Monday, November 06, 2006

Not Hailing Black Cab

Rating: 3½ out of 5But a rating of three and a half tortilla chips out of five, especially when they’re dipped in guacamole with cashews, is no bad thing.

Yes, The Guru is not an advocate of shinning up wooden poles wearing only a loincloth — the splinters don’t bear thinking about — preferring to widen his horizons. After all, what use are answers if they have no relevance in the real world?

And Saturday night’s Black Cab gig at The Spanish Club, Melbourne, was certainly food for thought. It was the album launch for Jesus East, their follow-up to the 2004 Altamont Diary. The evening was MCed by Sam Cutler, who was pivotal in organising the Rolling Stones Altamont Speedway concert in 1969 (and whose better half is an old friend).

The tragic events at that free concert in ’69 — policing by Hell’s Angels went very wrong and a fan died — did more than end the Summer of Love. Rock had to make an adjustment from its clear-cut ‘us versus them’ stance — perhaps things couldn’t always be blamed on The System and The Police after all.

Black Cab’s Andrew Coates (bottom-left) and James Lee are gen-Xers who’ve been greatly influenced by those events and their aftermath. And not in a ‘slowing down to get a good look at a road accident’ kind of way. They’re into ‘real’ Rock and they’ve germinated some of their own.

The music is not vocal-centric. James Lee, who spent most of the set with his back to the crowd (main pic), is adept at pinning his guitar to the ground (literally) and extracting startling sounds from it. The other guitars and synth were also accomplished. And the drums became first intense and finally righteous as things heated up.

The evening was topped off by freestyle spoken word lyricism by Sam (bottom-right), backed by Black Cab, in the style of William S Burroughs.

Black Cab’s MySpace page includes audio from the two albums.

So what words of wisdom can The Guru impart after his evening at The Spanish? (a) Black Cab need a manager, (b) Rock is alive and well, and living in Fitzroy, and (c) shit happens! Try to learn from it and grow as a person.

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