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PARMEZAN

ParmeZan, artist's impression
ParmeZan, artist’s impression

Buffalo Club, Fremantle

Thursday, October, 2014

 

The night after the blood moon in Perth that orb was still looking full. I contemplated the moon and recalled childhood tales about the man in the moon and the moon being made of cheese. I got all the tasty outer space cheese I needed when I went to see ParmeZan play at the Buffalo Club.

The four-piece of costumed men from outer space had grown in number since their previous visitation to include a robot man on synths. The lead singer was wearing a red bodysuit, green face mask, with holes for his eyes and mouth, and a large yellow inflated wig (or ‘inflatable brain hydrator’) in a kind of ’60s beehive style. Accompanied by fellow abductees on bass, electric guitar, drums and the aforementioned synths, and variously goggled, suited and horned, the band kicked off with ETET, a tale of a ‘three-balled lover’ with its catchy refrain of ‘Extra-terrestrial, extra testicle’.

Next up was Abducted, the story of ‘How it all began’ for ParmeZan – a tale of human-alien contact. The lyrics ‘Touch, touch, touch’ conjured the image of an ET-like glowing finger reaching out to a bewildered earthling right before he is whisked onto the mothership, only then to realise, ‘I’ve been stolen, I’ve been taken, I’ve been abducted!’ (An allegory for love, perhaps?)

The band wondered whether we had come across computer technology and told us about their new Computer From Jupiter, lamenting during the song that ‘My computer owns me!’ It was a great song delivered in catchy staccato amongst space-funkin riffs from the bass and lead guitars.

By the time the spacemen launched into one of their crowd favourites, Just A Dog, the frontman had a loveheart-shaped sweatstain over the third-eye area of his mask, which was somehow appropriate given ParmeZan’s regular exhortations for everyone on earth to get along. Between-song banter is also a ParmeZan speciality and the charismatic masked singer has a wicked sense of humour. After singing about the first dog sent to space he asked, ‘would you send your dog into space? No way man, that’s racist!’

I didn’t follow TISM back in the day but ParmeZan easily call them to mind and seem to pick up where they left off, with a space-rock-funk twist (their Facebook page describes it as Intergalactic Space Rock) and some valid commentary about society, particularly about how we interact with the environment and with technology. Take Movin’ to Mars, for which song the band introduced a guest player who was wearing a white mask that looked like a cross between Bobba Fet and an Imperial Stormtrooper. The mood is Armageddon-like, the planet seems doomed, ‘We’ve got to get out of this earth, we’ve got to move on from this planet/We’ve got to get out of this earth, we’ve got to move on and inhabit…I’m movin’ to Mars man, when I can’. An idea that is no longer fiction, as the Mars-One Project is running a real program right now to send the first human colony to Mars. In fact, there’s a Perth physicist/comedian who is on the shortlist of 705 worldwide applicants to take the one-way ticket.

Maybe from Mars we’ll be able to get a glass of the Pluto Wine that the band likely drinks at the Cass-Gas Hotel on their Milky Way crossings. If the giggling, gassy bubbles of synth (and the masked spaceman’s wobbly dancing) are anything to go by, we’ll be having a merry old time. Who knows, amongst the galactic revelry we might, like The Twit, take on a robot lover and too wonder, ‘Why//doesn’t she see//that she’s p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-perfect for me?’

ParmeZan are perfect cheese. Check them out.

 

JUSTIN BEAL