Saturday, June 2, 2012

June 2012 gigs

111. Jane Dust and the Giant Hoopoes, Ally Oop and the Hoopsters The Tote 2/6/2012
Jane Dust impresses every time with her great band, and her dramatically executed songs about space with a strong disco push. Ally Oop and The Hoopsters band really works at The Tote. This was a fun gig.

112. Some band at Idgaff, 2/6/3012
Not great screamy band.

113. Sand Pebbles, GB, 2/6/2012
What appeared to be a jam band with long winding songs.

114. Samuel Yirga, Jazz Party, Kelvin Club  8/6/2012
The Kelvin Club reeks of private men's secret society, although they claim to be this. So you can't help but feel this is a special gig, due to the venue. Situated between the Theosophical Society and Taco Bills, down Melbourne Place, walking into the joint: it's like taking a step back in time. The place is detailed. There's a lint brush in the mens toilet, a beautiful 70's style bar, wood paneled walls, 2 gigantic Billiard tables and photo's galore of the men of the club. So this was the place, as comfortable as a suburban lounge room, was the space for Jazz Party to hold their free Melb Jazz fest event. Acts were scheduled from 10pm onwards. As you entered, the bar was teeming with people, and a jazz troupe played "New Orleans style" party jazz.  Upstairs, a dynamic dancer and hip hop producer  of beats opened for Yirga. Then Yirga came on, playing the Grand Piano, joined by Australian musicians Cooee. Yirga, a young star of the exotic Ethiopian Jazz scene did his thing. The music consisted of build ups and solos, and there were no amazing chorus moments or anthemic breakouts- this was all about the bubbling under the surface, with strong Latin influence. Evocative mood setting stuff  and he managed to dazzle some in the audience with his piano skills. For most it seemed this was simply back ground music, judging by the talking heard during the performance, but this was cool, because it was all about the experience of the artists, the club and the city. This was not the best gig I've seen this year, but it was one of the best experiences. A good winter night out.

115. Cox Arquette, Tote, 8/6/2012
A challenging act to witness. Punishingly loud. There are many members in Cox Arquette, two of which are in the pit tonight with their guitars and multiple pedals. When it wasn't knob twisting and layered noise, there was doom and shouting. When I looked around, it was almost an all male audience.

116. The Antoinettes, Idgaff, 9/6/2012
2 of the members of The Antoinettes[drummer and bassist] dress in Marie Antoinette styled blonde wigs, and bust pushing up dresses. Sure it looks a little wench-ish, but I'm sure they do it for the fun of it. Anyway, the Antoinettes are an interesting act. They sound influenced by 60's girl group, garage, glam and Rock'n'Roll high school because that's the sound they seem to reflect. They're far from tight [at one point the guitarist had to take piss midset], but they do have some good songs or at the very least some good moments. But I admire them that they could be all in their late 30's, early 40's and beyond, and still have fun with making rock'n'roll, even though at times it didn't appear they were having fun with the sound problems, playing in the right key, being in tune, etc. 

117. Ron Peno and the Superstitions, Labour in Vain, 10/6/2012
Everytime I find myself at a Ron Peno gig, I fear I will zone out and tire quickly, but yet again, his unique singing style soothes the impatient beast within, and the band are a cracker. Cam Butler is such a good guitar player and his performance is a highlight. This was delightful front bar music for a cold wintry night, in a very packed Labour in Vain.

118. Art and Craft, The Ancients, The Tote, 10/6/2012
This was a fundraiser for the RMIT sculpture Department. Unfortunately it was fairly quiet, the line up packed with new-ish, young-ish bands, all which could have been a hipsters dream, but it wasn't. Art and Craft are an instrumental group with some blistering guitar moments, driving songs, and a sax. A good  warm up band that extended their stay, playing another 2 long-ish songs after the sound guy told them their time was up 10 minutes ago. What can I say? Less is more. The Ancients play their brand of delicate indie pop with some serious melodic hooks, and even more serious banter between front man and audience, and although their songs seem to end badly, they were enjoyable.

119. Nick Murphy & Jeff Samin, Labour in Vain 14/6/2012
If you like well crafted pop music with the sweetest harmonies, look no further than Nick Murphy. Really good, under-recognised local artist.

120. Midnite Bosom, Lower Plenty, Bar Open, 14/6/2012
Midnite Bosom are not just any other support band. They're a headline band waiting in the wings. Born to perform, singer Monty Montan has a commanding presence, and an amazing voice. Joined by a guitarist wearing plaid pants and a Carlton football club jersey, and a singing bottle blonde bombshell percussionist, it's dramatic, real and sublime. They performed humorous ballads and a couple of Elvis numbers.  My compadre noted how there was a great deal of space in the music, allowing the mind to anticipate what came next. There was no way I felt that Lower Plenty could top this. But their difference was the saving grace. Delicate indie pop with three singers and out of tune guitars, a drummer and a percussionist. It was a good set, with some fine songs, and almost a full room. The delicate sensibility of Lower Plenty is striking a chord with Melbournians in the winter of 2012.

121. Velcro & Alley Oop and the Hoopsters, The Tote 16/6/2012
Velcro are a young, male, two piece: keys and computer + blazing guitar with some interesting material that sounded very influenced by Joy Division. Ally Oop, Noize Bunny and the Hoopsters played two sets in their one: Ally Oop and the Hoopsters doing their middle suburban Aussie Hip hop thing with Icepick and a backing track, including Box Hell, and their the final song sounded  like a very big 90's dance party. They introduced their band their band, The Octopus Brothers, missing a member, who was replaced by Dave Graney. This too was pretty good. One of the best, and energetic sets I've seen from them.  Greg Tippett took a photo. Here it is:
Photo by Greg Tippett, 2012.

122. James McCann and The New Vindictives, Grumpy's Green, 17/6/2012
So as far as we can make out, The Dirty Skirt band broke up after their tour of Europe, McCann did some solo material and moonlighted in a country act. This is the next phase, James McCann's rock and roll band. This is a band with solid songs, players who are masters of their instruments, McCann's signature hook laden melodies and it's really great stuff. They also feature the McCann wigout: when the song has effectively ended, but they all play on, finding their feet during the wig out, then start to lose audience attention. Sometimes this is repeated during the course of a song. McCann is hands down one of the best in town, maybe even in the country, but if his songs finished when they sounded like they should finish, he'd leave the audience begging for more.

123.  Peak Twins, Old Mate Gaso, 22/6/2012
I've only ever heard Peak Twins on Bandcamp, so seeing them live was not what I expected - I was thinking one guy and a backing tape. Instead the live experience is a motley crew of young guys, with a singer who can really sing, front and centre, singing well constructed songs with great harmonies. Excellent arrangments.  Impressive stuff. Old Mate has a lot of members, who seem to be exactly what the name suggests: old mates who decided to put a band together. They've got a shouty -bouncy singer, and at least 3 guitars. Their music reminds me of a more party UV Race, mixed with The Modern Lovers and The Smiths but not as good as them.

124.  Barbarion, The Tote 23/6/2012
The coolest gig in town is down the road at the Gaso - $15 for 15 of the hottest bands around town. So what am I doing here? It's Barbarion, the metal loving metal band who bought their own lamb on a spit, their own pyro, smoke machine, gigantic skeleton mask, and an assortment of other props. Without talking it up too much, Barbarion do what most bands don't: they put on a Big real live show. The attention to detail is amazing. It's engrossing entertainment and it only cost $10.

125. Boomgates, Blue Ruin + guests, Community Cup, 24/6/2012
 Boomgates are the backdrop to kicking the footy and avoiding flying balls at Elsternwick oval. The sweetest indie pop fills the air and it works well- I feel like I'm in Secret Life of Us 2012. Blue Ruin included a bunch of guests including T Rogers, W Meanie, that guy on Harmonica, Simone Cee Page, and more but although there was a lot going on, I didn't feel it.

126. The Exotics St Kilda Bowls Club 24/6/2012
Great bass player, Excellent drummer, unbelievable guitarist and top notch singing frontman in an outfit that screams him. They've got the ingredients to be totally tops, but what really makes them likeable is their style. 50's influenced rockabilliy trash [like Cramps], they are the freaks, geeks and rebels all in one band. I love the Exotics, they are really fun, and this gig at St Kilda Bowls club with the gold sparkly curtain behind them, really suited their style.

127. Lil' Band of Gold, Regal Ballroom 27/6/2012
Great musicians, amazing venue celebrating it's 100th birthday this evening, but I wasn't down for swamp pop this evening, although the crowd occupied the dancefloor the request of the band and the bouncers. Maybe  the arrogant aura of CC Adcock put me off. Even the charm of 76 year old Warren Storm on skins couldn't quell my distate for the guitar player's stage presence. But here's what I think people love about  Lil' Band of Gold: Imagine this: you arrive in New Orleans and get to your hotel in the French Quarter. It's loud and there's diverse people everywhere, trolley cars, brass bands on the street corners, tourists from all over America drinking 3 for 1 hand grenades, women exposing their breasts for cheap beads and chanting fat men wearing Chino's on balconies. You walk into a restaurant, and order the Gumbo. You overhear some local workers speaking in Creole. There's Cajun music in the background. The French Quarter:  perhaps it's no Treme, but it's essence is rooted in Louisiana.  Lil' Band of Gold  tap into this touristy essence. They're exporting it to the rest of the worldwith a brand of Swamp Pop native to Louisana. Perhaps it's watered down. But their doing it and bringing the feeling back to make you remember that time when you were in NOLA, and that coupled with their musicianship is their appeal.

128. Ausmuteants, Terrible Truths, Boomgates, Gaso, 28/6/2012
An explosion of sound comes from the Geelong three piece Ausmuteants. They've got keys, hard driving bass, guitar and drums. As their set continues, it's easy to warm to them. They're alright, [but somebody who made the invite] over hyped them. Terrible Truths are a 3 piece too. They've got indie pop songs without strong hooks. Despite the my scepticism towards the fanfare, I like Boomgates. They play their fresh sounding indie pop, perfectly suited to Spring or Summer and pack the room out. They're the musical equivalent to a crisp green apple. Happy Birthday to excellent record shop Woolly Bully on Errol Street in North Melbourne for a fine 1st birthday show, with a good line up.

128.5 Terry McCarthy Special, Labour in Vain 30/6/2012
Three's something about this 3 piece, whose sound reminds me of  Hall and Oates meets American rock band Surivor. Labour in Vain was packed tonight.

129. Eddie Spaghetti, Tim Rodgers, Fred Negro & Dave Moll, Cherry 30/6/2012
Slightly sozzled Fred Negro joins the stage with Eddie Spaghetti
 Fred Negro and Dave Moll open the night with a string of country styled tunes. Negro proves he's not just a crude cartoonist. He's a showman, complete with props such as a horse head on stick that he plays air guitar solos with, and a dancing giraffe. What surprises me [having not seen him before], is that he's a really good singer-highly expressive- and he has a whole lotta charm.  When they finish up, I secretly hope they're not the best act I see for the evening, because their set was fantastic, and hard for anyone else to top. Tim Rodgers is on next to play "43 minutes of singer/songwriter" material. Yes, in theory it does sound fairly boring. But it isn't, and I'd put that down to the fact that Tim Rodgers is a great songwriter. He writes from the heart, it comes across honest. His heartbreaks are authentic, and whilst his banter may turn you off, his songs leave you empathising with the guy. In fact he's such a skillful songwriter, that most people will be able to relate to his songs in some way. And tonight the crowd sings along with his classics. Another fine set on tonight's bill. The final act is Supersuckers frontman Eddie Spaghetti singing country covres, ending them all on CHA CHA CHA, so we all know when to make some noise. It was stripped back and fun, and he played requests including Cocaine Blues. The final song was Born with a Tail. Free of a lot of pretense, except for naming Supersuckers as the Best band in the world [maybe that's just delusional], another enjoyable set. This was a good gig to end June's gig-going.

130. Teenage Mothers, Carlton 30/6/2012
A big open space, crammed full of the young, the hip and the dreaded with BYO, sitting on skate ramps, complete with a mosh. I'm probably too old for the warehouse party scene, but I wanted to see Teenage Mothers, an almost all girl band, playing 3 chord songs. The band were raw, and not that great, but good for the moment, a reflection of the audience. On the way out I passed a guy throwing up in a bucket. Yep it was a party.

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