Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December gigs 2010

258. Howl at The Moon, Felicity Groom Workers Club 1/12/2010
Howl at The Moon did their usual set of darker intense indie rock-pop, fronted by Lady Dee who's almost perfected the art of frustrated, longing vocals with a touch of desperation. Soundwise, it worked well in this bandroom. Felicity Groom is a Perth artist who takes risks. Backed by her travelling band[including an emerging music DJ from RTR, bassist from Jebadiah and drummer who moonlighted as a Melodica player], she played a varied set, traversing folk, rock and pop. She has a strong stage presence dressed in black, and a stronger voice. She played a multitude of instruments including acoustic guitar, electric guitar, percussion instruments, and auto harp. Sometimes these were accompanied with violent movement, dramatic pauses. Dark themes and a dry sense of humour always remained. The better songs included boy/girl vocals or the auto harp. My problem was, I found it hard to connect with her songs - perhaps it was that I couldn't hear the lyrics or I wasn't familiar with her material. It didn't grab, me but it seemed to grab the ex Perth crowd.

259. The Rechords, Frankie Alibi and the Fugitives The Bendigo 3/12/2010
Tonight was the big night. The name was changed, the costumes were made, the band rehearsed because it was Frankie Alibi and The Fugitives first gig ever! The Bendigo was packed with a mixed crowd of the rock'n'roll set, curious onlookers and loads of chicks. The Rechords warmed the room with their Rockabilly set, looking adorable in their nudie-esque shirts and quiffs. Hepcat played rock'n'roll tunes for the dancers and everyone was in the mood to party. Frankie Alibi and the Fugitives are a 12 piece R & B band which includes all the regular rock instruments, keys, horn section, 3 good looking backing vocalists - with dance moves taught by Anna Go Go. They play covers of obscure R & B songs, and they do it well. The first song, was house band style, then Frankie Alibi and the Fugitive backing singers made their way to the stage, one dragged by the neck with a fake noose. Frankie, with his high quiff, dressed as a Reverend, launched into Down Home Girl, with swagger and verve. He's got the look, he's got the moves, he's got the band, and singing into the faux vintage mic, his voice doesn't carry the song. His screams are good, but his voice lacks strength. It's not the end of the world. After all, Nick Cave can't sing. But what he can do is entertain. Frankie's strengths lie in his ideas, quirk and stage craft. Banter between songs were sermons read from a bible in a boyish voice about Elvis Presley and James Brown. He's cute, and for me, he's got the potential to be a pin up boy for the strange and unusual. In the meantime, the band can compensate for any shortfalls. By the end, Frankie was hauled offstage by two scantily dressed lady police officers. All in the name of fun. There was so much attention to detail that made this a fun night. Instead of a stamp in, the door was taking thumb prints. It was a good night, good vibe and if Frankie can choose the songs that best suit his vocal ability, I really look forward to seeing how he develops.

260. Heel Toe Express and Cherrywood, Roy Orbison Tribute night Old Bar 4/12/2010.
Post work Xmas party. Heel Toe Express, did more of what they did last time I saw them but also had a double bass. Young urban people playing old timey country music around one mic. Cherrywood, there’s a lot to like – their sound, once they get started. But there’s also a lot to dislike – lead singer lacks onstage charm. Wily youth of today or just obnoxious twat? Roy Orbison fans may be a bit disappointed. Not all songs were tribute songs to Roy Orbison. It should have been tagged as ‘Roy Orbison theme night feat. loosely associated songs and tenuous links’. This night didn’t pull numbers. Was it too hot, was it the bands or is it that people just don't know how cool Roy Orbison actually is? After the DJ was Bowlofdick/Matt Stabs who kept us on the dancefloor.

261. Que Paso Labour in Vain 5/12/2010
Following BBQ at CERES, I caught Que Paso doing their thing on a warm Sunday arvo. This gig was organized for Alysha’s dad who was in town. Loud and decent with some questionable lyrics doing their southern rock- leaning towards country style.

262. Moosejaw Rifle Club Standard 5/12/2010
Wanted to see them because I’d never seen them before. Three piece [guitar,banjo, mando] singing men, doing country style music with a strong Australian sound and an air of niceness to them – as in they seemed really nice. Perhaps too nice.

263. Danny Walsh and Adam Redfern and awesome fiddle player The Standard 8/12/2010
Ballad singer Danny Walsh, tells big stories to country and 50’s style rock and roll songs. He plays guitar, mando, harmonica, and is accompanied by Adam Redfern on electric guitar, and an awesome fiddle player who adds so much to the spirited performance. She is an asset.

264. Dozers, Barbarion and Jeff The Brotherhood Pony 9/12/2010
It was boys rock night at what I’d consider to be a boys rock bar. Pony’s not my scene and men outnumbered women, boys outnumbered girls. I thought I’d be frightened out of my comfort zone. Instead three rock bands, from different subgenres played good sets. Dozers kicked off the night, no strong hooks, but some good moments, heaps of energy, tight neo-grunge.
Barbarion, a 7 piece ludicrous metal revival-esque act, dressed in their middle ages garb meets cavemen, meets homo erotic attire and no shoes. The exception was one singer Frank who teamed his Ancient Roman toga with white cross trainers. Duelling singers, excessive guitar solos, choreographed moves, face paint, Barbarion had it all. Another really tight act, but they had a skull on a stick, with red eyes, shooting out smoke, and pyrotechnics. Totally entertained by something I’d never really consider.
Jeff The Brotherhood are young good looking rock guys who play good music, who sound as if they honed in their skills playing in their bedroom and they transfer it to on stage. Two brothers [guitar and drums] from Tennessee with simple mesmerizing songs, with good build ups, unafraid to get fuzzed out, but can bring it down too. They played song after song, sometimes breaking it up with The Ramones’ Rock’n’Roll Radio. There’s a little crowd interaction, when one brother walks though the crowd with his guitar. And no encore. Merch was available and the crowd were pretty pleased with the performance. I was too.

265. Spencer P Jones and The Escape Committee, Chris Russell's Chicken Walk, Labour In Vain 11/12/2010
I spent all day trying to wake up by doing stuff, when the key was to simply walk into the Labour In Vain, and catch Spencer P Jones and the Escape Committee spit out those bittersweet rock songs. Today's set was taken mostly from Sobering Thoughts, and they played to a third full venue [Meredith is on]. The final song was a new song. Spencer P Jones is so great when he's good. So good I bought the vinyl even though I've already got the CD. Chris Russell only got to play 4 songs. It took me a while to warm to him playing blues guitar. After two songs he told us we were witnessing something illegal, so he put his guitar down, then did something different. He sang acapella gospel songs, which got the crowd engaged keeping time. In doing so, it was evident that he genuinely has a great deep, booming voice. By the last song, he was walking and singing - and then he walked out the door, Spencer following him, and the crowd laughing.

266. The Rechords The Gem 12/12/2010
Another Rechords Gem gig made memorable by some good songs. I'm assuming Felix wrote one, then got down because a mother with child left during the song. It was also made memorable for the two ladies dancing - Ilana rockabilly scene queen and the stocking twirling birthday beauty, who kept unusually interesting time with her clap and foot stomp technique.

267.Conway Savage, Little John, The Old Bar 12/12/2010
I was prepared to be bored, thinking it was going to be another adult contempo pop show and it was. This was so good, that it forced me to rethink that midnight piano music can be good. It partly had to do with the dark songs with moments of humour and songs of despair could ironically pull anyone out of misery. Conway played keys, Fox played percussion, keys and piano accordion, and they were accompanied by guitar. Every member played beautiful, outstanding parts. Nothing was wasted. A class act at the Old Bar. Conway was selling his CDs for $10.
There was quite a crowd at Little John tonight. When Little John commenced, he debuted a song just two days old. Then his band joined him, and they played their country set, changed the song order - building in contrast. Effective, but I sensed by that time the crowd wanted big happy songs. I was about to write how great, the mando, fiddle player is, but then what about guitar, etc, but it needs to be said, Little John are a good band. John couldn't do it so well without his players.

268. Reverend Horton Heat Gershwin Room Espy, 14/12/2010
25 years together, and the Reverend Horton Heat is a polished performer, who puts on a show to the one third full crowd at The Gershwin room. Dressed in a Nudie esque jacket, and donning a sharp hair cut, The Reverend Horton Heat looks like a Christian from a 1950's movie, sings songs about sinning, and plays guitar like the Devil. The drummer thumps with raw power, twirling the drumsticks in between, and Double Bassist Jimbo, well he's just charming. They're a tight act, never tired, playing songs from over the years, and including 4 songs from their most recent album. Admittedly I was knackered and had to catch the last tram home, leaving 11:50, but felt fortunate that I got to see that awesome mix of country, rock'n'roll, rockabilly, psychobilly, Spaghetti Western, frat anthems and a bit of swing. Engrossing, high octane old dudes. It sure was a psychobilly freakout!

269. Archer The Gem 16/12/2010
Testament that Archer needs an audience. He sang his old timey songs in the front bar, to a murmuring crowd of eaters. To shine, Archer needs a spotlight, and all eyes gazing. This didn't happen so he didn't shine.

270. Harmony and New War The Tote 16/12/2010
First gig, hyped to the hilt featuring an all star cast. What it boils down to is a slow burn rock three piece - guitar, bass and drums with three front stage backing singers. Everybody sings for their lives, and the rock rips through it. Singers seem to have problems with hearing, but still continue to belt it out. Will be good to see how it develops.
Someone in the crowd described New War as drum and bass – pretty accurate but not in the way you’d think. In addition to the d&b there was also a Kwai keyboard as well the jittery and camp lead singer. Drums pulsate, sassy bass, would sound stark, except for the relentless echo of the energetic singer. Good support act.

271. The Lost Ones, Off The Hip All star band, Off The Hip party 17/12/2010
The Lost Ones are a three piece garage band, lady bassist from the Shimmy's, hat wearing guitar player, and young dude on drums. Fun. Next band? All those faces from Music Club and others on stage and rocking out - Two guitars, two bass's, two drums, three singers doing garage and rock'n'roll covers. Everybody put in 100% and it was excellent fun!

272. Jeff The Brotherhood & Those Darlin's The Gershwin Room, Barbarion front bar The Espy 17/12/2010
One quarer full. I was surprised because Puta Madre Bros were the first band on. This gig was at the wrong venue. Had it been Northside, I reckon it would have sold. Jeff The Brotherhood did more of the same energetic rock with psychedelic and fuzzed out moments. Hypnotic songs and they encouraged stage diving which was downright dangerous, since barely anyone was there. The kids had fun. Those Darlin's - I like their rockin' sound with country moments. All gals play guitar, and bass and sing lead and they swap it around. There's 3 rock belters, but the singer who stands out for me is the one who broke her arm. She possesses this raw sex energy and has the ability to turn on and terrify. She sounds like she lives hard, and she appears it too, chugging back the Melbourne cans on stage, telling the boys to shake their dicks, then laughing at them. I'd love to see her do a solo project because she's sheer excitement with bad manners on stage.

273. Twang III Live To Air, Triple R, 18/12/2010
Live music radio show featuring live reads from Tim Thorpe. Starring artists included quiffed Cali-Texan Bear[of the Essentials], Que Paso, Those Darlin's, The Cartridge family, Bluestone Junction, The excellent house band. It was a tight show. Well done Triple R for pulling it off again!

274. Old Timey string session The Lomond 18/12/2010
Memories of Maldon - just a bunch of people who play old timey music, pulling up to The Lomond with their instruments in hand. A couple of leaders, and everyone else plays along to the repetitive style. Fiddles, guitars, autoharp, banjos, and a Uke. My mate counted about 22 muso's at one point. Easy listening on Saturday afternoon.

275. Erotica Exotica featuring The Royal Galah and Apocalypso Now Anytime Place 18/12/2010
With respect to the operator, I won’t say too much about the venue. What I will mention is it’s fun being at a party with tokens. A party that has the feel of a freak-show where individuality and ostentation is celebrated in style. Drink out of jam jars, Blue Hawaii Elvis Presley projected onto the background. Brand new dance floor, revolving cocktail bar, birdcage to go go dance in and Everybody dressed up. Honorable mentions Gold face man; girl in white bird suit; girl on roller skates; lady in red lycra flared suit; girls frocked up, boys in dresses… it goes on. Visually it was a sight to behold. So audibly? When I arrived Steph Brett was already singing in her band The Royal Galah doing big Calypso numbers, with a full band including horn section, and percussion section, it sounded like a wildly fun party from the 1950’s. She shared singing duties with Paul Dorneau. Genuine frivolity, loads of fun, exciting and delightful. Between acts, circus-esque male/female performers did a plate spinning act, complete with coconut shells on boobs, funny accents, and a little camp man pulling funny facial expressions. Later the music feel shifted to 70’s cruiseship, mainly because Apocalypso Now had vibes. Nara Demasson dressed up in Hawaii shirt, a lei and a sailors cap. I feel like I’m on the set of Loveboat. Had to leave because I had other business to attend to. But gee it was fun….

276. Bear and The Essentials The Lomond 19/12/2010
Caught only a moment, but Bear plays guitar high, wears cowboy boots, blue jeans, and slicked back quiff – playing with the Benny and The Flyby nighters. He got his name from Native American Indian heritage. He comes from California and lives in Austin. Playing country and rock music – sadly had to leave as friend wanted to go to The Standard….

277. Charles Jenkins The Standard 19/12/2010
Charming Charles, wowing the Sunday evening crowd at The Standard trapped inside on this rainy night.

278. The Beat Disease and Jeff The Brotherhood The Old Bar 19/12/2010
The Beat Disease - not great rock band. Jeff- seen 'em before –Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Sunday. Ace stuff in packed out Old Bar.

279.Dan Kelly's Dream Band Rooftop 20/12/2010
Missed Those Darlin's, and nothing could make me enjoy Dan Kelly's dream band so sweetly, even Paul Kelly's daughters doing backing vocals or Dan Kelly's in between song banter.

280. Miserable Little Bastards Labour in vain 22/12/2010
Upbeat, drinking music setting the scene

281. The Bastard Children The Standard 26/12/2010
Upbeat, piratey drinking songs played men singing loudly into a mic, featuring a piano accordion.

282. Fourteen Nights at Sea, If These Hands Could Separate The Sky, The Old Bar 26/12/2010
Lights off, light ball, delicate and looped atmospheric sound scapes with crescendos. The slowness was just as you’d imagine 14 nights at sea. Thought I’d be bored, but I found this totally refreshing.
ITHCSTS was another case of experimental music featuring slow build ups to rocked out endings.

283. Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk and Skyscraper Stan The Old Bar, 28/12/2010
After Xmas, before NYE and I felt gig starved. Fortunately the Old Bar saved me. Chris Russell did his brand of finger picking blues, delivering at his drawn out pace in order for maximum effect at built up moments. Skyscraper Stan was accompanied by the Commission Flats tonight who were good – Ruben on guitar is excellent. Part of Stan’s charm is his self consciousness, but it’s also slightly annoying when he’s constantly pulling himself up. Then when Stan lets loose, SS is really good indie pop guy who fuses 1920’s blues, jerkish hand movements, teenage angst, light crooning, and storytelling. My friends hate him, but I like his style. Hurricane Gemma performed a song with them, skipping her cues, but returning to the mic with gusto. She’s a singer who’s brutally exciting on stage, and wildly unpredictable, adding to the excitement. I want to see her in a foot to the floor rock and roll band. Not a bad way to spend Tuesday night.

284. Cherrywood, The Retreat, 29/12/2010
The ad said Fingerbone Bill. But on stage it was Cherrywood minus the double bass player who was at the Public Enemy gig. High spirited, rockabilly inspired, 3 piece act – Mr. Mandolin - JC Seymour, Chris on drums and that guy with the glasses. Sounds fine to me.

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