A scenario The Barman will appreciate: My place of employment has organised for middle-managers to attend a two-day leadership and management session. The notional proposition is clear: to build engagement across and up through to the more senior levels of the corporate hierarchy.
"Engagement", in this context, is a corporate-speak for constructive interaction in the workplace. You can talk to someone, but unless you’re both engaged, it’s just words. And what are words for, when no-one listens anymore?
We’re assembled at the venue, a mid-range hotel-cum-conference venue in Melbourne’s CBD. The room is small and stuffy. The only window looks out to construction works being undertaken across the street. The décor is unimpressive, patterned brown carpet like a Brunswick sharehouse, uncomfortable chairs, inconveniently placed supporting pillars.
I've been to more than 140 gigs this year and the Tote is like an old high school friend you knew back in the day, who you catch up with at the 20-year reunion to find nothing has changed at all.
I've seen more gigs at my stomping ground, the Tote, than any other venue, so here's all the awesome gigs I've seen there this year:
Chris Russell is a lone man and his guitar. He has one hell of a swampy voice - like he's been hit in the side of the head with a lump of Mississippi mud
FLUFF - killer trio that pins the crowd down with a riff and continues to wail in their face
RVG - awesome post punk band, with an incredible singer in Romy Vager.
Heavy and Hammered. The yearly metal and punk festival put on by Melbourne community radio station PBS.
Little Desert: Roman Tucker from Rocket Science on Keyboards playing with an mix of Jefferson Airplane and Desert stoner rock
Spencer P Jones tribute gig: The legend that is Spencer P Jones passed away this year and a whole bunch of close mates had a two-day bender and tribute gig for their mate. Kim Salmon, River of Snakes, Digger and the Pussycats all put on killer sets.
The first benefit show for Leadfinger leader Stewart Cunningham has been announced and it boasts a star-studded line-up.
Hoss is headlining the September 14 show at The Tote Hotel in Melbourne. They'll be joined by supergroup The Draught Dodgers, Swedish Magazines, Powerline Sneakers, Wrong Turn, Matty Whittle (ex-GOD) and the Melwayholics, James McCann and Adalita.
Tickets are available hereand there's a GoFundMe pagerunning for people unable to make it to the show. Organiser James McCann says there will be a stack of prize packs of music and merchandise being raffled on the night.
Cunningham, whose past bands include Asteroid B612, Brother Brick, Proton Energy Pills and Yes-Men, is fighting lung cancer.
X Tote Hotel, Collingwood, VIC Saturday, September 10, 2022
Hello Barflies. Some things don’t change. There's |still nothing finer in old Melbourne town than The Tote Hotel, Collingwood, packed full of like-minded punters with a single purpose of getting their rocks off. And let me say that this Saturday night was no exception.
X were exceptional. I mean, they were just so “on” and tight. And so fucking dirty sounding. Steve Lucas just ripping his guitar. Man. he hits those strings hard. What a sound! I was literally two metres away from the great man.
X were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the classic album, “X-Aspirations”, playing the whole album in running order. How good it was. “Suck Suck” just busted out of the house sound system. Which is where I found Steve wrestling with earlier in the night when I dropped by to pay my pre-gig respects. He and soundie Dazza were in a state, trying to figure out said system. Thank fuck they got it sorted. Onya Dazza .
Kim Volkman (bass) was flashing the coolest pair of shoes I've seen in many a good year. Simon The Drummer was playing his third gig with X and second with Kim. He bashed and crashed through, locking in with Kim as a rhythm section that sounded like they’d been playing together for years.
Schadenfreud is a German term that translates loosely to "watching Collingwood lose".
OK, maybe that’s too harsh: anti-Collingwood (that’s the Australian rules football team for those born above the Barassi Line in Australia, and any of the Bar’s overseas readers) sentiment is tied up with class-based bias, and a lingering resentment at the club’s rampant success back in the day. The modern Collingwood team is great to watch, and would have been a worth winner, had the battle-hardened Weagles not worn the Pies down.
The prospect of heading to The Tote, nestled in the edge of the old Collingwood flat, on a night of Magpie disappointment, was potentially worrying. In the end, the Pies fans were thin on the street, no doubt drowning sorrows in some other sporting bar.
Straight Arrows Bananagun Tote Hotel, Melbourne Friday, 22 March 2019
I’m not a big fan of the rose-coloured 1960s discourse. Sure, the music’s great, the anti-establishment political rhetoric is inspiring and the fashion iconic. But the 1960s gave the world Nixon and the first incarnation of Reagan the politician, Engelbert Humperdink outsold Hendrix and it was mainly rich white kids (especially men) who had the socio-economic stability to drop out – because they could drop back in again anytime they wanted to.
The 1960s is a mythical idea, not a corroborated historical construct. We want to believe what it was like, because it’s not like that now. Revisionism. Nostalgia. Self-deluded idealism. There was good shit going on, but there’s good stuff going on now. There was plenty of bad, square and nasty stuff going on then, too. More so than the good stuff.
Banangun sounded like they’d crawled straight out of a '60s documentary. Maybe a Nuggets Acid Rock compilation. I hadn’t heard of them before tonight, though later on it was pointed out to me that their main man is Nick from The Frowning Clouds, and then everything made sense.
Television Addicts beware: Melbourne’s noteworthy Leaps and Bounds Music Festival is bringing The Television Addicts to town to play the songs of Perth punk trailblazers, The Victims, at the Tote on Friday, July 17.
The Victims were only active from 1977-79 in the most isolated csapital city in the world (that'd be Perth) but left a lasting impression. The members were Dave Flick (aka Dave Faulkner) on guitar and vocals, James Baker (drums) and Rudolph V (Dave Cardwell) on bass. Faulkner and Baker went on to the Hoodoo Gurus. Baker also made a name with the Scientists, Beasts of Bourbon and the Dubrovniks .
In 1977, The Victims released their debut single, "Television Addict” with only 1000 copies pressed. The following year they released a five track EP entitled "The Victims" (also known as "No Thanks to the Human Turd"). Original copies of both will cost you big bucks on eBay.
Reconstituted in 2015 with Faulker and Baker ringing-in huge fan Ray Ahn (Hard-Ons, Nunchukka Superfly) on bass, they’ve played shows in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane. Now it’s Melbpourne’s turn. Blink and you’ll miss them.
FRIDAY 17TH JULY THE TELEVISION ADDICTS FIRE ESCAPE GOATS HITS (Brisbane) POWER at The Tote Hotel, Johnston St, Collingwood. Doors 8.30pm. Tickets on sale now from www.Oztix
Better late than never, Melbourne’s the Casanovaswill get back to doing what they do best – rock ’n’’rolling under lights, on a stage, in front of an audience – when they launch their much-acclaimed fourth album “Reptillian Overlord” at Richmond’s Corner Hotel on March 6.
Released back in August 2020, Reptilian Overlord was the Casanovas’ first album in five years and arguably the best-reviewed album of their 20 year career.
Produced by iconic Oz Rock engineer/producer Mark Optiz (AC/DC, Angels, Chisel, Divinyls), and featuring singles “Hollywood Riot” (which was appropriately picked up by legendary LA DJ Rodney Bingenheimer) and “Lost and Lonely Dreams”, it attracted plenty of attention and thoroughly deserved a live launch. Our Man in Dimboola Ron Brown's review is here.