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InterviewsTour Interview

Interview with Joe Sumner

We’re proud to announce the release of a new LIVE EP from Joe Sumner, Feelin’ The Love, Tastin’ The
Fear. The 5-track affair is an unfiltered chronicle of a performance in France in November 2022, complete with Sumner's undeniable raw energy and French language repartee played to a lively and engaged audience. The tracks will be featured on Sumner’s debut studio album, Sunshine In The Night, due out later this year.

The EP release runs concurrently with a 3-month string of tour dates in support of Sting, and spanning no less than 10 time zones, taking him from Abu Dhabi to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and more.

Now living in Los Angeles, Joe maintains “proud dad” status, while churning out highly listenable indie folk pop masterpieces, including “Hope,” the studio version of which had a hot point during the 2020 Election, co-opted by the Biden campaign and concurrently used as source material for a star studded video clip featuring folks like Gaby Moreno, Ben Folds, Juliana Hatfield and Joe’s dad, in a heartfelt singalong. MSNBC Morning Joe premiered the video, which also featured the show’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

2 more tracks, “You You You” and “Looking For Me, Looking For You,” also to be featured on Sunshine In The Night and performed live in Strasbourg, were ceremoniously rolled out in 2022 with the help of American Songwriter, Rolling Stone and others amid an almost ceaseless touring agenda supporting Sting and playing solo dates in EU, UK and stateside.

Kicking off his musical career in London in the nineties, Sumner has spent far more than the perfunctory 10,000 hours perfecting his craft. There, he formed a band called Santa’s Boyfriend, which subsequently became the beloved trio, Fiction Plane. The band enjoyed a moment, well, several years of moments, a few record labels, a small handful of releases, a well-cultivated fan base and an 18-month tour supporting another trio, The Police before parting ways.

Joe Sumner’s Feelin’ The Love, Tastin’ The Fear is out now…

Joe Sumner will open for his father Gordon Sumner (aka Sting) on all his Australian dates. The tour kicks off tonight in Perth.

Sting dates are:

10 and 11 February, Perth, Kings Park & Botanic Gardens
15 and 16 February, Sydney, Aware Super Theatre
18 February, Hunter Valley, A Day On The Green
19 February, Mount Cotton, A Day On The Green
21 February, Adelaide, Entertainment Centre
23 February, Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
25 February, Mt Duneed, A Day On The Green
26 February, Bowral, A Day On The Green

https://www.livenation.com.au/artist-sting-95800

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[Review] Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Marvel Stadium, Melbourne 07/02/2023

Having been to many gigs of bands from various genres, I’ve found myself noticing the fans as much as I pay attention to the musicians. Different artists tend to attract different age demographics and usually the fans of the band will also mirror the fashion sense and general style of their idols. Today, however, was an exception. There was no one-word generic description that applied to the congregation gathered at Marvel Stadium. Everybody was here, and the reason for that, is that everybody loves the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Post Malone was a special guest on this tour with the Peppers and many of the fans had turned up early to ensure that they wouldn’t be late for his set. It was a performance jam packed with some of the biggest hits of his career, including songs like Better Now, I Fall Apart, Rockstar and Sunflower.  Post Malone performs with so much passion and intensity and you can feel the love from his audience. After every song he takes the time to reiterate how much he appreciates the support from his fans and from the response you can clearly see that the feeling is mutual.

During an acoustic performance of Stay he invited a lucky fan to join him on stage to play the guitar while he sang. In true blue Aussie fashion, Post Malone even took the time to do a “shoey” which won him even more of the crowd’s approval. His fans love his music but I think they love him even more because of how much he cares for them and makes them feel special.

Fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been waiting for well over a decade for the reunion of the band and guitarist John Frusciante. The funky monks were back together again, and I was lucky enough to be among the fans that witnessed their return. John Frusciante, Flea and Chad Smith strode out on stage and immediately went into one of their signature improvised jams that they are well-renown for. The chemistry and artistry were incredible to see live. Constantly feeding off each other, they conversed musically while building the tension for what was to come next. As the jam came to its apex, Chad Smith signaled the transition with a roll on his snare and Anthony Kiedis and the band entered seamlessly into Can’t Stop and following that up with Universally Speaking.

Many years ago I watched a live DVD of the Peppers performing at Slane Castle. That show is one of the single greatest live performances I have ever seen and all these years later watching them, it was as if the years that passed have had no effect on them. They sang, they played, they danced with the same joy as someone who had discovered music for the first time.

I could write endlessly about how impressive each member of the Peppers are but it is truly so captivating when they play together that I was undoubtedly awestruck. Four separate musicians who almost appear to connect with each other on a telepathic level. Playing with a level of virtuosity usually only seen by jazz veterans, and yet they find a way to deliver it so that their music is instantly accessible by anyone.

Crowd favourites, Californication and By The Way drew some of the most raucous responses of the night and I felt the floor of the stadium quake as tens of thousands of fans danced the night away. Just as our fluttering hearts felt like they could take no more, the Red Hot Chili Peppers returned to the stage for an encore and rewarded us with Under The Bridge and Give It Away. This was much more than a gig, it was a tick-it-off-the-bucket-list event. I never imagined the day would come when I would get to see the Peppers with this line up and now that I have, I’m still pinching myself as I reminisce.

There is an old joke about jazz music; it says that a jazz band is a group of musicians who are enjoying themselves more than the audience. In the case of the Peppers, we the fans clearly enjoy bearing witness to their artistry – yet I have a strange feeling that somehow they still might be having a better time than all of us. After all these years they still exude so much joy in playing their music with each other. This is the reason they started a band. This is the reason I fell in love with playing music. And that my friends, is nothing short of pure magic.

You can still catch Red Hot Chili Peppers one more time in Melbourne before they head off to Perth for the final show of this tour. 

Thursday 9th Feb 2023 @ Marvel Stadium, Melbourne

Sunday 12th Feb 2023 @ Optus Stadium, Perth

Tickets available here

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[Review] Halestorm @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney 4/02/2023

It's been a while. Living over two hours north of Sydney, ongoing health issues and then covid restrictions combined to make my #giglife pretty much non-existent since 2019. Recently returning to review writing has given me the boost I needed to get back out amongst the living post pandemic. Halestorm and Theory (of a Deadman) live at the Enmore Theatre this weekend was my “return to normal life” concert. And what a gig! It was a Sold Out show in Sydney, the place was packed to the rafters and the crowd was hyped for a night of rock ‘n’ roll. The line to get into the Enmore Theatre ran down the street and around the corner in both directions.  As I waited for my friend to arrive, I people-watched and noted that it was an interesting demographic. From young kids possibly attending their first gig with their mum and or dad to older GenX and everything -and I mean everything- in-between. I determined that it's an intriguing and eclectic mixture of people who gravitate to and like Halestorm.

The Enmore Theatre finally opened its doors and the staff were well trained to get the crowd off the street and inside as quickly and as efficiently as possible. There was a big crowd at the merch table so it's obvious that music fans are more than happy to pay and support their favourite artists, that's an awesome thing to realise. Long Live Live Music!  My friend and I found a spot up the back near the sound and light techs, the general admission area was packed. 

It's showtime, and Canadian alt rockers Theory enter the stage. Apparently explaining the Of A Deadman part got tiresome to them so now it's just Theory, opened as the support act. It's a bit of a turnaround as Theory were the first band to take a young Halestorm on their first international tour with them as their support band, back in the day. Theory played a solid set of original and cover songs including fan favourites Rx (Medicate), Bad Girlfriend, new single Dinosaur and the Chris Isaac evergreen, Wicked Game. The sound mix had the drums vibrating through the floor and into your body which often made it difficult to clearly hear the vocals, but apart from that, it was an enjoyable set. The band were tight showing that they have been at this for a long time. Theory frontman, Tyler Connolly engaged and joked with the audience for about 45 minutes and warmed the crowd up for the main event.

Changeover was pretty quick, with a strange, somewhat eclectic selection of background music then after AC/DCs Hells Bells played over the speakers, the lights dimmed and American rockers Halestorm entered the stage to the welcoming cheers of the audience. Distorted guitar filled the room and the throaty scream from Lzzy Hale filled the theatre … “I'm Back From The Dead…” and we were off and running for a setlist filled with new and fan favourite tracks. It's exactly what I expected as Back From The Dead is the perfect song to open the set post-lockdown. Moving into Love Bites before playing new song, Wicked Ways to cheers from the audience. The crowd sang along with Lzzy to I Get Off followed by Brightside and current single, Mine from the Back From the Dead album (2022). The lights dimmed as the band exited and the stage crew brought a keyboard on stage. Lzzy returned, chatting with the audience as she began to play Break In, then moving into Dear Daughter, and Raise Your Horns. It was a short “acoustic” interlude where the audience sang along loudly, horns raised in the air and in lieu of a lighter, phone torches lit up. Joe Hottinger, guitarist, re-entered the stage once again as he played the opening riff to Familiar Taste of Poison, midway through, Bassist Josh Smith and Drummer Arejay Hale joined their bandmates building the intensity of the song until the end. 

Then it was time for Arejay’s drum solo. It was entertaining as always, and he elicited cheers and laughter as he brought on a set of oversized drumsticks and continued to play. It’s his schtick, he does it at every show and the crowd always seem to enjoy it as they did this time. 

Then Lzzy returns to the stage and asks, “Are you a Freak Like Me?” and the band burst into the song from the 2012 album A Strange Case Of… Flowing into 2018’s Back Vultures and rounding out the 75+_ minute set with the second single from the latest album, The Steeple

The lights went down, Halestorm exited the stage and the crowd began to cheer, chant and clap, imploring the band to return for an encore. They happily obliged, returning to play Here's To Us, Mayhem and I Miss The Misery. Picks and sticks were tossed into the crowd, the now obligatory band on stage with audience in the background pics were taken, someone handed them an Australian flag with the Halestorm logo on it, which they held up, thanking the Aussie fans for their patience and support during covid. 

The concert was everything that you would expect from a band of this calibre. Halestorm are one of the hardest working bands on the planet often playing in excess of 250 shows a year, they are professional and have perfected their particular style of show. Halestorm are a group who have kept that humble pub-band energy about them and they pull it off with aplomb. This was a short tour, in and out in three days, the three East Coast capital cities plus a couple of shows earlier in the week in NZ, then off to Japan. Lzzy mentioned during the concert that she was feeling tired and with their touring schedule, I’m not surprised, but she didn't show it. The band interacted with each other and with the crowd giving an energetic performance.

The intercommunication between Lzzy and Joe is almost cute as they vibe off each other with looks and smiles. Lzzy is multi-talented and as a frontwoman to a hard rock band, she is impressive and engaging. Some artists do outfit changes, Lzzy does guitar changes. As Gibson’s first female brand ambassador, with a stunning signature guitar, she is laying a path for young women in rock music. The #GuitarPorn at a Halestorm gig = #ChefsKiss. Joe Hottinger pulled out a couple of impressive lead guitar solos and Josh Smith's bass drove the rhythm with Arejays drumming.  At times the sound mix was way too bass forward for my liking. It was loud, but not painful or jarring. I’m probably being nit-picky, because quite honestly, I can't think of anything negative to say. 

At the end of the show they thanked and acknowledged their support act, Theory, and also acknowledged several fans in the front row who had followed them from city to city on this tour. If you've never seen Halesstorm perform live before, and you love a fun night out with a tight, entertaining pub-style rock band, then I highly recommend you do so next time they hit our sunny shores. 

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[Review] Aminé @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 06/01/2023

On the 6th of January the beloved Forum Theatre welcomed in thousands of excited faces, eagerly awaiting for Aminé to hit the stage. Advancing into the foyer like an army of loyal troops, it was clear that Aminé fanbase was strong- united in their love for his intoxicating presence, and quirky persona. There was, however, one fan who was quite new to the scene, and uncertain of what to expect. This fan was me. I knew of Aminé, and of course was familiar with Caroline, the song that catapulted him to commercial recognition. However, it is safe to say, that my musical pallet surrounding alternative hip hop and rap was…rather dry. So, as I entered the Forum and took my spot amongst the buzzing crowd, I hoped and prayed that I might leave the show a little quenched.

And boy did I.

Starting off the night, Dj Classic warmed up the crowd with a classic game of call and response. Within a few minutes, strangers were acting like best mates, and it was clear that this pre show entertainment was there to lay the ground rules for the night: go wild, dance, but do it all as one. Following Dj Classic, B Wise took to the stage. I was majorly impressed with his ability to take the audience’s growing energy, and send it into the stratosphere. With songs like Who?! and Won’t Stop, B Wise demonstrated his slick lyrics and insatiable beats with incredible prowess; all the while maintaining a sense of gratitude and connection with his audience. With his concerted effort to look directly at his crowd, and his constant reminder to befriend and look after one another, B Wise felt like an artist at the top of his game, as well as a close and trusted friend. My favourite moment was when he took a moment to acknowledge his Nigerian roots before performing Ezzina, a song that oozed funk, heart, and soul. Side note: I still can’t get that guitar riff out of my head!

By this point in the night, the crowd of newly formed friends were as prepped as they could be for Aminé‘s entrance. So, when that moment came, and aminé danced his way onto the stage, the wild cheers was exactly what I was expecting. Kick starting his set with Mad Funny Freestyle, Aminé’s kooky lyrics and hilarious wordplay were accompanied by spectacular visuals that were as creative and dynamic as his rapping. Between Aminé‘s commitment to jumping around the stage, and the backdrop of neon coloured lights that featured garish yellows and hot pinks, it felt like we were witnessing the inside of Aminé‘s brain: an explosion of absurdity and playfulness. From start to finish, the Forum stage transported itself into a visual exploration of Aminé‘s creative genius; one where we got to witness his bouncy melodies, giddy synth, and hyper pop influence come to life.

 

It’s one thing to bop along to Charmander in the car. It’s another thing to experience it in a sold out venue, where it’s infectious energy and fast paced flow had me feeling so carefree that I almost felt weightless. What I also loved about Aminé‘s was the variety in his performance. Just when you thought the night might become one dizzying mosh, he’d bring us back down to earth with performances like shine that highlighted his slower melodies and more delicate, vulnerable vocals. I was particularly impressed with his falsetto in Shine and the smooth, glitzy guitar in the background. Aminé‘s musical confidence really showed itself through his ability to hook the crowd. Whether it was through a sugar rush state of energy, or a more reflective, down to earth moment, the crowd was there to drink in every moment and savor every minute. Finishing off the night with a consecutive performance of Spice girl, Caroline, and Reel It In, these three crowd pleaser songs provided a climactic high point that left the audience in a state of total appreciation and bliss. I left the Forum feeling more connected to hip hop and rap than ever before, and I have Aminé and his generous fans to thank for that. All in all, it was certainly a night well spent, and I cannot wait to see what craziness Aminé conjures up next. 

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BACKSTREET BOYS ‘DNA’ Australian Tour Dates, February and March 2023

BACKSTREET BOYS, the biggest selling Boy Band of all time (100 million albums), have re-confirmed the Australian leg of their DNA World Tour.

The DNA World Tour – Australia 2023 commences in Perth on February 25, followed by two shows in Melbourne on February 28 and March 1 and Sydney on March 4 and 5, winding up in Brisbane on March 8.

Tickets for all dates are on sale now. For complete tour, ticket and VIP Experience information, visit: livenation.com.au.

For meet and greet information, visit: backstreetboys.com/events.

Having enthralled fans for more than 25 years AJ McLean, Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough and Kevin Richardson will bring their signature, flawless choreography, harmony-laden vocal prowess and arsenal of mega-watt hits such as; “I Want It That Way’, ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) and ‘As Long As You Love Me’, plus songs from their tenth studio album, “DNA”, to Australian fans early next year.

Touring in support of their tenth studio album and Billboard No: 1, DNA, the album features the Grammy nominated single ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ from Stuart Crichton (DNCE) and Jamie Hartman; ‘Chances’ penned by Ryan Tedder and Shawn Mendes plus songs written by Lauv (Charli XCX), Andy Grammer, and Mike Sabbath (J Balvin).

BSB analysed their individual DNA profiles to see what crucial element each member represents in the group’s DNA. Watch the video here, to see how their individual strains, when brought together, create the unstoppable and legendary Backstreet Boys.

That’s what I love about the DNA album,” says Kevin Richardson. “We were able to bring all of our influences and styles into one coherent piece of work. These songs are a great representation of who we are as individuals and who we are as a group. It’s our DNA. We’re really proud of that.

Produced by Live Nation, The Backstreet Boys DNA World Tour – their largest arena tour in 18 years – began on May 11, 2019 with sell-out performances throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. The blockbuster production features a pyramid-shaped stage of light, trap doors and giant video screens.

Vegas was amazing and the UK, European and US dates have been an absolute party,” says Howie D. “Now it’s time for us to visit our fans all over the world.” 

The journey is ongoing with us and there is so much left to do,” added Brian Littrell. “We’re living the next chapter that hasn’t been told yet, and that’s exciting.”

Praise for The Backstreet Boys live:

‘There are trap doors, giant V-shaped video screens, a pyramid-type stage of light, impeccable choreography, numerous outfit changes and a whopping 32 songs’ – The Guardian (UK)

‘Two hours of pop perfection were matched by impressive vocals, a perfectly pitched setlist and proper interaction with the crowd. An array of tracks from new album DNA slotted seamlessly into the repertoire, but never distracted from revelling in the riches of the past’ – Express (UK)

‘Backstreet Boys party like its 1999’ – Variety Magazine

‘The performance was a reminder of a time when pop music was at its finest’ – Daily Star 

The Backstreet Boys have spent the best part of two decades honing their craft, no other Boy Band compares.  For a night of pure nostalgia and entertainment, you do not want to miss them live in 2023.

THE BACKSTREET BOYS

The DNA World Tour – Australia 2023

RAC ARENA, PERTH – SATURDAY FEBRUARY 25

ROD LAVER ARENA, MELBOURNE – TUESDAY FEBRUARY 28  

ROD LAVER ARENA, MELBOURNE – WEDNESDAY MARCH 1  

QUDOS BANK ARENA, SYDNEY – SATURDAY MARCH 4

QUDOS BANK ARENA, SYDNEY – SUNDAY MARCH 5

BRISBANE ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE – WEDNESDAY MARCH 8  

ALL TICKETS ON SALE NOW

For complete tour, ticket and VIP Experience information, visit:

backstreetboys.com & livenation.com.au

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Marianas Trench @ Corner Hotel, Melbourne 17/09/2022

After 10 years and two rescheduled tours due to the “C” word, Marianas Trench finally made it back to Australian shores to perform their sold-out Suspending Gravity Tour.

Preparing the crowd, support band “Reside” opened the show playing their fast-paced Alt-Rock generating more energy for the already excited crowd.

As each song on the preshow playlist finished the silence between songs whipped the crowd into a frenzy only for them to back off once the next song started playing.

Finally, Marianas Trench took to the stage to screams of delight and thunderous applause.

Opening to the full house with the title track from their 2015 album “Astoria”, immediately bringing lead singer Josh Ramseys soaring vocals to the forefront, the next 90 minutes were full of all their fan favourites from across the catalogue.

Featuring songs like “Here’s to the Zeros”, “Shake Tramp”, “Cross My Heart”, “Who do you Love”  the entire set was full of energy from start to finish with many of the songs showcasing their signature trademark vocal harmonies, theatrical compositions, driving beats and the showmanship of Josh Ramsey.

The crowd was given plenty of opportunity to sing along and they knew all the words with the band making them go it alone on “All to Myself” and many of the songs throughout the set.

The band featuring Matt Webb on guitar, Mike Ayley on Bass and Ian Casselman on drums were left to hold the fort while Josh Ramsey went for a crowd walk during “Stutter” and “Haven’t had Enough” with Josh later thanking the audience for being one of the most respectful he has encountered on one of his walks.

Ever so appreciative of the crowd, Josh thanked everyone throughout the night and when the time for the encore came after smashing their popular hit “Fallout” instead of leaving the stage Josh said he was going to continue onstage as he was having such an amazing time.

Going solo for “Good for you” once again has the crowd showcasing their knowledge of the lyrics and singing along to every word.

Wrapping up the set with the operatic like “The Killing kind” which is also the last set off their album “Phantoms” Marianas Trench put on a show that exceeding all expectations and left myself and the crowd wanting more.

Hopefully, they are back on our shores in a much shorter timeframe than last time, playing bigger venues to many more fans which they deserve.

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