Indie scene legends Death Cab for Cutie at the world famous Opera House was the first concert I’ve ever been to that had no standing section, which was a bizarre sight for me. From the moment he stepped in front of the crowd, Ben Gibbard had a calm and collected, extremely composed stage presence. It was refreshing to see someone front a band who projected so much confidence in himself and fellow band members. Gibbard is a ball of energy as he opens with I Dreamt We Spoke Again from their newest album, Thank You For Today, but it takes a little while for the audience to get going.
Hot Potato Band graced UOW Unibar with a night of high energy, funked up jazz on Saturday night. With a band that can perform with up to 16 members, this acoustic group isn’t missing a beat with their New Orleans brass band sound. Joining us on the night was Simon Ghali, the leader of the group on Drums; Ben Goldstein on Vocals; James Mackay on Tenor Sax; Edward Tan on Alto Sax; Peter Orenstein on Baritone Sax; Max Mallen-Cooper on Trombone; Paul Murchison on Trumpet; Daniel Moore on Sousaphone; Marc Malliate on Percussion and Drums; and James Swanson on Bass Drum.
Hordern Pavilion was packed out for two of the hottest Australian acts of the moment, Tash Sultana and Ocean Alley. Friday night was full of anticipation for what was to come over the next three nights of sold out shows.
The days of MySpace and scene hair are long gone, but Joyce Manor’s show at Oxford Art Factory showed that deep down a lot of us are still emo kids at heart. The American rockers drew a substantial crowd for a mid-week gig, with most of the audience made up of dedicated fans who knew all the words to their songs. With support from local acts Jacob and NEIGHBOURHOOD VOID, it was a night full of emo rock singalongs.
Here’s something you learn the hard way about being a fan of They Might Be Giants – it’s not something you can do casually. Sure, you can know a couple of songs here and there. Oh, it’s that band that sings about the worm doctor! Oh, it’s the band that do the Malcolm in the Middle song! If you’re going to be a proper fan, though? That’s a whole lot of homework – and, thankfully, They Might Be Giants fans tend to be total nerds who love homework anyway. With over 30 years of music and over 20 albums full of it, the band have one of the most impressive back catalogues to work with. On their current run, which sees them performing two sets a night and drawing from two separate decades in what they call “some sort of generational chicken-fight,” the Brooklyn natives explore the farther reaches of their entire canon, from their earliest days to their most recent work.
It’s been twelve years since Australia last saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers play a headline show. So much has happened in that time: huge festivals have come and gone, lockout laws have been introduced, and the internet has completely transformed the way we behave at gigs. But at Qudos Bank Arena last night it was clear that, although time has passed, our love for the Chili Peppers hasn’t changed.
If you’ve listened to Triple J over the past few years, you’ve almost definitely heard a LANKS track. Over four years, Will Cuming has released around forty songs under the LANKS name, spanning multiple EPs and an album as well as a multitude of collaborations. Just before commencing this set of shows in support of his latest EP Inoue, however, he announced that they would be the final run of LANKS shows. As a result, Thursday’s show at Red Rattler Theatre was one filled with emotion, reflection and celebration.
On Friday 15th February 2019 the Canadian stars Nickelback rocked up at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena to perform in front of thousands of fans – most donning Nickelback merch – who clearly don’t care for personal opinion. For the audience of mostly middle aged people and 14 year olds, it was a night to remember.
Wollongong-via-Hobart singer-songwriter Maddy Jane is normally flanked by a full band at live shows, bringing some extra oomph to her jangly, retro-tinged guitar pop. Having gotten into the swing of that, putting her on stage under the solo guise feels like an ill-advised decision – if you’re going to showcase the woman’s talents to a largely-unfamiliar audience, it deserves to be in its complete form. Having said that, Jane fares just fine on her lonesome – her smoky, laconic vocals serve as the centrepiece of tracks like the soulful “Not Human at All” and the tongue-in-cheek “No Other Way,” and the fact she has new converts calling out for more at the end of her set surely means mission accomplished.
In the corner of the Oxford Art Factory, near the door that leads through to the toilets, there’s a commemorative plaque for the late, great Rowland S. Howard. It’s there on account of the underground Sydney venue being the place where Howard played what ended up being his final-ever live show, just after the release of his solo album Pop Crimes. Tonight, just after 8:30, if you glance over from the plaque to the stage, you’ll see Sydney sextet City Rose. This is a band that serves as a continuation of Howard’s legacy, embodying his primal and abrasive approach to guitar playing, as well as vocal delivery that’s indebted to the likes of The Birthday Party. That’s not to say, however, that their work is entirely parallel to that of their heroes. They’re influenced, certainly, but City Rose are also inspired – see the swell of violin from stage left, or the guttural honk of baritone sax from stage right. These fill space in the compositions unconventionally, which themselves are already significantly varied and multifaceted to the point of no two songs sounding the same. Ambitious, angular and artistic, City Rose are unquestionably ones to watch in the coming year.