AU ABROAD

Philadelphia Grand Jury + One Jonathan - Sussex Inlet RSL (02.04.10)

philly-jays-sussex-inlet

It's time to say goodbye. For now, at least. Perhaps they feel taken
for granted, or maybe they're just looking to expand their horizons -
whatever the case, Philadelphia Grand Jury (you can call them the
Philly
Jays
for short) are doing one last go around of the country before
heading off to the UK for seven months. Combining a regional and
capitals tour into one go, the trio of Berkfinger, MC Bad Genius and
Calvin commenced their We Don't Want To Party (Party) jaunt
possibly in
the strangest of places. Welcome to the Sussex Inlet RSL - where the
beer is flowing, the pokies are everywhere and the bogans are both
plentiful and loud. Normally, this is a nightmare crowd to play in front
of. In this instance, however? The perfect scene for the Philly Jays to
wreck some havoc.

Up first were a Central Coast band
by the name of One Jonathan. Walking onto the stage and
soundchecking as
a blank canvas, the quartet quickly painted a messy but colourful
picture. Their sound ranged from two-tone ska to abrasive garage rock,
which was performed briskly and energetically in a workman-like fashion.
It was a strange combination of awkwardness and confidence that filled
One Jonathan's stage - they were still in a minor state of self-doubt to
their abilities but even that couldn't possibly mask their love of
playing music. The audience reacted in turn - slowly, somewhat
uncertainly, making their way to the front of the dancefloor;
subsequently getting  involved with the swaggering guitar lines and
beefed-up rhythm section as their set progressed. With a bit of heart
and an honest rock performance, One Jonathan won us over gradually. Keep
an ear out for them.

Anyone who's been to a
Philadelphia Grand Jury performance before should be familiar
with the
goings-on by now. Simon "Berkfinger" Berckelman squeals at the crowd in a
high-pitched voice about the upcoming song without even moving his lips
(thanks to his infamous prerecorded banter), before swaggering around
his mic and rocking out until his glasses fall off. Meanwhile, Joel "MC
Bad Genius" Beeson is volatile and shaky, swinging his bass dangerously
close to those up front and all the while peering out menacingly with a
discomforting, serial-killer glare. Despite a shaky start and an
uncomfortably loud mix, the band managed to get into the groove of
things progressively, the energy relentless. The set was comprised of
favourite tracks from the band's debut album, 2009's Hope is for
Hopers
,
with highlights including the bouncy "Ready to Roll" and the band's
quintessential hit "Going to the Casino (Tomorrow Night)", which hasn't
lost an ounce of energy or likability since its first high rotation on
Triple J.

Don't think poor old Calvin has been
forgotten about here. If anything, he was the evening's MVP, for what
had to be the coolest act of rock & roll rebellion the south coast
has ever seen. It went down like this: the band were playing their last
song before what was supposed to be their encore - Hope's closer, "I
Don't Want to Party (Party)". As per usual, the song extended into an
extended jam at breakneck pace. MC Bad Genius slammed both the guitar
and the bass on the ground, grabbed a microphone and dove headfirst into
the crowd, screaming "I DON'T WANT TO PARTY", over and over. Meanwhile,
a stage invasion took place and Simon's guitar got passed around the
still-dancing audience members.

Security then kicked everyone off-stage,
including Berkfinger himself. Except for one man. That one man was
Calvin Welch, who had been belting out a ridiculously fast rhythm the
entire time. He continued to play, practically for dear life, even when
the venue turned the houselights on and began to play music over the
P.A. to indicate that the show was over. Calvin would hear none of it,
pummeling the skins until he literally could not continue. He threw his
sticks down, let down an "AWWW, SHIT!" with his broad American accent
and exited the stage. At fifty-four years of age, ladies and gentlemen,
Calvin Welch is more of a rockstar than you will ever be.

So
we didn't get a full set from the Philly Jays. Really, it was a small
price to pay - it's performances like these that we are going to miss
the band for most of all. If you haven't seen them on this tour yet, do
NOT miss it.