Category Archives: Ben Connolly

Live Review : george at Melbourne Zoo Twilights – 18 February 2017

Review by Ben Connolly
ZooTwilights_george_credit Ian Laidlaw_6040
In the late nineties, early noughties, the Australian music scene was in a bit of flux. Still reverberating with post-grunge angst, the scene was awash with angular guitar pop. A bevvy of Brisbands dominated the pop-rock scene, while the hip hop world was just starting its local resurgence fronted by the shock of Australian accents.
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Live Review : Paul Dempsey at Melbourne Zoo Twilights with Melody Pool – 17 February 2017

Review by Ben Connolly
ZooTwilights_Paul Dempsey_credit Ian Laidlaw_5806
With two solid solo albums, and a couple of glorious collections of covers, Something For Kate frontman Paul Dempsey has become a mainstay of the Australian music scene. Backed by a cracking live band, his gigs have become a known quantity.
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Live Review: Ball Park Music at Melbourne Zoo Twilights with The Jungle Giants – 10 February 2017

Review by Ben Connolly
mzt
When times are tough, music is rightly a place to turn to seek solace. It mends a broken heart, it eases the pain of loss and it provides guidance through uncertainly. It’s fitting then that the salve for a broken and hurt world might also lay in the skilful hands of a musician. Rockers provide impetus and courage, while rap and hip hop drops truth after truth, and folk singers give poetic sense.
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Live Review : Montaigne at Corner Hotel, Melbourne – 13 October 2016

Reviewer: Ben Connolly
Montaigne
A stage moniker borrowed from a 16 th century philosopher; an Unearthed gong before finishing high school; a teasing EP which was salivated over; and a 3-time ARIA nominated debut album. And all of this before your first headlining tour. It’s a helluva back-story for Montaigne’s eagerly anticipated run of headlining shows in support of her world-beating debut Glorious Heights.
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Live Review : The Bennies at Max Watt’s, Melbourne – June 24, 2016

Review by Ben Connolly
The Bennies at Max Watt's, Melbourne - June 24, 2016 Photographer: Annie Wilson
If a word-cloud was done on The Bennies’ song lyrics, it would be a short but exhilarating list. With a subject matter focussed almost exclusively on hedonistic pursuits, the lyrics rarely venture outside the life of of a constant party, and the best ways in which to get there. The band’s live show is a perfect personification of that single-minded pursuit; their sold-out hometown gig at Max Watt’s to kick off their triumphant national tour is a masterclass in shambolic, euphoric pleasure seeking. And it’s as intoxicating as the substances they croon about.
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Live Review : San Cisco at Melbourne Zoo Twilights – February 26, 2016

Review by Ben Connolly
sancisco
There’s a lot to be said for the uplifting positivity of indie jangle pop. And as current doyens of Australia’s indie scene, Western Australia’s San Cisco is saying it – a lot. Since dropping the mind bendingly on-point and cute Awkward single in 2012, they are notching up some serious points as Australia’s hardest working live act, with nary a month going by without a national or international appearance.
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Live Review : Mark Seymour & The Undertow at Melbourne Zoo Twilights w/ Ben Salter – February 20, 2016

Review by Ben Connolly
Photo credit: Maclay Heriot
Mark-Seymour & The Undertow_live_credit_maclay-heriot_041
Watching a legendary artist grapple with a formidable back catalogue can be a frustrating affair for a fan. It can almost be described through a stages of grief process: at first denial – burying the songs begrudgingly down the setlist in the hopes that newer works get due recognition. After that comes the anger – deleting songs from the setlist completely in a vain hope of erasing them from the collective memory. Bargaining and depression swiftly follow – where the artist reinvents or reworks the songs to placate the hordes. Audiences hold out for the last stage of acceptance, where the original brilliance of the songs are embraced and delivered with a straight bat.
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Live Review : John Butler Trio at Melbourne Zoo Twilights w/ Tinpan Orange – February 6, 2016

Review by Ben Connolly
Photos Lucinda Goodwin Photography
John Butler Trio at Melbourne Zoo Twilights
The support slot on the summer picnic rug festival circuit is easily the toughest around at the moment. With audience attention divided between divvying up the roast chook, keeping the ants out of hummus and wrangling over-excited toddlers out way past their bedtimes, it’s a tough mix. And, in the case of the hugely successful Melbourne Zoo Twilights series, adding to this is the distraction of a couple of boisterous lions having a bellow; it leaves little room for paying close attention to what’s happening on the main stage.
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Live Review : Jebediah + Adalita at The Corner Hotel, Richmond – June 18, 2015

Review by Ben Connolly
Jebediah at The Corner Hotel, Richmond - June 17, 2015
In a different universe, a Jebediah of 20 years ago probably would have been a short­ term affair. It’s gangly awkward pop­ punk probably would have survived the ubiquitous relocation from its original Western Australian outpost to the big smoke of the East, but it would have been no doubt an indie­fied square peg in a mainstream round hole.
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Live Review : Dan Sultan + Benny Walker at Melbourne Zoo Twilights – March 5, 2015

Review by Ben Connolly
Photo by Lucinda Goodwin
Dan Sultan at Melbourne Zoo Twilights
There are fewer more pleasing sights in the live music world than a rock act totally on form. And for Victorian lad Dan Sultan, he couldn’t presently be more on point at the moment: his third long-player Blackbird is universally lauded, has given him a swag of awards and, just last month, notched over to ‘gold’ status in the sales sheets. More than all of that, however, is the confidence all of this has brought the charismatic singer. And it spills out in abundance in his stage shows of late.
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Live Review : Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks @ Melbourne Zoo Twilights – February 27, 2015

Review by Ben Connolly
stephen malkmus
There’s a somewhat delicious irony to the longevity of the slacker indie rock of Stephen Malkmus. First in the iconic 90s indie kings Pavement and now with his own band The Jicks, the slacker lo-fi ethos portrayed belies the studied industriousness of the bands, who combined are now well into their third decade in existence.
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Live Review : Sarah Blasko at Melbourne Zoo Twilights – February 6, 2015

Review by Ben Connolly
sarah
With four studio albums, two ARIA awards and a bevy of critical acclaim, Sarah Blasko has more than established her bonafides in the Australian music landscape. So much so that she can legitimately claim legend status, with a unique ability to embark on a recent mini-tour without any new material to hawk and have it handsomely attended – as was the case when it kicked off at the wildly successful Zoo Twilights series in Melbourne.
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Live Review | King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard @ Howler, Melbourne – December 6, 2014

Review by Ben Connolly
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard @ Howler, Melbourne
As a King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard gig virgin, there’s one thing that immediately grips you – and surprisingly it’s not the cacophonous wall-of-sound that a seven-piece band delivers. Beneath that is the sense of deep confusion which comes from taking in all of what is happening on stage, and then being absolutely convinced that there is no logical way this should work.
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Live Review | Ben Ottewell @ Northcote Social Club, Melbourne – November 5, 2014

Review by Ben Connolly
ben
UK indie rock stalwarts Gomez have always been a study in human Tetris when it came to its live shows. With three singers and guitarists, keys, bass and drums (as well as a revolving array of touring musos), their stage show was a beautiful cacophonic mess.

Starkly contrasting with this is the sparse stage at the Northcote Social Club awaiting Ben Ottewell as he paraded his second solo effort since the indefinite hiatus of his band. Armed with just a couple of Gibson acoustics, a ripping yarn or two, and that booming voice, Ottewell proved that even stripped back, his music holds some sway.
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Live Review | Augie March @ Howler, Melbourne – November 1, 2014

Review by Ben Connolly
augie march

A five year hiatus may have done wonders for revitalising Augie March’s creative juices, but its live show continues to be a beautiful chaotic mess. With a mix of false starts, bum notes, front-man wincing and a particularly rowdy audience member to deal with, night three of its five night return to the live arena had all the elements of a legendary Augie event.
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