Monday, August 1, 2011

August 2011 gigs

124. Matt Kennedy, East Link, Nth Wheel, Northcote Social Club 1/8/2011
Matt Kennedy looks like a teenage boy playing acoustic guitar, and his mate plays percussion.It’s gawky indie kid stuff: love songs with wonky vocals. It’s kinda cutesy, sloppy and has the occasional Aussie accent with reverb-y vocals. The mullet of Melbourne appears again, this time on drums and vocals surrounded by 4 guitarists. He is the centerpiece in East Link. The band has instant loud appeal, guitars are played in unison, playing the same things over again, which equated to catchy songs via repetition. Later they splinter off doing their own thing. Ultimately it becomes clear their songs aren’t much chop, but it seems like everybody’s having a good time? Nth Wheel took a little while to set up, which was unfortunate since it was Monday and I was still feeling sick, & knew I had a distance to travel, so I left by song 2. The vocals reminded of the Oasis and The Charlatans a little, and guitars were ablaze, then their next song was noise... Sorry I didn't give you a proper listen to Nh Wheel... It has to be another time.

125. The Stevens, Pop Singles YahYahs 4/8/2011
Indie pop night at YahYahs with the next generation of indie kids. The Stevens are a four piece that have well crafted catchy songs, with good guitar moments. It’s that early Britpop sound: think Jesus and Mary Chain but more upbeat. I like it. I like it a lot. Pop Singles don’t have the same frequency of really good songs, but they’ve still got some good ones, a lady drummer, and some major sound problems tonight, but they’ve still got enough of what it takes to make me want to buy their cassette tape. A really promising sign for the future of indie pop minus the electro schmaltz. With this blasted cold, I sadly missed No Action.

126. Sammy and The Timebombs The Tote 6/8/2011
A four piece 60’s styled styled pop, rock and R&B band featuring mature members. The immaculately dressed singer possesses an arresting Wanda Jackson screech. Free front bar entertainment.

127. Danny Walsh Banned The Standard 7/8/2011
A curious combination of a multiple of genres[southern rock, watered down bluegrassy, yacht, pirate-esque & so on] by this four piece band, Danny Walsh, front and centre is a fire haired, moustache sporting, poncho wearing gent. Free front bar entertainment.

128. Dirty York Acoustic set The Gem 12/8/2011
Dirty York as a 3 piece, with acoustic instruments. Country tinged, southern rock flavor, squeezing out anthemic seriousness.

129. Brat Farrar and Damn The Torpedoes, The Old Bar, 12/8/2011
Brat Farrar play a strong set of punky foot to floor stuff mixed with a couple of slowish ones plus some pure pop. Tonight their lead singer is putting so much into this performance, he’s kinda scary. Their set is tight, lean and compelling.
Damn The Torpedoes are launching their EP, and their sound is that of teenage dreams coming alive: playing in a rock band in Melbourne. The lead singer desperately wails into the mic, this smells like screamy boys rock to me. But their banter is funny, and their set includes some colourful characters like the “Maori Danzig” with his beautiful shiny long hair and a singer named Anna from the band La Bastard who tears it up on their last song: a cover of River Deep, Mountain High.

Hear Brat Farrar

130. Tek Tek Ensemble Marquis of Lorne 13/8/2011
A 5 piece ensemble of really great musicians, including two members of Los Impenetrables, a member of Bombay Royale, one Puta Madre Brother plus a violinist and a double bass player. This band has life and spirit as they churn out Calypso, gypsy, Mexican plus more folk styled songs. But most of all, it’s just plain fun. Steph Brett joined them for a song. Highly recommended.

131. Mark Barrage and Donny Benet Workers Club 13/8/2011
Mark Barrage a funny looking short guy with glasses playing loud electronic music. That’s all I can really say since I only got to see the very last moment.
Donny Benet Workers Club by Greg Tippett 2011

The young, hip crowd screams for Donny Benet, a guy who has his own synthesized intro music to usher him onstage. A self confessed international artist, Donny has four instruments,: the imac, the moog, a guitar and a pedal. He’s put a lot of effort into the look: A white suit, teamed with an open black resort shirt and tan croc loafers – sockless right?  Completing it: strands of hair slicked back onto his balding skull and a full handle bar moustache. He could have walked off the set of Weekend At Bernies. Yes, Donny has created an image which is larger than himself, and although the costume is fun, the music is cheesy, his onstage persona is not overdone. There’s a lack of melodrama, so despite the appearance, he conveys as a sincere character. There’s a lot to like about him: he’s slightly crosseyed, he’s selling his own “streetwear”, but more about the music… He launches into ‘Don’t Hold Back’ and it’s clear the sound style is the worst of the late 80’s and early 90’s. It’s watered down synth excess. Think Gloria Estefan’s Dr. Beat meets the unsexy vibe of Phil Collins. Get the idea? Donny pumps the crowd up with his dance moves, and makes them laugh with song titles: “Electric Love”, “You’ll Find Love Again”, and other cheese ball love songs. It’s starting to feel like one gag, but the Donny supporters were digging it. The favourite was “The Girls of Japan”, which inspired the dancer to turn it up a notch. It’s all over and the crowd scream for more. His encore is a Devo-esque cover of “Burning Love”, which reveals what we already knew: his voice does not have the carry to lift it beyond what he’s copying. It's an all style-ironic substance affair, and people who like this barely remember it the first time around.But the point is people like it right?

132. Mick Turner and Jarrod Quarrell, Marquis of Lorne 14/8/2011
Dirty Three’s Mick Turner plays guitar using finger and bow, loops the sound, plays bassline, loops the sound, and plays over the top, and unless you’ve got a front on vision, it’s confusing to work out what’s going on. He was accompanied by Jarrod Quarrell on drums. It’s loose.

133. Peep Tempel and The Volatiles The Tote 14/8/2011
It appears the Peep Tempel have become a three piece, which now includes Matt from Graveyard Train on bass. I liked their shrillness as a two piece. They commence their set with sharp angular guitar, and pulsating rhythm section. The lead singer has a vocal delivery that reminds me of artists I hate: Sting, QOTSA, Rage Against The Machine. But I still like this band. It has something to do with the drummer who provides a solid backbone. Moreover, they do loud and intense well. They’ve built in a little contrast, but they’re good at balls-out rock. If you like this sensation, see them Wednesdays in September at The Old Bar.

The Volatiles are 5 guys on stage [2 guitars,bass, drums and an ugly frontman who does his job convincingly]. They remind me of 5 schoolmates from the burbs who are living out their dream of playing rock music. The lead singer screams into the mic, and uses his body to channel the energy or the rage. The group has an alternate singer who spits out lyrics, inspired by the style of Iggy Pop. It’s not my bag, but there’s good moments.

134. Knave Knixx as Elvis Presley with The Terry McCarthy Special The Gem19/8/2011
Knave Knixx has a new suit, and the easy grooves of the Terry McCarthy Special are the best I’ve ever heard them.  A suitable band for this tribute night.

135. Tek Tek Ensemble Marquis of Lorne 20/8/2011
See entry under 13/8: they are consistently good.   A smaller crowd present on this beautiful sunny Melbourne winter day.

136. Richard Fyshwick and The Nuftys with Destination Cervo The Marquis of Lorne 21/8/2011
Well written pop songs, featuring moments of hilarity, mundanity and political consciousness. Sounds better in real life than it does on paper. Go and see Richard Fyshwick [singer in Legends of Motorsport], and hopefully you can seem him backed by the Nuftys. Destination Cervo are a 2 piece French female act – one guitarist, one drummer. It was scrappy, screamy poppy stuff, with lots of dramatic pauses, and it was free.

137. The Rechords The Gem 21/8/2011
Doing what they do, with guitarist Felix [in my eyes] shining. The place was packed since it was their farewell gig before heading off to Europe. Mikelangelo did a song with them.

138. The Stevens, The Heirophants Bar Open 25/8/2011
The Stevens weren’t as cool as last time because I couldn’t hear the beautiful indie guitar bliss. The Heirophants have got style, an aloof keyboardist, a gorilla armed drummer, a fill in bassist and a kid on guitar who just seems to have ‘It’. 1960’s inspired rock pop. Featured one member from The Frowning Clouds, as the other was ill. I like these kids.

139. Go Go Sapien, Mass Cult, The In The Out The Penny Black 26/8/2011
Go Go Sapien have their usual zany songs, and good stagecraft. Mass Cult have good short songs, and one very cool guitar player. The In The Out had their first gig, which went pretty well. You should go and see them next time at The Old Bar on October 8… Then you can say you’ve been there since the beginning..

139.5 The Mercurials The Marquis
Not for me

140. Sweet Felicia and The Honeytones The Standard 28/8/2011
I wanted to hate this act in my campaign against watered down blues, but in actual fact, Felicia is cool playing bass and belting out a variety of rootsy music. It’s a tight three piece and this is good front bar music.

141. Jacky Winter & Chris Russell featuring Gemma Labour in Vain 26/9/2011
I like all of this, but find it very hard to remain objective. Caught the last song of Winter, and Chris Russell plays hypnotic blues guitar, teamed with his booming rich voice. The set includes the voice of Gemma who takes the whole night to another place with her powerful lungs.  Pardon the pun, but she is breathtaking.