In all the years I hung around or lived in the Glorious Inner West, for what ever reason I never made it to The Sandringham Hotel. After having rectified that situation on Thursday night, I just can’t work out why this was. It is just a great inner-city pub. Little wonder the Whitlams wrote a song entitled “God Drinks at the Sando”. According to my mate Steve, who with me on the night, it’s had some renovations over the years. Steve played in a band called Belljar in the late ’80s and early ’90s and often performed at the Sandringham. There’s a large central bar with 3 counters and you can watch live music both upstairs and downstairs. There’s food options, but there’s no dramas if you want to pop into the classic burger shop next door.
In Sydney, there’s not many places like the Sandringham that have entertainment options 7 days a week. It’s always been about the music at the Sando, and it’s been a place to play when you are starting out as a band. You can see from the photo that the outside is looking a little tired, but you could actually achieve that look in painting classes that dominated inner west house renovations in the ’90s. I reckon it looks fine, and it will be a much shorter gap between visits.
The reason for being at the Sando was to see Back of the Ferry’s favourite band – Snaketide. The boys have been quiet of late, but hardly idle. They’ve been putting plenty of work into recording an E.P. (a term that is still relevant even though there’s not a record needle in sight), and working in yet another bass player. This correspondent is a member of what is becoming a Queenesque sized club of former bass players of Snaketide – but their latest is a good ‘un. Snaketide have as good a rhythm section as any band (though Muzza’s that good a drummer even me and Muzza could be regarded as a solid rhythm section) and it provides a great foundation for the rest of the band. Ben and Ken are terrifically complementary as guitarists and have developed a fine sound and more hooks than Robson Green’s tackle box. Myles was in strong voice and they’ve improved all their songs and added some new ones. Keep an eye out for Snaketide on Facebook and we’ll provide some info on the EP.
The unrelated beer story is unusual. It is very rare to discover a beer in a suburban bottle shop that you can’t find on either the @Untappd or the Beer Advocate database, but that is what happened to me with this 500ml bottle of Pražačka. It was lurking in a fridge at the back of a bottlo on Victoria Rd, Chatswood. $3.50 for a 500ml – 4% “Ceske Pivo” or “Light Beer”. After plenty of hunting around, I was able to find a Russian website for Pražačka. What I can ascertain is that Pražačka is a beer brewed in the Czech Republic exclusively for Russian consumption (hence the Russian website). It ranks as seventh in imported beers to Russia by volume. It sounds a little like Hooten beer being manufactured in Holland, purely for Australian consumption. Well, it’s not longer exclusive to the Russians as we Aussies can get it from a little bottlo in Chatswood. What’s it like? It’s a very malty Euro lager – potable – but not one to go out of your way to travel to Chatswood for.
The address on the label of this beer is 1 Chifley Square, Sydney. If there was truly a brewery at this address and it made beer of this quality and it was the days when a corporate card could be flogged with more dispassion, then for many BotF members that worked at 2 Chifley Square – life would have been even better. Alas, Endeavour Beverages has not yet got its own brewery – but it certainly has good recipes. BotF tried the big brother – the Amber Ale - and it was favourable. After a run of shite, the Endeavour 2010 Reserve Pale Ale was a nice change. Really fresh, citrusy, hoppy beer. Magnificent on an evening where Sydney started to warm up again. Get into it.
As good as Sydney Harbour was (it’s never bad), the highlight of the evening was participating in a training session at the Fishos with the BotF darts team. It was a sad moment for the boys and indeed this blog, because the Fishos is in its death throes and the boys have to move to the Dee Why Builders. The club’s premises have been sold to a local girls school and final closure is imminent. The future of the club is uncertain. It aims to open in another venue (possibly the Manly Rugby Club), but it won’t be able to do bands like it has been doing recently. They’ve been going out with a bang, with the Hoodoo Gurus, You Am I, the Hellmen, Daryl Braithwaite, Mental As Anything and of course Snaketide performing there in the last couple of months.
Being a practice session, there was no real pressure, but towards the end of the evening and after many liquid refreshments the NW Fairlight BotF members took on Warringah Mall East’s BotF contingent in a 3 legged game 501. Lamb0 was handicapped by partnering bladdamasta, but 501 is all about pegging out or in English getting a double to get to zero. In the end pommy_ch and Craig couldn’t get the magic double. The last leg went forever as the Old and VB took hold. In fact one could argue that the Old was responsible for bladdamasta getting the most unlikely of double 2 to end the final game. We look forward to Lamb0′s first report from the Dee Why Builders.
Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club was the venue for Snaketide‘s latest performance. The Freshwater SLSC is a sensational venue with ocean views, a big room for the band and plenty of areas to get away from it if you need to. The right sized crowd for the venue had assembled and Snaketide put on two outstanding sets.
The theme of the evening -a fund raiser for the Captain Courageous Bone Marrow Failure Research charity – was 80′s beach party. Your correspondent hasn’t thrown out much of his stuff from that era and it wasn’t a stretch. I’m not sure what beach the Snaketide boys went to in the ’80s – but glam metal was more the look achieved. I don’t think any musician has achieved the look adopted by Tarants, Snaketide’s 6th and best bass-player, but it will stick in my mind for some time. Derek Smalls would have been in awe.
Splitting Snaketide’s two sets was an appearance by one of the greatest songwriters and performers Australia has ever produced. He performed “My Girl” and “Like, Wow, Wipeout” with some of Snaketide and then gave a solo rendition of “Come Anytime” and the Gurus greatest tune (in my humble opinion) “1000 Miles Away”. Despite the burden of coming back after Dave Faulkner, Snaketide produced a barnstorming finish and their closing trifecta always cheers the punters – First Date, Mexico and Overdrive. Listen to Mexico on Unearthed.
An occupational hazard of performing live is getting the pre-game Dutch Courage balance correct. It was a gamble to go with a stubbie of Toohey’s Extra Dry Platinum, given its powerful 6.5%, but that was balanced later with a few stubbies of appalling Blue Tongue Premium Light. This beer’s a bit of mystery. It has no web presence other than a blurb on the Lion Nathan brands page, and I can’t recall any advertising for it. Its baby brother, Toohey’s Extra Dry or TED, is the 5th biggest selling beer in Australia and has a trendy (but crappy) interactive site. Hard to work out why they are quiet about it. It’s no worse that TED and you can actually taste the extra kick. A couple of BotF’s shared an 8 pack (not a misprint) when the Manly Ferry was taking almost 40 minutes due to wharf repairs and we both knew we’d been on a ferry trip.
BotF can report first hand that rehearsals for Snaketide’s big gig on Saturday 12th February at Freshwater SLSC are going very well. This correspondent sat in on a couple of songs and the boys are hitting their stride and will be in full cry come Saturday night. There’s still tickets available and if you are interested let me know via comments.
When playing saxophone it is always important to keep one’s embouchure wet and supple. First up was the third of the trio of beers snaffled from Brunswick. I really, really wanted to like this beer – Moritz. A great bottle-top, a great logo, a great story about the founding of the beer by an Alsatian immigrant and its maintenance by 6 generations pre-dispose one very favourably. The website doesn’t compromise either offering only Spanish or Catalan. Disappointingly, this wasn’t good. An inoffensive first taste went downhill rapidly with a really metallic after taste.
In 1856, an Alsatian by the name of Louis Moritz moved to Barcelona and started a beer called Moritz. The brewery went broke in the ’70s and was restarted a few years ago by descendants of Mr Moritz, albeit in Zaragoza. It looks like they’ve spent more time on the website than on the beer. Give it ago and make up your own mind – but I’ve only ever seen it once.
The rehearsal was long and embouchure moisture needed to be maintained. The second beer called to this noble purpose was a German beer called Hansa. Apparently if you want cheap piss in Germany, Hansa’s the go. That hasn’t translated to its cost in Australia, where a case is $69. That said, a case of Henninger is $32 (330ml), where as 24 500ml bottles of Hansa is $69 – so the difference is not as marked as it first appears. If its a cheap beer, its a pretty good one. Now owned by the Dortmunder Actien Brauerei the brand lives on as a cheapie and has been widely exported and is brewed in weird places like Namibia. This was a good solid Euro beer – pretty clean and good bitterness.
BotF’s favourite band is Snaketide and they are playing a big gig from 8pm on 12 February 2011 at the Freshwater SLSC. They are supporting the legendary Dave Faulkner from the Hoodoo Gurus, whom BotF had the good fortune to see live in 2009, which was the subject of an early BotF post. He is quite superb solo and you are guaranteed to sing your lungs out. Snaketide are at the top of their game as well. It’s a fundraiser and tickets are $65 which includes beer, champagne and food.
If you want to come, just add a comment to this post to let me know.
Two BotF correspondents had the opportunity to attend the taping of the final episode of The Trophy Room - a sports quiz show on the ABC. We were unable to get photos of the celebs in action, but got up relatively close to Pat Cash, Cathy Freeman, Pete Murray and David Thornton. The last bloke you wouldn’t have heard of – but he is a funny stand-up. BotF agreed that Peter Helliar, the host, is funnier than we gave him credit for, and hopes you may have that Amanda Shalala is sneaky cute are unfounded. It will be interesting to see the unedited version.
With it being hotter in Sydney than Dean Jones jockstrap in Chennai, we popped into the Agincourt in Ultimo for some well needed pre-show libations. Nothing special about the Agincourt other than memories of previous slaughterings in uni and post uni days. Simply a pokies joint with a bar thrown in.
Royal Dutch Post Horn is a beer from the archives. Yet another cheap import from funnily enough the Netherlands. The only thing worth noting is the name – otherwise el blando.
A Sunday night in Manly is normally the preserve of backpackers trying to get into the Shore Club, but on this particular Sunday evening the Old Manly Boatshed was the go. Snaketide were flexing their muscles for their friends and they delivered in spades for those that made. BotF, a sometime member of Snaketide, was front and centre and can confidently say that Snaketide are keepers and will go on to bigger things.
On the way down to the gig, BotF fortified himself with an unusual drop – Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer. This was a meaty drop from a brewery in Edinburgh. Innis & Gunn’s website gives all the details about how this is one of a kind – knock yourself out. There’s no doubt it is distinctive. This is Trappist in its richness. A very sweet, almost cloying aftertaste follows the reasonably bittered first mouthful. The bad photo shows the amount of sediment in the bottle. Unfortunately I couldn’t pour it in a glass to show the fogginess – but this is a thick beer. Lots of flavour – almost too much. When I had a Pure Blonde nex, it seemed like water compared to the complexity of the Innis & Gunn.
Onto Snaketide. This was a free gig and the punters lapped it up. The line-up and sound is as tight as a drum, but dangerous and dirty. Myles has perfected the art of a front man and there was plenty of comparisons being bandied around. (Gallagher, Morrison, Albarn, Jagger). But a great front man needs a good foundation and Muzz, Tarants, Ken and Ben provide that in spades. The boys simply rocked the joint. The originals are better than the covers (I’m hoping no-one knows that “First Date” is a cover), but God Save the Queen should remain an integral part of the set. The audience fired up eventually and the dancing going on was frenzied.
Snaketide came of age tonight. There were punters that hadn’t heard them that were instant converts and the reaction to the two sets was testament to this.
They rock and BotF will give advance notice of the next gig.
a href=”http://backoftheferry.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/snaketide-gf-2.jpg”>A number of BotF members ventured down to the now sold Fishos to watch the Grand Final of the Fishos bank comp and cheer on the BotF’s favourite band – Snaketide.
BotF arrived halfway though the set of the 2nd of 7 bands. It was clear that the competition had really stepped. The 2nd band was a very tight modern day version of silverchair – except that the bass player was female. The next few bands were somewhat of a blur due to a Kent Old frenzy, but Snaketide clearly had a chance, particularly as they had the most melodius material and a front man unencumbered by a instrument that could sing. Tragedy struck early as the sound guy, clearly overwhelmed by a 5 piece (everyone else had been 3 or 4) stepped on Kenny’s sound board and rendered our blond axemen mute. Ken kept his cool and the band manfully played on, but the moment was lost. Momentum was regained and a wonderful frenzied finish on Overdrive had the crowd baying, but on a night of high quality – everything needed to be right. The guitars weren’t well balanced – but that is the luck of a band comp.
Snaketide are the headline act again tonight at the Fishos. Sorry about the late notice, but the trip to Perth has made posting tough. They’ll have 45 minutes, so the all important momentum will definitely be on and it’ll be a great night.
Firstly, a great friend of BotF – Tony from Toowoomba – is being inducted as a fully fledged BotF member tomorrow evening. Probably aiming for the 6pm ferry, and we hope that the wallopers won’t be out. T from T is in Sydney for a brief time and will regale us with tales from Beijing. We’ll hunt for a 6 pack of Tsing-tao, but XXXX maybe also on the menu.
Secondly, BotF’s favourite band – Snaketide – has made the grand finals of the Manly Fishos International band competition, which will be held next Tuesday night. We won’t know what time the boys hit the stage as the line-up is determined by a draw on the night. Now, if you miss Myles, Ben, Muzza, Chris and of course Ken on Tuesday night – don’t despair. You can catch them on Friday night 30th playing a 45 minute set also at the Fishos. You can also hear a few of their tracks on jjj unearthed.