BRADY CLARKE ventures to Brisbane CBD’s rock & roll oasis to observe PAWPLAY — a feline-friendly music event with a great cause.
Beetle Bar, Sun Oct 7
PawPlay is a fundraiser gig for Little Paws Kitten Rescue — a bunch of kind and generous folks who like to help abused kittens and cats throughout southeast Queensland. A portion of the door price goes to the charity, along with proceeds from a raffle with prizes including pet store vouchers — and if you don’t have a pet to spend the voucher on, Little Paws are more than happy to provide details of their tiny adawwwable charges if you’re interested in caring for one.
The Fantastic Mr Fabulous caresses proceedings into life, with smooth voice and finger-picked acoustic guitar playing to the sweaty late afternoon. A cover of Wicked Game, some pleasant originals, a cover of Easy and a note sustained for 30 seconds equal a very nice start to the day.
The Medicine Show have agreed to play, they say, because “we heard that pussy was under threat.” Their blues-riffin’ Les Paul and cowbell-laden ZZ Top/swamp rock hybrid goes down a treat as the sun sets, and they even rouse a few beer-swillers from the heat for a dance.
Little Planes Land is the solo side project of Ball Park Music’s resident crazy cat lady Jen Boyce. She opens with a ramshackle cover (“how does this verse go? Sorry mum!”) of Darren Hanlon’s Falling Aeroplanes, carrying the day with the cutesy ukelele complementing her strong voice. There’s a “gross song about love” with the refrain “you used to give me lava lamps, but now you give me love.” She leaves after about six songs and charming banter because she’s hungry (she is later spotted snacking on carrots and nuts).
Plastic Fangs are a strange mix. On the one hand, they wear their post-punk influences on their sleeve, verging perilously close to Joy Division/Bauhaus territory at times. On the other, they manage to combine The Cramps-gone-surf guitars with brief flashes of screaming hardcore. A little too battle-of-the-bands, purr-haps?
Dan Acfield returns us to acoustic indie folk territory. He delivers whispers and yelps with equal aplomb, and sparingly-deployed loops of voice and guitar enrich the set. An audacious cover of Somebody That I Used To Know sees a mid-song audience casting call, and Jen Boyce returns to stage as an impromptu Kimbra — their chemistry, completely off the cuff, is a highlight of the night.
Winners of the Tour de France are certainly winners of the Name Of The Evening award. “Balls-out” would be a fair descriptor for their loud messy no-nonsense pub rock, particularly as the drummer strips out of shirt and pants as the set progresses. Can’t help but feel that these guys would be better suited to a V8 racing event with their beery odes to breakups and hungover mornings.
As the dust settles and the last raffle is called, all indicators show that PawPlay has been a successful evening for the organisation and their feline friends. After six hours and six acts, it’s time to wander off and find some food.
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.