Tuesday, April 28, 2009

100 Gigs Exclusive Interview with James Hampton

PAT: So Hampton it is a privilege for me to introduce you to some of our readers, how the hell are you?

JAMES: Thanks Pat. I'm feeling great.

PAT: So lets start off with you recent gig at the Toff - huge turn out in comparison to your first gig sporting Land or Sea material - How do you feel about this exponential growth in popularity?

JAMES: I was rapt with the turn out, i think we had more people because the venue was bigger this time and because we did more advertising for this gig.

PAT: I've noticed at your gigs a wide variety of ages and interests in the crowds you are attracting; who do you see as the target audience for your tunes?

JAMES: That's a really hard one. I think my music will appeal to a younger crowd. Probably in their late teens or early twenties.

PAT: What do you think of Land or Sea? Does it live up to your expectations?

JAMES: Land or Sea was a learning curve for me, I am very happy with the final product. But next time i think the album will be better because I've learned a lot about the production side of things from my Producer Carl Schubert. I think I will be more efficient in making the album next time.

PAT: Be honest, how many times have you listened to it?

JAMES: (Laughs) enough! Maybe one hundred times! but now I never listen to it!

PAT: How long does it take you to write a song?

JAMES: Some time no time other time some time! Some times i hear music so loud it wakes me up in the middle of the night other time I'm stewing over a song for weeks! Even when a song comes all at once I still make adjustments. A song is never perfect so I just have to know when to stop.

PAT: Lyrics or music first?

JAMES: Often a word or a concept will get me started. Music is usually the first.

PAT: So we've heard some songs that are not on Land or Sea at your gigs, were these omitted or are you saving them for a future release?

JAMES: Those songs are new ones for the next album. I wrote those one while recording land or sea.

PAT: Last question Land or Sea; Who designed the cover?

JAMES: My good friend James Morrison! Not the trumpeter. My cousin Amanda Radovic took the photos and the turtles were supplied by roaming reptiles.

PAT: Now that you're in a happy relationship with the enchanting Evonne, how do you feel about singing some of your 'lost love' songs?

JAMES: Awkward!

PAT: Do you find that the emotion prevalent in many of your songs loses meaning after a while?

JAMES: Yes, I love the songs more than the girls I'm singing about.

PAT: So where do you see yourself a year from now?

JAMES: By then I hope to have new album realised.Performing often, lots of new songs written and I hope I have got a bit more of a name for myself. Id also like to have a Lamborghini and a Butler.

PAT: Jim and I agree that to host RAGE (music video show) on ABC would symbolise 'making it' in the music industry, What moment for you will tell you you've 'made it'?

JAMES: I think you have really made it if you're hosting rage that's a good one! I think if you're playing a second show at Rod Laver you have really made it!

Thanks again to James for participating and if you don't have/like your mothers, you can check him out at Manchester Lane on the 10th of May at 6pm.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bootleg @ Cherry Bar (24/4/2009)

The band rating system I have devised is way too complex and I think it says even less than the traditional 5 star system, so I've tried it out but from here on I'm going to rate with stars.

Cherry Bar
Recently the cherry bar has sprung back to life after being closed indefinately and as far as I know is open on friday nights for 'Bootleg'. I cant compare the place to what it once was as this was my first time, but it felt pretty good to come in from the cold in to a toasty warm bar with reasonable prices. The sound was pretty loud, but no complaints; it was great! I do have to say something about the temperature, although it was nice and warm, once the band started it was boiling and airless. It also got a bit squishy around the bar once more peeps arrived.

Johnny Rock and The Limits
These guys have some real fun-to-rock-your-head-to tunes. I'd definitely see them again live, just to have a good head rock! But....I don't think I'd care for any recordings, mainly because the music is fairly simple and only a slight bit repetitious. The keyboard parts in the songs were very hard to hear, and made Jim and I both question the presence of a keyboard on stage! The only time we heard the keyboard was at the end of a couple of tracks making ridiculously out of place sound effects, but maybe I just don't get it. I could be way out of line here, perhaps in the 2 shows of theirs we have watched the keyboard has been malfunctioning, hence removing our confusion over it's necessity on stage and maybe the keyboard is that missing ingredient of complexity to their sound. I liked what they did with The Police's 'I can't stand losing', that was nicely done, in particular I love the bass line in that song and wouldn't have changed it for fear of messing immanent failure, but they did it well.

The Greasers
Being potentially named after the the gang in the outsiders it also makes them quite difficult to google! But check out their MySpace and listen/download their album here.
The first four-ish songs stood out as better songs ('how strong's my love' - excellent); that song 'Shelly' is pretty simple yet it's awesome live, must be because it says f&ck or something. I the last song was alright too. I like the way these dudes play and choose their song list etc. They are good live but there's just a little bit of magic absent in some of the songwriting but that was probably only noticeable because of the following act...
Fearless Vampire Killers
...Rock! Another all star performance* from these guys. Tonight they told us that they were attempting to make a live recording. I think they wouldn't consider that attempt as a success; the crowd was dancing mentally yet they severely lacked the motivation to match their enthusiasm in noise making, then a bunch of guys made a mess of things (see "*" below). These guys have everything that The Greasers have in terms of gigging ability, except all their songs could be their best.
*At least it would have been if a dude from Little Red hadn't gotten all munted, jumped up on stage and staggered around disconnecting guitars and pedals, knocking over microphone stands and being a general menace. I got the impression from the looks that he was getting from the singer (Sean) that the guy from Little Red was testing the boundaries of their friendship.

The Drones (23/4/2009)

Once again, we're at the corner hotel. The staff are friendly and it's full of smelly people. The pole is still in the middle of the stage. I can't think of one gig at the corner that looked different from another. Points for consistancy I guess. 

Witch Hats

(People complained about too much text... fixed much?)

Witch Hats are a local band who play noisy art rock. The lead singer kind of looks like a Green Day, but luckily sounds nothing like a Green Day. Their tunes have plenty of noise, which is fun, and while at times it became a little tedious, they managed to sneak in a little somethin-something to save it from being a big ugly mess. The drums were cool. And apparently the Drummer is only newish, so go him. 

Kev Carmody

In my ignorance, when I heard that the original support for the Drones (Qui) was replaced by Kev Carmody, I panicked. I don't want some 24 year old kid killing my buzz with a 45 minute acoustic set before the bucket-smashing Drones take the stage. Boo-erns. Boo-erns.

Luckily, it wasn't a 24 year old pimple, it was a cool looking old Aboriginal guy complete with headband. Win! And again in my ignorance, I found myself mesmerised, not only by his awesome guitar playing, but his ability to have everyone in the room transfixed as he (very cheekily)paid out on what city-slicking, uncultured, greedy, lost people we were. I wanted to give him to give me a hug and help me build a veggie garden. But he didn't... he just played amazing songs. 

Then he finished with 'From Little things, Big Things Grow'... which he wrote with Paul Kelly. My ignorance explode. I am a moron. I want to listen to more.

The Drones

I've said it before and I still find it hard to convince people. The Drones are the best Australian band in the WHOLE WORLD. No-one believes me. Jimmy... you're such a goon... what about Van She. What about Hilltawp? What about Pez? Watch the video above. It's a cover of a Kev Carmody tune, but I guess in the same way that 'All along the watchtower' is by Dylan. It is... but he never pictured this frightening. 

The gig was great. New tunes, old tunes... we got sneered at by Gareth and made to feel relaxed again by Mike and Dan. The pretty girl didn't say much. Then we got yelled at again by Gareth. He is one intense dude... I'm frightened of his jokes. My favourite band in the Stralia. 

The cool thing about putting youtube videos on this review is that I can spend less type writing. This whole thing took me 2 minutes... more time for drawing pictures of rayguns. 

James Hampton - Land or Sea Album Launch (22/4/2009)

The Toff

This night was my frst experience of The Toff in Town. It's a comfortable place with an intimate stage setup, superlative sound and dripping with mood! Drinks were fairly pricey and the bar lacked beer variety on the night. Mood lighting and a big red curtain on the stage are a great touch and scores big atmosphere points in my books; overall I'd give the place a 69%.

James Hampton

Put on another excellent gig; the mixing was perfect, the band was huge and very skilled, they were all perfectly timed and obviously well practiced. As you have probably already guessed James is a good friend of Jim and I and rather than deliver to our readers a potentially biased review of our good friend. I offer you a gift, stay tuned into this blog for future posts...
Back to the usual stuff for now though, Hampton delivered a top notch show and deserves a modest 87% for his magnificent effort.

Good night overall and churning through the numbers comes out with a 74%. Keep up the good work Hampton!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Zappa Plays Zappa (16/4/2009)

So I had never been to the Palais before. Wow. Shocking. How can a man of my calibre have never been to such a Melbourne Institution? Well, to be honest, it may be because the bars are hard to find and there is no dance floor. But there is a fantastic stage, comfortable seats, and great sound. So while I would have enjoyed the 70's way of seeing Zappa (ie. Frank, while trashed and being a Dancin Fool), I had to make do with the 00's way (ie. Dweezil, while sober and trying to grow a chin). Thankfully... the 00's way was goddamn awesome. 

For those that missed the breifing, Dweezil Zappa is Frank Zappa's son. If you don't know who Frank Zappa is you have no business here. Perhaps you'd like to visit a more appropraite site for your limited brain. May I suggest Disney.com? Dweezil pretty much just plays his dads music, much like a tribute band. But, unlike a tribute band, they do it with not only the upmost respect for the source material, but with a rediculous amount of talent and down-to-earthness (please leave the word I'm looking for in the comments). 

Dweezil and co churned out 200 minutes worth of great mind bending tunes... a few of the favorites (Don't eat the Yellow Snow, Dirty Love, Willie the Pimp) and a few not so well known (A 30 minute version of King Kong was bizaare). Every band member was possibly the best I've seen ever... I've never had much respect for Xylophonists until now. 

After the show, the band stuck around and did a meet and greet with the audience, a move that most small bands don't even do. Such a lack of ego was startling to see, especially after what was such a great show. Take note other bands. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Good China (9/4/2009)

Or the 'volver (say it with an ausie accent) as a friendly dude on the tram told me. Despite the nature of the venue, as we've said before, I like the place; there's a nice lounge room feel to the place. Possibly a bit too comfortable as I fell asleep during the second band so I even missed their name. Always an entry fee - mostly a fair price, plenty of drink variety at average prices, reasonable sound and a surprisingly good crowd (i think the bands are too early for the regulars). Based my previously defined criteria I'd give it a 70% plus 10% for comfort, equates to a total venue score of 80%, but I've always been a fan of the 'volver.

These guys were pretty neat and I remember liking them - what's not to like about a song called 'shit! Werewolves!'. They had an interesting thing going with a drum machine; I dislike drum machines in general and this was no exception. They were using for some of the less interesting repetitive stuff like hand claps and the like. Other than that minor distraction, we did enjoy the show and like what they're doing. I'd give 33%, keep it up dudes.

The Good China
As usual we got a great show from these guys featuring some cool songs we hadn't heard before. This time - thankfully - with proper mixing so we could hear everyone. I have to say also there was a noticeable and welcome lack of ego coming from the stage which I have disliked at previous shows. Their EP is highly recommended, it has some great tracks, all/most of which they played. These guys have more stage presence than most gigs we've been to in terms of headcount! They also put on a good show that was well worth seeing, I like that it's a different set overtime I see them; many bands underestimate the necessity of this. I'll give them 67%.

I do have a brief question for them though (because I have reason to believe you google your band name - everyone does it, don't worry): I am a massive fan of the violin work in general, particularly at the end of the opening track on your EP, why have you suddenly ditched it when playing it live? the song didn't climax for me without it! it felt like when wolfmother used to be played on the radio but the commercial stations would cut out the guitar solos to dumb it down for the public; a tad disappointing! Still, you're doing something great though, all the best.

Overall I'd give this gig 48%. Seems a bit harsh I know, but this is compared to any other gig and I haven't ruled out negative scores as a possibility: a certain gig we saw at the evelyn would classify for this honour!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Ok, I've been slack. But I've eating a bowl of stew that I cooked (Pork and Cider if anyone's wondering) with great dumplings... so I'm in a good mood and I'm Pumped. 

I've been a bit slack through March, but I'm still ahead... just. At this rate I'm looking at 104 gigs by the end of the year. I better lift my game! As for Patrique, I have no comment.

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

Holy shit... thank god for this blog... I have no idea who I saw in March...

The Harpoons
I didn't see their whole set at the Espy, but have seen them before. I like Little Red, and this band does much the same things, maybe a little more surf-rock, plus they have a lady. What's not to like? People bopping around the dance floor... I felt like I was in Cry Baby. Keep a big fat eye out. 

Fearless Vampire Killers
I've mentioned them before, and I'll do it again. Awesome. My favourite Melbourne band of the moment. I cannot fault them... even with a mystery replacement guitarist. Covering wipe out? You guys......

Primitive Calculators
I had so much fun at this gig, even though all signs pointed to shite. Melodies- next to none. Subtlety - What's that? But they yelled their way into my heart... it felt like I was hugging steel wool. Swearing is awesome though, and drum machines in punk songs rock. I never would have guessed.

I so wanted to put Hoops in this list, but not technically a band or artist (still a matter of debate whether DJs count as a 'gig')... they did look hot though. But Beardyman was better anyway, and originality is king. Excellent. Great. The best. Only having a beard could have made this any better (either him or I).

The Bittersweets
Wow. Even I'm surprised this was in the list. But going by criteria- talent, stage presence, how surprised I was... these guys tick all the boxes. I had loads of fun at this gig... and I felt a little bit better than everyone else in the process. 

Venue of the Month

The Palace
Only because Bacardi got their money on it and it looked really cool. Kinda like a train station. Awesome lighting and sound... no beer this night, but I still enjoyed. It's a pretty cool venue for bands. From all reports (a friend doing 10 gigs in 2009), Razorlight rocked it there the other night... embracing the venue and it's stupid amount of levels. Fun times. 

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)...

Rush in Attack
Any band that can play a whole set of songs that could be 'their one good song' gets tick from me. While I don't like their name, they sound good, and were a perfect soundtrack to me drinking too much. Yay. Runners up were Hey Fever. But they're far too young for this award. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

M83 - V Festival Sideshow (1/4/2009)

After a brief hiatus I've returned to gigging with the best of 'em!

The Prince of Wales Bandroom - 50%
Located in St Kilda and hosts similar sized shows to Richmond's corner hotel. 'The Prince' bar - next door - has a reputation for being a munter hangout which as it ended up, had a very negative effect on our experience of the band. No tap beer; enough said. Overall I'd give the place - brace yourself for the first rating - 50%. Wow great fence sitting, gotta start small.

M83 - 62%
I have noticed that of the french bands I know, I really like them all: air, daft punk, justice and m83 Just off the top of my head. How did they go? to be honest I felt generally ripped off: $68 for a 50 minute set, only really enjoyed 3.5 songs and for the first half hour we were surrounded by Melbourne's most munted. I originally thought to myself 'wow, everyone is really getting into this show' and 'how did we get into gigging with the likes of these people?' But after conducting a brief glancing survey of the room I discovered that the people around us were the only ones in the room that carrying on to such a level of...berserk?! These kids were out of control, you'd know the kind: no regard for anyone around them, dancing with their focus on their own hands and completely off their tits!
In essence, I like what this band can do and love a bunch of their recordings. Some songs are too poppy for my liking - graveyardgirl - but others such as Guitar and a heart are excellent. They translated this awesomeness to a live performance very well. I like french accents in general and had plenty of that at the show. The Drummer was awesome, he was so good they had to encase him behind a glass partition on the stage.

I also think I should disregard the first half hour of their show; I found myself hating the band for their song choices because they were making Melbourne's most munted more active; that's not very fair. Especially when we had a good night overall despite the circumstances.
So I'd score the band like this:
Recording quality = 10/15
Stage presence = 11/15
Performance = 7/15
Overall = 28/45 = 62.2%

Gig rating: organisation - 5/10, awesomeness - 5/10, cost - 0/10, average band rating 62%, venue rating 5/10.
Overall = 51%

Rating system!

That's right, the following rating system will feature on my future posts.

Overall Score
After much hard thought the overall gig rating will be based on 50% average band rating, 20% venue rating, and 10% for each of the following: organisation, awesomeness and cost.

Will be rated on even weighting of the following: bar drinks variety, bar prices, standard venue entry fee, sound quality and crowd.

I'll be scoring bands with even weightings of:
Recording quality (do they have good music to play live? How much do you like the recordings?), stage presence (cool looking stage equipment? do they move around enough? Do they play everything you hear live?) and Performance (song choice? bonus bits for songs? Well played?).

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Bicardi Express Train- Choo Woo (26/3/2009)

I won tix to this event, so woo for me. As a discalimer, I should say that the whole thing was just a big ad for Bicardi, so even though it would be easy to complain about the rediculous amount of advertising and lack of beers, I won't. The Palace was a cool venue, as always... despite the rediculous amount of advertising and lack of beers.

Hoops DJ's
We walked into the venue and were greeted with the awesome sight of hot girls DJing. I could get used to that. These girls are from Sydney, and they can party. Between each band they supplied the grooves... grooves that really made the night. Hip Hop, Crunk, Electro... loads of fun. Did I mention they're hot too?

Lost Valentinos
The last time I saw a band bring out an extra floor tom out to the Palace Stage was the Temper trap... and while it was cool, it failed to be awesome. Bicardi. When the Lost Valentinos did it.... it was awesome. Playing Indie/Electro stuff.... kinda like the Rapture (I should really avoid these kind of comparisons)this was really really goood. The singer has stacks of energy, which more than made up for......

Van Shit
I used to like this band. Then they turned to shit. Now they are below that... mega boring on stage, playing music for 13 year old girls. I probably have an unfair hatred towards them, but freedom of expression means I can say what I like. Boo.

I don't like Bluejuice either (why did I ever go to this thing?). I couldn't stand that Vitriol song when it was on Triple J and everyone liked it... I thought it was just shitty tounge in cheek Aus Hip Hop stuff. Gracing the stage in Who Made Who-esque (read... direct copy) skeleton outfits, I was prepared for the worst. But I didn't get the worst. I was surprised at my enjoyment of the performance, the energy of the two singers, and the harmonies in one of the songs. Surprise of the night. Out of the bands... not including Lost Valentinos. 

British India
I was thirsty so I got a drink. British India sounded neither British, or Indian. Bicardi. Should be called Sydney Sydneyia. Coz they sound like Sydney. I think they're from Melbourne though. The crowd liked them though. And I am aware of their songs... I just don't care for them.

After another awesome bit of tuneage by Hoops (heart) we were presented with...

Strangly, this man was beardless. I knew he was a beatboxer... which I wasn't too excitied about... that stuff gets old really quick. But this dude not only beat boxes, he records it live, plays it back on a couple of Kaos pads and genuinely rocks my shit. After danceing solidly through 15 minutes of crazy remixes of Livin on a Prayer, Teardrop and Insomnia... I realised that everything I was hearing had been created by this guys mouth. Right there... live. Astounding. My highlight of the month. His remix of Teardrop by Massive Attack I will never forget. 

Groove Armada
Ok, I had a few (expensive) drinks, I had jsut been rocked by Beardyman, I was in love with 3 ladies, and the last train was to arrive shortly. Bicardi. Do I stick around for Groove Armadas set, or do I pike early? After 20 minutes of unknown commercial house... I hit the road. And of course, the moment I turn my back, the most awesome light show since Daft Punk Lit of the room. These lasers were stunning.... big thick bastards in spaz colours. No idea what was going on or how. But the music was still boring, so I went home. I'm lame like that sometimes. 

I later read they did a 5 hour set. God dammit... I miss some cool shit sometimes. 

All in all, a good night.... lack of beer gets a minus, but Bicardi is really good. Bicardi. I now will see the Lost Valentinos again, and even listen out for Blue Juice. Hoops will get me dancin again, and Beardyman will continue to astound me as I youtube the snot out of him. Bicardi.  

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Goodbye forever St Jeromes (25/3/2009)

St Jeromes is dead. While it's the cool thing to be upset at this prospect, while I was there saying my goodbyes, drinking my lukewarm beer, outside, surrounded by coolsies, standing in a pool of water.... I realised it's a shithole. I've had good nights there, no doubt, but I've had good nights in Lilydale as well, so whatever. At least the music is good.... ish. 

Not to be confused with the Bryan Brown film, this is a band. I did not go to St Jeromes to see a film. That would be silly. Noisy punk stuff... deliberatly shitty lyrics, simple riffs etc. As the smart ass behind me said 'Like Eddy Current but shit'. Fairly accurate.... Oh yeah, the sound sucked too, because the mixer was behind the band. Go figure. They weren't the worst band I've seen all year... or all month for that matter, but not for me. 

So this Melbourne band started 28 years or go or so... why weren't they playing at Sound Relief then? Does Micheal Gudinski have a problem with the C word or something? These guys were playing more vintage punk, but did it less ironically than the young kids before hand. I could have gone either way when the band began, the combination of dodgy guitar, stupid lyrics, aggressive vocals and a drum machine wasn't really doing it for me. But a buttload of swearing, addictive beats and a cover of shout later I was hooked. After the last tune I was almost sad to say goodbye. To the band I mean... St Jeromes- good riddance. I think I got hepatitis from your toilets.