Pearls before swine - JAY KATZ supporting FANTOMAS, 11/09/2005, ENMORE THEATRE

Rare are the occasions that I write a gig review in English these days, rarer still that a support act gets their own review. But in this case I must, if only because I hope (against hope, I know) that a lot of people will read this. Because ladies and gentlemen, Jay Katz was fan-bloody-tastic! But even more importantly, and to paraphrase Bill Hicks, this is not the time to mince words, we must speak the truth because our very lives depend on it: Sydney audiences suck! What a bunch of whining and closed-minded crybabies. Almost makes you agree with the old Pommie joke (which was of course warmed up again during the recent Ashes series): "What's the difference between Australia and yogurt? Left to itself for millions of years, yogurt will eventually develop a culture." Which, of course, only works in reference to White Australia.

There. That feels better. Seriously: I've been here for almost seven years now and Jay Katz is one the few acts in Sydney that has class, is consistently interesting and challenging and just spins great choons! Wicked samples from obscure 70s film promos ("Blackula! Dracula's souououououl brother!"), old-school punk, original recordings from the first moon landing ("Houston, I can't fucking believe it but we're on the fucking moon!" - "Copy. You are on the fucking moon."), weird atonal German trance, kids' TV jingles, all kinds of ambient pings echoing around the stately old Enmore... You would think that for an act like Fantomas this would be the perfect DJ set, right?

You'd be wrong. I don't know if it was because people were too pissed, or just because Sydney audiences have the mental elasticity and cultural intelligence of John Howard (actually, don't answer that) but poor Jay went down like the proverbial. I'm not even going to get into the abuse ("Aaar gerroff, you're boring mate" was possibly the most intelligent insult) but this was apparently a Fantomas gig. Where, you would think, people go to get challenged and listen to something different. Where, you would further assume, the so-called hip inner-city, Inner West, popculture-literate clique from Newtown et. al. would hang out, and maybe they did - the mind boggles to think that these people might have been at the more intelligent end of the Sydney music audience. I mean, we're not talking a Magic Dirt gig in the Shire here.

Anyway. One of the few acts in Sydney (and probably Australia) who could cut the Dijon mustard in Europe (and like it or lump it Australians - people over there know more about that sort of thing than youse do), as evidenced by the fact that Jay gets asked to open for acts like Fantomas (yea, American, I know) or Turbonegro, got comprehensively ignored by half of the audience, while the other half just wanted him to drop dead. Apparently a lot of people thought that if Jay stopped, Fantomas would come on, never mind that it was obvious to those with half a brain (and eyes to observe the Fantomas roadies soundchecking around him) that he would play UNTIL they came on, whenever that might be. But instead of being grateful for getting value for their money and a support act that delivers...

Sample quote of the evening: pissed man in his 20s to his girlfriend: "Yaaaaaaaaay. Parra!!!! It's shust been, like, too long, baby, 19 years, I fucken love footy [this, inexplicably, does not mean football in Australia but rugby]!!!" - Woman: (inaudible) - Man: "Naaah, haven't heard any of their records but didn't the guy shing for Faish No More? Whosh that cunt on the stage? YOU SUCK BUDDY!!" etcetcetc.

Jay Katz was later asked back during Fantomas' encore to add some freaked-out feedback, blibs and beeps to their closer. Fantastic. And Patton gave him a special "Let's hear it for Jay Katz"-kind of send off. Who would you believe when it comes to assessing whether someone has the musical goods - a Sydney audience or Mike Patton?