Wednesday, October 6, 2010

May gigs 2010

68.    Alexis Nicole at The Fox Sunday 2nd May 2010

A folky pop affair in the style of Triple J’s Home and Hosed. They’ve got a Byron Bay-esque vibe. Not really my thing. Thumbs up for a band with a saw player. Thumbs down for the low amplification on the saw and lead guitar.

69.    The School of Radiant Living Sunday 2nd May 2010

The School of Radiant Living ooze indie cool. Fuzzed up guitars disguise folked out cool pop songs. Perhaps it’s my NZ bias, but I can hear they’re very influenced by the Dunedin sound. The girls have style to boot, and I know it’s a big call, but they’re one of my favourite bands going around at the moment.

70.    The Revival Tour with Chuck Ragan, Frank Turner, Ben Nichols, Tim Barry, Todd Beene and Jon Gaunt The Arthouse Sunday 2nd May 2010 $45

I had no idea who these guys were but a bunch of punky boys and girls do. Apparently they’re punks from a “hardcore” scene who decided to get up and do sing alongs with one another.

Tim Barry – Emo punk from Virginia sang about life and death, and trying to be a better person.

Ben Nichols – Slingblade with a guitar played with Todd Beene on Pedal. Ben had a strange gruff voice. At one point I overheard an audience member say I thought he just sang like that.

Chuck Ragan – Going by his posture and build, he looks like a Californian health guru with tatts. The guy is pure intensity. Dare I say it - too much guitar. He also played mouth organ – again too loud. He’s the driving force behind the tour, but attention to the light and shade would have been most welcome.

Biggest surprise, when their songs are stripped back, they’re just like any other songs; songs about their lives, and frustrations faced. Closest comparison is it’s folk music; music of the people.

Frank Turner: A well mannered Englishman who likes to scream into a mic and have friendly banter between tunes.

Highlights: Jon Gaunt plays killer fiddle – he played with passion and intensity. Absolutely brilliant.

Todd Beene on pedal. There’s no doubt about it, he’s great at his craft and pedal reaches right to the heart.

In all, a hardcore boys grown up and on stage.

71.    Jarrah Thompson Labour in Vain Tuesday 4/5/2010

Bluesy rootsy singer songwriter accompanied by a friend on bass. Inoffensive but not my thing at all.

72.    Wilco The Forum Wednesday 5/5/2010

Inspired by my attendance at the first Melbourne Music Club meet at Off The Hip I went to the Wilco gig. All life’s love answers can be found in Wilco’s songs. It doesn’t matter that Jeff Tweedy has a troll like miserable face because he delivers heartfelt lyrics that pierce the soul. They played a combination of songs from their repertoire, old and new. The musicianship was A Grade and Melbourne’s Alt Country crowd turned up to witness it! The set was more alt than country and they used the alt to shake up their songs, especially on Via Chicago. Guitarist, Nels Cline was amazing, with his 10 guitars all lined up, and even a guitar with two fretboards at one stage. They had roadies, two keyboards and constant guitar changes. Although only two of the members of the original line up remained and strangely the keyboard player had an electric toothbrush. To me, the excess spelt stadium rock vibe, and the crowd loved it. But what I love about Wilco, quite simply are their beautiful songs. They don’t need the embellishment because their base is so perfect.  So I found the excess to detract rather than add. In addition, they sounded bored of their own songs most notably on California Stars. But they did play a two hour and twenty minute set, so if nothing else there was definitely value for money. The other plus: witnessing the show:  there’s no regrets by handing over the $85.

73.    Burn in Hell The Gem Friday 7/5/2010

Terrible jug band who shaped their sound via Tom Waits growls.

74.    Keggin House party at 239 St Georges Road, Northcote 8/5/2010

A band who played dumb rock about goon bags, spirits and beer. Fun, but not great!

75.    Silver City Highway and Lindsay Phillips album launch Northcote Social Club, 9/5/2010.

SCH have new songs, but their best is their build ups – and crescendo. There’s so many great instruments: harmonica; fiddle – all overshadowed by the theramin.

Lindsay Phillips: singer/songwriter – it was his day. Crowd out in force. It was a nice way to spend the


76.    Bluestone Junction at Lomond, Brunswick East 9/5/2010.

Fun. Fiddle; Dobro; banjo, mandolin, double bass, one mic,

77.    The Bulls, Charles Jenkins and Old Bar 9/5/2010.

78.    Alysia Manceau The Sporting Club Brunswick 14/5/2010

Folk soft tones [could have been the sound] by singer/songwriter. Very pleasant backing music, and I’d love to see her at a venue where she is the focal point.

79.    The Kuillotines and The Jackknives The Retreat, Brunswick 14/5/2010

The Kuillotines are a Perth band who played energetic rock music. They’d say it was MC5 like. Greg said it was like 90’s like. The Jackknives are a fun rock band, who are more on the garage edge of rock, with swampy, trashy flavour. They’re not great, but they have some OK songs. The singer inflects like Wanda Jackson. Good Friday night rockin’. The crowd asked for more but they didn’t have anything else!

80.    Barb Waters The Caringbush 16/4/2010

Nice singer/songwriter with country tinges. Better live than recorded. Performed with a bass player and Chris Altmann on pedal and lead guitar. The gig was in the dining room, much better location for gigs, including smoking outside.

81.    The Moonee Valley Drifters Yorkshire Stingo 16/4/2010

Old man country band playing country music with a double bass and beautiful pedal steel. Outdoor venue just down the road from the Caringbush. Will be excellent in summer.

82.    The Bulls The Marquis of Lorne 16/4/2010

Another amazing performance. Linda has powerful lungs. Though their set list seems the same.

83.    Kim Volkmann, James McCann The Old Bar 16/4/2010

Now I saw Kim Volkmann play bass for X, so I was keen to see him tonight. Dressed in a cowboy hat and skull shirt, he played rock music accompanied by a drummer. I would have loved to have watched, but the mix was really too loud for me.  I preferred his softer, slower moments.

James McCann played his songs, including Sweet Casualty, and some new tracks. He’s really engaging, and on his last few songs, he was accompanied by The Hired Guns.

84.    Johnnie and the Johnnie Johnnies & Puta Madre Brothers The Old Bar 21/5/2010

The first band, name eludes me, Opened with a surf guitar classic, then followed with more. They were fun and a good opener. I really anticipated J& JJ’s because I thought they’d play simple garage but they turned into something far more clever! They were jazzy, upbeat but I was not in the mood. I just needed stupid rock music to fill the void! PM Brothers did their brooding surf guitar and crossed genres as they do, this time sans festive lights. They still sound good. I lost track of time and had to run ¾ way through the set. I must have been having too much fun.

85.    Kim Salmon and the Surrealists, Graham DJ’d Cherry Bar 22/5/2010

Missed Go Go Sapien, but caught the full set of Kim Salmon and the Surrealists launching Grand Unifying Theory. Interesting because he’s an Aussie rock legend without a massive ego, the man looks fraught by nerves; a sensitive soul; you can see it in his eyes.  The launch did not suit Cherry Bar. Old rockers around the venue with some youngun’s. Salmon with tape player in hand, producing strange noises. I guess you could call it ART. Didn’t engage me but appreciate that he’s trying to do something different. At the end he played a 3 song encore including Frantic Romantic and the crowd got excited. During the set he also played a  Serge Gainsbourg cover.Graham as rock DJ knows how to be a rock DJ. Solid songs. No nonsense. Managed to get a tired Greg up on the dancefloor with Cherry Bomb, and it was hard to stop!

86.    RSVP[Ron Peno] at The Old Bar 23/5/2010

What a performer! The band were consummate professionals providing the perfect darkly spun accompaniment for the vocalist. Ron Peno feels every lyric, every note and conveys it in dramatic performance. RSVP songs aren’t brilliant, but they are moving. They’re down tempo think Tindersticks, perfect for a Sunday evening. I adored this gig [it was their second performance]. It’s not for everybody: it’s more for those with an acquired taste for the melancholy and brooding. Good stuff from a bit of an Aussie legend.

87.    Jackie Winter The Gem 26/5/2010.

88.    Van and Cal Walker The Caringbush 30/5/2010

I met Cassie through a strange turn of events. She’s a fan so we both went to this gig. Van’s voice was almost gone. Singing Van and Cal Walker songs to the middle aged audience of The Caringbush.

89.    Jane Dust The Marquis of Lorne 30/5/2010

Thought we were seeing the last moments of The Bulls, but it was Jane Dust doing what Jane Dust does!

90.    Que Paso The Standard 30/5/2010

Que Paso were in fine form to a dwindled audience, perhaps because of the Richmond Fontaine gig at the East?

Hired Guns The Old Bar 30/5/2010

Went to this to face my inner fears about seeing Seamus, and felt David Heard pushed me. Knew he’d be there since he played that evening. The Hired Guns, they were blistering but they still don’t manage to engage me.

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