Live Music Reviews

Posted 23 Aug 2016 @ 2:55pm

Reviewed on Monday August 22


“This one goes out to everyone who made a baby to that first record,” Maxwell announces at one point during his Enmore Theatre show to his adoring crowd. “And also to all those 20-year-old kids here tonight”.


Such an aside is a nod to both Maxwell’s boudoir appeal and his status as a cross-generational maverick. First appearing in...

Posted 22 Aug 2016 @ 9:56am

Reviewed on Saturday August 20


Ben Folds has come a long way since his days as a 20-year-old walking around North Carolina with a tape of recordings in his pocket and a head full of dreams. He’s toured world stages, written an album with novelist/screenwriter Nick Hornby, and even collaborated with musicians as diverse as Regina Spektor and Weird Al Yankovic. But all those...

Posted 17 Aug 2016 @ 1:44pm

Reviewed on Tuesday August 16


Is Lisa Mitchell doing okay? It's a question left unspoken among the audience during her set, and left unanswered by the Albury-born Australian Idol alum by the time she finishes up. Granted, Mitchell has always been a reluctant star – she was visibly frightened by the screaming of her young devotees at her Enmore Theatre headliner many moons ago...

Posted 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:38am

Reviewed on Friday August 12


Reports on Friday night of a minor earthquake in the CBD are today being revealed as a false alarm – there was no earthquake. Billy Talent were just in town giving an unprecedented performance with an earth-shaking energy that left their fans quivering where they stood.


Local legends The Lazys opened for our Canadian brethren,...

Posted 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:40am

Reviewed on Friday August 12


Punch Brothers sure know how to put on a charismatic performance. Led by the outlandishly talented Chris Thile – he who shall take over the reins from Garrison Keillor in October when the Prairie Home Companion hosts steps down after 42 years –  these gentlemen are each so freakishly skilled that even those who might ordinarily never listen to...

Posted 15 Aug 2016 @ 10:23am

Reviewed on Friday August 12.


Sleepmakeswaves’ gig at the Metro Theatre didn’t exactly have the smoothest start. Halfway through opening act The Contortionist’s set, an ear-splitting ringing sounded out. Everybody stood around nonchalantly. Was it the smoke machines? Whatever it was, everyone had to evacuate.


No one really knew if The Contortionist were going to...

Posted 14 Aug 2016 @ 12:56pm

Reviewed on Saturday August 13


Remember that video your sad uncle shared on Facebook a few months ago – the one where the history of rock was compacted into a single seven minute song that snaked through genre after genre, band after band? That’s what Screaming Females sound like, except the genres they mash up do not come from this earth. Screaming Females play rock ‘n’ roll...

Posted 8 Aug 2016 @ 1:50pm

Reviewed on Thursday August 4 (Photo by Ashley Mar)


Last Thursday wasn’t the first time King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard graced the stage of the Oxford Art Factory, but it was certainly the first time in a while. Their recent repertoire of shows has seen them play bigger and better venues to more emphatic acclaim. It was nice then to see them in a familiar space again –...

Posted 8 Aug 2016 @ 1:08pm

Reviewed on Saturday August 6 (Photo by Ashley Mar)


What a time to be a Thundacat – the Australian hip-hop equivalent of a Belieber or a Directioner and the collective noun for Thundamentals fans. Tonight the freshly-expanded Blue Mountains crew (now with multi-instrumentalist Kevin “Poncho” Kerr on board) are performing to a crowd that is statistically more likely to be...

Posted 8 Aug 2016 @ 11:17am

Reviewed on Sunday August 7


Everything shoegaze-inspired carries about it a certain air of ‘cool’, a distance characteristic of introversion rather than arrogance. Newtown Social Club’s Sunday lineup fully embodied that sense of reservation, keeping banter to a strict minimum and expressing mostly through walls of fuzzy noise.


Openers Egoism (formerly Ego)...

Posted 8 Aug 2016 @ 10:52am

Reviewed on Saturday August 6


School was out at the Oxford Art Factory last Saturday as a cohort of bright young things flaunted their musical maturity to both inspire and make all Gen Ys in the vicinity feel woefully inadequate.


First up was Stay At Home Son, the electro-indie project of newcomer Jesse Martin-Allen, the first to be signed to Japanese Wallpaper’...

Posted 8 Aug 2016 @ 10:33am

Reviewed on Saturday August 6


The night looks like it’ll pack a greasy punch as Black Tusk hit town as part of their inaugural Australian tour, the fairly large Sydney stoner crowd out in force donning trucker caps and stubbies, ready to experience swamp metal.


The chill buzz of the venue is stirred up as the impressive two-piece that is Witch Fight take to the...

Posted 8 Aug 2016 @ 10:14am

Reviewed on Friday August 5


Due to their unique style of New Orleans-inspired jazz, being right near the entrance of The Gasoline Pony is an advantage for The Low Down Riders – the sustained harmonies that open their set send out cool waves of sound, drawing interest from passers-by, who wander in to the bar. With jazz’s mandatory red light illuminating the band, the oomph of...

Posted 3 Aug 2016 @ 11:01am

Reviewed on Tuesday August 2


Gang Of Youths surprised a lot of delighted Sydneysiders when they announced midway through Tuesday that they would be playing a free show at Newtown Social Club to celebrate the release of their new EP, Let Me Be Clear. And boy, was Sydney ready for them.


At first, it was strange to see Gang Of Youths on a smaller stage after a run...

Posted 1 Aug 2016 @ 10:08am

Reviewed on Tuesday July 26


Lupa J is the moniker of one Imogen Jones, a teenage multi-instrumentalist who would only just be scraping in were she attempting to gain entry to this 18+ show. Jones is an intriguing musical prospect, drawing a substantial crowd of early arrivals that visibly shocks her when the house lights illuminate the dark.


Essentially, Lupa J’...

Posted 28 Jul 2016 @ 2:40pm

Reviewed on Wednesday July 27


The fact that the Oxford Art Factory is positively buzzing at least 30 minutes before Buoy's support set is due to start is testament to the pull of tonight's headliner. An evening of all-female Splendour In The Grass alumni is what this sold-out show has in store, and Sydney resident Buoy begins with ominous underwater-like electronic pulses and...

Posted 28 Jul 2016 @ 10:41am

Reviewed on Tuesday July 26


James Blake’s albums always sound like he’s showing you what he’s capable of while exercising a certain restraint, so I was very much looking forward to seeing him live. If his records are a frustrated Ferrari driver in Sydney traffic letting it be known just how much of a growl the engine can produce, then this concert was that driver being...

Posted 27 Jul 2016 @ 5:03pm

Reviewed on Tuesday July 26


With Jake Bugg bringing his unique brand of country-emo to the State Theatre stage for his Splendour sideshow, the Brits were out in such force in the stalls and onstage that you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd taken a wrong turn home and ended up in Manly.


Donning the kind of black pleat jeans that could belong to a praying mantis,...

Posted 27 Jul 2016 @ 12:33pm

Reviewed on Tuesday July 26


Somewhere in the middle of ‘Heart Of A Dog’, the second single from their new album Ash & Ice, The Kills reach peak cool. Alison Mosshart bares her teeth something animalistic in between lyrics, while Jamie Hince shreds away on his six-string. And for a fleeting moment, the coolest duo in modern music steps up to another level entirely.

Posted 27 Jul 2016 @ 10:53am

Reviewed on Monday July 25


There were a lot of takeaways from Band Of Horses' ill-fated Opera House debut, but this is perhaps the most applicable: if it pertains to your job, never miss a vocal warm-up. Ben Bridwell’s shot voice and palpable frustration emanating from the stage split the audience into two camps: those loyal followers who could feel all of his determination and...

Posted 26 Jul 2016 @ 2:23pm

Reviewed Friday July 22 - Sunday July 24 (photos by Katrina Clarke)


Whether it was the unseasonably warm (and sunny) weather, campground security greeting revellers with high fives, quantities of glitter to rival the dirt, or perhaps just the most modern and diverse lineup Splendour In The Grass has seen in some time, this year’s festival was one of the biggest Australia has...

Posted 26 Jul 2016 @ 11:11am

Reviewed on Monday July 25


There aren’t many bands who can perform three-hour sets as a matter of course. The stamina required to do so is one thing, but having the quality and quantity of material to keep the show moving is what proves elusive to most. The Cure are an elusive band themselves – sometimes disappearing from the circuit for years at a time, and returning with new...

Posted 25 Jul 2016 @ 9:55am

Reviewed on Sunday July 24 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Reformations are a funny thing. Their now-infamous Big Day Out show was the last time At The Drive-In played Sydney, leaving the stage in a huff after less than 20 minutes and then breaking up a month later. A post-punk band reforming after more than a decade very easily runs the risk of becoming the very nostalgic heritage act...

Posted 25 Jul 2016 @ 9:47am

Reviewed on Saturday July 23 (photo by Ashley Mar)


From the Splendour stage straight to Sydney Olympic Park, The 1975 were welcomed back to our city with open arms as they illuminated the stage with their distinct brand of alt-rock.


“Welcome, we’re The 1975,” announced Matty Healy, the eccentric frontman, after the first song and again after the second. I’ve...

Posted 24 Jul 2016 @ 5:01pm

Reviewed on Saturday July 23


We were halfway through ‘Auto Neutron’, Fat White Family’s first song, when the absinthe took hold. My psychiatrist-turned-gig-partner and I had imbibed some three straight bottles of the wretched stuff, having decided the only way to truly experience the band was while rip-roaring drunk. And yet we hadn’t taken the proper precautions – we were now...

Posted 24 Jul 2016 @ 11:56am

Reviewed on Friday July 22


One of the key perks of festival sideshows – and, indeed, many tours of this nature by extension – is the chance to connect international artists with local talent and give the latter a world of exposure. It's essentially a living, breathing ‘recommended if you like’ section. The selection of Sydney singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Zindzi...

Posted 24 Jul 2016 @ 11:47am

Reviewed on Thursday July 21


Light of finger, heavy on the charm, Essex-based Nothing But Thieves stole their own damn Splendour sideshow with an absolutely bonkers performance for 500 lucky concertgoers.


Cronulla-turned-Melburnians Strangers kicked off the night. Obviously the audience was there to see NBT, but their stomping huge take on hard rock had everyone...

Posted 22 Jul 2016 @ 10:02am

Reviewed on Thursday July 21


With her confident, eclectic new record Blastoma hot off the presses, Ngaiire is a vibrant opening act, throwing herself into choice cuts like ‘Diggin’, the midtempo ‘I Wear Black’ and the more muscular rock of ‘House On A Rock’. Her upbeat set also includes some older cuts like ‘Rabbit Hole’, where her soulful voice cuts through heavy beats and a...

Posted 22 Jul 2016 @ 9:45am

Reviewed on Thursday July 21


Jack Garratt is a Jack of all trades, so to speak. In this high-speed, high-energy set, he played at least four instruments masterfully, to the constant awe of the crowd. Not only is he a talented multi-instrumentalist, but also an entertainer in every sense of the word – he sang, danced, and even had people in fits of laughter.



Posted 22 Jul 2016 @ 9:35am

Reviewed on Wednesday July 20


A pre-Splendour showcase was had at the Oxford Art Factory on Wednesday night. The triple bill featured two debut Australian appearances and three differing levels of buzz.


Aside from an amp dying two songs in, Sydney's Food Court opened the show strong with their brand of catchy, rough-hewn fuzz-pop. Previewing songs from what will...