Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Bittersweets (22/3/2009)

So it's country/blues/bluegrass type stuff. What the hell? A banjo, uke, double bass and acoustic guitar... the premier of 3 instruments in one gig for 100 gigs. Is this something for me? Am I at the right place?

The Wesley Anne for one, is weird. Pssing through the smell of gunj at the entry, I felt I had suddenly walked into a medievil pub.  High collared dresses as far as the eye can see. My beer wasn't quite served in a stien, but it was close enough. There's not a whole bunch of beers on tap, but this isn't really the place to drink up a storm (for fear of being put in the dungeon).

The Bittersweets I had never heard about, nor had I heard about the 'special guest' playing with them, who happened to be the Banjo Equivalent of Andy G... the best in Australia at what he does. I haven't seen many Banjo guys, so this is hard to dispute. But that said, I haven't seen many country/blues/bluegrass bands before, but I thought the whole band was great. The singing from the three main members was all fantastic, the instrumentation (if that's a word) was terrific, I cannot find a fault. Extra props for the Cocaine Blues cover... because I'm an ordinary pleb whose only link to country music is Johnny Cash. 

While this style of music is clearly not everyones scene (judged by the audience size), there's definatly a place for it, and while sitting down and having a few brews... the Bittersweets work nicely. 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

James Hampton Trio (21/3/2009)

To preface this, I'm not afraid to say that James Hampton is a good friend of mine... So while there may be some bias there, everything I say is dead true. 

Wild Oscars was apparently on that dodgy show The Chopping Block, where it had to battle another restaurant for some reason. I don't know if it won or not, but it's a good looking place, comfy couches, well stocked bar (this weekend was the Coopers festival, so there was understandably little variety) and a prime spot for loungy cruisy tunes. 

The James Hampton Trio provided the nights entertainment, with James on the keys, and dudes on bass and drums. Well stripped back compared to his last performance, and even moreso based on plans for future gigs (I'm pretty certain this sentence makes zero sense). Over two sets we were treated to most of the songs from his album, a bunch of new songs, and a few covers, one of which impressed me greatly. The great thing about James is you can tell he genuinly enjoys what he's doing... which really really matters. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekender at Ding Dong (14/3/2009)

So because I've been a lazy ass and left it for ages... 

it's Two Post Wednesday!

The Ding Dong lounge is modelled after the bar of the same name in New York. That could be a lie, but it sounds about right. It's loud, smells like beer, and once a girl there walked in on me doing number ones, i tried to cover up, but it was too late, she'd seen everything. Lucky girl really. But it's a got a cool stage and dispite almost always having a cover charge, it still rocks socks. 

So all my social networking sites have just crapped their pants, so I can't verify if the above link is the band we saw or a Norwegian punk band. Chances are they're as good as each other. The band we saw played some cool indie-rock stuff... kinda a bit Blur, Bloc party, Bravery etc. The songs were all really catchy though (which Pat ensures me isn't a good thing... I don't know if he's in some backwards land or what). They played their first song- 'Ah no, they played their best song first, now it's all goin downhill'... but then they followed it up with another 11 or so equally coolie tunes. I liked it. Check them out. 

It should be common knowledge by now that me and Pat reckon these guys are the ducks nuts. Great songs, great performers, can't complain about them at all. They had a different guy playing bass which didn't really look the part, but played the 60's out of his bass all the same. They did a cover of Wipeout which was fun, and every other song was played to perfection. I can't get sick of this band. I'm sure they're sick of seeing our ugly heads. 

There was bugger all people at this gig... I could count the amount of people on the dancefloor on one hand... if I had 19 fingers. Come on people... turn off the TV!

Soul Glo (13/3/2009)

I was really tossing up whether to count this as a gig or not... but decided on yes. 

The Nightcat is one big damn place, it's got a big barm big dance area, big stage (in the middle of the dancefloor) and damn big couches. Everytime I remember it I think it's really red, but when you're in there it's not that red. So no idea where that idea comes from. They have the usual imported beers, but they're not on tap and they're not stupidly cheap. But it's free entry, so that's something. Although they do the old license scan upon entry, which I'm certain violates my civil liberties. 

But anyway, here we were, sitting on the aforementioned Damn Big Couches, discussing strange bathroom habits or some shit, and some cool funky disco tunes burst from the stage. Not an original tune, but one of the usuals you hear. Kind of cool, but not good enough for me to actually pay attention to the band, so therefore... not counting as a gig. 

Not surprisingly, after I loudly proclaimed that this didn't count as as gig, the band still played on, and I found my self paying more and more attention to them. Then out comes the Car Wash and all funk breaks loose. The bass was the most awesome thing I've ever heard. 

So then I decided it was a gig... they played another tune and then took a break. We left and went elsewhere. We had a good night, and Soul Glo can now rest in the peace that I count them as a real band. Soul Glo. SOUL GLO!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Espy (6/3/2009)

Not expecting Moomba to satisfy our craving for live music we had planned to continue on to The Espy in St Kilda.

Liar Liar
First up was a neat 4 piece post rock act. It was a little more than obvious that the guitarist was a big fan of Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez and utilised his style accordingly. The result is an alright band with an awesome guitarist. I'll definitely seek them out again for more!

Kinda crappy rock and we weren't that impressed with this 3 piece gimmicky (girl bass player - sorry to the feminists) kind of band. If it wasn't for the lure of more live music down below in the basement we would have given them more than 3 songs to prove themselves before abandoning them. To neon/any starting out band: maybe play your second best song first where the crowd has the option to see someone else to keep them interested - and if u did...sorry!

The Harpoons
Joining the 60s feel, good time rock revival. They felt significantly more loved/popular than the last time I saw them. Pretty good tunes from these guys, in my opinion I'd have to say there's not enough distortion on the guitars to be awesome but still worth watching. Jim, I expect you'll want to add to this...

Calling All Cars
Didn't stay for very long to see these guys because we weren't all that excited and I was starting to fall asleep (I know It's lame - it was a big week). Jimwah had previously done his research and listened to them on their MySpace, so we were able to make an informed decision that qualified leaving as an option because we weren't missing much in his opinion - and from what I witnessed I would have to agree that it wasn't really our style.

Moomba - Friday 6/3/2009

Nothing quite like a free gig and tonight I treated myself to two! The first was at the city of Melbourne's annual Moomba water festival, if you like to know more click here. I'd never actually been to Moomba before and was suitably impressed.

Augie March
They were obviously a bit disappointed with the size crowd they drew at a free show and this kind of show is hard. However if you're playing to a pop crowd It's all about the "what have u done for me lately". I'm willing to bet if they'd made a better impression with 'moo you bloody choir' on an underground audience they could packed the place out. That said I wasn't too much of a fan of having an MC at a gig, bet he'd be a real dick. Anyway about the gig...they were a little out of practice as they freely admitted and many of the songs I hadn't heard sounded very similar as is the downside of an acoustic style. The 2 or so songs they played that weren't that style were way more enjoyable; 'just passing through' is a particularly good song. I was surprised when they didn't say goodnight after their big hottest 100 winner, 'one crowded hour' and instead continued with a boppy finishing track which sounded great - couldn't find out the name of it unfortunately.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dragging The Lake (Battle Of The Bands)

Battles of the Bands are weird. I'm hungover right now so it's hard to put into words why, but they are. The bands all seem to put in as many gimmicks as they can to get noticed... and often they still fail. This one at the Espy was no exception.

We were introduced to the event by some record company dude who explained why the event was called dragging the lake. I was unconvinced. But here's the bands.... I'm going to write each review in list form, because it's my site and I can do what I want. 

Daddy's Little Girl
Bass was too fiddly.
Singer had the sexy turned up to 11... made me feel dirty. 
Firebreathing Gimmick doesn't work. 
Had a few catchy tunes.... but didn't work for me. 

Degrees of Separation
The worst band I have ever seen. 
It was the worst. 
A witty review will only entertain, and this band has no right to be used for entertainment purposes. 
Avoid at all costs. 
I began to hate music because of this band. 

Hey Fever
Saved me from killing myself after the last band. 
A bunch of kids playing music that sounded like the Rapture. 
Catchy stuff that a record company would like because it's easy to remix.
Perhaps why they eventually won. 
One Pink Floyd shirt, one Led Zeppelin shirt, one Beatles shirt... and a wrestling shirt. 

I kinda knew these guys but hadn't heard them. 
Not my kind of music (Emo/Screamo/... I dunno what it's called).
Still enjoyed them a lot... some really good songs.
During retuning they played Bomfunk MCs. That worked. 
Were the best band, but not necessarily the most marketable... record company fail. 

There was another band but it was just teenagers playing metal. I didn't really see them.

Monday, March 2, 2009

February Overview - Pat

Top Gigs (Outstanding Performances)





Best Venue

THE LAUNDRY - with drinks/gigs this cheap you're in such a good mood when the band comes on they could be crap and you'd still have a good night



Top Bands (musically)


Black Mountain

Primal Scream

Wolf and Cub



Minds Eye Award

A Planet in Space


Biggest FAIL

Wolf and Cub @ Primal Scream - Guys come on! They have an awesome back catalog of rippin' tunes but I think they could have put in a bit more effort for this gig, I really like these guys but they truly looked pained to be on stage. Very worthy of most disappointing performance of the month


February Overview.... By Jimmy

Ok, 2 months down, 10 to go.... and I'm right on track. 19 gigs in 59 days. That means I'm headin towards 117 at the end of the year. Love it. 

February was absolutely terrific. The best gig-going month of my entire life. I have seen so much quality acts, I don't know how March is going to even come close. So here's the wrap up...

Taking into account talent, stage presence and how surprised I was at their awesomeness.

Still Flyin'
The entire world complained about how dodgy the Laneway fest was... but I had an awesome day. And the real highlight was Still Flyin'. I had never heard of them before, but the 11 or so people on the stage had such a rediculous amount of energy that I was dancin like a lunatic within the first 3 songs. By the end I had realised that I couldn't get the smile on my face, and me and the people around me were belting out choruses at the top o f our lungs. 

Girl Talk
I danced on stage... 'nuff said. 

The Devastations
The only gig for the year apparently... we were lucky to be there. And did they give us an awesome show. The noise washed over us like an ocean of feedback plankton, and like the blue whales we are... we ate it all up. Please play again soon kind sirs... I now know more of your great songs. 

My Disco
I finally got to see these guys after months of trying, and was not dissapointed in the slightest. Similar in feeling to the devastations, I enjoyed myself immensly, and again, like the Devastations, they won't be playin again in Melbourne for a fair while. Miss U. 

Black Mountain
Every song was performed perfectly, written perfectly, and was just perfect really. I had such a great time that I couldn't tell you how long they played for, or how many songs they played.... it seemed like I was there for 10 minutes. Black Mountain are a band that I'm gonna tell my Dad about... that's how great they are. 

Venue of the Month

The Laundry
This was originally going to go to the East Brunswick club, but Laundry upstairs outdid it in almost every way.... cheaper beer, free entry, and a DJ that spun Zappa. Winnah! Stock the fridge with Monteiths Summer Ale and I will never go anywhere else. 

THE BRUNO KIRBY AWARD FOR MOST BEST BAND THAT MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST BUT I SEE GREAT THINGS FOR THEM (And even though they're kind of a comedic actor they were in the Godfather 2)...

The Cheats
A Planet in Space were a bees dick away from getting this, but I went with the Cheats because I figured Pat would mention them. The Cheats had crowd members playing percussion, fairy lights over their equipment, and did a balls to the wall cover of Ballroom Blitz. The perfect band for the drunken orgy that is the Espy. 

It's a selection of songs that made February! But, because I'm not an Illegal, you can't download them, but if you ask nicely, maybe we can sort something out... wink wink. But I will try to supply some sort of link for each tune....

1. Still Flyin' - The Hott Chord is Stuck iTunes
2. Primal Scream - Swastika Eyes YouTube
3. Girl Talk - Here's the Thing YouTube
5. Tame Impala - Skeleton Tiger YouTube iTunes
6. The Devastations - What's a place like that doing in a girl like you iTunes
7. My Disco - An Even Sun YouTube iTunes
10. James Hampton - Disappear iTunes