Those familiar with the live music scene in Adelaide may know the name Spoz Spozington, or the title of his blog, Spoz's Rant.
For those who don't, they would most likely recognise his hairy figure, often seen standing immediately in the front of, or to the side of, whichever stage he's shooting that night.
For the last ten years in Adelaide, Spoz has been out on the weekend shooting local live music for his blog. Each and every entry in Spoz's Rant is a combination of a photo gallery and review of the events of the night.
The thing Spoz does differently is in how consistent he is. Spoz's Rant hasn't missed a weekend of coverage in 520 weeks, the entire ten years. Nights otherwise lost in memory to the frantic nature of live shows and the drinking that go them are bookmarked, like a collective time capsule for Adelaide's night-life and music scene. Thanks to the chance appearance of one man, suddenly you're back, and everything's there: the sights, the sounds (if it's been filmed, which Spoz also does on occasion), and most importantly, the atmosphere. Each entry is typically accompanied by a wacky, zany, gonzo style of Spoz's commentary (a self-described 'Hunter S. Shitwad') to accompany the colour-graded and polished presentation of the night.
Spoz's Rant is probably the most meticulous and concentrated effort for total, consistent coverage of live events for the last decade in Adelaide. It's even out-lived Rip It Up yet for some reason, not many people seem to know about it. The blog is home to about 2,000 Facebook likes, which is enviable, though not really representative of the scale of its achievements.
Though Spoz's fan-base is loyal and earnest, it's surprising how few otherwise realise how integral "that guy" you see familiarly juggling a pint and camera at a bunch of different gigs is to the collective memory of Adelaide. For someone who shines the spotlight on bands and their fans so consistently, somehow the spotlight has never shined back quite as bright as it should have.
We caught up with Spoz for a word about how it all feels, and why he does it.
"The slightly silly name of 'Spoz's Rant' came from the fact of me starting the blog back in 2002 as little more than a 'verbal sketchpad' for stupid ideas / jokes / observations, etc, because apparently twitter didn't exist back then," Spoz says.
"It only really 'accidentally' morphed into a music blog over the years, because those were the peeps I hung out with most. The name is now kinda hilariously ironic, since I mostly just post photo blogs. Kinda enjoy that irony tho [sic]. [It's] kinda like calling your tall friend 'shorty'. A demented sense of humour underlies EVERYTHING I do," Spoz laughs.
As for why and how he does it? That demented sense of humour helps steer the ship and stay the course.
"Mostly just for the hilarious hell of it, really. Well, that, and the longer I did it nonstop (2-3 years in), the more I thought it would be cool to maybe go a decade, for the whole 'time capsule' feel of it."
"The State Library did (does?) archive it for 'historical purposes'. I still get a laugh out of that. Apparently a librarian was a fan of my blog and offered back in 2012? So it's archived with the State Library (and by extension nationally) until August 2013 [I think] was the last update?
"I do this 50% for the rad photos and/or artistry I can bullshit out of a gig... and 50% to get drunk with musos on the weekend/whenever, because as a creative guy, it's simply an awesome way to live (blogging it makes me feel less like a freeloader)," he laughs.
Ten years of beers for gigs would also be a decent hit on the ol' pocket, and as with most creatives, it's been a mixed bag keeping the blog afloat.
"The first few years I was either on the dole, working the odd freelance job on the side, or working full-time 9am-5pm (for approximately 5 months in 2007). Since January 2011, I've been running the blog on advertising revenue... mostly just promoting live gigs," he says.
Ten years is a long time to do anything consecutively. Some of us have a hard enough time making sure we do our washing regularly, let alone making it out to and photographing/filming/colour grading/posting every gig on a consistent basis for ten consecutive years.
On top of Rip It Up, Spoz's Rant has outlived a number of other iconic Adelaide cultural institutions, and watched the gradual evolution and impact of the beast of social media on live music and associated publications.
"I'm usually barely aware of how much I've blogged, simply for my own sanity. I generally ONLY see the week I'm working on, the week behind, the week ahead. Sometimes I'll step back, [and] see how many videos I've posted to YouTube, for instance, and it'll freak me the fuck out" Spoz laughs.
"I was SHOCKED I outlived RIU [Rip It Up]. I thought that'd never happen. I'm a pissyarse blog ferfucksake [sic], and it kinda freaks me out how many other blogs I've outlived, too. I think I just discovered, at some point, that gigging each week was weirdly good for my health." He says.
"It's hard to say what I've noticed, since I've kinda been far too in the middle of things to gain a proper perspective of how things must be for everyone else... especially considering all the contacts I've lazily built over the years."
"I think the biggest has to be social media in bringing all the disparate elements of the scene in contact with each other, or at the very least passingly familiar with each other. It's a lazy answer, an obvious answer, but it really is that. Before MySpace / Facebook / Soundcloud / YouTube in those dark limbo years between the late '90's, when pokies wiped so many live venues out of existence (amongst so many other things), and say MySpace... we were kinda flying blind. It was the impetus for starting the blog actually."
"So much of our scene flew under the radar, whilst simultaneously being under threat of extinction. I felt like I had to document that... partly for history, but mostly because it was such an awesome lifestyle choice catching gigs, that I didn't want to lose it."
Spoz's Rant truly is a time capsule and interactive library of the live music scene in Adelaide as it's happened. You can test your mettle and dive through a comprehensively archived time machine of countless venues, bands, movements, and fashions from past and present. Pick the date and hit go, and just like Marty McFly, you're splat head-first into the squared off edges of the mid-2000s and beyond.
It's been a long journey being the sole content creator of arguably the longest running Adelaide live music blogs in contemporary media, but it's all a part of the show. It's often said - quite fittingly around Fringe time - that life's a stage, and we're all actors. In a sense, life as a divine comedy is true as well for blogs like Spoz's Rant, who bring the stage to the world through their work.
"Anything I want to say about the live scene, I probably said in the blog at some point... even if it was just photos. Anything else? I kinda like to keep mysterious. If only to amuse myself. All that being said tho [sic], my best advice for surviving this long in live music? A (dementedly) healthy sense of humour. The minute this line of work stops being hilarious is the minute I stop wanting to head out there and document it."
"Spoz's Rant, at its very core, is a comedy... sometimes (all too often) at its own expense," he laughs.
You can view the full Spoz's Rant website and archive, including the past 520 consecutive weeks of live music, at the Spoz's Rant Blogspot.
As social media is what powers the world now, and likely how you found this article, you can also keep up to date with Spoz on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
All images courtesy of Spoz's Rant & Spoz Spozington