I truly do hate to say I told you so. Splendour was all you've read and heard about. Such a harsh and bitter blow to a region and community who had already suffered so much. I was the only act playing to the few stunned and shell-shocked artists, punters and crew who had arrived by midday Friday.
Rumours swirled as I began and I only confirmed that no artists would take the stage at all that day by searching through news reports on my phone during the first hour of my set. It is against my principles to abdicate during times of crisis so my between-main-stage-bands set became six-and-a-half continuous hours. I'd already gone an hour over at a charity gig in Byron the night prior. By Sunday I was on duty from 7PM til 5.30AM.
But together with my Tackle Shack fambly and Gold Bar/afterparty brother Mario Speedwagon we saw it through. We took the survivors beyond any high-water mark, singing and dancing in defiance and delight til the sun rose and the birds sang alone again.
Wednesday July the 27th ~
Despite its proximity to the Tank Stream I am expecting Swingin' at the Speakeasy to be substantively more civilised/dry tonight.
Join this remnant of mud-strewn rabble as I scrub up, don a suit and spin ancient audio for dancers young and old, from 10 til around 2, for free.
Friday July the 29th ~
Sin City Soirée is especially important to me this month as it may be the last time I see many near and dear friends for a bit of a while.
Unfortunately I kinda crucified my bad old bodyboarding shoulder (last operated on when I was 20) whilst recovering from unexpected surgery on my good right shoulder after (another) stoopid skatie fall last year. As a consequence a key tendon is almost torn off and I'm back in hospital on Monday to go through the whole damn palaver again.
I'm not exactly sure when I'll be able to resume deejaying (one-handed, as per many months in 2021) so please consider joining us to cut a rug at the incomparable Hollywood Hotel for this last hurrah between 9PM and 2AM. Of course it's always free!
Saturday July the 30th ~
My final cultural contributions pre-surgery provide a lot to look forward to however.
First I wish to thank Jonny Seymour for hosting Jack Off last week in my absence, whilst patiently enduring another impossible effort at relaying what could have been a uniquely-placed live report of the reality on the ground at a crucial juncture in Australian festival history. Sadly FBi Radio's new phone handsets remain disconnected from the desk.
Thankfully this week we've live music to feed directly into the studio mics, with Fran and Hairy from The Cannanes joining me (after about a decade of cajoling) between 3 and 5. Catch those tunes via the stream or 94.5FM, then gather at The Vic after 10 to celebrate the 30th birthday of the brilliant Chapter Records label to lap up the sound of the fantastic full band in self-effacing flight.
In between I've the unusual pleasure of kicking off the evening's entertainment at Maybe Sammy in The Rocks, (named the Best Bar in Australasia for the third year running) and a truly styling joint not dissimilar in design and colour-scheme to the beautiful Balmain Town Hall (pictured above as I sussed the PA for a future wedding today). There's no charge for entry and the new cocktail menu is sublime. I'll play from 5 til 9.
After that it's time for me to stack the chairs and put my feet up indefinitely for a while. Typing is hell when recovering from this op so I don't think I'll be able to send you a missive for a spell. Suffice to say I'll attempt to broadcast regardless of pain and I hope to get back to my sit-down gig at Palmer on Wednesdays within a fortnight. The rest will follow when it can.
Thank you for reading this far and always giving a Shit. Stay strong everyone. These are some times!
Drowning in dirt after flying north for the bummer.
Wednesday July the 20th ~
One last semblance of civility in Sydney: Swingin' at the Speakeasy for free from 10PM til about 2AM.
Thursday July the 21st ~
Thence up amongst the swollen Northern Rivers for a secret sporting charity event afterparty in Byron.
Friday July the 22nd ~
Pray for us as Splendour In The Grass returns for its thrice-postponed 20th birthday on the sodden soil of North Byron Parklands whilst a third wave of COVID and another East Coast Low descends. What could possibly go wrong?
Alongside other early casualties like Adrian Eagle, Mako Road, Surfaces, Tom Misch and now Hinds, the key artist I wanted to catch is already cactus, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs having cancelled due to 'health issues'. I will play their music daily in the Gold Bar regardless.
If yr headed and can access it you'll find me spinning in the gaps between main stage acts from midday til around 7, followed by the majesty that is Mario Speedwagon for the rest of the evening.
Saturday July the 23rd ~
I'll be backing up amongst the human wreckage at Splendour with another shift in the same location throughout the next day.
Simultaneously Jack Off will air on FBi Radio under the stewardship of judicious Jonny Seymour between 3 and 5PM.
Sunday July the 24th ~
The final day of Splendour In The Grass is beyond mortal measure. After spinning for what remains of the mud-splattered fancy-pants people in the Goldy all night there is only one place to be. Let's face it there has only ever been one place to be, the Tackle Shack.
After the utterly inimitable Waylon P. Flawstain III wraps up his final incendiary set for the weekend Mario and myself have massive white boots to step in to once the afterparty hits full swing.
It's a wild west affair once the authorities turn in and the crazed crowd leap the bar and climb the rafters, beyond anything that can be captured or described. It is the reason I return.
If you also heed that call we will dance, cry and sing together then brothers and sisters. That old timber hut by the swamp out past the boundaries of everything has always had mystical properties. Boy do we need them now. Lift us up 'o Lord, free us from this pestilence, famine, war and flood. Give us this one night free of the surly bonds of Earth.
Free trips to take and much music to make before we blow it all sky high.
Wednesday July the 13th ~
Hidden behind an anonymous door down an ancient city lane you'll discover Palmer & Co. On Wednesdays the joint is literally jumping as Swingin' at the Speakeasy brings dancing to the fore. Queenie and the Cavaliers play 7 til 10PM this week before I spin vintage hits & misses til around 2 in the morn.
Friday July the 15th ~
Come the weekend I'll reprise last week's rewarding routine, first playing overlooked local fare and obscure international indie between 8.30 and 11.30 at the Inner West's jewel of Australian culture and Chinese food, Hawke's Beer and Leisure Centre.
Saturday July the 16th ~
Saturday sees Jack Off return to the FBi airwaves, bathing in the beauty of strange and sumptuous song (after igniting neurons and electrons alike via a pummelling performance by Party Dozen last time).
Thence it's time to take to the skies for another airborne experience of ace audio atop the new A by Adina building for Dean and Nancy on 22. Book a booth, table or bar stool and enjoy sublime views and ridiculous service. I play from 9 til half 12.
Pre-tempest pics of a view earned via an especially fraught drive north, threading the needle between flooded roads for a long-deferred stay booked pre-pandemic. We're deeply grateful yet despite the apparent serenity the chaos never ends.
By the time I (hopefully) arrive home to the poor benighted Hawkesbury said house will have been without power for a week. Ausgrid texted this morning offering to drop a small generator by boat, then proceeded to tell us when we called that they will not allow my neighbour to be an advocate in my absence and receive it on my behalf. A pre-surgery school-holiday stay we've anticipated since April will thus likely be without heat or perhaps even water (as it's pump-powered rainwater only).
None of this is a patch on what low-lying river rats have just copped for the third time in a year. It's unimaginable. I truly hope you are ok wherever you are reading this. May you stay safe and stay strong.
Thursday July the 7th ~
Should you happen to be miraculously available this week, here are a few sheltered, free and healing scenarios for you to enjoy music and hospitality. To begin with, Palmer & Co, between 5 and 7PM.
Friday July the 8th ~
Thence to the cultural and engineering marvel that is Hawke's Beer and Leisure Centre in Marrickville, a signal set of local fare from 8.30 til 11.30PM.
Saturday July the 9th ~
On Saturday Jack Off welcomes diabolical Sydney sax and drums duo Party Dozen, who will perform live in the FBi studio between 3 and 5.
Afterwards I'll be setting up decks atop the grand piano at Dean and Nancy on 22, spinning suite sounds for drinkers and diners from 9PM til 12.30AM.