8. The School of Radiant Living@ Birmingham 6th February 2010.
Harriet looks divine dressed in a turban, with a face full of extreme makeup. She’s a kook, and she knows it. School of Radiant Living have acquired a new drummer [from the Woolen Kits I hear]. They’re a tighter band, I guess they’re heading towards the next stage of indie rock. Less sloppy than last time, but it’s their sloppiness that I liked.
9. The Breadmakers @ Yah Yahs 7th February 2010.
Bluesy “garage” rock played by middle aged men. Sounds pretty good to me. Failsafe rock for a Sunday afternoon.
10. Labour In Vain 9th February 2010.
Bluesy Rootsy singer songwriter played acoustic songs for acoustic Tuesdays. Strong guitar skills, good voice, well matched for its environment.
11. The Thod@Workers Club Friday 12th February 2010
Launching their album, the Thod were on fire. Guitars ablaze, harmonica in check and a full band room of young kids, The Thod played songs from their album Welcome to Thod Country. I love Jayden’s songs. He’s a gifted songwriter for someone so young. Afterwards I asked Dan if he knew most of the people in the audience and he said he didn’t.
12. Sunday 14th February 2010
Henry Wagons at QV
Hailing from Glen Waverley Henry Wagons did a mixture of original and covers. He’s a funny guy, playing inappropriate songs for the family audience on this Chinese New Year day. I liked him. My favourite: Draw Blood.
13. Crystal Thomas, Sean McMahon and Spencer P Jones at Marquis of Lorne
Crystal was good. Sean McMahon was excellent. Spencer P Jones topped my list of worst gigs ever last year. This time, I was surprised. Spencer P Jones has very good songs, a nasal drawl, and when he plays like this it’s easy to see his true talent through his addictions. Very impressed.
14. Rechords at The Gem
Records do a family friendly rockabilly style. They look the part, and even sound the part, but I still found them quite bland.
15. Terry McCarthy Special @The Gem Friday 19th February 2010
Best as background music. They played slow jams and some comedic songs.
16. The Bad Orchestra and Hugo Race and the True Spirit Yah Yahs $12.00
Didn’t expect much at Yah Yahs. Sometimes I’ve been there and the line up has been at best questionable. I missed Celery but the Bad Orchestra had the ability to make you enjoy it. 2 lead guitars, kind of swampy, blues beats. They had this dark brooding vibe, but the singer was as cheerful and beautiful as sunshine, so there was some mismatch with sound and image. But the sound was excellent.
Hugo Race and the True Spirit.
His songs are for those who have lost love and felt disappointments. Kind of what you expect. Skinny, looked like an old rock star from St Kilda. Actually he was one of the founding members of the Bad Seeds. But my favourite person was Michaelangelo Russo, sound man, literally making noises with trombone, trumpet, harmonica and other things. He created a sense of chaos I can only track back to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album Tender Prey. Creates a sense of drama and urgency, and brings the music to a whole new level.
17. Saturday 20th February 2010
The Oily Girls
The story goes, the all-girl band formed over 20 years ago, gigged at small places in the UK playing their special brand of Cowpoke. Morrissey handpicked them to support him, but they later found out they had to pay for their own costs. They declined, then he Morrissey said they could come along with out charge. Once when on a tour of Australia, and 2 of the 5 members decided to live in Australia. Then 10 years later, the lead singer decided to come to Australia on a holiday, her Australian band members booked gigs, and they had to pull it all together. Down by 2 members, they listed the help of Jen Anderson on violin and Monica Weightman on lead guitar. So at Union Hotel Brunswick, a crowd of mostly lesbian country ladies are enjoying the music and why shouldn’t they? Oily Girls are fun, their songs are good and fun, they have fun performing, mucking up. They’re upbeat, their lyrics are hilarious. Violin and guitar worked in tandem, and you’d never know they hadn’t played in 10 years, or that there is 2 last minute ring ins. Fiddle and guitar really lifted already good songs. Monica Weightman is the first female lead guitarist I’ve ever seen and she really does rock! Personality, spunk, piano accordion, they had it all. I thought they were great. Band of the night.
18. Pa Tinka Cha Cha, Ned Collette and Wirewalker & Bachelorette @ Northcote Social Club
Patinka Cha cha looked like a Melbourne Arts or Art school indie band. Very cool. Great nerd glasses. Lots of members but their sound was sparse. They’re delicate. The lead singer was out of tune, but it worked. Lacked confidence but they’re young. And they’re indie kids.
Ned Collette and Wirewalker.
I heard a NCW song on the radio. I thought it was good. But tonight they were boring, their songs were bland, it seemed like they hated each other. I just wanted it to end.
I loved her when I saw her about a year ago at East Brunswick, but poor Bachelorette. She had some tech difficulties, and tried to recover by drawing attention to them, which made it more difficult for her to recover. As she stumbled her way across the gig the crowd became less patient. But the crowd weren’t much chop; sitting down and draining the energy out of the room. The last two songs went best. Her voice is so rich, soft and melodic, but this hi fi/lo fi indie stuff would be better suited to a lounge room than a band room. Better luck next time Bachelorette….
19. Sunday 21st February 2010
Austin Floyd at Labour in Vain
Front bar rocking country at LIV – with an all star Fitzroy line up. Not really my cup of tea but punters seemed to like it.
20. Paul Dempsey, Boat People and Oh Mercy at The Corner. Tuesday 23rd February 2010
The day of the big protest for Rock’n’roll was followed by the Aussie BBQ showcase organized by Mary Mihelakos and Glenn Dickie. Great timing as the rock crowd was psyched for live music, though most spent it upstairs schmoozing on the rooftop. Paul Demspey- normally I would say yawnfest. It was him and his guitar, and thought it didn’t completely captivate me, it didn’t offend either. Warm vocals and acoustic guitar he sang love songs with a bitter edge. The Boat People – I loved their album released in 2008, and this was the second time I’d seen them. They were armed with new songs and loads of energy but for some reason I couldn’t love them. Perhaps because they play as 4 individuals rather than a band. Don’t get me wrong, their tight in sound, but they could engage with each other more. Oh Mercy were instantly captivating. Great pop songs with a dash of twang and sadness. They look good, they’re young with references to the Go-Betweens and Hall and Oates. I loved Oh Mercy. Interestingly I saw them about 2 years beforehand and they couldn’t literally give their cds away. This time, it’s the opposite; great songs and a lot of hope, I reckon they’ll do well at SXSW.
21. Friday 26th February Wesley Anne
Bosko & Honey Oz Uke Safari with special guests
Gensblue (Japan) and Yan Yalego (France)
Fun and Funny HoneyOz very cute
• 09:50-10:10pm Rose Turtle Ertler Folk music played on the UKE
• 10:20-11:00pm A.J. Leonard’s Tropical Lounge very polished UKE players
I never did a write up, but I loved these Uke kooks. So much so I'm inspired to pick up one.
22. Saturday 27th February Speed Orange at Seddon Music in the Park
Dark, slow rock songs about death played at a family – community day in Seddon. Gotta love it.
23. Saturday 27th February The Polyphonic Spree The Forum
A huge spectacle. 18 people on stage, horns section, percussion, cello, violin, background singer/dancers, keys, guitar, bass and drums. Did I miss anybody else? Epic sounds from the Polyphonic spree, costume hats courtesy of Southern Comfort, balloons, tickertape. But something was missing; a key ingredient: it was good songs. Strip away the spectacle and you’re left with a formula that fails to reach the soul. Fun to watch though.
24. Sunday 28th February
Ian Bland & The Lamington Drive Orchestra; Goodtime Medicine Band; Shambelles; Barb Waters & The Mothers of Pearl; Sol Nation Sydney Road Festival
Ian Bland is the poet who reads on JVG and had a nice laid back country sounds. Goodtime Medicine do a similar thing but have more up beat vibe. The Shambelles are like a pop comedy act but Monica Weightman is a gun on the guitar. Bar Waters was the best act for the stage and Sol Nation did a Latin American party thing.
25. Van and Cal Walker at The Retreat
Contrast the last act with this. This was my thing. Beautiful songs from guys who can sing play and entertain. Personality plus red hair. I think they’re great.
26. Pops and the Murdered Birds and The Graveyard Train at The Old Bar
Pops and The murdered Bird are an excellent up tempo hillbilly band complete with pedal steel. I’d definitely see them again. The Graveyard Train have sing-along drinking songs and are a lot of fun. The crowd agreed.