Gallery By Jose Sanchez
Gallery By Jose Sanchez
Gallery By Jose Sanchez
I thought I had been to every music venue in Melbourne, but the Arrow on Swanston was new to me. And a very weird place for a gig of any description, it is. A friend’s big brother took us to a gig at Monash Uni when I was 15 and this place reminded me of that; part school multi-purpose room, part unused space at the bottom of an apartment building, which is pretty much what the Arrow is. The only reason I knew I was at the right place was the presence of 2 guys in band t-shirts behind a table at the entrance.
I was caught by surprise by the early start so my most humble apologies to the opening act, Greyview for missing your set. I will catch you another time, I promise.
Second up on this 4 band bill is Bukowski from Melbourne. Described as “Pop Punk” and “Emo” by Triple J, these 4 guys gave us a set full of tuneful, boppy numbers. Lead singer James Karagiozis, sings in what can only be described as a tuneful shout. This is not a bad thing; it really works with their style of music. These guys have been getting some good momentum and attention of late and their debut EP, grow up. give up. let go, released in June 2017, clocking up some respectable streaming numbers on Spotify (including myself in the last few days). They are self-professed Moose Blood fans and were an awesome fit on a bill with these guys.
The breakdown and set up between Bukowski, and next on the bill, Hundredth, involved carting drums and guitars through the crowd and out a back door. Very high school battle of the bands. I’m so glad that these bands played the Corner the night before, and were not left with the impression that the Arrow is indicative of the standard of live venues in Melbourne. And at least at the Corner you can get a pint!
Hundredth was another revelation to me. From the opening chords, I was transported back to my first year in the UK and discovering Joy Division for the first time. To me, their sound was very reminiscent of the Manchester sound of the early 80’s and a Smith’s cover during their set cemented this impression in my mind. Lead singer, Chadwick Johnson has his mike on high reverb and the lyrics are unintelligible, but the atmosphere is heady, nostalgic and frigging awesome! Despite these comparisons, Hundredth sounded fresh and exciting to me, although having been on the go since 2008, they cannot be necessarily described as new. Existing on a diet of almost pure rock, I am really enjoying this sojourn into Indie mixed with a bit of jingly jangly post-punk pop.
I came across Moose Blood when researching the line up for the doomed 2016 Soundwave and had put them on my list of bands to catch. But alas, it was not to be so I am wrapped that 2 ½ years later, I am getting the chance to see them. They clearly have some Aussie support and during their set, there were many word perfect fans in the audience.
What four boys from Canterbury in the UK know about Moose, I can’t imagine. The name may be confusing, but the music is not. Simple, clean, melodic. I almost want to call it pop that would be an insult. But it’s just so damn catchy!
With 3 studio albums under their belt since their inception in 2012, they have a decent lot of songs to choose from. They open with Honey from their second album, Blush. This album was unarguably the one that propelled them into the mainstream achieving Top 10 in the UK and giving them spots on high profile festival stages in their home country. Bukowski, a track from their debut album threw me a bit and I have since been educated (by the boys from Bukowski, thanks guys) as to the origins of this title. Very highbrow!
Lead singer, Eddy Brewerton, has a very distinctive voice but little between song patter, with nothing more than a “thanks so much”, and the very polite, “Give it up for the bands that played before us, please.” So British. Songs from Blush, all with one word titles, form half of their 16 song set but I was disappointed that the ballad Cherry did not get a play. One of my favourites.
With nowhere to go, there was no encore in their set but they ended strongly with Knuckles from Blush, finishing with It’s Too Much from their current album, I don’t think I can do this anymore, that they are spruiking on this tour. I really hope the album title is not indicative of the way they are currently feeling about their career. Moose Blood are musically tight, vocally unique and seemingly quite humble, an absolutely essential ingredient for success, in my opinion. They managed to create an atmosphere in a room that had absolutely none and showed gratitude to their fans for coming out to see them. As an overall gig experience, this show ranks highly for me (despite the shortcomings of the venue). The lineup was awesome and I will follow the 3 bands I caught in the future with great interest.
Review Contributed by Wendy Smith
Gallery By Jose Sanchez
I had heard a lot of praise for Courtney Barnett’s live shows, about her energy on stage which was difficult to imagine considering her songs are laidback and introspective.
I’d only heard her tunes as the wife hogged Spotify, after being converted at the Golden Plains festival. I liked the quirky Melbourne references, but I wasn’t convinced so it was time to see if she lived up to the hype. And it was date night.
“See her live!” my wife said. “She’s really rocks!”
But it was hard to imagine songs that are rambling, sometimes sarcastic, monologues about everyday mundane life could rock.
How could a song about house hunting in Coburg or saving $23 a week on coffee by buying a new percolator get thousands up singing?
Could a song about anxiety – Crippling Self Doubt And A General Lack Of Self Confidence – get the venue jumping?
It does. And it’s fun because we can relate to it.
Opening with the somber Hopefulessness we’re taken on a ride.
From pop (Debbie Downer) blues (Help Yourself) to country (Small Poppies), there’s a lot to like and hard to pigeonhole, but just when the show begins to wane she ramps it up with some guitar-shredding rock.
Barnett’s deadpan demeanor and dry wit is easy to engage with. When not chatting to the audience – “does anyone have any questions?” (she had a ramen on Elizabeth St for breakfast) – she’s ripping out a killer guitar solo.
And she’s backed by a talented band, who were clearly having a great time together as they wound up a national tour on their home soil.
Fans ranging from kids to grandparents filled Festival Hall – another crusty Melbourne icon that is worthy of a Barnett song – and that’s a testament to her appeal.
The night covered much of her latest album Tell Me How You Really Feel, but as always the songs that put an artist on the map get the biggest reaction.
The biggest sing-along was for Depreston, while Avant Gardener and Elevator Operator were other crowd favourites.
Barnett’s a storyteller and why much of the gig is spent listening to the lyrics, which can’t be said for most bands. Neil Young springs to mind.
She closed the night with the kick-arse Pedestrian At Best, which was perfectly summed up by my wife.
“You just can’t capture her personality and energy on an album.”
And that’s the secret to her growing success. I’m hooked too, now.
Review Contributed by Daron Jacks
There are fewer names in today’s music world that hold as much weight as that of Gene Simmons.
Having a lifetime of success with the band KISS, which he co-founded in 1973, and has had continued success as a singer, record producer, TV personality, actor, and entrepreneur.
Fast forward over 40 years and he is still a name synonymous with not only the KISS franchise but a whole persona of his own.
In 1978 KISS made an unprecedented move of having all four members release solo albums on the same day. They were heavily marketed and had the same overall design which kept them under the KISS banner. In this, the 40th anniversary year of the solo albums it was an absolute delight to have Gene visit Australia once again, being supported by none other than one of his brothers in Ace Frehley.
The night was billed as being a blast from the past spectacular and from the opening note it certainly lived up to its expectations.
Opening proceedings for the night, Ace made his entry onto the stage and jumped head first into Parasite. The mostly older crowd was singing along, although in a much more subdued fashion than in yesteryear I’d imagine.
Pulling out some absolute classics such as Hard Times, 2000 Man, Rock Soldiers and Love Gun in typically Ace fashion, he made light of having to use a lead, as he usually is rigged up fully wirelessly.
Moving through favorites such as New York Groove and Shock Me before giving the crowd a taste of his guitar genius in a blistering solo run. Amongst the electric blue lights and smoke Ace cut a figure of a guitar legend impressing the very attentive crowd. He certainly has not lost that amazing talent at age 67. Closing his set with two of KISS monster tracks in Detroit Rock City and Cold Gin one could well be forgiven for feeling a little nostalgic.
A brief interval ensued and when the house lights went out the crowd let out an intense roar. Gene came forth on the stage, cutting a striking figure as he’s towering silhouette was bathed in light.
With a booming, “Good evening Melbourne!!” he and his band featuring bandmates Phil, Ryan, Jeremy and Christopher all from Nashville Tennessee, leapt straight into the dynamic Deuce followed by Shout It Out Loud.
With a bit of essential Gene humor, he gave a quick plug to the comprehensive collection called The Vault which is now available, before delivering Are You Ready.
What happened next was something I did not expect. Having spoken about the stage musical School of Rock, which is currently playing in Melbourne, Gene then called up a 10-year-old boy named Zane to play guitar on stage with them during Calling Dr. Love. Not only was he as “rock and roll” as they come, but he played flawlessly, not missing a single note.
The crowd farewell Zane from the stage with a huge round of applause and Gene took the time to introduce the band and take some media photos.
Next up on the journey back through time, was Radioactive and one of my personal favs Charisma with Almost Human thrown in between.
After more comedic banter, Gene proceeds to introduce to the stage another performer from School of Rock named Amy, who would perform a red-hot rendition of I Was Made For Loving You. This young lady has some pipes on her!!! Next came what I am sure was a highlight for some female VIP fans, who were given the opportunity to get up on stage and sing Do You Love Me, with one young girl declaring her adoration for the rocker, probably old enough to be her father!!
I, Long Tall Sally, and Plaster Caster were in the next bracket, with way more fans knowing these songs than I had anticipated Especially as some rarely if ever have been played before.
Love Theme From KISS and War Machine followed before it was time to get the VIP guys on stage for their turn to sing along with I Love It Loud, and boy did it look like they were absolutely loving it.
Mixing up the lyrics to make it more location friendly, She’s So European soon became She’s So Australian and took on a whole new spin.
Next was Let Me Go Rock And Roll with Ace making a return to the stage, alongside his former bandmate. All of the VIP fans then got up together and joined by the band, and the whole crowd, belted out Rock And Roll All Nite, for a cracker of a finale to an amazing night. Gene made sure to say KISS would be back in 2019.
For someone like me who grew up with KISS as an ever-present icon in music, this was a night of most epic proportion. Churning out hit after hit in absolutely fine form, it was a real pleasure to watch. At ages is 67 and 69 respectively, Ace and Gene totally nailed it as they have for generations, and as I hope they continue to do for as long as possible.
Review Contributed by Jodi Maree
Gallery By Matt Allan
Gallery By Jose Sanchez
He is one of the most recognisable and notorious frontmen of all time and DEE SNIDER ascended to hard rock royalty in the early 1980s as the lead singer for New York-based heavy rockers, the multi-platinum sellers TWISTED SISTER. The charismatic and outspoken SNIDER in 1985, alongside John Denver and Frank Zappa, testified against censorship in regard to the Tipper Gore led PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) — SNIDER and company topped the charts in 1984 with the all-purpose us-against-the-world anthems We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock. DEE SNIDER and TWISTED SISTER changed the face of MTV and the rock and metal world forever. Apart from those two monster singles, TWISTED SISTER also released all-time classic tracks like Stay Hungry, The Kids Are Back, You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll, The Price, Under The Blade and more! After the 1987 dissolution of the group, he embarked on a series of solo and group projects such as WIDOWMAKER and DESPERADO.
But there is more to SNIDER than just his musical prowess and presence. He has starred in several reality TV shows including The Celebrity Apprentice, Gone Country with John Rich, MTV’s Rock The Cradle with his son Jesse and Growing Up Twisted, an A&E series featuring the entire SNIDER family and their Long Island lifestyle. He was also a frequent host on MTV Networks and his own long-running nationally syndicated radio show House Of Hair is heard on more than 200 stations in North America. His career as a voiceover artist has resulted in Dee being heard in many radio and TV commercials, documentaries and a year-long stint as the introductory voice on MSNBC. His autobiography Shut Up And Give Me The Mic was a huge success as was his Podcast Snider Comments. He also had a starring role on Broadway in the hit musical Rock Of Ages, there isn’t much Dee can’t do. SNIDER has also just recently unleashed his critically acclaimed new album ‘For The Love Of Metal’
Now the legend himself Mr. DEE SNIDER is headed to Australia for a unique set of shows in Sydney and Melbourne!
Each city will be treated to one SPOKEN night and one SHOUTED! SPOKEN nights: these will see Dee being interviewed on stage and telling stories about his life, career and a real in-depth look at the man himself, then an audience question and answer forum. This will be a very intimate, once in a lifetime opportunity. Plus on these nights there will be a special VIP meet and greet opportunity available, which includes entry to the SPOKEN night, front and second row seats and the first 20 buyers get to ask Dee a question over the mic from the audience, and meet Dee after the event for a photo and 2 items signed.
The SHOUTED nights: These shows will see Dee hit the stage backed by his full band and slam out a killer setlist top heavy with classic TWISTED SISTER Material.
Don’t miss the chance to witness a true rock legend the frontman of TWISTED SISTER, DEE SNIDER on stage in two very different environments and two that he absolutely thrives in. If you are a true SMF, you won’t be Dee-sappointed!!!
DEE SNIDER JANUARY 2019 TOUR DATES:
Thursday, 31st January – Sydney – Manning – SPOKEN
Friday, 1st February – Sydney – Manning – SHOUTED!
Saturday, 2nd February – Melbourne – Croxton – SHOUTED!
Sunday, 3rd February – Melbourne – Croxton – SPOKEN
TICKETS ON SALE: Thursday, 23rd August, at 10:00am EST.
Gallery By Jose Sanchez