For Hannah, Wherever I May Find Her.

I found out it was over second-hand – from Josh, who I wasn’t sure if you knew personally or not. “Did you hear?” I hadn’t, as it turned out. It hadn’t even crossed my mind. Still, I opened my phone to the corresponding story; and there it was. The end, in plain text; accompanied by a really lovely recent photo of you. It was clearly taken in happier times. It managed to somehow soften the blow, even though I knew what I was reading would leave an indelible mark that not even endless plays of the songs we sang together would mend.

In truth, I knew you weren’t really gone. I’d still see you around. We’d still go to the same shows. End up in the same pubs, cornering the same back tables to talk obscure grindcore and our friends’ bands. Even so, I knew from that moment things wouldn’t be the same. They couldn’t. When you extract something that has clearly meant so much to so many people, it’s not as easy as arriving at acceptance and awaiting what comes next. The truth is there’s a lot more to it than that.

The first few times I saw you sing, I felt like I was intruding somehow. I wish I could properly explain why. As many times as I’ve stood between the bear claws or made my presence felt in any sort of similar space, I’ve always felt as though I needed to justify being there. That I deserved to be there. The others could just walk in and make it their own. Not me. I spent my teens trying to figure out where I belonged, and I’ve spent most of my twenties trying to hold onto it. Not just to be tolerated, but to be accepted.

You made me feel accepted every time we were together, and I will never forget that. You will never know how much that meant to me. I can’t even begin to describe it myself. You could have asked anyone to sing with you, to travel with you and to share in your greatest moments. The times that you chose me are some of the greatest times of my entire life. You opened yourself up to me. You made time for me. You treated me as a peer. As an equal. It validated my core belief that we are all in this together.

I saw you sing a total of 30 times. Every time we reached a milestone – the sweet 16th, the 20th – you always made a point of it. You told everyone in the room and called for a round of applause. Even done ironically, it still made me feel that every waking hour I had spent travelling to be with you was worth it. I wouldn’t trade in a single one of those moments for anything else.

The first few times I saw you, I nodded along and kept to myself. I learnt some words and mouthed along to them for the next few after that. Soon, I was singing along. By the time the second album was launched, I had turned your songs into full-body experiences. I still have that photo of you and I, side by side. You playing your song, me screaming into the ether. Zach took it. He always caught our best moments together.

People might have been confused by the guy up the front, yelling angrily at people that were presumably his friends. I was past the point of caring. Nobody made me want to be myself the way that you did. No-one helped me to make sense of me and my condition and the way that I am the way that you did. You allowed my inhibitions to come out. You provided a space for me to be me, and to share that with people I love. Again, I tell you: I will never forget that. You will never know how much that meant to me.

I’ve spent the majority of my life as an outlier. I am Autistic. I am a large mass of a being – six foot tall and 300 pounds, if we’re using that system of measurement. I was never in any cool punk bands. I didn’t have a circle of friends when I started coming to these kinds of shows. I still don’t really feel as though I do. All I do is look in. I go and I stand on my own, and I leave on my own. As any self-respecting indie tragic knows, that cycle is completed by going home, crying and wanting to die. Thanks, Moz. Because of what you gave to me, however, you broke that cycle. You dismantled it and destroyed it beyond any possible repair. You made me want to survive.

I haven’t spoken to you since I found out it was over. I’m sorry I didn’t reach out. I hope you read this. I hope you know I meant every single word of it.

Thank you for being patient with me.

Thank you for taking care of me.

Thank you for inviting me into your little world.

Exit the Dragon: On Daniel Bryan and Believing in Wrestling Again


I had never cried watching wrestling before Daniel Bryan.

I’d laughed, I’d smiled, I’d become irate, I’d felt pure unadulterated happiness… wrestling provoked a lot of extreme reactions on the emotional spectrum. It always has, ever since I first was exposed to it thanks to my cousin back in the late 90s. He was babysitting us, and allowed me to stay up past my bedtime to watch a bit of wrestling with him. “Isn’t it M15+?” I asked, ever the weary good little boy. “That’s only a recommendation,” replied my cousin; who I’m pretty sure wasn’t even 15 himself at the time. I was all of seven years old, and I can remember watching Cactus Jack take on Triple H in one of the most iconic matches in the history of Monday Night RAW. I was caught up in the adrenalin of it all – the heroes, the villains, the soap-opera twists, the larger-than-life characters. That was that. I have seen a lot of wrestlers come and go in my time – the same with anyone who’s been watching since childhood, one would suppose – but there is always something about the art of wrestling itself that has kept me watching.

Still, I had never cried watching wrestling before Daniel Bryan.

Outside of music and comedy, I’d say wrestling is one of my main interests. Yes, even after all this time. Probably even moreso now. Finding others drawn to it for the same reasons within my immediate age group – especially those not watching on a purely retrospective or ironic basis – almost feels like completing a secret handshake. Being a wrestling fan in your adulthood is to be self-aware of its shortcomings, its melodrama and the usual cynicism – “Y’know it’s fake, right?,” they ask as they watch their entirely-fictional movies and play their entirely-fictional video games. With that said, being a wrestling fan in your adulthood is to love it in spite of these things. Besides, from a bigger picture, you know it’s about the spectacle. The moments. The story arc coming to a close as the heroes and villains ride off into their respective sunsets.

Still, I had never cried watching wrestling before Daniel Bryan.

For those of you that never watched Daniel Bryan – AKA Bryan Danielson, AKA the American Dragon – step inside the ring and wrestle, here’s what you need to know: He was – and still is – the truest underdog story in the history of the WWE. He was the working class hero. The no-gimmick fighter that couldn’t size up to the heavyweight giants but wasn’t a high-flying luchadore, either. Throughout his career – which began when he was all of 18 years old – Daniel Bryan was stuck in the middle. He fought tooth and nail to work his way up the ranks through the independent wrestling circuit, particularly in a company called Ring of Honor and in companies throughout Japan. Despite never being an obvious superstar, the crowds made him feel like one. He had the heart and the passion for the craft of wrestling that was near-unrivalled. He had all the charisma, energy and skill of a main-eventer – and yet, when he arrived in the WWE in 2009, they had no idea what to make of him. He worked his way up through the ranks, despite countless setbacks, and those that had found a voice through him on the indie circuit were about to do the exact same thing on the biggest platform a professional wrestler can possibly have.

I had never cried watching wrestling before Daniel Bryan.

He finally became world champion in 2011, although it was seen as a fluke run – he had pinned an unsuspecting Big Show for it, and lost it infamously in 18 seconds during the opening match of WrestleMania 28. He had a successful odd-couple tag-team with my favourite wrestler of all time, Kane, with a tag title reign lasting 245 days. Even then, Bryan was seen as the comic relief. He and Kane could have had all the top-tier matches you could ask for – and, indeed, they did – and yet he still wouldn’t get his dues paid. When Bryan re-entered the title picture a year later, he was screwed out of winning the title – twice – mere moments after claiming victory. This would set off a revolution of sorts within the WWE, as the support behind Bryan became known as the “Yes Movement.” No matter how strong the company – and, by extension, its heel authority-figure characters – wanted others to look, the audience would call, chant and cheer for Daniel Bryan. Randy Orton? No. Daniel Bryan. Batista? No. Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan? YES. YES. YES.

I had never cried watching wrestling before Daniel Bryan.

Before I tell you about the moment that changed the above sentence for me, there’s another key thing you need to know about for context. As one of the many philanthropic things Bryan did for the company, one of them was granting a wish for a kid named Connor Michalek. He was an eight-year-old boy with terminal cancer that found a hero in Daniel Bryan – just like him, an underweight fighter who was not meant to last. Connor – or, as he came to be known, “Connor the Crusher” – won Bryan’s heart, as well as every other wrestler and WWE worker he would come to meet. He was bluntly honest, and rather than be intimidated by people like Kane or Triple H, he stared them down and continued his line of questioning. It’s the usual schmaltz, sure, but there was something about Connor’s story that connected with me. Perhaps I saw the joy and the wonder that I got out of wrestling as a kid still very much alive within him. Whatever the case, I was emotionally invested now and there was no turning back.

I had never cried watching wrestling before Daniel Bryan.

By the time WrestleMania 30 rolled around, Daniel Bryan had been screwed over more times than you could count. Every title match, every title opportunity, every bout to validate him as a contender… it was exhausting, it was frustrating and it was infuriating for every fan that had gotten behind Bryan as a part of the “Yes Movement.” The obstacles were finally laid out – if Bryan could defeat Triple H (the chief operating officer of the company, as well as a wrestling veteran and future hall-of-famer) in the opening match of the night, then and only then would he be inserted into the title match between champion Randy Orton (who had pinned Bryan initially to become champion) and the Royal Rumble winner, Batista. Sure enough, he took down Triple H – against every odd placed against him – and then proceeded to run riot in the main event. Under triple-threat rules – and despite several run-ins – Bryan scored the pin and became the champion.

The cheers were deafening. The “YES!” chants could have gone on all night – around the world, they probably did. At long last,after tirelessly battling for his place at the table, Daniel Bryan was the most popular and important wrestler in the world. Think of it like a band that you used to see down at the local pub playing to 30 people now selling out a show at Madison Square Garden. Or someone in drama classes in high-school scoring the lead role in the hottest blockbuster of the summer. That’s what this felt like. It felt like a full-circle takeover that started with the elevation of CM Punk to main-event status. Those who weren’t meant to fit in or were constantly told that they didn’t belong now had a hero to prove that there was hope for all of us. It’s moments like this that make wrestling feel like the realest thing in the world.

It emotionally charged me, and I couldn’t have felt more excited and overjoyed for Daniel Bryan. But it wasn’t this moment alone that made me cry.

Minutes after winning, Bryan left the ring and approached the front row. It was then that I realised that none other than Connor The Crusher, his father and his younger brother were all sitting ringside. They got to see the entire thing. Connor got to see his hero become the biggest wrestler in the world. Connor’s scrawny underdog hero was now a giant, draped in 30 pounds worth of gold. And there he was, embracing Connor before anyone else – as if to say, “It was you that got me here.” I knew that Connor didn’t have a lot of time left – his condition was getting worse by the day – but he had managed to fight it long enough to see this happen.

And that’s what did it. I cried. I cried for a good five minutes. Not just a solemn, single tear running down the cheek. It was an ugly cry. I hadn’t had one of those since personal tragedy hit my own life maybe a year beforehand. This time, it was tears of pure joy. Wrestling had finally unlocked that complete emotional spectrum in me. For something that’s so often criticised for being fake, nothing felt more real than that to me.

This week, Daniel Bryan announced his retirement due to a string of injuries that, if worsened, would have lead to permanent and irreparable damage to his brain and body. I have witnessed many retirements in my time, including some of my favourite wrestlers of all time like Ric Flair and Edge. That didn’t get to me the way this did, however. You best believe I cried again. I cried for a long time. Again. After a journey that had made me laugh, smile, become irate and feel pure unadulterated happiness, it was all over.

It’s here that I want to share a key moment from Bryan’s retirement speech. You can watch the whole thing at the bottom, and I implore you to do as such. For now, however, I leave you with this. It’s what set off my tears yet again. I know for a fact Bryan will never read this, but I have no doubt in my mind he has felt nothing but the love and support from countless nerds around the world like myself who found a hero in him. To the man that made us believe in wrestling again… we thank you.

I have gotten to meet the most amazing people on this planet, such as somebody who looks like a monster but is the smartest man I know, like Kane. I have gotten to meet a man who has been my mentor and my friend for over 16 years in William Regal. I have gotten to meet children that are stronger than I ever thought anybody could be, like Connor.


I am very grateful, and I’m grateful because wrestling doesn’t owe me or anybody back there, it doesn’t owe us anything. WWE doesn’t owe us anything. Nobody owes, you guys don’t owe us anything. We do this because we love to do this. And then it was strange, because I did this because I love to do this, and then all of a sudden you guys just got behind me, in a way that I never thought was possible, in a way that fans shouldn’t necessarily get behind a guy who’s 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds. You guys got behind me in a way that made me feel that I was more than just me, and for that, I’m grateful.

I am grateful because a little over 2 years ago, in this very arena, you guys hijacked Raw. And they were trying to do a big championship coronation between Randy Orton and John Cena. They were combining… they were combining the WWE Championship with the World Heavyweight Championship, and they had all the former champions out here, and this was going to be the most important match in WWE history, and you guys just wouldn’t stop chanting “Daniel Bryan.”

But that’s not why I’m grateful. My dad was sitting right over there – where the guy with the goat mask, with the Daniel Bryan sign is standing right now, and my dad got to see that. His son getting that kind of reaction from all of you people… and that was the last time my dad ever got to see me wrestle, and you guys made it special, for him and for me, and for my entire family.

I am grateful.

I am grateful, because of wrestling, I got to meet the most wonderful woman in the world, who’s beautiful. She’s smart, and she completes me in a way that I didn’t even think was possible, and that’s because of wrestling.

I am grateful.

I am grateful because I get to come out here, in front of what I feel are my hometown fans. I get to announce my retirement in front of a bunch of people who love me, right? That special moment that I had with my dad, I get to share this moment with my mom, with my sister, with my family, with my friends. I get to share it with them, I get to share it with you, I get to share it with my wife in the back, I get to share it with all these wonderful human beings that I have spent the last 15 years of my life with.

I am grateful.

So are we.

Our Next Guests Are A Wonderful Rock & Roll Band: 20 Performances on Latter-Day Letterman Picked By a Later-Day Letterman Fan

635676571678420060-XXX-DAVIDLETTERMAN03-D01-dcb-001[1] So, it’s come to this. Pop culture as a collective is saying goodbye to a legendary talk-show host in the form of David Letterman. I’ve seen countless tributes pouring in on my timeline – celebrities and regular folk alike all have a Letterman story. I suppose I should share mine, although it doesn’t have the same weight to it as ones from my friends in their thirties and forties that quite literally grew up with the show.

I come into the picture in the 2000s. By this point, Letterman is an establishment. Appearing on that show means that you’re someone – if only for that moment. This much is especially true of the show’s musical guests, which were often the only reason I would tune in. One YouTube came into the picture, I’d often spend hours at a time down a rabbit hole with only the search term “live on letterman” to guide me. There was always such an interesting mix of artists – some well-established, some just coming through the ranks. To me, if you’d been on Letterman, you’d made it. That was your stage, your chance, your moment.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to share some of my personal favourite Letterman musical-guest moments. Please note that this is by no means a definitive best-of – I’ve picked exclusively from the last 15 years; and there is no Future Islands on account of there having been everything that one could possibly say about that performance already out there in the ether. These are just some performances that I’ve been enthralled with over the years for very different reasons. So, let’s take it away.

TV on the Radio – Wolf Like Me (2006)

I still get the exact same electricity running through me nearly ten years after this performance first happened. I shared this with EVERYONE – even people I knew that didn’t like music. There was something monumental about this rendition – it took what was already bound to be one of the greatest songs of the decade and somehow made it even greater. Can’t you just hear how David Andrew Sitek makes his guitar squeal. How Jaleel Bunton punches through those drum parts. Kyp Malone practically jumps out of his suit at one point. This made me want to be in a rock band – my rock band at the time made this cover a staple of our set. It all started – my Letterman obsession, my TVotR obsession, the whole shebang – here.

An Horse – Camp Out (2009)

We cut to the end of the decade, and it’s one of the more obscure Australian acts to have appeared on the show – a Brisbane indie band who were championed by acts like Death Cab and Tegan & Sara. It didn’t turn them into arena filling sensations, but performances like this proved that achieving something on that side of the world was still a possibility. The vibe that you got from watching Courtney Barnett on Fallon or Ellen? That’s what we were feeling when An Horse pressed the flesh with Dave.

Beastie Boys – Ch-Check It Out (2004)

I’ve tried to shy away from the obvious performances in this list, but you just can’t go past the creativity and the energy of this one. It felt like a music video brought to life, and the mile-wide grin on Dave’s face at its conclusion makes it all worth it. This dropped right in a revival of Beastie obsession for me, so it was perfect timing. Fuck, I miss MCA.

Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies) (2005)

There’s such an urgency to this era of Arcade Fire that Dave almost doesn’t get their name out before the begin an all-instrument avalanche. This is a kitchen-sink type of Arcade Fire – one of them is even running around the place whacking a floor tom for the fuck of it. Centred in its universe is Win, who is far from the unleashed rockstar he would become in the Reflektor era. Here, he barely moves. He’s the last to arrive at this party and the first to leave – which somehow makes him more of an intriguing prospect.

Grinderman – Honey Bee (Let’s Fly to Mars) (2007)

After years of concert halls and opera houses, Nick Cave wanted to fuck some shit up again like in the old days. Grinderman let him reclaim the mania of The Birthday Party yet keep the suit. It worked – and it resulted in one of the wildest performances on the show. Warren Ellis is playing some kind of electric mandolin while randomly smashing a hi-hat with a hammer. Cave is on the prowl, laying down organ parts and quite literally buzzing away. It’s impossible to look away.

Sparta – Breaking the Broken (2004)

At a time where fear-mongering was at a high and the American political climate was one of uncertainty for any that considered themselves creative, Sparta appeared on Letterman. Sprayed onto their shirts was the word VOTE – and, after putting everything into a performance of what I consider to be their best-ever song, it was quite clear which way they wanted you to do as such. Spoiler alert: They were not successful. At that point in time, though, it didn’t matter. It felt like anything was possible.

Beck – Nausesa (2006)

Nevermind that this is a thoroughly jamming version of one of Beck’s most underrated singles – Borat turns up! MY WIFE! Also worth pointing out that, by a complete luck of the draw, this performance shares a drummer with the very next one in the form of one Matt Sherrod.

R.E.M. – Imitation of Life (2001)

R.E.M. were legacy guests on Letterman. In 1983, they appeared for the first time and performed two songs; both of which have become seminal singles of the era. They went on to appear four more times on the show, with this being their last before they split up a decade later. The contrasts between 1983 R.E.M. and 2001 R.E.M. are centred around Michael Stipe – once an enigmatic, mumbling long-haired twenty-something; now an extrovert and a true frontman in every sense. It was the band coming full circle.

Tom Waits – Make it Rain (2004)

You must understand that I hated Tom Waits when I first discovered him. Hated him. Thought his voice was fucked and that he looked like he’d been run over. Of course, that’s exactly the same reason that I love him now. I look back on this performance that once made me squirm and see one that is all class. The addition of two-thirds of the Blues Explosion laying it down certainly helps matters.

Feist – 1234 (2007)

She may hate this song now, and may well never play it again. There was a time, though, where we all fell in love with it. For many, that came with this performance, which enlisted an all-star choir of people from The National, Grizzly Bear, The New Pornographers, Mates of State and Broken Social Scene. It’s all horns, ba-da-bas and pure unadulterated joy. You can’t help but smile when you see this one. Plus, how on-point are those handclaps?

Liam Finn – Second Chance (2007)

Two offspring of Australasian rock legends combine forces here, Liam being the stock of Neil Finn and his counterpart being one of Jimmy Barnes’ daughters. The similarities, of course, stop there – this is a psychedelically-tinged slice of indie-rock that goes into overdrive once Finn sets up his loop station and goes fucking WILD on the drums. Even a slight fuck-up makes this imperfectly perfect.

Red Fang – Blood Like Cream (2014)

I don’t know – are Red Fang considered a “metal” band? Like, are they metally enough for the Metal Club? Whatever the case, it’s always a surprise and a joy when stuff like this makes it onto network television. They hit this one out of the park, and even Paul Shaffer himself gets in on the fun by adding in some spooky organ drones. Bonus points for Dave’s sick burn at the end: “I’ll talk to your drummer about growing a beard.”

Neko Case – This Tornado Loves You (2009)

There’s this idea that if a song can still sound good through AM speakers, it’s bound to be a good song. This performance of the opening track from Case’s Middle Cyclone sounds like a masterpiece in 480p, so make of that what you will. The triple-guitar layering works beautifully alongside the four backing vocalists, which include Kelly Hogan and Lucy Wainwright Roche. Stunning, understated and a true credit to Case as a performer and bandleader.

Mastodon – Curl of the Burl (2011)

When Mastodon first came on Letterman in 2009, Dave introduced them by saying “I’m not gonna lie to you… I’m frightened” before cutting to a close-up of Brent Hinds’ face tattoo. It was a funny bit, but it was also reflective of a wider preconception about metal and the people involved in it. Seemingly, Dave got over his initial fright once he saw how awesome they were – the band were invited back two more times. This is my favourite of the three, if only for Bill having the words “HI MOM” taped onto his guitar.

LE1F – Wut (2014)

Potentially the first gay rapper to ever perform live on network television? Potentially the only? This fantastic performance from the bold and brassy LE1F was a huge moment for both LGBT and POC visibility, not to mention a massive step up in a live setting. While the MC and DJ set-up certainly works for LE1F, a full band (featuring Dev Hynes on bass) and two back-up dancers works even better.

Morningwood – Jetsetter (2006)

In 2006, I was obsessed with a band called Morningwood. I believe I was one of two whole people in all of Australia that even knew who they were. They may have been a blip on the radar to many, or simply cool by association (lead singer Chantal Claret is married to Little Jimmy Urine of Mindless Self Indulgence). On this night, though, they were the talk of the town – particularly after Claret did her now-famous Matrix dance during the guitar break. Power-pop for life.

The Orwells – Who Needs You (2014)

The performance that divided the internet right down the middle. Was it a mess? Was it staged? Were they high? Was it rock & roll? Was it all premeditated? The answer, naturally, is that it’s exactly what you see. It’s what you make of it. It’s like the Vines’ infamous performance in 2002. Whatever the case, Paul Shaffer lost his fucking mind over it. You can see why.

Tokyo Police Club – Nature of the Experiment (2007)

22 didn’t seem all that far away at 17. When I realised how old Tokyo Police Club were, and I saw them on Letterman, I felt that maybe I’d know where I was going at that age. Naturally, I didn’t; and neither did they – they’ve scarcely been heard from since this peak point of exposure. It’s worth revisiting, though, both for the drummer going hard on just a bass/snare/hi-hat set-up and the entire CBS Orchestra joining in on a tambourine flash-mob. The kids were alright, weren’t they?

The National – Afraid of Everyone (2010)

The National make everything special in their own understated way, including their TV appearances. Here, they played a non-single (not to mention one of my favourite National songs) and brought out a horns section, a pump organ and a casual cameo from Sufjan Stevens. It builds up into something unbelievable – this, to me, is the definitive version of this song.

U2 – Beautiful Day (2009)

Here’s something you should know: From the ages of 8 to 24 (the age I currently) am, I was a huge U2 fan. I still am. Yep, even through some average albums and the whole debacle last year. There’s something about this band that always puts me in the exact right mood. I can’t imagine my life without a song like “Beautiful Day,” as pathetic as that seems. It’s a light in the dark for me; a crack of sunshine let into the shadows. It’s impossible for me to be unhappy when it’s on. So when U2 performed it as a part of U2 Week on the show, in which they did a song every night, I fell in love with it all over again.

On this night, Bono is determined to get the crowd up on their feet. You think it’ll happen in the first chorus. They’re still down. Second chorus. The clapping along is louder, but they’re still down. It takes until the second bridge for them to finally lift – but it’s worth the pay off. I smile like an idiot everytime I see that bit. It’s so daggy, but it reminds me exactly of what “Beautiful Day” does for me.

Thanks, Dave.

Goodnight, everybody.

Foo Fighters Fans Are Shit-Kicking Piss-Babies (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)


Hey there, rock fans! Did y’all catch the Foo Fighters when they were in town last week? I’ll bet that you did. I’m sure you were interested in seeing what other people thought of the show, too, right?

Well, unless your review simply read “EPIC RAWK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,” then you were in for a world of cyber-hurt.

Torch? Check.
Pitchfork? Check.
Piss-stained AC/DC shirt? CHECKITY-CHECK.

Last week, myself and Collapse Board writer Milton Fiennes both went to see the band and wrote about our takes on the show – he in Brisbane, me in Sydney. Mine was mixed, his was… well, it was his.

Personally, I found Milton’s review to be one of the funniest things I have read in the past five years at least. Even as someone who’s enjoyed the band at various points of their career, it’s quite easy to see through the hollow exterior of what can be a remarkably-bloated stadium-rock show. Of course I didn’t agree with all of it – I felt like Chris Crocker, yelling “leave Pat Smear alone!” – but that’s just the point. I still enjoyed it immensely. I don’t have such thin a skin that I can’t accept when someone has a differing opinion on a band I love. I was on a train recently with a friend when the topic of Silverchair came up, and they absolutely savaged them. They are a band that I love and were a huge part of my life for many years, but I knew immediately where they were coming from. It’s all about perspective.

Of course, try telling that to Foo Fighters fans.

Many came for the CB review, but even more stayed for the furious comment section. I obviously can’t reprint all of the greatest hits on offer – Everett True thankfully did that for me – but here are my top five.

  • Just another bored piece of shit attention whore with nothing else to write about.. Well done knob gobbler.. Well done.
  • You are a cunt who has never played live – this is rock and roll and you are the buggest deutschbag [sic] in the world – go type in your corner you pimple faced cunt
  • You are a fucking gutless idiot you should b [sic] reveiwing [sic] festival films you gormless fuckwit. Milton just because you have no talent or value as a human, no need 2 [sic] take your penis envy out on the foos. Clearly you understand nothing about music so get some clues and a new job dumb arse
  • You’re a cock. What do you listen to? I bet some shit like Nicki Minaj.
  • Didn’t get your daily fisting then? artists are allowed to change their act for entertainement value this century. your boss needs to bullet you

I couldn’t believe it. “No way that’ll happen to me,” I thought. How very wrong I was. Some of the highlights of the comments on my review:

  • What a fucking shit piece, written no doubt to “try and look cool” by ragging on the Foo’s [sic]. Maybe go watch a hipster with a comb over and a beard play a set in a shitty cafe that sells over priced coffee
  • What crap I wasnt even there I got to hear Monkey Wrench over the phone it was amazing and crowd went nuts as did I at home! Sheer talent of these guys on their instruments and to make each experience different to the last is brilliant. Guitar solo’s [sic] at the bridge are brilliant also gives other band mates time to shine. That review was mediocre.
  • What the fuck who wrote this shit,foo fighters always put on a good show from start to end and cold day in the sun is a great song of Taylor’s and not Forgettable
  • 2hrs 45 of balls out Rock was pure bliss for anyone that loves music, only someone who doesn’t understand music would have bad things to say about the Foos concerts
  • Yeah maaaan right on the foos are big fans of your critiscism [sic] and shit journo reporting.

Fantastic stuff.

Before we go any further, I would just like to preface how I think it’s nothing short of a miracle that these people have learned how to read and write. It’s an inspiration to us all, really.

I want to take a look at how people respond to any form of criticism of what they enjoy, and the vitriol with which they do it. Particularly in the live setting, where they’ve clearly seen something so objectively perfect that no-one could possibly disagree.

Let’s start with one of my personal favourites:

“You must be a [insert pop star] fan!”

As if thinking W about X means you can’t think Y about Z. As if there is only one school of thought when it comes to enjoying music. As if merely holding a guitar makes music authentic and listenable. I’m so sick of this shit – I don’t think that there is any argument more antiquated. It was like that Grammys shit a few weeks back, where you were supposed to be either on Beck’s side or Beyoncé’s side. Fuck that noise! I’ve seen Beck live and I’ve seen Beyoncé live. Both were fantastic. You know what else? I’ve seen Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift. They were all great. So were Metallica, Slipknot, U2 and Queens of the Stone Age. All massive shows for massively different audiences. At the end of the day, it comes down to whether you can put on a great show or not. If you can justify the lengths one goes to in an arena or stadium setting. Being a fan of a different style of music has no impact on how you review another. I don’t think my love of Animal Collective got in the way of me reviewing New Found Glory; nor did my love of Nas somehow impact my take on Angus & Julia Stone. The wider your appreciation of music is, the more you’re going to get out of a show.

Next up…

“You’re a hipster!”

Snore. Trying to look cool by not liking ostensibly one of the daggiest bands in the world? Surely it’d be more hipster to be wearing an ironic Foo Fighters t-shirt or some shit. Also, we’re surely done with “hipster,” aren’t we? It needs a sabbatical. A permanent sabbatical. Next.

“I’d like to see you play live!”

I’ve still honestly never gotten this. Just because you can’t “do” something, doesn’t mean you can have an opinion on it? I can’t cook to save my life, but I know when something tastes bad. I’ve not been near a football since high school, but I know when someone’s made a bad move in a match. One can have a fully-comprehensive knowledge of what it is to do something without  actually doing it themselves. Certainly, doing said thing would lend a certain knowledge – former football players on football commentary, etc. – but an opinion on something shouldn’t be disregarded out of hand purely because you’re not doing it on their level. Once, when I gave a mixed review of a Butterfly Effect show, a commenter wrote “Those that can’t do, review.” Not really, yeah? Let’s put this argument to bed. It’s completely irrelevant.

“Were you even at the show?!?”

Nah, I just have a really vivid imagination. *raspberry*

“You musn’t like any music! You must hate everything!”

Really? Really? On the account of having one take on one band out of the literally millions that exist in the ether? That’s a remarkable statement to make. You should probably get in on the next Olympics for the long-jump. I love this one a lot.

“Who even are you? You’re not famous like they are!”

Again with the whole long-jump thing. You’re the same kind of people that will leap onto any article about Kimye and call them dumb n-words that are devaluing society, and yet when someone goes after King Dave they’re suddenly not allowed to think negative thoughts? Give me a fucking break. Welcome to the troll café, where they dish it out but they can’t take it.

And, finally…

“Rampant homophobia!”

Cock-gobbler? “Hanging around gay bars?” “Daily fisting”? Exactly how does one’s sexuality impact on how they enjoy music? I don’t assume all straight people listen to Nickelback, so why the fuck is there still this notion that all gay people want to hear is fucking Celine Dion or the Village People or some ancient bullshit like that? I saw Judas Priest last weekend, and at one point Rob Halford pointed out that the band has been around for 41 years. Halford publicly came out as gay in 1998. That’s 17 out of 41 years that he’s been an out-gay man. The bullshit homophobia that surrounds rock, metal, punk and hardcore – the supposed “MAN’S” music – is probably what kept Halford in the closet for the other 24. Let’s also remember that Halford was 47 when he came out. Nearly his entire life spent hiding his true identity on account of the horrific nature of people like these commenters. If being a real man means sculling Woodstock tinnies while spitting on queers and putting away money for your third Southern Cross tattoo, you have no idea how grateful I am not to be a real man.

I refuse to be a “man.”

Fuck off, Foo Fighters fans.



WHO: Epitomes.
FROM: Huskisson, NSW, Australia.
FIRST TIME: I think it was the North Nowra Community Centre in the middle of 2008.
TENTH TIME: Nowra School of Arts in 2009 (if I’m not mistaken).

It may have been merely the luck of the draw that I got to see Epitomes as many times as I did. The band featured on many local bills, and I frequented all of them. For most of my later teens, I did everything within my power to make a local live music scene happen. One by one, places fell through or refused to put on more shows. One by one, we found more places. You should have seen some of the places we ended up – bingo halls, canteens, drama recital halls. It was very much a make-do sort of situation.

Anyway, at the centre of this story is Epitomes, who were a skramz/post-hardcore band from a little further down south from me. I think the reason I connected with them so much was just how different both they and I were to the scene around them. They were the emotive hardcore band surrounded by tough-guys with neck tattoos and drop-C guitars. I was the normie Catholic School kid with Asperger’s who liked music outside of hardcore or punk. People didn’t like that – I once, honest-to-God, got a MySpace message from someone I had never met telling me to stay away from “our” shows and to “stick to Death Cab for Cutie.” I wish I still had MySpace so I could show you.

So, I connected with Epitomes – we were the outsiders that had found their way in; and it’s something I’ll always appreciate. One thing I used to do to fuck with people at these shows was perform interpretive dance to Epitomes’ song “Lies.” It was a reaction to not only being the different one at the show, but also a reaction to the mean-spirited and aggressive hardcore dancing of a lot of the patrons. It earned me the nickname Interpretive Dave, only if for a moment in time. Someone from Shinto Katana filmed it once, but I think that’s lost to the depth of YouTube.

So, where are they now? Vance the singer moved to Melbourne, then to Brisbane. No idea where he is now. I’m 95% certain he absolutely hated me, anyway. Cameron the guitarist moved on to two bands that I love, mowgli and Yetis. Brad the bassist is in Melbourne and plays in a wicked band called Up and Atom; who I’ve sadly never seen. Joel the drummer moved to Sydney, came out and played in heavy bands like Zita Grimm and ACHE. The dream of South Coast Hardcore (SCHC) may be long dead, but I’ll always have the memories.

– DJY, June 2014

Saturday Night Live, Season 39: The DJY Awards

It’s been an interesting season for a show simultaneous described as both consistently enjoyable and a wheezing dinosaur. A major cast overhaul delivered some of the best and worst moments; and not everything that got thrown at the wall managed to stick. Even so, it set up what has the potential to be an absolutely killer 40th season of the show – and this run definitely wasn’t without its moments. Let’s take a look.

Best Host: Drake

The all-singing, all-rapping and all-Draking king of Toronto was game for absolutely anything; making his episode arguably the most consistently entertaining. His performances in the sketches were lively and he never came across as though he was too big for any part that was thrown his way. Would love to see back again.

Honourable mentions: Lady Gaga, Melissa McCarthy, Bruce Willis.

Worst Host: Jim Parsons.

Let’s ignore the fact that The Big Bang Theory is a piece of shit – this was Parsons’ chance to show us that he is, indeed, “not that guy” as he put it in the cringeworthy opening monologue song. He fell flat on his face in nearly every sketch. The episode’s only saving grace was a lush performance from Beck; who offered some brief respite.

Honourable mentions: John Goodman, Charlize Theron, Andrew Garfield.

Best musical guest: Arcade Fire.

Now that’s how you start a season. The band have never disappointed when it comes to their SNL performances, and this night was no exception. One of the best live acts in the world right now.

Honourable mentions: St. Vincent, The National, Pharrell Williams.

Worst musical guest: Eminem.

Not even a cameo from Rick Rubin could save this lifeless, blunt performance. The live band has added nothing to Em’s live sound – but, then again, Em doesn’t add very much to his live sound, either; relying heavily on guide tracks and his hype man.

Honourable mentions: Kings of Leon, Bastille, Imagine Dragons.

Best repertory player: Kate McKinnon.

It took awhile for her to prove it, but absolutely no-one on SNL right now gets as much out of so little. It can just be a look in her eyes, a twitch of her head or simply an off-hand phrase and she is away. You’re in stitches. A sharp character actor, a wicked improvise and one of the best additions that SNL has ever made to its cast.

Honourable mentions: Taran Killam, Aidy Bryant, Bobby Moynihan.

Worst repertory player: Kenan Thompson.

Oh, Kenan. You’ve had essentially nothing to work with this year, and the majority of your impressions and characters have been instantly forgettable. What’s up with that? It reminds me of Darrell Hammond towards the end – Kenan is evidently getting pretty tired. I wouldn’t be surprised if season 40 was his last.

Honourable mentions: N/A.

Best featured player: Kyle Mooney.

For every big goofy celebrity joke and pop culture reference, there has always been a few people in SNL‘s history that have thrived to keep the show weird. Kyle Mooney is one of them – and this season has been so much better for it. Highlight after highlight of bizarre, surrealist and absurdist sketches (often with partner Beck Bennett) have brought countless episodes up from good to great. When the revolution comes, Mooney will be leading the way with an awkward smirk.

Honourable mentions: Beck Bennett, Sasheer Zamata, Mike O’Brien.

Worst featured player: John Mihiser.

Oh dear. This is going to be a messy break-up, isn’t it? Look, John: You had some potential there for a second. Remember that dance scene with Lady Gaga? That was all-time, dude. But that’s one sketch out of one show of an entire year. This just isn’t going to work out. I’m so sorry. It’s not you, it’s us.

Honourable mentions: Noel Wells, Brooks Wheelan.

Best former cast cameo: Fred Armisen.

Despite only being gone for a year, Fred is just down the way from the SNL studio; working on Late Night with Seth Meyers. So any chance we get to see him again is always welcome. He provided two great cameos this season – appearing with Vanessa Bayer as Vladimir Putin’s best friends from growing up; as well as a fleeting, brilliant, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it return as David Patterson. If you saw it, you saw it.

Honourable mentions: Will Ferrell, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph.

Best cameo: Barry Gibb.

What divine intelligence would allow for Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake to reunite for not only the final SNL of 2013, but perhaps the final Barry Gibb Talk Show ever given the death of dear, sweet Robin. And what better way to end it by getting the man himself out for a bit of a dance at the end? Sure, it was an all-too-brief moment, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t make me laugh and giggle like an idiot. Talkin’ it up forever.

Honourable mentions: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jon Hamm, Liam Neeson.

Worst cameo: Zooey Deschanel.

I can deal with Franco – he even appeared in a brilliant sketch later on this episode. Tay-Tay? Any time of the week. But there was no reason for Deschanel to show up and do her dazzled-frog look. At least she didn’t play her uke.

Honourable mentions: Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Miley Cyrus.

Best digital short: Flirty.

Mooney is finally allowed some proper cross-over with the main cast as he strikes up an exceptionally awkward romance with Bayer. Not only really, really funny; but also strangely sweet. I think that sums up Mooney’s contributions to the show really well, actually.

Honourable mentions: Dyke & Fats, Girls Promo, Boy Dance Party.

Worst digital short: Dongs All Over the World.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love it when the ladies of SNL come together. But if I wanted that in season 39, I’d have watched Twin Bed. Not this shit. Also, who the fuck in the writers’ room was thinking “Mmm… needs more Icona Pop?”

Honourable mentions: White Christmas, What Does My Girl Say, Dragon Babies.

Best live sketch: Heshy: Career Week Speaker.

If there was an award for most underrated cast member, I’d give it to Nasim Pedrad in a heartbeat. This had the potential to be her true breakout character and it was given next to no love, apart from a small reprise towards the end of the season with a very game Charlize Theron. The timing, the movement, the accent, even the quick cuts to Mike O’Brien in character as her son… I absolutely loved this. Not a great deal came close to entertaining me nearly as much this season.

Honourable mentions: Guess That Phrase, Black Ops, Bill Brasky.

Worst live sketch: Undercover Sharpton.

Yeah… anyone want to cover this one? Any idea what in all of fuck happened here?

Honourable mentions: Murder Mystery, Oliver, Three Wise Men.

Best Weekend Update character: Jebediah Atkinson.

A star is born. This may be one of the single best Weekend Update characters of the last 10 years. Killam is consistently on fire in the role of the 19th-century critic; going all out on every one of his targets. Even minor slip-ups and ad-libs have provided some of the biggest laughs of the season. More, please. NEXT!

Honourable mentions: Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy, Bruce Chandling, Angela Merkel.

Best recurring sketch character: Mr. Patterson.

Beck Bennett isn’t just Kyle Mooney’s right-hand man – he’s a creative force in his own right; and that is no clearer anywhere else than when he becomes Mr. Patterson, the boss of the company with the body of a baby. His physical commitment to the role is astounding, perfectly detailed and amazingly funny. It’s such a simple idea, but one that could shape the rest of Bennett’s time with SNL. The future’s here – and it’s a big, big baby.

Honourable mentions: Ex-Porn Stars, Kimye, Shallon.