The city is set to sizzle this Friday night with some hot summer entertainment from Mere Machine, Ben Gel and the Boneyard Saints, and Surviving Sharks.
The Crown and Anchor, home of much of our state’s live and loud scene will play host to the evening, which promises to be a smashing good time.
An era where pub rock reigned supreme and music didn’t need a manufactured image, it just needed to be loud, live and sweaty.
“We’re big flag wavers for real music, real vocals, real everything. People who go into the studio and use auto-tune and that sort of stuff, good for them but it’s not our bag,” says Tom.
“A lot of the stuff these days in the mainstream market all sounds the same. It sounds like the same production team, the same songwriters. We are big advocates of being a band and entertaining you just with that. No fireworks, no dancers.”
The concept of Mere Machine has been rolling around for about a decade but Tia (Virago) says it came to fruition after the married couple performed at a legendary American venue.
“The initial idea for this band was about ten years ago and it went through a few members, but this line up is three years old,” she says.
“Tom and I were overseas and a friend of ours asked us to play at the Whiskey A Go Go. After that, we had a chat about it and I’d always wanted to record a live album so we came back and did it.”
Mere Machine was then born from Tia’s dream and a flick through Roget’s Thesaurus to choose the perfect band name.
The band headed to the Thebby to record in the round collecting band members on the way: Tia’s brother Frank on Rhythm guitar, Travis on drums and Tzan on lead guitar.
“We went to the Thebby Theatre, set up in the round and filmed and recorded a live album. It’s on YouTube. It’s such a great venue and it was so cool to record a live album,” says Tom.
The couple have been playing around Adelaide as professional musicians for a long time and you might recognise Tia’s soulful vocals from their gigs as duo ‘Tom n Rose’.
But Mere Machine is now stepping out onto the scene and was inspired, in part, by Bruce Springsteen who both Tom and Tia regard as one of the world’s greatest musicians because he keeps it real.
“Everything made sense after seeing Springsteen last year. You see, everyone gets concerned with the look and how things are from a visual aspect, which is important, but he just got up was a part of the crowd and it feels like he’s playing just for you and it gave me this clarity,” Tia says.
“It all made sense. If you can perform and entertain people for four hours and keep people engaged without pyrotechnics, you’re seasoned and you’re pretty special.”
“Yeah, no fluff, no nothing, just a rock band on stage playing for four hours,” adds Tom.
Armed with a desire to create a real experience for their audience, Mere Machine are ready to take their music on the road.
“We are planning on recording an album this year. Then we’ll get some tours happening. We’ll go around Australia and see what happens,” Tom says.
“We’ve been focussing on our writing and honing our craft. Every band member has played for so long that when we play together, it just clicks,” agrees Tia.
Mere Machine is a passion for the musicians who have been an integral part of the professional music scene in Adelaide since the nineties.
They are keen to climb to great heights with this band.
“The main thing we want for Mere Machine is to get as far as we can. We want longevity, good album releases, good tours and good advertising dollars,” Tom laughs.
The bands have all known each other for a long time and have all been playing the gig circuit in Adelaide for around twenty years.
“We know Mark, the drummer, from Ben Gel and Boneyard Saints. Everyone knows Mark,” Tia laughs.
“And we’ve known Sean for a long time. He’s always been an awesome ambassador for live SA music. We haven’t played with those bands before so it should be good. It’s a good line up of bands. Loud, good, solid live rock music,” Tom adds.
With all of the bands having decades of experience between them and playing in a venue that has housed live music since as far back as many would care to remember, Friday night’s gig could very well be one for the records.
“The Crown and Anchor is up there with the premier venues in Adelaide in terms of original music. It’s nice, it’s gritty, the sound’s good. The sound guy there, Matt Hills is fantastic,” Tom says.
“I have a soft spot for the Crown and Anchor,” Tia reminisces.
“She used to hang out there a whole lot in the 90s,” Tom laughs. “It’s a good little rock bar. There should be more of them.”
Entry is free for the gig so thank the rock gods it’s Friday by getting along to the Cranker and checking out some loud stuff.
By Libby Parker