Sunday, January 29, 2012

Major Tom And The Atoms

After a yummy dinner at Baba, Mary and I headed to The Retreat Hotel last night to catch Major Tom And The Atoms, the latest side project from Tom Hartney of Little Red.  The opening band was Jimmy Hawk And The Endless Party.  I enjoyed their songs and they had a few people up dancing by the end of their set.

Major Tom And The Atoms played a mix of original numbers and covers during their very entertaining and energetic set.  Tom's baritone voice sounded great and the musicians in the band are all fantastic, particularly the saxophone player who had some mad solos throughout the night.  Covers played included Smokey Robinson's "Get Ready," The Box Tops' "The Letter" and a medley of the themes from Jaws, The Pink Panther, Get Smart and Batman which was used to introduce the band.  Of the bands original songs, "Hey Flo" and "Rolling Stone" were standout tracks.  They finished their set with "The House That Love Built" and then for an encore did an inspired cover of Guns N' Roses' "Welcome To The Jungle."  It was a really fun night and we look forward to catching them live again soon.

Here's a clip of "Rolling Stone" to give you an idea of what they sound like live:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Harpoons- Walk Away Single Launch

Last night Mary and I headed to The Toff in Town to see The Harpoons launch their latest single "Walk Away."  The first act on for the evening was Oscar Key Sung of Oscar + Martin.  It was a lovely, laid back set from Oscar who has a very soulful voice.  He sang along to pre-programmed beats and also used a looping pedal for his vocals at some points. 

Next up was Melbourne band The Neighborhood Youth.  They sounded promising at the start with their indie rock sound and jangly guitars, but after a while their songs started to blend together.  While I think they are talented their problem may be that they sound too much like a blend of other popular bands.

By the time The Harpoons took the stage the venue was packed.  They played a great set with a mix of old favorites and new songs.  "Faith" was the usual showstopper, showcasing Bec Rigby's amazing voice.  It was also good to hear "Swim My Baby" live again and the new single "Walk Away" for the first time.  We were even treated to a cover of Bill Withers' "Just The Two Of Us."  They finished the main set with "Keep You Around" and played "Garden City" for an encore.  I'm happy to see their popularity growing and can't wait for this debut album to be released.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Afternoon with The Good China

Photo by Guerilla Creative
This afternoon I ventured out into the hot weather to see The Good China play as part of Johnny Rock & The Limits Sunday residency at The Workers Club in Fitzroy.  The Chinas played a fairly even mix of old and new songs in their 45 minute set, including "If Pain Persists," "All Nothing," "We Found 3 Whistles" and "No More Maps, No More Roads."  The newer stuff sounds good, and I have heard some of it live once or twice before.  There was also some amusing banter in between songs, including a discussion of the movie Predator.  Unfortunately I didn't have time to stay for the full bill, but it was nice to be in a cool, dark room for a bit listening to live music.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Ocean Party- Young Love Single Launch

Last night Mary and I went to the John Curtin Hotel to see The Ocean Party launch their latest single "Young Love."  First up for the evening was Slow Dancer, who played a great set.  Simon was once again accompanied by Rohan Sforcina on drums and James Harding on bass.  "Leave It To Me" and "Home" were my highlights and it was nice to see Simon's Oh Mercy bandmates out to support him.

The second band on the bill was Melbourne three piece ScotDrakula.  They played a very energetic set of punk/indie sounding songs with a hint of rockabilly as well.  I really liked them and it was good to see a female drummer in the band.  Next was The Eliza Band, a side project of Rory Cooke, the lead singer of Gaslight Radio.  They played songs from their debut album Firework Dogs, of which "The Preston Front" was a stand out, and finished their set with a Gaslight Radio song.

Surprisingly there was just a small crowd in the bandroom by the time The Ocean Party took the stage. Nevertheless they played a solid set of songs from their various releases, including "The Dogs," "Deadbeat," "Shaking Like A Leaf" and their new single "Young Love."  After the show Mary and I scored their entire back catalog for $10, which was an amazing offer.  Their debut album The Sun Rolled Off The Hills will be released in February.

Here's the video for "The Dogs"

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Fleet Foxes

Last night Tash and I had dinner at Amigos on Acland Street (another overpriced, average Mexican restaurant in Melbourne- surprise, surprise) before heading to the Palais Theatre for Fleet Foxes sold out show.  The last time they came through town I was away overseas, so I was very excited to finally see them live.  The opening act was Grand Salvo, the moniker of Melbourne singer-songwriter Paddy Mann.  He played a lovely set of folk music and was joined on stage at various times by a female vocalist and cellist for different songs.

The nearly two hour set by Seattle's Fleet Foxes was absolutely amazing.  Their four part harmonies just soared and they played all the songs with energy and a sense of purpose.  This was not a quiet folk show.  The lighting was quite subtle with the band only occasionally lit from the front and background projections of moving stars overlaid with different geometric shapes.  The set list consisted of songs from all three of their releases, including my favorites "Mykonos," "Ragged Wood," "Your Protector," "Montezuma," "Battery Kinzie," "The Shrine/An Argument" and "Grown Ocean."  Quite a few of the songs were played back to back, and the band would sometimes double up on the same instruments to intensify the sound.  When they did talk with the crowd the guys were quite funny, especially in telling a story about being in the same hotel elevator as Public Enemy's Flavor Flav the last time they were in Melbourne.  The band received standing ovations at the end of the main set and after the last song of the night, "Helplessness Blues."  This was a fantastic gig to kick off 2012 with, and will be a hard one to beat.

Here is the amazing animated video for "The Shrine/An Argument"
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