Live Music Reviews

Posted 15 Feb 2017 @ 10:48am

Reviewed on Tuesday February 14


A myriad of adjectives come to mind when one thinks of James Taylor – singer, songwriter, guitarist, occasional actor and American folk icon. Perhaps the most fitting one, however, would be ‘beloved’. It takes all of a stroll out onto centre stage and a tip of his cap to elicit a huge round of applause – some even take the initiative even further...

Posted 13 Feb 2017 @ 11:44am

Reviewed on Friday February 10


“Not in this lifetime,” Guns N’ Roses told the world. And yet here they were in Sydney for a fantastically well-received stadium performance with their classic lineup, minus Izzy Stradlin.


ANZ Stadium turned into one giant dive bar with enough smoke and sweat to account for the thousands of venues Guns N’ Roses have filled over the...

Posted 13 Feb 2017 @ 11:29am

Reviewed on Tuesday February 7


There are certain things in life that might never have quite found their way onto your personal bucket list, yet when they roll around there’s an unexpected frisson there regardless. Catching The Beach Boys (well, most of ’em) perform was a pretty grand experience, but the real memory of the night belongs to the opener, The Temptations. While only...

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 1:06pm

Reviewed on Tuesday February 7


“That’s a long way, man!” says an unusually hesitant Bruce Springsteen. He’s peering down at the crowd from atop his runway at the middle of the arena floor, a sea of hands beckoning him for a lift back to stage. The 67-year-old performer chuckles, closes his eyes and leans into the throng.


Springsteen has always known how to throw...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 7:47pm

Reviewed on Friday February 3


12 months on from the death of one of the few people who can genuinely claim the mantle of ‘the Fifth Beatle’, producer George Martin, and in a year when we’re sure to hear a lot of the phrase “It was 50 years ago today…”, now seems like as good a time as any to celebrate the Fab Four’s unbeatable catalogue.


Beatles tribute shows...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 4:04pm

Reviewed on Saturday February 4 (photo by Jess Hayhow)


The glorious backdrop of the city at sunset framed the surprisingly intimate venue that was Taronga Zoo’s concert lawn as Killing Heidi returned to Sydney. You couldn’t have asked for a better setting for an evening of music and reminiscing with friends – the wine and cheese crowd ambled on down, clutching picnic blankets...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 1:02pm

Reviewed by David Molloy and Ben Potter (photo by Ashley Mar)


The sweltering heat could not keep revelers from descending on the Sydney College of the Arts for one of the last bastions for festivalgoers in the city, and by noon, the threatening clouds had parted and left behind a perfect day.


First to the stages was triple j Unearthed rapper Genesis Owusu,...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 11:02am

Reviewed on Friday February 3


The gigs at which you truly lose yourself are few and far between, but Friday night at the Factory was one of those nights. Opening their Colourblind Tour, Hands Like Houses performed with nothing but passion and pride, enriching souls and uplifting hearts with a set full of relatable lyrics and mind-melting melodies.


There was a...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 9:53am

Reviewed on Thursday February 2 (photo by Ashley Mar)


It’s been just over a year since The Rubens took out the coveted triple j Hottest 100 title with ‘Hoops’. It would have been easy for them to fade out in that time, especially given how meteoric their rise in Australian music seemed (they formed in 2011, just three brothers and a childhood friend). Lead singer Sam Margin...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 9:38am

Reviewed on Thursday February 2 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Canada’s punk rock/riot grrrl power band White Lung graced St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival over the weekend after a sideshow at Newtown Social Club. A separate focus for the evening, though, was that many punters knew this would be their last at NSC, following the venue’s announcement that it will close in April.


Posted 30 Jan 2017 @ 10:36am

Reviewed on Wednesday January 25 (photo by Ashley Mar)


It may not have been open for long, but the International Convention Centre’s Darling Harbour Theatre has now hosted the strangest gig it may ever witness.


Puscifer, the side project of Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan, are an outside bet at the best of times, but sirens must have gone off for organisers...

Posted 30 Jan 2017 @ 10:09am

Reviewed on Friday January 27 (photo by Ashley Mar)


You've got to hand it to Tigertown – they're pretty heckin' adorable. They play happy-go-lucky electropop with the bombast of your Grouploves or even your St. Lucias, with all the sugar rush of playing M83's ‘Midnight City’ at full volume on repeat. The already packed crowd goes with their every movement, from dutifully...

Posted 30 Jan 2017 @ 9:46am

Reviewed on Sunday January 29


“This is serious!” smirked the chief songwriter for The Bats, Robert Scott, early into the band’s Sydney Festival set. It was a telling moment: a declaration of sincerity delivered in the most insincere way possible has long been the modus operandi for these Flying Nun legends, and a rubbery, artfully odd sense of the heartfelt has remained the key...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 10:14am

Reviewed on Wednesday January 25


Sydney locals Polographia kicked things off for the night with their blend of ’90s nostalgia and synth. If you haven’t heard of them yet this summer, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon. Seeing ‘Feels Alright’ alone was worth the price of entry. They had no problem mesmerising an almost-full Enmore Theatre, and no doubt they’ll be back as...

Posted 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:55pm

Reviewed on Tuesday January 24


A solo piano performance in the relative intimacy of Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall is always going to be a source of some excitement, especially when it’s that of French composer and musician Yann Tiersen. 20-odd years into a storied career, his most recent solo album Eusa presented fragile piano compositions thematically and musically...

Posted 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:10am

Reviewed on Saturday January 21 (photo by Ashley Mar)


“Music has to be a place of hope,” announced Refused frontman Dennis Lyxzén, proud and articulate in one of the night's many abstracted political speeches. Being the night of Trump's inauguration, the room seethed with anger, but so many more emotions beneath the tattooed skin – solidarity, kinship, passion and that one...

Posted 23 Jan 2017 @ 10:34am

Reviewed on Saturday January 21 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Amanda Palmer is one of those artists who inspires a devout and colourful following, and onstage at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, stripped back to nothing but piano, uke and voice (and a giant glittering clitoris sculpture, the Glitoris), she delivered what was frankly one of the best gigs I’ve seen in some time....

Posted 23 Jan 2017 @ 10:23am

Reviewed on Saturday January 21


A celebration of joie de vivre – the exuberant enjoyment of life – is not precisely how I would describe most music festivals. Often the experience is somewhere between an hour-long wait outside a muddy portaloo flooded with (at best) unidentifiable liquids and having your feet repeatedly stomped by what appears to be an eight-foot goth wrestler...

Posted 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:57am

Reviewed on Sunday January 22


The draconian lockout laws and awful government rules have been a blight on Sydney’s cultural growth. But every cloud has a silver lining, and the party scene that has erupted as a result of these laws has been nothing short of fantastic. Warehouse parties and a defiant club culture have developed around the periphery of the lockout zone, but we’ve...

Posted 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:43am

Reviewed on Sunday January 22 (photo by Ashley Mar)


12 hours before PJ Harvey took to the stage in Sydney, neo-Nazi and so-called “Karl Marx of the right” Richard Spencer was being punched in the head. The incident caused an almost immediate outburst of hand-wringing from the left, and the relative merit of beating up fascists was quickly disseminated and discussed online....

Posted 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:24am

Reviewed on Friday January 20 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ new album Skeleton Tree is a sad study in what happens when tragedy comes knocking at the door of a tortured artist. In the accompanying film One More Time With Feeling, we experience this tragedy and this music intimately, sitting by Cave’s side as he works through the stages of grief following...

Posted 19 Jan 2017 @ 5:12pm

Reviewed on Tuesday January 17 (photo by Ashley Mar)


“This next one’s a more upbeat song about heroin,” announced Quan Yeoman, leading into ‘Run Run Run’ and capturing the vibe of a surreal evening in Sydney Festival’s Spiegeltent.


Pub favourites and national treasures Regurgitator used the slot to revisit a one-off performance at the National Gallery of...

Posted 16 Jan 2017 @ 9:55am

Reviewed on Saturday January 7


Grease monkeys from all over the country descended on the dusty plains of Canberra's Exhibition Park to demonstrate their automotive prowess and bask in the adoration of car fans at this year's Summernats, a staple in the annual Aussie summer madness.


There was no shortage of revved-up beasts showcasing custom creations with top-...

Posted 16 Jan 2017 @ 9:38am

Reviewed Tuesday December 27 - Sunday January 1


And so ended my… (seventh? eighth?) Woodford Folk Festival. It’s hard to keep track when each Boxing Day rolls around and the strange cavalcade starts to build steam once again. It’s been long enough now to have witnessed the festival soldier on through scorching sun and mighty rains that flooded Brisbane itself and came close to...

Posted 13 Jan 2017 @ 4:07pm

Reviewed on Wednesday January 11


It was a hot and heavy atmosphere at the Factory Theatre on Wednesday, and the rising temperatures had nothing to do with the insane summer weather. Instead, thunderous clouds of rock formed over the venue as two equally sensational bands, fronted by two equally phenomenal vocalists, took to the stage for a night of inspirational female-driven...

Posted 13 Jan 2017 @ 3:27pm

Reviewed on Tuesday January 10


Sydney hard rockers Bare Bones have opened for tonight's headliners in the past. Truth be told, they'll probably do it again. It's an obvious pairing, given the stylistic parallels, but the two years since their last team-up has seen Bare Bones grow even tighter and more confident in their approach to big-wheeling, tough-as-nails riffs and fist-...

Posted 13 Jan 2017 @ 3:03pm

Reviewed on Thursday January 5


Grandmaster Flash is at a point where he has absolutely nothing to prove. It's safe to say he's been in this position for quite some time, having cemented a legacy thanks to an influential run in the ’80s alongside The Furious Five. These days, the man born Joseph Saddler is just along for the ride, frequently travelling around the world and...

Posted 10 Jan 2017 @ 5:03pm

Reviewed Saturday December 31 – Monday January 2


Facing extreme heat – with a relentless downpour to come on its final night – Falls Festival at Byron Bay launched into festivities on New Year’s Eve by saying sayonara to the annus horriblius that was 2016 (at least in music, right?) with one of the best Boogie Nights lineups it’s seen since its inception. The heat was nothing...

Posted 10 Jan 2017 @ 3:25pm

Reviewed on Wednesday January 4


A quick survey at the Enmore Theatre suggested there were far more Aussie natives in attendance than for Jamie T’s Metro show two years ago, presumably thanks to solid radio rotation for his latest LP Trick. And it seems that his tales from ‘Tescoland’ – old and new – translate surprisingly well for suburban Sydney kids. A confident, snarling...

Posted 10 Jan 2017 @ 1:40pm

Reviewed on Wednesday January 4


Parquet Courts are in the process of weaning out the unwelcome contingents of their fan base. In an automated, tongue-in-cheek pre-show PSA (voice set to 'stereotypical Aussie male'), we are told in among general band and individual member hype that the New Yorkers “are not likely to stray from the setlist, so your attempts to shout out songs are...