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Interview with Shelley Segal (Q & A)

Released in time for Mother’s Day last month, the glorious new single Mother from Melbourne singer-songwriter Shelley Segal simultaneously tugs at the heartstrings and awes with warmth. A stirring ode to Shelley’s own mother, Mother is also accompanied today by a sentimental music video featuring footage of Shelley with her mum that perfectly complements the raw and beguiling new track.

STM: What’s the Shelley Segal story?

SS: I’m an artist and songwriter from Melbourne Australia now based in LA. I grew up singing and playing music in my father’s wedding band – which was an incredible foundation for a life in music. I played cover gigs around Melbourne for many years. I eventually started recording and performing my own music which is a singer songwriter / folky / story-telling style, though still very influenced by the pop and rock I grew up singing at functions.

I got a degree in music at Box Hill Tafe, opened my own label, True Music and started releasing my own music and touring overseas. I booked my own tours and built a dedicated fan base around the US until I eventually moved here in 2016. Since then, I’ve opened my own studio and music production house where I work with other artists and creating music for film and TV.

STM: Tell us about your new single Mother?

My new single is inspired by my mum, Jenny. I had the idea for the song when I walked past the mirror and saw my reflection in the corner of my eye. For a split second, I thought it was my mum that I was seeing and I was blown away by how differently I processed the image of my own body, when I thought it was my mother. It was an amazing revelation to me how much I look like her. How beautiful and perfect she is and how it follows that I am as well. As her beauty is undeniable to me, so became my own. It’s a message of self-love, strength and defiance.

STM: What’s the creative process like for you?

It’s different all the time. It depends on who or what I’m creating for. Sometimes I’m just writing because I feel I have something I need to get out. Usually when that happens, I pick up my guitar and will start with a melody, a riff or a lyric or sometimes a combination of those.

When I’m working with other artists, I try to tap in to what they’ve been going through lately and find some relatable experiences in my own life and draw from that. When I’m working to brief for a project, often we’ll pull up a track, jump in the booth and lay down a bunch of takes and pick the bits we like best. There are endless ways to do it. I love doing it alone and I love doing it with others too.

STM: If you could change something about the music industry what would change?

I think I would like it to be more diverse. I think that’s something that is happening and is very exciting, but it still has so far to go to work towards creating accessible spaces.

STM: What do you think life would be like for you if you didn’t have music/visual art as an outlet?

I can’t even imagine. Music is my whole life. It’s the way I process what I go though. It’s a way I connect to others. It’s my every day. It’s been the adventure and gift of my life. I don’t want to imagine life any other way, I think we all need that creative outlet. I wish more people got to experience the catharsis from writing about your experiences. I love writing with other artists and helping them to get their message out in the way their want to express themselves. It’s one of my favourite things because I know how good it feels to get up on stage and perform something that perfectly expresses how you feel or think.

STM: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?

Yes, lots of people. I’d love to get to write with Ani Difranco. Or even just spend time with her. She really changed the way I saw the world and inspired me to be part of that change of consciousness myself, through my own music. I’m also lucky enough to have collaborated with Adam Levy on our album Little March. So that’s collab goals already made! https://shelleysegal.bandcamp.com/album/little-march

STM: What’s your advice to young people who want to make a career for themselves in the industry?

I would advise young people to learn the business side early. If you understand what assets you have then you can advocate properly for yourself in every situation. It’s hard to learn and takes a while but is invaluable. It’s allowed me to advocate for myself and others around me. I would also say to try and keep a part of your music that’s just for you. There can be so many moments of rejection, or compromise, sacrifice, disillusionment. But if you have this sacred part of it, that’s just for you, that you can keep coming back to and cherishing no matter what then I think that can help you get through the harder days.

STM: What’s your favourite song to perform?

I love performing ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’ with my father, Danny, on the violin.
We’ve been playing the song together for decades. We’ve performed it as the first dance at people’s weddings. It’s very special to me and when I play it with my dad it feel like time has stood still
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10XCczZXzgc 

STM: Got any secret hobbies that we might be surprised by?

Actually yes! I’m super into table tennis. My whole family played and as a teenager I would train several days a week with the state squad. I was nationally ranked and played competitively as a junior for many years. I love it so much – it’s the best sport!

Listen: MOTHER

Watch: MOTHER

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[Review] 10CC @ Palais Theatre, Melbourne 25/06/2023

Review By Nikki Eenink

My dad and I often argue about music; Are The Beatles overrated? Is Lola the best pop song? These things are unknowable. The one thing we don’t argue about: 10cc. They have to be the most underrated rock band of their era (and beyond), and I was lucky enough to have the best night in a long time when “The Worst Band in The World” took the Palais Theatre stage this Sunday.

Belgian-born but Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Romanie is the opener for the night. She played a snappy 30-minute set to eager ears, and it was a delightful start to a super fun night. 10cc didn’t have support acts for many of their concerts this tour, so I feel very blessed to have been treated to the angelic vocals and gorgeous guitar strummings of Romanie, complimented gorgeously by the Palais’ epic acoustics. Her set wasn’t long enough, and yet somehow she managed to cram in a string of heavy-hitters; Changing, Little Big Steps, Anthony and I’m Anything (But Myself Around You) were all part of this gut-wrenchingly wonderful entrée. Romanie reminds me of when I would roll down the sun-roof and windows of my family’s old Rav4 and drive as fast as I (legally) could down the hills of my hometown. These musical musings are the perfect soundtrack for an indie movie, they have a timeless, nostalgic appeal about them that is really hard to capture in words. Romanticise your life, and relive memories to Romanie this week –she’s something special.

Like clockwork, at 8pm sharp the lights go dim and 5 shadows take the stage. When the lights come up, the 5 shadows have faces – and Hawaiian shirts, a floral blazer and a row of instruments behind them. They have the energy of 5 dads at a barbeque, not rock Gods. Let’s meet the crew who will be steering this one way cruise to Good Vibe Island, shall we? On keyboards, vocals, bass guitar and electric guitar; Keith Hayman. On vocals, keyboards, bass guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, (the fact that the list keeps going beyond this point is ridiculous) percussion, mandolin (ok, now you’re just bragging) and synth, Iain Hornel. These two are newly-welcomed, touring members of the 10cc band – and their talent elevates this already insanely musically talented bunch onstage to new heights. On lead guitar, vocals and acoustic guitar is someone who’s been part of 10cc since the very early days, Rick Fenn. The strong and silent type, Paul Burgess, is their sensational drummer. “He’s been with us since the very beginning, and I’m happy to say he’s still with us”, quips original guitarist and prolific songwriter, Graham Gouldman. I can’t say any one of them was “a front man” or anything like that – they’re an ensemble, and a tight one at that. They all have so much fun together throughout the night, but good god are they unbelievably skilled musicians. During mega-hit Rubber Bullets, I catch Gouldman bashing Hayman’s keyboard with the side of his guitar – all while shredding an intricate riff in perfect harmony with the rest of the guys.

We were promised a night of nostalgia and hits. To quote the Facebook event:

NO STANDING. ALL THE HITS!

And they stayed true to their end of the bargain – we did not.

To quote Smash Mouth; The hits start coming, and they don’t stop coming. Starting off with personal favourite, The Dean and I we are thrown into an ocean of bangers. I mean, seriously, it’s fucking ridiculous. They could fill a 2-hour set with iconic hit after iconic hit, and the audience still had space in our bellies for more. As they moved into The Wall Street Shuffle, it hit me; I’m surrounded by middle-aged women and barbeque dads… and I’ve never fit in so well. Someone pass me a hat and a lawn chair, It’s time to have a beer and listen to 10cc like the retiree I was always meant to be. There’s no other band like them, and there never will be. Known for songs heavy in goof-factor, like Life Is A Minestrone, I was taken aback by how insanely stellar their instrumentation is. Virtuosos, the lot of them. They wind through hits and play different arrangements to keep us on our toes, adding a prog-Rock factor to many of them that isn’t there on the albums. Sometimes, just for a moment, Fenn’s floral blazer, Gouldman’s Hawaiian shirt and the grey hairs fade away, and I can see them as young men, at the top of their game, making their musical mark on the world. There is undeniably a rockstar spirit about them, they capture the duality between comradery, silliness and shenanigan with diligence, creativity, and originality better than any other band I’ve had the privilege of seeing. The way Gouldman speaks about former 10cc members, specifically illustrious songwriters Kevin Godley and Lol Crème, is with such respect, love and care. There seems to be no bad blood between them. When talking about Fenn, Burgess and Hayman, it’s clear that Gouldman seems them as musical brothers. They are a family, where bad blood is bad blood but there’s no one else you’d rather share blood with. This respect for each other, and for their music, shines through. There is such an air of love and nostalgia tonight, and it’s delightful.

It’s not all common hits, we are treated to new song Floating in Heaven, about Gouldman’s love for the James Webb Space Telescope. “I wrote this and sent it to my record company, and they said ‘It’s absolutely fantastic’. Obviously. But it would be even better if you could get Brian May on it. Not only is he an exceptional guitarist, but he’s also a passionate astronomer and astrophysicist. So he said ‘Ok, I love it’, and he sings on it and plays guitar and he” Gouldman gestures side-stage, “is not here tonight.” We all laugh. “But Rick Fenn is!” We all cheer. Floating in Heaven is lovely. It’s simple, it’s gorgeous, and the three-way layered vocals which reverberate so wonderfully, thanks in-part to the Palais’ acoustics, give me goosebumps.

Then we head into two songs where I feel they really shine. I’m Not in Love is first. My dad has this memory of when he was 13 and would listen to the radio in The Netherlands, and when this song came on – it blew his mind. He didn’t know music could sound that way, and he was hooked. My dad is now a music junkie (seriously, someone should stage an intervention), and this song takes some credit for that. I thought the complex vocal and instrumental layers which feature on the track wouldn’t be achievable live, but you should never doubt 10cc. They pull it off. Hornel changes instruments about 6 times, and all four vocalists are working together, and it’s spellbinding. I am washed clean by a river of sound. A musical baptism if you will. Next, is The Things We Do For Love, I’m Not in Love’s poppier big sister. Live it sounds almost melancholic, with Hornel’s vocals hitting insane notes and with those lyrics… perfection. For anyone who’s ever had their heart broken, broken their own heart or been in a complicated Situationship – this one’s for you, us, me. It’s also for the teenage daughter and her dad next to me, he’s holding back tears and she’s grooving – love these guys, great vibes from seat 34 and 35.

Now, here’s the thing about that whole: NO STANDING, thing. I think we will be standing, actually, and not just standing – dancing. As soon as Dreadlock Holiday plays, everyone’s up. Groups of women twirl with each other, teens sidestep, and uncles tap their feet. The song just goes stupidly hard, every time you hear it. I get genuinely sad when it ends. It’s the perfect road-trip song, perfect party beat, hell, I might even have the first dance at my Elvis chapel wedding to it. My daydreams are cut short by the squeals of delight from the crowd when our ship-captains change the lyrics to,

I don’t like Melbourne/ oh no! / I love it!

Insane. They love us?! We love them!! What a dream come true!!

Then, the encore. “This is going to be an acapella version of Donna.” They really don’t run out of ideas, do they? So, they gather around the mic, and in true barbershop quartet fashion, belt out an insane version of the 1972 hit. It seems appropriate to end on one of the band’s first releases. Drummer Paul Burgess comes up to the mic for the final,

“Donna / I love you”.

His deep baritone voice is both shocking and impressive.

“That was Donna by Paul Burgess, ladies and gentlemen.” We go nuts. The most Australian man in history is sitting behind me and nearly rips his vocal cords screaming; “ONYA PAUL” Legend.

But wait! It’s not over! How could it be? We haven’t heard Rubber Bullets yet!

If you haven’t heard them live, you still haven’t really heard Rubber Bullets. The flashing red and blue lights, the hilarious lyricism delivered with the perfect wit and in perfect harmony, the absolute descent into madness onstage – it’s an experience all on its own. To watch them relax into this last number after delivering a set I couldn’t criticise if I tried is so lovely. Even when they’re mucking around; dancing together, kicking their legs, play fighting using their guitars as swords; they’re on the same wavelength.

And then, it’s over. Their enduring bond and passion for music bring everyone to their feet. A standing ovation. I think someone threw their bra. Rock and Roll is back baby, and 10cc is making sure of it.

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[Review] Henry Rollins @ Hamer Hall, Melbourne 24/06/2023

Review By Noah Redfern

Author, traveller, storyteller and punk legend Henry Rollins is a storyteller at heart. Quite possibly the world’s most well-travelled rock star, and literally a man who will never stop moving, Rollins is a sight for sore eyes in a world of stagnant, aging stars and egos that collapse under their own weight.

The Washington DC native brought his Good For You speaking tour to Melbourne on Saturday night at the glorious Hamer Hall. For almost two and a half hours, we were treated to a non-stop thrill ride of off kilter talers, semi deranged non sequiturs and trials of the mind and soul.

“I’m going to try to fit an extra twenty seconds into every minute tonight” Henry told us almost immediately after hitting the stage, “otherwise you’d be stuck here for four or five hours”.

For those who aren’t familiar, Henry Rollins rose to prominence in the 1980s as the fourth and most prominent singer of the hardcore punk rock band Black Flag. Leaving the band in 1986, Rollins jumped at every creative opportunity given – going on to be something of a renaissance man. Becoming an author, spoken word artist, actor and activist, Rollins has lived more in one lifetime than most men could in a dozen.

Fans of Rollins’ signature brand of word salad were overjoyed – the ten-laughs-a-minute brutality of wordplay demanded constant attention. Never taking a breath, never taking a sip of water, the show just kept going at am almost exhaustive rate, yet I could never lose interest or become bored. Henry would sometimes pause a story to promise us it would make it to a catharsis just when it seemed completely off the rails. There was no doubt that Henry’s style is nothing if not charming.

Never begging for applause, Henry would earn it every time. Weaving various stories together and delivering a wider message of optimistic nihilism, we learned of Henry’s life. His youth in Washington DC, abusive parents and finding solace in friendship and punk rock. But these stories weren’t all lessons and heavy topics – every tangent was packed with humourous observations.

One memorable moment told us of his paranoia of a home invasion – and his eventual respect for his potential stalker, while another told us of his detached relationship with death, and of the ashes of his alcoholic mother he forgot he left in his car before departing his home in Nashville last November for this extended tour. Finding the humour in the darkness, searching for the light in the horror, Henry rose through that sickness and strangeness of today seeking positivity, hilarity and joy.

A true one-in-a-billion character, and a great example for men of today. A first glance, one might assume Henry to be a world of machoism and toxic masculinity. With his muscular figure, tattoos and almost military attitude, you’d be right to think so of the sixty-two year old.

Upon listening to the man speak and share, you’ll learn that Henry is the shining example of what men, in particular aging men should be. Reminding the older generations that it is okay to step aside and let the youth take the reins. Reminding us all that empathy, love and positivity can prevail when we let it.

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[Review] Jungle Giants @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 23/06/2023

Review By Nikki Eenink

I’m convinced that every Australian under 30 has been made to watch The Jungle Giants at least once. Except it’s less, “A Clockwork Orange” and more “oh noooo, please don’t make me watch one of Australia’s most iconic, musically sharp, banger-producing bands, play yet another festival oh noooo”. Like clockwork, every festival season, Sam Hales and his gang take to the stage and absolutely rock a sea of bucket-hat wearers. I have been this bucket-hat wearer, and always look forward to somehow ending up at The Jungle Giants stage and dancing in the beating sun. But something I’d never done, was see them play at an indoor venue, especially not one as intimate as Melbourne’s The Forum.

The Lazy Eyes, however, were a new treat for me. And treat is the right word. The band members are unassuming; lead singer Harvey Geraghty looks like a more relaxed Kurt Cobain, if Cobain ever decided to pursue the synth instead of the guitar. Itay Shachar shreds on lead guitar, and he looks like a missing member of notorious Loser-Rock band Weezer; big glasses frames hiding his face, white button up tucked into chinos – the whole ensemble. But these guys aren’t Loser-Rock, they’re cool, very cool. They have this laid-back air about them as they wind through tracks from their various releases, as if it’s no-big-deal that they are playing flawlessly. They easily match the quality of their recordings, and then blow it out of the water. Even as newcomers, they are a band that was born to play live. A highlight in their set was undeniably their cover of More Than A Woman by the BeeGees, it was the same disco-esque beat we all know and love, mixed with Lazy Eye’s own psych-rock sensibilities – and it was awesome. During personal fave; Where’s My Brain??, the fearsome foursome are playing so loud, I can feel the wall I’m leaning on wobble, pulsing with every slam Noah Martin delivers to the kick-drum. The venue is literally alive, Lazy Eyes it’s metronomic heartbeat. After blowing our minds, and nearly blowing the ceiling off The Forum, front-man Geraghty thanks us with a beaming grin; “Thanks! We’re going to play some piano songs now.” He says it as if that last track wasn’t anything special. What’s jaw-dropping for the rest of us, is just another day for The Lazy Eyes. Once the piano comes out we are treated to unreleased track; Better Off This Way. “We’re going to play you one more love song and then get outta here. This is the first-ever song we put out, and it’s called Cheesy Love Song”. I love Cheesy Love Song, it reminds me of going to highschool in New South Wales – just like The Lazy Eyes. For anyone who had crushes or romances in the suburbs of some satellite-city, this one’s for you. Enjoy your meal.

It’s easy to forget how young the four guys onstage are, with their ever-growing trail of releases, international festival slots and rave reviews. But when Geraghty takes the mic to say, “This is the last show of our tour with The Jungle Giants, and it’s been a massive pleasure. Thanks to them for inspiring us and putting up with our shit!” And I look at all their beaming smiles, it hits me. They’re still just four young men, unsure how they got to this stage, but they are damn well not going to lose it. They bring the support act to a close with Fuzz Jam. Gerahgty gets weird with the synth, playing with his voice “oooooh” becoming “oOOoOoOh”. I can see him giggling a little bit. But, somehow, even while they are having a mess-around – they’re flawless. Bassist Leon Karagic is absolutely ripping into his bass strings, giving us the solo of a lifetime. Dissatisfied with the crowd’s energy, Geraghty just says, “Can I get a little more movement?” and subtly waves his arm up, and the crowd goes for it. Girls who drink Somersbys and guys who drink GOAT beers throwing their arms in the air and shimmying and jostling. And then, they leave the stage, and no one moves – despite the 20-minute space between acts. All of our eyes are glued to the stage, desperately trying to make our main act appear.

In the gap between acts, jungle-esque techno is playing through the venue, just in case you’d forgotten you were here to see The Jungle Giants. The crowd is awash with people in cowboy hats. I’m confused, but rocking with the vibe nonetheless.

Then, the lights go dark and tendrils of light burst from the stage and make us squint to see the silhouettes of the Brisbane-icons take the stage. The room is holding it’s breath, you could hear a pin drop. Instead of a pin, we hear the voice of front-man Sam Hales, one we will hear a lot of through the night, say two simple words; “Let’s go” and we are thrown into Something Got Between Us. Normally, crowds need a bit of warming up, but we are sufficiently warm. So when Hales starts a call-and-response with us, we are immediately there with him, not a drop of hesitation. The iconic festival banger is one a lot of us had to miss last time The Jungle Giants were in town, Laneway ’23, due to The Great Jungle Giants / 100 gecs Timeslot Clash. So we are making up for it now. People are on each others shoulders, hats are being waved in the air, we are screaming back to the band onstage:

“Hey! Never gonna let you go! Not. This. Time.”

There’s always something amazing about the last show of a tour, the band gives it everything they’ve got, but it isn’t without a slight air of mourning. Hales is an extraordinary vocalist at the best of times, but tonight he’s something else. He belts these incredibly long, high notes that aren’t even on the recording. He’s letting it all out. And the energy in the room is matching this. In between every song, he lets out; “The energy in here is fucking fantastic. It’s something else. It’s ethereal.” Send Me Ur Loving is their second track, and our energy only grows. The question is, how long can we last? (Spoiler: The energy only grows for the next 90 minutes, thanks to the masterful musicianship and audience connection that makes The Jungle Giants one of Australia’s best.)

You’re a great crowd, we can tell that already, so we are gonna treat you fucking right tonight.” And they do, literally. Treat You Right is the next cab off the rank, and just like the songs before it, it’s so good. The lighting team is absolutely crushing it with these big washes of purple, red and orange. Spotlights going crazy on the band, and on us. They are giving it everything they’ve got. You can tell The Jungle Giants play at festivals, they know what crowds want. This tiny space is alive. I can nearly feel the grass, and taste the canned water, and feel my pupils becoming dinner plates. They have created a nostalgia-pill, a yearning for summertime, a much-needed release from Melbourne’s unrelenting winter. And then, suddenly, silence. The stage lights are stopped, the band stops mid-song. The stage has lost power. Instead of being upset, Hales just laughs. “You know what this means? It means you’re seeing a live fucking rock show!” The crowd cheers and his band look relieved and let out held breaths. Hales is one of the best frontmen in the business, you immediately trust him. He’s disarming and funny and talented, he loves his band, he loves his crowds, he always wears fun outfits – he’s an Australian icon. He’s the perfect person to ease our minds. “I’ve always wanted to be a stand-up comedian, maybe this is my chance.” Before he can tell us a joke he spots some girls frantically waving fake candles in the crowd. “Are these candles?” he asks, he’s met with untranslatable screams, “You stole them?! Why?” The girls just shrug. “Fair enough, you look great!”. Hales then hits us with some of the worst dad-jokes you can imagine; yes, that bad. But he’s so confident with it, that we all have to laugh. He keeps the energy light. I’m standing by the tech-desk and see the chaos unfold right before me. A few men frantically pressing buttons and moving levers, seemingly to no avail. And then, like Moses parting the Red Sea, She arrives. Out of the crowd, a woman with a bleached mini mohawk, leather jacket, heeled boots steps up to the desk. I spot the lesbian-pride badge on her jacket. If I have to trust anyone to get the job done, it’s a lesbian with a buzz-cut. And within 30 seconds and barely a wiggle of a knob, we have power. She’s the underrated superstar of our evening.

“Let’s just start the next song, and you guys are gonna set the tempo. Start clapping to the same beat!” It’s been said that ‘White People Have No Rhythm’, never has that ever been truer than right now. We can’t find a beat to save ourselves. But somehow, we eventually find one, and it’s fast. The band doesn’t look perturbed at all. Drummer, Keelan Bijker (Dutch icon), picks up for us, and the band plays On Your Way Down, to a completely new tempo. Fuck me, it’s impressive. The music just flows out of them, effortlessly. This song is a personal fave, so I’m loving it. I love it so much I start a dance circle with my friend and this girl next to us. The crowd is going nuts, we are all swaying arms and reckless abandon, bathed in a sea of purple and blue.

Now, the hats, don’t worry, I didn’t forget. “I can see some of you know what The Hats are about, and for those of you who don’t let me explain,” begins Hales, “Throw those hats up on stage and we will auction them off to a charity; Support Act, it’s one primarily focused on music. If you can get your hat on my head, you get 50 free tickets to The Jungle Giants. A guy got it last night and I’m gonna call him later.” The crowd shrieks and a swarm of hats, all directly aimed at Hales’ head fly onto the stage. Someone nearly gets it, it knicks Hales in the ear. “You know what, that’s close… We’ll talk” and our frontman shoots off a finger gun to the owner of said blue bedazzled cowboy hat. Someone throws a feather boa onstage. “Oh shit! What is this? A feather boa? I’m just like Harry Styles.” Hales laughs, “I don’t know how he plays in this, so I’ll just wear it in between tracks.” And he does, for the rest of the show, while rotating through the hats so lovingly chucked at his head. Legend.

Feel The Way I Do is next. And this is where it dawns on me, I know every The Jungle Giants song. So does everybody. They have ingrained themselves into our subconscious, like U2 putting that album on everyone’s iTunes back in the day. But instead of thinking too much about why it is these guys seem like old friends, I throw my hands in the air and jump along to the silly synth beats and Andre Dooris’ unmatchable bass lines. As they swap cowboy hats, they wind through the rest of the set, each track keeping the energy high and the people overjoyed. Rakata, Monstertruck and others are all in store for us – the songs just keep coming. The Jungle Giants throw film cameras into the audience every time I’ve seen them, “Take some motherfucking pics!” is our only instruction. Our soundtrack is In Her Eyes, and soon those cameras are being thrown back onstage, stocked with photos of friends, couples, and strangers. Looking around, I see lads in bucket hats jokingly slow dancing with each other, young couples making out, and the girls behind me, fuelled on rose, screaming “Sam, you’re so SEXY!!! Sam!!!!” I’m also 99% sure recently reviewed Matt Maltese is in a booth here tonight. They finish with Trippin Up, before blowing us a kiss and walking offstage. The crowd isn’t having it, and they scream like how I’ve never heard people scream. And so, the band comes back on for their encore. Hales, somehow not out of breath, introduces us to his band. “I thought I’d lost my band, would’ve made it hard to give you one last song. But here they are: on drums, Keelan Bijker, on bass, Andrew Dooris and on lead guitar, the always sensational, Cesira Aitken.” Aitken is unassuming, as ever, acting as if it isn’t a big deal that a premiere-league Australian rock band has a female lead guitarist. She always gives a shy smile and returns her gaze to the guitar, as the crowd screams their love for her. “Let’s give a big cheer to our tech crew, say ‘Fuck yeah, Tech Crew!”

FUCK YEAH TECH CREW

Hales seems satisfied with that, “Thank you so much! This was out 17th and final show of tour, and we’ve made something special here tonight. Take all that energy you have and pour it out, leave it here, give this everything you’ve got!” Heavy Hearted is one hell of a closing number. And we get an extra-long version. Hales’ gives and gives, and so do we. It’s a battle of wills, and neither of us let that energy drop. It’s such a good song, so we clap and laugh and some of us cry. To cap off an already insane night, with a stacked setlist, the band plays us out with Used To Be In Love. It gets emotional; all of us excited for summer and romance and friends and picnics. And so, we pour all of ourselves out onto the dancefloor, strangers become friends, and The Jungle Giants become our anthem.

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[Review] Among The Restless @ Night Cat, Melbourne 23/06/2023

Review By Cassandra Hale

Closing out their All I Want Is Everything East Coast tour at Fitzroy’s The Night Cat, Among The Restless were ready to celebrate this huge milestone.  While Melbourne had delivered a freezing winter night it did nothing to discourage the punters from turning out in droves, the venue steadily filled with the cult like following who were ready to rock. I have watched Among The Restless grow over the last few years, the venues have got bigger, the fanbase has grown exponentially and their music has taken on a force of its own. Their songs show a maturity garnered by hard work and dedication and I was keen to take in the show in front of their home crowd in Australia’s capital of live music.

The Night Cat is a brilliant Melbourne nightspot, with its stage positioned in the centre of the room it cuts an amazing visual. Add to this an eclectic collection of lightshades hanging from the ceiling in varying hues of pink which instantly gives a chilled vibe. Being able to see the band from every angle gives a new perspective, and while the bulk of the fans gathered front and centre, many wandered to gauge a new angle over the course of the night.

Opening with Define, Among The Restless were off and running and the turn out were more than ready to throw themselves into the pit and get a piece of the action. Underground and Missing Pieces were up next, the Night Cat was warming up, with the cold of the outside night checked at the door. Torn had the floor bouncing as one, singer Rhett James working the crowd like a pro, his exuberance and lust for the live performance ever present. He is dripping with charisma and sings flawlessly every damn time. Crowd favourite Wastecase had the mosh up and about and Jaidyn Hale entered beast mode behind the kit. His precision skin hitting brought to the forefront in this drum laden tune, the fans lapped it up with chants of ‘Jaidyn’ spurring him on to deliver a mind-bending assault on the kit.

Without You had the floor grooving one minute then exploding the next as the epic build lashed them, Rhett leaving no corner of the stage uncovered. There was so much to love about the show, the engagement with the fans was next level, the quality of music impeccable and the collective voice knowing every word of every song a testament to their fierce following. Seamus Glenn delivered his most recent penmanship with Star Crossed, bloody hell this song rips hard. With such a catchy chorus it was an instant winner and had the venue pinging with happiness, smiles as wide as the stage at every vantage point. Seamus showed he is much more than a guitarist, his writing skills also of the highest calibre. No Sense // No Feeling brought out the crazy again as Lachie Dunn shredded like a psychopath, one of their heavier tunes this one had the floor slamming with gusto. Lachie’s backing vocals also prevalent throughout the night, he is the complete package and a pivotal part of the ATR dynamic.  

The upbeat cover of UFO was a crowd pleaser followed by the first single released by ATR, Someone Else. This song still rocks as hard it as did when I first heard it, it also comes complete with yet another epic breakdown that had the revellers throwing themselves into the pit.  Slave Within The Change delivered all the neck snapping feels that the fans wanted and it was everyone for themselves as the sweaty melting pot of a pit expanded to a blur of limbs. Let’s talk bass for just a minute. Josh Marra keeps the bassline well and truly covered and if you want to hear some of his epicness just check out the latest single Ego.  Josh worked all parts of the stage even taking a trip into the crowd with Seamus on one occasion, this four-string slayer certainly keeps you entertained.  Ego showcases the growth in ATR and when it is backed up by the classic Lucy you know you are in for a bloody good time. Their most popular song to date, Lucy never disappoints and had the crowd taking over the vocals for the duration.

These boys just tick every box and then some, and as the punters called for ‘one more song’ they did not disappoint jumping into a blistering cover of Bulls On Parade. This has become a firm finisher for ATR and one that brings out every level of crazy, the melting pot of a floor surged and jumped as one, making the most of every last minute. I saw girls facetiming to the unfortunate that couldn’t make it, I saw selfies snaps if you could pin down a band member, and I saw an unending merch line. Everything you would expect from a band of the highest level. Among The Restless prove time and time again that they are here for the duration and ready to mix it with the big guns of the industry.  If you are yet to see these guys live, add it to your ‘to do’ list immediately, they leave nothing in the tank and put on the show of a lifetime EVERY SINGLE TIME!

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