Wu-Tang Clan – Margret Court Arena – 23/02/16

This article was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

An ominous public service announcement voice welcomed the masses into the arena, “all those here for the Wutang Clan, please proceed towards the stairs.”
While nothing could have sounded stranger than an invisible monotone man directing mobs of eager rap fans uniformly – nothing could compare or dampen the electric sense of anticipation that riddled the venue.

After stupidly fumbling through rows in search of my seat, Ivan Oooze took to the stage in a performance demanding all those in attendance to keep him on their radar; his song ‘Bring The Fire’ causing a certain concert goer in a camo bucket hat (which, of course, was straight from a local army disposals) to begin to dance uncontrollably in similar fashion to what I can only compare to a T-Rex. Concluding his set with his latest track written in collaboration with Ghost Face Killah, the Ringwood alumni showcased his meticulously fast flow; his hooks swirled together with heavy track layering to form a final single that perfectly pumped up those in attendance for the ruckus that laid ahead.

As masses began to migrate into the arena a dense sea of fans eagerly shifted their weight in overwhelming anticipation for the long awaited performance that laid ahead. Hundreds piled back into the standing area with beer and other assorted paraphernalia on hand, because, well, enter the Wu’ motherfuckers. Waiting proved too much for one fan as I played witness to one of the most impressive displays of parkour I have ever seen. The eagerness proving too much, the individual cleared the barrier into the sound platform where he whipped the speediest head check and jumped once more before darting off into the sea of faces all illuminated by the almighty yellow “W”.  A sea of “W’s” were now thrown up, Wu-Tang Clan victoriously took to the stage; the night shifting to peace signs, singular fingers and an illuminated sea of lighters and phone torches.


People’s passion – noted in their phone lights that ignited from the first bar – were rising rapidly. Vastly unsure if the drunk patron next to me realised that no matter how high you stand or no matter how close you get to jumping upon my shoulders, the venue was only just illuminated and no makeshift bandana banner would get you noticed. (I commend your efforts though!) Amid a sea the crowd-generated smoke, songs like ‘C.R.E.A.M’, ‘Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit’ and ‘You Can’t Stop Me Now’ roared through the arena, emphasising that a band who was active well before my own conception had lost none of their ability to captivate audiences across the globe.

From executing their anthems with ease through to meticulous DJing that utilised all appendages including the ‘Clan members feet, the night was a well-rounded reiteration of their constant ability to “bring the ruckus”. Flowing on to include a dedication to their fellow musical comrades that have fallen, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ echoed through the arena as an appreciative mosh pit formed in response. Thanking in passing the phenomenal impact of David Bowie and an end-all rendition of The Notorious BIG, the covers saw already hyped up fans excitement levels skyrocket.

Through a perfect balance of between audience interaction and passionate executions of songs, their past 24 years as a collective offered forward one last tribute to their fallen brother Biggie; a parting note to the sea of faces looking on in awe of them, “Hip hop is the strength to the men.” With one audience member managing to escape the heavy security, jumping on stage and proceeding to execute one of the most insane performances of breakdancing I have ever seen, the final song was unforgettable. Through a final unified atmosphere, everyone was doomed to internally sing “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta Fuck With” on the long way home.

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Horror My Friend – Stay In Do Nothing

 

This review was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

Breaking through the suburban shackles of Adelaide comes a ’90s reminiscent, grittily infectious debut album from Horror My Friend. Combining raw vocal tones and melodically influenced instrumentals, the trio offer forward a memorising collection of tracks, all of which demand those listening to stand up and take note.

From warmer tones present within ‘Easy Going’, through to the smooth vocal stylings in ‘Same Minds’, each track is heightened by contrastingly harsh overtones. Stay In, Do Nothing takes shape while quickly exhibiting a sense of vocal diversity accented only further through consistently energetic instrumental melodics.

Starting off with a static beat which flows throughout the entire first track, fans are treated to the unveiling of a song dense with a careful balance between gritty and smooth tones. Paving way for a collection of songs that have proven to find the perfect in-between, the DIY sound aesthetic blends into well-rounded indie rock.

While the vast variation of vocals and guitar pacing causes drums to work as an ever present source of sound, this feature mirrors the variation of other elements; creating a consistency that demands your interest while working alongside instrumental and vocal aspects of the album.

Stay In’ creates a certain nostalgic sensation that washes over listeners upon the first string, allowing Horror My Friend to grasp you by the hand like an old acquaintance and pull you directly into their debut. Offering forward a sense of familiarness while infusing it with enough variation, the track ensures that you listen to every arrangement track by track. While the chorus of ‘Stay In’ is certain to wriggle its way into your head, be ready for a subconscious tap along throughout.

The major strength of this album is a certain self-awareness which is present within each of the tracks. As pace is experimented with alongside the patterns created with variant vocal stylings, Horror My Friend offer forward a strong first record, which works as a gratification for all the anticipation surrounding Stay In, Do Nothing’s release. Through the highs and lows created by the carefully constructed energy within Stay In, Do Nothing, ‘PB Remains’ offers up a final and contrastingly somber close to the release as a whole; simultaneously being riddled with electrifying emotion drawing the entire debut together.

Horror My Friend through Stay In, Do Nothing have ascertained their place as a band who are able to rise to a challenge, smashing out a debut album worthy of all the hype which lead up to its release.

Stay In, Do Nothing is out this Friday, via Poison City Records.

7/10

Unify Festival – Tarwin Lower – 2016

This review was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

A procession of 5000 eager sleepy-eyed music fans made the two hour trip to Tarwin Lower on Saturday the 17th of January for the second annual UNIFY Gathering.
Set across two sold-out days, the BYO camping festival experience kicked-off with gates welcoming in the masses at around 11am. Rather than continue to bore you with slabs of text and analytically pulling apart the festival, heres my anecdotal account of my first (and certainly not my last) Unify.

DAY ONE

Saturday the 17th


11:20 am: After making a pit stop in a near by ALDI for some knock-off brand beer, bourbon and coke, we are back on the final leg of the travel toward Tarwin Lower.

12.14pm: Finding our car tomorrow is going to be stupid hard and this line is crazy.

12.30pm: After hauling our entire camp worth of gear to the wrong site we have finally set up and I have incidentally smashed through an entire packet of honey soy chicken chips already.

2.14pm: Void Of Vision never seem to disappoint regardless of stage size.

2.18pm: Evidently, crutches are an effective moshing apparatus.

2.20pm: On par with how effective a wheelchair is apparently. The person in front of me is killing it.

3.30pm: I have returned to camp to find ourselves surrounded from every side, a Choomah from The Big Lez show, an Amity Affliction flag on the other, and a magnificently proud Australian flag courtesy of Matt Groening.

3.55pm: After a member receiving a mid-set bowl cut, they are absolutely slaying their set so far – Ocean Grove incited a crowd wide sing-a-long with ‘Back Bone’.

4.35pm: The iconic beachball appears above the crowds.

4.42pm: Apparently shortly followed by the equally as iconic dude in the spiderman costume.

4.50pm: After accompanying some poor guy with a broken nose to the medics tent, I return only to hear the song I have been waiting to hear live in so god damn long like ’Let Me In’. Make Them Suffer, hands down, are one of the best live acts I have ever played witness to and the keyboardist has the voice of an absolute angel.

5.50pm: The energy being emitted by Hellions evidently is not affected by the size of the stage – ‘The Penultimate Year’ will never stop being one of the most energetic I have ever seen performed live.

7.25pm: RIP Confession.

8.50pm: Stray From The Path are the reincarnation (even though all members are still alive and well) of Rage Against The Machine. Yet, somehow, they have managed to showcase even more anger; coming together to prove to be one of the most impressive live acts.


9.45pm: Finally my skin no longer feels like I am on fire. Sunsets are stupidly underrated.

10.00pm: I wonder how much I will have to scrub for my skin to no longer be completely coated in black dirt.

11.03pm: By the light of phones and lighters, Kyle Erich has never sounded more like absolute angel – and the singalong for ‘Wildflower’ is stupidly celestial.

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11.50pm: Rubbing my sleepy eyes, I mindlessly I join the masses of piling to Main Stage to watch Parkway Drive.

11.55pm: Parkway throughout the years have consistently found ways to combine Tradies and the Emo kids of yesteryear together into one all mighty fan base.

11.57pm: Only seven minutes into a Parkway set and my boyfriend and I almost witnessed a Dad fight.

12.00am: CARRION IN A MOMENT I’M LOST, DYING FROM THE INSIIIIIDE.

 

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A photo posted by @neintailz on Jan 17, 2016 at 1:37pm PST

12.33am: In a beautiful tribute for how far Michael Crafterhad helped Parkway come, ‘Romance Is Dead’ rang aloud and was greeted with a thunderous singalong.

12.40am: a sea of jazz hands waved out the night of live bands handing it over to the DJs.

1.01am: A venture back to camp was soundtracked by Family Guy quotes echoing throughout each camp site.

1.10am: On the list of things I wanted to go to sleep, listening to people yelling ‘Butt Scratcher!’ weirdly was not in my top ten.

 

DAY TWO

Sunday 17th January 2016

10.00am: People have began to depart before the Matinée begins, the smell of alcohol and a huge night lingers in the air. The line for a caffeinated beverage stretches across to the marquee tent, as attendees cling to the hope of caffeine reviving them in time for the second day of bands.

10.30am: That hope was lost for the person who left a human poop dollar nearby our camp.  

11.00am: Camp grounds are riddled with abandoned inflatable couches.

11.40am: Finally after stupidly somehow always being interstate when they have come to Melbourne, I get to see Columbus.

11.56am: I am an absolute idiot for not seeing this band sooner; ‘Downside Of Being Honest’ is one of the best songs I have heard performed live in a very long time.

12.30pm: The trek back to Melbourne begins as my Unifyexperience for 2016 draws to a close.

Overall, Unify definitely lived up to all the hype – however, I am angry at myself for missing out on its inaugural year – I got to see friends I hadn’t seen in years and see bands I have been waiting to see for what feels like forever. All while stealing inspiration from other camps to create the camp to end all camps next year. From drunk people forcing me to high five them a million times, to that one intoxicated patron that asked my boyfriend to moon him as we entered the main stage; I am filled with huge levels of nostalgia, memories and simultaneous sadness that its all over.  And of course, that I did not in actual fact get to witness a dad fight, soundtracked by Parkway Drive, in a tent where the bar was almost certainly being tended by Slattz from King Parrot.
    

Northlane – The Triffid – 14/11/15

This review was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

Under the dome-like structure that is The Triffid, the capped out venue played host to the Brisbane leg of Northlane’s National Node Tour. First to explode onto the stage were Melbourne’s own Ocean Grove who proved to be a testament to the thriving up and upcoming talent emerging from Australia’s alternative heavy scene. Pulling audiences in from the very beginning, it’s hard to imagine any other band who would have been able to warm the stage ahead of the enormity of both local and international artists the night promised. The crowd erupting into an energetic peak for ‘Backbone’, the band demanded all in attendance to watch as the cult favourites continue to grow as an ensemble.

Smoother harmonies followed Ocean Groves angst-riddled sound as Buried In Verona took to the stage as they showcased their latest (and reinvented) sound from Vultures Above Lions Below. The usual sing-a-long grasping audiences for ‘Extraction’, complimenting Ocean Groves performance and allowing the perfect build-up almost entirely based around their newer material. Churning in a little international brutality, the venue erupted in time with America’s own Like Moths To Flames – whose enormous sound rung throughout the venue – washed over audiences and added to the electric atmosphere that had been built so far. Fast drumbeats fused with even faster vocals caused the ensemble to captivate the entire venue from the first notes of their set right through to the last unrelentingly.

In a night when every band proved to have an even larger display than the last, the second to last artist exhibited the reason behind their long-term dominance within the international scene. August Burns Red’s ferocity inundated the venue and emphasised that even after over 10 years, they have only continued to mature and grow as a force to be reckoned with. Stealing the show and making them a hard act to follow, their entire set absolutely nailed it.

As darkness overcame the venue, an ambient display of lights overtook the stage in what was one of the most vivid displays of light at a show that I have ever played witness to. The energy of the venue was perfectly set as Northlane emerged with an incomparable ambience, followed by their stage performance which proved to take unrelenting charge. With vivid lights overwhelming the venue, vocalist Marcus Bridge effortlessly fronted the band, taking hold and exhibiting an array of both old and new material. The venue erupting during songs such as ‘Quantum Flux’, their final set ensured that they were not upstaged by any of the otherwise enormous artists on the bill. As their perfect combination of brutality, melodics and playful back and forth between cleans and harsh vocals filled the air, their set emphasised further that they only have continued to grow and hold their place firmly as one of the dominant forces within the international hardcore scene.

We Are The Music Makers – Lost Ragas


This article was originally published via Speaker TV and is available here

Do you remember your first live concert? The overwhelming anticipation as you waited for entry? Or the nerves that overtook your stomach as you queued up outside in the cold among friends? The realisation that an artist was coming to life, outside of a realm of television screens, radio speakers, or posters hung in admiration throughout your bedroom was practically electric. These people were real, living, breathing and you were about to witness them perform the songs which you devotedly recited in the lead up to this very moment.

 Simon Burke Drummer/Songwriter For Lost Ragas shares his favourite venues, the first gigs he attended and what artist living or dead he would love to sit down with…

What would you say your three biggest inspirations are that have affected your live performance?
I love performances and performers that leave space and let the music do the work – Bands that create tension and space by holding back. Much of the music I listened to growing up was southern soul music, which masters this power versus space thing I’m trying to get at. (Otis Redding, Percy Sledge,Al Green)

If you could sit down with any musician living or dead who would it be and why?
Dan Penn and Chips Moman wrote some of my favourite songs, so I wouldn’t mind a chat with both of those guys on writing songs including how they cooked up this gem!

What is your favourite venue to perform at?
I’ve been fortunate to play at many amazing venues over the years, but I think perhaps the Palais Theatre in Melbourne seeing as I grew up in the area, and it’s such an iconic and beautiful space.

If you could trade places with any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?
I don’t know about trading places, but I would love to have been a fly on the wall during the recording of Miles Davis “Kind of Blue” record and in the audience for Donny Hathaway’s “Live” recording.

Who is the best act you have seen live?
Most energetic – Bruce Springsteen at hanging rock. He scared the hell out of me!
Most consistently mind blowing – Diana Kiss (Local Melbourne band no longer playing led by Ross Hannaford).

If you were to construct an ultimate line up for a gig who would be in it?
Let’s call this a festival line-up and name it “The living and the dead festival”. The Band, Otis Redding, Al Green, Johnny Cash, Wilco, Amy Winehouse, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley. I could go on…

What do you think makes for a good live performance?
A band that sounds as good as or better than the record – not common enough, unfortunately.

Describe your sound in 10 words or less?
Best to leave this to Chris Familton from “The Music”. “It’s like Sturgill Simpson and Beck jamming with the ghost of Harry Nilsson

What was the first gig you attended?
(Gulp) – Dire straits “Brothers in arms” tour for my 11th birthday

What’s your pre-gig ritual?
There are many poetic things I could say, but the reality is, it’s devouring a chicken parma.

Stay up to date with Lost Ragas here.

Jamestown Revival Interview

 

This interview was conducted by Anniemae Goldring on behalf of Speaker TV and was originally published here

Following a hugely successful reception at Out On The Weekend Festival, Jamestown Revival allowed us to pick their brains, talked influences, and what lays ahead for the duo who started as a small town friendship and have gone on to make waves globally.

How did you find the self-recording process?
Making a record on our own was an amazing process.we can’t take all the credit because we have some very talented friends who helped shoulder the load, but it was a family affair that made it special. I think we learned a lot and quickly realized just how much we didn’t really know until we threw ourselves into it. There are a lot of highs and lows that come with recording yourself. It’s liberating to have complete control of the project, but for us, that came with some moments of self-doubt and feeling overwhelmed. Ultimately, it made us be better though and that’s the fun part. It’s like any other DIY project, if you put new hardwood floors in your house it may not be the most polished and professional job, but you’ll be damn proud of the finished project. And that’s the feeling we were chasing.

What piece of advice could you offer to someone who is looking to take the plunge to move from their hometown in the pursuit of their musical aspirations?
There’s no such thing as halfway committing. You are either in and taking all the steps necessary to committing yourself fully, or it’s half-assed and that shows in the long run. Speaking humbly from our experience, it’s the times that are the most uncomfortable that end up yielding the best results. It’s hard to have something to say when you’re fat and happy. it’s also imperative to have goals and tentpoles to strive for and to be revisiting those goals and adjusting them or adding new ones as you move along. As much as people think music is all about being a free spirit, it’s the people who are the most driven that end up succeeding, just like anything else.

In light of Out On The Weekend, who were some of your favorite acts of the weekend?
It’s funny, we had to go to Australia to connect with some really cool bands from America, but we have a great respect everyone both foreign and domestic. I might be tedious to list everyone, so I won’t but It was honestly one of the better festival experiences we had to date. A lot of respect for Love Police putting it all together.

How did you find Australian audiences in comparison to American audiences?
This was our first time in Australia so it was definitely a pioneering effort for us, but I wouldn’t say there are too many differences. If anything, the Australian audience seems to be more attentive and listening than we expected. Which is always a welcome surprise.

What sparked the idea to start Jamestown Revival?
Both Jon and I were looking for a fresh start. We began writing and creating music that was completely new for us and it sparked an idea musically that was very honest and just felt right. So we ran with it!

How does the Australian take on Americana stack up against the real thing?
Not too shabby. We’re really like cousins anyway. I think a lot of what makes up Americana is very much a part of the Australian spirit. At least with the people we encountered anyway.

Who would you identify as your three biggest musical inspirations?
Tough to narrow it down to just three but John Prine, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Willie Nelson have all been very important to us.

Do you think 15 years old you at a ‘Studio Night’ could have ever anticipated where you are today?
This might sound crazy but since we were kids, it has always felt as though if we put our minds together we could accomplish some pretty bizarre shit. That being said, neither one of us could have ever fully imagined being able to play music for a living and having the opportunity to travel half way around the world. We’ve caught some lucky bounces for sure. I always thought “studio night “was just an excuse to hang out, but maybe it has paid dividends after all.

Has there been a stand out moment of your career so far, if so what?
A lot of milestones and great moments. We’re grateful to be paying our bills. Sometimes it’s hard to stop and appreciate everything just because we’re so focused on forwarding momentum. Playing with Merle Haggard was up there for sure.

What lies ahead for Jamestown Revival?
More music, more touring and more stories to tell.

Keep up to date with Jamestown Revival at www.jamestownrevival.com

She Cries Wolf Interview


This interview was originally conducted on behalf of Speaker TV by Anniemae Goldring and was originally published via Speaker Tv and is available here

Ahead of their last run of shows to round out the year alongside Jack The Stripper we sifted through the mind of Luke Harris from fastly emerging Gold Coast band She Cries Wolf.

What inspired the name She Cries Wolf?

We initially named the band She Cries Blood, but Alex didn’t like that – so I changed it to She Cries Wolf. It was fitting, as I had just finished dating a girl who lied so much that when she told me something horrible that had happened to her, I didn’t believe it. Turned out to be true

Who’s your biggest musical influences?

Personally; AFI, Norma Jean, Silverchair, John Lennon and Nirvana.

What is your major driving force as a band?

The driving force is playing fun live shows and inspiring others to create music and perform.

Do you think you have had a defining point as a band so far, if so what was it?

We each have a defining point thus far, I’m sure. For myself, it was definitely the East Coast tour we did in May/June. We definitely stepped things up performance-wise and realising that people from other states backed us was a great feeling.

What has been your favourite gig to play so far and why?

During the May/June tour we played a headlining show at a pub in Toowoomba. The vibe of the night was low and we were nervous setting up. We started playing and instantly the room erupted into flailing bodies – it was so much fun.

‘Goodnight’ is your only entirely clean song on Divorce, what was your main inspiration for creating this track, and is there an artistic reason behind this?

I had initially written that song for a band I was in previously, named Closure. During Divorce’s pre-production phase we realised that the album was 30 odd minutes of aggression and decided to break up the sound with something different. In doing this, we felt it created a better listening experience.

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What was your creative process going into the creation of ‘Chapter II’ and how was this similar/different to other tracks such as ‘Fixtures’?

The process was much the same. Kyal and I didn’t stop writing after Divorce. We spend a lot of time outside of shows, work, life etc. working on new material in his bedroom. Troy wanted us to drop a new single – so we picked one of our favourite tracks and went straight into the studio. The difference is in the quality and production, which has served as a benchmark for the future.

When you formed this band in 2014 did you ever anticipate how fast momentum behind you guys would build, and how does what you expected and what you have achieved stack up next to each other?

We had no idea how this band would be received and really expected nothing. That’s why everything that has happened so far has been incredible.

Are you currently working on any upcoming releases, and if so what should listeners expect?

We are working on a new album, which will be out sometime next year. Follow us on Social Media for release dates and updates.

SHE CRIES WOLF TOUR DATES
Friday November 13th
The Lab, Brisbane, QLD

Friday December 4th
Aspire Studios, Wollongong, NSW

Saturday December 5th
Invasion Fest, Melbourne, VIC
Tickets available at www.oztix.com.au – AA