So today was my first official “night on the town” and all I can say is that it was an interesting peek into the Sydney nightlife.
The night began at one of the larger, more central student apartments for “pre-gaming”. These basically consisted of everyone gathering with the liquor they’d purchased at the mall (yes malls here have everything from shops to grocery stores, banks, and liquor stores in them), playing some entertaining drinking games and telling stories about their experiences so far. Don’t worry everyone, I played along, but I drank a very non alcoholic Coca Cola for the games. Soon we headed out with some recommended bars in mind, however we were quickly distracted as we heard some very familiar music coming from a bar we passed. The place was called Scruffy Murphy’s and on stage was…a Matchbox 20 cover band. Now mind you, back home I would have probably laughed my head off and continued on my way to whatever house show was happening, but we were all feeling a bit nostalgic and decided to head in. There was no cover charge, so we just showed our IDs and headed in. I have to say, it was a pretty awesome feeling being able to confidently show my ID and be allowed into a bar. It’s a luxary I will miss when I get back home (but only for a few weeks!). The drinking crowd seemed to be pleased with the $5 beer of the evening.
We stayed for about 4 songs and decided that was enough. It’s crazy to see how obsessed with American music people are here. I’ve heard basically all of our Top 40 singers on the radio stations here. Anyway, next we headed to Three Wise Monkeys, a bar some of the other students checked out earlier in the week. Seemed pretty OK, lots of lights, but apparently there was a $5 cover to go to the dance floor on the third level. I’d also like to note that bars are called hotels here, and they double a mini casinos most of the time as well. A few students have dented their pockets trying their luck already. Well, we headed outside to the nearby Cheers bar (yes, Cheers), and found there was no cover, AND good dance music playing (Lady Gaga). I was ready to get the evening started, but when we got downstairs someone decided it was “not our scene” and that we should “evacuate immediately”. I didn’t see what the problem was, so I was pretty fed up- especially when they said they’d rather PAY the $5 at the monkey bar instead. I was pretty stubborn about it for a while but decided, the night was young, and it was not worth it to just go back home alone on the first night out. So I paid my 5 bucks and headed inside.
Three Monkeys had a poppy feel, playing a lot of techno-themed dance hits like Robyn and Beyoncé. I wasn’t completely feeling it, but at $5, I could suck it up and do some dancing. Halfway into the second song the music was cut and a band took the stage. Their frontman was mohawked and sporting a black Metallica T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. I was curious to see and Australian band rock the stage, so I made me way to the second row. Well, the band started off with a familiar sounding riff that identified itself as the start of “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yes, you guessed it, another cover band. They continued their American cover set with Wheetus “Teenage Dirtbag”, Puddle Of Mudd “She Hates Me”, and Michael Jackson “Smooth Criminal”. Once again, it was crazy how excited everyone was for these songs. They even played my boys Kings Of Leon with “Sex on Fire”, however the singer screwed up a few lyrics (even though he had them typed up on a laminated paper on the floor). From there it was “All the Small Things” by Blink-182 and Green Day’s “Basket Case”.
I tried to keep up the party spirit, it was fun for a while, but by the time the Metallica covers came out it was clear I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. I decided to chill in the back. My new friend Preston (also from IU) was also back there trying to avoid the craziness, so we decided to do some observing. Before the band took a break, they chanted some Aussie cheer to which the audience excitedly (drunkenly) responded in chant. Some locals noticed we were not playing along and motioned for Preston’s attention. They hassled him a little and he came back with an odd, yet entertained expression. When I asked what was up he said “apparently they hate Americans”. We both found that funny, being that they knew all the words to and demanded to hear American music for their entertainment that evening. Life is funny sometimes.