Tag Archives: Review

Live Review – JEFF MARTIN & THE ARMADA @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 10 May 2009

Review by Stephen Goodwin for Life Music Media
Photo: Stuart Blythe
Armada - Jeff MartinArmadas, historically, take a long time to build. It’s something to do with the size of the whole endeavour. On the evidence of tonight’s outing at the Hi-Fi Bar in Brisbane, Jeff Martin’s version – like the venue itself – still needs a few rough edges knocked off before it can truly take on the world.

Even early, the omens are there. Punters are forced to mill impatiently in the street outside the Hi-Fi long past the advertised opening time. Then, after doors open, the wait for psych-blues tie-dye standard-bearers Black Boards Mind feels interminable.

When they do appear, the Fremantle-based five-piece compound matters by seeming determined to turn in a trainwreck. Maybe it’s nerves, but jarringly out-of-sync vocals utterly destroy the first song and a half.

Eventually their sound begins to cohere, the vocals acquiring a straining nasal twang not too dissimilar to the Vasco Era’s Sid O’Neil. But even combined, Black Board Minds’ trio of vocalists possess nowhere near the Melbourne bluesman’s live-wire charisma. Song progression – characterised by a mushy bass-heavy sound that lacks any subtlety – feels equally leaden. The tambourinist’s creditable impression of the energiser bunny says it all: a manic distraction, it only serves to emphasise the act’s rawness.

Staring at Jeff Martin’s guitar rig, one entertains the possibility that it may contain more pedals than there are punters at the Hi-Fi tonight. And that’s not a dig at the crowd size – there’s plenty of the latter.

Martin’s admission during some mid-set technical issues – “it’s like trying to work the space shuttle up here” – feels like tacit validation, and one gets the feeling this massive contraption is the culprit of the early evening delays, and a longer-than-usual wait during the interval.

The downside of these delays is the flaccidness of the crowd. Curiously detached even as the band take up their instruments, they never seem to click with the band. Consequently, there’s too little of the energising feedback that can propel a “merely” good performance into something truly memorable.

For some musical styles, it’s irrelevant. But with the Armada squarely aiming for rock bombast, it’s a limiting factor.

The good news is that Martin and band are clearly “up for it”. It’s little short of jaw-dropping to simply watch skinsman Wayne P Sheehy’s pummelling drumwork. The intensity of sound is a whole order of magnitude more devastating.

Watching Martin, one is torn between appreciating his rich, pitch-perfect baritone, and admiring the almost-arrogant casualness with which he can pause and rip out a fiery solo. And, to the delight of the guitar nerds near the front, he does this often.

All the while man-mountain bassist Jay Cortez anchors the show with unflappable calm.

Several Tea Party tracks wedge themselves into the set, but the evening’s highlights draw themselves almost exclusively from The Armada’s self-titled debut. The sheer immenseness of opener Morrocco. The poignancy of Line in the Sand – even if the nuance-for-power trade-off is clearly felt compared to the “Live at the Corner” rendition. And the demented slide wizardry of Black Snake Blues, complete with a Led Zep excursion into Whole Lotta Love.

One exception is Winter Solstice, the Splendor Solis instrumental forming an spine-tingling acoustic one-two as it segues into new cut The Rosary.

After roughly 90 minutes, with The Armada closing out with another Tea Party staple Save Me, one is left with no doubt that the band has all the elements – strong songs and incredibly talented personnel. Once they iron out the kinks, they may just go on to conquer the world. Unlike the Spanish version.

Set-list

Morocco
Chinese Whispers
Overload
Line in the Sand
Broken
Coming Home
Kingdom
Winter Solstice/The Rosary
Black Snake Blues
Cathartik
Closure
Invocation
Closing Down Blues

Save Me

Bands: The Armada – www.thearmada.com
Black Board Minds
Venue: The Hi-Fi Bar, Brisbane – www.thehifi.com.au
Date: May 10, 2009

Related:
Photo Gallery: JEFF MARTIN & THE ARMADA @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 10 May 2009
JEFF MARTIN & THE ARMADA @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 10 May 2009 and May 2009 Tour Dates
The East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival Byron Bay – BluesFest 2008 – images including Jeff Martin

Review: Alex Lloyd @ The Zoo, Brisbane 8 May 2009

Alex Lloyd @ The Zoo, Brisbane 8 May 2009
Author: Merryn
Photo: Stuart Blythe
Alex LloydWhat in the world has happened to Alex Lloyd? Or, more to the point, his fans? Last night’s gig at The Zoo resembled more a congregation for the Corpse Bride than an intimate gathering to celebrate one of Australia’s best artists.

Best Artists you question? Yes! Come on guys, this is a man who’s brilliance dazzled all at the turn of the century, and it wasn’t luck My Friend. With credentials that put other Musicians to shame, Alex Lloyd is one of Australia’s most under celebrated treasures.
Continue reading Review: Alex Lloyd @ The Zoo, Brisbane 8 May 2009

Madeleine Paige “The Voice Behind The Noise” EP : Review

Madeleine Paige    Brisbane based Madeleine Paige is in a class of her own.
Haunting…..Sweet…..Unforgettable.

It’s refreshing to receive an EP to review that one instantly likes and that was exactly the case with this.

Madeleine Paige’s latest EP entitled “The Voice Behind The Noise” consisting of 5 beautifully crafted songs that were recorded at Massive Studios by Matt Redlich (Hungry Kids Of Hungary).

Madeleine has been praised in recent reviews for her live performances and this certainly translates well within this album.

Starting out with “Ditty”, an upbeat happy bouncy tune that will surely remove any blues that you may be feeling.
Track 2, “My Love Looks”, is a lulla-ballad styled song where you are carried away by just her voice and soft acoustic accompaniment.
“It’s over (and over again)” is one of my favourites on this EP. A haunting lament that is definitely worth having a listen to – over and over and over again.

Madeleine’s angelic voice, coupled with well written and performed songs, will mesmerise all listeners.


“The Voice Behind The Noise” was released on 8 May 2009. Madeleine Paige is currently touring and her show is one that shouldn’t be missed.
Rating: 4/5
Tour Dates:
Continue reading Madeleine Paige “The Voice Behind The Noise” EP : Review

Mzaza / Paris Dreaming – Parliment of Birds CD Launch -The Press Club

Mzaza / Paris Dreaming
Parliment of Birds CD Launch -The Press Club
Author: Lisa Lamb

mzazza    If you ever feel you are in the wrong country, listen to Mzaza and you will know you are. This six-piece Brisbane group combines sounds from East & West with ease and sensuality. Vocalist Pauline Maudy is stunning in a black cocktail dress with feathers, and birds in her hair. She is outrageous, yet reserved and very, very classy. Singing in French, Spanish and Arabic with ease and her voice is like liquid amber. In the intimate setting of The Press Club, you could easily be transported to Paris or Marseille. This is world music at its finest!

Continue reading Mzaza / Paris Dreaming – Parliment of Birds CD Launch -The Press Club

The Kill Scene, Feline Down, Twist Oliver Twist @ The Globe – 11th April, 2009

The Kill Scene, Feline Down, Twist Oliver Twist
The Globe – 11th April, 2009
Author: Lisa Lamb

The Kill Scene formerly known as the Dream Sequence inflicted a quick and painless death on themselves in front of a live audience, then musically re-incarnated. Sounding very much like The Cure as they delved into Gothic New Wave with a dark, ambient precision. Playing a blend of originals combined with 80’s British rock like Kate Bush “Running up that Hill”, along with a dark and twisted, yet beautiful version of “Let Me Entertain You” by Queen.    kill scene

Continue reading The Kill Scene, Feline Down, Twist Oliver Twist @ The Globe – 11th April, 2009

Review: The Kills @ The Zoo, Brisbane 30 March 2009

The Kills, Louis XIV @ The Zoo, Brisbane 30 March, 2009
Author: Stephen Goodwin

The Kills : V Festival @ Gold Coast : 29 March 2009

Normally, hitching your music and performance to a hotted-up click track would be a recipe for constriction. For stodgy, uninspired boredom.
 
A mere 60 minutes with Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart utterly destroys this perception.
 
For sure, dispensing with the rhythm section for an out-of-the-box click track is an anchor.
 
But, paradoxically, the song-to-song invariability it confers is freeing in the hands of the Kills. In fact, it’s not so much a deadweight as a barebones framework the duo inject themselves into with such physical and emotional extremity that it’s surprising their songs don’t simply burst.

It’s etched in the moment when Hince lazily sways back and, between riffs, thumps an extra layer of percussion into Kissy Kissy through the bodywork of his six-string.
Continue reading Review: The Kills @ The Zoo, Brisbane 30 March 2009

The Gin Club @ The Zoo, Brisbane 21 March 2009 Review w/ Hits, Danny Widdicombe

The Gin Club, Hits, Danny Widdicombe
The Zoo, Brisbane – March 21, 2009

Author: Stephen Goodwin

   The Gin Club

Floppy-haired local Danny Widdicombe croons “satisfy me” over and over like a mantra to the accompaniment of a drifting guitar arrangement. I’m in hearty agreement. His voice offers a rough-hewn country charm, but too often his finger-plucked tunes slide into frustrating aimlessness. Twanging excursions into the blues hold more verve, but the aggressive stomping of set-closer My Desire highlights the confusing patchwork of his offerings tonight.

Hits    “Hi. We’re Hits. Not that we have any.”

Hits are definitely the bastard stepchild of tonight’s bill. Wedged between the alt-country stylings of The Gin Club and Danny Widdicombe, the punk-rock five-piece detonates with the percussive force of a psychotic child throwing the biggest tantrum you could imagine.

Decked out from the waist-up as a sailor captain, the howling Evil Dick pilots this ferocious rock rebellion, ably assisted by the killer riotgrrl guitar licks and hair-raising backing growl of Tamara Dawn Bell.
Continue reading The Gin Club @ The Zoo, Brisbane 21 March 2009 Review w/ Hits, Danny Widdicombe

Biffy Clyro @ The Arena, Brisbane 25 March 2009 – Photo Gallery

Biffy Clyro @ The Arena, Brisbane : 25 March 2009
Photographer: Stuart Blythe

Biffy Clyro @ The Arena : Brisbane 25 March 2009 - Photo: Stuart Blythe

Click the image below to view photo gallery…
Biffy Clyro @ The Arena : Brisbane 25 March 2009 - Photo: Stuart Blythe
[Photo: Stuart Blythe]
Continue reading Biffy Clyro @ The Arena, Brisbane 25 March 2009 – Photo Gallery

CD Review: Whimsical Fantasy

CD Review-Whimsical Fantasy

Spiky    This is the first CD from talented French composer Guillaume ‘Spiky’ Muller and it is astounding. Spiky trained in Piano & Musical Theory at the Castle Of Becheville Conservatorium France since 1995 and has the demeanor, passion and Gothic ambiance.. of someone who trained in a castle. Combining a dark and twisted universe influenced by Tim Burton or Terry Pratchett, with symphonic metal and a hint of chaos theory, it’s like an orgasm for your ears.
 
Opening with the powerful Void Factory. The CD focuses on the story of reluctant hero Nescii (meaning” ignore “in Spanglish language), his call to adventure is strange and often surreal, through different terrain, such as the Enchanted Grounds,

Continue reading CD Review: Whimsical Fantasy

Photos | St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Brisbane 31 January 2009

St Jerome’s Laneway Festival Photos, Brisbane 31 January 2009
Photographer: Kristen Ashton – Stillpixels.com
for LifeMusicMedia

CLICK HERE for full gallery

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St Jerome’s Laneway Festival Review, Brisbane 31 January 2009

Backstreet Joys

Elize Strydom gets friendly with Girl Talk, The Hold Steady and Architecture In Helsinki at the St Jeromes Laneway Festival in Brisbane.

I don’t think it’s possible to lose your posse at the St Jerome’s Laneway Festival. I just tried but then I bumped into them – literally – amongst the throng shuffling between No Age and the Temper Trap. The same thing happened during The Drones‘ set – I glanced behind to see who would be sharing the musical goodness with me and there they were. It’s just that kind of festival. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we’re squished into a few forgotten back streets behind Brisbane’s RNA showgrounds and not a barren ten acre field. I get the feeling that’s what Danny and Jerome had in mind for this fair little festival from the start. I don’t get the feeling they could have guessed what their baby would grow up to look like when they celebrated the first year of St Jerome’s Bar in Melbourne with a bangin’ street party for a group of discerning music lovers. Since then ‘Laneway’ has become a national event, this year adding Perth to the itinerary. It definitely has its own niche, more ’boutique’ than ‘big day out’, and you’re likely to catch bands you may have heard in name only. Most probably dropped in conversation by the coolest kid you know.

Bands like the John Steel Singers. Okay, okay, so I’m sure you’ve heard their fanciful falsettos by now, what with the triple j Unearthed Artist of the Year gong and all, but they haven’t been on the national scene for long. The aforementioned falsetto is one of the first sweet sounds I hear as I bustle through the festival gates.

‘Is that the John Steel Singers?’ asks my mate. ‘I think so. Are there ten of ‘em on stage?’ I reply. So there are six band members, not ten, but you get what I’m saying right? We head over to the Alexandria Street stage and there they are bouncing around, long locks flouncing around their heads as they belt out tunes featuring the wonderful Pete and his trombone, Ross on drums, Pat on bass and the others on whatever instrument they pick up. They’re having fun and it’s catching. Bodies are walking towards the stage as if being pulled by some magnetic force. Slowly their limbs start moving…are they? Yes people are dancing, what a wonderful world.

Safe in the knowledge that I’ve left the punters in good hands I bolt over to the Car Park Stage one song into Tame Impala‘s set. My expectations are high because, you know, these boys are obviously so hot right now. It takes two seconds to see why. Or should I say hear. Visually, they’re three barefoot boys wearing plain tees and old Nike sports shorts but aurally they’re taking me on a psychedelic journey and I feel like I’m being hypnotised and I can’t stop my eyes from closing and my sensory perception is overloading and what are you doing to me?! Maybe it’s Kevin’s languid phrasing or the guitar distortion or the way each song takes on a life of its own and goes exactly where I want it to go, but didn’t realise. Forty One Mosquitoes Flying in Formation, Skeleton Tiger and that cover of Blueboy’s Remember Me morph into long jams. That sort of thing has the tendency to come across as a little indulgent and, at times, a sure fire way to lose your audience, but not today. Jay, Dominic and Kevin launch into Desire Be, Desire Go and I realise the magic is coming to an end. I could have listened to them all day and looking around it’s clear I’m not the only one.

Back over on the Alexandria Street Stage Holly Throsby helps to break my fall. Her gentle, quiet and unassuming stage presence is like the cool relief that comes when the breeze blows through the trees and touches our sweat-damp faces. This girl has a little something that sets her apart from the multitude of sweet-voiced singer/songwriters. I think it’s because when she sings tunes like Making a Fire, Things Between People and A Heart Divided you know she’s telling the truth, both lyrically and in her performance. A diminutive soul, Holly doesn’t make a fuss and seems completely at ease strumming the guitar or sitting at the keyboard. Her bandmates – Bree and Jans aka the Hello Tigers – swap between the drums, accordion, glockenspiel and mandolin, cello and bass respectively. They fill out Holly’s subtle melodies and create a beautiful sense of simple delight.

The crowd strolls away and I spot dreamy smiles spread across glowing faces. Some look like they’re planning to take a little kip and reflect on the day so far. But then something catches their eye. Is that Jay, drummer from Tame Impala, sitting bare-chested on a platform above a tank full of water? Why, yes it is. This day’s going from strength to strength! I soon catch on that it’s one of those Hit ‘n’ Dunk games where punters peg a ball at a target and if they hit the bull’s eye the poor sod on the platform gets wet. There’s a list of ‘Dunk Times’ posted on the brick wall and I see that members of Cut Off Your Hands, the Temper Trap, Jay Reatard and Still Flyin’ will all take a seat on the Platform of Doom. Good sports huh? Plus all the money raised goes to charity. Everybody wins!

Indie darlings Yves Klein Blue aren’t on the list, they’re on stage. Slick hair, big hair, red hair – these poppy, punky, jazzy rockers have got it covered. Charles swaggers to the mic in his high wasted Ksubi’s with the arms of his button-up shirt rolled tightly over his biceps. He surveys the crowd and a huge grin spreads across his baby face before he counts in a rollicking yet-to-be released tune. They boys are treating us to a swag of new songs from their highly anticipated debut LP plus favourites like Silence in Distance and Polka. It’s obvious that despite the success they’ve achieved over the past few years they’re still as wide-eyed and appreciative as ever.

After Yves Klein Blue make a reluctant exit, the all hootin’, all hollerin’ Born Ruffians take to the stage. At first the Canadian trio remind me of Vampire Weekend but I soon hear distinct differences. There seems to be a real buzz surrounding these guys; a large crowd has gathered and there are even three girls in the front row dressed (and painted) in red, yellow and blue – the name of the band’s first long player. By the time they hit their strides with songs like Hummingbird and I Need a Life people are singing along with every word. To be honest, I’m a little surprised. What was I doing while everybody else was off getting into these rascals?

I think I was busy trying to figure out the Temper Trap. When these Melbourne lads dropped Sweet Disposition they had my full attention. But I didn’t want to declare my love too loudly ‘cos I got the feeling they were one of those bands who had been on the scene for years making outstanding records with a small but dedicated following. That’s kinda true but apparently the band has come in a few different forms and represented a diverse range of genres. As expected, a large crowd has gathered around the Car Park Stage to find out more about this mysterious five-piece. From the word go I was transfixed on Dougy, the enigmatic front man, and his captivating vocals. Throughout the set, singing duties are shared and soulful harmonies come as an unexpected delight. Sweet Disposition is the fourth song on the set list and I’m more than impressed. I get the feeling that I’m witnessing something special from a collective on the verge of something big. They close with a cover of Dancing in the Dark by none other than the Boss. What? Where did that come from?! It doesn’t matter, the Temper Trap can do no wrong.

Meanwhile there’s potential for things to go horribly wrong for New Zealanders Cut Off Your Hands. The security guards are setting up wheelie bins in the pit and filling them with water. Huh? As soon as the boys bound on stage it becomes clear: lead singer Nick likes to get close to his fans, either that or he’s just had a six-pack of Red Bull and needs to burn off a little energy. Which would be totally plausible; this is one fire-cracker of a guy! At this point I’m torn: I really want to stick around for songs like Happy As Can Be, Still Fond and Oh Girl but The Drones are about to start over in the Car Park.

The Drones win. I arrive halfway through the first number and am greeted by Gareth’s dark and dirty snarl. It took me a while to warm to the Melbourne rogues but now I won’t hear a bad word against them. Oh My and the Minotaur are clear standouts. The Drones seem to project a surly lawlessness and devil-may-care attitude which works in their favour on stage. Gareth literally spits his words and is so direct I feel that if I take my eyes off him I’ll suffer the frightening consequences. Like poor Michael who cops a snare drum to the head during one of the crazier moments of the set. Things seemed to take a turn at that point. Nothing wildly out of hand, just your garden variety of rock ‘n rollery, I guess. On the surface it doesn’t look like the band connect; it’s as if they’re all doing their own thing (especially Fiona who has her back to the audience for the majority of the set) but that must be a ruse because they couldn’t possibly produce such gold unless they were well and truly cohesive. The last few minutes are a wall of distortion that trails after the band as they stride off stage.

The next 40 minutes are spent darting back and forth between stages trying to catch snippets of Architecture in Helsinki and Brooklyn boys, The Hold Steady. Not the best way to experience what each group has to offer, I must say. I don’t feel I’m able to really sink my teeth into either of the sets.
That said, these two acts are strong contenders for the title of “Band that Has the Most Fun on Stage’– so who cares if I enjoy it or not! I haven’t seen AiH before but everybody talks up their live show….and I can see why. Still, I overhear a guy nearby say he’s seen them six times and this is by far their most subdued performance. Geez, if this is ‘subdued’ I’d like to see ‘on fire’! The Melbourne collective bound and bop and jump and hop all over the stage as they belt out newie That Beep as well as old favourites from their impressive back catalogue like Hold Music and Heart it Races. They swap instruments, take turns singing and generally dish out the good vibes in spades.

The Hold Steady are also on the good vibes train riding off the back of last year’s record, Stay Positive. How Craig Finn remembers the lyrics to all of his songs I will never know. These tunes are wordy. Don’t believe me? Try singing along. Musically it’s classic, riff-driven pop rock but lyrically it’s like a life story packed into three minutes and 30 seconds. That can be damn annoying but The Hold Steady has the chops to make it work. Even if the kids didn’t know all the words they certainly join in for numerous choruses, with gusto! Visually the band keeps us entertained. Finn is a fan of gesticulating and generally waving his spirit fingers about the place. He’s also a fan of yellow microphones. That’s lost on me. Maybe he explained it while I was over watching Architecture in Helsinki?

Okay, it’s time for Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis) and something is not quite right. The mood has changed. Sure, people are drunker but they seem angrier too. Not what I expected from punters about to enjoy a DJ (sorry, musician) who mashes Gwen Steffani, Jay-Z and Michael Jackson. They’re packed in and getting impatient. Phew, here he comes. Gillis runs on stage and does a few laps before whipping off his hoodie (no, it’s not the last item of clothing to go). He then takes his place behind a big desk and starts playing with all of his musical toys. And what’s this? A whole bunch of people fill the stage. It appears they’ve been hand-picked to bust some moves and create a party vibe but it seems all they’re doing is making everyone else jealous. Guys and girls make attempt after attempt to fend off the security guards and launch themselves up on to the stage to join the rent-a-crowd. Some make it, some don’t, and it’s entertaining but gets kinda distracting. I like the idea of Girl Talk, really, I do. It takes a lot of skill and persistence and talent to produce these mash-ups. They’re fun to listen to and I turn that stuff up when it comes on the radio, but something about Gillis’ is bugging me… or maybe it’s the drunk dude who just made it up to on stage and is proceeding to get the junk out of his trunk for all to see? Hmmm, I think it’s time to back away slowly then make a run for it in the hope of catching a little Augie March.

A little is right, like, the last line of the last song. But from all reports it was a mesmerizing set.

There’s a tap on my shoulder. Who do we have here? It’s my posse! I told you it’s impossible to lose them.

Review by: Elize Strydom

Serj Tankian @ The Tivoli, Brisbane – 21 January 2009 Photos

Serj Tankian @ The Tivoli, Brisbane – 21 January 2009 Photos
Photographer: Charlyn Cameron
for LifeMusicMedia

Click image for larger version

Serj Tankian available at iTunes – Serj Tankian - Elect the Dead

Neil Young @ Brisbane Entertainment Centre – 21 January 2009

As Neil Young took to the stage at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, the crowd was set for a journey as this legendary musician weaved a magical blanket of music that transported you through the decades.

Performing “Hey Hey, My My”, “Just singings a song won’t change the world”, “Old Man” and “Needle and the Damage Done” – to name a few – was just mind blowing!

Without doubt, Neil Young is Legend!

Bon Iver @ The Tivoli, Brisbane 17 Jan 2009 Photos and Review

Photographer: Elize Strydom

Click image for larger photo.

Matt Burgess of Burgo’s Blog attended the show and writes:

“Last night, I had probably the most visceral experience of my life, watching Bon Iver perform live at the Tivoli in Brisbane. To call it sublime would be an understatement.

It was over two years ago (side note: how fast is time going these days? I mean, honestly…) that the dulcet tones of Justin Vernon first made their ways to my ears. I managed to catch the tail end of the Hazeltons days/post DeYarmond Edison days, but really – if I’m honest – I was probably only fully hooked when I first heard Skinny Love. It’s a cardinal sin to admit something like that, when you’re a music blogger (especially considering the strength of the Hazeltons era), but that’s the moment when I realised that this was… different. That there was something transcendent in this music. So when the news made its way to me that Bon Iver would be performing at the Tivoli, I knew I would be going.

And man, am I glad I did.”…

Read Matt Burgess’s full review at http://www.burgoblog.com/2009/01/18/bon-iver-live-tivoli-brisbane-2009/

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