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Live Music Reviews

Posted 18 Nov 2016 @ 5:37pm

Reviewed on Thursday November 17

 

The pews fill up early at St. Stephen’s Uniting Church on Macquarie Street tonight. While the average passer-by would never think of this unassuming church as a concert venue – and there’s a significant irony in a show taking place directly across from the State Parliament – Paul Kelly and Charlie Owen’s performance is no artificial scenario....

Posted 14 Nov 2016 @ 11:18am

Reviewed on Sunday November 13

 

The hype was real as the sweaty masses gathered for a night of hypnotic rock, ready to get well and truly down with the sickness as American heavy metalheads Disturbed hit town on their highly anticipated return.

 

Twelve Foot Ninja are one of those bands who you may have heard about but never really caught on to – you could call...

Posted 14 Nov 2016 @ 10:57am

Reviewed on Sunday November 13

 

As always, Newtown Festival proved why the suburb is still the breeding ground of Sydney’s emerging music scene. It is one of the few festivals that boasts a vibe that is both deeply cool and family-friendly.

 

The atmosphere this year, as you might expect, was a little politically charged. Most people walked through a Trump protest...

Posted 14 Nov 2016 @ 10:42am

Reviewed on Saturday November 12

 

Deftones are an anomaly. Having weathered trends for close to 30 years, the band has sailed through waves of skate punk, nu metal, emo and now even prog rock, coming out the other end unscathed and still relevant. It’s hard for a band to simultaneously act as godfathers to a scene while still being at the forefront of it, yet somehow this brand...

Posted 14 Nov 2016 @ 10:28am

Reviewed on Friday November 11 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

The second week of November 2016 has gone down as a big one for the history books. Whether it was the most contentious presidential election in history or the death of a musical legend that consumed your interest, Dope Lemon’s debut Sydney performance was the right slice of escape from the mad world outside. With Angus Stone...

Posted 11 Nov 2016 @ 5:56pm

Reviewed on Thursday November 10

 

Death Bells present a maximal front – three guitarists, two keyboardists, three vocalists – yet execute relatively minimal arrangements of their hazy, sneaker-staring tracks. Taking equal cues from initial waves of post-punk and the icy gloom of ’90s noise rock, the septet are more about gradual builds from the depths of their cavernous ambience...

Posted 7 Nov 2016 @ 11:06am

Reviewed on Friday November 4

 

Superheist are back. But don't call it a comeback: it's not a comeback. Either way, their nu-metal hit the Factory Theatre with a surprising explosion of impressive energy that didn't let up the entire show.

 

The set opened with ‘The Fight Back’ and the enthusiasm around me was immediate, as new frontman Ezekiel Ox jumped down into...

Posted 7 Nov 2016 @ 10:44am

Reviewed on Friday November 4

 

The Dandy Warhols are currently touring their ninth album, Distortland – but you’d be forgiven if you weren’t quite up to speed with the band’s discography. Most of the crowd in Sydney on Friday seemed to be there for offerings from 2003’s Welcome To The Monkey House. Discerning readers will note that was over ten years ago and probably feel old as...

Posted 7 Nov 2016 @ 10:18am

Reviewed at various venues in Cronulla on Thursday November 3

 

It’s the first of four nights at the second year of Australian Music Week, and the infamous southern Sydney beach spot of Cronulla is playing host to another round of panels and music.

 

The 8pm slot at the Brass Monkey is filled by Katoomba blues rocker Claude Hay and band. Later in his 30-minute set,...

Posted 31 Oct 2016 @ 10:16am

Reviewed on Saturday October 29 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Take a pinch of Lamb Of God and a heap of Slipknot, blend the metal concoction together on an arena stage, et voilà: a substantial serving of blood, sweat and cheers carnage.

 

As Lamb Of God began ‘512’, the crowd displayed excellent potential for mayhem pending the headliners’ arrival, encouraged by the...

Posted 28 Oct 2016 @ 4:54pm

Reviewed on Thursday October 28 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Horns up, motherfuckers. Bullet For My Valentine made a long-awaited return to Sydney with a complementary metal uniform in tow, and boy, the brutality did not disappoint.

 

The curtain dropped to reveal a huge BFMV banner, and while visually very cool, the intentionally moody build-up of smoke lost a lot of...

Posted 24 Oct 2016 @ 12:26pm

Reviewed on Saturday October 22 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Irish songsmith Glen Hansard made special effort to start bang on 9pm, not out of mere cordiality, but in a genuine effort to cram as much of his music into the two-hour slot as he possibly could.

 

Taking to the Opera House stage with a dozen musicians, Hansard looked thrilled to be back, and to call his...

Posted 24 Oct 2016 @ 11:07am

Reviewed on Friday October 21

 

Tonight's headliners deserve the utmost kudos for still, after all these years, curating lineups that are spirited in their sonic diversity and reflective of their own evergreen eccentricities. Perhaps in no other circumstances would one see the free-form freakiness of a band like Seims juxtaposed so directly with the brash, charming garage-pop of...

Posted 17 Oct 2016 @ 11:06am

Reviewed on Friday October 14

 

Too often beauty gets confused with scope. There is a dominating misnomer that to be powerful, music has to be big – that the only choruses with the ability to wrench hearts and dominate inner lives are loud and large and full of a crashing aggression.

 

But such a hypothesis ignores the pleasures to be found in the work of musicians...

Posted 17 Oct 2016 @ 10:56am

Reviewed on Thursday October 13

 

Leading the night’s colourful charge was the delightful Miss Eileen & King Lear, a brother-sister duo plucked from their own more expansive family group, Perch Creek. The latter are a well-established presence on the festival scene these days, and while Eileen and Lear don’t deviate too far from what makes Perch Creek so engrossing, they do...

Posted 17 Oct 2016 @ 10:42am

Reviewed on Friday October 14 (photo by Ashley Mar)

 

Donning white clothes and straitjackets smeared with fake blood, the delirium of Lacuna Coil takes hold of the Metro with an explosive boom of goth techno and metal romance.

 

Musically, Lacuna Coil are good. Really good. Singer Cristina Scabbia has the most phenomenal voice; a powerful tone and unwavering pitch...

Posted 11 Oct 2016 @ 11:52am

Reviewed on Saturday October 8

 

No matter the gig – be it a lone folk singer in the corner of a pub, or a stadium heaving with the energy of 10,000 people – you always hope that what you're about to witness turns out to be historic. Imagine being there in the Cavern Club when The Beatles first took to the stage, or that time Keith Richards revealed he is actually an immortal...

Posted 10 Oct 2016 @ 5:31pm

Reviewed on Thursday October 6.

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a rocker who harbours fond memories of your noughties emo heydays, or you’re a young’un new to the world of rock gigs: when you go to see Escape The Fate you enter a place where everyone comes together in love. From the supports to the beers, the hyped-up crowd to the insane guitar riffs the group bring, there’s...

Posted 6 Oct 2016 @ 11:54am

 

Sydney four-piece Oslow have their roots in hardcore, but material from their upcoming LP – songs like ‘Cold, Dark Space’ – sees them moving in a more melodic direction, albeit with touches of the breakneck pace and abrasive din associated with bands like Cloud Nothings and Violent Soho.

 

A polite, unassuming stage presence belies their muscular, aggressive approach and...

Posted 19 Sep 2016 @ 2:12pm

Reviewed on Saturday September 17.

 

Still battling through a Friday hangover? Fear not – Hostile Objects and Creative Adult will perk you up in an instant. Hostile trade in furious, rapid-fire hardcore that completely belies their late-arvo timeslot, while Adult are a curious blend of Crazy Horse-inspired proto-grunge jamming and sprawling post-punk, and even when they're down a...

Posted 15 Sep 2016 @ 12:05pm

Reviewed on Wednesday September 14

 

“Tonight’s a special night,” explained the amiable Basement doorman to punters heading down the stars into the venue. “It’s an Irish night.” Indeed, there was a large contingent of our Irish brethren out for County Down’s Foy Vance, lending the venue the feel of a Celtic singing hall.

 

The whisky chasers flowed freely as punters...

Posted 12 Sep 2016 @ 1:08pm

Reviewed on Friday September 9

 

It’s been a year since Goodgod closed up shop, and Plan B is a much smaller deal. Sadly, as Ravin and Ata of arts collective Heaps Decent took to the stage, the whole damn club was near empty, with only a handful of punters soaking up the smooth flows of these young rappers.

 

The boys kept it to the stage, and though they had...

Posted 11 Sep 2016 @ 10:20pm

Reviewed on Saturday September 10

 

“Words with hate have power” poet Sukhjit tells the crowd early in the night. Unabashed in her exploration of being a Sikh woman in Australia, her words are brash yet warm. She speaks not to the crowd, but with them, as if the few dozen faces are old friends she would rather have a chat with than perform to. At one point she asks everyone to...

Posted 11 Sep 2016 @ 9:24pm

Reviewed on Saturday September 10

 

Watching Simple Plan perform is akin to watching an action movie: their live show is full of lights, cameras and plenty of action. From the moment the lads stepped on stage until the very end of the gig they jumped about the place with boundless energy. Lead singer Pierre Bouvier was the embodiment of that cheeky tongue emoji, leaping around...

Posted 8 Sep 2016 @ 9:44am

Reviewed on Tuesday September 6

 

It's a quiet Tuesday evening when The Grand Magoozi (AKA Susie Scurry) sneaks onstage – or at least, attempts to sneak onstage. Tonight's headliner takes the opportunity to give Scurry a grandiose introduction, complete with a blaring Tina Turner number. It sets an upbeat tone for Scurry's set, who goes on to charm with quaint, warm country songs...

Posted 5 Sep 2016 @ 3:37pm

Reviewed on Friday September 2.

 

There’s only a spattering of people milling about when Run Marlowe’s Lewis Clarke says, “It’s funny: The Whitlams actually played at my dad’s thirtieth” before continuing on with the set. The young triple j unearthed band have a sound reminiscent of a movement past; in many ways they are like a modern day Silverchair.

 

An...

Posted 5 Sep 2016 @ 10:20am

Reviewed on Sunday September 4.

 

‘Poetry’ is a dead word. These days it only gets applied to a very certain subsect of creative endeavour; to the kind of wanky, paper-thin decorative verse that references a life of beauty and dignity that not many of us gronks actually lead.

 

It would not usually, for example, get applied to a group like Scabz, the self-proclaimed...

Posted 2 Sep 2016 @ 10:02am

Reviewed on Thursday September 1.

 

I go to a fair few gigs. I’m lucky because seeing shows is my job, but I’m also unlucky because it’s, you know, my job – spend enough time slaving away at any occupation and ‘slaving’ threatens to become the operative word.  

 

That’s both the reason and the excuse for this review. Simply put, I don’t know how to write about Kid...

Posted 29 Aug 2016 @ 2:37pm

Reviewed on Saturday August 27

 

Little is known about Tinker, the production project for one Christopher Bristow that made its live debut last May. Already making waves on Soundcloud, it's interesting to see Bristow's compositions unfurl within the live setting. He's complemented here by a drummer and a female vocalist, both of whom impress with their proficiency in handling...

Posted 29 Aug 2016 @ 12:05pm

Reviewed on Friday August 26

 

The trick to performing while backed by an entirely programmed and processed beat is staying militantly precise and diligent. It's here that Stay At Home Son – who, it must be stressed, are a new act that have all the time in the world to learn this – fall short. Missed cues and flubbed parts almost derail them entirely, while their vocalist's mono-...

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