are a few reviews of bands by Dermot Browne - friend, flat-mate and guitarist
Order - San Miguel - 19.5.84
gurgle of the drinking audience was cut rudely short when Scattered Order
bounced onto the stage. A frightening howl, possibly (not definitely),
human, tore through the P.A. People rushed forward deserting tables and
conversations to satisfy their curiosity. A quiet chat and a Scattered
Order show don't belong in the same room.
Shane's departure Scattered Order's sound has been reduced to skin and
bone. Every element stripped bare and laid open. Now the only hints of
melody come from Drew's simple, delicate keyboard progressions and Craig's
stormy, tireless bass playing. The combination of 'real' percussive devices
with electronic drums lends the familiar relentless beat a more humane
something most people find contentious to say the least, were monotonous,
gravelly and almost totally incomprehensible. But Mitch's way of singing(?)
is honest and unpretentious. I'd rather that than the false English
and American accents resorted to by many lesser bands. The sound quality
at the San Miguel was excellent. The mix was always clean and crisp, not
the usual combination of jumbo jets and mud. They are embracing a well
ordered and dynamic fusion of panic and patience.
Fibro / Scapa Flow - Sydney Trade Union - 6.7.84
Fibro are a glorious frustration. Delightfully melodic and hopelessly shambolic.
Moral Fibro combine the tripartite dreams and schemes of Jill O'Meara (ex
Tame O'Mearas), Gordon Renouf (ex Wild West) and that enigmatic, incorrigible
Fibro's 'concept', for want of a better word, states that these three young
musicians are to be continually augmented by an ever-changing brood of
guest artists. Sadly, most great ideas, like this one, lose their potency
when translated from 'imagined' to 'perceived'. This constant flux should
herald diversity, variety and multiplicity but at the Trade it only meant
confusion. Too often they just don't mesh, they mush.
Fibro can write wonderfull pop songs in spite of problems like vague, intermittent,
dot-to-dot drumming and flat, falling trumpets. The different vocal styles,
in particular the garish, goose-stepping gasps of Cath and Helen seem to
be surrealistically mismatched with the music. It's like having Joan Collins
in 'A Country Practise'. Not believable and ultimately to the detriment
of both parties. I think Cathy's unique manner was far better suited to
the rocky confines of the powerfull 'Chopped Up'. I digress.
not to say that Moral Fibro are bad. I know they are great. They are one
of the few bands in Sydney who play witty, intelligent and worthy music.
Their songs are similar in style to the pop music of bands like Pale Fountains,
Weekend and to a lesser extent the Orange Juice/post-Postcard genre. With
a steadier rhythm section one could dance to Moral Fibro. But as it stands,
the drums make dancing a risky if not impossible task.
is always a warm, familiar charm about Moral Fibro's self depreciating
amateurism. Patrick's quips are a guaranteed giggle. But I think Moral
Fibro can be better than a joke. No need for apologetics. They are close
enough to pop music to know that, while it can't be taken seriously, it
is still one of the important facets of people's lives.
Flow are back. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, or more precisely,
like a trained parrot that says nothing but "who's a pretty boy then!!".
What can I say? I liked their records... they played real tight... they
had a good sound... Um?
Flow drove me, and countless others before me, downstairs to the relative
calm of the head-splitting, coin-spitting poker machines. There was something
sinister and dark about Scapa Flow. A string relentless sound. Too much
for this boys weak ears. Have you ever been run over by a truck full of
members of Scapa Flow are technically precise musicians. And the intricate
melodrama of their guitars did vaguely impress me for at least five minutes.
But the overall effect is not dissimilar to drowning in sand.
when they dug up the supplicating 2nd bass guitar. Two bass guitars, a
good idea, right?...Wrong. The sound of this instrument is filed somewhere
between 'drill' and 'fart' in the encyclopedia of 'rocks' most horrible
chest bashing gusto left me cold. They were simply awesome, or something
else. A perfect marriage between Frederick Nietzsche and Big Country.
No I didn't
like them much at all but what do you expect from a Billy Idol fan.
and Dipsos - Trade Union Club
and Dipsos are a bright bustling idiosyncratic pop-rock band. Although
they have been playing in Sydney for over 6 months they are still virtually
unknown. This will change. They combine an impressive musical heritage
that draws from Wild West, Like Unruly Children and Pel Mel. Describing
their music is difficult. After a brief statement like "um...really good"
my usual sparkling fountain of verbiage dries up.
snippets of Beefheart, The Raincoats and the Fire Engines spring to mind
while they play. As do subtle fractured hints of Sly Stone and the Velvet
Underground. This is not to suggest that their songs are like these other
bands; they just seem to approach melody and language with a similar sense
of pioneering intelligence.
and Dipsos sound even slightly familiar is in itself surprising. The band
is a heady amalgam of polarized musical tastes. Ashley's singing floats
easily in and around the songs. Debbie's moves swiftly with assured, well
measured grace. Lindsay plays ambitious melodic guitar, devoid of heroics
and pretence. The rhythm section, Ian Cummings on bass and Gordon Renouf
on drums, is a beguilingly simple fascination. As with the whole band generally
there is a hidden depth to their playing. Eacj time Maestros and Dipsos
play I've discovered more and more within their songs. Layers waiting to
be unveiled. How far do you want to go?
me you are morbidly depressed by the sulking bulk of crap being thrashed
out in the name of art and fun today you could do nothing but good by visiting
this band.Admittedly watching a band in a reeking hell like the Trade can
be traumatic. But these boys and girls can and do transcend their squalid
surroundings. Maestros and Dipsos are offering you and I and intelligent
and exciting alternative to hairy types being gorillas in pubs and chinless
types being goats in clubs.
to go but up.
potted History Of Famous (all spellings as per the email)
formed in Sydney in 1984.
previous bands included
gig was supporting Maestros and Dipsos at the long gone, and rarely lamented,
Yugal Soccer Club near Central Station. Who could forget that whacked-out
Polynesian sunset wallpaper!
was a rather tragic birthday party for a drug-fucked scenester at the Labor
Club in Surry Hills.
Famous played to ever an dwindling numbers of mildly bemused punters at
all the required inner city dens, dives and dumps including the Trade,
the Hopetown, the Palace Hotel, the Strawberry Hills, the Graphic Arts
Club, the Evening Star, several clubs in Kings X that probably didn't even
have names. Famous even travelled as far afield as Mortdale and Newcastle,
to more mild bemusement.
doing their own gigs, Famous shared the stage with many interseting bands
Kennedy's Love Gone Wrong
influences at play in Famous were quite varied, and often contradictory,
and along with whatever was in vogue that week, included;
UK pop (Orange Juice, Smiths, Buzzcocks)
alt.rock (Velvets, Beefheart)
/ odd funk (New Order, Certain Ratio)
/ rockabilly (Patsy Cline / Sun Records stuff)
/ grown up music (Astrid Gilberto / Nino Rota / John Cage)
Famous played only originals, but as the years wore on they began to interpret/murder
a wide range well known songs including:
Presence? (Orange Juice)
& Black Mustache (Carl Perkins?)
Moon's Rose (Slap Happy)
is Empty (the Supremes)
is My Only House Unless it Rains (Capt. Beefheart)
Me (The Doors)
described in the local music press (Ram / On the Street etc) around
relaxed mood of weirdness and accessibility"
parts Smiths, one part bent humour"
cronies and hangers-on"
appealing and gifted"
air of informality about them ....balancing the humour with songs of powerful