Live Music Reviews

Posted 11 Apr 2016 @ 9:57am

Reviewed on Sunday April 10


There’s something about Fractures, the electronically inclined musical project of one Mark Zito, that doesn’t quite even out or add up. Perhaps it’s Vito’s between-song banter, which may intend to be humorous but more often than not comes across as misplaced arrogance. Perhaps it’s the scatterbrained nature of the music itself, which goes from...

Posted 11 Apr 2016 @ 9:49am

Reviewed on Friday April 8 (photo by Ashley Mar)


If any Sarah Blasko fans are harbouring doubt over the new synth-soaked sound of Eternal Return, her Enmore performance stomps, romps and ’80s boogies all over it. This Aussie indie darling is as gracefully kick-arse as ever on the stage.


There’s a certain polish to seasoned solo musicians like Blasko; a sheen...

Posted 11 Apr 2016 @ 9:39am

Reviewed on Friday April 8


The understated and the underwhelming lie hazardously close to one another. After all, not much separates a gentle suggestion and a whimper – except perhaps conviction.


Jep And Dep opened the evening, doing a kind of muted Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra routine. Though their music was certainly pleasant, there was something quaint about...

Posted 6 Apr 2016 @ 5:30pm

Reviewed on Tuesday April 5 (photo by Ashley Mar)


With couples, lone romantics and music lovers all gathered before them, Dallas Green and the latest form of City And Colour returned to the Enmore stage for the second time amid their latest bunch of Australian shows. While Sydney may not have had an audience marriage proposal as Melbourne did, the magic certainly filled the...

Posted 4 Apr 2016 @ 10:31am

Reviewed on Thursday March 31


Well, son of a bitch. These guys know how to deliver, and their audience sure knew how to dance (and to spill copious amounts of booze in the process).


Expectations for Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats were running pretty high at the Metro. By now, anyone with a decent internet connection (or with an ear pressed to the earth...

Posted 4 Apr 2016 @ 10:10am

Reviewed on Saturday April 2 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Days after casually dropping three massive singles simultaneously, it’s as timely as ever for the new collaborative project between Briggs and The Funkoars’ Trials – the brilliantly named A.B. Original – to make their full-scale debut. They’re onstage for all of five songs and 20 minutes – including a blistering run-through of...

Posted 4 Apr 2016 @ 9:50am

Reviewed on Friday April 1


His moniker, for starters, is not your traditional bluesman kind of name. But Taj Mahal has always run his own race through nearly 50 years in the industry.


When his peers took the blues to rougher, rockier places in the ’70s, Mahal kept things laid-back, adopting island rhythms and fusing elements of world music. While his...

Posted 31 Mar 2016 @ 9:48am

Reviewed on Wednesday March 30 (photo by Ashley Mar)


The last time I saw The Decemberists, it was in a tent in Hyde Park. From memory it was during the war, or maybe the Sydney Festival. I remember the screams of the wounded, the makeshift stretchers ferrying the audience to higher ground as the floodwaters swelled. And there onstage our Bonaparte, lead singer Colin Meloy,...

Posted 31 Mar 2016 @ 9:40am

Reviewed on Wednesday March 23


It’s not that Lord Huron weren’t on form, or that they were reserving energy for their (perhaps?) more noteworthy set at Bluesfest. It wasn’t that I found myself entombed within a maze of the most obnoxious audience members I’ve seen in an age – that’s beyond the band’s ken. It was more a matter of structure, I suspect. An uneven setlist. A gypsy...

Posted 30 Mar 2016 @ 4:34pm

Reviewed on Tuesday March 29 (photo by Ashley Mar)


“Sydney Opera House! Tuesday, March the 29th, 2016!” These are the first words that escape Brian Wilson’s mouth as he enters stage right, his ever-faithful band assuming their stations. He knows where he is. He knows what day it is. It might seem cruel to compare Wilson’s introduction to someone holding up today’s newspaper to...

Posted 29 Mar 2016 @ 6:18pm

Reviewed on Thursday March 24 – Sunday March 28 (main photo by AirSwing Media)


As far as contemporary music goes, Bluesfest’s 2016 lineup may have been the finest Byron Bay has ever seen. Of course, this is a family-friendly festival that caters for everyone from hip local teens to the bring-your-own-deckchair crowd, and...

Posted 29 Mar 2016 @ 12:38pm

Reviewed on Monday March 28 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Mick Fleetwood is practically an honorary Aussie, having toured here last October with the Mac and now back to boogie-woogie with his blues band. The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band’s Sydney show enabled an older crowd (some seated on pinched stools from the bar) to don its best glad rags and listen to songs typically found on old...

Posted 24 Mar 2016 @ 10:34am

Reviewed on Wednesday March 23


The Two Tone genre still manages to entice loyal fans out of the woodwork for a night or two of true bop and bounce. And yes my friends it’s that time again. Dust off your skankin’ boots, get your braces ready and your trilbies in place. The Selecter are back in town.


As a crowd beings to assemble, Sydney ten piece Project...

Posted 24 Mar 2016 @ 9:15am

Reviewed on Wednesday March 23


Kendrick Lamar is a significant artist. That’s not an understatement: that’s merely how you find yourself speaking after you’ve spent any time in the man’s presence. Things simplify themselves. “I was there,” you say afterwards. “I saw that.”


His show began in silence – or onstage silence at least. The crowd went berserk, heaping...

Posted 23 Mar 2016 @ 2:12pm

Reviewed on Tuesday March 22


With The Allman Brothers Band now retired, it feels like Tedeschi Trucks Band are well placed to become the new standard-bearers of Southern rock. An old-school jam band for the ages, they straddle blues, rock, jazz, soul and gospel in a performance that showcases a group at the top of its game – a throwback to the likes of Delaney & Bonnie....

Posted 23 Mar 2016 @ 10:02am

Reviewed on Monday March 21


“The only thing that would make this moment more perfect is if two of you got in a fist fight,” mutters Isaac Brock, probably not providing the best advertisement for live music in a city that is contending with the perception that its nightlife is some kind of violent underbelly. But Brock isn’t meant to be a poster boy: he’s just enjoying playing...

Posted 23 Mar 2016 @ 9:52am

Reviewed on Monday March 21 (photo by Ashley Mar)


For a man allegedly uncomfortable with his sex symbol status, D'Angelo is doing everything right to earn it. Crooning the opening lines to the slow jam 'Devil's Pie', he takes to the stage clad in black feathers and do-rag while his band The Vanguard back him in equally stylish attire. Since returning from his 14 year hiatus, D'...

Posted 22 Mar 2016 @ 3:54pm

Reviewed on Monday March 21


Let me be the first to say, “Holy shit biscuits, Batman” – St. Paul and The Broken Bones are freakin' incredible. Playing the Metro for their first ever Australian performance, the Alabama soulsters tore the goddamn roof off the joint, and I'm not sure how any of us were walking straight as we stumbled stunned into the night afterwards. It's rare to...

Posted 21 Mar 2016 @ 10:50am

Reviewed on Saturday March 19


Fresh from releasing their Kevin Parker-produced debut album on Friday, Koi Child blasted Newtown Social Club with warmth, heating the cool night right up.


Sydney collective Winston Surfshirt brought the funk early on. Powering through a bevy of tracks – including Mos Def’s ‘Ms. Fat Booty’, a number full of bubbling trombone solos...

Posted 21 Mar 2016 @ 10:06am

Reviewed on Saturday March 20 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Preparing to watch Madonna’s performance from a seat that cost nearly two weeks’ rent, you would probably question whether you were getting value for money. But the two-and-a-half-hour performance (which surprisingly started on time) lived up to the hype.


Lowered down from the ceiling in a metal cage, the Queen...

Posted 21 Mar 2016 @ 9:30am

Reviewed on Thursday March 17


If you’ve heard of the seminal Brisbane punk band The Saints, or the jazzier sounding (by name and by nature) The Laughing Clowns, or even the satirically named band The Aints – or failing that, Jeremy Sims’ 2015 film Last Cab To Darwin (for which he composed the score) – then you’ve encountered Mr. Ed Kuepper. In his own words, “Every year’s an...

Posted 18 Mar 2016 @ 5:08pm

Reviewed on Tuesday March 15


They had travelled for 40 days and nights. Men and women were weary, the children hungry. Those who could lift their heads would see the orange glow rising behind a monolithic object. Although without food and water, a pact was made with their divine leader to reach the holy mountain before sundown.


The cave’s entrance was a crack...

Posted 17 Mar 2016 @ 2:51pm

Reviewed on Wednesday March 16


It’s a pity there’s already a band called Neurosis; one imagines John Grant would like to enter the stage to that name. Beyond his lyrical content – often about coming to terms with his homosexuality, or ending relationships – and his apologising for being “selfish” for not talking to the audience earlier, and describing a couple of songs as about...

Posted 14 Mar 2016 @ 10:58am

Reviewed on Friday March 11


Now well into the third decade of their career, The Charlatans have managed to outlast pretty much every act once seen as a contemporary, both in terms of longevity and recorded output. Buoyed by their 12th album, last year’s stunning Modern Nature, the band’s third visit to Sydney is a clear sign that it’s not done yet by a long shot.


Posted 14 Mar 2016 @ 10:51am

Reviewed on Saturday March 12 (photo by Ashley Mar)


This far from the savannah plains of Africa, there can’t be a more appropriate venue than Sydney’s Taronga Zoo to experience the hypnotic harmonies of the world’s most successful world music act, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.


Assisted by the Indian summer and the beautiful setting overlooking Sydney Harbour, the...

Posted 14 Mar 2016 @ 10:51am

Reviewed on Saturday March 12 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Yet again, one finds oneself asking the age-old question: what’s in a name? Tonight’s headliners, after all, pulled theirs from a post-it note reminder on the fridge. There’s something both clumsy and clunky, however, about a name like Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. It’s a recent name change from merely Rolling Blackouts,...

Posted 14 Mar 2016 @ 10:25am

Reviewed on Saturday March 12


How do you know Kirkis has lived through an apocalypse? He recorded the whole thing on a tape machine and now plays it in reverse at music venues around the country. During his early set, some leave by foot and others by alternative means.


Making bring with them glitches and untraceable time signatures, but the loudness and tone of...

Posted 14 Mar 2016 @ 10:12am

Reviewed on Friday March 11


Hardcore punks White Dog provide a fast and furious start to the night, all primitive drums, breakneck guitar and screamed vocals. They’re a bundle of feral energy and vitriol, with sharp minute-long bursts of coiled up anger and lyrics of personal enmities and dangerous boredom. A follow-up to their rage-fuelled, Black-Flag-inspired EP 452A remains...

Posted 14 Mar 2016 @ 9:54am

Reviewed on Friday March 12


Marlon Williams and The Yarra Benders took the Twilight At Taronga stage as the sun set behind them. Williams’ honeyed drawl was bolstered by mournful harmonies in set opener ‘Strange Things’, before ‘Silent Passage’ pulled the heartstrings and ‘Heaven For You, Prison For Me’ showcased mournful violin, woven into the melancholy self-reflection of its...

Posted 14 Mar 2016 @ 9:38am

Reviewed on Thursday March 10


Built To Spill made a welcome return to Sydney last Thursday night. One of the last worthwhile vestiges of classic ’90s indie, their evocative, nuanced guitar workouts are a thing to behold. Sure, they might be toeing the nostalgia line, but there’s still enough verve there to enable moments of enlightenment.


Early in his support...