With almost twenty years since their last Perth show, and 7 months since the postponement of their Australian tour in the wake of the sudden death of L’Wren Scott, The Rolling Stones showed on Wednesday night that not only do good things come to those who wait, and that they were more than worth the wait.
CMJ, or “Country Music Jamboree”, as the Dune Rats so aptly coined the New York City industry event, recently wrapped up over the weekend. And with it, a whole lot of Aussie bands completed their first taste of the international stage. Among the hundreds of showcases spread across venues throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan in just four short days were multiple Aussie-only events. This year, Sounds Australia hosted - in addition to their usual Aussie BBQ affair on the Saturday - an additional Beat Pie showcase over two floors at Santos Party House; while over at Piano’s, we at the AU teamed up with Southern Exposure on Thursday night – jam-packing the venue with as many dancing bodies as there was sizzling talent.
Rowland S. Howard would have been 55 on Friday 24th October, a day after the opening of Pop Crimes a tribute to his career spanning more than 30 years. “We’re walking a thin line here. It’s not getting any wider. We’ll be better tomorrow night, don’t forget to book a ticket” exclaims Harry Howard (brother of the late rock icon) while performing the music of Rowland’s first band, The Young Charlatans .
Guitars and subverted Simpsons t-shirts ruled Blurst of Times' Sydney debut. Its debut went off without a major hitch, even with some last minute timetable shuffling to adjust to. With The Factory Theatre proving to be a perfect space for the event, triumphing over the aural assault that marred OutsideIn last year. This was accomplished without actually putting the Factory Theatre stage to use, utilizing the smaller Fusebox and Factory Floor stages, and the smart move of setting up a main stage outside. Pushing revelries out in to the open air and giving itself a true festival atmosphere.
There’s a strange pessimism embedded in most music fans when it comes to their favourite bands releasing new material. Will it be as good, will it be the same, has the novelty worn off. I think it’s safe to say that after the past couple of years Ball Park Music have well and truly left this awkward phase and are a musical force to be reckoned with. Bringing insurmountable amounts of energy to their live shows there is not a dull moment as their Trippin’ the Light Fantastic tour arrived in Perth on Friday night.
They are one of Australia’s most loved and lauded live acts and sadly, they are calling it quits. Those crazy cats from Bluejuice have decided it’s time to hang up the ridiculous home-made costumes and move on to new projects and lives. In the span of 13 years of touring, if you hadn’t seen them play at least once, be it at one of their own insanely wild headline shows or on a huge summer festival bill, you truly did miss out on seeing something spectacular.
Returning to Australia this week for their first tour here since 2012 (where they were supported by Bombay Bicycle Club), Manchurians Elbow filled up the Sydney Opera House last night for the first of two shows at the venue which even Guy Garvey couldn't help but admit was "iconic". But as the show went on, and they brought the venue to its feet, you could see on their faces that they were being more than humble, for this would be a night that the band - nor their audience - would not soon forget.
Sometimes when you've had a bad work week, all you want to do at the end of it is go somewhere or do something that requires little to no thinking, beer and a sense of not giving a crap. If you work in music, sometimes the perfect remedy for this is a loud rock show. Thankfully, there was a line up at the Adelaide Unibar which took care of it perfectly overnight. Melbourne's Kingswood were back in town to wind up their massive album tour for Microscopic Wars, a tour they'd started here back in August. If I'm honest, the first show of that tour had everything working against it, so it seemed like tonight was a perfect opportunity for the band to return and play the show many fans had been expecting. And with an extra show being added in Adelaide, the demand was obviously high.
Taking over the Cliff Dive Bar for a night of revelry, Converse show that they still have their finger on the pulse of youth culture, inviting blog pop wunderkinds Collarbones and REMi, fresh off his national run supporting Allday and claiming the AIR Independent Music best Hip-hop/Urban release. Throw in free tinnies courtesy of Pistonhead and a novel approach to the issue of phones at gigs – hand them in at the door and take your happy snaps on a disposable camera – and you have yourself a damn good night.
Ball Park Music are one of those bands who've always been..there. They've been dominating the Australian live circuit for ages now and for a while there, you could've put money on the Brisbanites being on any touring festival during the summer/New Year period. Currently, Ball Park Music are taking the 'Trippin' The Light Fantastic Tour' around the country and have been pulling large numbers with each stop. Their first of two Adelaide shows was testament to the force they've become as a band.
After a lukewarm start in Sydney due to atrocious sound issues, I was a bit nervous with my decision to fly down to Melbourne and do it all again. This was a line-up that was quite literally a dream for me and felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so to be underwhelmed twice would not only be soul crushing personally, it would have been indicative of what Australia and New Zealand could expect from the rest of the long-awaited tour. But all those angry tweets and general complaints that arose out of Sydney and the lack of sound checking seemed to benefit Melbourne; this time the crew behind Soulfest were on the ball. This led to a festival that felt like an entirely different, better experience than Sydney, and felt much closer to what the promoters intended the festival to be.
The structure of the inaugural Soulfest was a bit different than what Australia is used to; the majority of artists on the line up were like a tight-knit collective who have converged and diverged over the years, each contributing massively to what is known as neo-soul - or R&B in general. Two of these names stood out amongst the others, one being the eminent D'Angelo the other being festival headliner Maxwell. While the former showcased his similarities to Prince and Sly Stone at the festival, Maxwell got over simply through his elegant display at delicate neo-soul and that heavenly falsetto he is known for. At this very special, Sydney exclusive sideshow, fans, both dedicated and casual, were treated to the intimacy that this kind of performance not only demands, but needs.
Sydney can be a weary bunch when it comes to artists who have abandoned them before; the last time Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) was supposed to play the Enmore Theatre, he cancelled at the very last minute and left a bitter taste in our mouths. To add to the cynicism, Yasiin missed his scheduled flight the morning of Sydney's Soulfest and disappointed us once again. So third time's a charm, right? With a few sideshows for Soulfest's once-in-a-lifetime line-up sprinkled around Australia, a headline performance from Mos, two days after Sydney's Soulfest, promised a chance for the rapper to make it up to his fans and show that he is actually worth the wait.
The world is now well and truly acquainted with Sixto Rodriguez, courtesy of the momentous Academy Award-winning documentary "Searching for Sugar Man". After such a roller coaster career, arguably still on the rise, it seemed only fitting for Sydney to offer Rodriguez its iconic Opera House.
On Sunday October 21st Brisbane’s The Blurst of Times Festival hit Melbourne for the first time. Held at Seaworks in Williamstown, the day featured a line up of excellent Australian talent, across three stages.