Anna Stodart

Frankly! It was a weird day, 04.09.10

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I made my way into Frankly! It’s a Pop Festival a touch late and having missed Lawrence English, Guy Blackman and Fabulous Diamonds… oh, and apparently the memo to dress like an indie hipster and strongly impose all hipster qualities, namely that of not talking to anyone outside your direct friendship group, sitting on the floor during gigs and a strict, no dancing and no fun policy.

The subtle new wave tones of Surf City were droning through the Powerhouse as I entered, immediately struck down by the impeccably well-dressed yet elegantly deshevelled 50-person deep crowd. At one point I even saw a Woody Allen badge. While I missed the first few songs of their set, I was lucky enough to catch to their track, “Dickshaker’s Union.” I turned to my friend, who sported a septum piercing and told her that I liked this song and she then asked back, “So… you like this band?” No one was getting into it, not even Surf City themselves. Probably because everyone was seated silently in groups of two or three. The New Zealanders played a couple of tracks from their upcoming release: one of the band-members wasn’t too sure of the release date or if it was out yet: and the sound was no different to that of their first release.

There was a break between sets while Crayon Fields prepared for their strangely indulgent set, and I set off to buy a drink to maybe ease my nerves and get into the spirit of things. I joined the revolution and sat down, and anyone would think that the Melbourne band were pathologically uncool. This was later proven after a bane attempt at witty banter. “Something something… killer whales…do good seven part harmonies.” The highlight of the set was the title track of current release, All The Pleasures Of The World, which takes several pages out of The Whitest Boy Alive’s book. The upbeat melody teamed with my cider gave me a sense of optimism that the mood of the day might just pick up.

After an inexcusably long soundcheck, the hipsters and I had to endure the vain lyrical stylings of High Places. Don’t be fooled, Mary Pearson may look like a babe and dress impeccably well.  But her lyrics lack substance and her melodies are woeful. It’s a real shame, because there were a few instances when the two-piece would produce a beat that lured the plaid shirts in. Five or six of them even started dancing. Well, moving back and forward slightly. But things never really took off. No one knew when to clap. That didn’t bother me because I didn’t particularly want to.  In between songs was the eerie and unfamiliar sound of a silent Powerhouse. I was ecstatic by the time they walked off stage.

Next up was headliner, Xiu Xiu. It was emotionally driven and intense, to say the least. And from my position in the upper wings, the hipsters were sticking to their party rules. I saw one or two groups thrashing about to Jamie Stewart’s immense guitar strumming. But for the most of it, we all were standing still. I was disappointed that the track “I Love Valley Oh!” was excluded from the set list, and left confused and bewildered as to where the last five hours of my life had gone. I think it was lost spent as a hipster. You know, just sitting on the floor at a gig, not dancing and ignoring everyone else around me. Frankly!, it was an odd day.

19 Responses to Frankly! It was a weird day, 04.09.10

  1. Tom September 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

    It is a never ceasing woe of mine that the pervading mood at any gig is apathy. If nothing else you’d expect anger, especially if the music is actually that bad.

  2. Cam September 7, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    This doesn’t really match with my experience of the day. The crowd seemed like the same crowd you’d find at any gig like this. Reserved yes, but not apathetic. I quite liked everyone I saw, though Xiu Xiu were the only true standout. Last year’s Frankly was probably better, but I still enjoyed this one.

  3. ed September 7, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I enjoyed both last year and this year (this year possibly was’t as good as there wasn’t a Van Dyke Parks show straight afterwards in the Rooftop Terrace room).

    Although I have numerous issues with Brisbane crowds, which include sitting down on the floor at gigs (and I did get heckled when Bill Callahan played at The Troubadour for standing up when he started)I don’t think the cavernous Powerhouse helps – it’s a hard space to fill both in terms of people/atmosphere and sound – and neither does it being a daytime show that’s all over by 7pm(ish). The vast majority of gigs I’ve seen there have had the same sort emptiness about them, even the sold-out night-time shows.

  4. Luther Blissett September 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Hahah at the hipster photo – I know many of those people [shudder]

  5. Darragh September 7, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    But Anna, though I don’t know you and judging you purely by the minute profile picture, how can you be sure that you yourself are not a hipster? 🙂

    I really hate people sitting down, particularly at the Troubadour. I’ve fallen over someone just trying to reach the bathroom – it’s a bit of a safety issue, I feel.

  6. Austen September 7, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Why did the reviewer whine about the ‘hipsters’ when they’re meant to be reviewing the music? Tsk tsk tsk. And…really? Dumping on Xiu Xiu for not playing their most popular song? C’mon.

  7. rob September 7, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Please stop using the word ‘hipster’ I’ll consider it a favour.
    Also, maybe google ‘new wave’ because I’m really confused as to how Surf City resemble The Human League.
    Oh and maybe don’t expect Boston straight edge crowds at Xiu Xiu gigs? Just a thought

  8. Rachel Newnham September 7, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Zomg Anna, (i can see me looking angry in that photo and demand it is removed, kidding, but ugh)

    I like sitting on the floor, lots of them were sitting on the floor kind of bands, but that could be the extended remix of the flu talking.

  9. Nick September 7, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Thank you, Ms Stodart, for this faux-journalism – that in reality is little more than an inexplicably vitriolic attack on the people who paid their hard earned dollars to enjoy some bands in any way they please. Including me and my friends. Seriously – that’s me, centre-left frame, red shoes like a jerk. You might actually remember me? We had a chat between bands about how everyone should just try and have fun at gigs like this, as opposed to being nasty and elitist.

    Know what? It was one of the most fun shows i’ve been to in a while. I chose to express my enjoyment in a way that makes sense to me – truthfully, I was actually a little embarrassed at how enthused I was during Xiu Xiu’s set, dancing and yelling virtually every word like a drunk Bon Jovi fan watching a Gilhooley’s covers duo. Others may have had a little more dignity, which I can’t say makes me think any less of them. We’re an introverted bunch, largely, us fans. And as a fan, it seems worth mentioning that they played Valley Oh! on their 2006 tour. When it was already two years old. As opposed to the six years it’s now been since it was “current material” for them. Or to put it another way, here’s how you’re acting – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVDmM6A3_PE

    A lot of people seemed to agree that it was a really fun day – I found this out by talking to a lot of people over the afternoon, including some I hadn’t ever met before! Save for Surf City’s mixed response, I don’t know anyone who was disappointed by the music on show. Aside from, um, you.

    And yet, you elected to waste your own time in putting this together, and ours in passing it off as anything more than bitchy pap. Frankly, (get it?!?!?!) the person who comes off as the most cynical anti-fun hipster here isn’t the jerk in the red shoes pictured above, nor any of his friends.

    (Crayon Fields have been a band for longer than Whitest Boy Alive, too. Just for the sake of, you know, accuracy.)

  10. Everett True September 7, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    From Fantastic Mr Fox: “I wouldn’t be worried about whether people think you have pelt-lice – and stop twisting yourself up like a pretzel.”

  11. Striborg September 7, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Frankly! Who gives a fuck?

  12. brendan September 7, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    it was pretty obvious that the inexcusably long sound check was caused by a technical difficulty which no one on stage was enjoying. I’d been there since 12.30 and seem to have had more empathy for the people involved than you.

    1) The Woody Allen badges would be the Sniffle Co badges worn mainly by fans of The Grates.
    2) Laurence didn’t actually perform. He wasn’t even on the program. He just organized it.
    3) Why are you so concerned how I react. But for future reference, if my eyes are closed or my arms are folded I’m moshin’ on the inside. Probably the same for other people too.
    4) Perhaps if you need to ease your nerves after 15 min of Surf City and one put down from a friend you in the wrong line of work.

  13. Everett True September 7, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    STRIBORG! Whoa. (In my excitement that Striborg posted a comment here, I checked out his MySpace for ‘colour’. Man, I wish I hadn’t. I’ve got the cold shivers, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep tonight.)

  14. Everett True September 7, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Oi, Brendan. Play nice! And Lawrence spells his name with a ‘w’.

    I love the image of you moshing on the inside, though.

    P.S. There’s another review going up tomorrow.

  15. Joshdivision September 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    1. Good work missing the first half of the show (and including an image of the crowd from Fabulous Diamonds set, a band you missed)
    2. Good work on the classic “complaining about a long soundcheck” move
    3. Good work on mentioning that your friend has a septum piercing, seemed relevant.
    4. Good work on calling Crayon Fields “strangely indulgent” in your review that is the most self-indulgent review of a gig I’ve ever read.
    5. Good work on including maybe three sentences about Xiu-Xiu, who played one of the better sets I’ve seen and I’m not sure if we were at the same gig, it’s a little hard to rave to songs like “Fabulous Muscles”.
    6. Good work ya hipster!

    Maybe next year go to riverfire? I hear everyone stands up there and hipsters get beaten up.

  16. Everett True September 7, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    OK. Enough abuse already. Most of these comments are way, way nastier and more vindictive than the original review: which, personally, I thought was well-observed if a little harsh. We have plenty of other reviews of Frankly on this very site – including reviews with photos, reviews with videos, reviews with sound recordings, and even (tomorrow) a review going up that’s WA-A-A-Y positive (already commissioned before I received Anna’s article) – so why not go seek them out, if you don’t agree with one person’s opinion. The choice of photograph was mine, not hers: I chose it because I felt it represented what Anna was talking about in her piece. Indeed, I can’t help wondering whether these people would be as upset – and this is starting to feel a little like an orchestrated campaign – if that photograph hadn’t been there.

    So, lay off. OK? It’s one person’s opinion, and written with far more grace and humour than most of her detractors. For now, until some of you learn how to behave in public, comments are disabled. And please don’t try to post comments relating to this review on other reviews of Frankly on CB. They will be not be published.

    If you have something to say relating to any other entries on Collapse Board then of course we welcome your views.

  17. Everett True September 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I’m opening the comments again now that hopefully everyone’s had a chance to calm down. Be warned, though. I will not print abuse.

  18. alexg September 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I’ll go on the record as saying that when I first read Anna’s review yesterday, I thought it was spot on for what I saw of Frankly. But then again I don’t care how other people react or not react to live music. Most of the time I try to pretend the rest of the room isn’t there when a bands playing…

    If there had been a good turnout then no one would have noticed the pockets of apathy in the crowd mixed in with the pockets of excitement.

  19. crushtor September 9, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Gonzo =/= languid description of everything you personally did that day.

    I have a Master’s degree in journalism, what’s YOUR excuse?

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