Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2019, Abbey Stone, Bachelor Girl, Cassandra Hale, DJ Trente, James Roche, Live Review, Lynda Buchanan, Melbourne, Memo Music Hall, Tania Doko
Memo Music Hall is one of St Kilda’s hidden gems, and I couldn’t think of a more suited venue for Bachelor Girl to break their headlining drought of 8 years than this famous establishment. The room was set with tables and chairs with plenty of standing room for when we pulled out our boogie shoes. The lighting was low and the candlelit tables provided a warm ambiance that made you feel immediately welcome.
DJ Trente had the tunes flowing as we awaited the support act, the gorgeous Abbey Stone. Giving us a thirty-minute set of glorious tunes, she was a sight to behold dressed in green and gold and all that glitters. Abbey’s voice was amazing, her songs extremely well written I enjoyed her set immensely. Million Minutes which she wrote about her grandma was a definite highlight and her guitar skills were also fantastic. Taking to the keys for Love Myself, when we became impromptu musicians providing clapping when a technical difficulty saw the keyboard momentarily falter. If you are yet to hear Abbey Stone I recommend you do, you will not be disappointed.
It was the moment we had all been waiting for, and with just enough time to recharge your drink of choice, we saw Bachelor Girl take to the stage. While it has been quite a few years between drinks the time away has only enriched their musical connection, and they were looking extremely comfortable back in the limelight. Opening the night with Blown Away, pocket rocket Tania Doko had a smile as wide as the stage, she lit up the room with her stunning blue camouflage jumpsuit and pearly whites. Her partner in crime James Roche was in his happy place behind the keys, as they moved into This Must Be Love. Tania’s voice while still having the husky tone, has a deep richness to it which really came to the forefront during the spinetingling Permission To Shine. This 1998 megahit had the fans singing along, Tania clearly loving every minute being back in the spotlight.
Then a treat for us all with the first of two new songs yet to be released played to the eagerly awaiting fans, Calling Out Your Name was a killer addition and it was a privilege to hear the new material live. There were some lovely words from Tania and James between songs, bringing us up to speed with how they have filled in their years away from the industry, keeping very busy from the sounds of it. I’m Just A Girl was a highlight and it brought the memories flooding back from my younger years, proving that music really is a magical timekeeper. Drowning Not Waving saw the fans finally find their dancing shoes and move up the front for a shimmy followed by Waiting For The Day. The crowd that had amassed were clearly old school fans, knowing every word, some being quite moved seeing the band back in the flesh. Speak saw the band depart the stage leaving just the backing vocalist Janine Maunder with Tania and James, and if you were going to get goosebumps now was the time. It was the most beautiful ballad and the fans revelled in it.
Wild Child was the second new song of the night and Tania did elude to being one herself back in her early days. Drummer Haydn Meggitt was a fabulous timekeeper all night and now showed his skill on the Cajon as he accompanied Tania on the front of the stage. The new singles will be out later in the year and they are both ones to watch. Richie Goncalves had the bass line covered and Shannon Trottman was fabulous on guitar. A very well put together band, who were tight all night. Janine was a perfect addition on backing vocals, never overpowering, she was a flawless accompaniment to Tania. An exemplary cover of The Motels, Total Control had me mesmerized, Tania really channeled her inner Martha Davis and did a stellar job covering this classic hit. Treat Me Good was another huge hit and one I thoroughly enjoyed; its funky feel brought out the dance moves and the front of the stage was now flooded with people. Speaking of hits, there was none bigger than Buses And Trains, and we were more than happy to take over the vocals on this one. Tania had the room eating out of her hands and we all knew the words and were happy to sing along. On its completion, everyone departed the stage but seeing the merchandise on arrival and the t-shirts printed with Lucky Me on them I was quite confident they would be back for a few more as I was yet to hear that smash hit play.
Low and behold after rapturous applause they returned to play out the night, starting with Nobody Can Do It Alone, what a magnificent song, Tania and James hitting the nail square on the head for this one, it was perfect! Piece of Me and the pop sensation Lucky Me. The dancefloor was bouncing as we all took in the last song so happy to see Bachelor Girl playing these awesome hits live again. Tania singing into a bright pink megaphone towards the end, her stamina was undying right to the last word.
There was a warm energy that resonated over the Memo Music Hall as the fans made their way out into the brisk St Kilda night, and I certainly hope that this will be the first of many headline shows for Bachelor Girl. Gauging on tonight’s performance I’m sure we will be lining up to do it all again very soon.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
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Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2019, Australian Tour, Live Review, Lynda Buchanan, Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, Menard Pr, One World Entertainment, Wendy Smith
I went to Margaret Court Arena last night for the craic (from the Urban dictionary – Irish word for fun/enjoyment that has been brought into the English language. usu. when mixed with alcohol and/or music.). I did not really expect to be impressed or sonically stimulated, but I will be honest and say, I enjoyed myself immensely.
Boyzone are on their farewell tour, appropriately named “Thank you and Goodnight”. Calling it a day after 25 years in the business, this is actually their first time playing in Australia. And by the look of the excitement of the audience made up almost entirely of ladies in their late 30’s, early 40’s (and a surprising number of Grannies), it has come not a moment too soon.
Opening for the Boyz, was one Brian McFadden (formerly of the slightly later but no less successful Irish boy band, Westlife). I say one, as he cut a very solitary figure on the big stage at MCA entirely by himself. It was clear that this show was not going to include instruments or live musicians. Brian began by thanking us for coming to see “some fat Irish guy and a backing track”. And that set the tone for his set, as much standup comedy as musical performance. It is appropriate that this gig was happening during the Melbourne Comedy Festival as Brian is friggin’ hilarious. He gave us a set of 7 songs to a backing tape and 2 accompanying himself on guitar, made up of old Westlife hits (Swear it Again, Queen of my Heart, Flying without Wings) and a couple of tracks from a new album, not yet released in Australia (Champagne and Wine sounded very “lounge band” to me but I really liked Cigarettes and Coffee which was very soulful). Even though I lived in the UK when Westlife were omnipresent, I can’t say I remember much about their vocals. But Brian has got a fantastic voice. Very soulful with a lovely raspy quality. This mixed with his self-deprecating humor, made him really adorable to watch.
After a short break filled with classic 90’s dance tunes, the lights dimmed and on the big screen, an artfully shot black and white film of Boyzone started playing. The landscape was rocky and wind swept and inexplicably, Excalibur sat protruding from a stone in the foreground. The in-between song patter was awesome. They took it in turns to take the front of the stage between songs and chat about their long careers, their families and life in general. Very endearing.
Boyzone have a lot of hits to choose from (6 UK number 1’s to be exact and 9 in Ireland). They began with a few lesser known tracks before launching into a series of covers that have done very well for them. Baby Can I Hold You (made famous by Tracy Chapman, which reached number 2 for Boyzone), You Needed Me (Anne Murray from the 70’s. Scarily, I could remember every word) and Father and Son (Cat Stevens). Playing in the background during some of these songs were the original videos which really brought home what babies they were when they burst on the scene in 1994. And also brought home that there is one of the original members missing.
The guys disappeared for a costume change and during this time, a film was played honouring Stephen Gately who passed away in 2009. It featured the remaining members talking about him and his passing. You hear a lot of bands talk about how their bandmates are like brothers, usually just before a catastrophic split involving lawyers and public recriminations. But this all seemed so bloody genuine and heartfelt, that even an old hardened cynic such as myself was moved. The first song after this small break was Dreams which honoured Stephen with a floor lit spot representing his spirit and with his brothers gathered around it, it was really quite sweet.
Words (Bee Gees cover) gave them their first UK no. 1 song and got the ladies out of their seats with phones and glow sticks in the air. No Matter What was a song that Stephen sang the lead vocal in, and this time the lead part was taken by their female backup singer.
Prior to them leaving the stage for the obligatory encore build up, Shane started inviting members of the crowd up on stage for a group selfie. Ending up with a group of 20 or so punters, including the group of Dublin girls who were, to put it mildly, wetting themselves with excitement.
The encore consisted of Life is a Rollercoaster (a Ronan Keating solo monster hit) and Picture of You. One last group hug in the middle of the stage and they were off.
So, having come into this gig with really, no expectation, I ended up having great craic. Boyzone has always been parent pleasers, it seems. They must have been featured on every Mother’s Day compilation CD from 1994 to present and the Grannies present tonight, were probably parents of Boyzone fans in their heyday and had come to see if that Ronan Keating was as lovely in real life as he is as a judge on X Factor. And lovely they were. They may have even got me out of my seat for a dance during the encore, thank you Boyzone.
Review Contributed by Wendy Smith
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Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2019, Ablaze, Australian Tour, Cassandra Hale, Electric Mary, John Corabi, Live Review, Lynda Buchanan, Lynda Buchanan Photography, Melbourne, Prince Bandroom, Silverback Touring, Sisters Doll
It is a night that Mötley Crüe fans could only have dreamt of, seeing the 1994 self-titled album in its entirety. With John Corabi bringing it to Australia and leaving it here when he departs, vowing that this is the end of the line for the heaviest album that the Crue diehards had ever heard. I am certainly glad I got the opportunity to soak it up in a room full of metal lovers giving it the atmosphere and love it deserved.
The Prince Bandroom was filling rapidly as the nights opener Ablaze took to the stage. I was keen as mustard to catch these guys as I grabbed my spot front and centre. Opening with Back For More my attention was peaked and held for the duration of their set. The stage was no stranger to singer Danny Slaviero who worked it like a master. Thoroughly engaging ripping out Pick Your Poison and The Hard Way while the cheers grew louder from the expanding crowd. Reminiscent of Gene Simmons, Danny turned into a fire breathing demon catching us all unawares, lashing us all with flames but also adding some nice artistic flare. Dan Mangano was the happiest of drummers with a smile from ear to ear as he slammed the kit, and when Danny did the rounds with the Sailor Jerry he was keen to grab the bottle for a large chug, but fear not it didn’t affect his skin hitting one bit! They packed a large amount in their short set and I am eager to get along and see them headlining in a few months at Bombay Rock. Ablaze is one to watch, and if you get the opportunity to catch them live do not let it pass you by.
The second band who now call Melbourne home was Sisters Doll, think glam rock with a mix of all things that we loved about eighties metal. They have been hitting the live circuit for quite a while now supported by their ‘Doll Army’ many of who were in attendance cheering them on. They worked the stage like pros and blasted out plenty of their catalogue keeping us entertained. Good Day To Be Alive and Dollhouse were fan favourites and the new single Black Mirror was warmly received, the crowd heating up as more and more punters streamed in. Electric Mary took the third spot and also made it a trifecta of Melbourne based supports, proving again that we really are the home of live music! Electric Mary are well known around the traps and have been at it for a long time. They had a 45-minute slot which they used right to the last minute smashing out eight songs including Let Me Out, Hold Onto That and Already Gone. The fans enjoyed every minute, many singing with gusto and they also amassed a posse of groupies who turned out just for them. Finishing up with Woman to rousing applause they departed the stage leaving the fans satisfied, but hungry for the main event.
It was late into the evening when John Corabi graced the stage, looking cool as catshit with his trademark scarfs in place, immediately taking ownership busting out Power To The Music, Uncle Jack and Hooligan’s Holiday were exceptional and while the album may be 25 years old it could be released today and still pull in the listeners. The songs are still current and John sings them as he would have 25 years ago, his voice has not suffered any even though a quarter of a century has passed. With John being quite the comedian, we were treated to some funny jokes and stories across the night, giving some very interesting insight into what went on back in 1994. I loved the spoken inserts, it gave feeling to the show and worked well in the intimate venue. I found John’s stage presence quite alluring, with lots of eye contact and singing directly to the fans and when it was my turn to be sung to, I was somewhat star struck, fangirling like I was back in 1994.
Misunderstood saw John bring out the double neck guitar and what a treat it was, this brilliant ballad building sensationally to the heaviness of the second half. The band exceptional, and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with John’s son Ian Corabi tearing it up behind the kit. He is an insane drummer and played out the album to perfection. The setlist followed the album as expected so next up was Loveshine and then my favourite of the night Poison Apples. The punters were getting quite rowdy by this time of the night and after a slight scuffle, John stepped in to sort them out. Reminding them we were all there for the music and to have a good time. That took the testosterone down a level or two and we were back in action. With Hammered and Til Death Do Us Part and it is was even heavier than I imagined it could be, heads banging on autopilot not wanting it to end.
The music behind the tour’s version of Welcome To The Numb belonged to guitarist Jeremy who admitted to toking some green when he came up with a plan as to how it could work live, and seeing this said plan come to fruition was mind-blowing. Nice work all around it was bloody amazing. Keeping with the ‘green’ feels we heard a terrific story about Nikki Sixx and his refrigerator full of the natures finest, which of course led to Smoke The Sky. The fans were losing their minds by this stage and whether you were flying high or sober as a judge it mattered none, it really was all about the music and Motley 94. The magnitude of this album was an absolute gamechanger and seeing it raw and in the flesh gave me a whole new appreciation of it. Droppin’ Like Flies and the gorgeous Driftaway finished out the album in superior fashion, but the fans were hungry for more and the cheering began to rise, we were all living in hope of just a little something extra. It was then that renowned Melbourne photographer Paul Miles took the microphone, urging us to “make some fucking noise” and we eagerly returned the call, and low and behold John and the band returned.
We were treated to two more including 10,000 Miles Away which finished off the two-hour set in magnificently. With promises to return this time next year it will be one to watch. John Corabi you are so much more than your time in Mötley Crüe, outstanding from start to finish you are a most polished musician and exceptional singer and I for one will be lining up to do it again on your next trip Down Under.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
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