Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 2011 gigs

84. Chook Race & The Harpoons Bar Open 3/6/2011
3 piece good looking aggregate play very short, fast pop songs. So short they don’t annoy. So short, they’re a little hard to stick. Lady drummer sings one slowed down song, whilst playing bass, and she did a fine job. The Harpoons look like another indie kid band, but play blue eyed soul, with a mix of melodic, harmonic 60’s inspired catchy pop. At they’re centre they feature a gal singer. Yes, she’s a soul singer, and she’s totally convincing, even through the vocal strain.
More Chookrace:


85. Keith! Party, Baptism of Uzi, King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard, Cat Food Press 4/6/2011
Think Yazz, meets East 17, meets Morris Minor and the Majors and you’ve got Keith Party. They’re like a mobile party group with a backing tape. This is one big unabashed gay hi-energy dance party troupe with a nod to the 90’s, performed by what appear to be white Aussie kids. Bouncing around on stage, swapping mic’s, T-shirts, I find them irrepressibly fun, even when the microphone fails, interrupting the rap.
Mostly instrumental, Baptism of Uzi have pulsating rhythms, guitar sojourns, turns and twists and the whole thing makes me feel like I’m listening to the soundtrack of a science fiction road movie from the early 80’s. They adept at their build ups maintaining intensity and feat. fancy guitar noises, then slowing it down to incite the unison head nod from the crowd. I think this is a boys band for boys.
King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard I'm told are a school project. In person, they're a bunch of bratty, girly looking boys, who possess the uncontrollable energy of youth. Their sound? Pulsating drums and maracas, harmonica, distorted vocals, punctuated by wild squeals into the mic. The sum of it? Wildman surf-ey, garage-y, and so forth. I didn’t love it, but judging by the condensation on the walls, it was clear the band are capable of tapping into something that appeals to the youth of today. The excitement inspired the young Brunswick Hipsters to crowd surf, and spit out goon bag fountains[in the tiny room] or was that the booze? No it was the band. It seems that this is their moment.
Keith! Party
Baptism of Uzi
King Gizzard...


86. Mikelangelo and St Clare Old Bar 10/6/2011
Performing at the Old Bar during the day for a 3CR OB. He croons, she wafts. A charming and good looking, haunting duo.

87. Faust Forum Theatre 10/6/2011
The ticket said 8:30 doors, so I arrived at 9:00 only to miss the first act: Anthony Pateras. But I was here for Faust simply because it was declared one night in a bar “There are three pillars of Kraut rock: Neu, Can and Faust”. Even though I didn’t know what Kraut rock really was, how could I not go? Faust were in town for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. So how does Faust fit the Jazz bill? Well they don’t strictly. What they do though is attempt to push musical boundaries. Tonight they used a chain saw, spark machines?, metal sheets that sounded like thunder when thudded, a concrete mixer, in addition to guitar, bass, drums, keys and trumpet. The four piece commenced their set as a 5 piece. Primal drumming set up on each side of the stage. Centre stage: a young, very dapper singer in a white jacket and red bowtie, eating an apple, scowling at the audience, screeching into the mic with a whistle and shrieking. I was waiting for the physiological reaction I had with the Paul Kidney Experience a few weeks ago, but it didn’t happen. The lack of volume dulled the impact. He left the stage after that song and never returned. The line up consisted of two original members: the silver bead wearing Werner Franz Diermaier (drums, percussion) and the long haired, crazy jacket [Baroque velvet or tapestry?] wearing Jean-Herve Frederic Peron (bass, trumpet, vocals); and two newer members the omni-talented Geraldine Brigid Swayne (vocals, guitar, organ, visuals), the handsome James Fraser Johnston (guitar, organ). As the set went on, they added more sounds. At times it was sparse, other times dense. At times you could feel the sound vibrate through you. At other times, it didn’t seem loud enough to have maximum effect. There were moments in time that inspired a zone out, but before you even think of stepping outside, something else would reel you back especially their hypnotic guitar rock. Some moments were cheesey. Jean-Herve was asked the audience “if there’s only one word, what would it be?” Then he spent the following song chainsawing the answer into cardboard. It read “Love”. Concurrently, Geraldine painted. Yes she was making art. Scratch that, they were all making art, including the drums and guitar providing the soundtrack behind them. During the encore, Geraldine took to the centre stage and sang. It’s clear: with or without a band she’s got a whole lot of talent and presence in her own right. And on the last song Jean-Herve told us “You love Kraut Rock! We love Kraut Rock! This is Kraut Rock!”, then played a Kraut rock song. The old dude with glasses & a trench coat next to me completely dug it. When the band finished, ‘FAUST’ was projected onto the stage. Neatly placed, the earlier sawn “Love” was aligned to read “Love Faust”. The band were humble or business savvy enough to sign merchandise after the gig. Present: My favourite scenesters Julian & Mary.

87.5 Puta Madre Brothers The Tote 10/6/2011
Caught last two songs of the quirky, unique one man band x 3: The Puta Madre Brothers who sold out homecoming show at Tote. It featured a lot of early leavers.
Puta Madre Brothers

88. Ron Peno and The Superstitions Labour in Vain 11/6/2011
Ron Peno joined by Cam Butler on guitar and a keys player also in The Hired Guns. A local singing star-performer playing in the wrong venue to show off his craft. I love the Labour but at the very least, he needs a stage, and a spotlight.


89. New War and Teeth and Tongue The Toff 11/6/2011
4 piece New War play alarming marching music, devoid of melody. Not a criticism, more of an observation - but it’s that bleak, arty rock thing with some major synth action. Their best song was their last with synth action was taken to a new level – the level where it’s like a sock in the face. Teeth and Tongue are the darlings of the indie scene, featuring three handsome hipster looking folk, launching their album, Tambourine, recorded & mixed by Simon Grounds. The centre of the band is the guitar/keys playing lead singer that controls the drum machine by foot, and commands the attention with her vocal ability that draws in the listener and floats through the songs. The lead guitarist adds interesting indie guitar textures and the bassist at times swaps bass for drum. It seems like a full room tonight and it seems this is the sound of evocative Melbourne indie pop with rock edges in 2011.

Note: if you’re on stage, wearing low slung jeans and bend over, wear sensible knickers or face having your crack exposed under those powerful lights.


89.5. Mustered Courage Labour in Vain 12/6/2011
A motley crew of boys playing pop songs in a band that also includes a banjo and a mandolin. As my flatmate says, just because you have the instruments, doesn’t mean you play Bluegrass. I concur. They included a Boys II Men song in their set.

90. Yuko Kuno Marquis of Lorne 12/6/2011
Yuko Kuno is a Japanese lass who plays guitar and sings ever so sweetly. She changed to recorder, and was accompanied by a Melodica player. I adored this but it would have been great if the volume could have been turned up.

90.5. Rattlehand Labour in Vain 12/6/2011
Rattlehand are a country rock group from QLD; a 5 piece- drums, cool guitarist, bass, harmonica and lead singer with a lot of hair, a cowboy shirt and a guitar. They’re trying to be wild and they give a lot: volume, energy, but unfortunately the lead singer gives off a whiff of arrogance. The crowd are well into it. Yes Labour was fairly crowded because it’s a public holiday tomorrow, but the frontman gave the impression during the encore call that the crowd came especially for them.

91. Jon Michell Marquis of Lorne 12/6/2011
Indie boy-man singer from the Ancients and Mum Smokes, with indie boy haircut with songs that sound like noodling on a guitar. Some say boring, others might say it’s an interesting change from what you’d usually see.


92. Jacob D Silver, The Pups and The Harpoons Schoolhouse Studios Abbotsford, 16/6/2011
Jacob D Silver is one guy with a Mac. That's all I can tell you - that and those sharp sounds didn't grab me. The Pups are a cutesy group consisting of three boys who instrument swap and play playful suitably sloppy indie pop, most fitting to a teenage audience dancing at the school social. The Harpoons do more of the same, just better [minus instrument swaps]. And they’ve got a great singer who screams in tune just as well. Playful uptempo, indie, neo-soul and beach party music played in this small room at the former Steiner School.

93. Poison Oak, La Bastard, The Painkillers, Midnight Wolf, Yah Yahs 17/6/2011
Playing their second gig, Poison Oak is fronted by Zoe [Jackknives] on lead vocals who belts out lyrics in this 4 piece rock and roll band. Beset by noise problems, they power through it. La Bastard is another 4 piece rock and roll band with a strong front woman who’s working off a dynamic with her rock moves guitarist. There’s a sense that everyone’s trying hard to entertain. I’m told the lead singer has an amazing voice. Unfortunately it’s a little buried under everything else that’s going on. Then The Painkillers get up – two aged rock stars – James baker drums and Joe Bludge - acoustic guitar and they don’t seem to be trying too hard to please at all. They just play their songs. There’s no gimmicks required because they’ve good songs. A solid act. Highly talented, suitably confident and very likeable. It’s all very simple. Midnight Wolf on the other hand are the opposite. They’re all about playing up to a vintage Cramps-esque rock sound, complete with antics, tricks and crowd pleasing, they’re so good at it, they manage to do it consistently. Tonight is another example.

Hear La Bastard


Painkillers Xmas Mp3

94. Plague Doctor, Toot Toot Toots The Old Bar 19/6/2011
Sadly I missed BJ Morriszonkle yet again. But Plague Doctor fail to disappoint with their set of strong songs, quirky lyrics, great stage presence and infectious fun. Although it’s been over six months since I’ve seen them, and I couldn’t identify any new songs, they continue to crowd please. Toot Toot Toots have three go go dancers who are on fire, and have a party vibe, but it’s a party that doesn’t capture the imagination.

Hear Toot Toot Toots



95. Nick Murphy and Jeff Samin The Standard hotel 22/6/2011
Not the best I’ve seen him, but it was disappointing to see that there was only one person other than I paying attention, and he arrived with the performers. Nick Murphy and Jeff Samin were playing their beautiful songs, singing their gorgeous harmonies to a chatty crowd. Oh well, at least they were creating a lovely ambiance at The Standard on the night of the Solstice.


96. Mara Clara Filipino Drama The Empress 22/6/2011
One of the joys of living in a music town is experiencing the breadth and depth of what this town offers musically. So it’s not surprising that every once in a while you see an act that doesn’t quite hit the target. Mara Clara Filipino Drama is one such act. They took a long time to set up their instruments, struggled with their sound check, even causing a volunteer from the audience to take control of the sound desk. When they finally started, they were a band that used loops to create their feel. They had drums, bass, guitar and a Korg machine that made noises and transformed sounds. The looped human beat box was slightly out of time. At best they were a space aged lounge act with a dash of the warmth of Bibio, where Ruby was the standout guitarist. At worst, they were a band that did not play together as a band, they didn’t know where their songs ended, had weak songs, and had very large gaps in between songs. They instrument swapped, and this caused further delays. Watching this act felt like a waste of time, and so it follows that I left before the end. If they don’t break up, I only hope they get better. They’ve got a cool look and they’re cute as an aggregate, but this is a band that needs to actually get their act together.

97. Sime Nugent and Alice Keath AKA Sweet Jean The Gem 24/9/2011
Alice is running late, so Sime Nugent performs solo in the front bar for the open act of The Gem’s 4th birthday. Then, Alice arrives picks up the banjo, and the two sing together. It’s a folky, romantic affair. You get the feeling their performing for each other and there happens to be an audience there. The two make a likeable onstage duo. This would be suited for a Sunday afternoon or Wednesday night whilst drinking mulled wine in front of the open fireplace.

98. Kids in Cults, Chigwell Sharp The Vic 24/9/2011
Kids in Cults have gimmicks: a churchy song book, uniform of a white short sleeved shirt, ties, special names for each other and an impressive backdrop. It’s all part of the fun, and they play a brand of Indie rock familiar to the 90’s, but what do gimmicks matter if the songs don’t capture the imagination? Chigwell Sharp have no gimmicks. They have an early 90’s rock sound, and the band is studded with talent, fronted by a tough rock chick who belts it out. They start off strong, power through their set, and have a couple of fumbles. By the end lead singer was thanking God the show was over.

99. Total Control and The School of Radiant Living, 7” launch, Town Hall Hotel Nth Melb 25/9/2011
One time a young man in-the-know declared “Total Control are THE best band in Melbourne”. Based on this, I had to go, only to discover the band room jam packed full of the young and the hip. The way to view the band was to go outside. From what I could make out, the band consists of boys making music for boys with members from Eddy Current-UV Race DIY crowd. The jam-packed room of coolsies thinned out enough for me to witness The School of Radiant Living who are a band of mostly cool rock chicks, making indie guitar pop music. I can say I caught School of Radiant Living at their first gig at the Old Bar. I loved them for their crappy sloppiness. It was so refreshing. Since then they’ve acquired a serious drummer and a new keys. The sloppiness is fading into memory, and their songs are getting better. Their last song was their best, a catchy song sounding a little bit Neko Case meets early 90’s indie pop. These are reference points, merely to get an idea. , but I’d recommend you’d see them in three months time when the bassist returns from an overseas trip. Finally, if I had to say who was "THE BEST BAND IN MELBOURNE" out of Total Control or School of Radiant Living, I'd certainly say the latter.