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REVIEW: Kirin J Callinan + Lost Animal + Scattered Order

Nominally a Brisbane resident, BRADY CLARKE finds time to catch KIRIN J CALLINAN during his trip to Melbourne — and duly gets blown away.

Northcote Social Club, Saturday September 15

Scattered Order formed in 1979: not a bad run. They slay the audience’s eardrums with industrial white noise. There is an analogue synthesiser slashing through distorted drum samples and ineffable guitars; Boards Of Canada childvoice floats over a grinding pulse and ramps up in intensity with the projections until the club is immersed in light and noise. Close your eyes to tease out the beauty from the pain and horror and apathetic noise. This is a choose-your-own-adventure — free of melody, but worth the exploration.

Lost Animal‘s frontman/mastermind Jarrod Quarrell is accompanied by live bassist Shags Chamberlain, a MacBook and a synthesiser. Quarrell drawls and sneers like Julian Casablancas over summery synths and wintery beats, his don’t-give-a-fuck cool Clashing against the mix of bass-driven dub reggae and punk. As convincing as the record? Perhaps not, but it works.

Photo: Stephen Booth, BigSound Live 2012

Kirin J Callinan is uncompromising: a guitar genius and effects wizard surrounded by a half-moon of Boss pedals. He slinks and snarls and prowls the stage, dropping to his knees in a violent flash to adjust a setting in the crescent, spitting venom into the microphone as he strangles tortured notes out of his department-store guitar while jamming the mic stand into a position that can resist his force. He is beastly charisma with a smile, as layers of trenchcoat and gold-trim shirt are shed to shyly reveal the SFC tattoo on his right bicep peeking out from a worn wifebeater.

The drummer and bassist watch his every move, accompanying where necessary but staying well out of harm’s way. He points out the Kirin J lighters “made in collaboration with Bic — they wanted to collaborate” in red, yellow and black, the colours of the Indigenous flag. He hasn’t been writing much lately and doesn’t really shave, but has been smoking a lot, he says. He croons the forbidden love of Thighs, the B-side to his latest 7″, with echoes of Harmony’s intensity.

He closes the set with a messy extended take on Way To War, following which the band leaves the stage. Kirin returns alone for an unscheduled encore — to play what, there are no more songs? He jams with his guitar loops on drums, singing until the microphone cord comes loose and the entire setup falls apart. He leaves us again, exhausted and broken and satisfied.

BRADY CLARKE is a Brisbane-based bebearded bassist, raconteur, absurdist and decanter of yarns, clearly competent at compiling clever linguistic abstractions resplendent in knowledge and ephemera.


Media & comms pro who works in mysterious ways. Writer, vinyl enthusiast, sort-of cineaste, history and geopolitics nerd and (nearly) reformed muso. Has a soft spot for hyphens and slashes. Will chew off your ear about obscure music, random facts and world football.


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