Wednesday, October 6, 2010

March 2010 gigs

27.    Wednesday 3rd March 2010 Charles Jenkins and the Zhivagos at The Standard.

Charles Jenkins is good. Not brilliant but pretty good, but tonight backed by the Zhivagos something was amiss. Perhaps it was the wrong kind of room, perhaps the performers were not playing as a band.


28.    Friday 5th March 2010

Nicola Watson at the Builders Arms

Beautiful flowing vocals from Nicola Watson who was accompanied by a guitarist.  Folk at 6pm Friday night in her own voice. Perfect.


29.    Backwood Creatures and Que Paso at the Retreat Brunswick

Crispian recommended Backwood Creatures. Little did I know they play bluesy rock complete with excessive guitar solos. Not for me.

Que Paso. Seen them before but not at The Retreat. As the band played on the crowd got thinner! It was a shame because it was one of their best performances I’ve witnessed. Standout songs: the very creepy Muchas Gracias Seniorita and one of my favourite Elvis songs: Burning Love!


30.    Saturday 6th March 2010

Milk Teddy, Surf City and Songs@Curtin Bandroom

Indie fuzz and pop tonight. Milk Teddy had good songs, a piano accordion and indie pop postures. Nice. Best song was their last. Don’t mean that in a nasty way.

Surf City played tight, giving their sound an excellent momentum with lush jangly guitars. They were good even though they had to switch guitars and tune mid set.

Songs started off really good with a great track but went down hill for me afterwards. In any case, they were enjoyable, but maybe they should have switched the order of 2nd and 3rd band.


Sunday 7th March 2010

31.    Jody Galvin and the Tender Hearts@Carringbush Abbotsford

Fun. Beautiful country on a Sunday. What could be better? Garrett Costigan on pedal was beautiful. Monica Weightman on guitar, Alics on bass, Michaela on drums and Jody singing original. All they needed was a fiddle and it’d be beautiful Jody Galvin has got personality plus. I loved this band, and they treated us to three sets.


32.    Bakersfield Glee Club@The Standard

The Standard has great steak sandwiches. Laid back, combined fiddle & pedal. Now only if Jody Galvin and Bakersfield could join forces?!


33.    Little John@ Old Bar

John’s voice was hoarse and it sounded better than I’ve ever heard it. Backed by guitar, bass and drums he did mostly upbeat songs.


34.    Depedro & Calexico @Thornbury Theatre 9/3/2010

Depedro is a Mexican singer/songwriter that sings in Spanish. His songs were moving, his speech laced with good humour and he provided a lovely warm up for Calexico. Most of his set, he was backed by Calexico.

Calexico could easily seem like a bunch of try hards, trying hard to emulate Mexican styles. But they’re not. They’re from Arizona and in the tradition of American pop music, their sound is really rooted in their region. A mix of Alt-Country with a Mexican inspired horn section, they look impressive on stage. Double bass, pedal steel, acoustic guitar, drums, keys add to their presence as well as their sound. I was fortunate enough to score free tickets. Fortunate. I was blown away by the tight professionalism of Calexico. Their songs were great, woven with great solos, pedal was beautiful, horns added a gorgeous touch. They could bring the mood down with quiet pieces, then ramp the crowd back up with an explosion of festive sound. Everything about their performance was excellent. My favourite song was the second last I saw, featuring an excellent whistle solo. Totally impressed



35.    Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard@Northcote Social Club Tuesday 9/3/2010

I caught a couple of the last songs by this Brooklyn indie folk guy who reminded me of Kimya Dawson. No match for Calexico, but he did have projected drawings to match his cutesy homemade lyricism.


36.    Bluestone Junction and Uncle Earl@East Brunswick Club 11/3/2010

I met the ladies from Uncle Earl at the radio station, and they were pleasant. So pleasant they invited me to their show. Uncle Earl are a 5 piece bluegrass influenced string band, featuring mandolin, fiddle, double bass, guitar and banjo. The sound was amplified in such a way, where the room wasn’t loud, but the volume was just perfect. The musicians were amplified by one mic, and you knew a solos was coming when the ladies stepped closer to the microphone. It picked up the nuances for this gorgeous act. Surprise moments included clogging:tap dancing to old timey tunes, and the patty cake song about crayola, not making a colour for your eyes. For the most part, there was nothing earth shatteringly new but it’s great to hear American music played by Americans who clearly love the traditions. Beautiful stuff from some fine women of Bluegrass and country. Also, Bluestone Junction were a fine act, polished, with brothers sounding tunes, all crowded around one mic. Sadly I only saw 1 song.


37.    Jess Ribiero and the Bone Collectors at Builders Arms 12/3/2010

Sweet and jazzy vocals by Ribiero, backed by a pop acoustic group with some country touches. Nice background music for the happy hour timelslot.


38.    Dan Brodie and DownHills Home@ Yah Yahs free Sunday 14th March

Should have been good but it was actually horrible. Stuffy, bad sound [too loud]. Hated it. Too harsh? No.  Sound was too loud and subtlety did not show.


39.    Cloud Control at Toff 16/3/2010

An industry showcase, the band just signed to Liberation or Mushroom, they played up tempo pop. I don’t know if I wasn’t in the mood or whether it just wasn’t great. Perhaps I got too old, but I couldn’t share the moment with the band. Cloud Control, surrounded by clouds from the smoke Machine, tried hard. Perhaps a little too hard. The performance seemed forced and as a result, they lost the mojo. Good job on the vocals though.


40.    Last Tram Home Presents Johnny Casino @Old Bar Fri 19th March 2010

First time I’d seen this: Presented by Last Tram Home, the blog of Trevor Block AKA TJ Honeysuckle. The gig was full of older generation rock crowd. Uneasy Listeners were the four remaining members of the Seminal Rats, a Melbourne punk group from the 1980’s. On stage, it was old men in wife beaters playing simple, anthemic rock songs. Johnny Casino followed along the same lines but didn’t really bring out any classic pop touches I adore. Maybe I was too close to appreciate. Nonetheless, it was a rock night.


41.    Hits @ Yah Yahs Fri 19th March 2010

Amanda wanted to go and see Brisbane band Hits just so that she could say they were shit. But I didn’t think they were that bad. The lead singer had an arrogant presence, and he looked as if he believed in rock and roll hype. More than that, it looked like he lived out the myth that you had to be an alcoholic and a junkie to be rock and roll. Middle aged and weary compared with the lady guitarist and bassist he stood next too. Their songs were guitar driven pop with dark edges.


42.    The Bulls @ The Marquis of Lorne Sunday 21st March 2010

Alone at a gig I felt awkward initially, but Linda from the Bulls has a darkly soulful and captivating voice. She’s a screamer. A rock chick with  the ability to transcend genre because she’s just so good. Was it folk? Country? Dark rock? Who cares. Totally a tortured soul in love, which makes her even more appealing. I loved it.


43.    Poor People and Jane Dust and The Giant Hoopes @Yah Yahs Sunday 21st March 2010

I was surprised to see Poor People was fronted by Erica Dunn on guitars and vocals. They played pop music with screamy moments. Jane Dust on the other hand featured Jane, Clare Moore on drums, Stu Thomas on bass, Will Hindmarsh on keys – cheesy synth and Damien Hooper on “Doobie licks”. It was Jane Dust music filled with a humorous band. I really like Jane because whilst making music is really serious, she had fun with her band on stage. Why weren’t more people there?


44.    Primitive Calculators and Jandek at Thornbury Theatre Thursday 27th March 2010

I was told Primitive Calculators were an experimental electro band from the late 70’s who broke up, then reformed last year. They sounded electro to me. Jandek is a Texas musician who makes you rethink what music actually is. There was a small crowd tonight, and the music was unclassifiable. The closest comparison is free jazz meets folk. There were three on stage, the drummer, bass guitarist and Jandek and each seemed like they were playing different songs in different bands, but they all did it together.  Interesting but hard to stay engaged. Depending on your perspective it was very high brow or very boring. Grace and I held out for about 20 minutes. I was later told that first 20 minutes were a wank, and it was the rest which was decent.


45.    Cloud Control and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes at Workers Club 25th March 2010.

After seeing Cloud Control last week, I only caught their first song. This was a free gig put on by myspace. I’d registered online to get entrance, then on Tuesday, whilst at Workers club, I was served not by the bar person, but the band booker. We talked bands, and she said there was a secret gig at Workers. I guessed it was ESMZ, and I was right. It was first in, best dressed, and I finished work early so that I could be there. Only the venue was only letting 100 people in, then they created a list of 30 – those on that list may or may not get in – it all depended on if the media people took advantage of their free ticket. I was number 128. Then a young boy walked by offering a free wristband/entrance in for a solo person. I happened to be the only one who came alone in the area, so I gleefully seized it!


The gig was packed full of young hipsters and idiots. I suddenly realized why it was sensible that we should all wait in line, rather than wait by the bar. The kids get silly when they’ve had too much to drink and for some strange reason, they like to drink pints.


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes had no backstage. So they arrived at the side of the stage, through the audience. Many of them.

There’s not too much to say, except both lead singers have Great voices. Absolutely compelling. The band put in so much energy into their songs. Their performance exceeded all expectations. They were fun and raucous. Even though I was so tired, I actually loved every moment of their set. They were high spirited, gracious, and really just very musical. It was impossible to stand still. I loved it, perhaps it’s my gig of the year to date. They sang Home [ my favourite song of last year, and one of my favourite love songs] which was their worst song. Om Nashi Mi was good. My favourite track they played was desert song. “Run to the desert, you will be all you need to be, run to the desert, you see all you need to be”. I had a moment of realization that it’s possible to find yourself in the desert; when life is hard, harsh and barren, you can find a truth. During the last song, they asked everyone to sit down, and it was perfect for bringing down the excitement levels. Absolutely loved them


46.    Mary Gauthier and ‘Lil Band of Gold’’ Instores @ Basement Discs Saturday 27th March 2010.

I love Mary’s work because it’s straight from the heart, without filters and she’s talking about the most intimate of feelings. What I’ve heard of her – she was an orphan child, surrendered by her mother, had a tough life, spent some time homeless and on drugs. She’s seen the darker side to life and her songs reflect this, but not in a bitter way. Mary has words of optimism. She says she’s been through all that crap and rejection, but she still can love. I was rapt I was able to see her at the instore because I thought her gig that I missed the night before was one I was supposed to go to. Mary captures my heart. So I bought her poster, whilst she was having a quiet coffee. “She said I remember you…You’re my adopted friend!”


‘Lil Band ‘O Gold were running late. With time to kill I got sushi and a biscuit from the pie shop Dinkum Pies. The time kept getting pushed out and just as I was about to leave, I saw them arriving. They played a short set but they sounded good. My friends boyfriend Graham said they’d be  middle aged male honky’s playing black people’s music, but they pleased the white middle aged audience. Their music takes you to another place – I guess it would be Lousiana. Nothing as incredible as they’re hyped to be, but some beautiful warm sounds coming from the band, particularly one singer [the one who is not CC Adcock].



47.    Van and Cal Walker @ Labour In Vain Saturday 27th March 2010.

Brothers with good songs, singing together, dueling guitars, or guitar and mandolin. The sound was not crystal clear, but when they played the good songs, they sounded great.


48.    JP Shilo@YahYahs Sunday 28th March 2010.

Atmospheric, unusual for Yah Yahs. It was high art type music. Very interesting especially since they did not really play pop songs. Looped sounds, Would have been good at Melbourne Recital Centre. Definitely not drinking music.


49.    ‘Lil band O’ Gold @NSC Monday 29th March 2010.

Perhaps the most over hyped and overrated band of the year graced the stage of the Northcote Social Club. ‘Lil’ Band o’ Gold were good for what they do. A few of things put me right off. CC Adcock’s sex face whilst playing guitar was one. Secondly CC Adcock bore an uncanny resemblance to Frank Gallagher of Shameless. His unbuttoned shirt exposing his sweaty chest was the third. Pedal was confident. But the music did not necessarily reach me. The crowd on the other hand absolutely loved it.


50.    Jane Dust and The Bulls @ The Standard Wednesday 31st March 2010.

This was in a way a dream gig – two acts I actively sought out a couple of Sundays ago playing the same night, for free in a pub that has ace steak sandwiches. Old Crow Medicine Show was playing Thornbury the same night, no doubt many of their audience where further North. Jane played to an intimate audience of 5. The Bulls played to an audience of maybe 10. Jane did her folk thing. Linda tears songs apart with the power and conviction of her voice. Totally impressed by the quality of the talent from both Dust and The Bulls. No scenesters and it was awesome.

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