Live Music Reviews

Posted 10 Mar 2016 @ 4:33pm

Reviewed on Tuesday March 8


I couldn’t help but wonder what nine Canadian anarchists who play lyricless, sonically confronting epics spanning 20 minutes in length would think upon visiting Sydney in 2016. The anti-government, anti-fascist tinge to their music is, at times, kept open to interpretation, but it’s certainly no secret either. Would Godspeed You! Black Emperor...

Posted 10 Mar 2016 @ 10:02am

Reviewed on Tuesday March 8


International Women’s Day delivered some powerhouse female performances to Oxford Art Factory. Punters and revellers may have come to see Ibeyi in their only (not to mention sold-out) Sydney gig, but seeing Sampa The Great was also quite the revelation. This truly was one of those spellbinding, never-to-be-forgotten gigs.


DJ JC opened...

Posted 9 Mar 2016 @ 10:53am

Reviewed on Tuesday March 8


Although there is a place for universalism in songwriting, Aldous Harding, Jess Ribeiro and Seth Frightening lend weight to the assertion that lyrics based on personal experiences make for deeper, more piercingly engaging performances. Their respective sets at Newtown Social Club on Tuesday night proved the value of storytelling through song.

Posted 7 Mar 2016 @ 10:58am

Reviewed on Sunday March 6


After a ten-year hiatus, during which new generations of fans must have given up hope of their return, the iconic Sleater-Kinney arrived back in Sydney at the iconic Sydney Opera House. One of the few reunion gigs where the new stuff would be as anticipated as their esteemed back catalogue, the band had multiple options as how to handle the plethora...

Posted 7 Mar 2016 @ 10:28am

Reviewed on Saturday March 5 (photo by Ashley Mar)


The decision to schedule Spectrum Now’s Divine Times concert on the same night as Mardi Gras may have seemed to some like an odd kind of organisational suicide. But rather than one event overshadowing the other, the two joined together in strange symbiosis. After all, both proved to be celebrations of love, and if there was one...

Posted 7 Mar 2016 @ 10:14am

Reviewed on Friday March 4


If audience rowdiness is an indicator of how good a gig is going to be, then the antics during Waax’s support set were everything to go by. Lead singer Marie DeVita stalked the stage – eyes wide and arms whirling like she was possessed – as her rowdy contingent fired up the room with their endless energy and roaring vocals. A solid and committed bunch...

Posted 7 Mar 2016 @ 9:56am

Reviewed on Friday March 4


For those mourning the passing of summer, Patrick James’ sweet sun-soaked tunes at The Basement last Friday were a fitting final huzzah.


The evening kicked off with Milton singer-songwriter Hein Cooper, who oozed confidence in every direction. He impeccably navigated a smorgasbord of nimble acoustics, electronic grooves and looped, a...

Posted 7 Mar 2016 @ 9:41am

Reviewed on Friday March 4 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Xylouris White are a duo matched in creativity and eccentricity. Introducing his Cretan lute ahead of himself, George Xylouris’ hypnotising strumming style met in harmony with Jim White of Dirty Three and his dramatic drumming. As the sonic journey snaked from one song to another, it was the perfect wind-down for those who had...

Posted 29 Feb 2016 @ 11:33am

Reviewed on Sunday February 28 (photo by Katrina Clarke)


It’s an odd thing to sit beneath the uninterrupted canopy of the sky and listen to songs about incarceration. Indeed, at first the striking contrast between setting and sound worked against Far From Folsom, a night of Johnny Cash covers led by Australia’s equivalent to the Man In Black, Tex Perkins. Audience members...

Posted 29 Feb 2016 @ 10:49am

Reviewed on Friday February 26 and Saturday February 27 (photo by Voena)


The annual arts and music festival Secret Garden went down over the weekend on its picturesque private farm in Camden, an hour out of Sydney, with tasty offerings in the way of music, theatre and drag.


Both the natural setting – a working farm with a maze-like tree grove in which all kinds...

Posted 29 Feb 2016 @ 10:33am

Reviewed on Saturday February 27


Any keen eyes, or ears, would have noticed that the weekend’s live roster was full of soulful New Zealand artists playing around town. After Fat Freddy’s Drop tore up the Hordern Pavilion on Friday night, it was Jordan Rakei’s turn to impress on Saturday at Newtown Social Club. Whether fans made it to one or both, they were spoilt either way....

Posted 29 Feb 2016 @ 9:58am

Reviewed on Friday February 26


Fire, or more accurately, “Fiyahhh”, was a precursor for the evening Fat Freddy’s Drop had in store for their Sydney show, as the heat permeated the Hordern Pavilion aurally, lyrically and physically throughout the night. With a capacity crowd and inescapably sticky, humid air, few punters left the venue after more than two hours of non-stop...

Posted 26 Feb 2016 @ 11:03am

Reviewed on Thursday February 25


The Enmore Theatre is a flexible venue. It’s been privy to a smorgasbord of different sounds, and on Thursday night it might just have reached its peak amount of feels when Passenger took it over for the night.


Michael Rosenberg AKA Passenger had his work cut out for him when he chose All Our Exes Live In Texas to warm the crowd...

Posted 26 Feb 2016 @ 9:32am

Reviewed on Wednesday February 24 (photo by Ashley Mar)


It’s a common adage that any promoter who aims to bring Wu-Tang Clan out for a tour must have a death wish. The last time they came to Sydney, in 2011, they were brought out by a dreadlocked extreme sports promoter who insisted on hosting the event and having a huge party side of stage. The party eventually spilled onto...

Posted 22 Feb 2016 @ 10:11am

Reviewed at Mount Penang Parklands on Saturday February 20


Mountain Sounds is establishing itself as the place to go for good vibes, a preview of the best upcoming names to look out for, and a great party at the end of the summer festival season.


In its third year running, the festival organisers have ironed out some of the crinkles of past events, with food,...

Posted 22 Feb 2016 @ 9:46am

Reviewed on Friday February 19


Albert Hammond, Jr. arrived for his debut solo headline tour in Australia, despite it being a decade since his first record was released. The Strokes guitarist had a fair swag of material to draw on – with three albums and an EP to boot – and his band played a tight set to a largely lethargic crowd, with a sound eerily reminiscent of the group...

Posted 18 Feb 2016 @ 10:11am

Reviewed on Tuesday February 16


Look, let me start by saying this was one of the best gigs I’ve seen since… well, ever.


After missing Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings’ ‘solo’ show the previous week, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. Their musicianship is the stuff of folk and bluegrass legend, and the unabashed praise being heaped on those concerts did...

Posted 17 Feb 2016 @ 10:27am

Reviewed on Tuesday February 16


Rising Atlanta hip hop star Raury commends us for welcoming his return to our shores with another sold-out show. He then stops, before adding: “But things are so different now. So much different.” Prophetic and ambiguous statements such as this are littered throughout his hour-long set.


But while buzzing in anticipation for his...

Posted 16 Feb 2016 @ 12:45pm

Reviewed on Wednesday February 10


It's something quite peculiar, as Steve Kilbey might put it, that one of the loudest bands in Sydney also happens to moonlight as one of the city's better-kept secrets. Those devoted few that are fully braced for impact have positioned themselves toward the front, while the curious onlookers keep their distance up the back. Wherever one stands...

Posted 15 Feb 2016 @ 10:26am

Reviewed on Friday February 12 (photo by Ashley Mar)


It may come as a bit of a surprise, but this was Dave Hosking’s first time inside the Hordern Pavilion. The frontman of indie-folk darlings Boy & Bear had admitted that in the lead-up to the second-last show on their biggest Australian tour to date, he drove past the venue many times to check out their poster. But yes, it...

Posted 15 Feb 2016 @ 10:10am

Reviewed on Sunday February 14 (photo by Ashley Mar)


It’s hard to picture a more appropriate event for Valentine’s Day than Missy Higgins playing a show as the sun set on Taronga Zoo. Lovers were out in force, spreading out in the grass and admiring the view of Sydney Harbour.


Alys Ffion opened up the evening with a handful of songs that were quick to win over...

Posted 15 Feb 2016 @ 9:52am

Reviewed on Saturday February 13


Fresh from their Laneway Festival debut, buzzy Sydney quartet A.D.K.O.B dutifully worked the stage. With brief but charming chat (which is humorously mirrored on their social media accounts, FYI) between songs, the group delivered of an ear-pricking array of sounds and solid tunes from their debut EP, A Different Kind Of Busy, including a knee-...

Posted 11 Feb 2016 @ 4:59pm

Reviewed on Monday February 8


The 11-year absence of Nashville’s Gillian Welch and David Rawlings doesn’t seem to have affected their Australian fan base in the least, with Welch’s first Sydney show selling out instantly. The duo brought their American country narrative to the Enmore Theatre for a night peppered with humour and a running observation of all the songs about dead...

Posted 11 Feb 2016 @ 10:26am

Reviewed on Wednesday February 10 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Performing on a festival stage is certainly a very different experience to headlining a solo show, and it’s a transition that Grimes mastered well from Laneway to the Enmore. Every detail, from the light show to her two synchronised dancers, was carefully tailored to suit the solo act.

At just 17 years old, Lupa J...

Posted 11 Feb 2016 @ 10:00am

Reviewed on Tuesday February 9


As an audience of all ages fills the grand Concert Hall, the stage design is a source of great speculation. Although a thick cloud of smoke hangs in the air, through the haze I can make out rows of beaded thread suspended from the ceiling and a curious-looking contraption cloaked in a heavy black cloth. The house music stops and Purity Ring...

Posted 9 Feb 2016 @ 1:09pm

Reviewed on Monday February 8


Music is a disease with a positive purpose; a contagion with an end goal in mind. And like every other illness known to man, it uses the body as a vessel. In that way, the physical form became the star of Health’s show at Oxford Art Factory: the carrier for a very special infection and the focus of every single act.


Opening artist...

Posted 8 Feb 2016 @ 1:16pm

Reviewed on Sunday February 7 (photo by Ashley Mar)


As the first weekend of February rolled by, so too did the annual Laneway Festival, held among the grassy greens and sandstone walls of Sydney University’s College of the Arts. With a brief appearance by Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne and Federal MP Anthony Albanese, invited onstage by festival organisers between sets by Big...

Posted 8 Feb 2016 @ 10:34am

Reviewed on Saturday February 6 (photo by Prudence Upton)


The Opera House has cornered the market on indie with its 2016 lineup. Just a week after Joanna Newsom graced us with her presence, we were treated to the wonder of Swedish guitarist José González with a full band to support him.


González rarely spoke – in fact, one of the few times he did, it was simply...

Posted 8 Feb 2016 @ 10:05am

Reviewed on Friday February 5


Talented singing is always on the agenda at a Dappled Cities gig, and it ends up being the running theme throughout this Friday night at Newtown Social Club. Up first are youthful indie rock groovers, Phantastic Ferniture. There’s a small bunch of people at the back of the room who are clearly enjoying the show, but groupthink combined with the...

Posted 8 Feb 2016 @ 9:39am

Reviewed on Saturday February 6


Whether you were there for one, some or all the acts playing at Oxford Art Factory in the name of Ocean Alley’s latest tour, the evening felt like a trip (of the car variety) with so much to take in.


Perth garage/art rock group Moana got things rolling in a dark and seductive tone while resplendent in fur-lined psychedelic coats...