Live Music Reviews

Posted 18 Jul 2016 @ 12:58pm

Reviewed on Friday July 15


With Weedeater crossing the seas from the States, picking up Brit rockers Conan along the way, it’s difficult to put your finger on the atmosphere or the people at Manning Bar: it’s a motley crew of punters, and stoner rock has lured them in tonight with a maniacal grin.


Support act Lo! arrive with a surprisingly powerful opening from...

Posted 18 Jul 2016 @ 12:07pm

Reviewed on Friday July 15


For those living in the hope that pub rock is alive and well, the Factory Theatre can be a double-edged sword. While it attracts great rock’n’roll acts like Shihad, it also produces a special kind of attendant – the late-30s rocker desperate to relive the glory days.


Few of the latter showed for The Vanns, an Unearthed trio of great...

Posted 18 Jul 2016 @ 10:09am

Reviewed on Sunday July 17


Roughly a year removed from their biggest hometown show to date, Sleepmakeswaves have returned to the hallowed halls of the Metro Theatre with a new guitarist – that's Dan Oreskovic of Meniscus leading the charge stage left – and, in turn, a heightened sense of freshness and vitality. Not that the Sydney quartet has ever been lacking in the live...

Posted 18 Jul 2016 @ 9:58am

Reviewed on Friday July 15


Ladyhawke played a sold-out gig at Oxford Art Factory on Friday night as the Sydney stop on her Wild Things tour. The New Zealander has had a long love affair with this country: in 2008 she was poised to be the next big star in indie electropop, and her first Australian tour in 2009 had her packing out the Enmore.

In the near-decade since her...

Posted 18 Jul 2016 @ 9:43am

Reviewed on Saturday July 16


Feedtime’s legacy is a collection of wholly formed parts. Crafting a noise based on both dirty distortion and dance-punk antagonism, the band has cranked out some of the finest albums ever to be produced in this country, mixing the clenched fist of ’Strayan pub shanties with loops of distortion. A record like Shovel is an overloaded equation – part...

Posted 11 Jul 2016 @ 1:48pm

Reviewed on Wednesday July 6


Osaka Punch are, put simply, a band of AIM students fronted by a NIDA graduate. In other words, it’s music-as-sport fret-churning as led by a Mike Patton impersonator. Best served to those who equate musical skill to overall quality and those who prefer their music performed on guitars with odd-numbered strings.


Faring far better are...

Posted 11 Jul 2016 @ 12:37pm

Reviewed on Saturday July 9 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Expectations were lofty for Georgia and Caleb Nott, AKA Broods, ahead of their Enmore Theatre show. The New Zealand duo were fresh from playing stadiums supporting Ellie Goulding, had sold out their own eastern seaboard tour and recently dropped a second LP, Conscious, an album intentionally crafted to deliver high-energy...

Posted 11 Jul 2016 @ 12:37pm

Reviewed on Friday July 8 (photo by Ashley Mar)


George Maple made a bold return to Sydney for the start of her Australian tour with loads of new music and attitude. In fact, it was difficult to know whether to crudely grind or simply sway to her tunes, with a variety of new, grungier songs added to the setlist alongside her gentle, airy tracks from the past.



Posted 11 Jul 2016 @ 10:35am

Reviewed on Saturday July 9


Set for a night of post-hardcore epicness, Stepson and The Brave join Dream On Dreamer on The White Rose Tour, the rustic interior of The Bald Faced Stag the ideal place for some heavy ambience to burn your eardrums.


Like a car with a bad engine, first support Stepson chug in to action with spluttering soundchecks – all pretty...

Posted 11 Jul 2016 @ 10:16am

Reviewed on Saturday July 10


Supporting any act with a great reputation for their live show is no easy feat. Surrounded by gear, solo act James Crooks multi-tasked to no end while facing the tricky task of opening for Glass Animals. The self-confessed bedroom beatmaker from Sydney juggled between at least five different tools to gradually bring the pace and room’s bubbling...

Posted 7 Jul 2016 @ 2:11pm

Reviewed on Wednesday July 6


Here’s the thing: some of us dorks have been waiting fucking lifetimes for a true Sydney musical scene to emerge. And not only to emerge, but to be nourished by audiences; for punters to follow the rise and fall of local bands with the same relish that takes hold of them when they gush about groups from America and the UK.


In that...

Posted 4 Jul 2016 @ 10:34am

Reviewed on Saturday July 2 (photo by Ashley Mar)


True to the spirit of Dan Kelly, Gay Paris are well and truly drunk on election night. Then again, one supposes they would be in the exact same situation regardless of whether Australia's political future lay in the balance or not. This is Gay Paris in their element – swashbuckling, swaggering and sinister, blending a love of...

Posted 4 Jul 2016 @ 10:16am

Reviewed on Saturday July 2


We’re a funny mob, us Aussies. We have a strange, hysterical stoicism – a reliance on the relaxed that’s so profound it occasionally threatens our true feelings. Just take the ground floor of Newtown Social Club on Saturday, as a roomful of tipsy Labor and Greens voters nervously tried to pretend they weren’t nervously watching the LNP Senate seat...

Posted 27 Jun 2016 @ 6:14pm

Reviewed on Friday June 24 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Anyone who remained unsure just how big of a deal The Rubens have become only needed to see the throng of hands before the blues-swaggering five-piece took to the stage on Friday. In an electric atmosphere of fever pitch excitement, the Hordern was awash with the Hoops symbol as taken from the cover of the band’s second album (or...

Posted 27 Jun 2016 @ 11:34am

Reviewed on Friday June 24


For your consideration: pop music as the ultimate form of escapism. On this particular Friday, most people living in the outside world are shrouded by a cloud of negativity and uncertainty – every thing from Brexit to Fall Out Boy's song for the Ghostbusters movie has people downright pissed. Venture out to the mile-wide smile leading into Luna Park,...

Posted 27 Jun 2016 @ 10:27am

Reviewed on Saturday June 25 (photo by Ashley Mar)


After triggering the fire alarms during a recent Brisbane show, The Jungle Giants were surprised by a different commotion during Saturday’s sold-out Metro Theatre performance – that of an exceptionally rabid crowd. As leading man Sam Hales succinctly put it, “Sydney, you are fucking insane tonight!”


It’s a badge...

Posted 27 Jun 2016 @ 10:01am

Reviewed on Thursday June 23 (photo by Ashley Mar)


It takes a certain kind of performer to make a venue as grand as the Enmore feel like an intimate get-together. New Zealand expat Luke Thompson is one such musician; a gentle, kindly figure, quietly cooing over sparse electric guitar. He eases the gathering audience into the night's proceedings with charm and quaint...

Posted 22 Jun 2016 @ 5:43pm

“I am very concerned that parents are subjecting their children at Dark Mofo to what I believe is [the] demonic and satanic culture that existed in the Dark Ages,” wrote one Lorne Geeves of Howrah last week, airing her concerns in a nigh-on hysterical letter sent to one of Hobart’s leading newspapers.


 “Yes, our state is apparently benefiting, but at what cost to this...

Posted 20 Jun 2016 @ 2:36pm

Reviewed on Friday June 17 (photo by Ashley Mar)


It's nothing short of bizarre seeing a band like Black Stone Cherry in the flesh. This is the kind of band that has made a career out of soundtracking montages on sports shows and pre-match packages for WWE pay-per-views. It's all nondescript downtuned guitar muscle and guttural Southern drawl that's not pressed for subject...

Posted 20 Jun 2016 @ 1:24pm

Reviewed on Saturday June 18 (photo by Ashley Mar)


On Saturday night, the Museum of Contemporary Art terrace was home to some of Australia’s brightest electronic musicians. The artists on the lineup – Rainbow Chan, GL, Habits, Buoy, Mira Boru and Banoffee – were held together by two distinct threads: they all happen to be ladies, and are all technically amazing singers and...

Posted 20 Jun 2016 @ 1:23pm

Reviewed on Thursday June 16 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Normally at the helm of a live trio, recent Elefant Traks signee Okenyo casts a lone shadow on the Oxford Art Factory stage. Here, every loop, trigger, harmony and arrangement is entirely of her own doing. It's worth noting that this is a woman who serves as a commanding enough presence simply by singing. Once she takes over...

Posted 20 Jun 2016 @ 10:34am

Reviewed on Saturday June 18


Having just completed an anniversary tour of their debut album Themata, and having toured three years ago in support of 2013’s Asymmetry, it’s easy to see why Karnivool ended up almost filling this set completely with songs from their only other record, Sound Awake – that is, save for two songs apiece from Themata and Asymmetry. And, of course,...

Posted 14 Jun 2016 @ 12:42pm

Reviewed on Saturday June 11


It’s plaid shirts and punks aplenty as Aussie favourites The Living End make a triumphant return with the Sydney episode of their Shift tour, celebrating the release of the album of the same name with Adelaide outsiders Bad//Dreems and newcomers 131’s in tow.


Melbourne’s 131’s made a static start, but at only eight months formed, who...

Posted 14 Jun 2016 @ 12:10pm

It seems hollow to sit down and write a review of Heaps Gay’s Vivid party, the Festival Of Queer Delights, after the events of the weekend. What am I supposed to say? I had a great time, but it feels disrespectful to write about all the fun I had in my queer safe space, while my brothers and sisters in Orlando had theirs completely ripped out from under them.


At 4pm, the gates...

Posted 14 Jun 2016 @ 11:55am

Reviewed on Saturday June 11


As the sun set over Sydney Harbour and the Vivid festival lit up the night sky, Luna Park came alive – and despite it being a crisp, clear evening, all the real stars were under the Big Top, settling in for an epic night of all-Australian hip hop.


Sydney emcee and triple j Unearthed feature artist Manu Crook$ kicked the night off in...

Posted 14 Jun 2016 @ 11:39am

Reviewed on Friday June 10


“That idea is so crazy, it just might work.” It's a well-worn trope of a line in the world of cinema, but it also finds its way into the quote-unquote ‘real’ world from time to time as well. Case in point: Philadelphia Grand Jury attempting a hybrid of one of their reputably fun rock shows with a night singing karaoke with total strangers, the Philly...

Posted 6 Jun 2016 @ 10:44am

Reviewed on Saturday June 4 (photo from Saturday May 28 event by Daniel Boud)


I had high expectations of the final night of the four Goodgod Super Club events at Vivid LIVE, held in the Sydney Opera House basement. The one night last year was so much fun, and this year’s lineup was promising.


Sometime in the last few months, Joey LaBeija was quietly replaced by...

Posted 6 Jun 2016 @ 10:35am

Reviewed on Saturday June 4 (photo by Ashley Mar)


It was obvious Esperanza Spalding’s huge dress was going to do something. It was so big and so square and so clearly not just a dress. Perhaps it hid dancers, or pyrotechnic equipment. Hell, you could get a whole piano under there.


After struggling round the stage with it for the opening song – a sensuous, jazzy...

Posted 6 Jun 2016 @ 10:23am

Reviewed on Saturday June 4


Vivid’s Björk Digital premiere wasn’t about a Björk – it was about Björks, plural; hundreds of them, each cast in an ever-so-slightly different light. If it weren’t for the role the pop auteur’s latest album, Vulnicura, played as a kind of fulcrum upon which the entire night could hinge, the evening would have seemed utterly deranged – a shattered-...

Posted 6 Jun 2016 @ 10:14am

Reviewed on Friday June 3 (photo by Daniel Boud)


After a false start brought on by a technical failure, Perth producer Ta-ku (born Regan Matthews) returns to the stage not ten minutes later with banter fully in tow.


“When I first got asked to do Vivid, I was going to do an hour of interpretive dance for you,” he says in mock seriousness. “But I decided instead...