Gallery by Carleigh Ingram
Gallery by Carleigh Ingram
A healthy crowd fills the side street to the Metro Theatre well before doors open, proudly representing an array of Strange Music (Tech’s record label) attire. Ranging from jewelry, t-shirts, bandanas, and hats all sporting the famous snake and bat logo. Tech N9ne’s fanbase are fiercely loyal, and he gives it straight back. Known as the king of underground rap, Tech and his right-hand man Krizz Kaliko return to Australia to prove once again that the title is rightfully his.
Supported tonight by Western Sydney local, now residing in Byron Bay Viking N3 and masked DJ Bad Math give the crowd a chance to practice their Technician AWOO’s before the headliner arrives. Viking’s set was full of stage dives, shoey’s and even a guest appearance proving he is extremely comfortable and confident on stage. He proceeds to explain how big of a moment this is for him to support a hero of his, that from the moment he heard Tech’s music he said he wanted to work with him, fast forward to now and he is on a national tour with the man himself. Viking’s speech about going from Western Sydney to tonight’s stage, gives aspiring musicians in the crowd motivation to roars of support.
Anyone that goes to concerts understand the importance of the music on the speakers before the main act comes on. It can play an invaluable part in creating even more atmosphere, singalongs and energy with the right soundtrack. Tonight’s playlist included some big Tech hits, which seems strange to be playing the act we are about to see. One song in particular Everybody Move gets the anticipating crowd dancing and singing, and for a few of us it’s bittersweet because we figure it translates to the fact he won’t be playing it tonight! The crowd band together to sing an acapella version of his famous hit he hasn’t been playing lately, Areola.
The lights go down and the Strange Music back drop is illuminated while an unreleased 2014 track We Strange fills the venue. Tech waste no time in running out onto the stage jumping straight into Am I A Psycho? Which is immediately backed up by Stamina which is a relentless 15 second barrage on the sense with lyrics being thrown out like gun fire. Incredible!
As a metal head when anyone demands a mosh pit, our ears perk up to attention. As Tech does just this the crowd seems to be confused as to what he has just asked, although once Riot Maker is bellowed from the man himself, the mosh pit explodes! I’ve seen heavy metal crowds give less.
His energy is reciprocated back and forth from the crowd accompanied by roars of excitement with each song introduced. Although Krizz Kaliko began his time with Tech as his hype man, he is now as much of the show as Tech is. His larger than life personality shines through his beautiful singing voice while still showing he can still rap just as hard! Tech and Krizz work together like two best friends in their lounge room having a sing and dance. Their intentional (and sometimes unintentional) choreography keeps smiles on everyone’s faces and the duo power through some of the biggest hits in Tech’s catalogue including URALYA, EBAH, Einstein and singalong Dysfunctional.
Tech is undeniably one of the hardest working artists in the business, with his latest release Planet being his twentieth studio album! He is an artist that believes in evolving with the industry while keeping a stronghold to his underground roots. Newer songs such as Fresh Out! And Don’t Nobody Want None nestle within the classic tracks comfortably, keeping the crowd moving, with the chorus sung loud.
Krizz takes centre stage and thanks Tech for allowing him to do what they do together on stage every night before playing a few of his own tracks featuring Tech such as Anxiety and Spaz which are known by a large percentage of the crowd. As Tech returns to the stage he mentions that the next song was responsible for igniting the current Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly beef, he says that we do not start shit for no reason, gives big props to both artists before launching into another new track No Reason (The Mosh Pit Song) the floor jumps enough to shake the dance floor.
The energy in the venue this evening is incredible, and it only continues to build due to the sheer amount of hits we are getting. Worldwide Choppers and Speedom are huge highlights of the night, both being very well known songs and proves once again that Tech N9ne is a master of his craft. Kaliko and N9ne spend the rest of the show being each other’s hype guy despite whose name is at the top of the bill. This is a true partnership. Even down to teasing the track Areola time and time again.
The evening is rounded out with absolute bangers Erbody but Me and Hood Go Crazy, which made Sydney go crazy! The stage is a magnet as Tech struggles to leave with more crowd hi fives and out pouring of ‘I love you!’ fill the venue until the moment the house lights come on.
Tech was in supreme form tonight and with Kaliko in tow they were an unstoppable force tonight. A great sign of an amazing show is when the merch line is a monster.
Tonight’s performance shows what pure dedication and passion to your art can do and proves yet again why Tech is at the top of the food chain.
Review Contributed by Megan Milner
Gallery By Carleigh Ingram
The Sydney Guitar Festival is certainly something any music fan should experience. Showcasing guitarists from Australia and internationally, it boasts some incredibly talented musicians and celebrates the diversity of this remarkable instrument. So, when you think of talented guitarists either past or present, one of the first names that springs to mind is Jimi Hendrix – hence this celebration couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pay tribute to one of the most iconic guitarists of all time.
Purple Haze: The Jimi Hendrix Tribute has lined up nine Australian guitarists, set to perform what can only be assumed as some of Hendrix’s biggest hits, as well as some of the performers’ favourites. Walking into the venue – The Concourse in Chatswood – we were greeted by friendly and helpful staff who guided us to our seats. It wasn’t a long wait before the first artist graced the stage.
Joel McDonald of Frankie’s House Band, kicked off the night with none other than Foxy Lady, accelerating the audience into the epic night. McDonald made it look easy, grooving along to the well-known song and nailing the solo. Accompanying the guitarists all night were bassist Dario Bortolin and Mick Skelton on drums, who also eased into the first song. Following through with Fire, the night was off to a groovy, psychedelic feel, McDonald’s rendition mirrored those of the live performances from the late 60’s.
Wa Wa Nee’s lead guitarist Steve Williams was next to take his place on stage. Inviting friend, Randall Waller, to assist with vocals, “he’s a great singer” Williams announced to the audience. Plugging in, the pair jammed through Angel and Who Knows with Williams grooving through the solos of each song, as if they were his own, taking the spotlight at the front of the stage.
Jak Housden, the founder of the Badloves and current member of The Whitlams, cheerily walked on stage, waving to the audience. Strumming his guitar, he said, “It works, incredible!” Announcing he’d be playing his favourite and title track of a 1967 album Housden glided into Axis Bold As Love and following through with Up from The Skies from the same album.
Cheers from the audience erupted as Steve Edmonds walked on stage and straight into an engaging solo that looked like a jam session. The Hendrix expert played through possibly the most popular song of the library, All Along the Watchtower before Waller re-emerged to help with a medley saying, “I’m just here for work experience” causing the crowd to laugh. “We’re going to play a lot of Hendrix tunes in a very small amount of” announced Edmund, kicking into Burning Lamp and Manic. Waller departed the stage, Edmonds rounded out his set with Castle Made of Sand and invited the previous guitarist back to the stage.
Before the first half of the night concluded, each of the guitarists had a turn at playing a solo during Rock Me Baby. It was like watching a group of friends play their favorite song together, with all 4 guitarists looking relaxed and seemingly enjoying themselves. As the lights turned off the audience cheered and clapped them off stage before taking some time to get drinks or some popcorn from the available facilities.
During the intermission, there were some changes made to the stage with a display of three guitars brought onto the stage and Bortolin’s amps moved from the audience’s right-hand side to the left.
Founder of the Screaming Jets, Grant Walmsley was the first artist to take to the stage after the break. The soulful guitar of Red House kicked off the second half of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, followed by I Don’t Live Today and they were welcomed by loud cheers and congratulatory claps. Walmsley also took the time to thank the organisers, “thank you Empire Touring for putting this on.” He also went on to thank the two members on the night who remained on stage through each guitarists performance.
On the drums, Mick Skelton of Baby Animals smashed his way through the night. As one of Australia’s leading drummers, Skelton showed his expertise and skill playing through the entirety of the set list, looking like he was thoroughly enjoying the company of the others on stage. Dario Bortolin has worked with some of Australia’s top musicians and the array of Hendrix songs didn’t seem to faze him. Also a current member of Baby Animals, Bortolin looked at home on stage, jamming with the guitarists as they changed over like they were all old friends. Which I guess they are!
Randall Waller made his third appearance on the stage for the night. Bringing his own experience to the stage having worked with Australian legends Rose Tattoo and touring with artist such as Shania Twain, Waller was cheered into the spotlight, again causing the audience to laugh as he continued his joke about only being here for work experience. Waller strummed and sung his way through Stone Free followed by Purple Haze and accepted one excited audience members “yeah Randall!” with a “thanks dad” in response!
The night slowed down for some of Hendrix’s more mellow tunes. Chris Kamzelas made an impact with his captivating cover of Little Wing where he seemed to lose himself in the song’s chord changes and expressive highs and lows. Can You See Me picked up the pace once again. The quick tempo had the audience dancing in their seats, with Kamzelas demonstrating the funky guitar tones and a great way in which string bending can be used.
Brett Williams of The Choir Boys graced the stage. The psychedelic tones of Hendrix’s music came to life, as the pace was slowed down again for Hey Joe and Williams displayed his vocal abilities. Jak Housden returned to the stage as rhythm guitar on Voodoo Child and the two guitarists shared the guitar solos throughout the song. They worked so well together and with the other members on the stage, that you’d think they had been playing together forever.
Last, to walk on stage, guitar player for nearly 50 years, Peter Northcote greeted the stage with a large smile across his face and warned the audience against “the brown acid.” “I was only expecting to see half a dozen of you here” referring to how Hendrix was the last on at Woodstock in 1969 and how much of the crowd had dispersed by his 8:30 am time slot on a Monday morning.
Bringing the crowd back to earth after so much incredible talent was witnessed, Northcote had some issues getting his guitar to play through the amps but was quickly ready to go. He began to play Wind Cries Mary forgetting the beginning lyrics of the song but continued like a true artist as if nothing went wrong. To round out his set, Northcote finished with the sounds of Freedom and encouraged the audience to mimic the guitar sounds and sing them back to him.
To finish up the night, all nine guitarists returned to the stage. It was a sight to see, with all of the plugging in and preparing to break into a medley of Jimi Hendrix. Someone said, “what could possibly go wrong?” With so much going, it seemed like a big jam session, with outbreaks of solos, smiles and laughs shared between the artists on stage, it looked like a lot of fun and surprising didn’t hurt the ears!
Throughout the tribute to one of the worlds most renowned musicians, album covers and/or photos were projected on the back of the stage, creating the feeling of Jimi Hendrix looking over the venue. It was an incredible show to witness, with years upon years of experience filling the room, from some of Australia’s most talented and acclaimed guitarists.
The 2018 Sydney Guitar festival continues until the 19th August at a variety of venues around Sydney.
Review Contributed by Carleigh Ingram
Gallery By Carleigh Ingram
LIVING PROOF TRACKLISTING
Red White Shame
Ghost To Ghost
Bite The Leash (Burn)
Reviewed by Carleigh Ingram
State Champs have just released their third full-length album and it looks like it’s going to keep them moving forward on their journey through the pop-punk world. Formed in 2010 in Albany, New York, the five-piece band have made a mark on the scene and continue to move forward with this new album.
On the first listen through, you could mistake some of the songs for other pop-punk icons such as All Time Low or a mix of the more pop-side of Good Charlotte or A Day To Remember but there are definitely many influences on this album. Throughout the writing and recording process State Champs worked with John Feldman (produced Good Charlotte, The Used, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s and many more) Mike Green and Kyle Black, who they’d worked with previously on Around the World and Back; but also wrote with Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low and Mark Hoppus of Blink 182, who lends his vocals to a track but we’ll get to that.
With 13 tracks, this album opens up with Criminal, giving listeners a big hit of the pop-punk flare these boys are known for, it’s fun, catchy and a fantastic way to begin the album. Upbeat but sad song, Frozen and the second single Crystal Ball take the album forward, drawing the listeners in. The opening songs lyrically touch on, obsessive love, heartbreak and the long road they’ve taken to get where they are now and “never be[ing] ungrateful.”
The fourth track and first single/video from the album Dead and Gone has possibly the catchiest intro on the album, which you can imagine chanting along to live. The song gives into all that is pop-punk with quick drums, cool guitar riffs and an angsty chorus belted out by vocalist Derek DiScanio but also tells the story of the failed relationship and heartbreak. Picking up the pace, Lighting sees bassist Ryan Scott Graham and drummer Evan Ambrosio get to show off their skills; a song about a heated, unsure romance but where each member. Almost as if to slow things down, Our Time to Go invites listeners into the acoustic guitar talents of Tyler Szalkowlski for the first 30 seconds or so before the quintet erupts into a story about trying to find yourself again and move forward. In the middle of the record, the energy levels rise again while seemingly explaining that it’s okay to be who and where you are in Safe Haven and definitely allows for some dancing around between verses.
Moving into the second half of the album, Something About You, has an incredibly infectious tune throughout. It feels as if depending on what you’ve been through or where you’re at in life, the chorus could turn this song into a love song, or a breakup song – “I can’t seem to forget about you. I, maybe now I gotta live without you.” The Fix Up is another ode to relationships and the troubles within them. It’s not fast but not slow tempo, held together by rhythm guitarist Tony ‘Rival’ Diaz makes your head nod as you listen and paints a vivid emotional picture. Track 10, Cut Through the Static, where the album title comes from packs a punch lyrically and has that feel to it, where you just know the crowd is going to go wild in a live setting – definitely a stand out on the album. The third single and the next track on the album Mine Is Gold, being the third last song you’d almost expect the album to the winding down but State Champs aren’t done yet. It’s a big middle finger to past relationships, bullies or backstabbing friends. Moving down in tempo Time Machine opens with a piano piece. To an experienced ear, you could say this song was some line walking, it’s a different style to the rest of the album but it works out, especially with where it is placed on the album and it’s recognisable guest vocals from Mark Hoppus. Closing out the album is Sidelines, last but definitely not least and there isn’t a better closer on the album. With the speed ramping up again, the songs are literally asking if we’re sitting on the sidelines and ending in the only way it possibly could have – with a fade out.
State Champs have left their mark over the last eight years with relentless touring and sharing the stage with some of the heavyweights of the industry. They show off their versatility with this album as well as much of the experience that they have gained throughout their career. The upbeat but meaningful songs, along with their commitment shows that there is no way Pop Punk is dead. The album can be found on all major streaming sites and the boys in State Champs are appearing across the final Warped Tour which kicked off on June 21st and continues through until early August.
Order LIVING PROOF here
The undisputed kings of street metal finally return to Australia after a ten year absence. While the leather clad crowd may not be excessive in size the smiles on the faces of each and every one are as big as the flight back to Sweden.
Local legends Dept. of Gloom and Kvlts of Vice break in the stage. Bad Moon Born burst on stage lead by Frank Lakoudis, his sound resembling that of a Chris Cornell-esque wail. They had the crowd bopping along to their big chorus rock tracks, although after three supports we are all very ready for who the headliner.
A pre-party playlist floods the speakers featuring Judas Priest, Skid Row and Alice Cooper which give the crowd a chance to warm up their vocal chords. With so much emphasis on a good time in their songs we all know we are in for one hell of a show, one that has been brewing for an entire decade.
Each moment the lights stay low the anticipation grows, before Kick On The Upperclass kicks us all up into frenzy. New single Electric Rider fits in perfectly with their high energy rock and roll, giving guitarist Vic Zino a chance to show us his incredible talent on the axe. The sheer energy these four bring on stage is unbelievable and does not waiver at all during the night.
Frontman Jocke is exactly what a front man should be, charismatic, never standing still and constantly connecting with his fans with a vocal range which is nothing short of incredible. He states that if you know Hardcore Superstar you know of their next song, Wild Boys, Jocke ends the track by jumping on drums, showing he is a man of many talents.
Their hospitable nature has drummer Adde dessert his kit during Last Call For Alcohol to hand out shots of Jager to the crowd, while Jocke brings fans up on stage to enjoy the shot with them. Their set continues it’s unrelenting barrage with a wonderful selection of tracks spanning their 20 year career, including a stripped down version of Someone Special with Vic and Jocke only on stage.
After giving the crowd a breather it’s time of the energy to be completely restored with their latest single Baboon. The smile on Martin’s (bass player) face stays put throughout the night, constantly leaning in to high five crowd members.
Rounding out the set we have crowd favourite We Don’t Celebrate Sundays being bellowed from the crowd almost drowning out the band. We were treated to one final track Above The Law, only once we all raised our middle fingers high to the air. During the high energy track the drum set was dismantled in front of our eyes giving Adde less and less to play on until the final cymbal was held for him to abuse. Before the kick drum was handed into the fans and carried like a crowd surfing fan to the back of the venue.
Tonight was a true testament to what Hardcore Superstar stand for. Having their crowd filter out of the venue exclaiming just how good the show was. Their energy was incomparable, and I sure hope it does not take another ten years for Hardcore Superstar to return to Australia.
Review Contributed by Megan Milner
Gallery By CARLEIGH INGRAM
Gallery By JAIDYN HALE
Gallery By CARLEIGH INGRAM