn’t want to give anyone the idea this is a professional operation.
Rob: I quite like the idea of reviewing things that happened ages ago. Now that we have this mouthpiece, can I just point out for the record that my 3rd birthday party was shit?
Jo: What happened?
Rob: My sister got jealous of the attention I was receiving so after breakfast she told me we were playing Cinderella, and I was Cinderella, and I was dead. She said that dead people have no hair, so I let her cut all my hair off with nail scissors, then she put me in a ‘coffin’ which actually meant locking me in an old wooden chest until my parents found me, barely breathing, a couple of hours later. This event gets no stars from me. A thoroughly depressing experience.
Jo: Since Angel Olsen is back in town, can I review the last time we went to see her and you had just bought a new phone you couldn’t operate yet, and the night was ridiculously hot, global warming hot, and we got lost in the backstreets of Surry Hills, and we had a pathetic argument about whether my phone or your phone was telling us the correct way to go, because you were convinced they were giving us opposite directions. Then we calmed down and bought some wine and got a bit pissed in a park before entering the gig.
Rob: Amazing how Google maps can manage to suck as much as no map or a paper map.
Jo: Only when you use it. You always freak out when it tells you to “head northwest for 500 metres. “How the fuck am I supposed to know which way is northwest?” Ya dummy.
Rob: How would you know any better? Were you carrying a sextant?
Marcus: Let’s not start that again.
Rob: I just wish the map would point in the direction I need to go from where I’m facing instead of crapping on about heading northwest for five hundred metres.
Marcus: You can set up the app to do that.
Jo: I’ve told him that. Basically anything on Google maps that requires more than ten seconds to figure out makes Rob blow up.
Rob: They’re just using that thing to track everyone.
Marcus: Moving on with your Angel Olsen story.
Jo: So we got to the gig and Angel Olsen came out in shabby Walmart clothes and this bulky army disposal jacket with a hood covering her face, looking like she’d just climbed over the wall of a rehab facility to get there.
Rob: I think she was super hungover from Laneway or something.
Jo: We were disappointed that she made no effort when we both paid over $50 for tickets, then we felt guilty afterwards for judging her on that. Only because she has a glamorous media image so you expect a star when you go to see her. Then we were wondering if she was trying to be kind of punk, refusing to dress up as a feminist gesture to subvert expectations. But that seems incoherent.
Rob: I still think she was just hungover. The band sounded tired and the show never really got going for me.
Jo: But to me it also demonstrates the disconnect between your personal identity and your music label probably telling you, “We need some photos and we’re going to do a film clip and we have this much money and we’re going to dress you up like this,” and so on.
She’s being managed. Unless you have a very strong idea of what you want your persona to be, you’re just going to be pushed down the obvious route of “You’re an attractive person and we’re going to put makeup on you and make you look hot.” Probably her everyday experience is not wearing makeup and dresses. I remember now she also was saying she couldn’t believe it was summer over here, and she hadn’t packed any deodorant. Which just seemed completely daft, or she had just been flown here after somewhere else, and somewhere else before that. So I doubt she was making any grand political gestures.
Rob: When I think about it now, I just remembered that she used to be Will Oldham’s backup singer. And he has always been an appalling slob on stage. Last time I saw him play he was wearing a dirty old singlet and short shorts that showed his bum crack every time he bent over with his guitar. Maybe Angel’s true identity is more like Will Oldham’s personality trapped in a beautiful woman’s body.
Jo: She sounds more like Leonard Cohen trapped in a beautiful woman’s body. But either way, sure, that’s a theory.
Rob: I’m retreating now from the double standard. If Will Oldham can expose his bum crack while singing I See A Darkness, Angel Olsen equally has the right to look like she woke up on the floor of a crackhouse while singing White Fire.
Jo: Her song intros were also surprisingly awkward, which I found endearing. I remember she said something like, “I guess I have to pretend now I’m really sad to sing this song about breaking up with my boyfriend, even though I wrote this song years ago and I’ve totally forgotten about him now.”
Marcus: You still listen to her records.
Jo: Yeah, I love her records.
Marcus: Do you feel like having a stupid argument and then getting drunk in a park in any way undermined your sensitivity to her performance?
Jo: There were a lot of rapt nerdy boys at the show who would probably swear by it.
Rob: Her shows have a very specific male demographic, don’t they. Her and Joanna Newsom. Everywhere you turn, those intense intellectual boys with the hollow-eyed look of the onanist.
Marcus: You were there too, Rob.
Rob: I’m not included in my generalisations. When I think about it, the drooling fanboys would be another motive to dress like a street junkie and tell people you’re not wearing deodorant.
Jo: Remember that tool at the Joanna Newsom gig who offered to help her tune her harp?
Rob: What a plonker. I’m pretty sure I saw her shiver when he started talking to her. She responded politely, though. I would have told him to piss off.
Jo: Maybe it was a shiver of delight.
Marcus: We don’t seem to be any closer to discussing Vic On The Park, March 10.
Rob: True. Shall we give up?
Marcus: Come on, quick summary.
Jo: I remember having a very good time.
Marcus: Better than Angel Olsen?
Jo: I feel mean now. How did we end up slagging off a great musician? I did have a better time at the Echo Room event. The bands brought a lot of love with their sets, and everybody hung out afterwards.
Marcus: I haven’t met Imperial Broads before. They were all great value. Funny people, strong drinkers.
Rob: Lauren from Imperial Broads and I were both wearing Stereolab shirts. Mine was an actual Stereolab shirt, and she was wearing what she calls her ‘Dots and Loops shirt.’ She told me she bought it because the pattern reminded her of the record sleeve. These small things make a big difference in my life.
Jo: Eve also has that beautiful guitar, which she told me is a custom version of the Guild Thunderbird Fred Cole played in Dead Moon. I never met a bad person who likes Stereolab or Dead Moon so I vouch for these people. They have a great live presence, I thought. Everyone in the room was smiling or dancing when they played.
Marcus: Also, Rose from Okin Osan revealed the meaning of her song title Aftershade for us (see Aftershade blog entry). This is a word she made up as a child for the world people will have to live in after the impending apocalypse. She saw this place in a dream.
Rob: That explains the horse named Aftershade we came across earlier. The owner of the horse must have had the same dream as Rose did. Horses will be back in a big way when the next dark age is upon us. I’m going to take up Spanish horse dancing as my plan B if there’s no more electricity for my bass.
Jo: Solid plan.
Marcus: Count me in. There’s no Casiotone in the Aftershade.