…of Marchapalooza pt. 2

Or: Of things that Begin and End.

It would be remiss of me to not mark the ending of Marchapalooza with some sort of update. Truth be told, it’s been kind of hard to know where to start. The word ‘epic’ doesn’t really begin to cover it. Having become an only occasional gig go-er, to see so many amazing bands all in the one month was something close to transcendental.

Rather re-hashing the whole thing with a blow by blow account, here’s a rundown of the highlights, with some pics I managed to snap over the course of the month.

Jane’s Addiction @ Soundwave Festival

I’d seen the sort-of Jane’s Addiction at the Big Day Out in ‘03, and their performance was pretty good, if not a little predicable. Perry and I go way back though. Porno for Pyros headlined my first Big Day Out in ‘96, and even though I knew less about them than Jane’s, the more intimate performance left a pretty big impression on me. It probably helped that most of the crowd had cleared out after Rage Against the Machine and Nick Cave too, leaving a nice small gathering of Perry fans.

Plus they played Mountain Song, which was all kinds of awesome.

Anyway skip ahead to this year’s Soundwave, and most of the excitement I had for seeing actual Jane’s was overshaddowed by seeing mostly Faith No More [1]. Perry, Dave, Stephen and Eric put on a great show – most of them looked like they actually wanted to be there too, which was nice. Even with Perry’s over the top on stage antics and occasional burlesque dancers, it was hard to ignore Eric Avery’s separation from the rest of the band. As it happens, shortly after the show he announced on Twitter that he’d once again left Jane’s Addiction

Perry and Dave gaze out on the horizon; an uncertain future, or just a really bright sun?
Reunited - but not feeling good enough for Eric Avery to want to keep doing it.
The glorious Perry Farrell

Faith No More @ Soundwave Festival

There isn’t much more to say about Faith No More than I haven’t said before. A fantastic performance stretching across most of their back catalogue.

With so many copy-cat band coming after them, it’s easy to forget just how important Faith No More are in the musical scheme of things. One of those handful of bands that continue to defy classification, yet always manage to sound like them. A band that is far more than its rather famous vocalist. Whether this reunion will last long enough to produce any new Faith No More material is hard to tell. Nor is it really important. For now, lets be grateful we had another chance to experience what makes Faith No More so amazing.

Reunited, and it felt so good
Oh, Mike Patton was there too. People seem to like him. A lot.

Pavement @ Metros City & Dinosaur Jnr @ Rosemount

Confession time – I can’t admit to being the biggest Pavement or Dinosaur Jnr fan. Both bands sort of skipped past me when they were around and actually putting out albums, opportunity to see both perform live was far too good to pass up.

Pavement, on school-night in Perth’s crumbiest of concert venues, put on a fantastic show. So energetic, and far more raucous than I’d expected, based on what I knew of the band.

Moments later Stephen fell down, thus completing one of the staples of 90s alt-rock: the Fall-Down Solo.
Reunited, and it felt... yeah, you get it.

Dinosaur Jnr. are, by reputation, a loud band. I’d read reports from their East Coast shows that ear-plugs were recommended, so my lady and I came prepared and for this I am glad. The only other time I’ve been at a gig and thought “Perhaps I should be wearing ear-plugs” was when The Melvins opened for Tool at the Entertainment Centre; less an exercise in warming the crowd up, and more an experiment in pissing them off. At least at the Entertainment Centre we had the ability to move back from the stage.

At the Rosemount however, wiggle room is something of a luxury. And as the road crew powered up J’s Marshall stack, you had the feeling something gigantic was about to occur – much like the opening scene of Back to the Future, when Marty powers up the Doc’s amp and strums a chord that propels him across the room. That almost, nearly happened! Yup. It… did. Sort of.

This was pretty much as close as you could get before your face started to melt. The front row all required reconstructive surgery.
Actually does look a lot like Jesus, but doesn't talk much

Pixies @ Belvoir Amphitheater

The highlight of Marchapallooza for me was – and was always going to be – seeing Pixies perform Doolittle in its entirety. Having missed the opportunity to see them when they were here last, I jumped at the first chance I could to get tickets to their Belvoir show.

While I can’t claim to be well versed in the entire Pixies back catalogue, tracing through my musical heritage you’ll see they’ve been with me right back to the start of my musical awakening. I was a soundtrack nerd as a kid, and I’d play my cassette copy of Pump up the Volume on my walkman while working at my father’s business, sweeping and mopping floors and labeling bottles – all in an effort to earn money to buy more cassettes. And Gameboy games.

It’s a little alarming looking back at the track list on Pump up the Volume, which I purchased more for my unnatural love of Christian Slater than any one particular band. Truth be told, it was Happy Harry Hardon’s theme song (Leonard Choen’s Everybody Knows) I was actually after. Choen’s version doesn’t even appear on the soundtrack – it’s covered instead by Concrete Blonde.

Still, here I was, prepubescent, and exposing myself to bands such as Soundgarden, Sonic Youth, Henry Rollins & Bad Brains and of course, Pixies, who’s UK Surf version of Wave of Mutilation was a perfect soundtrack to my almost Dickensian employment [2]. Many years later, I found myself at a University party, struggling to understand why I knew all the words to the song playing on the stereo when I’d never heard it before. Eventually I find the connection – it’s Pixies. The much faster and almost upbeat Doolittle version of Wave of Mutilation.

Skip ahead again, and after years and years of waiting and a bit of a slow start, the opening bass line from Debaser rolls out over Belvoir Amphitheater, and all those memories come racing back.

Don't we wish we could all be as cool as Kim Deal?
Rock me Joe. And Frank.

As amazing as Doolittle still sounds today, it’s their encore that had me covered in goosebumps from start to end – Velouria, Dig for Fire, Where is My Mind, Gigantic, and of course, the UK Surf version of Wave of Mutilation.

And just like that, Marchapallooza was over. As we stumbled back to the car, I contemplated how I was going to tackle putting it all into words, and falling short, decided I’d just throw up some pictures and hope no one would notice what a shit job I did.

Feel free to share your Marchapalooza memories and highlights below.

[1] Call me old fashioned, but Faith No More will never be real Faith No More without Jim Martin. Fact.

[2] How’s that for dramatic writing?


Author: Mark Ampersand

Budding writer, connoisseur of fine popular culture and Batman fan.

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