Live Music Reviews

Posted 6 Jun 2016 @ 10:00am

Reviewed on Thursday June 2


Right before commencing, one of the most buzzed-about and exciting Australian voices filling our ears of late, Kučka, declared to avid listeners at her Vivid Festival #Portals show that there would actually be no vocals performed during the evening.


A collaborative project with visual artist Rachael Archibald, #Portals took Kučka’s...

Posted 2 Jun 2016 @ 11:42am

Reviewed on Wednesday June 1 (photo by Prudence Upton)


Led by Hollie Fullbrook, Tiny Ruins are far from unknown, nor are they newcomers. They have two albums under their belt, plus an EP made by Fullbrook and The Clean’s Hamish Kilgour and a new single produced by David Lynch. Still, you wouldn’t call them a big deal, but were they deserving of a headline slot in the Sydney...

Posted 1 Jun 2016 @ 10:22am

Reviewed on Tuesday May 31


As an avid follower of Sampa The Great since hearing her mixtape last year, it gives me slight disappointment that tonight she has selected a gig of such high regard to simply roll out a DJ set with her main musical sidekick Godriguez on the decks. Sampa’s live band is nothing short of spectacular, and aside from the logistical reasons surrounding...

Posted 30 May 2016 @ 11:33am

Reviewed on Friday May 27 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Author of two of the most sparkling records of the past decade, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon has been in deep hibernation of late, lending this Friday night show a real sense of occasion. Playing in the round, with the band members assembled in a rough circle and a spectacular art installation hanging above them, it begins with Vernon...

Posted 30 May 2016 @ 10:30am

Reviewed on Sunday May 29


After a career playing organ and bass in the much-loved The Walkmen, Walter Martin began his solo career with a children’s album, We’re All Young Together. He credits the creative left turn for unlocking something in his writing, and it’s easy to see a directness that carries over from that project to the low-key, autobiographical songs of his most...

Posted 30 May 2016 @ 10:10am

Reviewed on Friday May 27 (photo by Prudence Upton)


On the first of four appearances at the Sydney Opera House for Vivid LIVE, Anohni, with Oneohtrix Point Never’s Daniel Lopatin and Christopher Elms in tow, presents the pitch-black Hopelessness in a take-it-or-leave-it proposition that aims to stir emotion but mostly numbs.


There's a cold, distant feeling to...

Posted 30 May 2016 @ 9:58am

Reviewed on Friday May 27 (photo by Ashley Mar)


For the last date of their WACO Tour, Violent Soho’s performance was less of a show and more of a catch-all celebration of the Australian punk rock revival, which the Mansfield four-piece just happen to be at the centre of.


Kicking off proceedings, Newcastle duo The Gooch Palms followed the time-honoured tradition...

Posted 23 May 2016 @ 10:37am

Reviewed on Thursday May 19 (photo by Robert Catto)


David Robert Jones died on January 10, 2016. David Jones did. Not David Bowie. David Bowie has never died. He never will, so there’s no need to mourn him. We don’t have to say goodbye to him or his songs – not till this thing we call music evaporates or the world winks out.


Fittingly then, Nothing Has Changed...

Posted 19 May 2016 @ 9:39am

Reviewed on Tuesday May 17


Eric Burdon always had a voice that made him sound like a weathered old bluesman, and now his body has finally caught up. The lead singer of The Animals recently celebrated his 75th birthday, and this Enmore show proved that although older and wiser, he can still effect pure nonchalance.


Kevin Borich opened with ‘21st Century’, a...

Posted 18 May 2016 @ 1:25pm

Reviewed on Monday May 16


As the woman of the hour once so famously proclaimed, she's lived in bars, danced on tables and swum with sharks. Here in Australia, she's also broken down onstage, been unable to sing and spent more time talking than actually performing. It's an inconsistency that has often plagued her attendance numbers as well as her live reputation for not entirely...

Posted 18 May 2016 @ 9:50am

Reviewed on Monday May 16


How great is the Enmore Theatre? The grand old dame of a live music venue is Sydney’s longest running, and it never fails to impress. Sure, the air conditioning has conked out once or twice in its time, and the ground floor can shake like a mother, but it damn well knows how to host a party. And as ’80s revivalists and saxophone enthusiasts M83’s home...

Posted 16 May 2016 @ 10:11am

Reviewed on Saturday May 14


Melbourne’s Black Cab brought history, synth and electro soundscapes to Newtown Social Club over the weekend for the launch of their new single ‘Uniforms’.


It isn’t the biggest venue in the world – it doesn’t take much for the room to fill up – but this gig was properly packed. Everyone was dancing terribly (think Bez of Happy Mondays...

Posted 16 May 2016 @ 9:52am

Reviewed on Saturday May 14


The Metro was already three-quarters full when first supports You Beauty played. I noticed several punters with the band's most recent T-shirt slung over their shoulders, and a mate told me how they were now his favourite Sydney group. The local following they've amassed is impressive and deserving.


Harmony are following The Drones...

Posted 9 May 2016 @ 10:33am

Reviewed on Sunday May 8 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Their drum and bass touches fused with hooky pop melodies have made Rudimental notorious across the global pop and electronic scenes. However, as the hordes spill into the confines of the Hordern Pavilion on a Sunday night, the British contingent is raging and abundant. Maybe it’s by pure chance that the majority of punters this...

Posted 9 May 2016 @ 10:19am

Reviewed on Saturday May 7


“Is there anyone here that has never heard of us?” Halfway through his set, Joe Taylor casually asks those gathered downstairs at the University of Technology about their knowledge of the band he fronts, Chicago natives Knuckle Puck. It's not such an outlandish question – indeed, were Taylor to pose the very same query to people in the immediate...

Posted 9 May 2016 @ 10:03am

Reviewed on Friday May 6


Ball Park Music fans are a peculiarly passionate breed. Though the band plans to tour Australia again soon with bigger shows, it decided to host a selection of intimate gigs, advertising the ticket link almost exclusively through Snapchat. But this was no obstacle for an audience of ecstatic fans to completely pack out Oxford Art Factory.


Posted 9 May 2016 @ 9:52am

Reviewed on Saturday May 7


Something is happening in Australia. If that sounds vague, it’s because the very nature of the ‘thing’ means it has to – it’s yet to be defined. Safe to say, a sound is being developed. ‘Scene’ is as silly a word as any, but when you see three world-class bands performing in fast succession, it’s hard to use any other. An Australian scene is forming....

Posted 9 May 2016 @ 9:43am

Reviewed on Friday May 6 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Rarely in their 40-year history have Iron Maiden attracted much attention from music critics. Not that their fans care – it's simply proof of the snobbish elitism of a media more concerned with finding cultural significance in Taylor Swift's new hairstyle.


Iron Maiden fandom has been a grassroots movement grown...

Posted 6 May 2016 @ 1:32pm

Reviewed on Thursday May 5 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Where to even begin. Hometown heroes RÜFÜS, fresh off playing Coachella and with a lighting rig worthy of the festival in tow (sitting like a halo above the crowd), tore up the Hordern Pavilion. It was night two at the venue for their national tour, the trio finally spruiking their superb album Bloom with a devoted audience ready...

Posted 6 May 2016 @ 9:52am

Reviewed on Wednesday May 4


The former Australian Idol finalist Matt Corby steps out onto the stage a little tentatively for tonight’s gig after the last-minute cancellation of his previous show due to illness. It’s difficult to believe that almost nine years have passed since the then-16-year-old singer-songwriter first came to our attention. As it currently stands, Corby is...

Posted 5 May 2016 @ 11:11am

Reviewed on Tuesday May 3 (photo by Ashley Mar)


There are two sides to Danny Brown’s music. The first comes from a telltale Detroit native who takes us through a rough childhood, home invasions and drug addiction in rap narratives. The second is a trap MC who has found his perfect counterpart in DJ Skywlkr to bring us thumping music perfect to take molly to.



Posted 2 May 2016 @ 10:07am

Reviewed on Sunday May 1 (photo by Ashley Mar)


At one point during their Sydney Opera House show, Of Monsters And Men featured 11 people up there onstage. Four guitarists. Three drummers. For a band renowned for the theatricality of its art, these guys sure weren't cutting any corners. It also doesn't hurt that each and every one of them looks like they've been enlisted from...

Posted 2 May 2016 @ 9:52am

Reviewed on Saturday April 30


It’s been a massive year for dark ’n’ dreamy indie-pop darlings Methyl Ethel. September saw the release of their debut album Oh Inhuman Spectacle; the Western Australians also joined the triple j rotation; and, most recently, they announced that they’d signed to independent record label 4AD, home to the likes of Beirut, Daughter and The National....

Posted 26 Apr 2016 @ 2:18pm

Reviewed on Sunday April 24


In the breathtaking, cavernous cathedral to music that is the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House, it is always a little perplexing to see a contemporary act perform live. Decorum dictates that punters file in neatly and in orderly fashion before taking their allocated seats. With no mosh pit, no sticky beer-stained floor, and no real room to move...

Posted 26 Apr 2016 @ 2:06pm

Reviewed on Sunday April 24


The hippies and the new-agers are right: the eyes are the window to the soul. Or at least, they’re the window to something. As Kristin Hersh bellowed out song after song, moving around the mic like a snake warbling before its strike, her eyes seemed to be the true source of her music, providing the weight behind each and every punch.



Posted 26 Apr 2016 @ 12:47pm

Reviewed on Saturday April 23 (photo by Ross Halfin)


It was a fitting Friday the 13th of February, 1970, when first we sighted these four beasts. And we heard a voice in the midst of them, and we looked and beheld: a pale horse. And his name that sat on him was Ozzy Osbourne, the Prince of Fucking Darkness. And Hell followed with him.


As did Rival Sons, a...

Posted 22 Apr 2016 @ 10:15am

Reviewed on Thursday April 22 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Embarking on a journey across the universe in 90 minutes, Odesza gloriously took charge at the Metro Theatre for their second of three Sydney shows. With an almost unrivalled lighting and projection display, alongside their vast array of remixes and originals from 2013’s My Friends Never Die and 2014’s In Return, the duo upped...

Posted 15 Apr 2016 @ 5:55pm

Reviewed on Thursday April 14 (photo by Ashley Mar)


It’s relatively mind-boggling to see a local band go from playing tight shows at the Annandale to selling out the Enmore Theatre five times over. No doubt even more so for the band members themselves, as Sticky Fingers bassist Paddy Cornwall told the crowd that he attended his first gig at the Enmore – Linkin Park – when he “...

Posted 11 Apr 2016 @ 6:06pm

Reviewed on Sunday April 10


It was a Beat The Clock version of Custard that played Newtown Social Club on Sunday night. Bassist Paul Medew had to leave for a flight at 8:45pm sharp, so the band delivered as close to a tight hour as Custard can get, with new songs, classics and covers of Split Enz and Jonathan Richman delivered with verve. While the show lacked the loose, hang-...

Posted 11 Apr 2016 @ 10:45am

Reviewed on Saturday April 9


Homecomings are always fraught with emotions, but for industry high-riders Gang Of Youths, there was only joy. “In March last year, we weren’t able to even fill out Goodgod Small Club,” said frontman Dave Le’aupepe, and the audience of thousands packed into the Enmore roared back its admiration.


Before the Gang kicked off, local...