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.