12 December 2007

Lime Spiders - Live at the Esplanade

Brisbane in the 1980s was an amazing place to be a teenager despite, or perhaps because of, the political environment at the time. The Australian independent music scene was persistently brilliant, and the Lime Spiders wove an integral section of the web that bound the alternative scene together. Their music was legendary and we all covered their hits in our garage bands, wearing tighter than tight black jeans, pointy winklepicker boots, and $2 op-shop paisley shirts (a look later termed ‘swampy’).

East’s Leagues Club was one of the best venues for showcasing music from the alternative music scene and each weekend seemed to find some mind-blowing band on the bill. The place had a fantastic vibe, although it was a bit of a dive, and became the melting pot where crazy fans and even crazier bands would intermingle to create memories that still exist with utmost clarity (despite the quantities of alcohol imbibed) in my mind. A regular patron, I witnessed the brilliance of bands such as the Cult, Wall of Voodoo, and the Cramps at this venue, and it was here that I first experienced the Lime Spiders live.

The band, comprising Richard Lawson (drums), Tony ‘Chief’ Bambach (bass). Gerard Corben (guitar), and Mick Blood (vocals), formed in Sydney in 1979 and their popularity was proven through the achievement of three number one hits in the Australian independent charts for the years 1984, 1985 and 1986. I still recall the vibe of their live shows: grunting, sweating, dancing, screaming, the band and the fans as one. The Lime Spiders put on shows full of go-go goodness, the perfect amalgamation of 60s psychedelic guitar rock and a punk attitude. You never had enough energy stored up for their gigs, however the band always managed to squeeze every last drop of sweat from your rancid, thrashing form. This album, Live at the Esplanade, shows the Spiders have lost none of the edge they had 20 years ago. Recorded at Melbourne's Esplanade in January 1998, the songs are not merely performed, they punch you in the face!

The album includes my favourite Spiders’ songs: 'Out of Control', 'Save my Soul', 'Weirdo Libido', 'Just One Solution', and 'Slave Girl'. The band’s passion for music is evident in the kick-arse delivery; there’s something about this style of music, with the tribal beat and twanging guitars, also embodied by the early Hoodoo-Gurus, that sends you straight for the dance-floor. This album is a fab trip down memory lane for old ‘swampies’ like myself, and would be a great place to start for lovers of swamp rock, an oft forgotten genre of Australian music. That these guys are still travelling at full volume is truly something amazing in this time of watered down come-back tours. None of their angst has disappeared; it’s there in Blood’s wailing vocals and the insistent spanking bass.

Amazing Spider goodness. Dig it, buy it, get your groove on.

The review was written for The Dwarf.

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