Gallery 2019, HILLTOP HOODS, Mad Dog Publicity, Melbourne, Mojo Juju, Rod Laver Arena, Shane Henderson
Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2019, Australian Tour, Jose Sanchez, Mad Dog Publicity, Melbourne, Palais Theatre, Ryan McMullan, Snow Patrol, Wendy Smith
You know how when you hear some bands, you are transported back to a certain time and place in your life as soon as you hear the opening bars of one of their songs? Snow Patrol are one of those bands for me. Not once, but twice in my life, Snow Patrol have formed the soundtrack to what was going on for me and therefore, have a really big soft spot in my musical heart. I was excited to get the chance to go and see them at the iconic Palais theatre in Melbourne but an acoustic show? I like me some “geetars” so I was slightly disappointed, until I thought about the other greats I have seen at this venue in acoustic sets……….Eddy Vedder, Chris Cornel, OK, I’ll put up with there not being any drums, bring it on.
I was pretty sure this was going to be a Celtic fan fest. Snow Patrol hail from Northern Ireland, but they met while studying at Dundee University in Scotland so have all their bases covered when it comes to expats with incomprehensible accents. The crowd were mostly of a certain age (meaning 40’s and 50’s) and were a mix of Brits, Irish with some Aussies thrown in for good measure. Supporting tonight was a lonely Irishman sitting at his keyboard on the enormous Palais stage. Ryan McMullan came across like an Irish Ed Sheeran. Playing his own songs, accompanying himself on keyboards and guitars, he screamed that singer/songwriter vibe with heartfelt melodies and relatable lyrics. He introduced a song that he wrote about leaving friends and family to go off travelling and I could have cried. That pain is still fresh in my mind from my younger years, and I’m sure for many of the newer Australians in the audience. A great set.
For this acoustic Snow Patrol tour, there are only 3 of the members performing; singer and guitarist Gary Lightbody, guitarist Nathan Connolly and until recently, Johnny McDaid on keyboards. Gary explained that Johnny had a neck injury and had gone home for surgery, so the piano stool was occupied by the now familiar Ryan McMullan. Gary Lightbody has a beautiful voice, one of those voices that makes me think I’m standing on a beach breathing in ozone, salt spray and fresh air. A pure voice with endearing Belfast vowels on certain words. It gives me goosebumps.
They began their set with Chocolate from their breakthrough album from 2003, Final Straw (and time and place song numero uno for me). I suddenly forgot how much I love drums as this musical journey began. Don’t Give in from their latest album, Wildness (2018) sees Gary adopt a husky tone to his voice and the recorged version has great backing vocals. Run, another iconic song from the Final Straw brought a rather subdued singalong. That’s one problem with acoustic gigs, there is a lot of silence in between bars and nowhere for the crowd singers to hide if they fluff a note. But it was word perfect and heartfelt and we were honoured with acknowledgement from Lightbody that Australian crowds always go the extra mile and learn the words. Set the Fire to the Third Bar, I love. The recorded version is sung with Martha Wainwright, a Canadian folk singer, who on this song sounds so like Kate Bush.
You’re all I have is a more up-tempo song for Snow Patrol and it brought a few die hards on their feet and a loud scream from one lady that really fired up the crowd for a sit down dance and singalong. I think by this point, any self-consciousness was gone, and everyone was ready to soak in the Snow Patrol magic and have a good time.
The main set wound down on a high with probably 2 of their most successful songs. Chasing Cars came to be such a success when it was featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy in the States before it had even been released as a single. And I suspect it has also been the song played for a thousand first dances at weddings the world over. And finally, we finished with Open Your Eyes (time & place song number 2 for me). I love how this song starts out with minimal instruments and builds to a crescendo. Even without the electrics, the trio managed to pull off the belly butterflies I feel when I hear this song with no problems.
After a quick break, we were back for a 2 song encore, finishing with Just Say Yes, a song I wasn’t familiar with but a nice upbeat number to finish what was a great show. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who had spent the evening drowning in nostalgia and feeling happy to be alive.
Review Contributed by Wendy Smith
Gallery 2019, Jose Sanchez, Mad Dog Publicity, Melbourne, Palais Theatre, Ryan McMullan, Snow Patrol
Gallery 2019, Album Launch, Hybrid Nightmares, KING, Max Watts, Melbourne, Naberus, Scaphis, Shane Henderson
Gallery 2019, Australian Tour, Croxton Hotel, Girlschool, Hardline Media, Maniaxe, Matt Allan, Melbourne, Raven, Tank
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
Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2019, Australian Tour, Avantasia, Cassandra Hale, Forum Theatre, Jose Sanchez, Live Review, Melbourne, Overdrive Touring, Tobias Sammet
Melbourne’s Forum Theatre was ready to host a show like no other, a metal opera of gargantuan proportions. Avantasia is the brainchild of Tobias Sammet and he has brought this juggernaut to Australia for two massive shows. As the fans started streaming in, I picked a vantage point up close and got ready to have my foundations rocked to the core. You Shook Me All Night Long by our very own AC/DC was turned up to eleven and acted as a support act as such. The fans singing along getting their voices primed for a night that would certainly test even the most seasoned live music fans. With a run time of approximately 3 hours, it will take a lot of stamina to keep up with the Avantasia entourage, but I knew everyone in the room would give it a red-hot go!
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Ode To Joy) built the tension, you could feel the anticipation hanging in the air, and as the lights dimmed the crowd roared, alive with the excitement of seeing this tour come to fruition in front of their eyes. Tobias and his all-star band blasted into Ghost In The Moon, the stage turned into a multi-level musical playground with an enormous screen showing album covers and the creepiest of illustrations. Tobias was instantly engaging with the audience, a most charismatic frontman, he was decked out in one of his trademark jackets completed with cap, bandana, and scarf. While the cap didn’t last long the rest of his ensemble remained unchanged all evening, he was witty and a great storyteller, winning us over within minutes. Moving on we saw the first of our guest artists, Ronnie Atkins who sang Starlight and Book Of Shallows. Vocally brilliant Ronnie sang with conviction, almost spitting out the lyrics as he powered through the tracks. Tobias popping in and out to accompany him as he did with all the special guests over the course of the show. The Raven Child was up next and singer extraordinaire Jorn Lande was welcomed with a thunderous applause, his voice tremendous and while he barely seemed to move his mouth his range was incredible. The rear screen turned to fire as Tobias and Jorn ripped out Lucifer, and it was one to behold, blindingly brilliant.
Enter the voice of progressive metal himself Geoff Tate, and he has never sounded better. Dynamic in his delivery, Geoff has the most expressive and recognisable voice in the industry, his opening song Alchemy was sung with Tobias and wow did they complement each other superbly. After chatting with Geoff recently he said it was one of his favourites to perform and now I can see why. Then the spinetingling perfection of Invincible, accompanied only by Miro Rodenberg on keys, Geoff and Tobias left us speechless with this beautiful ballad, arms aloft the crowd swaying in unison, a highlight of the night for me, so much so I can still feel the chills. Reach Out For The Light and Moonglow were perfect additions to the setlist and it was time backing/lead vocalist Adrienne Cowan’s to shine, this pocket rocket was bloody sensational and for a tiny lady she had such a bold booming voice. Channelling her inner demon on speed dial she could change the tone of a song in an instant. The cover of 80’s classic Maniac saw Eric Martin blast into life, smashing out this killer tune with gusto, the crowd throwing themselves into it loving every second. The heat was certainly starting to rise and Dying For An Angel had the punters bouncing in approval, the backdrop showing a skeleton playing a violin which was quite impressive. Eric Martin was having the time of his life; he was in fine form vocally and his comedic side showed several times giving us all a belly laugh.
Bob Catley was the master of Lavender and The Story Ain’t Over, Tobias did mention Bob was one of his favourite singers and he definitely didn’t disappoint. Felix Bohnke was behind the kit for the duration of this epic performance and he was a demon on the drums. His timing and playing skills were perfection, add to this his stamina to play out a three-hour show and make it look likes child’s play. He took to his feet and roused the crowd with hands clapping in the air as the intro to the Herculean epic The Scarecrow rang out. Metal horns were up and fists were pumping, the fans revelling in its brilliance and Jorn and Tobias working the stage liked seasoned professionals. Eric joined Jorn for Promised Land and then it was a battle of the voices with Eric and Geoff duelling on Twisted Mind. The crowd had their singing voices primed for the whoa whoas at the beginning and it was sublime from start to finish, a highlight for all in attendance. Geoff stayed on for the blistering Avantasia and guitarists Sascha Paeth and Olli Hartman shredded up a storm, keeping the show running like clockwork all night. Backing/lead vocalist Herbie Langhans was spectacular, he and Adrienne worked the stage remarkably well, their sensational voices keeping depth to the music which gave the operatic feel of many levels. Let The Storm Descend On You, Master of The Pendulum and Shelter From The Rain all made the extensive setlist which totalled out at 24 songs.
Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose had Bob back on vocals and the punters went crazy, loud as hell all night, screaming back replies when they were asked “Are you with me Melbourne!!”. Adrienne stepped back up for Lost In Space and didn’t we love it. Tobias engaging every second, I was blown away with his stage presence, a born entertainer. Andre Neygenfind had the bass line covered, the band were incredibly tight, exceptional musicians and clearly experts in their fields. After a brief reprieve giving us time to catch our breath they were back and straight into Farewell and then reaching celestial heights with Sign Of The Cross/The Seven Angels. Fists punching the air on autopilot the hoards relishing in this final song of the night which had all members of the huge production back on stage, then with thanks a plenty and waves goodbye this monumental show concluded.
Tobias Sammet you are a musical genius, your powerhouse vocals wowed me all night, and your high energy and endurance was astounding. Avantasia, you exceeded every expectation I had and then some, it was a show that knew no limits and pushed musical boundaries way beyond where I thought possible. Let’s hope we see you back here sooner rather than later, I for one will be there in a heartbeat!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
Gallery 2019, Australian Tour, Avantasia, Forum, Gallery, Jose Sanchez, Melbourne, Overdrive Touring
Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2019, Australian Tour, DRW Entertainment, Haleigh Torrance, Hugh Cornwell, Little Murders, Live Review, Max Watts, Melbourne
Despite the dreary Melbourne weather, Max Watts was certainly warm and inviting on Friday night, giving the promise of an incredible show.
The whole venue giving off a very jazz club type vibe, certainly a difference from what was about to walk on stage and get the crowd dancing.
Little Murders was up first, giving the crowd that had already started together a quick, sweet set of pub rock and punk songs, with great stage presence and catchy tunes that got a few people at the very front of the room dancing, drink in hand.
A very fitting support act for the night and definitely opened the flood gates for what was to come.
As the crowd grew larger, so did the anticipation. People standing around everywhere, waiting to be taken on a journey. Which is exactly where we were taken, a journey into history.
Hugh Cornwell is certainly a seasoned musician, with more than 40 years of experience under his belt, his stage presence certainly gave off the impression that performing was second nature.Touring to promote the singers newest solo offering MONSTER, Cornwell gave the crowd an eclectic mix of tracks from his many solo albums, including title track Monster, giving the audience a little bit of back story behind the track.
“I wrote this song about somebody that George Lucas himself has said that if it wasn’t for this man, there would likely be no Star Wars. This song is about Ray Harryhausen, special effects artist”
With 9 solo studio albums in his repertoire, it was great to see the mix of time periods and music that was given to us in the first half of this 26-song set.
A brief intermission, giving the audience the chance to take in the gravity of what they’d just witness and then it was time for the real trip down memory lane, with an incredible selection of songs from Cornwell’s days as front-man for The Stranglers.
This set definitely showcasing the singer’s roots in the New Wave/Punk scene, it was evident to see that he still enjoyed playing these tracks, giving us some historical insight between songs.
Particular highlights from this set would definitely be Peaches a song that makes it hard not to sway around to the beat, with Cornwell’s signature growling intro.
And of course Golden Brown arguably the bands most recognizable song to date, had the whole crowd singing along and reveling in the moment of hearing this song live, some for the first time, and some maybe even for the second or third.
Ending the night on probably the punkiest song from the singer’s discography Tank, still giving the crowd something to dance to till the very end.
Just being able to witness the years of experience and hard work was something to remember and getting a musical history lesson was a treat.
It’s no wonder that Hugh Cornwell is still someone who is very much loved around the world.
Review Contributed by Haleigh Torrance
Gallery 2019, Australian Tour, DRW Entertainment, Gallery, Hugh Cornwell, Little Murders, Maxx Watts, Melbourne, Vanessa Jarvis