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Live Music Reviews

Posted 26 Apr 2017 @ 11:57am

 

When we finally set foot on Festival Hall’s venerable wooden floor, Barnett was in the midst of a Nirvana attack.  Punk rock angst without Kurt’s inner demons.  Loud and frenetic.  And then Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party, completewith re-purposed classic rock riffs. But when you’ve got Courtney Barnett and Patti Smith, somebody does care if you’re at the party....

Posted 26 Apr 2017 @ 11:50am

 

“I’m going to explain the format, I’d hate to get to the end and find you’d been confused this whole time,” joked Joe Henry. This was because this performance was not a typical Billy Bragg or Joe Henry show, rather it was an expanded version of their collaborative album Shine a Light; a collection of live field recordings made around, and about, the American railroad system.
 ...

Posted 26 Apr 2017 @ 11:47am

As frontman of St Paul and the Broken Bones, Paul Janeway’s energy is the stuff of legend, with many pointing to his earlier aspirations to become a preacher as the start of his journey of showmanship.
 
But despite all of his best efforts, there was a small piece of the puzzle missing at the group’s Melbourne gig, following their Bluesfest appearance in Byron Bay.
 
It...

Posted 26 Apr 2017 @ 11:39am

 

The stage lights dimmed and The Doors 1967 track Light My Fire accompanied the infamous scenes of the Big Flood at Woodstock 1969 across the big screens of the Crossroads stage. Mixed in was footage of a 22-year-old Carlos Santana and band in the middle of playing their legendary set. Having never released a studio album before then, it was the energetic live experience of the Santana...

Posted 19 Apr 2017 @ 12:48pm

Downstairs at the Curtin the DJ was playing ‘80s classics such as Orange Juice’s Rip It Up and Start Again.  A long line of people snaked past the bar on a slow moving journey to the Curtin bandroom. 

 

Upstairs Endless Boogie were starting their set.  Endless Boogie don’t play songs.  They play grooves. Long, winding, elastic, rock riffs that hang out with John Lee Hooker in a...

Posted 19 Apr 2017 @ 12:47pm

A host of influential young rap artists met at Ding Dong lounge for an exciting, adrenaline-fuelled celebration of hip hop. The WVS label showcase destroyed rivalries between cities, as emcees from all over the country bonded over their mutual love of music.

 

Kick starting the show was newcomer Poppy who dived into a seamless wave of rapid-fire raps, surprising the crowd with a...

Posted 19 Apr 2017 @ 12:45pm

Festival Hall was packed with exactly the sort of crowd you would expect to turn out for a Madness gig in Melbourne – the overall age bracket was decidedly over-40, with the dress code consisting of flat tops and novelty hats.

 

Aided by a three-piece horn section – which was lucky because Lee ‘Kix’ Thompson's saxophone was criminally low in the mix – and a percussionist, the...

Posted 12 Apr 2017 @ 2:31pm

 

Ballarat’s The Second Sex is a four-piece riot grrrl band whose bark is far worse than it’s bite. If Neighbours or Home and Away were to have a character that joined a punk band, it’d be like The Second Sex. Vocalist Zarah slid effortlessly between Linda Perry-style wails and straight up hardcore screams but her pacing the stage and writhing around on the floor was contrived and over-...

Posted 12 Apr 2017 @ 2:28pm

The sad truth of the music industry is that female and non-binary musicians are often overlooked and underappreciated, especially when it comes to the punk/rock scene, and Hysterical Records are on a mission to put an end to that. The newly founded record label plans to shift the spotlight onto Melbourne’s female and non-binary punk acts, so naturally their official launch at The Old Bar...

Posted 12 Apr 2017 @ 2:25pm

The Croxton Bandroom was in seated theatre mode, arranged thus for the believers who had come to bear witness to a living legend. Roy Ayers holds a unique position in music, having achieved mainstream success in the late 1970s while bridging the gap between jazz, funk and disco in a style that was entirely his own. Now 76 years old, Ayers’ voice has retained its honey-like qualities, even if...

Posted 12 Apr 2017 @ 2:22pm

 

It was an evening of bands sharing members, with Cough at the centre of the web. The first of three bands from Virginia, Sinister Haze opened the night, taking to the stage on short notice after Melbourne's Inverloch had to pull out due to a medical emergency. Sinister Haze features two members of co-headliners Cough, guitarist Brandon Marcey and live organist JK. Sinister Haze...

Posted 12 Apr 2017 @ 2:19pm

It's only been ten months since Brooklyn-based neo-jazz fusion powerhouse Snarky Puppy last graced Melbourne with their presence, This time around, the nine-piece played two shows at the ultra-sleek Melbourne Recital Centre. Fans may have been constrained to their seats but this proved not to be a big issue. The acoustics of the room were a huge strength, and the “concert” nature of the venue...

Posted 7 Apr 2017 @ 1:04pm

Tucked away in the rolling, grassy hills of Bambra, you’ll find By The Meadow. Using some of Australia’s finest flora as a backdrop, the regional gathering – located just a few hours away from Melbourne – gave the festival herd an endless amount of music goodness to graze on all weekend long.
 
With a perfect blend of local community members, live music lovers and pure partygoers...

Posted 7 Apr 2017 @ 12:34pm

Ever wondered why Melbourne of all places hasn’t hosted a regular Twin Peaks trivia night yet? Anticipation around the long awaited third season premiere is at fever pitch and so The Carlton have taken it amongst themselves to give the people what they want.  
 
With the Twin Peaks universe spanning two previous seasons, a film and numerous books, it was a smart move for The...

Posted 5 Apr 2017 @ 1:12pm

 

Entering the stage with little presence or assertiveness, locals Totally Mild lived up to their name with a set of apathetic soft rock. With little change in dynamic or pacing, the band’s clinical and restrained approach left little impression on the crowd or vibe of the show. Channeling the feeling of asinine boredom and musical conservatism, the band’s performance brought nothing to...

Posted 5 Apr 2017 @ 1:12pm

What was a c]alm looking pub crowd for previous band Harmony (who were fantastic) became a rocking and rolling, sweaty mass of people by the time Batpiss were done with them. The mosh grew exponentially, people were on the stairs, on the balcony and would literally have been hanging from the rafters if they could get up there (although some crowd surfers did tear down the above stage fairy...

Posted 5 Apr 2017 @ 1:09pm

Josh Cunningham recalled with a laugh The Waifs first gig review, in which they were labelled as “Backyard Sunday afternoon barbeque music.” The crowd clapped as he continued to recite the critics words, which he remembered perhaps a bit too well. 
 
Celebrating their 25th anniversary, the members of The Waifs were proud to announce they’d been together longer than the average...

Posted 29 Mar 2017 @ 3:39pm

 

Taking to the stage in a hail of hair flicks and spin kicks, Newcastle’s Introvert wasted no time capturing attention. Introverted, this band is not. Singer/guitarist Audie Franks has a killer scream and I’m sure there was some great songs in there but any integrity the band has was undermined by the phony The Story So Far-esque punk jumps, kicks, thrusts and spins (including the...

Posted 29 Mar 2017 @ 2:58pm

Contemplating the meaninglessness of existence on any given Sunday afternoon, one can do well to decide that meaning can be created in the form of small experiences and pleasures like patting a fluffy dog or soaking up rays and sweet tunes at a rooftop gig.
 
Aussie independent record label Bedroom Suck presented Melbournians with an afternoon of local musical delights, hosted at...

Posted 29 Mar 2017 @ 2:57pm

 

Outside the Athenaeum Theatre, flagged by velvet ropes and a red carpet, sat an off-white limousine complete with Canberra plates and Australian flags mounted on the hood. If there was ever any doubt that Client Liaison were here to bring it, it was erased before walking into the building.  
 
Inside, Luke Million had the crowd eating out of his hands. Million jumped...

Posted 29 Mar 2017 @ 2:56pm

 

First to jump onstage was Lost Talk. Fierce frontwoman Amy immediately commanded attention with screamed vocals radiating sass, while the band upped the ante with a high intensity set. 
 
Next was Perth alternative outfit Childsaint, who showcased their gritty garage rock with plenty of passion, their melancholic lyrics reaching out to everybody in the room. Local garage...

Posted 27 Mar 2017 @ 12:30pm

Considering the current enormity of King Gizzard, it really strikes home how lucky Melburnians are to experience this incredible band in such an intimate setting. As an eclectic crowd of the eager punters jostled for a spot, The Gizz entered the circle to thunderous applause and adoration.
 
For the first half of their whopping double set, it was all about showing off the new toys...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 12:35pm

 

Supporting Huntly was Shouse; a local duo who make fun dance jams. Their smooth set was made even smoother by the addition of a live saxophone soaring over all the tracks. They had everyone moving to their addictively catchy beats.
 
Sandwiching Shouse was two DJ sets from disco queen Brooke Powers. Bringing the bouncy house tracks, she quickly had the whole sweaty room...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 12:02pm

Gloom lords Departe opened the night, being the only Australian band on the lineup. The Tassie natives delivered sinister and expansive soundscapes, treating the crowd to a crushing wall of noise. Their first full-length Failure, Subside was met with monolithic acclaim last year, eerily balancing droning post-metal with shattering blast beats and reverberating vocals. One thing to be taken...

Posted 22 Mar 2017 @ 11:57am

 

There was this fast bowler back in my high school cricket days, perhaps the quickest kid in the district. Facing up to him one Saturday morning, he pitched his opening delivery just short of a length. Like a python attacking its prey, the ball reared up sharply, honing on my rib cage. I fended defensively, somehow turning the wide of fine leg for a boundary. “Nice shot off the hip,”...

Posted 20 Mar 2017 @ 5:31pm

 

Opening the show was Thy Art Is Murder, all the way from Blacktown, Sydney. Despite being a stone’s throw away from HillsongChurch, Thy Art Is Murder’s music is about as far away from worship as you can get. They presented their anti-religious and vaguely misanthropic message in the cloak of blast beats, breakdowns, and violently impassioned vocals, with more than a dash of...

Posted 17 Mar 2017 @ 10:03am

A Chain and the Gang show isn’t your standard gig, it’s a once in a lifetime experience to worship at the altar of Ian F Svenonius, one of the greatest rock icons and commentators of music in the last 30 years.
 
Testament to his engagement with music, Svenonius was up the front of the crowd taking photos of the support bands. Primo and Parsnip are two bands made up of some of...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 2:49pm

As always, the Port Fairy Folk Festival was jam-packed with an eclectic mix of musical treats.
 
Melody Pool showcased smoky, soaring vocals that were at times reminiscent of Stevie Nicks' dulcet tones. Among a brace of sparking originals, her rendition of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game was a poignant highlight in a gold-plated set.
 
The Jerry Cans featured fiery fiddle and...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 2:47pm

 

From the opening few bars of Teenage Fanclub’s set, it was evident that their current live show is fairly restrained. A far cry from Reading Festival 1992, but that was no surprise and no crime.
 
The initial lack of guitar-power in the mix was faintly worrying, and rendered both new and old material quite lifeless. The main issue being that the band’s approach, in both...

Posted 15 Mar 2017 @ 2:47pm

Opening the night’s show was triple J Hottest 100 runner-up, Amy Shark. As the garden punters took a pew on their picnic rugs, the rising talent offered up a selection of her lesser known, yet equally impressive tunes. Included in the mix was Spit on Girls, a fitting addition to her set only three days after International Women’s Day. Picking up her guitar, Shark also shared Home, Deleted and...

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