In complete contrast to a month ago when it was "precipitation nation" Brisbane’s fourth St. Jerome’s Laneway festival could've been subtitled "Boiling Brisvegas". Unlike many festivals Laneway 2011 had a remarkably consistent quality throughout the entire day, so regardless of the weather it was always destined to be a scorcher. We braved the extreme ultra violet index to report on Australia's Rat Vs Possum, Cloud Control and Cut Copy. While sampling UK's Foals and America's best of the best with Beach House, The Antlers, Warpaint, Blonde Redhead, Ariel Pink, Holy Fuck. Oh and LES SAVY FAV!.
Photos of Mr. Maps' launch for Wire Empire their debut (and so far only) album. Brisbane, February 12, 2011.
For the third Sunset Sounds festival it rained, it poured, it pelted down. Water came down in sheets, hell it came down in slabs. Even those who came with waterproof clothing were completely soaked not just to the bone but to the very marrow. Sunset Sounds became Sunless Sounds, Soggy Sounds and Mudset Sounds. It brought out the worst in some people and the best in others. Still the show went on and so we report on Sleigh Bells, Cold War Kids, Ladyhawke, Pubic Enemy, The National and Interpol on day one. While for the second day we braved the wet again to deliver reports on The Soft Pack, Peaches, Junip, The Morning Benders, Washington and Paul Kelly.
New Years Eve’s are traditionally unplanned, last minute events, involving clubs or house parties especially in laissez-faire Brisbane. This year was different. An independent music festival at the Powerhouse, brazenly named No Years! offered a tempting program. 21 bands in total: 14 local, 5 interstate and 2 international acts, over eleven hours at lovely New Farm location. We cast our NYE net on Australia's Bleeding Knees Club, Parades, Love Connection, Jonathan Boulet, The John Steel Singers and Oh Ye Denver Birds. And see who ranks best out of America Neon Indian and Sweden Shout Out Louds.
It's been a long time time between drinks for The Charlatans and Australia. Fresh from playing their Some Friendly 20th Anniversary shows around the UK The Charlatans were down under recently with a more conventional touring schedule. It's certainly not the fan fest that they are used to back home but a rapturous welcome still greets the band. With a set drawn mostly from their very early material honed through recent tours, and the obligatory new songs that every band pulls out, it's a different set to what fans might expect but shows the depth of quality over their long career.
Jonneine Zapata's Cast the Demons Out came out of nowhere and managed to do what it said on the tin. And all indications were that live was where she excelled. Comparisons were bandied around from PJ Harvey and Patti Smith for there strong vocal ranges to Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger for their bold sexual stage presence. Apart from the smoldering mic stand gripping, her onstage persona also alternates between standing still with an ice cold stare, holding her arms aloft swaying like an eagle, and my favourite, lurching around the stage like a drunken marionette. Unsettling? Maybe but never boring.
A Brisbane bounty with trippy post-rockers The Hazards of Swimming Naked joined by Lofly math-rock legends Mr. Maps, plus the baroque charms of Lion Island and electronic wunderkind Hunz.
A few nights before this Pixies warm up concert for Splendour in the Grass, I had a vivid dream. In it I was the tour manager or press officer for the band and they were being put up in a luxury hotel with a huge swimming pool which they were swanning around in and (in)famously not getting along and refusing to do the show. It ended with me giving them a “look all the great rock’n’roll bands are dysfunctional, but when you’re on stage for that hour and a half you come together, that's when you work, that's when you function!” speech. And then I drove them to the Zoo in a black hummer.
It took eleven years, three albums and a European tour for Melbourne space rockers Black Cab to broach Brisbane but they did and yes, it was worth the wait. Even the prospect of a half empty venue, an OCD stricken punter and the one colour Hi-Fi lights were not enough to dissuade Black Cab in performing anything less than a mesmerising set of original material and two stunning encores that paid homage to the whole space/drone/shoegaze rock genre. Able support was provided by Brisbane alt.rock kings Grand Atlantic.
Two of Sydney's finest epic rock bands; one (Bridezilla) favouring a dark brand of folk and the other (Decoder Ring) post-rock electronica, strut their wares in Brisbane.
Not ones to throw angular shapes the boys here strive to find the right notes and the majority of the time they hit them.
Webcuts delivers the verdict on Deerhunter's recent Australian assault with reviews of Brisbane, Sydney and also the secret Atlas Sound Sydney show. Let the hunting begin.
Okkervil River The Zoo, Brisbane 3rd May 2009 "No one wants to hear about your 97th tear" offers Will Sheff, he of red beard, bookish glasses and shaggy hair, during tonight's opening rhyme heavy "Plus Ones". Oh but we do. We want to hear ninety odd minutes of heartbreak and loss, songs about self
The Grates/Children Collide Hi-Fi Bar, Brisbane 1 May 2009 It's not often that you have moments like this -- where you have to take a step back from your surroundings and fathom what is the hell is actually going on. Arriving a little late and unable to find set times we wander into the crowd as the
of Montreal The Zoo, Brisbane 4 March 2009 It's just before the encore that things start getting really weird: Two guys in animal masks start playing -- Mr Fish is on drums while Mr Lion roars into the microphone, garnering the requisite response from the crowd necessary in encore type situations -- leading me to
Primal Scream make their once a decade journey to Australia which we catch at the Tivoli in Brisbane along with Adelaide upstarts Wolf & Cub.
In the final Australian festival wrap up for the Summer we brave the laneways of Brisbane to report on No Age, Jay Reatard, The Hold Steady, Cut Off Your Hands, The Drones, Stereolab, Spiral Stairs, Augie March and more.
The much lauded ATP festival reaches Australia and we give you the rundown on the Brisbane leg including reviews of Robert Forster, Spiritualized, The Saints and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
We review Brisbane's inaugural Sunset Sounds Festival and see how the likes of The Hives, Santogold, The Kooks, Franz Ferdinand, Faker, The Grates, Tegan and Sara, I Heart Hiroshima and more measure up in the sweltering heat.