Category Archives: Ben Connolly

Big Day Out 2012 – Melbourne – 29th January 2012 | REVIEW

Review by Ben Connolly
Photos by: Naomi Rahim
Photos Credit: Naomi RahimWith 20 years under its belt and a major crisis in confidence, Big Day Out organisers and marketing teams got all introspective in the lead up to the 2012 event. For many, it was time to question the event’s continued validity in the now flooded one day festival market. That questioning, undoubtedly, led the co-founders to part ways and this year’s event to succumb to circumstance and dramatically downsize. And with recent news that the Auckland leg was no more after this year, it’s pertinent to reflect upon what, exactly, the BDO brand has brought to the rock festival table over its two decades.

What are rock festivals all about these days?

Rock festivals are still about discovering.
Early in the baking summer’s day, Melbourne’s BONJAH held the fort at the aptly-named Hot Produce stage. Now with a rockier edge compared to its urban-roots inflected past, the five-piece oozes charisma, with front-man Glenn Mossop’s chiseled looks and studied moves adding to his extraordinary brooding, honey-dipped drawl. A kicker of Portishead’s “Teardrop” adds icing to the cake and pegs this performance as a great way to ease in to the steamy afternoon.
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Ball Park Music @ East Brunswick Club, Melbourne | Live Review

Review by Ben Connolly
There’s a buzz in the air tonight – a full house and the Ball Park Music headlining debut album launch tour tends to give out a special vibe. And it’s been a long, well-worn track to get to this point: singles and free downloads leading to early Triple J recognition, signing to a supportive management company and releasing one of them most anticipated EPs of recent memory, seemingly tour after tour as the perpetual bridesmaids before finally knuckling down to carve out the first full-length offering.
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Only The Sea Slugs @ Yah Yahs, Fitzroy – October 27, 2011 | Live Review

Review by Ben Connolly

  Rock can be such a bitch of a game. One day you’re the toast of the town, an EP in the shops, a film clip on Rage and some choice words thrown your way from the national youth music broadcaster. Then you decide to cram all your gear into a van and tumble a thousand kilometres south only to be greeted by a mid-week pub, almost empty apart the other bands on the bill and a few uneager passers-by; shitty sound only adds to the drama. And that’s where it all goes pear-shaped for Sydney-siders Only The Sea Slugs with its recent gig at Melbourne’s Yah Yah’s.

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Colin Hay – “Gathering Mercury” – Album Review

Review by: Ben Connolly

There’s a warmth to Colin Hay’s vocals which instantly resonates. There’s no confusion as to what’s to be expected when an acoustic guitar and that Scottish-via-Sydney vocal kicks in. Like others of his ilk – namely Robert Forster, Paul Kelly and to a lessor extent The Church’s Steve Kilbey – his peculiar brand of Australian-ness swells the heart and instantly proves to be a soothing salve.

Suffering from an abundance of talent by a fairly lackadaisical approach to career direction, Hay’s name seems to have dropped out of the contemporary consciousness. Save for the odd appearance on an American sitcom (he seems to be the darling of the US medical satire Scrubs) and a recent legal stoush thanks to an opportunistic claim for copyright infringement, Hay has been relatively out of the public eye since the 1985 implosion of Men at Work.
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Duff McKagan’s Loaded – “The Taking” – Album Review

Review by: Ben Connolly
Musical legacies are fickle beasts. For the privileged few, early bravado can lead to a lifetime of open doors and opportunities; for most, thorough, their own massive shoes are rarely filled again, leaving a life of painfully striving either to attain the same heights, or failing to convince the world that there’s more to give. For those at the pinnacle, the ones whose exploits drew a definite line with which others would measure themselves, this is arguably even more acute: audiences are liable to bay for more brilliance, and are vocally deflated when their lofty expectations are not met (take, for example, the expectation of larger-than-myth Bob Dylan, whose audience is rudimentary brought down to earth every time his never-ending tour juggernaut rolls through town).
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Blame Ringo “In A Hurricane” – Single Review

Review: Ben Connolly
Brisbane band Blame Ringo is a band steeped in its own curio past, to the point of it almost being written off as a comic band. The name itself, and the mileage the group got over the official rebuke from Ringo Starr over its previous name, set it up early on as a tongue-in-cheek piss-take. They followed that through with curious film clip for single “Garble Arch” off its first long player – which became a bona fide Youtube viral phenomena – and then a cute tour concept of playing in laundromats; an audience would be forgiven for thinking this band’s interest was firmly in taking the mickey, rather than solid songwriting. And there would be nothing wrong with that; there are plenty of decent and long-lived acts in this land and abroad who could stake their claim firmly in piss-takery, whilst still holding credible assertions of musicianship (think The Fauves, TISM or, further afield, The Duckworth Lewis Method).
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Jeff Lang @ East Brunswick Club, Melbourne – 11 September 2010 – Live Review

Review: Ben Connolly
Photo: Amy Skinder
Jeff Lang was not always the teller of disturbed tales accompanied by face-melting blues guitar shredding. There was time – in the heady post-grunge days – way back at the beginning of this 15-year-long and counting career, that Lang appeared to fancy himself as a bit of a fringe-rock crooner. His then long locks and fresh face even graced morning television and he seemed always just on the verge of tipping into the mainstream proper.

While his blues-folk-roots-rock brethren (The John Butler Trio, Xavier Rudd, et al) watered down their origins after initially making the cross-over and opting for the high-exposure, high- sales paths, Lang instead maintained a steady personal path of discovery through the back alleyways which make up his self-described ‘disturbed folk’.

Along the way there have been excursions into deep south blues, rousing sea shanties, psychedelic-laden folk-pop and, more recently, ‘world music’ (with a collaboration with Malian kora player Mamadou Diabante and Indian tabla player Bobby Singh). His latest album, Chimeradour, stayed true to its Greek- mythology based namesake and married them together, but with subtle nod back to the earlier straight-rock days with some crunchy numbers laying a solid base layer.
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