Venue: Spenserslive, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Date: 29 May 2010
In One Word: Punk!
I actually had no plan to review this particular show, seeing how hot it was on the heels of the last Root! review I did, but as usual the band made the fateful “mistake” of impressing the pants off me, leaving me little choice but to sing their praises yet again. The bastards.
I arrive a tad “late” to find that not only has the headliner’s show begun, but that they are – Heaven forbid! – playing to a sit-down crowd! Something which would never have happened back in “the day”, surely…and I’m not the only one who thinks so, judging by frontman DC Root’s pre-encore quip of: “Thanks for being such a polite audience. We’re not used to polite audiences.” Even moving to the centre of the room and jumping up on a table fails to goad much of a response from the all-too-affable audience, but as any fan of this band should know by now, they still have an ace up their sleeve…a sly “fuck-you” of sorts to the overly “civil” nature of tonight’s show…
I’ve copped a bit of flack for throwing the ever-controversial word “punk” around of late, and even went as far as to declare (on no less high-brow a forum as Facebook) that I would never, ever use that word in a review again. Well, that was a whole two or three weeks ago now, so I’m more than ready to break that hastily-made vow and declare, with the utmost sincerity and confidence, that I am now in possession of a definitive, inarguable definition of that much-maligned word. Definition of “punk”: Five middle-aged men walking onto a stage after a mid-show intermission wearing cowboy hats and PAJAMAS. There you have it, in a nutshell. PUNK ROCK, boys and girls…
But as one also comes to expect from a Root! gig, the occasion was not only entertaining, but educational as well. DC’s advice that if one were ever to find themselves in a subversive, aesthetically-challenging country-meets-hip-hop-meets-r’n’b rock band, and decide in their wisdom to wear flannelette pajamas on stage one night: “Don’t. It’s bloody hot.” It is advice that by no means falls on deaf ears, for the audience before him is certainly listening to his every word, in spite of the band’s seeming inability to rouse them from their all-too-comfy seats. But as DC himself points out, wearing one’s nightclothes and repeatedly chanting the word “dooooona” to an already-sleepy, mostly over-30s crowd who appear well past their bedtime is akin to taking someone who has the urge to piss and subjecting them to the sound of running water.
If it sounds like tonight’s show was at times more akin to a stand-up comedy gig than a “rock show”, then you wouldn’t be far off…but with a wordsmith as witty as Mr DC Root, you could do oh-so-much worse. And “puerile” though it may be, there’s something very heartwarming about watching a jowl-faced gent singing the word “cunt” to an audience at least partly composed of his peers. Punk rock is indeed alive and well.
© Michael Bowser, Music Vice
Pictures of Root! at Spenserslive: