fbpx
loader
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Klash of the Titans @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 14/02/2024

Picture a legion of heavy metal enthusiasts converging upon our Forum, each adorned in the battle armour of their favourite bands. The air spewing with anticipation as they assemble, a sea of black shirts emblazoned with all the metal bands you could think of and their logos. Some shirts are worn with the pride of a veteran, faded and worn from countless gigs, while others are brand new, freshly acquired for this sacred occasion. Me in my Killers Tee, charged and ready to go.

Opening with an electrifying surge of energy, In Flames and Kreator brought an unforgettable night of metal mastery to an eager Forum packed crowd, awaiting the eruption of metal madness to consume them in a frenzy of sonic ecstasy on a steamy Valentine’s day. With a blend of melodic finesse and raw aggression, these two iconic bands left the audience in awe with their relentless performance.

In Flames, known for their innovative fusion of melodic death metal and modern metalcore, took the stage with an explosive presence. From the moment the first riff resonated through the venue, it was evident that this was going to be a night. A night due to how cranked the bass mix was that my wobbly bits were going to wobble. Lead vocalist Anders Fridén commanded the stage with ferocious intensity, his vocals soaring over the intricate guitar melodies and thunderous drumming. Tracks like Deliver Us and The Quiet Place captivated the crowd with a frenzy of screaming guitars and a sea of fans screaming into the night.

As the stage was bathed in an eerie red glow, Kreator emerged with a sonic assault that was nothing short of relentless. With their blistering thrash metal sound, the German titans delivered a performance that commanded your attention. Frontman Mille Petrozza’s guttural vocals cut through the air like a razor, while the precision of Sami Yli-Sirniö’s guitar solos left jaws dropping in amazement. From tracks like Hate Uber Alles to tracks like Enemy of God, Kreator’s set was a masterclass in thrash metal excellence.

In Flames and Kreator proved once again why they are two of the most revered bands in the metal scene. With their unparalleled musicianship, commanding stage presence, and unwavering dedication to their craft, they delivered a performance that will be remembered for years to come. As the final notes faded into the night, it was awesome to be amidst the sea of raised devil horns, there’s a sense of camaraderie, a shared bond forged through a mutual love for the music. Strangers become friends in the pit, united by the primal energy coursing through the air.

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Charley Crockett @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 13/02/2024

Tuesday saw just another classic Summer day in Melbourne – 37 degrees, damaging storms, torrential rain, flooding, gale force winds, power outages, all the usual stuff – however none of this deterred a bunch of keen music lovers who ventured out to see the talented Charley Crockett. The Texan country singer has been touring Australia with his band for the past few weeks, with his final show set for Perth on 14th February. 

Knowing very little about him and only a couple of his songs, I was interested to see the demographic of his fan base. Based on my last hectic country music experience at the Forum, I was well prepared for what potentially may lay ahead for me. If you’ve been reading my previous reviews then you’ll know I love people watching, especially at gigs. The fans that rolled out to this gig were a lot more sedate than my previous experience, and proved a solid point that you can’t always stereotype the fans a musician or band may attract. Given the thick, traditional country sound to his music, I was surprised to find only a handful of Stetson hats wandering through the crowd and a limited amount of plaid shirts and cowboy boots adorning the punters. From the ages of early 20’s to late 80’s and everything in between, it really was the ultimate mixed bag of people. 

As I settled into position in the historically beautiful Forum theatre, I managed to catch the last few songs of the first support act, Sweet Talk. The local Melbourne 6 piece outfit have got a damn fine sound, and I was disappointed I didn’t get to catch their full set(Thanks public transport delays). Country, soul, blues, with slight funk undertones and hint of honky tonk, these guys have got a dash of everything in their music, and lead singer Tane Walker’s voice has got an awesome soul quality to it. This is a band I’ll definitely be looking out for in the future – I need more of them in my life! 

Next up were Sydney country band Caitlin Harnett & the Pony Boys. With their solid country sound and Caitlin’s distinct soaring vocals, they proved to be a big hit with the crowd despite Caitlin joking at times “You don’t even know who we are”. Their recently released album All Night Long is sure to be a hit with fans old and new, and the song Sidelines – which Caitlin wrote for her sister- is definitely a stand-out track. 

There was an excited buzz travelling throughout the audience now, and I could tell everyone was gearing up for the main event. Well our appetites were about to be fed, as Charley’s band entered stage left followed by the man himself, decked out in his crisp Ten Gallon hat and acoustic guitar strapped firmly to his front. They opened the show with $10 Cowboy, and the crowd were absolutely thrilled! 

Charley then greeted us with a “good evening Melbourne”, which was met with a rowdy applause. Bass player Colin Colby then switched out his electric bass for a classic upright double bass which gave the next track, Black Sedan, a really deep and rich sound. 

Just Like Honey and Lies and Regret followed which the crowd really got into, and the latter was a real toe tappin’ boot scootin’ affair. Charley was flying through the songs back to back with minimal audience interaction in between, and amongst those were some James ‘Slim’ Hand covers including In The Corner. Into the mix he also threw in Hard Luck & Circumstances, Odessa and Look What You Done To Me, which had slight hints of New Orleans Jazz vibes with it’s arrangement. 

It was then we went to Welcome Hard Times, before it sounded like we were headed into a Mexican stand-off when the moody intro to The Man From Waco rang out and had the crowd singing along to the chorus. After a few more songs, including a Jerry Reed cover of I Feel For You, Charley then thanked and praised his wonderfully talented band and said that “they make a $10 cowboy look pretty good”. He then said he had to ask us something, and asked if we were having a good time? This was met with deafening cheers and applause, in which Charley then summoned a big Hallelujah from everyone in the room. 

It was then into another cover, this time Tom T. Hall’s That’s How I Got to Memphis, before we got down with the funky blues tune Travelin’ Blues. Charley then picked up his banjo for the first time that night and proceeded to play the bluegrass sounding track Darlin’ Six Months Ain’t Long, promptly followed up with Lily My Dear. Trinity River was a hit with the crowd, and once again this track with its upbeat jazz feel makes you feel like you’re marching down Bourbon Street in New Orleans in a Second Line Parade. 

It really amazes me how a song can make you feel an experience that you’ve never encountered before, and during Run Horse Run I truly felt like a cowboy in the Wild West riding in the saddle of my faithful steed. After finishing the ode to his home state Goin’ Back to Texas, he cheekily told us that because this was his second Melbourne show he was twice as good as he was the night before, money back guaranteed. His set then drew to a close with Midnight Run and a huge and thunderous applause from the crowd who were hungry for more. When I say the crowd were hungry, they were bloody starving for more once Charley had departed the stage. The cheering and stomping from the audience would’ve put the hyena stampede from The Lion King to shame, and the sound was deafening as the crowd were trying to summon him back to the stage for an encore. There was a long delay where it looked as if that was it and a few concert goers started to disperse, but their ravenous calls were met with Charley reappearing with his acoustic guitar and singing a solo version of Lonesome As a Shadow. It was then one last song with the full band before the night drew to a close and a lot of happy souls were left to venture out into the night for their journey home. 

Charley’s voice is a deep, smooth salve for the soul and at times reminds me a lot of the late great Johnny Cash. I am far from a country music aficionado by any means, however I feel his style of country music is a lot different to what you hear commercially released these days. His old school country sound pulls from influences like Hank Williams and George Jones, and made me feel like I was back in the 1950’s sitting in some little honky tonk bar in the depths of the Deep South. Charley is certainly a talented performer, not just vocally, but musically and with his cute little dance moves and dashing cowboy looks, he really is the whole country meal deal. I really enjoyed my night with Charley, and can now officially call myself a fan! 

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Rise Against @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney 05/02/2024

Monday the 5th of February brought Sydney sweaty record breaking humidity and Chicago based rock band Rise Against playing at Sydney’s intimate Enmore Theatre. On their 25th year together, Rise Against are celebrating the occasion by joining Blink-182 on their Australian and New Zealand tour, but not before treating fans to a few special solo shows. One in Melbourne and one in Sydney.

The band, which was formed in 1999 and went by the name Transistor Revolt for a year before settling on Rise Against, which they have stuck with since then. The band is made up of Tim McIlrath on vocals and rhythm guitar, Zach Blair as lead guitarist, Joe Principe on bass, and Brandon Barnes on drums. They are well known for aggressive and catchy hooks, as well as their outspoken lyrics on social issues such as animal rights, political injustice and environmentalism. 


Setting the tone for the night was Redfern based punk rock band, Beerwolf. With a very similar sound to Rise Against, they were the perfect choice as opener for the night. The band chatted with the crowd between songs, and at 8:30pm the band played their last song for the night and cleared the stage. 

Sound checks were carried out and finally the lights went dark. As the band took the stage of the Enmore Theatre, I imagine they were reminded of the last time they walked out on the same stage on March 9th, 15 years earlier.

As the air conditioning of the intimate Theatre strains itself, the distinctive chord progression of Prayer of the Refugee begins to play and the crowd recognises it, pushing forward towards the stage. Rise Against absolutely fills the venue with their energy right from the start, an unmistakable characteristic of a Rise Against show. 

What follows is truly a set list for the fans. An ode to the early years of band. Taking the audience back through history, starting in 2003 with Like The Angel from their album Revolutions Per Minute and unraveling the set with some of the biggest hits from their early albums.

The set list featured the most tracks from the albums The Sufferer & the Witness and Appeal to Reason, such as Re-Education (Through Labor), Ready to Fall, Survive, The Good Left Undone and The Audience of One

The set also included the tracks Satellite and Make it Stop (September’s Children) from their 2011 album Endgame and was only sprinkled with tracks from 2017 onwards with the only tracks making an appearance being The Violence from their album Wolves and Nowhere Generation from their newest album of the same name. 

There were more than a few stand out parts of the night. One being the acoustic set before the encore. The first track Hero Of War was a treat only for Sydney, having been left off the setlist the night before in Melbourne. Following up with Swing Life Away, McIlrath dedicated the track to his late friend Chris Cornell, former member of Soundgarden and Audioslave. McIlrath seemingly takes a moment to reflect, speaking with the crowd about doing what you want to do today, in case tomorrow doesn’t come. 

The other absolute stand out moment of the night was the song Give It All. The energy put out by the band to the audience was reflected right back by the crowd. For the first time McIlrath was down off the stage, standing on the barricades and singing quite appropriately ‘I give it all

Now there’s a reason why I sing

So give it all

And it’s these reasons that belong to me’.

The mosh pit holds the energy after that for the last two songs, as the band close the set with one of their most well known songs, Savior

Even after being together for 25 years, Rise Against are still complete Punk-Rock powerhouses. It’s obvious that their passion for the music and the message are what keeps them releasing music and touring, with such intensity and vigor for so many years.

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] The Darkness, Festival Hall Melbourne 03/02/2024

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album Permission to Land sees The Darkness back on Australian soil for an impressive string of dates. With singer Justin Hawkins going down with illness just before their arrival we have all been waiting with bated breath, but never fear The Darkness are here and ready to rock. They are no strangers to Australia being greedily lapped up with every visit, now it was my turn to see what all the fuss is about.

The iconic Melbourne stalwart Festival Hall is back up and running after a dubious period in no mans land, and I for one was glad to get back down to Dudley Street and rock out where so many music legends have graced the stage. The openers were plentiful giving punters great value for money, as Melbourne’s Cry Club and Brisbane’s DZ Deathrays got the party started. It was then up to Sydney lunatics You Am I to give the final warm up session. Treating us to a Spinal Tap set that opened up a world of nostalgic memories from the quintessential piece of fictional history. Tim Rogers was the perfect fit to pull off the The Majesty of Tap, he enveloped the role to perfection along with the perfect accompaniment in You Am I. Their musicianship and theatrics were the key to this set going next level, add to this Tim wearing silver flares and a black hooded cape it really set the tone. Stonehenge was delivered with faux stone appearing from the roof, keeping with the theme of the movie, it certainly enveloped the mocumentary with gusto. Hell Hole was another welcome additional and had the crowd up and about as Tim said “Open you cheeks to the sight and smell of the Tap!” as only he could. A wonderful addition to the show and a perfect fit for The Darkness.

The atmosphere was electric to say the least, green lights resembling a landing strip flashing down each side of the stage as The Darkness took full flight to an erupting Festival Hall. This show was their biggest in Australia to date and Melbourne music fans turned out in droves to witness this most prestigious celebration. Justin donning a red and black jumpsuit in his trademark fashion as they jumped into Black Shuck to get the party started. Working through the album in no particular order the fans were 100 per cent committed to making the show one for the memory banks with phones put away and everyone living in the moment. It felt like stepping back in time just people going nuts, hands in the air, clapping on command, dancing, singing and have a bloody awesome night.  Get Your Hands Of My Woman, Growing On Me, Givin’ Up were all slotted in as they worked through this cracker of an album. The punters singing the ‘oh, oh’s’ and ‘Givin Up, Givin Up Givin a Fuck’ with unabashed enthusiasm. Justin had now stripped the top half of his jumpsuit down saying “I didn’t think it would be this hot up here!”  But we all knew it wasn’t called ‘Festy Hall’ for nothing. Crowd engagement was second to none as Love Is Only A feeling and Stuck In A Rut played out, Rufus Tiger Taylor was smashing the skins to within an inch of their life and kept the set running like clockwork.

Dan Hawkins is really a jack of all trades when it comes to musical instruments, his guitar work is of the highest calibre as he strutted his stuff and worked the stage like a true professional.  Frankie Poullain kept pace with the bass, this four-string slayer did not miss a beat, so at home on the big stage as Friday Night saw the fans ready to sing. A sneaky little snippet of Led Zeps Immigrant Song was a worthy addition as super shredder Justin even noodled the intro of AC/Dc’s Thunderstruck before he launched into I Believe In A Thing Called Love. With Melbourne finally throwing up a summer day, good old Festy Hall started to really feel the heat, living up to its nickname in spades as the sweat drenched punters screamed for the one they had been waiting for. Arms aloft clapping in time it really was a sight to behold, Justin still hitting the high notes with faultless precision of a man many years his junior. With the roof well and truly raised the boys left the stage to cool their jets for five minutes but the Melbourne maniacs were having none of it as they stomped and clapped, and if you have been to Festival Hall before you would know those timber floor do love a good feet hammering. It was no surprise when The Darkness returned that Justin said he could hear the stomping from downstairs. With their outfits changed to bedroom attire, all four sporting silk robes or PJ’s of choice, even guitar tech extraordinaire Ian Norfolk sporting a robe. With Justin having more guitar changes than I have had hot dinners he was certainly kept on his toes, and he did not miss a beat. I can see why they call him the fifth member of the band.  Speaking of the band, Justin went on to do introductions to the tune of In The Air Tonight made famous by Phil Collins, with his brother Dan on the drums, mixing things up a bit. Once again I reiterate, super talented musicians!!

Justin launched into I Love You 5 Times, almost a cappella with the fans singing along until he strapped on his guitar and ramped it up a level or two.  Love On The Rocks With No Ice saw out the show and had the rabid crowd in a right frenzy as Justin took to the shoulders of one of his team and made his way in and around the floor of Festival Hall. All while shredding up a storm and not missing a single note, fans very respectful of him with the odd pat on the back as he made his way from one side to the other. After being delivered back on stage he showcased his skills again playing, jumping and even hopping on one leg as he played like his life depended on it.  Forever the showman and a moment forever etched in our hearts. The Darkness really are the complete package and if are yet to see them do not delay, with just a few shows left on this Australian tour it would be a cardinal sin to miss out.

Celebrating 20 years in the biz is no small feat but here’s hoping there will be many more years in the tank for The Darkness. Gauging on tonight’s performance Melbourne Airport will not just grant permission to land but dedicate a runway in their honour. Thanks for the thrills boys, here’s to seeing you back in Aus real soon!

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Australian Open Finals Festival, John Cain Arena, Melbourne 28/01/2024

While Sunday’s sweltering heat may have deterred some, it certainly didn’t put a damper on spirits at the final day of the Australian Open’s dynamic music event, Finals Festival. Three full days of local music, international stars, and DJ sets – guaranteed to leave your head moving and your feet tapping at this sporty-summer-ending-bash. This is going to be an electrifying finish to the Australian Open festivities.

As soon as I step through the gates of the Australian Open, I am met with an immediate wave of music. A trio of guys armed with a trumpet, saxophone and trombone are tearing through a rendition of Mambo No. 5. As tennis skirts, white visors and wedge heels move past me; I really start to drink it all in. Walking through this Mecca To Sport, I pass tall green muscled men on stilts, more free sunscreen samples than I can carry, and a really convincing Mike Posner cover act. Jamming out to Cooler Than Me, I find the entrance to John Cain Arena and the open-air spectacular that is Finals Festival.

Before I go inside and join the swarms of people inside a de-roofed John Cain, I lounge on the grass listening to the electro-pop tunes of Latifa Tee. A triple j radio host and DJ, she is a summer day with friends and strangers. An exclusive, new remix of Cupid is the perfect pairing with a cold drink, hot chips and prescription sunglasses to people watch. Latifa is so beautiful, completely smooth and in her element onstage. The heat seems to roll off her and she stays upbeat, hair curls perfect and unbothered as she works her magic on the decks.

Next up to the literal hot seat, is Melbourne’s own, Sunshine & Disco Faith Choir. They self-describe themselves as: A true ode to dancefloor salvation, Sunshine and Disco Faith Choir serve to share the gospel of disco faith with those whose enthusiasm lives in the hands of the music. These genre-benders feel almost too cerebral for so early in the day, but regardless I am completely enamoured by them. A disco lover to my very core; this is music for anyone who loves Nu-Disco, Fleetwood Mac, and an unbridled feminine ecstasy. This is a huge group. I’m talking, 12-piece choir big. From the opening minute of Welcome to the Dancefloor, one of the biggest earworms of the last 5 years, I knew these guys were going to be a grand slam. The sounds washing over the crowd are just incredible. There are moments that feel identical to a musical sermon. 10,000 people all holding their breath as Dreams floats over us, until an EDM beat rises inconspicuously into airspace. Then it’s a mess of swishing hair, rolling wrists and fan-flapping. Sunshine is dressed in these long flowing sleeves, with lace and feathers and a hat – of course. They are aesthetically and musically a marvel, and if they were taking on groupies – I’d have found my calling.

British drum and bass heavyweights Rudimental are the penultimate act at the Australian Open on this fine day. Festival staples, the three-piece are playing to a revved up crowd. 10,000 of us fight for the half of the arena that has shade. My years of training (going to emo and hardcore shows) have meant I have a great spot with view of the stage. While Rudimental are known for some Rhythm and Blues softness, today it’s time for daylight depravity. An extra heavy version of 2024 release Alibi is a highlight for me. The screens behind the stage are bright yellow, and red and pulsating. Smoke billows out onto the crowd and lights shine down onto us as we let loose into the sound. We are truly dancing the day away. As quick as they start, they’re off. They’ve even curated a great section of ‘hold music’ – including an EDM remix of 1965 The Temptations hit, My Girl. An entire crowd is screaming along to the words; My girl! / My giiirl for at least 3 minutes. And it’s beautiful. There is such a lively, upbeat and energetic vibe in John Cain this Grand Final.

Groove Armada come on and the arena is suddenly packed to the brim. So, I stand off to the side and watch Andy Cato and Tom Findlay run through a super high-energy DJ set. The two have such a great comradery with each other. They smile as though they’re making a joke none of us are in on. And to be honest? They could be laughing at us. We don’t care. As long as they keep the beats going. Personal favourite, reggae/ska infused electronica banger, Superstylin’ is one of the first cabs off the rank. Even though it’s still so sunny outside, it suddenly feels like night-time. Bright lights flash and I can feel the bass in my fingers. My bones are shaking with every rhythm change and beat drop. It’s awesome. There is something late-night about Groove Armada. They feel timeless, placeless – like if oblivion was a new club that we were all dying to be on the waitlist for. They’re effortlessly cool, low-stakes and perfect for grooving. You could not ask for a better closing act.

This was a day of sweat, icy drinks and teeth chattering levels of bass. An electric finish is putting it mildly. This was a trip through so many genres, people, drinks, laughs, songs, sets – I’m sad to have landed back on the tarmac. I still haven’t undone my seatbelt though, I’ll be here, hoping for one more lap around the court, just to get a fraction of those vibes again.

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[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.

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Robbie Williams @ AAMI Park Melbourne, 22.11.2023

Hell is gone and Robbie’s here there’s nothing left for you to fear, 

Shake your arse, come over here, now SCREAM!!!  

The surrounds of AAMI Park were awash with people, food & merch stands, glitter, and more people, and I excitedly approached the stadium because tonight I had a date. A date with a man that I have loved for a very long time and who doesn’t actually know that I exist. But a date, nevertheless. Enter: Mr Robbie Williams.  

It was an expected older crowd who were flooding through the gates and jostling for position to catch a glimpse of the global megastar. Whether you’re a fan or not his music is undeniably catchy, and you will always find yourself at least humming along to his familiar tunes. My partner in crime for the evening is a dear friend who loves Robbie as much as me. I dare say there would be bloodshed between us if one of us had’ve nabbed Robbie for ourselves. We found our seats promptly and despite Robbie not gracing the stage for another 2 hours, the excitement was pulsating within me already. 

The first support act for the evening were Lufthaus, an electronic dance duet who originate from Melbourne. They’ve spent a lot of time overseas building their following, and interestingly enough have actually collaborated with Robbie on a number of tracks. They got everyone in the mood with their continuous electro tracks, and they let everyone know how pleased they were to be playing to a home crowd for the first time. 

Next on the bill was British singer and former Supergrass frontman, Gaz Coombes. His music is a mix of pop and rock, and people seemed to be really digging it. Gaz and his band were energetic and rocked the stage for their entire set, right up until they exited the stage. It was interesting to note the contrast in the 2 support acts, which no doubt ensured everyone’s music tastes were met.  

As the sun dissipated and dusk was upon us, my heart was bursting and the butterflies were in full force causing havoc in my stomach. I knew the arrival of the great man was imminent, and that he was nearby and ready to blow the stadium away. The remaining lights went down, there was movement on the stage and the crowd started to get riled up. We were met with the introduction of Hey Yeah Wow Wow, and as the 3 cubes that doubled as screens started to rise from the stage, There. He. Was. Donning a black sequin suit, accessorised with a white Elvis-style scarf, there was the legend we had all been waiting for. The song was over in no time, and it was then that the instantly recognisable piano riff of Let Me Entertain You began, as Robbie marched down the catwalk stage that led out into the middle of the general admission area. Robbie piped up during the song with “Let me reintroduce myself, I’m Robbie Fucking Williams”. The crowd were completely beside themselves by this point, dancing and singing along to every word. This was my 3rd time seeing the British superstar, and despite being nearly 20 years since our last date, hot fucking damn this man has not lost a thing.  

The next song he led into was a cover of Wilson Pickett’s Land of 1000 Dances, which is a party starter at the best of times. There was more audience participation, and at one point Robbie had a little sit down because as he put it, “I’m fucking nackered, I’m nearly 50!” Robbie told us he was going to take us on journey, on a 33-year musical odyssey of his career. The way in which he did this was hilarious and heartfelt with a great dose of nostalgia. Robbie checked in and asked his crowd, “Am I amongst friends, Melbourne? Am I in a safe space to share with you?” The crowd went ballistic in support because yes Robbie, we are here for you ALWAYS.  

Next up was one of his early hits Strong, in which he jumped down into the crowd to get up close and personal with his fans. It was hilarious watching this unfold on the big screen as there were a sea of female hands grabbing and groping him from every angle. Come Undone followed, and during it’s musical intro he incorporated a bit of JPY’s Love Is In The Air. This is one of my most favourite Robbie songs, and I was belting it out as loud as I could, along with the rest of my fellow concert goers.   

It was then Robbie wanted to take us on a trip back to 1990. On this trip he told us the Berlin Wall hadn’t long come down, Nelson Mandela had been released from prison, a young Australian cricketer was preparing to make his debut (this little tribute sent the crowd wild – R.I.P Warnie), and most importantly in that year a little boy band was formed called, Take That. There were a lot of Take That fans in the audience, and when we were treated with the music video to the band’s song Do What You Like, in which we were exposed to a close up image of 16-year-old Robbie’s arse in the clip, the crowd were THIRSTY. He then went on to play their song Could It Be Magic, in which he bailed on halfway through as he exclaimed “Na, I can’t be arsed!” He then shared a little anecdote of that era, when he went to Glastonbury with a bag full of drugs and champagne and hung out with 2 brothers from a popular UK rock band at the time. This was of course a segway into a cover of the Oasis classic, Don’t Look Back in Anger. Robbie took on the iconic Gallagher stance at the mic as he sung the song and at this point, I wasn’t sure that life could get any better than that moment.  

The Take That fans then got what they wanted with a version of Back For Good. Robbie went on to tell us that despite all the struggles he’s had to endure with his career, life, mental & physical health etc, that now he is actually the happiest he has ever been. If you’re someone who has followed his career both on and off the stage, then you know that this is a huge deal. This led into his song I Love My Life. Better Man followed and the audience took it upon themselves to provide backing vocals once again, and I found this song and its lyrics hitting me differently than they had ever done previously.  

The upbeat track Candy followed, before a moody and atmospheric performance of Feel with an intricate light show that perfectly set the vibe. After watching Robbie’s new Netflix documentary (which I highly recommend by the way), I realised during the show that songs like Feel, Better Man & Come Undone and their lyrics certainly hit a lot differently than they did previously. The lyrics are obviously raw and confronting and despite following his career for a long time, the doco really was an eye opener into his mental state over the years and the struggles he’s encountered, putting everything into a different light. 

It was time to pick the pace up again, as the intro to Kids started to play out. I did turn to my friend and say, “oh my god I wonder if Kylie is in town??” Sadly she wasn’t, so Robbie’s talented back up vocalists rotated the female vocal part of the smash hit. Robbie then ‘had a proper giggle and was quite polite’ as he then led into Rock DJ, in which the crowd were well and truly going off by now. Just to clarify, the crowd were psyched for the show’s entirety, but there were just some songs that amped them up even more. Robbie then departed the stage to indicate the end of the show, however of course he was just playing with us because there would’ve been a riot had there not been an encore. 

The stage lights went up again and the music started. It was now time for everyone to stand for the national anthem, as the intro to John Farnham’s You’re The Voice played out. The 3 cubes at the back of the stage rose again, revealing Robbie wearing an Australian Cricket Team t-shirt. John Farnham in all his mulletted glory appeared on a screen behind Robbie singing along, and it wasn’t until Robbie pointedly turned around to show us, that we realised the back of his shirt was emblazoned with WARNE 23 on the back. Cue goosebumps, tears & and an overwhelming response from the crowd for this lovely tribute to an Australian legend. Robbie then singled out a lady in the front row to dedicate She’s The One to. In a hilarious interaction, there was another woman standing there who was so overwhelmed with emotion and was trying to get in on the action too. Robbie’s cheeky banter with them both made it extra entertaining, and I truly envied the woman in which the song was dedicated to. 

To top off the night Robbie rounded out the set with his usual finale of Angels. This time he dedicated it to the lady who tragically passed away after having an accident at one of Robbie’s Sydney shows. Once again it was a touching moment, and with a sea of phone lights before him (gone are the days of the old lighters swaying in the crowd), it was a magical sight to behold and be a part of. Robbie and the band then took their bows to exit the stage, but it seemed Robbie was just having too much fun to leave. Long after the band had departed, he hung around singing the start of a few of his songs acapella and then encouraged the crowd to finish it. He of course had to get one last cheeky quip in, and asked who in the audience were Carlton supporters. You can imagine the response that got with a lot more boos than cheers, and Robbie found it hysterically funny and said, “I love asking that, that is fucking hilarious”. He then started singing the first few bars of Better Man in which the crowd continued as Robbie then snuck off stage and into his waiting van side of stage to whisk him away. 

“I just wanna Feel, real love” … and Robbie, real love is what you gave us. Robbie’s charisma alone is a show in itself, and his extended interactions with the crowd throughout the night were nothing short of entertaining & hilarious. He also has the uncanny ability to stare straight down the barrel of a camera, and have you believe he is looking and singing directly to you and you only, which is how I felt every time I watched the big screens. I may be bias, but you really can’t dispute the fact that he is a brilliant showman and knows exactly how to get the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. I truly didn’t want the night to ever end, and I was a mix of elation and sadness leaving the stadium with my raspy throat from singing and screaming, and my sore cheeks from the permanent smile that was plastered to my face for the night. The first song to play in the background after the show was finished was Time Of My Life from Dirty Dancing, and the audience were singing along with it even after they’d departed the stadium. Once outside the stadium I could still hear the crowd singing it and thought it was quite poignant, given that each of us really did have the time of our life that night. 

If you’ve never seen Robbie Williams live then he definitely needs to be added to your bucket list, as he is one singer even the most minor of fans need to see at least once in their lifetime. We love you Robbie, Australia loves you, and I hope you come back to our shores sooner rather than later!!   

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Bloc Party / Interpol @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne 16/11/2023

In what can only be described as A Y2K indie rockers wet dream, Manhattan force, Interpol, and London legends, Bloc Party team up for an epic amphitheatre takedown. Both groups soundtracked the early noughties with masterful debut albums and their sets on this cool November evening were showcases of their longstanding double decade careers.

Having just returned from a two-week European and UK tour,  Awabakal Land / Newcastle post-punk five-piece, dust settled the crowd with playful power-hits Joy (Guilt) and Ward 52

“We’re dust from Newcastle. This is a lifetime experience.”

As tight and energetic as these young guns were, notably, the rolling green hill of the Bowl was met by ill panning and compression issues on the sound, an unfortunate error that slid into the first half of Interpol’s set and reappeared throughout Bloc Party’s set, seeing the larger-than-life stylings of both indie greatest fractured. Muffled and muddied, the guitars stuck together like chewing gum and vocals were drowned. Gut-punches from the heavy set drumming celebrated throughout both artists’ discographies were non-existent in this fader faux pas but both bands made up for the production problems with intense delivery and enthusiasm.  

Paul Banks strides to the stage mic, his look coming straight out of Don Henley’s ‘Boys of Summer’ – “that hair slicked back and those Wayfarers on baby”. He is joined on-stage by Daniel Kessler, and Sam Fogarino, and touring members Brandon Curtis and Brad Truax all donning head to toe black ensembles and a New York coolness. 

They launch into the mammoth opener of‘Untitled with the first half of the set topped with classic cannonballs including C’mere, My Desire, Roland, and crowd favourite Obstacle 1

The lighting techs excelled in elevating the show. Interpol lived in red lighting states throughout majority of their set with pops of blinding whites and reflections from the low-hanging mirror-ball behind Fogarino, echoing their 2002 debut Turn On The Bright Lights album title and cover art, and a palette that has been threaded through their entire discography of artwork. 

The screen relay was set to black and white, making use of delays, fading transitions and slow mo effects for a real rock and roll vibe.

To a shifting blue light, Rest My Chemistry from the 2007 Our Love To Admire was a Pixies delight at the time of release. Live, the drifting melody of Kesslers guitar with Banks’ prosaic vocals is transportative.  

Sitting largely in their first three albums, Interpol catered to their mostly middle-aged audience, offering only two recent tracks from last year’s The Other Side of Make-Believe, Into The Night and Toni. They closed out with a chorus of “Rosemary”’s for the highlight Evil, rounding out a quality set with The New and Slow Hands.

The impact of this monumental co-headline tour was not lost on either Banks or Bloc Party’s energetic frontman, Kele Okereke

“It’s amazing being back in Australia. It’s been a while so it’s nice to be back with you after so long and sharing the stage with Bloc Party,” Banks acknowledged.

“Good evening Melbournia. We are Bloc Party from London and we are heaps excited to be here tonight. That’s the true,” Okereke quipped as a lead into You Should Know The Truth after slamming in with last year’s Alpha Games hit In Situ. Later in the set, the euphoric This Modern Love was also dedicated to their co-headliners; “They took us on our first ever tour so this song is for them.” 

Kele Okereke’s vibrant green and black cardi, paired with a cream headband, only lasted three songs before being discarded. Bloc Party were here for one reason only. 

“Let’s get this party started,” Okereke exclaimed as the eerie descending notes of Hunting For Witches launched.

Okereke kept the set lively with his contagious stage presence and general hype-attitude. From some cheeky quips to the stage crew “Thank you John that’s enough. He wants his own spin-off show. Now get out of here”, to pumping up the crowd with lines like “Let’s keep it rolling”, his infectious energy rolled into the crowd. 

Offering epileptic strobing, Kettling from the 2013 FOUR brought some pop punk power whilst Song For Clay (Disappear Here) was prefaced by Paul Kelly classic Dumb Things

The middle aged crowd of indie rock ‘n’ rollers were blessed back in 2018 with hearing the game changing debut Silent Album in full on Bloc Party’s last tour and it shows that the album is still as beloved. While only four songs made the bill this time around they were all met with explosive sing-alongs. Banquet was the first in the set with drummer Louise Bartle elevating the track with a smashing tempo building to a huge “I’m on fire” screaming match.

Okereke’s energy did not dwindle, incorporating fancy footwork into Different Drugs and playing with the vocal pedals on the ground. He also never missed a beat with the banter.

Ahead of the latest track from The High Life EP, Blue was introduced with a dig at our weather, “If I wanted a cold summer evening I may as well have stayed in London”.

The final leg of the set was one of epic proportions, not just for the song choices but for the audience’s liveliness, which had thus far ebbed and flowed throughout the evening, spiking for nostalgic songs. The brooding So Here We Are saw Bartle back on the fire, a hard task considering Matt Tong’s original drumming was intense and dynamic. Guitarist Russell Lissack came to the party in this section. Whilst a bit of an enigma on stage, he makes the guitar sing the heavenly builds, catapulting the revelatory, “I figured it out”.  

Swapping to cutting guitar lines, Lissack led in a crowd chorus for Helicopter. There is nothing quite like 13,000 people singing the line “As if to say he doesn’t like chocolate”. Flux followed for a dance floor epic. Okereke hugs his guitar to his chest during the second verse before leading a clapping army from front to the back of the hill, leading perfectly into The Prayer.

Revealed as a song about a boy from St Kilda, the Interpol dedicated This Modern Love started off on a high note. A favourite all round, the build in the recorded version is monumental but live it fell flat in the crescendo. The pummelling “This modern love, breaks me” repetitive bridge lacked guts with Okereke singing down an octave. Not quite the euphoric moment experience of their last Australian tour but still the ultimate Bloc Party belter.

Ending on a high note was what Okereke referred to as a certified banger. “We have one more rocket in our pocket. Back home we call this one a banger but I don’t know what you call it in these parts. Do you like a banger Melbourne?”, he questioned, going out with the rambunctious Ratchet.

Whilst both Interpol and Bloc Party sets suffered sound-wise, both 2000’s giants both put on a show set to invigorate the indie dream and the crowd lapped it up.

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Among The Restless @ The Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne 11/11/2023

There is nothing quite as sexy, quite as quintessentially Melbourne, quite as refreshing as a good live gig. Among The Restless wasn’t just a good gig, but a great one. They perfectly captured the Aus-Rock culture many of us love. Never have I seen an intimate mosh go off so hard, both of my glasses now sit on the Evelyn Hotel’s floor, in pieces.

And what was the glorious, sexy, punchy occasion? Me and a swarm of fans of all ages were gathered in the Evelyn’s fantastic band room to celebrate Among The Restless’ new single; PIXEL JUNKIES. Supported by several other small Melbourne bands; Tudor Club, Mathilde Anne and SCUD. Tonight was an absolute feast for the indie-music senses. I don’t have time to go over every band on this list, as Among the Restless put on one hell of a show and we’d be here for 3 hours (easily), but I highly recommend every single one of these bands. They created an atmosphere perfectly amplified by the purple stage lights, and air thick with the smell of Moon Dog Fizzers. There was something for everyone, from the occasional sad, lyrically wrenching Radiohead-esque moments to high energy tracks reminiscent of contemporaries Ocean Alley, Lime Cordiale or Wallows. I understand why Among the Restless has such a large, dedicated, diverse fan-base. Metal mum’s, Mitski die-hards and Punk teens were all standing shoulder to shoulder, spellbound by the 5-piece’s musical magic.

Torn is such a tasty opener. As a massive 90’s post-Rock fan, I can feel the influence of bands like Sunnydale Real Estate, several Grunge heavyweights, and Pavement. They really have a little bit of everything, and tasty is the perfect word. The bass, the guitars, the driving drums and vocals, all of it fuses together and it melts on my tongue. After opening up with Torn, powerfully enigmatic front-man Rhett James takes to the mic. Dripping with charisma, he spends a lot of the night talking directly to this crowd of hungry fans. We eat up every word, and he knows it. “Stay restless!” He barks the order at us, and we completely obey. Back-to-back bangers No Sense // No Feeling and Ego push the night to an impossibly high level. These songs have a definite ‘kick’ to them, elevating from just tasty to fuelling. I’m nervous – how will they go keeping up this level of energy? But I shouldn’t have had any fear, Among The Restless have the attitude and bite of musicians 20 years their veterans.

Rhett beams at us, “This is the saddest song from our second EP. Written by yours truly, our guitarist Seamus, it’s called Star Crossed.” Magician on the strings, Seamus Glenn coyly smiles and in a shy little voice just says, “stop it.” The love between them is clear, and it’s wonderful. Star Crossed is without a doubt, a crowd favourite. Everyone around me is lost in reckless abandon, and all I can hear is a chorus of “How low! How low!” Faces are red and screaming, the band room is entirely under a spell. It must be an absolute treat for Rhett’s family, who are up visiting from Brisbane. His brother is wading through the crowd taking photos and videos of twenty-somethings losing their fucking minds. “It’s quite emotional actually” and I hear James’ voice crack a little. But immediately he has to lift the mood, “Josh’s bass is fucked and Lachie’s guitar has fallen off, so now I’ve gotta stall. I’ll tell you a story I guess. One time Seamus and I got into Berghain, and we learned how to dance the proper, European way. And then kissed some German guy.” For the uninitiated, Berghain is maybe the most exclusive club in the world, with online simulator games to test if you’re “cool” enough for Berlin’s upper-echelon of club rats. Among the Restless are cool enough for Berghain, confirmed.

Slave Within the Change has to be another crowd favourite, this is the song where the first of my two glasses got smashed. I understood. One can’t not move to the 5-piece powerhouse of masculine love, energy and musical ecstasy.

“We’re gonna play a song we finished like last week, so it’s probably the only time you’re gonna hear it in a long time. One of us wrote this song about an ex-girlfriend who really liked the movies. So, yeah. Stay tuned, it’ll probably come out in a year.”  The unreleased track is aptly named Cinema, and I can’t wait for its release. As the ex who really likes the movies, the lyrics are a perfect cocktail of funny, aching, and catchy – the Among the Restless specialty.

For a song no one’s heard, it gets rowdy. People are getting so down and so dirty. Rhett seems genuinely surprised, “This turnout’s fucked hey.” And people cheer, jump in the air and knock over yet another one of my glasses. “I saw someone do a bump before, that shit was lit. Keep it up.” And the drums kick us into Missing Pieces. The instrumentals in this band are fucking ridiculous, shimmery guitars, pounding bass and drums that dance around each other – it’s such a delight.

The 5 piece move offstage to grab stools, and I was very confused. Stool break? That’s a first. But when they come back, the fellas sit down and dish up an acoustic cover of Underground. It’s so beautiful. So beautiful. Rhett’s vocals really shine here. The pipes on this kid are next level, ethereal shit. I’m spellbound, and every inch of me has goosebumps.

The Screaming Jets are Aus-Rock royalty, and as a fellow Novocastrian, my ears immediately perked up hearing their name. In a tribute to James’ close family friend, Paul, they lose themselves in a neck-breakingly good cover of Needle. It’s bittersweet, powerful and shows the importance of community and musical brotherhood. Rest in Peace, Paul.

Wastecase into Someone Else leads us to the absolute showstopping finale of Lucy and, of course, PIXEL JUNKIES. Rhett comes out in full drag, “THIS IS FOR THE MILF’s”, is what I’m 99% sure he said. And god I hope it is. MILF Supremacy. Sporting his outfit from the recently released film clip, the stage littered with props from the same, it dawns on me as they shred through their final number and brand new single; these guys are the embodiment of the Wheatus song Teenage Dirtbag. They’re sweaty, messy with bleached buzzcuts and mullets, but they’re so much fun. They get the girl, they lose the girl, they write an amazing track. Honestly, they capture something so uniquely Australian, so nostalgic and outrageous. Stream this shit, I’m being dead serious. It’s so, so good.

Among The Restless are keeping the traditions of Aus-Rock alive. They don’t take themselves too seriously, they have such loving energy between them. They embody the community, the comradery and the love of music. And god can they play. With a setlist nearly 90 minutes long, they never get sloppy. All of them were born to play their instrument, it seems as natural as breathing. Keep an eye on these guys; I just know they’ll be big.

Read More