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[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.

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Interview with Johannes Eckstrom (Avatar)

We are just over a week out from AVATAR's Australian shows and the pace of the band's ascendency has not bated since the tour was announced. As well as a sold out European arena tour with friends, Gojira and a tour of South America with the mighty Iron Maiden, the band have delivered stunning sets across Europe's biggest festivals (Download, Grasppop, etc) and to top it all off their new album, Dance Devil Dance has made the list of the Best Albums Of 2023 in both Loudwire and Metal Hammer where they appear at the very summit of the list!
  
 Renowned for legendary performances, ludicrous levels of skill as musicians and a seemingly endless catalog of killer songs, many of which will be on display during three unmissable performances this month, the band are pleased to announce 3 outstanding Australian supports for the upcoming shows.
 
As Avatar are expected to perform a near 2 hour Best Of set at these shows, there will be only 1 support artist per show. 
 
Melbourne’s Teramaze have solidified their reputation as one of the country's most consistent and distinctive progressive heavy acts. They deliver cutting edge, modern metal built around the fretwork of two world class guitarists and dual powerhouse vocals.
 
Sydney’s Our Last Enemy are the embodiment of apocalyptic industrial metal. Methodical riffs embellished with synth overtones; dark, hypnotic rhythms and down and dirty vocals  with big singalong choruses that are primed for the live arena.

Brisbane’s Krave are a truly unique cross section of hard rock and alt metal with musical influences as diverse as Zeppelin, Sabbath and Pantera with a vocal delivery from frontwoman Siana Davis that’s somewhere between Paramore, Evanescence and Halestorm. Definitely ones to watch.
 
 
TOUR DATES
Friday, August 25: 170 Russell, Melbourne
Saturday, August 26: The Metro, Sydney
Sunday, August 27: The Triffid, Brisbane

Tickets available from

thephoenix.au

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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Daydream Festival @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne 22/04/2023

Review By Tammy Walters

Whilst the last minute cancellation from Slowdive bummed out a bunch of fans, it certainly didn’t dampen the events of Daydream. A reshuffle of the existing lineup and extension of sets meant we received more songs from the stellar music company consisting of Melbourne’s Majak Door, Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings, Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils, our city’s favourite rockers Tropical Fuckstorm and Washington-birthed, Portland-based Modest Mouse

Setting the score for the jam packed evening we’re local Lo-fi indie six piece Majak Door. As the masses drip fed into the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and cascaded down the stairs into the amphitheater, they were greeted by a sound reflecting the event title; dreamy surf rock waves crashing down on the stage. They swam through a set of songs from the self-titled album and dropped in their latest track ‘Borderline’, filling out a solid opening for the festival.

Cloud Nothings hit the stage next. The three piece offered a twelve track set, with a focus of their 2012 standout, Attack on Memory. Wasting no time they launched in with ‘I’m Not Part of Me’ excluding a casual coolness prevalent in the indie rock identity. The high octane set of trim, quick-whip songs that are over in 3 minutes, was underpinned by animalistic drumming of Jayson Gerycz, elevating the energy on the stage. Whilst ‘Hey Cool Kid’ didn’t make the cut, subbed out for fellow Turning On mate, ‘Can’t Stay Awake’, the set was still a stellar run, ending in transcendental fashion with the nearly 9-minute building-block ‘Wasted Days’.

A whole decade since their last show, Beach Fossils knew they had to pull out all the stops for the Daydream debut. Though half the song selection of their Cleveland predecessors, Beach Fossils made double the impact for a set of old and new across their titular debut, Somersault, and their highly anticipated upcoming release Bunny. They launched in with double-d’s, ‘Down The Line’ and ‘Don’t Fade Away’ before hitting the triple on new tracks. “This is a BBCOne Triple J exclusive,” guitarist Tommy Davidson commented before ‘Be Nothing’, the final third debut live play of their set, with a shoutout given to the unruly boo-er in the crowd. More shoutouts were offered, multiple of which were directed at Anton Hochheim, Beach Fossils drummer, who was in Australia for the first time. Subbing out their originally intended manifested closer ‘May 1st’, they date they were due to fly home, for the equally appropriately related ‘Daydream’, Beach Fossils knew the assessment and delivered an A+.

Modest Mouse frontman Issac Brock said it during his set- “Tropical Fuck Storm are one of my top three favourite bands- they’re insanely good” and they are! There is no band like TFS; the explosive brainchild of Garrett Liddiard, Erica Dunn, Fiona Kitschin and Lauren Hammel. With albums Braindrops and A Laughing Death In Meatspace hailed as compositional genius by critics and crowds across the globe, the live translation is a ferocious full-bodied frenzy. Erratic drones of the guitar, feverish swirls of the keys, a gyrating body of beats and bass, and a primitive vocal power encased their seven song set. Inclusion of The Stooges song ‘Ann’ and Lost Animals ‘Lose You Baby’ went down a treat, becoming synonymous with their catalogue. There is a reason for countless Live Musician of The Year awards and the Daydream crowded witnessed it firsthand.

The piece de resistance of the festival came from indie figureheads Modest Mouse

From ‘The World At Large’ right through to ‘Trailer Trash’, the two-tiered positioned performers put on a show. ‘Dramamine’ made an early appearance coming in at 3rd place, with ‘3rd Planet’ shortly thereafter. Only months after the passing of mainstay drummer Jeremiah Green, the band came together for a full celebration of their career, touching on all of their albums. 

Though the set did not go without a hitch. Following the highlight of high-energy ‘Dashboard’, Brock took a tumble during a crowd interaction. He took it like a champ though commenting “Have you ever thought you were stepping onto something solid and it was just air? It was awesome,” turning to the audience member to joke, “I regret our interaction. A cautionary tale for any cell phone interaction. Write it on a napkin. That’s what God would have wanted.” No hard feelings as they continued through ‘Lace Your Shoes’, the mammoth ‘Float On’ and ‘Spitting Venom’ to close out the main set.

Minor technical issues throughout the set saw some guitar pedal confusion for Brock, making song transitions less than seamless and saw an extended wait between main set and encore where the crowd was divided between waiting patiently or make an early escape. Unfortunately a large number chose the latter option but to their own loss. Removed from the final set list were ‘Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine’, ‘Perfect Dis or Out of Gas’, ‘Whale Song’ and ‘Ground Walks’ – perhaps the stage fall was more serious and required medical attention. We’re not to know but what we do know is that the 19 track tally was epic in proportions with each song cementing the mastery of Modest Mouse. 

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Crowded House @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 22/11/2022

Crowded House dried off after a wet and muddy A Day On The Green performance in Geelong over the weekend, to deliver a showstopping career celebration.

Following stunning sets from openers Grecian acoustic four-piece Maistrato and ‘Sea of Love’ songstress Cat Power, Mitchell Froom, Liam Finn, Elroy Finn, a kilt wearing Nick Seymour and a blue velvet blazered Neil Finn emerged on the Rod Laver stage for a two and a half hour exploration of their own legendary, and adopted, catalogue.

Purple and golden hues lit up the stage as they launched into ‘Distant Sun’ from their 1993 Together Alone, opening the evening in style. By way of introductions bassist Nick Seymour exclaimed his excitement for being back in his hometown of Melbourne, with Neil continuing to introduce each band member from where they hail from; ‘Now you know about the world where we live, and here is ‘World Where You Live’’, he says before the band jump into the track from their self-titled debut. This would trigger a location theme that continued throughout each song, as the band entered down memory lane (or street), pinning each song to its birthplace address, mapping out Melbourne’s Crowded Houses.

Whilst the arena was seating only, the energy was palpable for the Australian darlings, a sentiment duly noted by Mr Finn. With a quick guitar change to bare an acoustic, he commented ‘Get your singing voices ready Melbourne’, before acknowledging an audience members’ “polite but stern” ‘Go Neil’ heckle. It was time for a stunning rendition of ‘Fall At Your Feet’, as written at 11 Osborne Street. ‘I can sense Melbourne has beautiful voices’, Finn comments, leading the audience in an acapella chorus of heavenly proportions. 

Joining the stage with his sons Elroy Finn on drums and Liam Finn on guitar and backing vocals turned the house into a home. The chemistry amongst the musicians was undeniable and their sound was crisp and impeccably tight. It also allowed for quality banter between Neil and Liam, with discussion around birth stories and delirium being shared around the conception of ‘Pineapple Head’

Following ‘Show Me The Way’ and ‘Goodnight Everyone’, the upright piano discreetly tucked into the corner of the stage became the centre of attention. A spotlight illuminated the frontman as he sat at the antique instrument to undertake his Split Enz composition ‘Message To My Girl’. Finn’s vocals did not waver throughout the entire 2 and a half hour performance, and on this ballad it was evident that nearly 40 years post formation, his pipes are as strong as ever.

Jumping back to the centre of the stage with his guitar, the band re-emerged to take on ‘Nails in My Feet’ and ‘When You Come’, before being joined by support act Maistrato for an instrumental jam, ‘Private Universe’, ‘Some Greater Plan’ and ‘Four Seasons In One Day’ with Elroy Finn up front on brushes. A stage left exit of the four piece, meant for a stage right entry of Noel Crombie who brought back the artform of playing the spoons in a solo and for ‘Sister Madly’. “He’ll have a bruise on this knee tomorrow,” joked the frontman.         

After a gorgeous version of ‘Whatever You Want’ as dedicated to Dr Claire, it was time for a trio of hits and massive crowd singalongs. ‘It’s Only Natural’ got the ball rolling feeding into the crowd’s energy. Dun di, dun dun di, dun dun di… the phone torches start to illuminate the arena for a captivating, showstopping performance of ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’. Melbourne definitely had their singing voices ready for this number, with Finn playing into the powerful acoustics for singalongs and harmonisations. A moving moment from a well-rounded set that would conclude on a high note with ‘Something So Strong’.

A quick fakeout before a full encore saw the band return to play brother Tim Finn co-write, Split Enz power-piece, ‘I Got You’. In a night of family affairs, memory lanes and Australian anthems being celebrated, it was only fitting for Nick Seymour to be reunited onstage by brother Mark Seymour of Hunters and Collectors for an angelic Finn/Seymour duet on ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’

For a third time that evening Maistrato appeared on the stage to help close out the night. ‘Weather With You’ was simply delightful, with Finn again leaning into the singalong setting supplied by the Melbourne crowd. The crowd engagement was a major player in the evenings proceedings, and helped to shape the setlist with Finn warranting a request from an audience member “because she asked nicely” to play ‘She Goes On’; resurrected for the first time live since 2010 with Finn commenting “I’m glad I remembered it!”.

What better way to send a crowd home after an epic evening of classic songs than with the Temple of Low Men star, ‘Better Be Home Soon’. The stunning harmonies, the gelling of guitars and drums, the vocal offering of the crowd, the Grecian twists from Maistrato elevating it, the final silent pause before the legendary frontman drove us home on the prolonged ‘soon’; a perfect send off.

Crowded House invited us into their many homes last night across Melbourne and we left as part of their family with full bellies from the 24 courses they served. We can’t wait to visit again! 

Crowded House final 3 shows

Kings Park & Botanic Garden, PERTH

November 25th, 26th and 27th 

Tickets here

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Album InterviewsInterviews+1

Interview with Jona Tee (H.E.A.T)

Today marks the seventh album release for Swedish heavy rockers, H.E.A.T. Titled Force Majeure, this album sees the band extend their live show energy into a collection of stadium anthems including monster singles ‘Hollywood’, ‘Back To The Rhythm’ and ‘Nationwide’, and is a return album for founding frontman Kenny Leckremo. The band will also be making their Australian live tour debut next month, playing four shows across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide.

Silver Tiger Media’s Tammy Walters had a chat to keyboardist Jona Tee ahead of their release and shows.

How are you feeling with your new album Force Majeure about to be released on Friday 5 August?

I don’t think we have really realised it is so soon. But we’re really excited! Going to burst. We will be in Finland on Friday opening for Toto so we will have some sort of nice release party I hope.

Oh, that will be such a good time. As soon as ‘Africa’ comes on you’ll jump into full party mode!

[Laughs] Oh yeah, for sure!

So how long has Force Majeure been in the works?

Basically we had a singer swap, so we got our original singer, Kenny, back in the band. He rejoined in June or July in 2020, which was the beginning of the pandemic which means we had a lot of time to sit down and write music. So somewhere around there we started to write for it and we started to record August last year, so one year later, here is the release!

Kenny was a big part of the identity of H.E.A.T your debut record, and Eric was a huge part of the band for a big part of your lifespan so it would have been nice to have H.E.A.T II as a send off for Eric.

Oh yeah, definitely a big send off. We love that album too so he left with a bang!

Exactly and H.E.A.T II received a lot of praise for returning to your heavier roots. Have you tried to continue that for this album with Kenny being back?

Absolutely. We set out to continue the same vein as HEAT II, and obviously it’s a little different because we have a new singer and he sings a bit differently than Eric, but Kenny is super involved in songwriting and production and Kenny plays a lot of different instruments so with all of that in it, it becomes a bit different to HEAT II but still i think the sound is still on par or in the same vein.

We’ve already heard three songs from this record, ‘Hollywood’ which has already been turning a lot of heads to watch what H.E.A.T are doing, ‘Back to the Rhythm’ and ‘Nationwide’ – all of which are huge stadium anthems. Is that what this album is about?

Hell yeah! I mean, we love to play live and that’s what we’re kind of doing now which has been awesome, and ‘Hollywood’ is working so well live. It’s probably my favourite to play at the moment – when that chorus hits, it’s like ‘YES!’. You can feel the energy!

I’ve seen footage and it’s wild! Was ‘Hollywood’ written with the live show in mind?

You know when we first started the band, we were studio based really and me and Dave we had been working the studio a lot back then but as we started to play live it was like ‘okay’. We always felt like a heavy metal band, rather than a studio AR band so when we went on stage we felt more like Iron Maiden rather than Coat or some band like that who are moreso musicians. I guess at some point, and I think it was Tearing Down The Walls, around there, that maybe it started reflecting in the music that it was more raw and live focused and more ‘okay, what do we want to do live? What do we want them to sing and play more awesome live music? But it should be awesome to listen to in your headphones as you’re going to sleep as well.

I think you’ve found that balance well. But you are known for being a great live act and I think touring with so many amazing rock legends like Alice Cooper, Toto and Sabaton has elevated your live show even more.

Oh yeah! We were blessed to play with so many incredible acts like Alice Cooper and Toto and all of the festivals we’ve been to. Last weekend we played in Wales at Steelhouse Festival and I saw Saxon play for the first time and I was blown away. I was like ‘what the fuck!’[laughs], and that really inspires you to lift your game and step it up!     

Australia hasn’t had the opportunity to witness that though. H.E.A.T hasn’t played here before!

No, it’s our first time now in September. It’s going to be awesome. Me and Eric flew over in 2016 and played Melodic Rock Fest in Melbourne but it wasn’t H.E.AT, we did a few HEAT songs acoustically and played with another band which was for fun. We had a break with the HEAT before into the great unknown, so we flew over for that and spent a week in Melbourne. But now we’re going to come full force with HEAT which is going to be awesome. And CRAZY LIXX are coming along as well so it will be amazing. Awesome band as well, amazing live!

Being your first show here in Australia, and with a new album, what will a set look like for you? Are you going to try and balance out the newer songs with older ones that we love but haven’t seen live?   

We try to incorporate songs from every album but we have seven albums [laughs] and a bunch of music and it gets harder. We want to play the new stuff and we really want to play songs from HEAT II as well because we didn’t get to tour it so we have four or five tracks from HEAT II, yes we will play a few from Force Majeure as well but we try to play at least two from the first album, one from Freedom Rock and a couple from the Eric albums as well!

That sounds great because we had missed out on seeing you through all of your era’s, and it will be great seeing Kenny step up into the Eric vocal songs. Has that been a learning process for him?

I think he has done his thing with Eric’s songs. It’s not copying Eric’s style, he does his own thing and adds his melodies and small wails and stuff like that. He’s more soulful – I don’t know if that’s a word – he likes more soul and does the runs more than Eric who is more of a power singer. He does his interpretation on tracks, it sounds really cool! It’s awesome to play all of the tracks live at the moment!

I have to ask about the new album’s title, Force Majeure. Is that a nod to the changeover of singers or is there another meaning to it?

For us, it’s like the word force was with us all along. We wanted to make it undeniable and have this force – that was the key word – and we thought about naming the album just Force but then we thought of Force Majeure and we’re like ‘oo’. It’s like a major force and it reflects the pandemic it was written during. Force Majeure, I mean swapping singers is almost a force majeure but you can read some meanings into it.

Up for interpretation!

Most of all it sounds badass.

It does! I won’t lie I did look up to see whether you were using the English or French pronunciation but glad I didn’t have to add my French ‘r’s onto it.

[laughs] Haha yeah we’re using the English pronunciation until we go to France and sound quite pretentious! *imitates French accent* Force Majeure.

So it’s out on Friday – are there any other single releases or music video releases coming with the release?

We wanted to but couldn’t make it work because we are touring. But as you do these days, you have a focus track and that is ‘Tainted Blood’ for us. That is the one we pitched to streaming platforms. And I really love that track and cannot wait to play it live! Actually I think we’ll be playing it for the first time in Australia because the album will be out by then so we can play more songs from Force Majeure!

Amazing! We obviously can’t wait! Why was ‘Tainted Blood’ a standout for you?

I’m not sure it’s a standout but it has this heavy riff that is reminiscent of Judas Priest and I kind of love that classic metal vibe to it!

We love Judas Priest here so that’s a good sign! In terms of that logical side of pulling this album together, you did say it was created during the pandemic. Was that during lockdowns, were you writing together?

Most of the time we would write individually to get the basic idea of the track and then get together to finish it. But in terms of lockdowns, we didn’t have any hard lockdowns in Sweden which everyone had to do their share of separating and distancing from each other. So it was up to everyone to make sure they didn’t affect people. So we all got together and hung out in the studio together and we did!

That makes it so much easier. And I guess with Kenny being back it would have been important for dynamic.

Yeah and just hang out and get to know each other!

Were you in contact with Kenny during his departure?

Every now and then but not really in contact. We met up in 2015 the last time before he rejoined the band, with me, him & Dave, and Dave wasn’t in the band then. We had dinner and a few beers, actually a lot of beers [laughs] I remember! But apart from, that there would be the text are Christmas or birthdays. Until he decided to rejoin.

So how did that conversation happen that he wanted to rejoin? With him rejoining like an instant back to being close or was there a big transition period?

We had to make sure he had his priorities right this time because he left the band for a reason back in the day but he has a lot of regret leaving and you can tell and he has been very open about that. He missed it and wanted to get back. He told me in 2019 when Eric was still in the band that he wanted to come back and I told him it would be pretty hard because we had a singer but you never know for the future. It happened quite quickly for him actually. You never know!

It all happened for a reason!       

It worked out so well and we’re super happy to keep it in the family!

   That familiarity helps with excitement for fans as well.

We can tell that because we sold out our show in Stockholm and I think a lot of that is because Kenny is back. We sold out our biggest venue so far! It has to be because he is back and we’re so glad for what’s happening moving forward.

So does that mean already planning for the next album?

I actually couldn’t sleep last night because I was shifting through a shit load of song ideas! I’m constantly working on new stuff. So absolutely. We’re touring now but creating music is a constant thing. I can’t turn it off. We should start recording again next year, at least I hope!

Incredible! Well, remember when you do start planning the next album tour to add Australia to the top of the list!

We will, I cannot tell you how excited we are to be coming down and playing!

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[Review] Our First Kiss Festival@ Melbourne Pavillion, Melbourne 7/05/2022

As soon as Our First Kiss festival was announced, as bought to us by the incredible team at Destroy All Lines, the needle in my memory record player became permanently stuck on the monster 3Oh!3 track featuring Kesha, leading to a high school time capsule bursting open. 

Reels of moments in time flooded my temporal lobe from spending way too much time becoming an HTML master coder to create the ultimate MySpace profile (full of mirror snaps with puffy hair and smudged thick black eyeliner, ‘raaawr <3’ captions and the best scene bands as your top friends), religiously attending battle of the bands to discover the next big scene gods, and naturally spending all of my spare cash at Dangerfield on band tees, studded belts and Emily the Strange merch. Ahh the good old days…

Like the generations before us – the rockabillies, the hippies, the punks, the grunge gurus – we all still hold onto that defining period of our formative years, and Our First Kiss was an indicator of that knock-white grasp.

Watching the sea of former scene kids swarm upon Melbourne Pavilion this cold May evening offered two thoughts – one of pure youthful excitement for the stacked lineup and one of comfort in the fact that I was home with my people. We’re all still donning the band tees, the black skinny leg jeans, the tartan, the skater skirts, the fishnet stockings, and a variation of vans, converse, and Dr. Martens. The mega side bangs have evolved but the unconventionally coloured hair and piercings a-plenty remain. The wings on our eyeliner have been tamed but the sentiment is strong – we are emo kids, hear us RAWR.

And we did… to the bands that helped shape, and are continuing to shape, our pop-punk and Emo scene in Australia.

Typically a venue for glamorous weddings and functions, Melbourne Pavilion is a stunning setting thanks to the Sia-worthy swinging chandeliers and dome ceiling. The dance floor which has seen many emotional first dances swept across it was filled with feet ready to jump. Propped up in the corner were giant mirrors marked with lipstick encouragement titled ‘Mirror of Expression’ where patrons could scrawl their own words of wisdom along with a must-have photo booth. Back in the foyer was a free hair and makeup station from the glam team at the Academy of Makeup and a merch desk. Taking a right turn to the outside area was the food truck festival with burger and Mexican menus. For a 5 PM indoor festival setting, Our First Kiss paid attention to the emo hearts’ detail.

From newer addition and revivalist local act Terra to the 2008 tiger stripes of Closure In Moscow, Dream On Dreamer, The Getaway Plan, Short Stack and The Veronicas, adding in the nostalgia noose of DJ sets from Bangs finest DJ’s, Our First Kiss musically could not disappoint.

Terra, who have been sweeping the festival slots and have just launched their latest EP Reverie, delivered a stellar opening set full of swirling hooks and larger-than-life vocals – two key ingredients to the emo music makeup and a damn fine way to start the evening.

A personal favourite, Closure In Moscow, offered a faultless set of tracks from their debut baby First Temple and prog product Pink Lemonade. Wearing a vibrant pink co-ord, Mansur Zennelli, started the wheel rolling for top-notch showmanship. With an exaggerated dramatic flare, including gun hands and nail-biting, Zennelli elevated the impeccable musicianship onstage tenfold. Also if you haven’t heard their EP The Penance and The Patience, quit wasting time and stream that album already! 

Our First Kiss got changeover slots spot on by involving Bang DJ’s Rayve Moor, Maddi Nightmare, Tropical Depression, and Rayden Joy. Between the live sets, these tune-fishers curated the most emo-filled playlists imaginable with belters tracks from Emo Gods My Chemical Romance, Paramore, A Day To Remember, Escape The Fate, Pierce The Veil, AFI, and more inducing monumental sing-alongs across the night. 

The singalongs hit full swing as The Getaway Plan took to the stage. With huge hit ‘Shadows’ opening their set, Matthew Wright and co-performed their guts out, proving range does not age. Teasing that they went overtime and breaking each and every punter’s heart before launching into one of Australia’s most recognizable emo anthems, ‘Where The City Meets The Sea’, The Getaway Plan dominated the Our First Kiss stage.

You want showmanship? You want banter? You want crowd interaction? Oh, hey there Short Stack!

There was nothing short about this show, from walking on to ‘It’s Raining Men’ to covering banger ‘All The Small Things’, these lads were on fire, accurately summing up their set with the following comment: ‘you can see their eyes and ears bleeding from the musical amazingness’.

As the disco ball spun overhead and ‘Freak’ by Australia’s best band Silverchair erupted, the stage filled with smoke. An emergency alarm sounded for an intruder alert. There was a breach in festival security – The Veronicas infiltrated Melbourne Pavilion for an adrenaline animalistic experience. Australia’s twin-pack pop-punk princesses turned pop goddesses may be small in stature but they deliver larger-than-life sets. Our First Kiss was no exception. Whilst no wall-of-death erupted this time around, the crushing weight of their talent hit like a tonne of bricks. ‘4Ever’, ‘Everything I’m Not’, ‘When It All Falls Apart’, screamo star ‘Mother Mother’, ‘Hook Me Up’, ‘This Is How It Feels’, ‘You Ruin Me’, ‘Take Me On The Floor’, ‘In My Blood’ and the national anthem ‘Untouched’; there are no words to describe a set of this proportion. The best of the old, the best of the new – simply, the best!

Our First Kiss could have been sloppy and somewhat awkward but so much thought and love went into it that it left us feeling all fuzzy inside, magical, memorable, and thinking about the next kiss.

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Interviews

Interview with Richie Lewis (Tumbleweed)

We all have some skeletons in the closet, but Nikki Sixx has a whole graveyard hiding in his. The First 21 takes you through one bag of bones at a time in a very candid journey through his life. His honesty is to be commended, and I felt his pain on many occasions, as he unfurled his childhood demons and his life living as Frankie Ferrana Jnr.
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