So the SouthSide Tea Room had an event on Sunday. It was called “Plaster Fun House” and we had a great time. It was me, Dee, Jeremy, Kerrie and Ella.
I am not exactly sure what occurred — because I wasn’t quite sure what I had signed up for and just had to go with the flow as events happened. But there were tangible results at the end.
The SouthSide Tea Room, an amazing venue, has just been established by John and Patience who previously had been part of the band — The Grates.
And so I am going to talk a little about our history. In 2003 my band Specialbranch formed and we soon recruited a 17 year old Eastside lass called Jess. I had known her (online) for years from us being diehard fans of Custard and when I learnt she could sing and play keys and she was already a veteran of a band called Parkertron I asked her over to audition.
I have always thought having a woman in a band is crucial. Not that the band was “blokey” or one bit masculine — it was just we needed (even superficially) some gender-balance and I love female voices.
Anyway — Jess got the part and we all got to be friends and she became part of the band. And so our very first gig at Ric’s was accidentally with “Clifton” — one of John’s (John from The Grates) bands.
I designed the poster below and I got John’s band’s name wrong:
That night I remember trying my best to compliment John on his set — but truth be told — I was too nervous about us playing next to pay enough attention.
Later, John and Patience and Alana formed The Grates who turned out to massively successful. But just while the inkling of that was happening we played another show with them: (this is their (The Grates’ poster)
Anyway. There suddenly was this very “Brisbane” backlash against them — mostly from snobby bands and snobby musicologists here locked up in Brisbane’s malaise. And Jess got caught up in that stuff. But she was young, horribly opinionated (which was your duty in that period) and dating a guy that was half bitter about music and half in love with it.
[I guess it gets easier and easier as time goes by to get stupidly disillusioned with music when it gets so prolific.]
Jess: “It was basically tall poppy syndrome. No one knew them. They came from nowhere. And every band in Brisbane was jealous because they had been struggling away for ages and thought they were more deserving than a band who had not been around as long.”
I was having no part of the argy-bargy. I thought The Grates were compatriots — even if they were a bit flawed or derivative. “Aren’t we all?” I thought.
They were decent, lively and had fun tunes. No harm.
So Specialbranch imploded very soon after and we lost touch with them — except that our friend Conan played with them for a while and then Dan Condon did the same and I got John to write some stuff for my zine in 2005/6.
But then this Sunday — even though it wasn’t the first time I had been to the SSTR, I got to say hello to them again. And they are living a dream I fantasise about. Running a bar and having fun events and getting to host your favourite bands. Amazing.
Lastly, I just want to say Kerrie did amazingly well. She is an Artiste. She did amazingly well and her attention to detail was truly whoa! If I had a say, I would award her FIRST PRIZE!