When I heard that James Mangohig was producing a storytelling event in Darwin, I put my hand up to take the photos. This guy is a legend, and deserves an OAM for his contributions to the Darwin music scene. We met late 90's, probably at a gig where I didn't want to be another obsessive groupie. But eventually, after countless hours talking shit over the counter at a music store where I was working for his legend of a best mate Erin Chee Quee, I conceded. Not on all the groupie credentials, I might add.
The years pass, and his musical and producing achievements rack up. Google the dude. One of the best things James has done for my ear drums is join forces with Caiti Baker and create Sietta, an absolute killer band that my children also have an unhealthy obsession with. I often exploit this as bribery - but the fanaticism has a dark side too. I recently refused to play "what am I supposed to do" for the tenth time in a row, and all hell broke loose from the back seat of the car. I had to (brake at 130km/h and safely) pull over on the side of the Stuart Highway to tend to a sliding out the seat belt, and having convulsions stage tantrum. My favourite. My daughter has adopted a more strategic approach in her requests now, such as her suggestion today, that my sister who was in the car, may not have heard that song, and I should put it on. She is four. I am scared. But I digress.
Incidentally, a few hours after the highway tantrum, I was heading to the event that I started off this blog discussing - Atmos: The pub that took a punt. A crowd congregated in The Vic courtyard to listen to a curated narrative about the Vic Hotel as a live music venue in the 90's. The actual Vic stood in front of the crowd, boarded up, closed down for the final (and seemingly permanent) time. Behind the crowd, tapas and beer flowed from the Pearl. I noticed the crowd didn't seem too devastated about the ghost of the Vic that once was, looming in front of them. I recollected two things I got from that iconic pub; the world's best hamburger, and a husband. He wasn't a husband at the time I lured him from the bar, to be clear.
The crowd slipped on their headsets. Through interviews and memories of the musicians and other people, the crowd were immersed into the world of Darwin's live music scene in the 90's. I heard about his place that I was too underage to attend called "the Pits" that was portrayed as a NiN and Machine Head fest. I desperately want to go. Bring it back!! There was mounting suspense about the Roy Mackonkey line up mystery, and why the original line up never played together again - after something or other... I was too busy doing my actual job to listen properly. But. I plan on hitting up James for a copy of the recording so I can sound less vague next time I discuss it. The whole time, this dude, Steven Smith, was creating a piece of art on this massive board behind the drums. I call this piece "Tool x Ministry x The Vic." A fitting homage to The Vic Hotel.
Roy Mackonkey took to the stage. I had some advance warning about this when I arrived. One band member suggested that when they start, there might be a potential photo opportunity to look out for, I quote "a toupe being blown off." I don't think their fans are quite that old yet. And although I didn't see any toupe's flapping in the sound waves, I did see a couple of the guests politely put down their headsets and depart the venue. Meanwhile, I was actually dying with excitement to hear these legends, in this exclusive and magic spot. The best tribute. From James, I expect nothing less...
ATMOS: Listening Parties for Storylovers. Go to one. They are all brilliant!
Some of my favourite photos from the night. A Monday night, I might add.