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The Beasts of Bourbon Low Life in Spain (Live in Madrid 2006)
  • Low Life in Spain (Live in Madrid 2006) (dvd)-1
    DVD MRDVD-001
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The Beasts of Bourbon are aptly christened.

They’ve been fermenting for almost as long as a decent bottle of their namesake. Their spirit marinated blasts of blues rock takes The Stooges prototype and rassles it to a sawdust covered floor. As you most likely know, it was Australia that really seemed to take the Detroit template and run kicking and screaming with it. The musical fraternity down under has a certain claim on having come up with breaking that particular genetic code and infusing it with something peculiar to that continent.

Wikipedia says their music “often touches on themes of depravity, morbidity, despair, drug abuse and violence”. The music that emerges from this combination of extremes offers a peculiar redemption to the listener (and in this case, viewer).

For me, this crew embody what The Birthday Party may have looked like on paper. In my opinion, Cave's posse never made the kind of noise that other people seemed to hear. Now that might be considered sacrilege in some quarters but I’m just calling it like I heard it. There's no excess fat on what these guys do, but there’s plenty of excess.

There's a confidence and almost arena-savvy projection in their oeuvre. Their sleazy grace and pummel recalls a swampbound INXS (no pun on excess intended) and to be honest, I don't know why they couldn't appeal to that kind of audience. On the surface, it’s all pretty traditional but scratch just a nanometre deeper and there’s a sicko shamanistic quality to Tex Perkin’s swagger. Not unlike Robert Mitchum’s preacher from “Night Of The Hunter”. The BOB rendition of AC/DC’s “Ride On” is almost hymnal. At other times there are flashes of Lux Interior channelling Paul Rodgers and even Joe Cocker with the band providing the perfect counter ballast of geographically dismembered southern fried jams and garage riffola.

This show from Copernico, is the audio-visual companion to the Munster released “Low Life” live album which was recorded at the world famous Tote Hotel, straight outta Collingwood, Melbourne back in the wilds of 2003. It contains a set which includes material from that and more. Growling and lascivious, check out a version of Hound Dog Taylor’s “Let’s Get Funky” that is positively lycanthropic. That’s something to do with werewolves incase you didn’t know.

In addition, there are a whole bunch of video clips from various stages of the band’s career on this nifty little disc also. Don’t forget that folks like Kim Salmon (Scientists, Surrealists) and James Baker (Hoodoo Gurus, Dubrovniks) have been alumnii over the years.

The Beasts dispense a (not) pretty powerful brew that might leave you a little short of breath. I never saw them live but now I’ve got the bug and this works whether you have or haven’t. This isn’t something to be theorised about or explained. It comes from a base, primal place that should be felt, think shifting tectonic plates.

The faint-of-heart are advised to sit this one out but anybody with an inkling of a (Spencer) Jones for a sonic drop of the hard stuff or three should schlep right up to the bar. Set your TV sound on stun and be transported. Your neighbours won’t thank you but its all part of the experience. Members have come and gone over the years but the blurred vision is intact. These elder statesmen of Australasian descent have scant regard for anything but cranking everything up exceptionally high. A big bit twisted country, an even bigger dollup of rock’n’roll. This is a disposition worth celebrating. To (mis)quote an old Scots song, “you can take the high road” if you want but on this occasion I’ll take my chances with the “Low” route. You might be in Scotland “afore me” but i’ll be getting my kicks alongside my Spanish and Australian brothers and sisters. Is that one of them dragons over there?

Lindsay Hutton

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