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.
It's hard not to have unrealistic expectations when a dream line-up like this lands. The promoters of Soulfest must have worked been working miracles in order to make something like this to happen. It was something that immediately saw the East Coast of Australia become a point of envy for discerning music lovers around the world. Many of these acts could have been big draw cards in of themselves, but to put them all together seemed too good to be true - and it was treated so until the minute we entered. Sydney was the first stop for this inaugural Soulfest tour, so nerves were high when we stepped into Victoria Park - an odd spot for a major music festival - to get a taste of just how this was going to shape up.
Brisbane's Arundel have undertaken a fascinating journey to bring them to the point they're at now. With its origins as a solo project that resulted in brilliant tracks like "Living with Dinosaurs" (that we featured on the AU some 3 years ago) from Lucas Arundell (yes, two l's), Arundel has evolved into a massive five piece, with three vocalists, a thousand instruments on stage and an entrancing, varied performance that is impossible to look away from. And along the way it genuinely feels like they're attempting to do something that no one in Australia is right now...
The Melbourne Festival has been spending the last week celebrating, well, Melbourne, and how could you honour the city without mentioning the magical musical history that haunts the city streets. So there's no surprise in the acts chosen, from hip-hop bastion and social advocate Urthboy, to a tribute to one of the greatest musical icons of the city's lineage, Rowland S Howard. It makes sense that the honouree of this night is just as beloved, that being the funk soul act The Bamboos, who just the night before were honoured with an award for their saxophonists.
The Griswolds' Australian tour has been a while in the making for many fans. Their debut album, Be Impressive, was received incredibly well upon its release a few months back, though it's fair to say a lot of the excitement surrounding the record also came down to the fact that Australian fans hadn't seen the Sydney band play many gigs extensively through 2014. Instead, the band has been generating a strong international fan base, touring and appearing at festivals in the US for the past few months. It made sense that their Australian album tour would be popularly attended and as Adelaide falls on the midway mark of their run around the country, it's glaringly evident that The Griswolds are becoming quite the powerhouse live band.
On Thursday night I went to what I’m pretty sure was my first ever “pop” concert. I mean I’ve been to plenty of gigs, but Sheppard’s concert, their last of the current Australian tour, at Perth’s Astor Theatre, was probably my first ever proper “pop” concert – you know with the “young” (in some cases very young) screaming fans and such.
2011 saw the release of Josh T. Pearson's first solo album, Last of the Country Gentlemen. Recorded in Berlin in just two days, the highly anticipated album came ten years after acclaimed The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, the only release made with former band Lift to Experience.
It doesn’t happen very often that when a band drops a new album we’re graced with a live show to go along with the promotion train that follows it. Sydney fans were fortunate to not only have Irish rockers The Script play for them, but it was at The Metro too, a considerably smaller venue than the last time they were here. After seeing their invigorating show last time I was keen to check them out again and see the difference a more intimate setting would make on their performance.
New Orleans band Tuba Skinny returned to Australia to play two shows at The Basement in Sydney.
In the last twelve months, the Kingswood boys have brought old-skool rock & roll back into modern fashion. They have not only demonstrated that they can play good hard rock & roll, but they have also displayed a fun rock & roll attitude while up on stage and off stage. It should then be no surprise that these boys also share a passion for motorbikes, and how else to combine the two than by putting on an intimate performance in a motorbike workshop on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
It's the final show in the Live Lounge, Rolling Stone's pop up venue. For the past 2 months the renowned magazine has used Fitzroy haunt and nightmare name to fit into paragraphs The Workers Club, showcasing some of the best and brightest names in the local scene. Bands like The Delta Riggs and Husky along with solo acts like Tom Busby, Kasey Chambers and Harry Hookey have made their way through the stage doors of recent under the Live Lodge banner. Now on this last night it's the duty of Kingswood and The Demon Parade to close the lodge's big red doors. Even before any act has appeared on stage the room is filled to the brim with bodies. The Demon Parade take their places to screams and cheers until the guitar fuzz drowns them out.
Katy Steele played an intimate, one night only gig at The Basement in Sydney, to show off her new solo album.
I was fortunate enough to travel around India with Sheppard back in 2012 (you can look back at the interview I conducted with them HERE) and by the end of that trip, having seen them live a good 5 or 6 times, I never wanted to hear their catchy single "Let Me Down Easy" again. In my books, that's the sign of a great pop single. Indeed, the band have skyrocketed in the pop world since then - everything starting with that track no less - breaking ARIA chart records and selling out shows around the world. All this without coming from the X-Factor or Idol factory, which in many ways has dulled any sense of enthusiasm about the local pop scene.
The Griswolds are home. These words seemed to be theme of the night as loyal locals packed The Metro on Saturday for the band;s first Sydney show since the release of their debut album Be Impressive. Coming off the back of a mammoth stint around the U.S, in their hometown of Sydney and on lead singer Chris Whitehall’s birthday no less, I’d say there wasn't a soul in the popular Sydney haunt that could say they weren't ready to party. As if you needed a band like The Griswolds to give you a reason.