Sunday, November 30, 2008

Emiliana Torrini @ The Powerhouse November 16th

We went down to the Powerhouse right after the first of the heavy storms to hit the South East Queensland area that night. We arrived with enough time to get a great carpark and enjoy some more of the rain on the back deck with a couple of drinks. Inside the main Powerhouse Theatre, you wouldn't have had any clue about what was happening outside, owing to the great acoustics of the place. It was nice to go to a sit-down event for a change, especially given that we were on the tail end of a pretty big weekend.

Supporting the night was Sydney quartet, Charge Group. I couldn't help thinking of The Dirty Three when I was listening to them, most probably because of how the violin influenced the sound. Whilst I didn't feel that the vocals really fit in with the music, and I thought the stage presence was lacking a bit between songs, it didn't stop me from taking a liking to the music.

After intermission and a slightly extended period of waiting, Emiliana Torrini made her way to the stage with her "Mötley Crüe" of a backing band. The delay was explained by the fact that she was pre-empting a possible wardrobe malfunction and needed to find another dress to replace the one that turned out to be partially transparent under the stage lights!

The set was mainly drawn from her most recent two albums and she sounded genuinely surprised to hear requests from the first album. The exaggerated dynamic tempo of Heartstopper was executed very well, and it was great to hear a live version of Sunny Road - the song that drew me to her music to begin with. I had only gotten around to buying her latest album on the night, but I loved what I heard from it, especially Gun, Ha-Ha and Fireheads. The rest of the songs, including Lifesaver, Fisherman's Woman, Big Jumps, Me And Armini, Heard It All Before, Jungle Drum, and many more that I've since forgotten, were just as enjoyable.

In contrast to Charge Group, Torrini was very chatty between songs, often regaling the audience with personal and humourous stories about her life, her music writing, the band and whatever happened to find its way into her head at the time.

The earlier reference to the band was made literally by her when commenting about the guitar swapping that was going on between some of the songs, but the band really were the most unlikely looking group I have seen in a while. They certainly proved that looks can be deceiving though by providing a great musical platform of electric/acoustic/slide guitars, electric piano, keyboards, melodica, glockenspiel, drums and other percussion, upon which Torrini delivered her vocals. Bass guitar was absent from most songs, but it didn't feel like it wasn't missed.

I think the exhaustion from the flight on the way over to Australia really caught up with Torrini by the end of the night, as she struggled to recall lyrics and keep a straight face through the encore, but it wasn't to the detriment of the entertainment value of the performance. In all, another wonderful night of music!

Gigs update 2008/11/30

New gigs listed, including The Zillions, Darren Hanlon, Camille, José González, and a brilliant double-header of The Black Keys and Gomez!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Dandy Warhols @ The Tivoli November 5th

Time for a bit of catching up! It was a rainy Wednesday night that we found ourselves on when The Dandy Warhols came to town. Due to a late meal on our behalf and an early starting time on the Tivoli's, we missed all but the last song of the support act, Downhills Home.

Before long, The Dandy Warhols made their way to the stage with very little fanfare and took up their instruments. Some may recognise the date of this gig as the day the US presidential election result was known, and consequently, the band dedicated the entire gig to Obama's victory. With that out of the way, they began their epic set, which consisted of a mix of songs from their latest album, Earth To The Dandy Warhols, interspersed with "hit after hit after hit" from their back-catalog. The hits certainly seemed to be among the crowd highlights for the evening, and included the likes of Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth, You Were The Last High, We Used To Be Friends, Get Off, All The Money Or The Simple Life Honey, Boys Better, and Bohemian Like You. The only notable absense I could think of was Every Day Should Be A Holiday.

Even though the lighting didn't highlight much of the band, it seemed to suit the set and music quite well. The sound was great from where were standing and I was very impressed with how Zia McCabe's synths more than made up for the bass-less lineup. Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Peter Holmström made great use of a variety of guitars and effects, adding but not deviating too far from the recorded sound of the songs. It was also interesting to see the straight-line formation of the band, with Brent DeBoer on drums sharing the front of the stage with the others, often chiming in on backing vocals to Taylor-Taylor's dual microphone lead vocal setup.

The highlight of the two-hour plus set for me, among the guitar drone trademark sounds of their slower songs, was hearing I Love You from their Come Down album. I have to say it was also a relief to leave the venue at the end of the evening, as the sold-out crowd combined with the downpour outside had pushed the Tivoli's air conditioning to its limits.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gigs update 2008/10/13

Adding to yesterday's list, today I found out that Emiliana Torrini is playing at The Powerhouse in November and Fleet Foxes will be at The Tivoli in January. Details here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gigs update 2008/10/12

The gig page has been updated with dates for The Panics, The John Steel Singers, Bob Evans and The Mountain Goats.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Supergrass @ The Tivoli October 2nd

Despite arriving after the initial crowd rush at the Tivoli, we managed to find an empty spot upstairs on the balcony to take in tonight's performances. I don't usually find myself upstairs because the good spots are usually filled by the time we get in, but tonight was a pleasant change and surprise.

Cloud Control were an interesting choice as a support act. To me, they lacked some of the confidence I would have expected of a band that were supporting the likes of Supergrass. At times, the performing wasn't as tight as it could have been for their sound, and they were a bit awkward when it came to addressing the crowd (neglecting to mention their name until one of the last songs). Having said all that, the music was generally interesting with hints of pop among the low-fi indie sound, and I really enjoyed some of the hypnotic parts of their set.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from Supergrass, as I hadn't seen them play live before and don't have a lot of their back catalogue. So it was brilliant to see and hear them come out with the infectious energy that they had. From the first song all the way through to the end of the encore, it was difficult not to want to move along with the sounds of their music.

Most of the set was played in their current formation as a five piece, but for a few selected songs, they stripped back to the three and four piece incarnations. Surprisingly, this didn't seem to affect the completeness of the sound at all. There were a number of songs where I thought the absence of the rhythm guitar or keyboards would have been noticeable, but I had clearly underestimated Gaz Coombes' impressive guitar work.

Speaking of impressive, the light show tonight was the best I'd seen for a while. I assume they brought their own lighting personel with them on the tour, because the design and execution were spot on (no pun intended!).

Highlights of the set for me were definitely Mary and Moving. I don't recall them playing anything off their Life On Other Planets album (the only other album I have), and don't know enough to fill in much of the rest of set list with the exceptions of Pumping On Your Stereo, Caught By The Fuzz and Strange Ones (I think!). However, that didn't affect my enjoyment of the set one bit.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gigs update 2008/09/07

A few gigs have appeared on the radar, including Martha Wainwright, David McCormack, Misinterprotato and Pinky Beecroft. The program for The Valley Fiesta has also been put out, and Friday night and Sunday looks like a go-er for us.

I'm just listening to some of Martha's new album from her website, which combined with my memories of seeing her last time she was out, should make for a good night. Pinky's up-coming show is the first gig I think I've ever seen with BYO alcohol advertised - that'll be an interesting night! And I'm really looking forward to seeing David back at Ric's again - I always have fond memories of that combination.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Somethin' Somewhere Better

After what must have been a favourable review I wrote of a recent gig, I was lucky enough to be offered a pre-release copy of the debut album from Pinky Beecroft's latest project; The White Russians. Earlier this week, as promised, I received my very own copy of Somethin' Somewhere Better in the mail!

Listening to the album all the way through for the first time brought back a lot of great memories from the gig. Despite only having heard most of the songs for the first time that night, I was surprised at just how many I recalled when listening to the album. It certainly says something for the catchyness of the lyrics & music. The second listen gave me a feeling of being at an intimate show - such is the way the songs are recorded and produced on this album.

Lyrically, Beecroft tends to fall on the story-telling side of the song writing fence, capturing tales in the likes of Scarlett, Floor, and Someone For Everyone. There's also quirkiness in the words, not unlike David McCormack and early Whitlams, with gems such as:

'Woke up with nothing to do/thought that I'd try shoplifting' (Scarlett)
'I might not be so good in bed/but I'm alright on the floor' (Floor)
'This hangover brings the sunshine to the Goths' (This Hangover)

The album is nicely balanced out with the more serious/melancholy stylings of Sunflowers, Unsent Letter, and the beautiful Fabulous Driving.

Just as it was live, Nick Stewart's guitar sound is quite distinctive and recognisable throughout the album, while Christian McBride and Ben T provide a solid framework of drums and bass that the rest of the sound is built upon. The keyboards on the album add presence, even though they don't feature as much as I thought they might. However, if I'm not mistaken, I think that's guest keyboardist Cameron Bruce adding his flair to This Song Has Only Got Happy Words. There are also great full band jam outs at the end of Sunflowers and My Haircut Will Come Back Around.

It was great to hear Bernie Hayes again after such a long time. He and Athron and sing backing vocals on I Will Tear It Down To Make You Happy, with Hayes also featuring on Someone For Everyone, and Unsent Letter. Other guest appearances include Marc Malouf (guitar), Ken Folan (bass), and James Thornhill on bagpipes at the end of This Song Has Only Got Happy Words.

The album is due out in a week (August 23rd) on Gigpiglet Recordings, distributed by Inertia. There's also a south-east coast tour to support it, which sees the guys return to Brisbane on September 19th. Thanks to Will from heapsaflash for the CD!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gigs update 2008/08/10

It's been a while, but my upcoming gigs page has been updated. I'm very excited to hear that The Dandy Warhols will be touring in November. I haven't picked up their latest release yet, but I'm a big fan of their back catalog, and am looking forward to seeing them play live for the first time. Another band I haven't had the pleasure of experiencing live yet is Supergrass, who will be here in October. Tickets for both of these gigs go on sale this Thursday.

Also added is The Grates, Holly Throsby, and Jebediah. Three other acts whose music I've enjoyed for a while now but haven't got around to seeing yet. Unfortunately, Jebediah will have to wait another time for me, as I'm already booked that night.

Cold War Kids @ The Tivoli August 3rd

There was something about tonight's support band, Delta Spirit, that I just couldn't get into. The style of music, while not too far removed from Cold War Kids, was a little bit country for me (the flannel shirts didn't do anything to help this image). It was definitely on the rock side of country, but twangy none the less ('tractor rock' is probably the term I would use if pushed for a description). The yelling that was used to sing loudly in the upper registers was also a bit of turn off for me. Based on the crowd's enthusiastic response though, I was definitely in the minority, and whilst they certainly weren't my cup of tea, I felt happy for them to get that response on their first outing to Australia.

The Cold War Kids also suffered a bit in my book for the amount of yelling that seemed to be going on. I certainly don't remember Nathan Willet sounding like he was struggling reach those high notes when they were out here last year. I can't help but think about how unsustainable it would be in the long run. While I'm getting the criticisms out of the way, I also have to say that the drums sounded pretty dull and muffled tonight (nothing to do with how they were played, just how they were mixed).

Having said all that, the other aspects of the performance were great! They opened the set in hushed tones, playing all the way through Pregnant before the lights were turned up and they went into We Used To Vacation, much to the thrill of the crowd. A number of new songs were featured in the set, which received good responses. Played live, the songs were similar in the style of those off Robbers & Cowards, although I've heard that the recorded versions are a bit more produced. I'm looking forward to hearing for myself when the new album is released later this year.

During Robbers, the lights on stage went out again with Willet reversing the roles by shining a torch into the audience while singing the song. The set also featured Tell Me In The Morning and God, Make Up Your Mind before drawing near the end when Hang Me Out To Dry predictably set the crowd off. They closed the set with Hospital Beds, which also went down very well. The encore was short and sweet, and ended with the members from Delta Spirit joining the band on improvised percussion duties for Saint John.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Polyphonic Spree @ The Tivoli July 31st

Supporting the tour that finished up in Brisbane tonight was local six-piece, The John Steel Singers. Aside from recognising the name, I didn't know much else about them, but I was soon to be impressed with their catchy rhythms. Instrumentally, the band was quite polished and interesting throughout the set. The vocals were a bit hit and miss to start with and the sound technically wasn't as balanced as it could have been, however, I quickly put that down to the fact that their mix was probably set up for the main act tonight and not suitable for such a "relatively small" band. The line-up included two keyboards, two guitars, bass & drums with the keyboardists taking on trumpet, trombone, kazoo and guitar duties where necessary. I recognised their song Strawberry Wine from Triple J's play list, which has always reminded me a bit of Spoon's Sister Jack. I also love a band that plays songs involving their guitarists on the ground controlling the droning of their guitars with their effects pedals. I picked up their The Beagle And The Dove EP, which includes most, if not all, of the songs they featured in their set.

During the break, we took up a better position near the sound desk. I remember looking over and thinking that this must be one of the rare occasions that most of the 48 channels of the The Tivoli's mixing desk were being utilised for a single band! While I was distracted with watching the sound guy prepare, the venue opened up the upstairs balcony, which was good to see given how sparse the crowd looked at the start of the night.

I'd been told before hand to keep an eye out for the special opening scene. The band were setup behind a two metre high red cloth that spanned the width of the stage. To the sound of plucking harp strings, a pair of scissors started making their way from behind, through the centre of the cloth in the shape of a large heart. The scissors then cut closer and closer to the top until the last snip cut the cloth in two, signaling the twenty-two piece group to blast in to the opening bars of Running Away as the vision of bright white lights pointed towards the audience brought the show to life. This display of theatrics set the scene for what was an amazing musical experience.

All of the band members, including vocalists, strings, horns, guitars, keyboards, drums, percussion, flute, and front man, Tim Delaughter, were dressed in the black uniform featured on their latest album, The Fragile Army. The main set list included mainly songs from that album plus a couple from their first, including Hanging Around The Day, Get Up And Go, It's The Sun. They also threw in a brilliant cover of Paul McCartney's Live And Let Die, complete with the shrieking piccolo part in the instrumental section. They finished the main set with the closing track, The Championship, which literally faded out as band members gradually left the stage while Tim got the crowd singing along to the outro of the song. Once all the band except Tim and the harpist had left the stage, Tim said good night and left us singing along with the harp player, who kept us going for another half a minute or so before leaving the stage himself.

Through the applause of the crowd cheering for more, the band now dressed in their more familiar robes reappeared at the side entrance of The Tivoli, and weaved their way through the crowd back towards the stage. Accompanied by the sounds of Together We're Heavy, each member picked up their part in the song as they got to the stage and found their position. Then they proceeded to play an encore that was almost as long as the main set! The encore was made up of songs mostly from the first two albums, including Hold Me Now, Light And Day and Soldier Girl, and also featured a cover of Nirvana's Lithium. During When The Fool Becomes A King, the theatrics continued, with the band completely freezing in position at one point in the song. The keyboards kept a few notes going, but the rest of the band remained frozen in position while Tim walked around the stage, occasionally tapping the odd instrument and just generally leaving the audience wondering what he was going to do next. He finally brought the band back to life (after what must have been five minutes) and started to draw the night to a close after that.

After one or two more songs, the band remained on stage for the curtain call at the end. Tim had spent a lot of the evening interacting with the crowd and it seemed that he didn't want to stop! This included his farewell speech that encouraged all of us to go to the merch stand in order to fund their visit. You can understand why a band this size would need all the help they can get when you consider that the cost of the tickets for this gig was the same as you would normally pay for to see a four piece band at the same venue.

In all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining night, and I would recommend anyone who hasn't seen them yet to do so if they get the opportunity.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Angie Hart and David McCormack @ The Troubadour 25th July

Another night back at The Troubadour. By all the Custard t-shirt sightings, it looked like there was one guy that most of the crowd were here to see tonight. But first up was local singer/guitarist Kristy London, playing one of her last gigs before heading off to London. Backed by another acoustic guitarist, Kristy played a great warm up set of folk/pop songs. My memory of her set is fading a week on, but I remember thinking at the time that it was well suited to the venue and the evening.

Playing in the surprising position of second tonight was home-town favourite, David 'Davo' McCormack on the acoustic guitar. Accompanied by a foot-controlled electronic hand clapper, he opened the set with a cover of Since She Started To Ride, a song I fondly remember hearing Custard cover on Super Request many years ago. David used the clapper at the end of most of his songs to help the crowd with their round of applause, to great comedic effect :-)

After a couple of early Custard favourites in the form of If Yr Famous And You Know It Sack Yr Band (based on a true story he leads us to believe!) and Alone, he treated us with three new songs including, Text Book and AVO off his new Cassingle EP. The songs were a great taste of what some of us have been waiting to hear in the four years since his last release.

After the 'new' section of the set, it was back to The New Matthew and Girls Like That Don't Go For Guys Like Us. David put Geoff, the sound guy, on the spot a bit with the request for a bit of flange and reverb heading into the guitar solo in Girls Like That, which he didn't quite get to in time. After that, David failed to disappoint one audience member, taking up the request to play I Could Never Be Your Woman, despite needing some time to remember the chords again (which comes as a great surprise to anyone who followed him between about 1998 & 2003, where this song would almost always make an appearance!). With a bit more warning this time, Geoff chimed in perfectly with the flange and reverb during the 'guitar solo part of the song'. David then finished the relatively short set with I'm Going To Execute Your Ex Boyfriend, unfortunately leaving many of tonight's crowd wanting more.

Angie Hart was last up tonight, once again in vocal mode accompanied by acoustic guitar. She started off the set with a number of slower and quieter songs, which put her in a bit of a difficult position. Still, she soldiered on through it, and everyone close enough to listen above the crowd were well rewarded. Her set consisted of songs from her last album interspersed with some of Frente's back catalogue. David was invited back on stage at the close of the set for a cover (whose name escapes me now). Unfortunately for some of the crowd tonight, it was only Angie who came back for the brief encore.

Whilst I enjoyed the night, I couldn't help but feel that it would have been better if David and Angie's sets were swapped around and if they played a couple more songs together during the encore. Here's hoping there'll be a few more headlining gigs in store for David on the release of his album later on in the year.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gigs update 2008/06/26

New gigs on the radar include Doch and Guy Webster, The Mess Hall, Magic Dirt, and The Polyphonic Spree!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gigs update 2008/06/16

Wolf & Cub, Paul Dempsey and The Fratellis added here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pinky Beecroft & The White Russians @ The Zoo

Last Thursday night we found ourselves back at The Zoo for the second time in just over a week. I hadn't noticed all the signs up about not taking photos last time we were there, but they were much more obvious to me this time, especially as I had remembered to bring mine along with me this time. So once again, no photos to go along with this review.

Opening tonight was Athron, who played solo acoustic guitar. Having said solo though, I was somewhat confused for a while because I was sure I could hear backing vocals. The confusion was soon allayed when I realised that he was using a loop pedal on his vocals to get the backing vocal effect. It's the first time I can remember seeing a loop pedal used on vocals as opposed to using it on the guitar to build up a song. As with most musicians that rely heavily on a loop pedal for their set, I found it cool and interesting at first, but a bit tedious as the set went on, as it was used on most, if not all, songs. I think it's like most effects, in that they're best used in moderation. But I digress. Athron had a great set of vocal cords and a matching guitar talent that made this an enjoyable set. His album is worth checking out too if you're into any or all of Jack Johnson, John Butler, or Elliot Smith.

Up next was Goldenhorse; a New Zealand on their first tour of Australia. From what I've read, they're pretty big over in NZ, and from the set they played, I could see why. Vocalist and front-woman, Kristen Morell led the band through a number of fun-pop songs that you can imagine gets the dance floor moving back home. Unfortunately for the band, due to the low attendance tonight and probably the unknown songs that were coming forth, only one or two people took them up on their offer to "boogie on the dance floor" by the end of the set. But they didn't seem to let that sway their enthusiasm towards the music.

I guess it could have been a combination of uni exam time, a school night, and probably an under-advertised gig that led to the relatively small turn out for Pinky Beecroft's latest project, The White Russians, compared to what he would have been used to when he was in Machine Gun Felatio. Again though, that didn't stop Pinky from getting right into the gig, even telling the crowd how much better they were than the Melbourne crowd of the previous night. Pinky was entertaining throughout the night, in a similar way to how David McCormack woos a crowd. You can't help but want to listen to what he has to say, both when singing and talking between songs. His introduction to (a much heavier and faster) Unsent Letter, as being "a cover of a band he used to be into", was a classic example of this, as was his explanation of another song about a guy who, after being stood up on a date, had a car accident with someone else that he ended up falling for.

The line-up wasn't exactly what I was expecting after visiting their web site, namely due to the absence of Cameron Bruce (who I've since learned is only a part-time member). But it was great to see Nick Steward up on stage again behind his Les Paul and Telecaster guitars. It's probably been over eight years since I saw him play with George, but it didn't take long for me to remember his fantastic guitar playing from back then. Rounding out the line-up was Christian McBride on drums and backing vocals, Ben T on bass, and Pinky on his new keyboard (with its difficult to find piano setting!).

To me, the music was reminiscent of Machine Gun Felatio, but with its own life. There were only a few songs that I recognised, which were either MGF songs or covers of other bands, but I found everything else very listenable. Towards the end of set, they pulled out Blondie's Call Me, and they finished off the encore for the night with MGF's I Dance Electric. I picked up their EP on my way out, and am looking forward to hearing their full length album, which is due out in a couple of months.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tylea And The Imaginary Music Score @ The Troubadour

On Saturday night we went in to The Troubadour to catch Tylea supporting Paddy Dempsey, although, in the end, due to a big week and bigger afternoon, we ended up missing the latter. That was okay though, because we were mainly there for the former.

Opening the show tonight was local four-piece, The Kindness Of Strangers. They played a very layed back set of harmonic folk-pop tunes with a range of instruments that included flute, mandolin, and ukulele. Whilst I enjoyed the music and the some of the clever lyrics, I personally found the tone of the female vocalist a bit difficult to listen to at times. It would be interesting to hear one of their recordings to see if it was just an artifact of the mix that night.

Tylea and the full, 7-piece, Imaginary Music Score managed to arrange themselves on the small stage, with just enough elbow room for them to manage their instruments! Actually, they seemed surprisingly comfortable in the space where I've previously only seen about up to 5 musicians fit.

Tonight's set-list was quite familiar to anyone who has seen the band play in recent times, with a couple of newer songs, but mostly songs drawn from Tylea's independently released double album, Colour Your Insecurities. It started off with Tylea by herself, playing the instrumental soundscape, Red Plastic Panpipes, after which she was joined by fellow guitarist, Mark Angel, and backing vocalist Rozi Pizzey for Lean. Keyboardist Sally Campbell, guitarist Chris Pickering, bassist Terry Dixon, and percussionist James Lees completed the ensemble for Making The Clouds and the remainder of the set. One of the highlights for me was hearing Tunnel Day, which brings back fond memories of Tylea rocking out in Gota Cola back in the day.

Tylea usually enjoys a chat with the crowd in between songs, and tonight was no different. So much so, that I think they ended up being a bit rushed for time towards the end of the set. Life To Grow finished another great gig that makes me look more forward to hearing some new music from Tylea, hopefully in the near future!

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Thrills @ The Zoo

Last Wednesday night we went to The Zoo to catch The Thrills on their current tour. I was a bit surprised to realise that it was the first time I'd been to The Zoo all year considering we're already up to June! The Zoo was one of the first venues I frequented when I started getting into the music scene all those years ago, and it hasn't changed much in that time. If you can get past the grungy feel on the surface (and some people can't), it's a great place to go and see bands play (except perhaps in the middle of summer, when its lack of air conditioning can make it a bit uncomfortable). I estimate its capacity to be somewhere around the 400 mark, which seems to be a good size to get the room pumping on sell-out nights, whilst still retaining an intimate feeling on those nights when the crowd is smaller. Tonight wasn't a sellout by any means, but there were plenty of people there to make for a good night out.

The support act tonight was Sparkadia. Whilst I recognised the name of the band, I can't recall hearing their music before, even though a few people said I know it when I heard it. Apparently they've been receiving a bit of air play on Triple J recently, and there were more than a few people in the crowd who were really into them. Their set got off to a shaky start due to some technical problems, but once they got going, they put forth a good indie-pop set. Their single, Animals, was a definite crowd pleaser, with most if not all of the room tapping, nodding, singing and/or dancing along with it.

According to vocalist and frontman, Conor Deasy, tonight marked the first time The Thrills have played for six months. Aside from similar technical difficulties at the start of the set though, you certainly wouldn't have noticed. The Thrills are out here on their Teenager album tour, but they were happy to play jukebox to the crowd, and their set ended up consisting mostly of songs from their back catalog, with just a handful of newer songs. This suited me fine, as I recognised most of the songs despite not yet owning their latest album. Highlights from the set included Saturday Night, The Irish Keep Gate-Crashing, Tell Me Something I Don't Know, Big Sur, Found My Rosebud, and Santa Cruz.

They did a cut-back version of Not For All The Love In The World, which featured a slide guitar part, but I don't think it came off with the same strength as the rest of the songs did. Maybe I just had high expectations for it given that it's one of my favourite songs of theirs. In any case, it was just a small part of a fantastic set. The band left the stage after their main set with a conspicuously missing song, but it wasn't long before they returned for two more, the last of which was their standout song, Whatever Happened To Corey Haim. All in all, a very entertaining night!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Gigs update 2008/06/01

Still having a bit of trouble keeping on top of upcoming gigs, but I've been made aware of a couple of new ones; Cold War Kids and Death Cab For Cuties. Details here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Winter storm brewing over Brisbane at dusk

This was the brilliant view we had from our deck yesterday afternoon as the storm brewed over the city. The orange sky was other-worldly!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Time Off bought by Street Press Australia

I found out last weekend that a few weeks ago, SPA bought Brisbane's local music street press magazine, Time Off. I've been an avid reader of Time Off for around 10 years now, relying on it as my main source of news of upcoming gigs and interviews, and to a lesser extent, recent releases.

There's been a few changes to the layout and format over the years, and even though they seemed quite drastic at the time, I found that the last incarnation was great for finding what I wanted quickly. One of the things I really liked was the bold-ing of band names and artists in the quick news sections (eg, Tour Bus, Local and Soundcheck sections), which made scanning the paragraphs a breeze. The gig guide was also very comprehensive, listing both headliners and supports for most gigs, often up to four weeks in advance. The only thing I can think of that would have made it better would have been to distinguish new listings in each edition, but on the whole, it was very usable.

Every now and then I manage to pick up a physical copy of the magazine, but I mostly access the content online. I noticed something was astray when the online version had not been updated for a couple of weeks (it's usually updated in sync with when the physical mag is out, ie, every Wednesday). I didn't pay too much attention to it, thinking that there must be some technical reasons behind it. That is, until I picked up a copy of the mag and read the article about the acquisition.

Since that issue (1370 for those playing along at home), the format of the physical magazine has changed significantly. The emphasising of the band names and artists in the news snippets is gone, making it much more slow and painful to skim read.

The gig guide is now split up over a few different pages, where only gig listings for the coming week go into detail about who the supports are. It also appears that only mid to big-name bands are listed with significant advance notice. I think both of these factors are a backward step for smaller acts trying to gain more exposure. As someone who is into a lot of the smaller acts and isn't averse to going to a gig just to see them in the support role, I think it's going to make it harder to find out about them in time to lock them into my calendar! Things like the upcoming David McCormack support and Pinky Beecroft gigs are nowhere to be seen in the latest issue.

So far, I've only experienced the changes in print, as the website still hasn't been updated. I'm hoping that it will be a bit easier to read online when it does come back! In the meantime, I'm doing a bit more leg-work of my own and scouring the venues' websites for those elusive nuggets of gigging gold.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Gigs update 2008/05/06

It's been a little while (more on that soon), but my upcoming gigs page has been updated! New additions include Pinky Beecroft's new project, Clare Bowditch, Holly Throsby, Angie Hart with David McCormack, and The Whitlams.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Panics @ The Tivoli

On Saturday night, I found myself at The Tivoli again, this week to see The Panics. It feels like I've already been there heaps more than just the three times I've actually been this year, but I think it must be because I was only there last week.

On a side note, it'll be interesting to see what affect the new taxes on "alcopop" drinks have on the already exorbitant prices at the Tiv'. Anecdotally, I've heard the price of a carton of pre-mix rum & coke cans has jumped from $45+ to around the $80 mark. Given that they currently charge $10 per aforementioned can there, I wonder if they'll even continue trying to sell them!

Anyway, back to the show. The Wilson Pickers were part way through their set when we arrived. This four-piece alt-country band fell very much on the country side of that particular genre, but in a very good way. At times, they were reminiscent of The Travelling Wilburys with their tight instrumentation and strong vocal roles throughout the set. The setlist itself comprised mostly of originals but also included a Bob Dylan cover and the increasingly obligatory cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene.

The primary support act tonight was Melbourne 5-piece, Little Red. Their set was almost the very definition of pop music. Backed by the drummer, the four-part harmonies sung by the two guitarists, bassist, and vocalist oozed of mid 60's Beatles & Beach Boys. I would have no hesitations in recommending them to members of my parents' generation! Interestingly, all four vocalists took the lead for one song or another, which at times left the front man looking like a bit of a fifth wheel. For the most of it though, you could tell that this is just one big happy group (a bit too happy for my liking) doing what they like doing.

After a bit of a longer break, the band everyone was waiting for finally came on stage. From what I could tell, their set was made up of most of the songs from their last album, Cruel Guards, interspersed with songs from various stages of their back catalog. There were a lot of songs tonight that I hadn't heard before (or at least don't remember hearing), but enjoyed greatly none the less. The band sounded genuinely humble as they expressed their appreciation of the large and enthusiastic crowd throughout the set, which for me at least, really made me feel a part of this night. This was quite a feat given that it looked like the gig had sold out!

Towards the end of the main set, they brought a couple of local horn players out, which really added to the sound of Feeling Is Gone, and the crowd favourite, Don't Fight It. The band concluded their main set with Get Us Home, in which, from seemingly so few instruments, they produced a wall of sound that I haven't experienced at The Tivoli since I saw Mercury Rev there several years ago.

The band returned to the stage shortly after for their encore. The second of the two songs they played for it was an instrumental jam out, which, while at first seemed like a bit of an odd choice, was a great way to finish the night. Based on what I heard tonight, I'm really looking forward to delving into The Panics' back catalog!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Regurgitator @ The Tivoli

On Saturday night, we went to see Regurgitator at The Tivoli. I was a bit surprised to hear them say it was their first time they've played there, given how long both the band and the venue have been around for. As is the case more often than not, the Tivoli brought out out the best in the performers on the night.

Due to a prior engagement, we missed the first support, but arrived in time to see American band, Ratatat, take the stage. Their electro-doof music did a great job at getting the crowd moving and warmed up for the main event. I'm not overly familiar with many electronic/techno acts, as they seem to be a bit of a hit and miss affair with me, however, I did find these guys to be more of a hit with me. I'm sure the presence of a guitarist amongst the keys and bass had something to do with it.

After a quick change over, Regurgitator took to the stage and broke into Blood And Spunk off last year's Love And Paranoia release. They followed it up with My Robot Friend and continued with highlights from their back catalog including, in no particular order, I Will Lick Your Arsehole, Kong Foo Sing, ! (The Song Formerly Known As), Polyester Girl, I Wanna Be A Nudist, I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff, Black Bugs and I Sucked a Lot of Cock to Get Where I Am.

The fact that I only own their latest album and still recognised almost every song they played really highlighted for me how successful this band, who herald from Brisbane's dark ages of music, has been over the years. Not everyone's favourite songs were played (specifically, there were many requests for Blubber Boy coming from our general vicinity that went unanswered), but they still managed to keep the not-quite sell out crowd jumping up and down in time with the music for the evening.

You also gotta love a band who writes a song called Drinking Beer Is Awesome!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Eels @ The Tivoli 24th April, 2008

[Courtesy of Paul, who went to the gig last Thursday]

I'd been looking forward to this gig for ages as I remember The Eels playing a hard and tight rock set last time I saw them. Unfortunately by the end of the night I wished I hadn't gone as I really don't think I would pay to see them again and that sux when a favourite band lets you down in such a big way.

When we arrived at the Tivoli we noticed the unfortunate set up of seating, which is usually a sign that the gig has struggled to sell tickets. After purchasing a drink for the same price as feeding an African village for a month ($8.50 each) we found a seat, dead centre on the top balcony. A large white curtain was set up in front of the stage so you couldn't see the set up. I was trying to find out who the support were but the reason I couldn't find out was because there wasn't one. This was really the Mr E ego night. Nice and early a documentary started showing about E's search to understand his father's famous Quantum Mechanics theory. We sat there expecting after a few minutes the curtain would drop and The Eels would be there rocking out a big number. After 55 minutes it was clear that this was not going to happen.

After the doco the sheet was removed and an interval took place, by now the crowd was restless and you could see people starting to wonder what was going on. The stage setup was incredible. An upright piano, drums, guitars, a drawbar organ and several other antique looking keyboards familiar to The Eels fans. It looked like it was going to be special.

E came to the stage and sat down (he sat for the entire concert) and started to play the first song. No sooner had he started, he stopped to complain about people using cameras. This was the beginning of the end. He played about 3 or 4 numbers by himself swapping guitars with his roadie at the end of every song which gave an odd feeling because he would start to hand over the guitar as he strummed the last chord. He wasn't really interested in being there.<

He played a couple of numbers on piano, for which he had his back to the audience and the piano obviously hadn't been tuned and not amplified very well. I know he likes a bit of a honky tonk sound sometimes but this was just insulting for an $80 gig. It was like a school assembly.

Finally he was joined on stage by the only other band member Chett(?). He was quite talented and played everything from guitar, piano, drums to slide guitar and the saw. After a few numbers Chett did a reading from E's autobiography and obviously a few in the audience decided that they had had enough and were giving him a hard time. E didn't take this well and started to heckle them back and complain about people talking. They played a couple more songs and then did another reading, well people were really restless now and I don't blame them, no one paid to see someone read a book, they wanted music. The final nail came when E started to play the next song and people down the front were still talking. At The Tivoli the noise really carries and he was obviously put off by this. He stopped playing looked over at the guy and told him it was ridiculous and he had to shut up. He kept on at the guy telling him that he was going to start playing soon and he better shut up. !
Well this brought the room to silence. I don't think people were brave enough to even clap, they were just scared that they would be next.

The next couple of songs had some really good free rock sections and would have been very entertaining but he had really soured the audience. The set eventually finished and they left the stage. They came back for one encore. E had obviously had someone in his ear when they went off because he started to make excuses about a long flight and not feeling well. This didn't wash and he copped a bit of abuse for which his reply was. '"It took 24 hours to get here, I didn't really want to come anyway, and this will be our last show in Brisbane"".

For what musically was a pretty good gig I don't think anyone (except the hardcore fans) will remember it that way. I know E can be a bit strange around people, but this was beyond strange. This was just rude. People pay good money for gigs and they deserve some respect. E's ego has obvioulsy destroyed his ability to remain humble and remember how privlidged he is to be able to tour the world doing what he loves best. I really don't think the audience was to blame. I actually think they put up with a lot and he should have known that people were restless because he wasn't entertaining them.

In some ways, I still would have liked to have gone to the gig, if only to see how it panned out first hand. But at the same time, maybe it will turn out for the best and I won't be jaded if and when they tour next time.

Thanks for the review Paul!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Del Toro, An Horse, and Do The Robot @ The Brisbane Powerhouse

On this rather warm April day, we made our way down to the Brisbane Powerhouse for the Sunday afternoon Live Spark session.

The Powerhouse is literally one of Brisbane's old power stations. It was given a new life about 10 years ago and reborn into one of the city's great live performance venues. They've left a lot of the interior and exterior in-tact, which gives it a great industrial feel. It's situated on the river right next to New Farm park, and is one convenient CityCat stop away from us.

The three Brisbane bands in today's session were all from the Valve record label, and were each launching their latest releases.

Up first this afternoon was Do The Robot. This two-piece made up of a guitarist and keyboardist (who also played the glockenspiel & guitar for a couple of songs) had a pretty good sound to them. Whilst I liked the minimalist repetitive style of the songs, I felt they were a little nervous, and as a result, not very tight together. I still decided to pick up their album, Amp On Fire, and I'll be interested to see how much of a difference their recorded sound has.

When I saw Kate Cooper from An Horse on stage to set up, I recognised her from Iron On and was a bit worried about what was to follow. I've had a couple of not so great experiences seeing Iron On play which, although was probably related to technical difficulties at the time, have left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I'm happy to report that An Horse's set today fit in well with the other two bands, and ended up being a pretty good listen. They had the most stage presence out of the three bands by far, which added to the overall enjoyment of their set. Having said that, they still weren't my cup of tea, and they were the only band whose CD I didn't pick up today.

The third and final act today was Del Toro. I saw them once before (back in 2005 apparently) supporting City City City at The Alley Bar. I remember really liking them at the time and was disappointed to find out after their set that they were still working on getting a recording out. Since then, they fell off the radar for me, so much so that I only vaguely recognised the name when I saw their gig advertised.

In contrast to the other two bands, Del Toro were quietly confident on stage. But that's where the quietness ended! Their instrumental set consisted of a number of screaming high guitar tones, interspersed with sharp bass and solid drummig. I recently heard their style described as "desert rock", which is a much more accurate description than I could come up with (along the lines of alt country/blues/rock).

Their set was short but sweet and I picked up their latest album, Hydra, on my way out, so there may be more about them coming soon from this space.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Gigs update 2008/04/11

Wolfmother if you're quick, more Pseudo Play-doh (still love that name), Del Toro, and The Mars Volta. Plus a little visual surprise! All here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Missed out on Smashing Pumpkins

Based on the write up in this week's Time Off and what I've heard from someone who saw them at the V Festival, it looks like I missed out on a really good show. Apparently, the Convention Centre show went for a whopping 2 hours 20 minutes, kicking off with 'Porcelina...' and including classics such as 'Tonight, Tonight', '1979', 'Today', 'Ava Adore', 'Bullet With Butterfly Wings', 'The Everlasting Gaze' and 'Mayonaise'.

And the closing of the main set sounds right up my alley:

... the note-perfect Pumpkins decide to close their set with an epic, and rather experimental, three-song amalgamation (‘Cash Car Star’, ‘Crush’ and ‘United States’) that spans 20 monotonous minutes. With only a handful of prog-rock fans nodding their heads in appreciation, this self-absorbed tripe proves to be a disastrous finish to an otherwise faultless gig.

[Paul China Time Off 9th April 2008]

Sounds like just the kind of self-absorbed tripe that I'm into ;-)

I've always had a theory about the 'Pumpkins; that they went down hill when they kicked out their drummer (Jimmy Chamberlin) after Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness. Whilst Adore certainly has its moments, I think there are a lot more tracks on that album that could have been better with a real drum track. Given that Chamberlin was present again for this gig, it would have been great to hear some of the later material with him behind the kit.

Oh well, maybe next time.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Gigs update 2008/04/02

Today's new additions are Doch (this Friday), The Thrills, Angus & Julia Stone, and The Black Keys.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gigs update 2008/03/30

New additions to the upcoming gigs page, including Regurgitator, Tylea, Princess One Point Five and Pseudo Play-Doh.

Unfortunately, there's also been a couple of removals. First of all, due to a prior engagement, I won't be able to go to The Eels upcoming show in Brisbane. Although, I haven't alltogether ruled out going to see them in Sydney :-)

The second unfortunate bit of news is that The Mountain Goats have had to cancel their Australian tour. Here's hoping they will be back out later this year.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Angie Hart at The Troubadour

On Saturday night, we headed into the Valley to catch Angie Hart playing at The Troubadour.

As was mentioned previously, seeing someone perform at The Troubadour is very much like having a band play in your living room. There are plenty of couches and soft cube seats available if you're there early enough. The decor inside is very retro - I think I even recognise one of the prints on the wall as a picture from my parents house. There are a lot of lamp shades and a cozy orange glow about the place!

First up tonight was Edward Guglielmino. (And here I am complaining about how often my surname gets mispronounced! For the record, and in case I forget, it's Goog-lee-el-Me-no with emphasis on the caps). He played acoustic guitar and was supported by one of the guys from behind the bar (Tim, I think his name was) on electric guitar, ukulele, and backing vocals. Edward's voice and delivery reminded me a bit of Jens Lekman, and Kate thought there was a bit of Jeff Buckley in there as well. He sang and played very sincerely, and as a result, we were captivated by his set. Unfortunately, the (somewhat appropriately named) "Very Tacky" EP he had on sale at the gig doesn't do him justice. Hopefully another recording will be forthcoming.

Next up was Emma Dean, who I understand is another local. For some reason, the name sounded very familiar but I still can't put my finger on why that is. She played piano (and violin for one song) and was supported by a guitarist (whose name escapes me now). For a long time at the start of her set, I couldn't get past the fact that her voice sounded very much like Missy Higgins. The style of music was more along the lines of Sarah Blasko, but I had trouble getting into it until the last two songs of the set. I can't exactly remember anymore now what made them stand out for me, but I do remember that I liked them the most.

Angie Hart was the third and final act for the evening. Back in the day, I never got past Frente's popular songs and into the rest of their material, so I'm not really sure how Angie Hart's solo work compares to it. I imagine the solo work is quite a bit darker, as was my impression of the album when I picked it up a couple of months ago. As a guide, I find at times that it's reminiscent of Sally Seltman (aka New Buffalo) or Tylea.

Tonight, she was backed by two other musicians; one on electric guitar (and who looked a lot like Nick Cave!) and the other who switched between guitars and keyboard. During the set, she came across very confidently, seemingly being sure of every word that came out of her mouth, both when singing and talking between songs. I thought she looked a little awkward not having an instrument to lean on as she sang, but that probably added to the confident appearance. Her set consisted of what I believe to be songs mostly from her recent album, Grounded Bird. Unfortunately I don't know the album well enough to list many memorable songs, however, one absolute standout was the beautifully sung Kiwi. She finished off the night with Bizarre Love Triangle, which I'm sure made the night for the Frente fans in the audience.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Friday night at the Brisbane Jazz Club

A last minute decision saw us spending Friday night at the Brisbane Jazz Club last week. If you've never been there, and like anything along the lines of jazz, blues, soul, funk, latin, swing, and a lot more, I can definetly recommend a night out there. It's located right next to the Holman Street Ferry Terminal at Kangaroo Point, and the way the stage is setup, you get a lovely view of the river and Riverside/Eagle Street Pier as the backdrop to the performers. There is also an area outside on the river that you can go down to, to take in more of the city as you listen to the music.

In the past, they've had some problems with noise complaints, similar to those that the Valley has had to deal with in the last 10 years. Once again, it was a case of people wanting to move to the area, presumably to be close to the "action", but not wanting to put up with the by-products of the scene, eg, the extra noise. As a result, the club has had to survive on a limited liquor licence combined with forced accoustic sets or shutting up the venue entirely while acts perform. However, with the help of fundraising last year, they have since installed air conditioning, which has allowed the acts to play later into the evening, and makes it much more pleasant inside (especially during the summer months).

The bill for Friday night was Pseudo Playdoh, supported by the Paul Young Trio. Paul Young is the drummer of this piano/bass/drums trio, and a very talented one at that. Their set consisted of a number of standard jazz tunes along with a few originals. I remember thinking that their renditions of Bye Bye Blackbird and Nutville (at least I think that was the song - don't quote me on it though!) had a nice touch added to them while staying true to the originals.

Pseudo Playdoh (great name for a band!) started the set by handing out small tubs of Playdoh to the audience, presumably to keep our hands busy while their music kept our ears busy! It's the best gimmick I've seen at a gig for a long time and it certainly added to the fun factor of the night.

The band describe their style as experimental jazz & funk, which is pretty spot on. Their sets consisted of a number of arranged original pieces as well as a few forays into improvisation. It's been a long time since I've had the opportunity to engage in experimental improvisation, and seeing the way the band members worked off each other, communicating only through body language and their instruments, it reminded me of how much I used to like doing it. They're obviously either good at it or were working from a few known structures, because what came out of it was pretty good!

I can't comment on much of the rest of the two sets (as we were a bit distracted by wine and using the Playdoh to sculpt the band members with their instruments) except to say that it was a very enjoyable evening.

Both bands had their sets recorded tonight, so I'm looking forward to hopefully getting my hands on some of their music in the near future.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Gigs update 2008/03/13

New additions to the upcoming gigs page, including Eels(!), British India, and Ed Keuper.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Valley Walk of Fame

Last week, I heard about the unveiling of a new Walk of Fame in Fortitude Valley to celebrate Brisbane's music history. I obviously missed the announcement last year, and hence my opportunity to take part in the voting for who the first 10 plaques would be awarded to. I am happy to say though, that they went to a number of well deserved groups.

Included in the initial 10 are The Saints and The Go-Betweens, who were pioneers of the Brisbane music scene in the late 70s/early 80s, and Powderfinger and Regurgitator who woke the city up in the 90s and proved that you no longer had to leave Brisbane in order to continue to be successful in the industry. I am especially stoked to see Custard up there as well, who have a special place in my heart for helping to expand my own musical horizons and introducing me to a number of other local and Australian musicians throughout the late 90s.

Some of the other, more well known, acts are The Bee Gees, Savage Garden, and Keith Urban (who, I was surprised to learn, grew up in Caboolture). Rounding out the ten are Blowhard and Railroad Gin.

Here's a selection of the pics I took when we were in the Valley on the weekend:

If you want to go looking for them, they're at the top of the Brunswick Street mall, in the middle of the street.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Nice quote about The Alley

From this week's time off:

[Venue booker, Belynda-Jane] Hemmling used to hang at the Alley before working there, and says its attraction was “It felt like seeing a band with close friends in your own living room.”

That's almost exactly what it was like (only I don't get charged for beers in my own living room ;-) )!! I think, however, that it's a better description of what The Troubadour is like. To me, The Alley was a cross between The Troubadour and The Zoo. In a good way!

Gigs update 2008/03/08

I've updated my gigs page with a few bands/musicians I plan to catch in the next couple of months. Iron & Wine, Angie Hart, Grand Salvo are probabilities and The Panics are a maybe.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sonic Youth @ Fowler's Live - Daydream Nation tour 2008 (Friday, 22nd February)

Friday week ago, we flew into Adelaide to catch Sonic Youth on their Daydream Nation tour.

After taking a detour to the shops to get a jacket for the unexpectedly cool weather, we found the venue and went inside. Well, outside to be exact. The venue consisted of a small-ish bar on the side of a lane way. The lane was blocked off and the stage was setup at the end of it.

The support act was an Australian band called The Scientists. They played a loud and solid set of rock-noise-blues, which I think suited the job well. I could easily imagine myself getting into them a lot more.

During the break after the support it started to rain a bit. Not too heavily, but enough to cause a lot of the crowd to head into the bar. Lucky for us, we got the idea to head to the bar before the rain started :-)

Not long after the rain stopped, Sonic Youth made their way to the stage, and true to their words broke into the opening of Teenage Riot. Unfortunately we weren't in the best position in terms of sound, and it was a bit muddy and not as loud as I was expecting. This was more obvious after spending some of the time during the support standing next to the sound desk. Unfortunately, that was also a major throroughfare for people wanting to get to the front the stage or to the bar, and it quickly got tiring having to constantly move out of the way for said people.

Even after taking into account that we weren't in the best position for sound, the start of the set was a bit of an anti-climax for me. I got the impression that they were going through the motions a bit and not really getting into it themselves.

Silver Rocket was a bit of an improvement, but they really started to shine when they went into The Sprawl and 'Cross The Breeze. From there, the set got better and better. Maybe it was just a false start, but they all seemed much more into it as the night went on.

Notable highlights included Eric's Trip, Providence (I was wondering how they were going to perform this soundscape live, and it worked very well) and the brilliant dis-chord in Candle (much more pronounced than what I'm used to hearing it on the album).

Coincidentally, the rain started up again as they started Rain King! Hardly anyone moved inside this time, ourselves included. I was lucky that the jumper I bought had a hood on it, and we used one of the street presses to keep Kate's head dry :-)

Kate was a reluctant audience member heading into the gig as their music isn't normally what she's into, but even she was bopping up and down with me to Kissability! Another convert maybe?

True to the album, they did all three parts of Trilogy. Part III of was another song I was wondering about how it would translate live, and after hearing them complete the set with it, I have a whole new appreciation of it! I get the feeling that they may have used it in the past as an encore, but on this night they went straight into it. Finally, after the extended outro, the band bid their farewells and went off stage.

It wasn't until I listened to the album again before going to the gig that I appreciated how well it hangs together as an entire piece. I've felt that Sonic Youth have a hit and miss affair with consistency across entire albums, but Daydream Nation sticks out in my head as one that I could listen as a whole just as easy as (or even easier than) listening to the songs in isolation. The gig reinforced that feeling I had, in that as much as I like other albums more, such as Washing Machine and A Thousand Leaves, I couldn't imagine them being played live from start to end.

The other thing I really noticed tonight was how little the music has dated. Considering the usual images of music in the eighties, you could be forgiven thinking that this 20 year old album was released much more recently.

After the obligatory three minute disappearance from the stage and to chants of "Adelaide loves Youth", the band came back on to play Incinerate and two more songs (one sung by Kim and the other by Lee), which I think were also from Rather Ripped. It was good to hear the new songs alongside Daydream Nation, once again showing how little the album appears to have aged.

After a slightly longer break, they returned for one last song. One of the songs that stood out in my head from the last time I saw them play was Drunk Butterfly, and to my pleasant surprise, this was the song they finished the night with. It was a fitting way to end the gig given how much of Adelaide's finest brews were available at the venue :-)

Friday, February 22, 2008

RIP The Alley Bar

According to Time Off this week, The Alley Bar is closing down in a couple of weeks time. The Alley' holds a special place in my memories as one of those intimate dingy little bars that was home to some very great acts over the years. Along with seeing the likes of Bernie Hayes, The Skippy, Machine Translations, and The Titanics, it's where I first saw and heard Clare Bowditch & The Feeding Set and City City City. It's also the venue that Leonard played a number of gigs at!

So to The Alley Bar, thanks for the music, the band competitions, the Toohey's Olds, and River Phoenix (the friendly heckler). It was a fun time!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Music in 2008

We're looking forward to another great year of new & live music! Due to bad timing of our last-minute trip last year, we missed out on seeing José Gonzales play at The Tivoli in January. However, we were fortunate enough to catch Sufjan Stevens with his band there a couple of weeks later.

I was pretty bummed when I heard that Sonic Youth weren't doing a Brisbane show (despite doing Adelaide & Perth), so it was a great surprise for me that Kate got us tickets for the show in Adelaide! I got into Sonic Youth right after they played Livid '98 (even though I didn't get to see them then) and I've only only seen them live once since then. A lot of people I know don't get the noise aspect of their music but it strikes a great chord within me.

Unfortunately, we missed out on tickets for Jens Lekman at The Troubadour on March 5th, but I'm going to do my best not to miss out on tickets to the Mountain Goats gig at The Zoo on April 15th. We've seen them play there three times before and it's always been a great show. John Darnielle exudes passion in his singing and playing, leading to a very mesmerising performance. This is the first time they're bringing a drummer out to Australia with them, so it'll be interesting to see how much of a difference it makes to the past guitar/bass performances.