Saturday, January 30, 2016

Holy Holy- A Heroine National Tour

Holy Holy have been increasing in popularity both here and overseas since the release of their debut album When The Storms Would Come. Last night they returned to Melbourne to play a sold out show at the Corner Hotel as part of their latest Australian tour.

Opening the evening was Montreal four piece The Franklin Electric, who sounded really great with their folk-rock set which had the crowd engaged from the start. Having been in Australia for the past month they were not looking forward to returning to the snow in Montreal in a few days time. Next up was an electro-rock set by Olympia (aka Olivia Bartley) and her band, which was good but didn't really seem to capture the crowd.

The venue was absolutely packed by the time Holy Holy hit the stage and started their set with "Impossible Like You." As luck would have it lead singer Timothy Carroll blew his amp during the song, so while that was replaced guitarist Oscar Dawson led the rest of the band in playing the theme from Terminator to the amusement of the crowd. Holy Holy were already a great live band, but touring has made them even more of a force onstage with some pretty impressive versions of songs such as "Sentimental And Monday," "History," "A Heroine," "Holy Gin," and "Pretty Strays For Hopeless Lovers." Oscar's guitar work throughout the night was fantastic, and Ryan Strathie was awesome on the drums (and had one blistering drum solo).

We were treated to two new songs, which sounded more upbeat than their previous releases. To finish the set they tore through "House Of Cards" off The Pacific EP. For the encore Timothy and Oscar came out and did a cover of David Bowie's "Starman" before the rest of the band joined them to finish the night with my favorite track off the album "You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog." It's always great to see a truly talented group of musicians get the success they deserve and Holy Holy can only continue to go up from here.

Here's the video for "You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog"

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Boy & Bear- Limit Of Love Tour

Surprisingly it has been 18 months since Boy & Bear last played in Melbourne. Mary, Tash and I met up tonight at Festival Hall for their all ages gig in support of their latest album Limit Of Love. We arrived for the second support act, Brisbane band Art Of Sleeping. They had the crowd into their anthemic indie rock sound.

Boy & Bear began their set with the title track "Limit Of Love." Lead singer Dave Hosking was slightly awkward without his guitar and didn't seem to know what to do with his hands. It was good to hear old favorite "Rabbit Song" early in the set, followed by "Lordy May." Pretty much all of Limit of Love was played, and I really enjoyed "Where'd You Go," "Man Alone," "Just Dumb" and my favorite song off the album "A Thousand Faces." Other highlights from the previous albums included "Southern Sun" and "Old Town Blues" off of Harlequin Dream and "Golden Jubilee," "Feeding Line" and "Big Man" off of Moonfire.

As it was Dave's birthday today drummer Tim Hart got everyone to sing "Happy Birthday" to him. They did their Triple J Like A Version cover of Amy Winehouse's "Back To Black," but I'm not so sure about the arrangement they chose. In keeping with tradition they had to make the no encore announcement three songs from the end of the set. For "Harlequin Dream" a saxophone player came out to play the sax solo at the end of the song (the easiest 20 seconds of work you could have). They finished the night with the single "Walk The Wire." It was another fantastic show from the guys and you know you will get nothing less when seeing them live.

Here is the hilarious video by Oh Yeah Wow for "Walk The Wire"

Friday, January 22, 2016

Icecream Hands- John Curtin Hotel

After missing last year's 15th anniversary performance of their fantastic album Sweeter Than The Radio, I was really happy when Icecream Hands announced they were playing a one off show at the John Curtin Hotel doing highlights from all five of their albums. Danny, Ruth and I started our evening downstairs having dinner at Bluebonnet Barbecue (look out for a review on Eagle vs Roo shortly) before heading upstairs to the bandroom where we caught the last song by opening act Luke Sinclair of Raised By Eagles.

For tonight's special show Charles Jenkins, Douglas Lee Robertson and Derek G Smiley were joined by the talented Davey Lane (You Am I) on lead guitar. They started their set with "The Obvious Boy" (which includes a shout out to California). Despite not having listened to these Icecream Hands albums for a while I was impressed that I managed to remember most of the lyrics to the songs they played. Highlights for me during their hour and a half set included "Come Along," "Why'd You Have To Leave Me This Way?," "Spiritlevel Windowsill," "Nipple" and "Yellow & Blue." It was so great to hear those jangly guitars and harmonies live again. We even got a couple of covers in the encore with Davey leading a version of The Beatles "A Hard Day's Night" and a fantastic cover of David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging." I am hopeful that we will get treated to more of these one off shows in the future.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino's eighth film The Hateful Eight has just been released with a series of exclusive 70mm Roadshow screenings in select cinemas. Danny and I went to check out this special event at the Astor Theatre in Windsor. Besides being on 70mm film, the roadshows are showing a longer version of the film that includes a musical overture at the start and intermission between acts, along with a special program.

The film is a western set in the post-Civil War era. A stage coach with bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) picks up fellow bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and his dead bounties. Both parties are on their way to Red Rock to cash in as a blizzard is about to hit. They end up stopping at Minnie's Haberdashery to ride out the storm, and encounter another group that arrived earlier. As you would expect everyone is suspicious of each other, which leads to the typical elements of any Tarantino film: blood, lots of violence and death. The film is set out in six chapters and goes for over three hours. It was quite entertaining, and being able to see it the 70mm format was amazing. If you can handle blood and comical ways of dying, definitely go and check it out.

The School Of Life Secular Sermon: On (Not) Knowing

It's been a while since I went to Sunday mass, so I was intrigued to learn about The School of Life's Secular Sermons. Belinda joined me this morning at Deakin Edge in Federation Square to see comedian Lawrence Leung speak about the topic On (Not) Knowing. Of course any service should have some music, and the morning began with Dan Kelly singing three of his songs solo on acoustic guitar: "Baby Bonus" (with one of my favorite lyrics, "Baby was born in the morning, traditional Cesarean style"), "Bindi Irwin Apocalypse Jam" where he got the crowd to sing along to the chorus, and "Catholic Leader." Dan sounded great in the acoustics of the room, and used his sound effects peddles to add to the vibes of each song.

It was then time for Lawrence's sermon about his obsession with the unknown and curiosity leading to trying to find the answer. But do we really need to know everything? Throughout his presentation Lawrence argued the “not knowing” of something is the catalyst that drives human endeavour, science and other things. He did psychological tests, magic, discussed coincidence and why we easily fall for hoaxes - it's all in the drive to "know" the answer. Lawrence was quite entertaining and his magic tricks were amazing. I'm still trying to figure out how he did a couple of them. To close the service Dan came back out and sang "I Will Release Myself (Unto You)."

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Chills- Silver Bullets Tour

The Chills burst onto the scene in the US in the early 1990s with the albums Submarine Bells and Soft Bomb and exemplified the sound of the Flying Nun record label. Lead singer/songwriter Martin Phillipps is the sole remaining member of the original band, and after years of dealing with health issues he is back with the fantastic new album Silver Bullets. As a long time fan I was thrilled that they were playing a show in Melbourne, as the last time I saw them live was in Auckland at the millennium concert with Split Enz.

I arrived at Max Watt's (the former Hi-Fi Bar) right before they took the stage. The set list was a mix of songs from throughout their career. They played most of the tracks off of Silver Bullets, including my favorites "Aurora Corona," "I Can't Help You," "Silver Bullets," "When The Poor Can Reach The Moon" (the second half of "Pyramid") and the brilliant "America Says Hello." We even got a new song called "Easy Peasy." Martin sounded great and his guitar work was beautiful on those jangly songs. It was amazing to hear the classics such as "I Love My Leather Jacket," "Pink Frost," "The Male Monster From The Id" and "Heavenly Pop Hit," which closed the evening and had everyone singing along. I'm so glad I got the chance to see The Chills play again and hear these new songs live for the first time.

Here's the animated clip for "When The Poor Can Reach The Moon"

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Blur- New World Towers

Tonight was the second showing of Blur's New World Towers at the Shadow Electric Outdoor Cinema at Abbotsford Convent. It's a unique experience to watch a movie outside, particularly with fruit bats flying overhead as the sun is setting.

The documentary is about the making of Blur's latest album, The Magic Whip, and the revival of the band as a four piece. Five days stuck in Hong Kong changed the course of their history as they decided to secretly head to the studio to jam with no one knowing and no pressure. While the end result took time to emerge, it was definitely worth the wait.

The film contains interviews with each of the band members interspersed with concert footage from Hong Kong and Hyde Park, as well as recordings from the sessions at the Hong Kong studio. It's the story of the band, their relationships with each other (particularly Damon and Graham) and the music. At times hilarious and at others poignant, the film tells the story about their journey together over all these years. I really enjoyed it and it brought back fond memories of seeing them at Rod Laver Arena last year.

Here's the trailer for the film:

Sunday, January 03, 2016

The Basics- Tinder Knight 2

In what may be the shortest hiatus ever, The Basics were back together again last night at Northcote Social Club for Tinder Knight 2, thanks to Wally being in town for the holidays. As was the case for Tinder Knight last February, the boys set up in the middle of the room with Kris and Tim on acoustic guitars and Wally on a Wurlitzer. The sold out crowd of over 200 people sat around them as they played covers, audience requests via sheet music, and a few Basics numbers across two sets.

The evening began with "In My Life" and "Ain't She Sweet" by The Beatles. They were revisited later on with covers of "If I Fell," "I'll Cry Instead" and "Golden Slumbers," as well as George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass." Other artist multiple tracks included The Everly Brothers' "Wake Up Little Susie" and "All I Have To Do Is Dream," Fleetwood Mac's "Little Lies" and "Songbird" (another beautiful version by Wally) and David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" and "As The World Falls Down" from the film Labyrinth.

The boys did a couple of covers they played during the last tour with their fantastic version of Eric Bogle's "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" and Neil Young's "Birds" (sung by Tim). In honor of Stevie Wright they played The Easybeats "I'll Make You Happy" to start off the second set, and got some Creedence Clearwater Revival in with "Someday Never Comes." Two of the more interesting cover choices of the night were Joe Jackson's "Real Men" and the 1990s classic "Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies.

The audience requests also brought up some interesting songs. They played Crowded House's "Sister Madly" and "I Got You" by Split Enz. Johnny Cash's "I Walk The Line" turned into a Cookie Monster mash up half way through with hilarious results. They played the Eagles track "Lyin' Eyes" despite Tim's hatred for the band, and an audience shout out for George Michael resulted in a fun version of "Faith."

Thankfully a few Basics tracks made it into the set, with Tim taking over the Wurlitzer for "Hey Rain" (complete with an extra verse about cane toads as a reprise due to the frog in Wally's throat), a lovely "Home Again" by Wally, "Memory Lane," and a brand new untitled track by Kris about lost love.

The whole evening finished with an epic version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb." It was another excellent two plus hours of fun and entertainment by the boys with a wide range of song selections played. Kris and Wally were kind enough to hang around during the set break to mingle and talk with people. I had a quick chat with Wally after the show and he was once again surprised to see me as he seems to forget that I still live in Melbourne (or I have a doppelganger somewhere that is confusing him). It sounds like there might be some Basics shows in the States this year, so if they manage to time them when I'm around in May/June I may get to see them on home soil.

Here's the video for "Time Poor" off The Age Of Entitlement:

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