Live Review: SHAKAFEST, Miami Tavern, Saturday 27 August 2016


Where do I begin? My feet are still aching, my ears are still ringing and my neck still aches from nodding and head banging.

I’ve been shaken all over. Been going to Miami Tavern for twenty years and I’ve seen some changes, highs and lows. The guys running it now have got it mastered. Mike, Ian, Tyler and crew, you are bloody legends. First OZFEST and now SHAKAFEST.

Hands down the best gigs I’ve been to this year. Not to mention all the other gigs with Clowns, The Bennies, Funkoars, Bad//Dreems, et al. Love this place.

There are skaters and stunt riders, graffiti artists, tasty tucker, salubrious booze, some insane dance manoeuvres, sunny skies, good vibes and sweet sweet music. Industrial Groove Juice: mix in equal parts Cyberdelic Funk, Urban Rhythm, Jammin’ Slide and 2 x Skankin Razz. Yeah baby.

The lads from LOTUS SHIP kick things off at the crack of noon. Mitty looking resplendent in his red silk embroidered dressing gown. Last I saw of him in the wee small hours nearing the end of the shenanigans, he was curled up in corner snoozing in it. Fair enough.

The pirates from the good ship”Lots-o-Shit” have been busy gigging all around the place lately. It’s been a long day’s journey into night and a ripper of a trip the entire way.

Goldie bands PEACH FURR and IVEY play the main outside stage like young pros. So talented these young bucks.

Upstairs in the darkened Shark Bar, PLANET from the galaxy Sydney entertain with their indie-brit-pop ear candy.

“A concoction of riff heavy hooks and jangly electrics with a direct focus on big chorus’ and melody driven undertones”.

Someone said that. Nice. While TRAPDOOR belt out some dirty skanking rocking blues. Kicking some serious arse these local dudes. And dressing damn fine.

Blinking back outside in the sunlight, Wollongong bands WHITE BLANKS and THE VANNS continue to rock the main stage.

The minute I saw White Blanks I thought, “They’re like a mini Dune Rats”. Then when talking later to lead singer, Marcus, I discover that Brett from the Dune-ies has taken the cheeky bugger under his wing. I hope he gives him a swift kick up the arse sometimes for all his references to sluts. Then again, The Dune-ies  aren’t shy of a bit of cussing. No bullshit.

Hanging out back of the main stage, I see the boys, Jimmy and Nick from SPIT SYNDICATE have arrived. Jimmy hobbles by and sits down, so I pull up a wall and sit next to him. I asked what happened. “I broke my foot.” he says. “I was in Hawaii”.

I interject, “Oahu?”. Then stupidly go into a rant about when I was there many moons ago.

“You could get a bus around the whole island for 25 cents. A Quarter”.

Jimmy continues, ” I was walking along the beach and stood on a rock and my foot twisted and then another rock fell on top of it. It’s not a very good story”.

“But it happened in Hawaii. That’s pretty exciting”, I say.

“Yeah and it was a really big rock”, he gestures stretching out his arms. “It was at least 100 kilos”. Ha. Yeah, right.

He still manages to rock the hell out on stage. I’ve seen these boys heaps and have always loved them and their smashing rap.

I pretty much know someone from all of the bands here, but there is a group of guys keeping to themselves who I’ve never seen before. Everyone I ask doesn’t know who they are either. One way to find out. I walk on over, tap one on the shoulder and brazenly say, “Excuse me. Who are you?”

“I’m Declan. And we are JURRASIC NARK from Melbourne”. So I welcome them to our sunny shores like my alter ego, the Governor General of Audacious Bullshit. We get into a rave about my old home town and  Ya Ya’s in Smith Street and all sorts of enthusiastic banter. The lads are self-proclaimed punks and are playing the grave-yard shift. The mid-night hour. Nice lads.

DUNE RATS. You are always in for a wild ride with these mad loveable larrikins, Yep the boyz are back in town. They sure get around but they are never far away from the hood. Their energy levels are off the richter scale. I don’t know where all this “Shoey” business started – dragging someone on stage, filling a shoe with whatever booze is around and drinking out of it. This being the GC they turned it in to a “Thongy”. Hilarious. The whole joint went ape-shit when they belted out their song Bullshit.

I was there when they filmed the clip in Byron. I really don’t know how someone wasn’t killed. It was total mayhem and insanity. Absolute lunatics.

Back in the Sharkie there are DJs and revelry galore. The guys from GDFRNDS, who helped put this shindig together spin tunes, along with lads from Yes Sir Noceur, Movement, Bad Mood, Vices and Fletcher. The Realist does some rap rap raping while DJ VHS does the spinning. It’s a beautiful mess.

Their is a flurry of excitement back at the outside stage as the main man DRAPHT enters ‘the building’. It’s been a while between drinks. Someone says to me that he refuses to sing Jimmy Recard anymore. Not true. The place goes ballistic when he brings Jimmy back.

“It’s J.R. Jimmy Regard. Raise your glass for the King of the Bar. 

It’s J.R. Jimmy regard. Women swinging their bras for J.R. Jimmy Regard’.

Rapunzel lets her hair down, down. We’re taken to Bali Party but the ultimate party tune is Mexico. The Dune Rats get up on stage and bash the be-jesus out of it alongside Drapht. It’s magnificent mayhem. I’m transported back to Mexixo, Day of  the Dead, mariachis,  tacos, tequila, toltecs, beaches, Oaxaca.

“What up hombre, you wanna par-ar-ty

We livin’ miles away where every day is a holiday, woo”.

And BC spreads his arms and swan dives majestically into the throng.

Besa mia culo. Adios man. Adios. I’ve been thoroughly shaken and stirred. Gracious todo el mundo.

IMAGE: Drapht, by Kyle Butcher.

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