Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 2012 gigs

1. OFWGKTA Hi Fi 1/2/2012
Hip Hop collective from LA with questionable badass style songs, but funny, petty banter in between songs [think Seinfeld]. 

2.Red Rockets of Borneo The Tote, 4/2
Wearing Red, arty punk band. 

3. The Jackals, backyard of record store 79 Johnston Street Collingwood 6/2
Excellent swamp rock moody Australian band with a clarinet deliver again.

4. Spencer P Jones and Kim Salmon Old Bar 5/2
Two stars of Australian music scene play together. Not always great, but when they did it well it was almost breathaking.

5 Howl at The Moon, Ben Salter, Graveyard Train, Drive Live at PBS, PBS 47 Easey Street Collingwood 6/2/2012

6. Old Timey Sessions The Old Bar 6/2
Old Timey string session moves to the front bar, and creates incredible atmosphere as you walk into the building.

 7. Pop Singles, Extreme Wheeze, Lost Animal, Drive Live at PBS, PBS 47 Easey Street Collingwood 7/2/2012
Pop Singles make very sweet indie pop. Extreme Wheeze is one man with a guitar, a slide guitar and a loop pedal, whom I'm told is in another band called Aleks and the Ramps. In any case, it's good, enjoyable and impressive. Lost Animal. Their intense vibe alone makes me think I'm not going to like them, but then they play, and their intense music draws you in. You just can't help yourself.

8. The Bowers, The Tote 7/2/2012
The Bowers played the first of their Tuesday night residency gigs at the Tote, and they had two new members on bass and drums. Later another guy joined them on guitar and bass for a couple of songs. He seemed to be a really good addition to the band, bringing out the best of the songs and also bringing out the best in the band members.

9. Fabulous Diamonds, Spencer P Jones, New War, Drive Live at PBS, PBS 47 Easey Street Collingwood /2/2012
The thread today was bleak music. But I was later told that sound is atmospheric.Fabulous Diamonds the electronic two piece sound like, no I can't explain but you can hear it all here.  

10. Brat Farrar, Murlocs, Bob Log  III, Drive Live at PBS, PBS 47 Easey Street Collingwood 9/2/2012
 Brat Farrar are a three piece band with two brothers. Murlocs are a really good young garage inspired band with a strong raw Australian sound. Bob Log is a one man band who plays guitar in the style of the guy from Made for Chicken by Robots.

 11. Twerps, BJ Morriszonkle, Stella Angelico and Quang Dingh Drive Live at PBS, PBS 47 Easey Street Collingwood 10/2/2012
 If you like indie pop you'll like the Twerps. Stella Angelico is a sassy soul singer with moves. BJ Morriszonkle is a musical one man band kook. Quang Ding is the Viet guy from Little Red, who's doing his own thing, accompanied by his guitar.

12. The Council, Bunny Monroe The Tote, 10/2/2012
 The Council are a two piece rock band well suited to the Tote on a Friday night. Bunny Monroe are a band of beautiful ladies who do a good job at pop rock.

13. High Fangs, The Morrisons, The Tote 11/2/2012
High Fangs are a 3 piece fun rock band who've recently released an album. The Morrissons are also a 3 piece rock band.

14. Yis, Russian Roulettes, The Old Bar 11/2/2012
Yis are now a 4 piece  rock outfit and are in fine form - tight and loose all at once. Frontman has special frontman powers of captivating audience. Russian Roulettes are perhaps the best band I've seen that guy from Brat Farrar in - a well balanced, multiple singers 3 piece band.

15. Sheahan Drive, Gary Olsen, Monnone Alone,  Icypoles, Grace Darling 14/2/2012

With all the coolsies and hoo ha over Twerps, you'd think an indie pop gig like this would sell out in a second. But this belongs to the DIY indie pop generation that predates the current crop of DIY indie popsters, so tonight, it's not full.
Sheahan Drive
Sheahan Drive is a one man band, reliant on a backing tape, a guitar and a malfunctioning loop pedal. Despite the hiccups he holds it together with his sweet and sometimes corny pop songs and even throws in a sea shanty for good times.
Gary Olsen and The Cardboard Hearts

Gary Olsen of The Ladybug Transistor is in town and a there's an all start cast that form  that backing band.  Super sweet melody, tangy guitar, trumpets, 2 bass', keyboards. If you're in an introspective mood, I highly recommend it.  They play the Workers Club in 2 Saturdays.
Monnone Alone

Monnone Alone featured Mark Monnone upfront on guitar and lead  vocals, complete with twee lyrics and Aussie accent. But he's not alone because he's accompanied on bass and drums. Mark has songs about middle class Australian, even suburban lives.  And given it's Valentines Day, they cover Troggs classic 'A Girl Like You'. It's clunky, sometimes out of tune but still likeable.
Icy Poles

The Icypoles are a 4 piece all girl band with whispy vocals and 3 singers that create sweet harmonies. On Valentines Day they covered some girl group songs, Roy Orbison, and performed some of their own songs. I wanted to love this group but walked away feeling the best act on tonight, was the second act on.

16. Dane Certificate, Pop Singles Jouissance, The Old Bar 16/2/2012
I witness Dane Certificate break out of a Straightjacket backed by his multiple backing tracks, and the crowd cheers.  He bought a drum kit, and a guitar, and plays experimental pop, adding noise. Pretty bloody loud performance art. No matter what you think, you can't deny: he puts it all out there on display which for some people could be unnerving.
3 piece jangle band Pop Singles play classic indie guitar pop. It's tight and loose with catchy songs. There's soft vocals a lady drummer, nothing really new, but still lots to like.
Jouissance

Jouissance play raw pop rock, and switch lead vocals between a tiny lady with a big voice [think PJ Harvey], and the drummer. To me they seem to have a strong  Sonic Youth influence, and lead guitar is doing intersting things. More time in the incubator may help this band see good things in the future.

17. Cam Lopez Bar Open 16/2/2012
Only catch last song but this guy seems to be a shy singer /songwriter who sounds like M Ward.

18. Kim Salmon and Spencer P Jones The Old Bar 18/2/2012
Two Australian rock legends play tiny bar and charge $4 per act. Yes as my friend says "it's criminal!" As a gig, it's pretty loose. But you'll hear some great songs which are given the nuance ladden Salmon treatment or vineagar ladden Jones treatment. Trust my advice, get in and see this month long residency.

Brady Daniell-Smith - is a mellow sounding indie singer/songwriter whose songs sound like a cocktail on a beach. Comparable to The Thrills. Danny Cisco is also an indie sounding singer songwriter who demonstrates good moments in songs. Whilst performing his material, he was managing just fine, but between songs, he seemed to be very nervous.  Freddy Fudpucker have the residency, and seem to have a following of sitters. There's a guy on guitar and a girl on piano accordion. They sing harmonies, and have an upbeat  pop sound. I'm guessing people who like JJJ and music from Northern NSW will really dig this. 

20. The Perch Creek Family Jug band, Open Studio, Northcote 22/2/2012
The Perch Creek Family Jug band is exactly what it sounds like: a family jug band, with young members.  With the look of vagabonds in Western shirts, and vintage chic, they've certainly got the talent to carry it off. Double bass, guitar, harmonica, washboard and jug, banjo, piano, whilstle, gazoo, clarinet, trombone, banjolele, melodica, tap shoes and vocal harmonies. And they only have 5 members. It's a step up from front bar music; more like entertainment after the meal - type of band, and this gig is well suited to the intimate, bohemian setting of Open Studio.

21. Matt Green Band, The Bittersweethearts, The Old Bar, 22/2/2012
It rarely happens: when you see a band you've never heard of, and they not only exceed any expectation you may have had- They blow you away. Introducing the Matt Green Band, and tonight they played their third gig. Matt Green is a guitarist in countless Melbourne bands, and this just might be his finest outing. Well constructed songs, good guitar solos[not overly indulgent], good breathy-raspy voice. Some might say alt country is boring, and they're probably right. The Matt Green Band is not another wishy washy group who call their work alt country when really it's just another bland pop act. Go and see this band so you can understand what I'm writing about. 
The Bittersweethearts are good looking guys who play inoffensive pop with that country tinge. Think Lucksmiths gone country.

It was the second SLAM anniversary, so Thursday night was really about getting out and about to see what was happening in town on the local live scene.

22. Sib and Eddie James, Labour in Vain, 23/2/2012
Sib is a bluesy singer songwriter who plays slide. Eddie James sang sweet back up vocals but unfortunately we had to leave before she started properly.
The audience arrives for the live music tonight.

23. Arty Del Rio, Dirty Secrets 23/2/2012
I really dug Arty Del Rio's 2 songs with vocals on bandcamp, so why not see him? In the intimate surrounds of basement in Dirty Secrets, Arty Del Rio commences his set after a long wait between acts with a poetry reading on the state of the world, then commences his songs, accompanied by a keyboard player. Live, the impact of his songs was not immediate, like the recordings are. Keyboard volume was so loud, it overpowered the guitar, changing the sound from punchy pop to piano bar cabaret. Arty Del Rio presented himself as a serious artist, but I think what'll help his stage act most is the experience of playing more gigs, to turn up his guitar, and let go.

24. Spod, Harmony at Yah Yahs 23/2/2012
Spod moves frenetically...then gets puffed out
 Having no idea what to expect we enter Yah Yahs, listening to electronic backed, hip hop beats and good phrasing. Spod is the would be ultimate pop star, He's got the moves, he's got the pop songs, he's got it all-except the looks. He's an older gent, long hair, bit scruffy but he is hilarious, and totally engaged me. He played crowd favourite "Cats", which has one lyric-guess which one? He ended his set about boys going out. Throughout the set, he's always subverting the sound with clever lyrics and sense of humour, and that's what's really likeable. 
Harmony in action. Pic by Victoria de Fruita

 Harmony return to the stage, and the audience is treated to the sounds of what's essentially a three piece indie pop/rock band with light and shade, that has the addition of three big voices singing loudly.  Singing together in different parts, I don't know anyone else who's doing this. Harmony sounds epic to me tonight.

25. Chook Race, Murlocs, Mesa Cosa 10" launch The Tote 24/2/2012.
Chook Race begin my version of tonights gig with their sweet, loud, crude indie pop. There's not a song I don't like of theirs, and if you find the mind lingers, you just need to wait 2 minutes until the next song. A band for people who have short attention spans who like hacked, melodic garage-pop. 
Chook Race
 Murlocs commence their set, playing to a half empty room, and lead singer/harmonica player Ambrose does it again: tears their songs apart with his distinctive, shrill voice. When it's drenched in reverb it takes on a lifeforce of it's own, floating above the songs. Not to encourage LSD [Lead Singer Disorder]  the band is more than just the singer, there's grooves, good guitar moments, an excellent teenage looking drummer, and they're all working together on their sound which is well rooted in  garage and R&B. In this town Murlocs are raw, unique, young and really exciting. I'm yet to meet a person with good music taste who isn't affected by their live performance. Although I did notice a lot of people out in the beer garden for the duration of the entire set. They must have been at The Tote for Mesa Cosa.
Murlocs
Mesa Cosa are a likeable motley crew


Tonight was Mesa Cosa's night. Launching their 10" nothing could stop them. It seemed they burst onto the stage with their big sounds, big singing, and tambourine bashing and more. Direct, forceful, but also pretty loose - thankfully in the good way, and I really dug how their songs seem to end in a weird space, even if it wasn't intentional.  The crowd got into it, which encouraged a mini mosh and crowd surfing. There's no tempremental breaks during a Mesa Cosa set.  It's all up: all one big party so if you need a genre to define it, this is 2012's version of Frat Rock. If school universities still had band studded O week gigs, this is where Mesa Cosa would find their crowd. As a night, this has been my favourite all local band gig for 2012. All solid up and coming bands, all killing it on stage.


26. Sabrina Lawrie, Kim Salmon, Spencer P Jones, The Old Bar 26/2/2012
Sabrina Lawrie is just a woman on stage doing tricky things with a guitar and possesses a singing voice that has the ability to wipe out a small village. In Brisbane, she plays with a full band and I'd love to see that come to Melbourne.
Sabrina Lawrie
Kim Salmon

Kim Salmon's breadth of work covers broad terrain, and for me is at times challenging to listening to, but I feel he's got a mission to push further, and in the process he's pushing his audience to listen to something different or new. Although tonight's songs weren't exactly experimental, the time he kept made it sound a little that way.  Spurred along by intensity, his performance is electric and he delivers a highly satisfying journey-like set.
Spencer P Jones
Spencer P Jones is hands down one of my favourite singer/songwriters. On so many occassions I have been extraordinarily disappointed with his performances, due to factors I won't go into here... Needless to say - not tonight. Spencer P Jones nailed it, commencing his set with Bogans, then working his way through his set, he played crowd favourites and classics. The guitar was twangy or he was playing the microtones, and he also delivered a highly satisfying performance.
Finally, Spencer and Kim joined together for the final set. A copout I know but my memory is poor for the details. All I remember was: it was totally captivating, and feeling really lucky I could go out and see these guys play in my town.

27.  Golgotha Motel, BJ Morriszonkle, The Old Bar, 27/2/2012.
Golgotha Motel are an upbeat 4 piece band, that race along in an exciting Cash style, feature crazy man vocals [think Toot Toot Toots] and have a twangy guitar. At times they replaced bass with banjo, which didn't seem to make sense to me. They're better at rock.  One man band BJ Morriszonkle was ludicrous and wonderful. If I ever need someone good, interesting, and excellent at expressing the depth of emotion he does through music -  to do a score for me, I'm going straight to this guy.

28. Bowers, Tote 28/2/2012
Bowers deliver a good couple of sets for the last Tuesday show in February, and their body of work reflects some terrific songwriting including, but not limited to She's Not Kidding Around, Out The Door, Lucette and Jackie and Joanie.  With the gems they write,  I can't wait to get my hands of some best of compilation in 20 years time.

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