Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gonerfest 8, Goner, Hi Tone, Murphy's, Buccaneer, Memphis - 22nd-25th September 2011

Well if Ponderosa Stomp was the festival that showcased old , Goner was about the now, attracting music fans from around not only just the USA but the world. An excellent feat given that Goner is both a little record shop and indie label in Memphis that specialises in rock, and other selections.

It kicked off with this unofficial gig outside a glass shop on Young Ave....


Psychotic Reaction from Oklahoma makes special mention to Goner for not paying them

 Then the official Gonerfest commenced on the Cnr of South Cooper and Young Ave with The Limes

The Limes of Memphis play this melodic slack rock. The singer might not be able to sing but his expression makes up for everything. What a likeable act.

Jack Oblivian and this all star band 5 piece band [features organ too] played this really upbeat party,  boogie music

Sex Cult of  Memphis apparently feature members from Vile Nation, Bake Sale & The Magic Kids - All I know is they've got a firey eyed singer who delivers songs by way of shouting, and most blokes in the band have mutton chops, energy, and all have the attack to suit their garge pop and punk stylings, and they feature a rock chick on bass.
Here's a a link if you're keen on listening

Power trio Hans Condor came all the way from Nashville to play balls out blistering rock and teamed it with stage antics. Some might say over the top or very loud. But those who liked it loved it.

What started with the pounding of drums turned into teen pop. So Mikal Cronin seemed to be a crowd favourite. From San Francisco, he played elaborate, melody based pop songs that  had unsual pauses, twists turns. Finished on a cover of Shake Some Action. Note: say "Michael Cronin"

You could sense the nerves of Royal Headache, but a few songs in, they were vering between sweet pop and angsty punk. They punched out a striking set, and many I spoke to afterwards,[not Australian's] really enjoyed their sound.

Like most bands here, I'd never heard of these guys. Apparently they're from Texas. OBN III's were said to remind reviewers of  "a revved up Stooges". Since I have no knowledge of such matters here's how I saw it. OBN III's played an explosive performance. The jock frontman - Orville Neeley was highly obnoxious- snotting on stage and so on, and they had a guitarist who looked like a real poindexter, but as a live act this was a cut above. The attittude, sound & their intensity inspired the room shake their gigantic beer cans causing massive spillages & crowd surfing.

Ty Segall
The pop stylings of Ty Segall made for a real crowd pleaser. Good songs, ace guitar, and the kids were singing along and really getting into it to the point where they got onstage to party with the band - whilst the band were playing. Even a photographer did this. At one point, Ty said you can only be on stage if you take your top off, so the fat guy did.

Pre Goner Friday night and the Psychotic Reactions playoutside Lou's Pizza. Tonight this blues rock trash act have a Theramin which sounds like a cat.

Memphis band Aquafuzz
What a cool looking bunch of over 40's misfits: a tambourinist with a scary clown tatoo on his shoulder; a drummer with his face painted in grit, a guitarist with a cliche 70's rock  look, a blonde bassist with braids and a lead singer/guitarist with what appears to be a cross branded on his arm. Yes they look a little weary or weathered compared to the others who are playing, but this is a band, who sound cool, are cool with their slack way, and their country leanings. They have no albums or no links that I can find.

Special mention to The MC Rob K or "Bob" [of The Jam Messengers] for dressing up on the Friday night

Midnite Snaxxx
All the way from San Francisco, it's three chix  sporting the punk uniform of 2011; horizontal stripes and skinny jeans playing Ramones style. Their power is not just what they sound like, it's who and what they represent. Their brazen approach to goes against conventions; occupying a space that men traditionally occupy, they're rockin' out just as well if not better than any guy.  These are 3 women who are saying 'fuck it' and just getting on with it! What excellent role models.
  They gave it their all and it was impressive. They rule. God Bless America.

James Arthur's Manhunt
What is it about Texas? Based on the 2 bands I've seen from there, there's this raw power, impossible to fake. The bio says "spacey rock". I'm hearing squeally guitars. Even when they take it down a notch, the intensity remains.

Mean Jeans are a bunch of young guys who play Ramones style music. The crowd got pretty excited, someone bought silly string, and the lead singer was annoyed that the silly string got on his guitar strings.

Icky Boyfriends  are a late 80's/early 90's San Fraciscan band who possess a drummer, a bassist and a singer. In the kindest way, they're a crap [some might say primitive] punk band, who have short songs. Still it was fun.

The Gories were running late. They were getting food. After all even the stars need to eat right?
Judging by the crowd, Mick Collins is everyone's favourite, he can do no wrong as a guitar player, even if he is out of time with the rest of the band

The Gories may have started 25 years ago, but they proved they can still rock out.

And that they can sweat

And then the crowd got excited, they joined the stage too....

Acid Baby Jesus , young guys from Greece played the afterparty at The Escape Club and they also had a that punky garage 60's sound that was so popular with the crowd.

Cheap Time from Tennessee have teenage attitude, soaring guitar and unstoppable rhythms.

Decent crowd for an after party

Peach Kelli Pop travelled 20 hours in a car from Ottowa Canada to play the Goner afterparty. They had shrill, high pitched vocals which perfectly suited their 60's beach party pop music. 


Memphis' own Manatees start Saturday at 1:30 at Murphy's. A serving of brooding punk for breakfast. I can only find a link to other photo's.

Pity Fucks
Described as "party garage with lowtish keyboards" from Portland Oregon. This description is bang on. It's fun and kooky and sounds excellent from the laundromat where I was doing my washing.

There's a photo of The Missing Monuments that I forgot to take because I was too busy watching the band from New Orleans play exquisite power pop.
Kitchen's Floor
From Brisbane come Kitchen's Floor.
There had been so many great bands so far, pre parties, actual Goner, after parties, unofficial sidewalk things, but the breath of fresh air was sure to be........
Rev John Wilkins
Pastor of Hunter's Chapel Church and son of a legendary bluesman Robert Wilkins, Rev John bought family and friends to this show. It demonstrated  what a white fest Goner is. Race issues aside, Rev John sang spirituals with his 3 daughters backing uim up. In addition, there was a brilliant backing band, and at times, Rev. John picked the guitar in an old timey blues way. This was moving, breathtaking and uplifting and a welcome change in the programming.

Memphis band Black Sunday were the first act on Saturday night at The Hi Tone. Abrasive rock chick Alicja Trout starred.

There was a lot of hype over Shannon and The Clams. They do this doo-wop inspired 1950's pop thing and have matching outfits. It was fun and kooky but not as amazing as I was expecting. 
I must have been getting lazy because I didn't take a photo of Melbourne's own Deaf Wish - probably because I was watching both band and crowd, and had a bad spot. They impressed many witht their sound and intensity and topped many people's higlights list.
From Cleveland come the Alarm Clocks
I had no idea who they were but according to the guide, they perform one of Goner's top 60's garage singles. Essentially they're old guys who play garage rock. If you close your eyes when they play, their sound and their fire could fool you into thinking they're still teenagers. The lead vocalist was so great at hollering and screaming. Although there's a vibe that Gonerfest is a festival for the young, this was a welcome reminder that rock is not just for the young. 

Human Eye travelled from Detroit
I was told they're a sci-fi garage band but I didn't know they'd alienate their audience. Sorry about that. By the time they played the venue was half empty, but that might not be due to them. More people were getting tired after 15 hour live music marathons per day.  In all seriousness, Human Eye had a gigantic eye light prop, they dressed up for the occassion, and they rocked out as you'd expect.
All the way from Germany, Redondo Beat played the Saturday night afterparty at The Buccaneer. They were a great poppy garage band with a lot of style.  The last band I caught was The Royal Pendletons were were bloody ace and who featured Mike Hurtt again, and guy I later learned was "King Louie" on drums. I'd met him  earlier - shortly after he threw up.


You know that feeling, when you see a band you've never heard of and they blow you away? That's what happened at Gonerfest time and time again. The line up was well selected -I didn't see a bad band. The crowd were an awesome bunch of music enthusiasts from around the US and the globe. The bands mostly ran on time, with short waiting times between acts. The records for sale were cheap and sold directly by the artist or easy enough to obtain from Goner the next day. Drinks were reasonably priced. A Music festival in these trashy Memphis band venues really worked beautifully. It showcased Memphis as a bloody great laid back kinda place with a small, but diverse and excellent music scene.  But most of all it was awesome to be part of it, even if I am just a fan.

 Gonerfest.... I don't wanna talk it up too much but it was unbelievably awesome.

Official Goner Fest 8 poster art


  1. Midnight Snaxxx
    "All the way from San Francisco, it's three obese women in horizontal stripes and skinny Jeans playing Ramones style."

    Of all the bands you "review," the one with girls gets critiqued on what they're wearing and how they look before anything else. Way to go, turd.
    PS - It's spelled Midnite

  2. I do apologise S if I have offended you. This 1 line write up did not mean to denigrate these fabulous women whatsoever. In fact, they're awesome, and I celebrate their brazen approach to go against conventions; occupying a space that men traditionally occupy, they're rockin' out just as well if not better than any guy, breaking fashion rules you might read about in mainstream fashion magazines, or see on TV etc. These are 3 women who are saying 'fuck it' and just getting on with it! In my mind they're excellent role models, not just in music, but in life. Thanks for the info about the typo. I'll fix it up.