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[Review] Lord Huron @ The Forum, Melbourne 27/01/2024

Trying to find the words to describe Lord Huron is so difficult. They’re so much more than ‘indie-folk outfit’, ‘country sensation’ or any other combination of words rattling around in my brain. The show at The Forum proved to me that Lord Huron are so much bigger than a little box. I haven’t been able to get them out of my head, and that’s exactly what they were going for.

Support act, Asha Jefferies, should be a household name already. Her lyrics are beautifully understated, melancholic, and yearning. Her vocals aren’t like anything else I’ve ever heard. This is the last day of the tour, and yet Asha still soars to these breathtaking heights. If there is a ‘calling’ – this is hers. I stop before the main floor of The Forum, spellbound. She’s like sirens, harpies, or something else that would sink unsuspecting music writers. She feels like something out of a fantasy book. “The sound guys here are like the coolest, funniest guys ever! Give them a round of applause!” There’s just a moment of hesitation from the crowd, we are shaking off a musical spell. But then we cheer and clap and hoot and holler before she launches into one last song. “I have a new album coming out in April, check it out if you can!” I have marked April in my calendar with a big ugly red circle as a reminder, and you should to. “This last song is about loving your friends. I’m dedicating this one to Genie and Isaac, who are here tonight. It’s called Spinning.” I might gasp, or cry, or shuffle off this mortal coil for a minute. Spinning is stunning, it’s angelic and mysterious. How does Jefferies manage to capture nostalgia and aching so well in a 3-minute song? I feel like my heart strings have just strung her guitar. Listen to Asha Jefferies, remember to lie down somewhere soft, and let her take your hand and guide you into a part of yourself long neglected.

After a 30-minute break, admiring the beautiful interior of The Forum, the lights go dim. We know what that means; Lord Huron making their way onto the stage. They’re all wearing suits, in earthy fabrics like tweed or linen or suede. Two of them have bolo-ties, the bassist has a neck scarf. I see two big, black-brimmed hats. They look like relics from a bygone American era. I don’t think the cowboy aesthetic is an act for them, it feels natural. I could be convinced they bought those hats in 1879 from Ye Olde Hat Emporium. There is something timeless, powerful, and enigmatic oozing from the band.  Front man Ben Schneider seems aware of the folkloric, mythic quality the band has. After a haunting opening of Time’s Blur and Love Like Ghosts, Schneider takes the mic gently between his hands – and you could hear a pen drop in a sold-out Forum.

“We’re going to try to sort of take you on a musical journey. There’ll be ups and downs and twists and turns. Heartbreak and redemption, laughter, tears, high-fives, pats on the butt, making out – everything in between, ok? So, if you find yourself bored, or thinking ‘This isn’t for me.’ Just wait a little bit. Something your flavour will come up.”

Immediately, the band comes to life again. The lights on the forum stage dance in sunset reds and oranges and golds. Meet Me in the Woods, Mine Forever and Dead Man’s Hand, all perfectly flow into each other as I am spellbound by those lights. The instrumentals are flawless, they’re better than the album. Intricate guitar work, mesmerising vocals and a perfect dance of drums and bass in the background – it’s musical bliss. There are moments in the songs that follow that feel like homages to Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and countless other classics. Every song is Lord Huron listening, growing, and incorporating. Their entire setlist, their whole discography is a love letter to music. It’s written for those who came before then, and ferociously studied by those coming after them.

Wait by the River feels like a sermon. Schneider’s hands go above his head and he calls for us to do the same. Without thinking, my body obeys. But it isn’t just for this song, it’s the whole night. Every time they say clap, I slam my hands together involuntarily. They control every hair on my head, every muscle in my body. I’m not resisting the spell Lord Huron are casting. The band have themselves under a spell at times, like they’re mere vessels for something greater. The three guitarists in the back left drop their heads and sway, but somehow still play these beautifully intricate melodies. My jaw is still on the floor, if someone could pick it up as they passed – that would be great.

Towards the end of the night, is where we hit our high. Schneider leaves for a minute, and comes back wearing a comically large skeleton mask – el Día de los Muertos style. The World Ender and Ancient Names are both sung, played and demolished by skeleton-led Lord Huron. The mask adds to the feeling that these guys might be reincarnated, straight out of the Wild West. That they are mythical and mysterious and not of this world. The guitars are screaming, Schneider is strumming so fast his hands a blur. The vocals are the strongest they’ve ever been. I really struggled to describe this momento. It was so unexpected, so spooky, so perfect. A live-music best-of reel momento, for sure.

Something I never thought I’d see, was a theremín being played live. The stage goes black as Schneider changes out of his skeleton mask, and a single spotlight illuminates the neck-scarf wearing bassist; Miguel Briseño. He stands perfectly still, moving his hands into the instrument, and playing the most heartbreaking introduction to Way Out There. My heart almost can’t take it. I thought it would just get this solo at the beginning – oh, how wrong was I. For 4 beautiful minutes, we are treated to haunting theremin. His hands move with precision, melancholy, and appreciation for the strange instrument. He is a master. My friend keeps whispering “omg a theremin.” Over and over. Words can’t do the moment justice, yet again.

And of course, The Night We Met. One of the biggest songs of recent memory. This song is beautiful. It’s perfect, really. It’s so heartbreaking, so hopeful, so hopeless, so human. Listen to it. It makes my heart feel like it’s been chewed up, spat out, reinflated, and sent to find me. Everyone is singing at the top of their lungs. For that final chorus.

I had all and then most of you. Some and now none of you. Take me back to the night we met.

We sing and we scream, and we cry a little, and so do they. This was a special, intimate moment for everyone there that night. No notes, perfection. Now excuse me while I go cry and yearn in peace.

Schneider leaves us with some closing words, and a promise to come back soon. I’ll leave you with them, too.

See you next time, folks. Until then, live until you die.

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CHRIS ISAAK Announces Australian Tour in April

Platinum-selling and GRAMMY-nominated singer and actor Chris Isaak returns to Australia for the first time since 2016, performing “In Concert” throughout April this year, with shows in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington and Auckland, and a series of concerts at A Day On The Green.

The tour commences on April 4 at Perth’s Kings Park and Botanic Garden, followed by State Theatre, Sydney on April 10, Palais Theatre Melbourne on April 16, Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre on April 22 and concluding at Spark Arena, Auckland on April 24.

Mastercard cardholders in Australia have special access to presale tickets from Tuesday, January 30 at 10am LOCAL through Thursday, February 1 at 10am. Visit www.priceless.com/music to find out more.

Live Nation pre-sale runs from Thursday, February 1 at 11am, concluding on Friday, February 2 at 10am. 

General public tickets go on sale on Friday, February 2 at 11am, from livenation.com.au.  All times are local.  

Chris Isaak is excited to be returning to our shores, saying “I am sitting on my front porch in Nashville, Tennessee and smiling. I have been stuck in my house for 9 days because of the snow. But I have been in a great mood as I know I’m going back to Australia! I think it’s my favourite place to tour… or just hang out. I’m so ready! Bring on the sun! Bring on the beach! I think I’m gonna wax my guitar…. I told you I was excited!” 

Over the course of his nearly forty-year career, Platinum-selling and GRAMMY-nominated singer and actor Chris Isaak has performed to sold-out crowds across the globe with his longtime band Silvertone. His music and film credits include thirteen critically acclaimed studio albums, twelve chart-topping singles along with several motion pictures, such as The Silence of the Lambs and That Thing You Do!  His work has also taken him behind the scenes, creating music for multiple film soundtracks, including Eyes Wide Shut, True Romance, Wild at Heart, and Blue Velvet. Isaak has starred in his own critically acclaimed television series The Chris Isaak Show on SHOWTIME, has previously served as a judge on The X Factor Australia, and hosted the music talk show, The Chris Isaak Hour on BIO. 2019 marked the 30th Anniversary of Isaak’s beloved Heart-Shaped World album, which includes his breakthrough classic “Wicked Game”. Isaak was recently honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance by the Americana Honors.

Boasting impressive chart and sales success in Australia, Chris Isaak has enjoyed 12 x Top 20 albums, including the #1 set, Best of Chris Isaak (May 2006), and 3 x Top 3 albums – Forever Blue #2 in May 1995, Beyond The Sun #3 in October 2011 and First Comes The Night #2 in October 2015.  His Top 20 singles include some of contemporary music’s most iconic songs – Somebody’s Crying, reaching #5 in 1995, Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing which peaked at #9 in 1999 and the career-defining Wicked Game, which reached #15 in 1989 and boasts more than half a billion streams on Spotify alone.

****

“One of the hardest working men in show business has guaranteed his tenure on stages around the world long beyond his hits through slick live shows combining his voice and wicked sense of humour with a band willing to follow him almost anywhere.” – The West

“Isaak’s famous vocals were spot-on live, switching effortlessly between rock tunes and romantic crooning.” – Perth Now

“There was a number of genre leaps that saw them roll through country, pop, rock’n’roll, blues and soul; a mixture only someone with a voice as diverse, powerful and soothing as Isaak could pull off.” – The Music

“Chris Isaak proves yet again why he really is one of the most popular and polished professionals in the music industry … engaging, charming and a whole lot of fun.” – Reverb 

 

CHRIS ISAAK

IN CONCERT – AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND 2024

Kings Park & Botanic Garden, Perth               Thursday, April 4

State Theatre, Sydney                                    Wednesday, April 10

Palais Theatre, Melbourne                              Tuesday, April 16

Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington                 Monday, April 22

Spark Arena, Auckland                                   Wednesday, April 24

 

Also performing at A DAY ON THE GREEN

Mt Duneed Estate, Geelong                          Saturday, April 6

Peter Lehmann Wines, Barossa Valley          Sunday, April 7

Bimbadgen, Hunter Valley                              Saturday, April 13

Centennial Vineyards, Bowral                        Sunday, April 14

Sirromet Wines, Mount Cotton                       Saturday, April 20

Mastercard cardholders pre-sale runs from 10am, Tuesday, January 30 – 10am, Thursday, February 1.

Live Nation pre-sale runs from 11am, Thursday, February 1 – 10am, Friday, February 2.

General public tickets go on sale on Friday, February 2 at 11am, from livenation.com.au

 All times are local.

www.chrisisaak.com

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KATY KIRBY Releases New Album ‘BLUE RASPBERRY’

On her second album ‘Blue Raspberry’, the New York-based songwriter Katy Kirby dives headlong into the artifice of intimacy: the glitter smeared across eyelid creases, the smiles switched on with an electric buzz, the synthetic rose scent all over someone who's made herself smell nice just for you. An exegesis of Kirby's first queer relationship, ’Blue Raspberry’ traces the crescendo and collapse of new love, savouring each gleaming shard of rock candy and broken glass along the way.

Reaching high levels of critical acclaim before it was even released, 'Blue Raspberry’ has been named Stereogum’s Album of the Week and one of the Most Anticipated Albums of 2024 by Pitchfork, Stereogum, Paste, BrooklynVegan, The Tennessean and Uproxx, and the tracks “Cubic Zirconia” and “Party of the Century” were included on Best Songs of 2023 lists by Paste and Consequence.

Listen to it in full HERE

Many of the songs that make up ’Blue Raspberry’ stemmed from a single page of lyrical fragments, words and phrases that kept their hold on Kirby even as she slipped them into multiple settings. Images repeat on different songs throughout the album: cubic zirconia gleaming at a woman's throat, the lab-grown substitute indistinguishable from earth-crushed diamonds; salt crystallising as seawater dries on reddened skin; teeth that shine in a grin and then bite till they bruise. These refrains and reprises lend a tight narrative cohesion to the record, elevating its sharp queries into all the unlikely shapes love takes as it surges through you.

To underscore Blue Raspberry's lyrical themes, Kirby worked with her band to develop a newly lush sonic palette replete with orchestral gestures arranged by her friend Rowen Merrill. “I felt like I was intending to write love songs for the first time. Once I realized they were queer love songs and celebrating artificiality, I wanted them to sound like they were bidding for a spot in the wedding reception canon,” she says. “It was more fun to just go for it than to try to restrain ourselves. Especially if we were just accepting the fact that we were trying to make objectively beautiful music, whatever that means.”

 
Early Praise for ‘Blue Raspberry’

“ ‘Blue Raspberry’ couldn’t get here any sooner; it’s going to be the party of the century indeed.” – Uproxx

“ “Table” mixes intimate storytelling with bold, fuzzy electric guitar-driven accompaniment.” – American Songwriter

“ “Cubic Zirconia” is a gorgeous and endearing slice of indie-rock heaven, and it espouses the accouterments and aesthetic choices of a fresh love interest.” – The Hard Times

Katy Kirby is on another level right now … “Party of the Century” is pensive and sublime and harmonic, as the largely acoustic arrangement—packed with violin and folkloric percussion—establishes itself, immediately, as one of the best Kirby has ever proctored.” – Paste

“Katy Kirby is one hell of a writer, and she lets that talent take hold on “Hand To Hand,” a bleary, intimate shuffle of a song that burbles with discontent.” – Stereogum, The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

“Unflinching and far-reaching… Katy’s quiet confidence radiates throughout” – Dork

“Katy’s second is more cosmopolitan than 2021’s Cool Dry Place… polished indie folk” – Uncut, 8/10

Blue Raspberry

1. Redemption Arc
2. Fences

3. Cubic Zirconia
4. Hand to Hand
5. Wait Listen
6. Drop Dead

7. Party of the Century
8. Alexandria
9. Salt Crystal
10. Blue Raspberry

11. Table

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InterviewsTour Interview

Interview with Ville Valo (VV)

Click above to see Mitch chat with Ville Vallo ahead of his tour downunder in just a few weeks!

Brimming with charisma and gothic melodrama, Ville Valo commands your full attention both on and off the stage. Perfectly fusing the melodic and the melancholic, Valo is the embodiment of Johnny Cash, The Sisters Of Mercy, and Elvis with the lyrical elegance of Lovecraft, Poe, and Bukowski. He is truly one of a kind.
 
Being original does not come easy and creating an entire genre is next to impossible, yet with HIM, Valo did just that when he came soaring out of land of the midnight sun, hypnotising the globe with an enchanting mix of dark rock anthems and emotionally charged ballads.
 
With his distinguished baritone five-octave crooner voice, Valo's vocal prowess is unparalleled; equally at home making Chris Isaak and Neil Diamond classics his own or wearing his heart on his sleeve on HIM hymns, Funeral Of HeartsRight Here In My Arms or Wings of A Butterfly. In fact, VVN Music has ranked him as possessing the eighth-highest vocal range of any known singer in popular music and Loudwire ranked Valo as one of the greatest frontman of the 21st century. 
 
Valo’s evolution from the vampiric leader of HIM to the solo artist known today as VV is represented perfectly via HIM’s iconic Heartagram logo. Something Valo gifted the world when he created it on his 20th birthday. The truly iconic image perfectly captures the juxtaposition of the music with the heart representing its softer side, while the pentagram conveys the heavier, darker elements.
 
With VV, the Heartagram has been updated to include two extra lines to form the moniker VV at its centre. Ville playfully comments that, “Artistically speaking, the main difference between HIM and VV is the extra line in the Heartagram, but what an exquisite line it is!
 
VV’s debut solo album, Neon Noir was released in early 2023 and it further exemplifies his storytelling prowess and the ability to contrast darkness and light.
 
VV is performing select shows featuring a perfect mix of solo and HIM songs.

Metal Wani captured the mood of the London show back in March of this year:
When the house lights are killed, the venue is engulfed in a haunting emptiness. As strands of pink and purple begin illuminating the stage, a bright, cold heartagram appears from the darkness – accentuated by the updated VV at its core. Like a lighthouse beacon it cascades across the audience and as Ville Valo appears the reception is akin to a hero’s welcome. Delivering an holistic set that spans the entirety of his career. 
 
Be still our jet black hearts..

TOUR DATES
Wed, March 13: Powerstation, Auckland
Fri, March 15: Northcote Theatre, Melbourne
Sat, March 16: The Metro, Sydney
Sun, March 17: The Tivoli, Brisbane

Tickets on sale Thurs, August 10 @ 9.00am Local Time
ThePhoenix.au

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InterviewsTour Interview

Interview with Wednesday 13

Press play above to see Cass killer chat with Wednesday 13 recently about the Australian Tour!

WEDNESDAY 13 and his current band – which features former MURDERDOLLS alumni Roman Surman and Jack Tankersley – will be performing a full set of MURDERDOLLS songs, taken from the band’s celebrated 2002 debut album, ‘Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls’ and their triumphant 2010 return, ‘Women And Children Last’, which won them the Revolver Golden Gods Comeback Of The Year Award.

Amid a 2002 musical landscape full of baggy pants, backwards caps and tracksuit pants rose a metallic glam punk band that defied the prevailing trends and brought back hard and fast rock ’n roll. Murderdolls dug up the corpse of rock, defiled it and injected pure unadulterated undead life back into it. And it was glorious! 

'Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls’ and its successor, 'Women and Children Last' were like nothing else. Fast and dirty, raw and macabre. Drawing lyrical inspiration from classic horror, each tracks is full of tongue-in-cheek horror done to perfection. Led by horror-punk icon, Wednesday 13 and the late great Joey Jordison, Murderdolls slithered their way to the top of the horrendous heights of rock amassing a colossal cult-following along the way. 

The sinister, sneering vocals, huge hooks, gang vocal choruses, pounding rhythms and some of the best riffs ever penned, the Murderdolls wrote songs for arenas and played them in theatres, making their adrenaline-fuelled odes to darkness that much more thrilling. 

For the first time in well over a decade, Murderdolls' frontman and songwriter, Wednesday 13, will resurrect his songs from the twisted depths of their dual album discography and unleash an unforgettable set when they descend on Australia, breathing fire into the raucous anthems that have defined an entire subculture. 
 

“After 21 years since its release, and the recent sad and premature passing of Joey, it only feels right to go out and celebrate these songs. We made two amazing albums that I was very proud of, and unfortunately much of the world didn’t get a chance to hear the songs live. In 2018, we all got together at Joey’s house and discussed plans and possibilities for the future, but we both had other immediate plans, We will be performing tracks from both MURDERDOLLS albums on this upcoming tour and celebrating the legacy of the band.” – Wednesday 13
 

TOUR DATES
Friday, Feb 2: The Triffid, Brisbane
Sat, Feb 3: The Metro, Sydney
Sun, Feb 4: Max Watts, Melbourne
Tues, Feb 6: Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide
Wed, Feb 7: Rosemount Hotel, Perth

Tickets on sale Thurs, July 27 @ 9.00am Local Time
ThePhoenix.au

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PANDEMONIUM Hits Australia with Alice Cooper, Blondie, Placebo, and Deep Purple!

Some of the most iconic acts in rock and roll will make history at the inaugural
Pandemonium festival as it sweeps across Australia’s east coast this April!

Pandemonium is a rock fans dream come true, with an unparalleled lineup of rock legends including: 

Alice Cooper
Blondie
Placebo
Deep Purple
Wheatus
The Psychedelic Furs
Dead Kennedys
Gang Of Four
Palaye Royale

plus Australian icons
Wolfmother
Cosmic Psychos
Gyroscope

and introducing Thai solo artist Petch;

A dozen bands across two giant stages will be busting out countless hits that have become the soundtrack to our lives over the last half a century.

Schools Out, Call Me, Highway Star, Every You Every Me, Teenage Dirtbag, Love My Way, Holiday In Cambodia, Lonely, Damaged Goods and sooo many more. 

You know the bands, you know the songs. Pandemonium gives you the opportunity to experience some of the worlds' greatest bands – all in one day and night of incredible rock and roll!
A truly unforgettable experience.

PANDEMONIUM 2024
Saturday, April 20: Caribbean Gardens, Melbourne
Thursday, April 25: The Domain, Sydney (ANZAC Day Holiday)
Saturday, April 27: Doug Jennings Park, Gold Coast
Sunday, April 28: Sandstone Point Hotel, Bribie Island*
*Blondie not performing

PRE SALE TICKETS
Monday, January 22 from 9.00am until Monday, January 29 at 12.00pm local time

PUBLIC ONSALE
Tuesday, January 30 @ 9.00am local time

Tickets and Information for all events can be found at
www.pandemonium.rocks 

 

Pandemonium is proud to partner with some very important charities.
Their work with our Veterans and our Youth is essential.

In Sydney, Pandemonium takes place on ANZAC Day and both Legacy and Wounded Heroes will be on site. Top Blokes who work tirelessly in support of the prevention of Youth Suicide will be on site at the Gold Coast event.

Money from each ticket sold will be donated to all three organisations.

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