Dry

This is not exactly how it happened. This is how I remember it happening.

It was 8 pm. I was starving. So I went to George Street. Found this Maccas. I have been at this Maccas before. It’s the worst Maccas I’ve had in Sydney: meat is dry, bread is dry, lettuce and tomatoes are dry. Even the ketchup is dry. But I was starving and had to be back at Mojo’s soon. So I ordered a burger and found out what I knew was going to happen: meat was dry, bread was dry, ketchup was dry. I saw a lot of teenagers waiting for their dry Macca’s. I wish I had time to say something to them. Something like these will be a dry one. But I did not have time. And I was starving.

So I ate my burger on the way back. As I crossed the road I saw a dead pigeon on the street. Some car must have ran over it. There was fresh blood all around the body. Looked like ketchup. I could not see its eyes, must have exploded somehow. I ate the pickle. It’s my favourite part of Macca’s burgers. The flavour takes me back to my childhood. Not a happy childhood but I still enjoyed the time travel.

When I got back to the bar the first band had already finished their set. I heard a guy at a table saying that the three guitars were so out of tune that it was «painful as a hammer in the balls». At another table, someone was praising the girl that sang a cover of «The House of the Rising Sun» and someone else responded «but the guitars were so out of tune and dry». It seemed like there was a theme for the night. So I went to the bar and ordered a JD & Dry. I skulled it in preparation for The Astrals.

A four piece of very young and talented musicians. The two vocalists/guitarists had their own style and mixed together created a very interesting tone. I enjoyed every piece of their set. The Astrals played the sort of punk that I enjoy listening while I am drunk. So I went to the bar and ordered a dry martini. The singer reminded me of my brother. Claire, at the vocals and guitar, reminded me of my cousin. The drummer reminded me of someone else I know. And the bass player reminded me of someone I don’t know. I was on the right track to getting drunk.

Next, it was time for The Model School. An hour before this, when I went for my dry burger at the Macca’s, I bumped into Jeff, the guitar player of this band. I think he ordered an El Maco’s, which is the Macca’s Mexican burger. He is a wild guy. I should have asked him if his burger was as dry as mine.

The Model School is a band that should be playing at stadiums. Great recordings, intelligent written lyrics, a harmonica that sounds like a train is about to crush your intestines, a guitar that makes you wonder who you really are, a bass that pushes your heart up your throat and very-fucking-loud-drums. I went to the bar for a shot of mezcal. Two girls were waiting for their drinks with their ears covered while the snare and cymbals were being sacrificed. As the band finished their set, the girls took their hands from their ears and put them to work on a very enthusiastic applause. I payed for their drinks.

To wrap up my night, PJ Orr started their set. From the very beginning I knew I was standing in front of something very special. A three-piece that knew what they were doing. «Make a plan for the future / forever’s gonna take a while» sang the front man Phil to an audience that kept growing and growing. A big party dressed up as Santa Clauses, elfs and Xmas presents arrived and started dancing around to the music. I was levitating.

I have been at shows where people are bored away by musicians who appear to be completely unaware of the size and type of venue they are playing. That’s not punk. That’s not rock and roll. No, do not give us that shit. This night, with PJ Orr, I saw the opposite: a band or professional musicians playing to an audience that kept growing not only in numbers but in enjoyment too. It’s very satisfactory to see a three-piece with such a full sound. Amazing guitar playing and a terrific bass. And, in my opinion, the best drummer that the Mojo has ever seen: playing to the room at just the perfect volume to allow vocals and the other instruments be heard, while holding everything in one piece. All my applauses –and respect– were for him.

I was sad when PJ Orr finished but excited about their plans for next year: an album and more shows! My good friends from Foxlore were at the venue and helped me pack up. We had a nice conversation about bands, music, hope and hamburgers. Then I came home and started writing this. The air in my room was dry so I had another glass of whisky and began typing:

This is not exactly how it happened. This is how I remember it happening.

Text and photos by Abel Ibáñez G.