Review: Ben Connolly
| Edwyn Collins
Buy Album here…
|I came late to the pop personality known as Edwyn Collins even though his name, and that of his 80s post-punk/neo-pop group Orange Juice, had cropped up from time to time as obscure references by the bands I’d loved. For one whose ears were planted firmly in the romanticism of Australian pop rock, Collins and his cohorts were just a little too far up the obscure pathway to make that leap of faith. The Scottish group and Collins’ solo work were very much of their time, hardly making dent outside of the British pop charts. That said, iconic tunes such as Rip It Up by Orange Juice and A Girl Like You (from his 1994 solo album Georgeous George) have a familiarity which indicates they permeated the scene along with their more well-known brethren of|
the day (A Girl Like You rose to number six on the Australian singles chart in the summer of 1994/95). Collins’ name has cropped up more and more in liner notes of late as the man twiddling the nobs for groups as curiously diverse as The Proclaimers to The Cribs and The Arctic Monkeys to Mark Ronson (and our own Robert Forster from The Go Betweens).
|On Friday June 25, 2010 Brisbane will be welcoming a new bridge to their river, and it will be welcoming it in style. The Go Between Bridge Concert will be a special show that will see national and local bands take the stage, right on top of the new Go Between Bridge. It will be Brisbane’s chance to not only celebrate the new link to the streets of their town, but also a rare opportunity to see the likes of Angus & Julia Stone and a Go-Between man himself, Robert Forster, singer-songwriters Josh Pyke and Bob Evans and locals Yves Klein Blue and John Steel Singers play over their river.
After touring their #1 Gold album “Down The Way” throughout UK, Europe and the US, brother-sister duo Angus & Julia Stone will be boarding a ‘Big Jet Plane’ to return home to Australia and grace Brisbane’s new edition.
It will be their first show in Brisbane since they captivated fans at a SOLD OUT show at The Tivoli earlier this year. They look to bring their tales of yearning, travel and love onto the romantic river passageway, to show their fans that the adoration is mutual. Continue reading
THE JOHN STEEL SINGERS RELEASE NEW SINGLE ‘MASOCHIST’ IN OCTOBER 2009
DEBUT ALBUM ‘TANGALOOMA’ TO FOLLOW EARLY 2010
The collision of art-rock, classic pop and indie has never sounded as lush as it does on ‘Masochist’, the first single lifted from Brisbane six piece band The John Steel Singers‘ forthcoming debut album.
Recorded under the guidance of producer, mentor and fellow Queenslander Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens, new single ‘Masochist’ sees The John Steel Singers blend rich vocal harmonies and horns to create a woozy, psychedelic soundtrack for the lyrics of writer Scott Bromiley. ‘Masochist’ has The John Steel Singers apply what is becoming their trademarked psychedelic, observation of a disfunctional relationship; the story here of a man who can’t apply himself to love. The band keep things upbeat though, moving between Beatles’eque horn arrangements and orchestral pomp. It’s a fluid, appealing sound.
All Tomorrow’s Parties – The Riverstage, Brisbane
January 15, 2009
Author: Stephen Goodwin
Photo:Matt Palmer – Click here for full ATP Gallery
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Saints, Spiritualized, Robert Forster, The Necks, James Blood Ulmer
“And what costume shall the poor girl wear
To all tomorrow’s parties”
– The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967
The sun blasts Brisbane’s Riverstage bowl with pitiless intensity. The eyes almost hurt, and punters stake-out the little shade that exists as soon as they come through the gates. It’s a piercingly bright summer day that feels more suited to a day at the beach (or a Gunslinger showdown, for the more dramatically inclined) than the latest instalment of All Tomorrow’s Parties – the festival often dubbed “the ultimate mixtape”. Yet with the sun barely past the meridian, blues-jazz auteur James Blood Ulmer seats himself near the front of stage without fanfare and begins to play.
The open space and bright light of the Riverstage is a world away from the smoky, intimate bars that birthed the blues, yet Ulmer is unperturbed. His be-ringed hands glide languidly across his guitar, generating poignant echoing blues music to make the hardest soul melt. In a way, the fierce afternoon heat assists, forcing the few hundred early arrivals to seek the shade at the front of stage. His talented fingers and crooning, quavering voice do the rest. Katrina – she “ran a whole lotta people outta town” – is, perhaps, the highlight, but every song is greeted with generous applause and by the time he departs the initially reserved Ulmer seems to have almost warmed to both crowd and setting.
Avant-garde rock minimalists The Necks seem to confuse as many as they delight with a performance that’s not so much a set as a single instrumental movement. Over 45 unbroken minutes, pianist Chris Abrahams, double-bassist Lloyd Swanton and drummer Tony Buck construct, and then deconstruct, a hypnotic piece that blends their three instruments into a slowly evolving ocean of sound. With Abrahams facing away from his fellows, Swanton with eyes tightly shut, and Buck hunched studiously over his kit, there’s the overwhelming sense that the transitional cues are aural rather than verbal. But the true testimony to their skill is the organic fashion in which their initial gossamer web of piano and cymbals evolves into a portentous mass of deep bass tones and kick-drum thumps. By the end, we’re back to the start and wondering whether the intervening 45 minutes were merely a dream.
Robert Forster tempers his patrician loftiness with a boyish enthusiasm and playfulness that’s quite endearing. Seemingly so excited to be at ATP that he kicks off five minutes early, he and his band members squeeze out 11 summery pop songs to perfectly match the balmy late-afternoon. The selection leans heavily to Go-betweens tracks, but Forster skips the hits for obscurer choices such as Head Full Of Steam, German Farmhouse and Make Her Day. Surfing Magazines and Quiet Heart form a lovely duo of charm and tenderness, while Darlinghurst Nights and the rollicking Here Comes A City illustrate why Oceans Apart garnered critical acclaim. It’s left to If It Rains, Pandanus and Heart Out To Tender to hold the fort on behalf of Forster’s impressive solo repertoire.
J Spaceman’s (aka Jason Pierce) Spiritualized, incarnated for ATP as a seven-piece complete with a pair of wonderful gospel singers, bursts out of the blocks with the frothing, squalling admonishment of You Lie, You Cheat. What follows leaves the crowd spell struck, and proves a mere 45 minutes is hardly enough to fully appreciate the complex beauty of a sound that threads together rock, psychedelia, gospel and blues. Word wankery aside, it’s divine, and choosing a highlight is nigh-impossible. The bliss-out space-rock of Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space? The plaintive, hopeful poetry of Shine A Light? The anthemic grandeur of Soul On Fire? Or perhaps the wonderful, country-inflected rendition of Spaceman 3 classic Walking With Jesus? By the conclusion, if I wasn’t already, I think I’m in love, because the gospel singers just own Come Together, for all that they leave stage before the wig-out finale of guitar cacophony.
Surely no act on today’s ATP bill is more anticipated than The Saints. Billed to perform their seminal debut album in order, in its entirety, and with original members Ivor Hay and Ed Kuepper joining Chris Bailey, there’s a palpable feeling that the home-town performance could prove one for the annals. Anticipation peaks as the band emerges to the strains of bagpipes and Kuepper and Hay fire up. The joy is short-lived though. They open not with (I’m) Stranded, but Swing For The Crime – a cut from 1979′s Prehistoric Sounds. Shock and surprise soon turn to deflation and disbelief as they transition into This Perfect Day and it becomes clear that, somewhere, there’s been an unannounced change of plans.
In the end, only five out-of-order songs from (I’m) Stranded feature in the brief eight-song set. Criminally, not one is the title track. Equally mystifying, the mix is nothing short of appalling, reducing the crisp, ferocious beauty of Kuepper’s guitar to indiscernible droning sludge. The best moments come from the bluesy Kissin’ Cousins and a slow-tempo version of Messin’ With The Kid where Bailey’s acoustic guitar helps rather than hinders. But the verbal abuse sections of the crowd hurl at the departing band after they conclude with a disappointing rendition of Nights in Venice highlights how much of a letdown they were tonight. Know your product? Apparently not.
After The Saints, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are left with a lot to do. Fortunately, their 90-minute set is an absolute barn-burster that completely erases the sour taste left by the The Saints‘ lead balloon. All energy, gusto and unignorable charisma, Cave prowls the stage, alternately treating his guitar with violent disdain and imperiously lashing the audience with his evocative lyrics. It only takes a few songs to grasp that the act of creating Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! has propelled the Bad Seeds’ passion for live performance into the stratosphere. Dual drum kits intensify the bottom end while the regular mandocaster wig-outs of Warren Ellis push many a Bad Seed classic to the edge of mania. And even if there’s a touch of greatest hits about the selections, there’s a frightening intensity in the delivery. Tupelo, The Mercy Seat, Papa Won’t Leave you Henry, The Weeping Song – all are simply searing.
Red Right Hand benefits from a softer club-lounge re-arrangement of soft ivories, brushed drums and finger-plucked fiddle – dramatic yet intimate. Then, in a flash, it concludes in a mania of sawing violin, mashed piano and crashing cymbals. Love Letter and The Ship Song form a quieter mid-set interlude, and amidst the older material, tracks from Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! emerge needle-sharp and glorious. The title track, as well as Midnight Man and More News From Nowhere, show signs of becoming instant classics. Only the demented We Call Upon The Author strikes an off note in its awkward transition into Ellis’s post-chorus funkified loops, but Cave’s vocal delivery is so fluid and poetic that it more than balances the ledger. Anyway, it’s surely nothing a pair of scissors can’t fix.
Cave demands audience participation as the band encore. But the crowd’s ragged call-and-response effort for Lyre of Orpheus prompts him to remark sardonically at the end: “Well, that was messed up”. The unrelentingly fierce rendition of Get Ready For Love that follows feels almost like a punishment for our collective misdemeanour. Unfortunately, all good things must come to the end, but the Bad Seeds have arguably saved the best for last, finishing with the stunning murder ballad Stagger Lee. From start to finish, it’s been a tour-de-force of no equal. And as we all drift off into the night, I muse that, bar a single act, ATP has been peerless too.
Here’s an interesting 1988 documentary titled ‘Brisbane Bands’ we found on youTube.
This documentary focuses on the isolation and struggle many Brisbane punk bands had to endure in the face of conservative Brisbane during the 1970’s.
Mark Callaghan (GANGgajang/The Riptides), Ed Kuepper (The Saints), Robert Forster (The Go-Betweens) and Ed Wreckage (The Leftovers) speak about growing up in Brisbane during the 1970’s and forming bands.
Ed Kuepper reflects on the Saints’ classic single ‘(I’m) Stranded’ and the single’s promo-video.
For the inaugural Australian series All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP) have announced that arguably the most significant Australian export of the last twenty years Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, are to make their curating debut. The Bad Seeds intimate knowledge of all things Australian (music and otherwise) coupled with their innate sense of the weird and wonderful will – we are sure – make for a series of very unique events.
Performers already chosen to appear at All Tomorrow’s Parties 2009 include seminal Australian punk band, The Saints – featuring original members Ed Kuepper, Chris Bailey and Ivor Hay performing their first Australian shows (outside Brisbane) since 1977; British transcendentalists, Spiritualized; avant-blues artist, James Blood Ulmer (US); krautrock supergroup, Harmonia (Germany); electro-terrorists, Fuck Buttons (UK); pioneering synth-minimalists, Silver Apples (UK); psychotic space rockers, Afrirampo (Japan); Ex-Swan M. Gira (USA), the jazz-noir stylings of the Laughing Clowns (Aust), former Go-Between Robert Forster (Aust), the synth-punk of Primitive Calculators: former Birthday Party guitarist, Rowland S. Howard (Aust), post-grunge/noise devotees, The Stabs (Aust), classical-rock teenagers Bridezilla (Aust) & the sublime ambience of The Necks (Aust)
It is with great pleasure we announce the second and final round of acts playing the sold out Splendour in the Grass taking place in Byron Bay on August 2nd and 3rd.
The Polyphonic Spree, New Young Pony Club, Yves Klein Blue, Lyrics Born, Tokyo Police Club, Albert Hammond Jr, Little Red, Clare Bowditch (pictured above), Bluejuice, Robert Forster, The Drones, Hadouken!, Bliss N Eso, Paul Dempsey, Katalyst, Even, British India, The Galvatrons, Delta Spirit, Slot Machine, The Black Stars, Van She Tech, Bag Raiders, Soft Tigers Food Fight, E.L.F Dj, Kato And Pob
join the already cracking line-up of:
Devo, The Music, Wolfmother, Sigur Ros, The Living End, The Presets
Tricky, Vampire Weekend, Ben Lee, Cold War Kids, The Fratellis
The Wombats, Pnau, Laura Marling, The Vines, The Grates, Operator Please,
Band of Horses, Van She, The Panics, Gyroscope, MSTRKRFT, Lightspeed Champion,
The Brown Birds from Windy Hill, Scribe, The Gin Club
See our original article – Click here.