No Such Thing as Free Beerby Roger Young, images by Kevin Goss-Ross / 25.01.2011
Never underestimate cheap drinks; you keep finding extra money in your pockets and assuming you’re not drunk yet, next thing you know you’re in a toilet cubicle trading make out sessions with an upholstered wrestler in exchange for cocaine. Friday night at the Winston was The Car Boot Vendors album launch as well as the unveiling of Free Beer #2. Aaaahh, Free Beer, what can be said about Free Beer; it’s a classic of modern literature featuring graphic short stories that embrace a sort of Dada-lite approach to drinking, vomiting and being rejected by society in general. It’s like Viz but less coherent. It’s a six-page comic that makes you wonder if you missed something; in short, a flop. Which is convenient as The Car Boot’s ep is entitled The Flop. Anyway, there were Free Beers being handed out to the pub scraps and hirstute as they arrived in their Wrestlemania outfits, to fit theme. Or rather they arrived in their interpretation of Wrestlemania outfits; this being The Winston meant there was a lot of boys in half hearted drag and one or two guys in face masks and capes. Only the best warm up DJ’s were allowed with Creepy Steve and Ballie Mike banging out tunes found only in the cheapest of pawn shops.
Just standing still in the Winston is like being smacked in the face with a freshly boiled sock. The Vendors take the stage fully clothed or as fully clothed as they can be under these conditions. Their acousticore is reminiscent of early Against Me! with less harmonies and craziness replacing the anger; so not really that much like Against Me! but, you know, punk rock with acoustic guitars. By this stage I had, of course, had too much cheap whiskey and didn’t focus my critical attention on the actual music (thank god someone is doing an EP review soon). But I was entranced by The Beard’s almost mystic like fervor, he’s a dervish of facial hair and popped out eyes; as he goes through the set he gets more and more manic and unhinged. It’s a total commitment to the moment, the loud shouty punk moment. Skollie plays the other guitar and (perhaps) the ukulele; his strange awkwardness and his blonde wig making him resemble the Little Mermaid‘s abused younger sister. Near the end of the set previous Vendors like Gay Ray and Ross Fenner guest as the acoustic mosh pit takes flight and Beard’s clothes start coming off. It’s around this point that memory fails me; for all I know I could have become an elephant ride. So, in true Mahala style, here are some pictures…
All images © Kevin Goss-Ross.