fbpx
loader
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Orpheus Omega @ Stay Gold, Melbourne 9/12/2022

As the year comes to a close, I sit here and reflect on the vast number of bands I have seen and written about in the last couple of months. What an experience it has been, multiple genres and bands from all over the world.

It then seems almost poetic and fitting for me, that my final review of the year is here at Stay Gold for the Kicking, Screaming and Live Streaming show by Melbourne’s very own Orpheus Omega.

Ironstone

The first thing that you notice about the opening band, Ironstone is how young they are! However, as soon as they start playing you realise that these boys have certainly spent their youthful years dedicated to developing their skills to be proficient at the progressive metal genre.

On their song, Staring at the Sun off their EP, The Place I Cannot Find, they showcased a good use of vocal harmonies and odd meter time signatures were in abundance that surely satisfied the prog fans.

It’s encouraging to see a new generation continue to push the musical boundaries and it’s gonna be interesting to see where they lead us next.

Scaphis

Sheathed in darkness and gilded in black war paint were Scaphis. I always love it when a band goes the extra mile to put on a show with costumes and makeup. Scaphis would have undoubtedly pleased the dark lord himself.

Blast beats, black metal-tremolo picked guitar rhythms abound and a voice straight out of the deepest recesses of Hell defiled  the stage at Stay Gold.

Yet Scaphis is more than just speed and brutality. Their songs also had segments of beautiful arpeggiated guitar lines combined with melodic leads. Vocalist Spyke, has a savagery in her performance and delivery that will turn your stomach and make your blood run cold.

Melbourne’s very own sons (and daughter) of Southern Darkness.

Andy Gillion

An 80’s synth wave sample played as drummer, Frankie Demuru teased his cymbals and the crowd. Then there he was, strutting out on stage in a glittering silver jacket, the virtuoso himself, Andy Gillion.

Backed by the formidable talents of Ryan Huthnance on guitar and Chris Themelco and Leon Monaco sharing bass duties.

The set began with the blistering, In the Arcade and 1988 off Andy’s new album, Arcade Metal.

There was plenty of fun and comedy coming from the lads on stage but make no mistake, they are no joke. This is technical ability at its highest level and an absolute masterclass for any guitarist or fan of virtuosic music. Sweeping, tapping, string-skipping and every technique under the sun were executed cleanly and precisely. However, Andy always considered in his compositions to prioritise melody and had a great ear for good phrasing.

Following this we were spellbound by  Becoming the Nightmare,

Becoming the Dream, Black Lotus and Skyless from Andy’s previous album, Neverafter.

Andy tells a story with his music and takes you on a journey with his playing. From the mystical and ethereal, to the dark and chaotic, you are transported there and back again by his imagination that is so beautifully presented before your very eyes.

It is a challenge trying to compare Andy Gillion’s music to other artists as he truly has a unique voice of his own, but I will say that his playing reminds me of Michael Romeo of Symphony X and the band Illnath, two hugely influential bands in the metal scene.

Andy Gillion truly is a special talent and Melbourne is all too keen to claim him and call him our own.

Orpheus Omega

Orpheus Omega were not only the headliners of the show but they had also organised the entire event and even managed to coordinate a live stream of the whole gig. A gargantuan task to achieve, but this tells you a lot about the kind of person Chris Themelco is. Vocalist, guitarist, bassist, organiser, audio engineer, the list goes on – and Chris excels at everything he does.

All this can only be achieved with intense passion, and that passion is exactly what you see come across when Orpheus Omega take the stage.

Together with brother, Matt Themelco on Drums, Luke Ashley on Guitar, Leon Monaco on Bass and Kes Gallagher on Keyboards and backing vocals, the boys played a phenomenal set of their newest material and fan favourites from early in their career.

Some of you eagle-eyed readers would have noticed that both Chris and Leon performed double duties and played bass with Andy Gillion in the previous set. I guess this is the epitome of do what you love.

The band plays with so much chemistry between members that you’d be forgiven for thinking that they were all brothers as they harmoniously navigate their way between aggression and melody.

The call and response vocals between Chris and Kes was perfectly executed as beautiful clean lines cascaded over blood-curdling screams.

The two new tracks, Within These Walls and Edge of Forever are already crowd favourites as was evident by the voices singing along with the band.

Chris then surprised us by announcing that the 2 new songs are part of an upcoming limited edition 5 track, vinyl only EP and any band that still recognises the value of vinyl is a good egg in my book.

A few days prior to the gig the band had posted on their Facebook page telling their fans to come dressed in their best party shirts for a very special segment of the live show. Looking out across the crowd it resembled more of a Hawaiian Tiki bar than a metal gig. This was the level of dedication that the Orpheus Omega fans had.

In their final song of the night, Sealed In Fate, Chris invited everyone in a party shirt up on stage to celebrate with the band. This was a magical moment and if there was a better way to cap off the night I don’t know it. Luke Ashley and Leon Monaco stepped down from the stage and stood in the middle of a circle pit as bodies raced around them like some kind of pagan ritual. Meanwhile, I had climbed on stage myself as I watched Kes Gallagher and Matt Themelco play to a fevered pitch. I’m pretty sure the fans wouldn’t have minded the set continuing for another hour but alas, all good things must come to an end.

It is clear that Orpheus Omega draw a lot of inspiration from the Melo-death genre but they have unequivocally made it their own and in the process created something that makes me proud to say that I’m from Melbourne and that I am a fan.

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Chase Atlantic @ Festival Hall, Melbourne 8/12/2022

When the LA based Chase Atlantic announced they were heading homebound to Australia for their Cold Nights tour I couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement. I knew I had to be there in Melbourne to capture in person, their unique style of blurring the boundaries of genres. As I made my way to the upgraded venue of Festival Hall, the fans were already flocking in to get the best vantage point, so I joined the stream of people and got ready to immerse myself for the next few hours.

Opening tonight’s show was Queensland’s own Xavier Mayne. If you like The Weeknd then it’s pretty safe to say you might dig what Xavier is throwing down. He is definitely one to watch with his high energy performance jumping around all over the stage entertaining the crowd while being supported by drums and guitar. Long time Chase Atlantic fans may recognise Xavier from another project of his, The Young Art, who opened for Chase Atlantic back in 2016 on their Paradise tour.

Up next, Matthew Victor Kopp, who performs as Running Touch, was a clear favourite of the crowd when he hit the stage. For the fans who knew him as one of the founding members of Melbourne’s own OCEAN GROVE it seemed an extra treat to see him perform as part of his solo project. Starting his set atop a ladder, Matt alternated between various instruments and his microphone during the performance, much to the delight of the crowd, all while being accompanied by a drummer. His musical talent was evident and in full force, with the entire set being marked by his enthusiasm and unusual performance style.

As an intro video flashed on stage, the fully packed venue erupted into screams, the visuals on the screens continued: asteroids circling a smouldering planet, falling leaves and swirling heads.  Everyone could feel the rumble of the bass under foot as the headliner’s show began to unfold; one of the best feelings in the world. I didn’t think it was possible, but the enthusiastic crowd kicked it up a notch as Jesse walked out onto the stage. A fantastic way to begin the show, complete with fire bursting from various parts of the stage to warm up the crowd.

Starting off the night with the title track Beauty In Death from their 3rd studio album released in March last year. They immediately took charge of the crowd at the upgraded venue of Festival Hall. Lead vocalist Mitchel Cave was all over the stage in every position imaginable while maintaining his vocals with the passion the punters were there to see. Security was kept on their toes most of the evening handing out waters and pulling young ladies from the barriers that were a little overcome with the heat and excitement of seeing Chase Atlantic.

Jumping seamlessly from Too Late into Drugs and Money as if on cue, the crowd were almost as loud as the boys, singing every word of every line from their self-titled studio album, released back in 2017. There is no denying Chase Atlantic’s stage presence. Their limitless energy is infectious and makes you feel youthful.  Syncing perfectly with each other, the chemistry between them is flawless, and their smiles and banter on stage show that they are doing exactly what they love.

As each song bled into the next, including Cold Nights, Like A Rockstar & Slow Down, the audience were seen dancing, jumping and having an amazing time. It was impossible to find a single person who was standing still, and the mood in the air never dropped. In fact, as we galloped towards the end of the show, the crowd only grew louder, if that was even possible.

Although the show was over, you could still feel the overwhelming emotion oozing from the crowd as they left the venue, having just experienced a full-on, high energy Chase Atlantic show. This is one show you do not want to miss so if you are sitting on the fence, jump the hell off and buy the damn ticket!

You Can Can Still Catch Them 

 ENMORE THEATRE, SYDNEY
THURSDAY DECEMBER 15
 
THE TIVOLI, BRISBANE
FRIDAY DECEMBER 16
 
POWERSTATION, AUCKLAND
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 21

For complete tour and ticket information, visit: livenation.com.au or livenation.co.nz

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Nashville Pussy @ Northcote Social Club, Melbourne 8/12/2022

The following content may be inappropriate for minors and people with a stick up their arse. Warning: high level tongue in cheek sexual innuendo.

What the hell did you expect?

Nashville Pussy was in town and I was there to lap it all up. So screw the foreplay and let’s muff-dive on in.

The Black Tides are the dynamic duo of Adam OConnor aka Red & Annette Sa. They have a sound that can be best described as, if Motörhead fucked the White Stripes and gave birth to a four-armed baby. Despite them being a two-piece band consisting of Red on Bass and Vocals and Annette on Drums and backing vocals, they had an incredibly full sound. A large part of this can be credited to Red’s intelligent use of effects and writing riffs and licks that covered the full sonic spectrum usually only heard from a larger band. The brilliant chemistry between the two members also contributed towards their show stopping performance, combined with playful tongue in cheek banter within the band and with audiences. A quote from Red: “Annette’s applause was bigger, like her genitals.” In my opinion poetically sums up the attitude and fun of seeing them live.

Their set even included a Punk Rock cover of Royals by Lorde – a song that I had previously paid no attention to, but now enjoyed it in its new incarnation.

Love, love, love this band and look forward to seeing them again.

Mammoth Mammoth entered the stage with all the intensity and charisma of pro-wrestling. Frontman Mikey Tucker spewed water from his mouth across the stage like an angry geyser whilst drummer, Frank ‘Bones’ Trobbiani was like a force of nature, pummeling and dominating his drum kit. Mammoth Mammoth have a presence that don’t merely request that you pay heed, but instead put you in a headlock and demand your attention. As a frontman, Mikey Tucker certainly has an assertive and compelling aura that surrounds him, whether he’s striding amidst the crowd or laying on the stage as guitarist, Ben ‘Cuz’ Couzens rests a leg on him while shredding out a solo.

Despite their hawkish demeanor, Mammoth Mammoth are a bunch of guys who love what they do and have a hell of a time doing it.

Closing the set with a song about Paul Stanley’s Penis (Love Gun by KISS) was the perfect cherry on the top of this whiskey-drenched cake of a set.

Self described as “Bigger than Jesus, louder than hell.” I’m most certainly inclined to agree.

To be hailed as “America’s last great Rock and Roll band” by the legendary Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead, is incredibly high praise to live up to – and Nashville Pussy did not disappoint.

If Nashville Pussy were a meal, they would be Nashville hot chicken. Riffs that had a southern fried crunch, bathed in a voice like the finest hot sauce. Yes, it burns but god damn it tastes so good you keep coming back for more.

Ruyter Suys (pronounced “Rider Sighs”) guitarist of the band absolutely blew me away. She had the wild abandon and tenacity of players like Rory Gallagher and Angus Young, tearing into the fretboard as they opened the set with Struttin’ Cock.

Frontman Blaine Cartwright, sang with the ferocity of a crazed preacher man. Maintaining the intensity throughout their monstrous 17-song set which included songs like, She Keeps Me Coming and I Keep Going Back, Pillbilly Blues, Till the Meat Falls Off the Bone and the very educational, Pussy’s Not a Dirty Word.

Backed by Bonnie Buitrago on Bass and Ben Thomas on Drums, they performed like Energizer bunnies on speed.

Often as bands get older they exhibit signs that age is catching up with them but this could not be further from the truth with Nashville Pussy. They have not only beaten the hands of time, but it appears that they have straight out broken them and have lost none of their mojo.

For an encore, Blaine Cartwright gave us invaluable advice: “Don’t listen to all the people telling you what you should believe, the only thing you need to know, is that everyone just has to Keep on Fucking.

As the band hit the last chords in their epic finale, Ruyter Suys baptized the front row in beer, then proceeded to play her guitar with the empty can and in a jaw-dropping display of pure Rock n’ Roll, she literally ripped the strings right off her guitar!

Nashville Pussy are a band that must be experienced live, and I for one, cannot wait to see them again.

Stadium shows are spectacular but the underground club gigs and bands with a cult following, hold an extra special place in my heart.

All the bands tonight clearly displayed the influence and inspiration that the mighty Motörhead has gifted to the world of Rock n’ Roll. If Lemmy could have seen this show I’m pretty sure he’d raise a glass of Jack and Coke in approval.

You can still catch them at the following shows

Sat 10th Dec – Wollongong – La La La’s

Mon 12th Dec – Sydney – Crowbar

Limited VIP Meet & greet packages available.

 GET YOUR TICKETS HERE >> https://hardlinemedia.net/nashville-pussy

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Offspring / Sum 41 @ John Cain Arena, Melbourne 7/12/2022

I don’t think there are many words that can capture the pure bliss and adrenaline of a double injection of pure punk nostalgia, and I’m sure that can be said for a lot of big rock shows, but Sum 41 and The Offspring delivered something truly out of this world and will keep my heart pumping for months on end.

The venue collectively packed with avid fans in anticipation for the big night, ready for Sum 41 to deliver their introduction. Obviously keeping the spirit of Australia, the lights dimmed and then reddened to the tune of TNT by AC/DC, right before the band followed by Deryck ran into the spotlight. His energy immediately screamed volumes to the upcoming performance he would deliver as a frontman. The skater punk icons wasted no time, immediately erupting into their intro as well as The Hell Song, and no expense was spared for the unexpected pyro technics that could melt your face off even in the side stands.

Deryck’s involvement with the crowd is the type of interaction I’m inspired by as a musician/frontman myself, hyping up the crowd to the max and encouraging them to lose their mind like, as Deryck called them, “crazy motherfuckers”. The audience did not brush this off, as the circle pits and jumping ensued for the entire first set, even to the point of Whibley questioning their exhaustion. With chants to screaming competitions to call and responses, this group always knew how to keep a room alive, especially with the violent giant balloon popping

I think my leather pants were strong enough to contain my punk excitement when Deryck mentioned the name of Sum 41’s classic album, All Killer No Filler, right before Dave Baksh began the riff to In Too Deep which caused a temporary earthquake with the amount of feet jumping up and down, including my very own. Deryck proceeded to talk about how special it is to perform all these tunes that the boys wrote while they were teenagers, right before treating the OG Sum 41 fans by taking us all the way back to a track from their very first 2000 album, Makes No difference.

Sum 41 neither spared any humor as Deryck acquire his guitar, claiming we shouldn’t get excited as he had no idea how to play it, all before intentionally awfully playing Smoke on the Water and Seven Nation Army, even surprisingly roping in the band to perform a pop punk cove of We Will Rock You. But I’m sure many of us knew why the guitar was in his hands, as there were two hits they were yet to play. I couldn’t even finish my thought process before the iconic opening riff to Fat Lip amplified through John Cain Arena followed by the conclusion of Still Waiting already damaging my vocal chords for the night. As they disbanded, I sat their in awe wondering how on earth that performance could be topped…..oh boy was I wrong.

The 30 minute interval between sets are always the prime time at any show to get some booze and grub, but regardless of this there was instead a plethora of antics as entertaining as the shows themselves. At first, a giant blimp bearing the iconic Offspring logo flown by a drone circled over the packed arena like a hawk over its prey, followed by a mysterious crew member coming onto stage donning a gorilla mask who proceeded to slingshot shirts into the crowds of thousands. This was all followed by quintessential American stadium games, like kiss cams, headbang cams, twerk cams, and as essential as always in our blessed country, mullet cams. Laughs turned into a loud countdown from 10 as the boys were ready to put on a show.

I could not contain my aching grin as The Offspring already proceeded to performing hit after hit back to back, opening with the classic Come Out And Play, followed by the iconic “AY YA YA YA YA YA” to All I Want, and then a song I never thought would be performed live, Want You Bad, taking me back to a time I’d have this on repeat in class to escape my most punk worthy oppression at the time…general mathematics. Dexter and Noodles did what they do best next to putting on a killer show, delivering a gut busting crowd interaction really showing the brotherhood between the two.

After performing a few of their latest hits including Let the Bad Times Roll, Original Prankster sent all of us as a collective into a frenzy, as if we were listening to their greatest hits record being played live on stage. The ending of this track ended with a few second of silence, before the crunchy bass riff introducing the SMASH hit, Bad Habit, which in itself transformed the mosh pit into a zombie horde straight out of World War Z, all before Dexter swiftly halted the song unsurprisingly at this point. Dexter and Noodles continued to share more banter before cussing like sailors and getting everyone involved with expletives flying from every direction.  

Noodles proceeded to continue his own standalone comedic standup, expressing his love for playing guitar and demonstrated this with covers of Security by Amyl and The Sniffers, Back In Black, Thunderstruck, The Trooper, concluded with possibly the greatest cover of In the Hall of the Mountain King I’ve ever witnessed, right before Dexter returned to join the band with an explosive cover of Blitzkrieg Bop by none other than the Ramones.

At this point in the night, I was sweating, my neck ached, my legs shivering, and my grin was ever so plastered across my face, which I didn’t think could grow any wider until Dex whipped out the acoustic to smash of Spare Me The Details, as I’m sure we all have a shitty ex to dedicate that belter to.

Now we get into a solid 10 minutes of pure, authentic emotional beauty, as the lights dimmed, a grand piano was rolled onto stage. Sat behind the grand was Dexter, who delivered an emotional speech about cancelled tours and trials throughout the pandemic, all before introducing the new and improved mellow alteration of the Ixnay On The Hombre tear-jerker, Gone Away. And oh, my friends there were waterworks all around me behind our flashlights that lit up the entire stadium, a purely magical moment.

We swiftly moved on from the topic of loss, back to the ballads for shitty partners, and what other song could portray that than a personal favourite, Why Don’t You Get A Job?; joined by a wonderful backdrop of the iconic cartoonish album cover of Americana…safe to say my voice was non-existent by this point. Then the USA hailing punks concluded the show with Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) and The Kids Aren’t Alright, which provided such a blast for us all.

As they exited the stage, it’s almost idiotic to not assume there would be an encore with the hits they were yet to play, and this confirmation came to light as the blimp reentered the arena, now donning a banner announcing the words none other than:

DANCE FUCKER DANCE!

The band returned to the stage to bust out, of course, You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid, which sent the crowd berserk (as if they stopped being such a way at all). We in the stands finally ignored the signs and stood for the remainder for the show, because why the fuck wouldn’t we. Dexter and Noodles between finales exchanged one last demonstration of brotherhood after introducing the incredible band, with Noodles praising his best friend Dex with his song writing and even the completion of a PHD in biology, then after a count in and seeing all vocalist collectively approached the mics, we heard it:

La la LA LA LA La La la la la!

The ever so recognizable vocal introduction to a rock n’ roll anthem, Self Esteem, that was answered with the screams or the existential lyrics, neck-shattering head banging and ground shaking jumps, for the final time turning up the energy to 11.  Adding to this the inclusion of confetti and beach balls, as the band embraced to a rapturous crowd as they said their good byes.

Even as I exited the arena through the hordes of tireless fans screaming the lyrics to Sweet Caroline, I don’t think I could shake the lingering buzz that I received from this prodigious show, a truly phenomenal experience that I will never forget. Safe to say that upon The Offspring, or Sum 41’s return, I will be throwing myself into the pit. It’s exhausting and painful for a skinny beanpole like myself, but what can I say…..I’ve Got A Bad Habit.

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Soulfly @ Manning Bar, Sydney 6/12/2022

The 6th of December marks the end of sideshows for this year’s Good Things Festival, and I’m spending it at the Manning Bar in Sydney seeing the mighty Soufly. They must be looking forwards to one last throwdown to cap off the Australian performances after appearing at 3 festivals in 3 days across 3 different states. 

The initial support, Melbourne’s Primitive pull-out of the show last-minute moving Sydney’s deathcore superstars To The Grave to the main and only support. To The Grave have been busy! Not only did they also appear at Good Things Festival (in Melbourne and Brisbane only), they supported Soulfly on their Melbourne sideshow and we’re lucky to have them here tonight.  

They open with Red Dot Sight as lead singer Dane Evans storms the stage in a balaclava under his hoodie. They may be a different brand of metal in comparison to tonight’s headliner, but the crowd bounce and headbang along as the Sydney squad play their hearts out. If you haven’t seen To The Grave perform before, I highly recommend it. Evans has a stage presence beyond his years and a voice that can compete with the likes of Phil Bozeman and Brooke Reeves. I can’t wait to see his evolution; I feel he will only get better!
Simon’s drum kit is positioned in front of Soulfly’s, leaving little room for movement up there, he nonetheless near destroys each drum with strength and accuracy. Just that morning, the film clip to Axe of Kindness was released, and we get to hear the heavy, gritty assault live!
The single is out now and will be on their new album Directors Cuts coming February 24th
Closing the set with Wastage, they call for a wall of death. Metalheads pour down to the floor from the outskirts as Evans counts down to carnage.  

The venue’s capacity fills very quickly as the time draws near for metal legends Soulfly to take the stage. I make a very silly decision to buy merch as I hear the intro to Back To the Primitive stream out of the speakers behind me. I tap my card, grab my shirt and sprint to the front. The venue claps along as the band appears one by one.
It may be a Tuesday but that does not stop the pit from going ballistic! The album Primitive, in which Back to the Primitive is from, was released in 2000 and looking around, everyone sure knows the words. Max and co take no prisoners ripping through tracks such as Prophecy, Downstroy and Filth Upon Filth from their latest album Totem. 

As most know, Dino Cazares, guitarist from Fear Factory is along for the ride. The two guitar legends share a moment on stage, axes facing each other – shredding like it’s child’s play, the crowd lap it up. Ritual is one of the strongest songs of the night, a loud chanting chorus that everyone can join in and a chugging slower outro to bang our heads.
Soulfly was born in 1998, but they were made when they arrived in Australia in 1999, according to metal god himself Max Cavalera. Tonight, the admiration is mutual!
Multiple sound problems at Good Things made me glad I went to tonight’s event because the sound is excellent! One punter rips his top off and twirls it around his head, giving Bleed one of the finest receptions of the night. 

Max asks us if we want some Chaos AD, to roars of excitement! Max’s son Zyon (who it’s playing drums for Soulfly) counts down to the Sepultura classic, Refuse Resist and the venue lose their minds. Brazilian football chants work very well in a metal setting, with a few lyrical alteration we are singing “ole ole ole ole Soulflyyyy Soulfyyyy’.
As an enormous Fear Factory fan, I am beyond excited to hear the intro to Body Hammer, it’s cut short to make way for the huge single, Replica. The intro to Demanufacture also teased as Soulfly gets back to business.  

Tonight’s fantastic show is rounded up with Eye For An Eye and the ever-amazing Jumpdafuckup. As metalheads we are used to artists asking us to sit down, only to jump to the sky as the beat kicks in. I could not wipe the smile off my face watching the entire venue takes part, not just the moshpit! The energy is electric as we yell the chorus knowing the show is coming to an end.  

Soulfly was a highlight of the Good Things line up and I was so fortunate to see them perform twice. With his contagious grooves, persistent worldwide touring, and love for metal, Max Cavalera has established himself as a true symbol of our scene. The current Soulfly line up, Dino Cazares, Mike Leon and Zyon Cavalera is outrageously talented, I hope it stays this way for some time.
The world is opening back up, and the shows keep on coming. I can’t wait to see what 2023 has instore for music lovers across Australia.  

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Jack Johnson @ Brisbane Rivestage, Brisbane 3/12/2022

“It seems to me that maybe”….. I should start calling myself a Jack Johnson fan.  I’m embarrassed to say that prior to Saturday’s Brisbane show, I’d never seen the American singer-songwriter before. I’m embarrassed to say that, had someone asked me to name five of his songs, I would probably have struggled.  And yet, during Jack’s near two-hour long set, it was odd to realise that there were few songs I didn’t know the words to. This perhaps best speaks to the power of this artistic juggernaut.  While Jack could boast (unlikely) of his multiple Grammy nominations, his worldwide fandom or of his millions upon millions of views on the socials, to experience that kind of reach – where your songs actually become part of common, even unconscious, vernacular, is hard to imagine.  Fortunately for us, Jack’s lyrics typically preach life and love, including a love for our environment. For more than a decade now his record label (Brushfire Records) and touring crew have worked towards ‘greening’ the music industry by expanding eco-friendly touring practices and promoting sustainable food and plastic free initiatives.  To celebrate his eighth studio album, Meet the Moonlight, the surfer-turned musician played five Australian shows: all outdoors and under said moonlight. On the Brisbane leg Jack was supported by none other than Ziggy Alberts and Indigenous newcomer Emily Wurramara, both of whom returned to the stage later to join the headliner.

To suggest that there was ‘standing room only’ by the time Jack came on is a huge understatement.  It was obvious people had gotten there early, laid down their picnic blankets and settled in to watch the sunset. Brisbane had put on quite the sunny summer afternoon for us too which meant punters were very happy to wait.  We didn’t have to wait long though – Jack came on right on time despite his warning us that he may not. Surf was up on the Goldy and an earlier post on his socials suggested Jack was having a hard time tearing himself away from the beach.  The band is certainly no stranger to Australia, having toured at least six times before and while I have seen countless shows in Brisbane over the years, I can honestly say I have never heard a crowd roar like they did for Jack Johnson on Saturday night.

One doesn’t become a multi-platinum selling musician, nor have a career that spans decades without truly understanding their audience and making a connection.  Johnson’s care and attention to detail in this regard was once again obvious on tour with Saturday night’s setlist sure to please even the ‘oldest’ of fans. Yes, there were songs played from the latest album (Costume Party, One Step Ahead, & Don’t look Now) but these were carefully weaved between twenty or more beloved tracks from the entire array of Jack’s back catalogue.  Those who’ve followed the artist for more than two decades would have no doubt approved of Jack’s heavy drawing from debut album Brushfire Fairytales and from his 2005 In between dreams. Taylor from the latter started the show and allowed the crowd to quickly warm up their vocal cords before the real singalong began during Sitting, Waiting, Wishing, up next.  By the time the familiar riff to Flake began, there was no stopping the capacity Brisbane crowd – Jack now had 9500 backup singers and you know what, they did alright! Next came one of many mashups – a combo of Upside down / Time is the master/ Badfish and John Holt cover You can’t control it

In Inaudible Melodies, drummer Adam Topal gets the first chance to show off his numerous talents. Actually Jack takes the time to introduce and pay tribute to all long-term band members during the set (bassist: Merlo Podlewski; and pianist but also singer/songwriter/ ALO member: Zach Gill).  When Emily Wurramara returns to the stage to sing Lady Blue as a duet, it is easy to see why Johnson chose the up-and-comer to support him. The song’s calming melody and hypnotic ukulele  immediately transport us to the water, like so many of the headliner’s tunes. This was followed by crowd pleaser Bubble Toes – you know the one – la-da-da-da-da-da – just try not to join in.  Next, it’s Zach Gill’s time to sing along, offering the last verse of the undulating and understated Wasting Time.

In between new tracks, Costume Party and Don’t Look Now, Ziggy Alberts returns to the stage. Here we are treated to Heaven, the first single of Ziggy’s second album ‘Laps around the Sun’ and the first of his tracks to ever reach ARIA chart status.  Ziggy clearly has a good fanbase here too – and why not; he tells us ‘you sound beautiful Brisbane’ before heading backstage again.  Ultra-fun Banana Pancakes follows before the rhythmic Rodeo Clowns. It seems like an odd note to finish on in some ways as the band leaves the stage.  Fortunately, we are not done yet! Jack returns amid thunderous applause, the likes of which I have not heard in Australia before.  I also can’t recall seeing an artist give us seven, yes seven, encores.  How blessed Brisbane feels at this point. Most of these see Jack on stage solo doing acoustic versions of classics like Do you remember and Breakdown while the crowd whistle along to I got you.  The full band returns for final track, unsurprisingly, the infamous Better Together. This, like so many of Jack Johnson’s songs, has undeniably entered the realm of cultural artefact. Like so many of his songs, the track just vibrates in a way like it was always going to be written and always going to be so special to so many. Will I be signing up to see Jack and band again? Absolutely. But how to end this review? “There is no combination of words I could say. But I will still tell you one thing, it’s always better when we’re together”.  So get there Australia.

Read More
Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

Jacob Collier @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 4/12/2022

The packed Forum venue was already breezy with excitement and anticipation for the return of one of the most accomplished, one of a kind rising star acts of this century, Jacob Collier, who finally returned to Australian soil for his 82nd show of the Djesse world tour. And even after so many shows, oh boy did he deliver.

 

If there’s two words I can use to describe the quintessential Jacob Collier extravaganza, they would be ethereal and idiosyncratic. This was not an ordinary show in the slightest, but more-so a journey and collective insight to the mind of Jacob. From Collier enthusiastically running barefoot onto the stage jumping around and hyping the crowd, to swiftly sitting at his grand piano accompanying slower but funkier/soulful tunes lead by his band whose talents know no bounds.

 

Never before have I seen such a brilliant display of musical versatility brought out on stage. Jacob never ceased the flaunt of his multi-instrumentalism and extensive improvisation, as he’d  tirelessly jump between multiple instruments in one song,  like faster than a broke uni student catching money in a cash machine.

 

And whilst on the topic of things, I’ve never seen the kind of audience interaction/participation at a live gig than what was at a Collier gig and it is quite boldly unmatched. For Jacob managed to turn the entirety of a packed, sold out Forum into a harmonic and angelic choir for around 10 minutes straight, with such precise conducting of an ethereal, orchestral beauty that I never thought I would be amongst in my lifetime. The combination of this, non stop banter, and the occasional chat with the audience really made this whole experience personal and brought a togetherness among us

 

Now don’t get it twisted, our boogie boots were strapped on once Collier picked up the electric bass, and lead his incredibly talented band for back to back tracks Time Alone With You and All I Need. With his hit song Hideaway being amongst the set. Let me tell you that there was not on idle pair of legs amongst the crowd, as everyone moved like Bootsy himself.

 

We all thought it was over, and were waiting for the house lights to come on, as it had been set up with Jacob introducing his band and crew and smashing it one last time before triumphantly leaving the stage, but the audience were hungry for more. What started off as the quintessential “ONE MORE SONG” chant eventually became the iconic “Boom Boom Clap” rhythm of We Will Rock You, enticing the young Londoner to grace us with one last encore…..and oh boy did he do such a thing as he stormed the stage to the roar of hundreds of fans, right before delivering an incredible solo rendition of Somebody To Love by Queen. He even once again transformed the audience into a choir for the operatic sections of the iconic track, permanently leaving an incredible mark on us.

 

Thank you Jacob for a fantastic performance, well worthy of 2 sold out shows in Melbourne alone. 

Read More