• Gig jam

    Apr 18 2010, 4:59

    Sat 17 Apr – Captain Kickarse and the Awesomes, Pirate, Godswounds

    I blogged about their hilarious name and their cool YouTube tracks a while back, but last night I saw Captain Kickarse & the Awesomes play live.

    It was at the Excelsior Hotel in Surry Hills, a pub with a tiny room in the back that has live music every night of the week. It reminded me a bit of the Dublin Castle in London, though the pub last night isn’t quite so down-to-earth.

    Last night there were five bands on show for just $10. That’s pretty good value, even if you miss the first couple like I did. Sorry, 14 Nights At Sea and Sicaria; maybe next time.

    You can read the rest of my review on my blog by clicking here.
  • Beth: Ditto

    Feb 17 2010, 6:56

    Tue 16 Feb – Gossip, Art Vs Science, New war, Nick Findlay

    Last night was my first gig at Newtown’s Enmore Theatre, to see The Gossip. It reminded me of some of the great music halls in London, particularly the Hammersmith Apollo: grubby, ornate, and well-worn with sweat and loud music. It’s much smaller than the Apollo or Brixton Academy, though the upstairs seats seem to stretch back a long way.

    The Gossip have made a big splash in the UK and in just-slightly-off-mainstream rock circles elsewhere. The capacity crowd certainly screamed from the moment Beth Ditto shimmied on stage in her printed bodysuit. There’s obviously a lot of notice and fan love because she’s an outspoken, unafraid, very short, very fat, gay woman. And she was a good frontwoman last night, dancing and talking and playing with the crowd.

    Read the rest of my review on my blog.
  • Yarrrrr!

    Gen 28 2010, 23:54

    Thu 28 Jan – Rogue's Gallery

    Last night was our last Sydney Festival 2010 event. It was Rogue’s Gallery, a live performance of many of the songs recorded for a 2006 album of the same name. We heard sea shanties and pirate ballads, sweet and bawdy. It was an unusual event, that’s for sure.

    It was held outside, in front of the Opera House. This would normally be a good location, as the performers and audience could all see the harbour and the boats to-ing and fro-ing. Last night, however, it pissed down rain for about an hour just before and during the performance. Despite some flimsy rain gear we got fairly wet. We spun that as optimistically as we could, saying that it promoted the idea of a life at sea.

    You can read the rest of my review on my blog.
  • TCV

    Gen 27 2010, 21:13

    Wed 27 Jan – Them Crooked Vultures, The Art

    Last night was a full and proper return to live music; my gig habit back in full swing. Sydney may not be quite the relentless pusher that London was, but it looks like it might be close. This city has now given me a great show that featured a member of Led Zeppelin, and that is a fix worth waiting for.

    It was easier than I expected to get to the Hordern Pavillion. It is no more than it says, a big square room, with big square acoustics. There are a few bleachers of seats at the back and sides, which may be useful for future gigs. But not last night: I was back in the pit for this one.

    Opening act was Melbourne’s Fangs. I liked ‘em. They were having unabashed fun. There’s a musical match in this show, as they’re quite Foo Fighters-y: guitar rock with a slap of punk. There’s some pomposity too, which I suppose the success of Wolfmother has allowed, and of which I approve. They had good crunch, and I had fun. They’re releasing their first album this year.

    You can read the rest of my review on my blog, here.
  • Decemberists at the Sydney Festival

    Gen 21 2010, 6:46

    Wed 20 Jan – The Decemberists, Jack Shit, Bridezilla, Dan Zilber

    Another Sydney Festival event last night, this time time at the Beck’s Festival Bar, a big tented area at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum. It was a nice open feel (and it helped that it was a fine night), though as a venue it was a bit on the long and narrow side. And you can’t get good rock sound in a semi-open tent, but the Sydney summer vibe counts for a lot.

    I only caught the last two songs of local openers Bridezilla. I can’t say that I was fond of their jazz-fusiony ruckus, but I didn’t get to give it a proper chance.

    The main act was Oregon folk-rawkers (though I think they often play something more like folk-prog) The Decemberists. The indie college-kid faves have never been to Australia before this tour, so plaid shirts and thick-framed glasses were notable by their crowd presence. The band wisely didn’t try to break through the crowd’s cooler-than-thou shell right from the start: they slid into a suite of storybook tunes, one after another, for the first few songs, as if warning us that this was going to be difficult.

    You can read the rest of my review on my blog.
  • Neko

    Gen 17 2010, 5:00

    Mon 11 Jan – Neko Case

    At the first of several ticketed events I’m attending for the Sydney Festival, last night I caught American songstress Neko Case at Sydney’s City Recital Hall.

    It was my second time seeing Neko, and she and her band delivered much the same level of show as last time: a meditation on gentle humour, clear-voiced melodies, country roots musicianship, and poignant songwriting. She seemed plagued by a dodgy amp and an acoustically unresponsive Hall, but it still felt like a friend had come over to your house just to play a few of her (awesome) tunes. No shocks, and only a couple of boosts of adrenaline; last night was all about songcraft.

    You can read the rest of my review on my blog.
  • U2 at Wembley

    Ago 15 2009, 11:20

    Fri 14 Aug – U2 360° Tour

    I was at a massive, crowded Wembley Stadium last night for the first London night of U2's 360° Tour.

    We missed first openers The Hours in lieu of getting something to eat and drink. This was my first time on the top tier of Wembley and, exploring a little, we discovered an open-air observation deck. Nice.

    Next openers were Elbow. I like them so we caught their whole 45-minute-ish slot. It was a pleasant enough warm-up, even if they got a bit lost performing under the forbidding Claw (as any band would). The video screens helped, though. And "Grounds For Divorce" is a stomping smash live.

    This was my second time seeing U2. The first time was awesome. This time seemed somewhat less awesome.

    It was a real spectacle, a colossal event. The aforementioned Claw makes for a crazy in-the-round stage. The band was able to go everywhere. The wraparound video screen suspended in the middle of it also meant everyone could see well, whether it was video of the band or graphics. And it did some funky expanding things.

    Read the rest of this review on my blog.
  • NIN¦JA 2009

    Lug 16 2009, 11:08

    Wed 15 Jul – Nine Inch Nails

    Last night was a big night: the London stop of the NIN¦JA Wave Goodbye tour. This was my ninth time seeing Nine Inch Nails, and my second time seeing Jane’s Addiction. Trent Reznor has implied that there will be some sort of NIN hiatus for a while; this was a good show for me to see them go out on.

    I was apprehensive about this gig being in the massive O2 arena. I had bought floor tickets during a presale, but it seemed thousands of others had as well, because the queue to pickup the presale tickets took forever. This meant that I missed openers Mew, which was disappointing. I still got a position very close to the stage, though.

    You can read the rest of this review on my blog.
  • Jeff Beck

    Lug 5 2009, 8:42

    Sat 4 Jul – Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Tal Wilkenfeld

    Most people like a guitar played in some fashion. Not everyone likes a lot of guitar, though, and even fewer would care for an entire evening of guitar instrumentals. “Fewer” is a relative term, though: there were at least enough of us six-string aficionados to fill the Royal Albert Hall last night and watch the legendary Jeff Beck play.

    I arrived late and missed much of support act Imelda May (I needed a drink; it was a hot day). She sounded good, though, a great voice and look for some jumping rock ‘n’ roll.

    And then it was two hours of Jeff Beck. He – dressed all in white – and his band strolled out and launched into song. And that worked because Beck coaxes stories out of his guitar. Despite not using very much in the way of electronic effects pedals, and guest vocals on only two songs in two hours, he was able to express an incredible range of sound. His plectrum-less technique gives him amazing control of his volume dial and whammy bar, producing tones that sound like singing. And his style goes all over the place: mostly rock but also jazz, with middle eastern and reggae flourishes.

    You can read the rest of my review on my blog.
  • The Dead Weather

    Giu 24 2009, 23:38

    Wed 24 Jun – The Dead Weather, Smoke Fairies

    I’m just back from one of the first shows by new alt-supergroup The Dead Weather at the HMV (formerly Kentish Town) Forum.

    First up were London’s Smoke Fairies. They were two guitar-playing young women, backed by a drummer and violinist, playing what I can only describe as folk trip-hop. Everything is slow, sultry harmonies. In fact, the girls’ harmonies were a bit too close for my liking; I like a bit of room between vocal parts. But they were okay.

    We didn’t have to wait too long for The Dead Weather. If you don’t know, they are:

    * Alison Mosshart (of The Kills) on vocals
    * Jack White (of The White Stripes and The Raconteurs) on drums (!) and vocals
    * Dean Fertita (of Queens of the Stone Age) on guitar and keyboards
    * Jack Lawrence (of The Raconteurs and The Greenhornes) on bass

    I like all of those bands individually (well, I’ll admit I don’t know the Greenhornes). It seems like Jack White’s got a lot of music to get out of his system: fine with me.

    Read the rest of this review on my blog.