central coast|hunter|north coast #045 Apr ‘10
music, arts & culture monthly
COHEED AND CAMBRIA The Saga Continues The Mind Of MELISSA AUF DER MAUR
all aboard the bacardi express JOHN MAYALL The legend lives on
bridezilla Our first dance with
Also Inside: The Vasco Era + Converge + The Break + Many Machines On 9
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No. 45 index 08 14 16 18 19 20 22 24 26
News Coheed and Cambria Bridezilla The Basics House Vs Hurricane Converge CD Reviews Gig Guide Melissa Auf Der Maur
27 28 29 30 31
John Mayall News The Break MM9 The Vasco Era Gig Guide
32 33 34 36 37 38 40 41 42 43 49
Talking Shop 1927 Crusty Demons Motoring — Clio Renault Sport 197 Fashion — Isis Unveiled Gamer’s Corner Vaudeville versus Mischling Kitchen Complaint Live Reviews Bacardi Express Review Film Reviews DVD Reviews Socials Reverb Interactive
you am i PAGE 39
What an overload to the senses being on board the Bacardi Express has been! Read all about it on page 40. During the past month, we lost two of the giants in music. Firstly, Alex Chilton left us. This man was not the household name that he should be, but any respected music lover should listen to his band, Big Star, the originators of power pop. Secondly, legendary music photographer, Jim Marshall, passed away on March 24. Quite possibly the most respected music photographer ever, Marshall captured everyone from Dylan, Hendrix and Johnny Cash. His images are iconic, his passing is a great loss.
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Editor Nick Milligan Sub-Editor Amanda Bevan IT Manager Kieran Ferguson Sales Tommy Leung Stephen Bocking Kevin Bull Nick Milligan
Senior Writers Peter Douglas Hugh Milligan Mark Snelson Writers Nick Bilbey Stephen Bisset Stephen Bocking Kevin Bull Andrew Chesham Noah Cross Paul Frost Lucy Hearn
Jess Henderson Mark Henderson Michelle Hogan Ben Hoskings Dean Joy Scarlett O’Horror Terry Paull Ryan Stuart Lee Tobin Nathaniel Try Rachel Urquhart Jordan Watton
Photographers Joel Attenborough Kevin Bull Cassie Davison Derek Fernandez Celia Galpin Luke Holdstock Terry Paull Mark Snelson Graphic Designers Kevin Bull Cartoonist Dave Townley Jones
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The Loft’s tenth birthday party
How many of us can remember our tenth birthday? I certainly cannot. With The Loft Youth Centre approaching ten years of operation, we spoke to Dale Garbutt, Activities Manager, about what it means to him. How long have you held the position of Activities Officer at The Loft? I Started at the Palais in May 2001 – nine years. Is it really that long ago? Over this time, what would you consider your proudest achievement? In general, assisting young event promoters and bands to organise their own events and activities. Since opening as The Palais and continuing as The Loft we have facilitated more than 300 all-age shows in Newcastle without any major incidents. In 2009 we hosted 54 events most of which were organised and run by people under 25. waTussi
WORLD MUSIC ON THE CENTRAL COAST
World music has found a new home, and it is at Kantara House, Green Point, on the Central Coast. Ylenna Zajac, of promoters Earth Central, has recently put Lulo Reinhardt and Djan Djan through the venue, and the months ahead look mighty tasty. In early April we have ARIA-nominated Watussi blending the musical heritage of native Colombian singer Oscar Jimenez with the multiculturals of the Australian music scene. They were also personally selected by Brian Eno for his international Luminous Festival. Late this month we get Afro Moses and his “In the Spirit of Bob Marley” show. Afro Moses is a multi-award winning international artist from Ghana, western Africa, who has enchanted people with his high energy music, powerful messages, showmanship and colourful stage shows around the world. Catch Watussi at Kantara House on Friday, April 9, and Afro Moses, Friday, April 23.
ILLY IN PICTURES
With his single ‘Pictures’ landing at #66 on Triple J’s Hottest 100, Illy has lined up a spate of shows through the month of April in support of its success, dubbed the ‘Pictures 2010 Tour’. The tour comes on the heels of the recent announcement that Illy will be one of the few hip-hop acts to be part of this year’s Groovin’ The Moo festival, set to take place through May. Catch him at the Cambridge Hotel on Friday, April 9, 2010.
ROCK YOUr BUNS
The original music is simply pouring out of the Prince of Wales Hotel in Merewether, and with Easter just round the corner, we can grab our Easter bunnies and shake our hot cross buns to seven hours of rock on Easter Sunday. Under the banner of “Hot Rock Buns”, Little Blak Dress, Empire Burlesque, Mornings Eleven, Mark Wells and DJ Ules will be sweating out the chocolate calories from 3pm on Sunday, April 4. 8
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What changes have been made at The Loft over the ten years? Creation of the special projects program to develop programs with young people who would not normally be able to access Loft service, the move to the new purpose-renovated venue, the development of an LGA-wide outreach program, the development of local youth music with more than 150 gigs over the past four years, funding of Aboriginal youth arts officer, development of Loft Myspace page, winning the Local Government Cultural Award two years in a row, development of Ninja Radio podcast website, strong partnerships with local youth, arts and other organisations, and ten years of support for local youth arts and culture What festivities are planned to mark the ten years? We are hosting a massive tenth birthday street party out the front of the venue in Wolfe Street on Saturday, April 10. The event will launch National Youth Week in Newcastle and feature live bands and performances, including Here Come The Birds, Enemy Of Average, K-Square, capoeira & breakdancing demos, The Anti-Slam Poetry Crew, a variety of art exhibitions including photography, graphic design and a ‘ten years of the youth venue’ poster exhibition, plus a communal ‘happy birthday’ sing-along and a large cake. Following this there will be a free afterparty upstairs, featuring There Goes The City, Allay the sea, Control Disorder, The Pedantics, Pat James and Liam Green. Looking forward, where would you like to see The Loft heading? Stronger online presence, a greater use of technology to develop and deliver youth arts programs, the development of a full mobile capacity to develop our outreach program, and stronger partnerships with local organisations to develop and deliver youth arts and cultural programs.
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HOODOO GURUS TOURing, NEW ALBUM
REVERB PRESENTS RETALIATE 2010
The mighty Hoodoo Gurus are back with their ninth studio album Purity Of Essence and to mark this auspicious occasion they will do what they do best: hit the road and perform like they have done for many a decade, exciting fans across the globe with a live show to rock you to your core. With its name borrowed from the band’s favourite movie, Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove Or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Bomb, Purity Of Essence features the first single, ‘Crackin’ Up’, a song so quintessen tially ‘Gurus’ that you just know the album that follows must be good. The second single to be released from the album is ‘I Hope Your Happy’, which is lighting up radio around the country. Catch the Hoodoo Gurus at the Yamba Bowling Club on Saturday, May 1, or at the Newcastle Leagues Club on Friday, May 14.
EDU K IS BACK IN NEWCASTLE
Championed by international label head Diplo, and the Crooker’s label Potty Mouth, Edu K is back in Australia for a six date, national tour. A self-proclaimed ‘minimalist/ tropical/house’ DJ and producer, his unique ability to combine rap, bass, fidget house – you name it – is a feature bragged about by peers, and fans the world over. His latest coup - being picked up by Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird imprint, is not one to shy away from. Catch him at the CBD Hotel on Sunday, April 4, 2010.
LAGWAGON AND NO USE FOR A NAME VOCALISTS TEAM UP FOR AUSTRALIAN TOUR Joey Cape and Tony Sly are two names synonymous with modern punk rock,
frontmen for leading Californian pop punk bands Lagwagon and No Use For A Name respectively. With each having accumulated over two decades worth of credibility and a burgeoning fan base around the globe, this dream team is set to tour Australia this May. Catch them at the Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle on Thursday May 27, Friday May 28 at Kings Beach Tavern, Caloundra and at The Zoo, Brisbane, on Saturday May 29, 2010.
LUCIE THORNE AT LIZOTTE’S
Its been a big 12 months for Lucie Thorne. Her new album, Black Across The Field, has been short listed for the prestigious Australian Music Prize, and was named “Best Roots Album of 2009” by The Sydney Morning Herald. She’s been touring constantly, both here and overseas, since March last year. In April, Lucie will be playing a selection of
duet shows with legendary drummer Hamish Stuart, including Tuesday April 13 at Lizotte’s Kincumber, before she heads back into the studio to get to work on the next album. .
WHITLEY SOLO TOUR
Having already toured his phenomenal album Go Forth, Find Mammoth with a full live band, Whitley returns from an overseas sabbatical in May with an intimate solo tour. It’s a chance to get up close and personal with a singer who feels the pull of other areas of his life already encroaching on his music — travel, study and love. It will be one of the last times you can catch Whitley live in this environment. Catch him at the Northern Star Hotel, Saturday, May 29, 2010, the Troubadour, Brisbane on Tuesday, June 1 and Friday, June 4 at the Sound Lounge, Gold Coast.
It has been two long years, but Retaliate 2010 is up and running, and Reverb is proud to be involved. “Retaliate 2010 is an event which embraces original heavy rock bands/artists from Newcastle and the Hunter Valley,” explains event organiser, Michael Budyneck. “It gives the bands and fans alike an event to come together and celebrate the local rock scene.” Heavy rock and other associated genres has faced an uphill battle in past years in finding venues to perform and promoters to push its music. Retaliate 2010 aims to give these bands exposure to the local music scene in a festival-type event, and show how significant and popular the original music scene is in Newcastle and its surrounding areas. Retaliate embodies the underdog spirit of up-and-coming, local original bands who play their music purely for the love of the genre. Co-headliners are the newly reformed Mischling, and Newcastle stalwarts Vaudeville. Rounding out the bill will be Enemy Of Average, Order of the Dragon, Stonehawk, Villain, Shambhala, South Willow, Court & Club and Broadway Mile. Retaliate 2010 will be at the Telarah Bowling Club on Saturday, April 24.
MOJO SELLS YOU SALVATION
One of Newcastle’s most eccentric and eclectic outfits, Mojo Juju and the Snake Oil Merchants, are about to release that difficult second record. Having recently amazed the older set at the Blue Mountains Folk Festival, Mojo are currently up in Byron Bay performing at Bluesfest. When they return, Sellin’ You Salvation will be launched at the Cambridge Hotel on Friday, April 23. Supports on the night with be Sydney’s The Snowdroppers, and locals Kira Puru and the Very Geordie Malones.
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SUNDAE FUNDAZE FIFTH BIRTHDAY PARTY
Newcastle’s favourite dance party will celebrate five massive, pumping years on the local dance scene with its upcoming event on Sunday May 2, 2010. Sundae Fundaze at the Clarendon Hotel, Newcastle. Where the magic happens. It will feature two massive international DJs from Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird label - Worthy and Justin Martin. There will be a stack of Dirtybird t-shirt and CD giveaways on the day, so come along and join in the birthday celebrations. Music journalists typically describe Justin Martin’s sound as ‘melodic and tough’ with his music encapsulating both melody and emotional depth - yet always with enough undeniable ass-shaking properties to translate to the floor. “I’m always trying to find music for my DJ sets that rattles sound systems,” says Martin, “but still has enough melody and interesting texture to expand your mind even if you’re sitting at home on a snowy or rainy day.” Currently residing in San Francisco, DJ Worthy grew up around Washington DC in the early days of Deep Dish, Scott Henry and the early American rave scene. In the late 90s, after moving to New York City, Worthy met his good friend Justin Martin and was exposed to the sounds of people like LTJ Bukem, Stacey Pullen, and Sasha. All of these influences made an impression on this young producer as he began to play records of all genres from hip hop to breaks to techno and drum n bass. Don’t miss Justin Martin and DJ Worthy at what will definitely be a Sundae Fundaze to remember.
NEWCASTLE’S VINYL AND CD FAIR RETURNS THIS MAY
Newcastle’s Record & CD fair returns in 2010 on Sunday May 2, 2010. As always, it takes place at Uniting Church Hall, Beaumont Street, Hamilton from 9am to 4pm. Entry is $1. If you’re a music enthusiast or collector, then you simply have to attend this fair. It’s a massive treasure chest of rare items. Have a hunt for your favourite artists — those rare pieces missing from your collection. Who knows what you’ll find? A number of the vinyl dealers have recently shipped in a large amount of music from overseas, so there’s a lot of imported items that are very hard to find in Australia. Reverb never misses it and we hope to see you there!
BIRDS GO TO COLLEGE
Newcastle’s Here Come the Birds have found success in the US on college radio with their single ‘Cigarettes’ and have managed to rank at 15th on the charts, just edging out Hot Chip. This has come as great news for the boys as they head into Sing Sing studios with acclaimed producer Forrester Savell to record their debut album. So to celebrate this news, they will be playing a one-off, free all ages show at the Loft Youth Venue on Saturday, April 10. 12
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WAX MOTIF, BENI HIT THE CBD DECKS
April will be another big month at CBD Hotel, with sets by Brazil’s Edu K, Wax Motif and Beni. Wax Motif returns on Saturday April 10, 2010. Now a radio presenter for Frequency on Sydney’s infamous community radio station, FBI 94.5fm, and also the official DJ for groundbreaking hip-hop artist Snob Scrilla, Wax Motif has no plans of stopping, having already supported such international acts as; Stanton Warriors, Sinden, A-Trak, Tittsworth, Kid Sister, Sam Sparro, Stupid Fresh, Surkin, Fred Falke, as well as a host of others. Now, with his productions ready to blossom, gaining support already from artists such as Chew Fu [Brooklyn Zoo Records], Act Yo Age and our friend Ajax [Sweat it Out Records]. Watch out for his new release, Conga Junk. Beni’s upbringing in the world of techno was harsh and goes some way to explaining the physical and metaphysical place he finds himself in today. From a formative age he was led astray by a group of gypsy ravers, otherwise known as the Bang Gang Deejays, and his education at the school of beats, rhymes and life saw long days and longer nights, spent in clubs from Paris to Penrith. Beni went on to to release a couple of bonafied #1’s in Cameroon and Moldova under the Riot In Belgium guise. Catch Beni at the CBD Hotel on Saturday April 24, 2010.
PAUL GREENE AT LIZOTTE’S
With album sales now swiftly approaching 50,000, Paul Greene has built a loyal and enthusiastic following Australia wide through extensive touring and a series of critically acclaimed releases. One of Australia favourite troubadours, Greene has just announced that his eagerly anticipated new album, Everywhere is Home, will be released on April 19 through his own label Whirl Records, with distribution by One Stop Entertainment. Greene was ‘discovered’ by Midnight Oil’s Rob Hirst (with whom he formed the aptly titled duo; ‘Hirst & Greene’) in 2005, but it was his 2008 album Distance Over Time that saw the pieces really begin to fall into place. Catch him at Newcastle Lizotte’s on Thursday, April 22, 2010.
JASON LOWE LAUNCHES NEW RECORD
Jason Lowe will officially launch his gorgeously crafted new album, Grey Cap Times, in an intimate showcase at The View Factory on Wednesday, May 26, 2010, with a small backing band. This will be an amazing opportunity to hear his latest material, as he performs the record in full. Lately Lowe has been touring with Eric Bibb and Jeff Martin, and is looking to return to America — some of
SEEKING NICK SAXON
With his new, eclectic record Hide and Seek ready to be launched in April, Reverb takes a moment to chat to Nick Saxon. What made you call your album Hide and Seek? I chose Hide and Seek because it gives the whole album a mysterious feel. The song itself (‘Hide and Seek’) is one of my favourites of the album. A man torn apart looking for his girl, but won’t give up. Although the truth is evident. She’s gone. How has your songwriting evolved since you started writing music? Well my songwriting has evolved I believe through experience. Since starting out when I was 17, I wrote my first song about the ocean and my guitar, which at the time was all I was really interested in. Since learning and experiencing more, with travel and touring, the circumstances you find yourself in can really make interesting material for a song.
the landscapes that inspired the restless beauty of Grey Cap Times. Lowe has also released a music video for his song, ‘All Comes In Turn’. It is currently on Youtube.
bacardi band search 2010
The Bacardi Band Search is back, and this year they’ve tightened some loose nuts, polished out some blemishes and are set to make an even bigger impression on the Newcastle (and now Central Coast) music scene. Although there can only be one winner, the Bacardi Band Search hopes to uncover more hidden talent, encourage new bands to form and aims to give exposure to young bands in the Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Central Coast regions. The Bacardi Band Search offers a platform at the iconic Cambridge Hotel for unsigned bands to show what they’ve got. In 2009, 24 Newcastle bands competed in the Bacardi Band Search, and after six heats, two semi-finals, one repechage final and a Grand Final, local indie heroes, The Bastilles, emerged as the inaugural winners of the competition. They have gone on to play shows with Philadelphia Grand Jury and Red Riders and have just competed recording of their first EP. This year, the Bacardi Band Search will grow an extra limb as we invite Central Coast bands to compete for the first time, allowing the competition to showcase bands from the largest regional music scene in NSW. The winner of the 2010 Bacardi Band Search will take home over $6,000 worth of prizes including $2000 cash, a guitar amp and effects package, recording time at Sydney’s renowned Studio 301, a professional photo shoot, plus more.
Where do you feel the most comfortable to write music? When I’m not touring and at home, the place I feel most comfortable writing music would have to be in the late afternoon, outside in the sun, on my front verandah. We live in a quiet street and we have a massive Liquid Amber tree out the front and a friendly cockatoo who drops in now and then. It makes for a very peaceful environment to sit back and focus on where your thoughts are taking you. I remember when I was working full time in construction, even in the middle of all the noise and chaos, a melody would just pop into my head. I would quickly go somewhere quiet and sing it into my phone to remember it. A few of the tracks of Hide and Seek, funninly enough, were written at work. So I guess it doesn’t matter where you are, when the music comes to you, there’s nothing that can stop it. Nick Saxon’s album launch is on Friday April 9, 2010 at Newcastle Lizotte’s, Lambton.
The Bacardi Band Search will launch at the Cambridge Hotel on Thursday, April 29 and will run most Thursday nights throughout the course of the competition. Entry is free and is now open to all unsigned bands from Newcastle, Hunter region and the Central Coast. Entry forms can be downloaded from yourcambridgehotel.com or picked up from Billy Hyde Music and The Studio in Newcastle West. Entries close Monday, April 26. Places are limited.
ABDOUJAPAROV PLAY THE HAMILTION STATION
During the early 90’s, UK band Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine were… unstoppable. A number one (UK) album with 1992 – The Love Album, and spots at the Reading Festival and the Glastonbury Festival headliners in 1992 meant that they were massive. After ten years, and seven albums, Carter USM called it quits, with founding members Jim Morrison and Les “Fruitbat” Carter forming new bands, Jim’s Super Stereoworld and Abdoujaparov respectfully. So just as you were thinking “Where the hell is this news piece going”, it is amazing news to hear that Les “Fruitbat” Carter’s Abdoujaparov will be playing the Hamilton Station Hotel. To keep the UK flavour going, ex-Art Brut member Chris Chincilla will be supporting with his surf-Spanish-garage punk band Mesa Cosa. This is a real coup for Newcastle, and one not to be missed. Abdoujaparov and Mesa Cosa play the Hamilton Station Hotel, on Wednesday, April 14, and entry is free.
coheed and cambria
Coheed and Cambria recently did a tour with Slipknot and Trivium, with varying responses from the hardcore Slipknot fans in the crowd. Are you ever tentative about touring with a band that’s very different from yourself? No, I think you have to take chances and make things interesting. In order to reach a different audience you need to do stuff like that. I think that tour was certainly successful. There were some markets that may have been a little tougher than others, but we knew that going into it. This is who we are. We are different. We don’t like to stick to the guided formulas and play it safe. That’s not what we do. With your new album, how did you want it to compare to No World For Tomorrow? No World For Tomorrow is tough, because the real success in that record is the fact that we finished it — with all the trials we had gone through before that record. I didn’t want to beat that record in any way, I just wanted to let the strength of the band and who we are now really shine through on [Year of The Black Rainbow]. I didn’t want to worry about trying to top something. The narrative on Year of The Black Rainbow is a prequel to your debut studio record and contains a history to the characters of Coheed and Cambria. Did the fact it was a prequel to your debut album make you want to revisit your earlier sound ? That’s a great question, but part of me didn’t. Conceptually this is the strongest the two
“T he story is v er y relevant. A ver y cr y ptic version of my biography, if yo u w ill. E ver y record p lays a chapter in my life.” characters, Coheed and Cambria [the band’s namesake], have ever been. It honestly makes more sense for the sound to be stronger. Because in comparison, in Second Stage the two characters go through a series of tragic events that end up leading to their death. It’s nice that Second Stage sounds so broken, because it reflects the time of those two characters. Coheed’s music always has a strong lyrical narrative. Do you need to have music before you start writing the story or can you write lyrics first? I understood when I started making this record that this was going to be the origins of the characters Coheed and Cambria. I knew that. But a lot of that stuff gets affected by my personal life. The twists and turns of the story. How am I going to get from point A to point B? That has a lot to do with who I am as an individual. So a lot of that stuff is very real and very personal. That’s what helps mould and create the fiction. I was a guitar player before I was a singer, so the music comes first. But it’s usually just the guitar part. When I get something happening there, it’s natural for me to start singing a melody over it. Has that always been your writing process? For the most part, but this time around I definitely exercised a few different approaches. What made you feel that this next part of your story should be a prequel? When I first started the story with Second Stage, the characters Coheed and Cambria die. They pass away. So making that record, I always knew that the last story would be their origins. I would do them justice and show those characters in a better light and a better time in their life. I felt like I owed it to them when I put them through hell the first time. The characters of Coheed and Cambria are 14
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High in the Atmosphere Innovative. Engaging. Melodic. Frenetic. Aggressive. A long list of superlatives doesn’t do New York’s Coheed and Cambria any justice. Essentially a progressive-rock band, the group’s soaring, epic albums tend to stun those that hear them. Their latest record, Year Of The Black Rainbow, continues the narrative of The Amory Wars that has been unfolding in Coheed and Cambria’s lyrics by acting as a prequel to 2002’s debut, The Second Stage Turbine Blade. Nick Milligan speaks with writer and vocalist Claudio Sanchez about this new chapter in his mind-bending saga. linked to your parents, is that right? They are, yeah. Certainly. A lot of the characters in the story definitely call to very real people. Very influential people in my life. The story is very relevant. A very cryptic version of my biography, if you will. Every record plays a chapter in my life. Year Of The Black Rainbow is who I am now, really. Will this be the last instalment in The Amory Wars saga? It is the last instalment, yes. As far as what we’ll do in the future, it’s very hard for me to say at this moment. I think a lot of the attention we’re giving to this album is how to recreate it live… we’re living in the moment because we’re all so very proud of this record. I think it’s an accomplishment for us. I think it deserves its
time to shine. You like to allow people to interpret the story in their own way, but you could you give us a little bit of context for what ‘The Black Rainbow’ is? Basically, within the story, The Black Rainbow isn’t a literal rainbow. It’s actually a void in reality that forms above Heaven’s Fence. It divides the people of Heaven’s Fence. Some think it’s the hand of God at work and it’s a warning sign, if you will. The other half think it’s confirmation that Wilhelm Ryan, the evil dictator, is truly the hand of God. The vision creates a civil unrest and Coheed and Cambria are created to fix it. For me, metaphorically, The Black Rainbow is the line between choice. For me, as an individual, in my music I don’t
make my opinions known. That’s why there’s a concept — to hide how I feel about certain things. I decide to remain neutral when it comes to my opinions. Does the metaphor extend towards your feelings towards religion? Yes, very much. Without a doubt. Religion is certainly a struggle I have. God is a big part of The Amory Wars. Personally, I don’t have a faith or a religion that I follow. But at the same time, I can understand why people do and it makes them happy. For example, my mother is very much a religious woman. I can appreciate that it makes her happy, but at the same time it’s the cause of great tragedy. So again, I like to remain neutral. I can see the good and bad in everything. My opinion doesn’t really mean shit. Atticus Ross and Joe Barresi produced this record and you’ve said that they helped the band sound more “powerful and dynamic”. How do you feel they helped you achieve that? One thing that we’ve always tried to accomplish in the past is a sense of atmosphere and the cinematic scope of what we do. Having a concept that accompanies this project, that’s what we want. We want to really paint a visual with sonics. I think that [Atticus and Joe] really brought that to the picture. Giving the atmosphere of the album just as much attention as all of the other elements. Vocally, was there anything new you wanted to try on this record? I didn’t want to try a lot of stuff. [Atticus and Joe] were very open to ideas. In the past, a lot of the vocals I’ve recorded were very clean. The idea that every syllable needs to be
coheed and cambria
l that wanted to a u id iv d in y sh t “T ha piece of fict ion… hide behind a bit .” t that go a litt le le to g in rt a st I’m coherent. This time around I was allowed to really let the characters in my voice come out. To make it snarl and give it attitude. I had a lot of fun singing this record. Songs like ‘Made Out Of Nothing’ and the way those lyrics kind of leak… There’s something about that presentation that I get excited about every time I listen to it. How would you say you have improved as a story-teller since starting the band? I think I’ve improved a bunch. I’ve opened up a little more. I’ve allowed the listener to know that these songs have come from some place very real. The concept is just an extension of what we do. It’s there should people want it, but it’s not a necessity. I’ve certainly matured in that sense. When I hear a line — and I don’t mean to float my own boat — but when I hear a line like in ‘Juggernaut’, ‘This is not your playground, it’s my heart’, I can’t believe I wrote that line. That line to me is very powerful and there are a lot of moments like that on the record where I think, ‘Where the hell did that come from?’ A lot of the writing in the early stages of Coheed was very cryptic. That shy individual that wanted to hide behind a piece of fiction… I’m starting to let that go a little bit. What would you have thought of Year Of The Black Rainbow if someone had played it to you when the band was first forming?
I would have been pretty damn psyched. I would have thought, ‘Shit, I’ve come a long way! Thank you, future-telling man… thank you, fortune-teller face!’ Again, with all of the records I’ve always wanted to accomplish a sense of atmosphere and I think we really have on this record. Listening to it, had it been 2000 and I was writing Second Stage and hearing that, I would have been like, ‘Wow, [Black Rainbow] is very impressive. This is certainly what I’m trying to achieve with [Second Stage]. Let’s try and rip it off.’ Due to popular demand, Coheed and Cambria embarked on the Neverender tour, where over four nights you performed your first four records from start to finish. How did you find that experience? It was great. Reliving moments from our past was really exciting. It was nice to play them for the fans and do them in cities, like New York, over four nights and to have our fan base converge to one spot and allow the community to live in a place. Most of these people talk online and they don’t ever really get a chance to see each other, so it was really nice to bring them together and share that moment with them. Overall, it was one of the highlights of my career to do something like that. I would definitely love to do it again, certainly. Year Of The Black Rainbow is out now through Roadrunner Records. r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 4 5 — a p r i l 2 0 1 0
2009 was a big year for Sydney’s Bridezilla. If their debut record The First Dance and invite to play All Tomorrow’s Parties in New York are any guide, this young five-piece will continue to take their brooding, romantic rock around the world in 2010. Nick Milligan speaks to Bridezilla’s sultry and eloquent vocalist, Holiday Sidewinder, about channelling inspiration. What sort of a year was 2009 for Bridezilla? Busy. Enlightening. I think a million things toppled on us last year that we never dreamed would happen. I’m in the weird position where I need new dreams and goals. ATP [All Tomorrow’s Parties] in New York and ATP here [in Australia]. Playing with Stephen Malkmus, John Cale and The Dirty Three. Putting out our first record… I couldn’t have asked for anything more, really. You’re supporting The Mess Hall at the Cambridge Hotel in early March. Will it be your first show in Newcastle? That’s a funny story, actually. When we were literally just starting out, before Josh [drummer] was even in the band, we had some friends who lived down there [in Newcastle] that were all musicians. We were 14 and we jumped on the train and played a show in the train as practise. We were walking down the carriages, because we were all acoustic instruments then. I guess that was our first Newcastle show. But we also played [in Newcastle] in a little town hall for our friend’s school thing. So this is not our first show, but it’s our first proper show. It’s our first regional tour — Wollongong, Ballarat… all these places we’ve never played before. As of 2010, all of Bridezilla’s members have officially finished high school. You’ve just applied to do a religious studies major — what drew you to that subject? I was looking at all the lists of things I could do, 16
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like history and politics, which are things that I have always been attracted to and done well at. But I think it was about the mystery, as someone who’s an athiest, and not from a very religious family at all. I think [that subject] would hold more surprises for me. Bridezilla released their debut album, The First Dance, in 2009. Are there any recurring themes in the lyrics you’ve written? Probably universal themes, I guess. Love and death. Things that people write about throughout history. I didn’t put the lyrics in the booklet, so it’s kinda funny when I hear people quoting my lyrics wrong. But I think it’s universal themes that I’m trying to sing about in a cryptic way, so as not to produce a specific situation that can’t be applied to anyone. Bridezilla’s music is very potent and sensual in its atmosphere. In what ways does the music impact on your lyrics? It depends on where the song comes from. If it’s my writing then I’ll have the vocal and the melody and the music [first], therefore I’m not that influenced by what becomes of the music. But with Millie’s [Millie Hall, guitarist] songs, which is half of the songs on the record, she brings the music and then I write the lyrics after they’ve created the music. I guess [my lyrics are] quite detached, because I don’t think the others pay too much attention to what I’m singing. I think half the time they don’t even know what I’m
“It’s literally like something comes to you and your hand is writing it. It has no reason or rhyme.” singing [laughs]. Where do you feel the most comfortable to write music? I am a bedroom songwriter, I would say. Sometimes I write when I’m walking down the street. If I’m walking away from something heated, in that time when you’re walking away and to home. Often to sort my thoughts, I’ll put it into a song. Over the last couple of months I’ve had a lot of interviews with artists or creators from all realms — writers and musicians — saying that they’ve felt some sort of presence in the room that they channel in the songwriting. The woman that wrote Eat, Pray, Love [Elizabeth Gilbert] was speaking about how a genius used to be like a God that was in the room, and you wouldn’t describe yourself as a genius, but this thing in the room that you channelled was a genius. That’s like an ancient Greek thing or
something, but I like that notion that it’s not something that you have control of, which is how I certainly feel. It’s literally like something comes to you and your hand is writing it. It has no reason or rhyme. When I interviewed Tori Amos she described that same idea — channelling music from a higher power. It’s really funny as a songwriter when you hear other people talk about it. You can’t even describe how this weird thing happens. Tom Waits said that he gets hit by it in the car and he has to tell it to go away until he gets home, because it’s too dangerous while he’s driving [laughs]. How did you approach the vocals for this debut album? You’ll probably hear that the performances are quite straight. If you’ve seen us live, it is quite different. There’s probably a lot more emotion live and more fluctuations. I think [on the record] what I really wanted to do was capture the songs for exactly what they were. Singing-wise, I wanted to be really clear and have all the notes that I wanted to write, as though it was a composition that I notated. I don’t know whether that works or not — I love my own record, but there’s no right answer. But that is what I was trying to do — a precise recording of what the melodies and words were. The First Dance is out now through Inertia.
The Lass O’Gowrie Hotel Cradle of Newcastle Local Orginal Music
New bands contact: Ian @ the Lass - 4962 1248 or Andy Costigan (Music Booker) 0422 107 080
Elefant Traks, New World Artists, MySpace Music and Channel [V] Present THE SNEAKQUEL TOUR 2010
with special guest
Tickets on sale now from www.urthboy.com more info: www.elefanttraks.com www.inertia-music.com www.myspace.com/urthboy
Thursday 29 April Byron Bay • GREAT NORTHERN
Friday 21 May Newcastle • The Cambridge
th e b a s i c s
Learning The Basics With six albums, feature music on Scrubs, and overseas tours under their belt, The Basics have made their mark on the music industry. Having already broken into the Irish and Australian market, the trio have decided (unfortunately for us) to take a well-deserved break. But before they do, they will be ripping up the stage at the annual Gum Ball Festival in the Hunter Valley. Michelle Hogan sat down with Wally De Backer [drums/vocals] to chat about the Gum Ball Festival, The Basics and his ARIA winning project, Gotye. On your website it says that you are currently growing your hunchback — how’s that going? Oh, it’s marvellous! It’s like a well-developed blue cheese, it takes a lot of care and cultivation — a hunchback is a lovely thing. It’s been growing for years, being a drummer you just can’t help it. Are you guys looking forward to the Gum Ball Festival? Yeah, it should be great! I have never been to the Hunter Valley before so that will be really good, to hang out there, camp, and hopefully be a part of a really great festival.
Institute, which will increase mental health awareness? Yeah I did, but I didn’t know they had been running for six years though, cool. The more that organisations such as Life Line and Beyond Blue can get out there, be involved and help people become aware that they exist, the better. Sometimes when you are struggling, I guess we don’t think past our friends and family; there are places to go that can offer support and direction, or just a different way to look at a situation. The more awareness the better.
What made The Basics want to play Gum Ball Festival, seeing you guys are meant to be on hiatus? The money! All the way, the money! Nah, I mean they asked us to play, so we checked it out and thought that it looked like a really good festival, especially when they have billed us so high, we’re nearly headlining! It’s an honour, plus they did offer us a nice amount of money, so why would you say no?
So you guys plan on camping out for the two days and partying down with the Gum Ball festival-goers? I think we will be hanging out and partying on. It’s always good to hang around — we don’t just play our set and then nick off, that wouldn’t be any fun. I have been known to though, and I will tell you this, I walked out on Star Wars Episode Two, right in the middle at the movies! All my friends were shocked and never forgave me. I think now, whenever I show a disinterest they are like, ‘Watch out, he’s going to snap — Star Wars Two time.’
Were you aware that this is not only Gum Ball Festival’s sixth anniversary, but they are also being supported by The Black Dog
Is there anyone else at Gum Ball Festival that you guys are looking forward to playing with?
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I saw Tijuana Cartel recently at The Nano Folk Festival and they were great, they had the crowd dancing for hours. And Snowdroppers, I saw them live at Tamworth Country Musical festival and they were great in this after hours tiny little club. It should be really good, it’s an excellent bill. With The Basics on hiatus, should we be holding our breath for a new CD or some side projects? Well I’m trying to not hold my breath because while I am working on new stuff of my own, it is proving fairly laborious, or frustrating in terms of what I am achieving. So yes, one of the reasons why The Basics is on hiatus is because I feel like I’ve spent a fair bit of time working on my Gotye thing and I’m pretty keen to get back into it. I would really love to put a new Gotye record out this year but the more I get frustrated with my tracks, the more I get the feeling it might not make it out this
year. But fingers crossed. Is it your own personal bias holding you back? It’s a combination of things. Like I wrote a song recently from start to finish and that happened in one afternoon, and then other songs, like the one I am trying to mix right now, has taken days and days. The more I work on it, the more I doubt it. But then other songs I just go, ‘Yeah, that’s fucking great!’ What can we expect from the album? Normally by now I would have released a single or an MP3, but I would really love to put this next Gotye record out in world territory at the same time. So, what that means is I have to make a full album, have some video clips finished, have my art work and live show ready, print photos and have the whole plan already. The Basics play The Gum Ball Festival, Saturday May 29 at Belford, Hunter Valley.
house vs hurricane
HURRICANE SEASON You’ve just released your debut album, Perspectives, which was recorded with renowned producer Brian McTernan [Hot Water Music, Thrice, Darkest Hour]. How was this encounter? It was fucking amazing. Brian’s experience shines through in every conversation you have with him. He began making records when he was 18. He started out recording bands in his garage in New Jersey. Every time you’d speak to him, he would have a billion stories about different bands he’d recorded. His opinion definitely helped us when it came to putting the album together. In saying that, it was the most stressful six weeks of my whole life. I definitely didn’t realise how much work was involved in making a full length. I think we all learnt a lot about being a band. Yeah, it was incredible.
It is becoming increasingly normal for Australian bands to abandon their real lives for a few weeks, jump on a plane and venture overseas to record. Melbourne-based sextet House Vs Hurricane decided that this was the path they would pursue for their debut full-length, Perspectives. Vocalist Chris Dicker enlightens Nathaniel Try on some of the proceedings that transpired throughout their six week stint in America, both inside the studio and out.
Your album launch tour is taking place throughout March and April. You’ve got three awesome bands [Antagonist AD, Mary Jane Kelly and Skyway!] on the road with you. You guys must be stoked? Yeah, man. The good thing is too, we get to tour with Mary Jane Kelly again. We did a few tours with them last year. We love all of those dudes. They’ve got a record [Like There’s No Tomorrow…] which has just come out at the moment too and it’s amazing. We’re definitely keen to hit the road again. Antagonist AD and Skyway! are both doing good things too. So yes, we’re really stoked. Which of House Vs Hurricane’s achievements thus far are you most proud of? I think the fact that we went to the States to record and actually came back alive, I’m pretty proud of. It’s really hard to express just how full on that six weeks was. Culturally, Baltimore City is the complete opposite to Melbourne. It’s 80 per cent black [population] and there’s a lot of street gangs. The west side of Baltimore is a complete ghetto and there’s a rampant drug culture. Walking down the wrong block is incredibly dangerous. Did you encounter any difficult situations outside of the studio whilst you were over there? Yeah, man. Sam, our drummer, and I went to get a slab of beer because we had a day off. So we decided we’d get drunk. We were walking back with the beer, we were only about three blocks away from the studio and we saw two dudes having an argument. We were about five or six metres away from these guys, when one of them pulled a gun, looked at us and said, “Get the fuck out of here!” Obviously, we turned around straight away and were gone. Wow. That definitely sounds like a situation you wouldn’t find very often in Melbourne. Yeah, we also had a guy named Josh, who came into the studio to track rhythm guitars drive us through the ghetto. That was definitely an eye-opening experience. We had people yelling out “white devil” at us and sticking their fingers up whilst we were driving through. The way that those people live is just ridiculous. The poverty level compared to the poverty in Australia… there’s just no comparison. It was definitely an experience I won’t forget, seeing the way people live there.
Perspectives is out now through Shock Entertainment.
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Ceaselessly Converging Converge, the Massachusetts-based quartet, recently graced our shores for the second time in the ensemble’s 20-year existence. Kurt Ballou, guitarist and founding member, took some time out from his day job as an established music producer to chat with Nathaniel Try. The closing stages of March saw Converge craft their way around our country, almost exactly three years since the metallic hardcore innovators first perplexed Australian audiences. A few days prior to voyaging down under, resting at home on a chilly winter’s night, guitarist Kurt Ballou articulates what he is looking forward to about returning to Oz. “It’s a nice country, with nice weather and nice people. I’m mostly looking forward to playing shows, catching up with friends and getting away from the winter.” Since late 2009, the reputable quartet has been globe-trotting in support of their sixth studio full length, Axe to Fall, which was produced and engineered by Ballou in his home studio, God City. When implored for his feelings towards the album now that it’s been circulating for a few months, Ballou is reasonably nonchalant. “Oh, you know, whatever the latest Converge record is is always my favourite. It will probably continue to be, until we do another one,” says Ballou. Converge was formed in 1990 by Ballou and vocalist Jacob Bannon in Boston, Massachusetts. Though, it wasn’t until 2001 that the band truly made their mark. This was with the release of the genre-defining Jane
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Doe, an album which, with its ubiquitous diversity, stands today as one of the most revered metallic hardcore albums ever released. Ballou confesses, “Continually being creative as time marches on, is one of the more demanding aspects of generating new music.” As he resumes divulging, it becomes apparent that some components of what Ballou is discussing ultimately relate to life in general. “The older you get, you change at a slower pace and a lot of the things in your life become more established. Whereas, when you’re younger, things are a lot more tumultuous. Things were changing a lot faster, so you tend to have more obvious inspiration. As you get older, you have to dig a little deeper and maintain focus to continue to be creative,” Ballou enlightens. Advantageously for Converge, creativity is
bestowed in abundance on their three other studio full lengths since Jane Doe; You Fail Me (2004), No Heroes (2006) and, of course, last year’s Axe to Fall. These releases have each featured the line-up that the ensemble possess today, which was fortified at the conclusion of the nineties by Nate Newton (bass) and Ben Koller (drums). “The people who are in the band now have been playing together for eleven years. When the four of us came together, we shared a lot of musical ground. In some ways we’ve grown together, though at the same time, we’ve grown in completely different directions. It’s always a challenge still finding common ground, to make sure that what we’re doing is a cohesive vision of what Converge stands for,” states Ballou, contemplatively. Over the years, Converge’s steadfast style
of functioning and trademark sound has seen the foursome reach an unparalleled status in the metallic hardcore world. So how does Ballou feel about the pedestal the quartet has been placed upon? “I’d like to think that if Converge inspires someone, it’s not where we have directive inspiration on a specific riff. I’d like to think we’ve inspired someone’s approach on how to conduct themselves, in that we always strive to be innovative. That’s kind of like the inspiration we’ve drawn from bands like Bad Brains and Black Flag. We obviously don’t sound at all like either of those bands, but we’re very much inspired by their approach and the way they were both driven to create something new for themselves.” Axe to Fall is out now through Epitaph/Shock.
album reviews Feature albums
Sketching Cato Sketching Cato Independent
4/5 Dave Wells’ crooning voice marries well with Sketching Cato’s sexy, swaggering riffs and melodic hooks. There’s a dark, moody and consistent atmosphere to this rather diverse set of rock songs, particularly in the slow-burning ‘The Dark & The Light’. Every change in songwriting approach doesn’t seem contrived and allows this six-track EP to feel more epic than it should. ‘Changes’ is a robust opener, with shrill, echoed 80s guitar and deft, crashing delivery. Sketching Cato then shift gears to ‘Look Around’, a dreamy power-ballad with a stirring chorus of multi-layered vocals and instrumentation. The testosterone-fuelled ‘Loaded Gun’ is an instant treat, while the finely crafted closer, ‘Lost Cause’, makes an indelible last impression. With a clever tempo change, it’s the lingering hallmark of a group of musicians who have many impressive strings in their bow. For fans of: Franz Ferdinand. ~Nick Milligan
Alkaline Trio This Addiction
Brian Jonestown Massacre
Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?
3.5/5 After exploring musical boundaries on their last two albums, and straying somewhat a little too far from their punk rock roots – members of the Blood Pact fan club (Alkaline Trio’s loyal following) will be pleasantly surprised with the seventh studio offering from the Chicago-based three-piece. Whether it was the influence of producer Matt Elliston, who helped create some of their earlier and best recordings including, 2001’s From Here to Infirmary, or the fact that that this was the first offering on their own label and under their own control, This Addiction is undeniably an Alkaline Trio punk rock record – it’s raw, melodic and typically short (at a little over 30 minutes). From the political anthem ‘American Scream’, which was inspired by the true story of an American soldier committing suicide upon his return from duty, to the guitar-driven melodic sounds on ‘Lead Poisoning’, this is Alkaline Trio at their menacing best. For fans of: Brand New, Greenday (early material). ~Ryan Stuart
Melissa Auf DeR Maur Out Of Our Minds
Lostprophets The Betrayed Sony Music
4/5 The first half of Lostprophets’ fourth album is like repeated slaps in the face - you’re forced to pay attention. Tightly layered vocals and whirlwind rhythms produce an aural juggernaut of punk-tinged rock. ‘If It Wasn’t For Hate We’d Be Dead Right Now’ arrives with hard-rock grooves that echo of Stone Temple Pilots. ‘Dstryr/Dstryr’ is the album’s most brutal onslaught, showcasing the insane lunatic that singer Ian Watkins can embody when he allows himself. The Betrayed keeps its maniacal intensity with ‘It’s Not The End Of The World But I Can See It From Here’ and the album’s highlight ‘Next Stop Astro City’, but the arrival of pop-rock anthem ‘Where We Belong’ indicates that this record has a softer side. ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Felon’ is a simple-yet-catchy pop-rock tune that morphs into a throbbing, atmospheric piece of electronica, before the shiny guitar hook of ‘A Better Nothing’ carries you into the swingin’ ‘Streets Of Nowhere’. By now it’s clear that Watkins’ crazed vocals are taking a back-seat to cleaner delivery, but the songwriting is no less engaging. This is due in part to some simple, effective ideas, anthemic choruses and lashings of studio experimentation. Lostprophets purists may lament the Welsh five-pieces’ further shift toward polished, high-end production and very immediate, palatable songwriting, but fans of melodic hooks and seismic arrangements will be blown away by this grand and clever collection of pop-rock songs. For fans of: AFI, Green Day, Gyroscope, Good Charlotte, The Offspring. ~Nick Milligan
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4.5/5 Opening with a thudding, echoed heartbeat, Melissa Auf Der Maur’s second solo record is indeed a lush, experimental and enrapturing affair. As a bassist, her songs roll and frolic around the skeletons of grinding rhythms, like sensuous, flexing flesh. While she may have been viewed in the past as just the bassist from Hole and Smashing Pumpkins, Auf der Maur is a clever songwriter and deserves a bright, wide spotlight. Out Of Our Minds is full of constant surprises, like the slinking, gloomy pop of ‘Meet Me On The Dark Side’ and the duet with Glenn Danzig on ballad ‘Father’s Grave’. The dark, twisting arrangements seem to reach their tendrils up toward Auf der Maur’s sweet, strong vocals - but she’s always out of reach. Incorruptible. It’s a beautiful balance, highlighting her lyrical themes of the heart versus the mind. ~Nick Milligan
Black rebel motorcycle club Beat The Devil’s Tattoo Shock/Abstract Dragon
4/5 After a catalogue of mildly-received albums, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s latest offering, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo, looks like the answer to promise shown years ago. With psych-garage mastery, they present minimalist blues assaults, crunchy feedback noise and sweet wandering elegies of love and bad women. Shapiro’s stripped-back, stomping drumbeats perfectly scaffold the gritty wailing guitars and eerie slurs of frontmen Robert Levon Been and Peter Hayes. Their sound moves from menacing to reverent, and the album rolls on with an effortless but insistent momentum. Although at times this momentum stumbles on duller tracks such as ‘Long Way Down’ and ‘The Toll’, it’s impossible to deny the gritty, swamp-blues ambience surrounding better examples such as ‘War Machine’ and the title track. ~Rachel Urquhart
2/5 At their best Brian Jonestown Massacre are dishevelled and intoxicating, and seven minutes of swirling, drug-fucked repetition is welcome. On Who Killed Sgt. Pepper, BJM err on the side of tedious. ‘Tempo 116.7’ offers a mildly promising beginning, with a warped synth line sashaying between Eastern rhythms and robust bass. From this point, the record degenerates rapidly into a tepid wasteland of industrial hypno-rock. The creepily jaunty ‘Dekta! Dekta! Dekta!’ provides minor respite from the dirge and jackhammer smack of cuts like ‘Let’s Go Fucking Mental’ and ‘The One’, but it’s not enough to lift Sgt. Pepper above the din of mediocrity. For a band who built a career around being provocative, it seems a cruel irony to have made such an unremarkable record. ~Lucy Hearn
John Butler Trio April Uprising Jarrah/MGM
4/5 With a new lineup featuring Nicky Bomba on drums and Byron Luiters on bass, the John Butler Trio are set to release their latest opus. Fans will be happy to know that success hasn’t softened this ARIA award-winning band. April Uprising is chock-full of infectiously catchy songs with bold, anti-establishment statements. Unless you listen for it, you would never guess that the line, “These men who they say we should follow... how can we respect puppet regimes we do not elect?” was in the very danceable and upbeat second track, ‘One Way Road’. Other tracks, like ‘Revolution’, ‘Don’t Wanna See Your Face’, and ‘Johnny’s Gone’ follow this Bruce Springsteen-style of ‘politics in a lollipop’ songwriting. Apparently the album was cut from 22 to 15 tracks, but even at this length the album does feel long. As a result, it loses some of its intensity toward the end. Cutting two or three more tracks might have increased the album’s potency and turned it from an uprising into a full blown revolution. ~Andrew Chesham
Coheed and Cambria Year of the Black Rainbow Roadrunner
4.5/5 As one of the most epic and genius rock bands of the modern era, Coheed and Cambria garner high expectations. But being as technically accomplished as singer/visionary Claudio Sanchez and his brothers-in-arms always are, it’s no surprise that they deliver on album number five. For the hardcore fans: Year Of The Black Rainbow is the prequel to The Armory Wars saga (the grandiose narrative that Sanchez has been writing throughout all of their albums) and focuses on the parental figures, Coheed and Cambria. Musically, it’s harder hitting and edgier than their previous No World For Tomorrow, which was more a pop-rock album disguised under heavy metal instrumentation. This new release visits the sound of their earlier, more challenging and progressive material, but isn’t void of jackhammer melodies and brutal hooks. Sanchez’s vocal delivery feels more raw and overall, the sound is bolstered by the
drumming of Chris Pennie (ex-Dillenger Escape Plan) - even though Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins did a fine job on drums for No World For Tomorrow. The aching ballad ‘Pearl Of The Stars’ is a sentimental highlight, as is the soaring ‘Here We Are Juggernaut’. But they’re just two of the amazing facets in this new chapter. For fans of: The Mars Volta, Queen, Fall Of Troy, Black Sabbath, Rush. ~Nick Milligan
Gorillaz Plastic Beach Virgin/Parlophone
4/5 That’s right, your favourite off-beat musical simians are back – the third studio album by English virtual band Gorillaz is perhaps their most ambitious yet, featuring a diverse collection of songs helmed by an even more diverse collection of guest artists. A smooth trip hop collaboration with Snoop Dogg and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, for example, is followed seamlessly by an instrumental display of the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music; there’s a bizarre eclecticism here that really works. It’s a little denser than their previous releases, and you may not find some tracks as immediately accessible as others, but ultimately this is an accomplished and rewarding album. Make sure to check out ‘Superfast Jellyfish’, a funky commercial jingle that demonstrates the absurdity of modern consumerism. ~Hugh Milligan
HIM Screamworks : Love in Theory and Practice Warner
4/5 HIM have always been a bit of an enigma. Kept at arms length by the metal community, yet too off-beat for Australian radio, they’ve still been able to find a large and indeed, rabid fan base here. With this, their seventh studio album, they’re set to win plenty more. Marking Ville Valo’s first release after kicking alcohol two years ago, the dark one has suffered all manner of trials since 2007’s Venus Doom. Despite this, Screamworks… is a faster, almost more up-beat affair by comparison – if up-beat was a term you could ever use for HIM. Lyrically, Ville’s singing of love in the now, not the love he’s lost, which is a big change. They’ve also tried a few new musical styles that will attract new fans, without alienating their devoted, depressed army. For fans of: Type O Negative, Dommin and Amorphis. ~Ben Hoskings
Hot Chip One Life Stand Warner
3.5/5 London lads, Hot Chip, sighted Susan Boyle as an influence for their fourth studio album, One Life Stand. Don’t let that frighten you. The first single and title track of this record is a tasty and catchy piece of work held together by the driving percussion, disco guitar grooves, and the well-meshing voices of Joe Goddard and Alexis Taylor. The piano and snare drum verses contrasted with the sparse, string-laden choruses in ‘Hand Me Down Your Love’ accentuate the exceptional songwriting ability of this band. The beats and melodic
album reviews album of the month
constructions on this album are clearly well thought out. No doubt, but well deservedly, One Life Stand will be overplayed club fodder before too long. For fans of: The Presets, Midnight Juggernauts, Cut Copy. ~Nick Bielby
Jaywalker The Light and Shade JM Recordings/MGM
3/5 The Light and Shade is the debut album from Central Coast acoustic rockers Jaywalker. Recorded in Brisbane with producer Stuart Stuart, whose resume includes such acts as pop divas The Veronicas and Brisbane alternative rock quartet Small Mercies, this album’s clean and tight pop production shines through. Tracks ‘Lost in London’ and ‘Hard Times’ set the precedent for the album, centred around singer/ songwriter Jason Hicks’ award winning vocals, accompanied by a tight band with a tremendous pop sensibility. The atmospheric crescendo of ‘Crash and Burn’ provides the perfect end to the album with its minimalistic approach climaxing in an emotive guitarhazed conclusion fit for a season finale of Grey’s Anatomy. The band’s debut album isn’t a musical revolution, rather a radio-friendly collection in the vein of Thristy Merc or Snow Patrol. After several years on the NSW music scene, this acoustic pop gem could prove to be the catalyst of success for the band, with the album already picked up by Sanity’s in-store music department. ~Jordan Watton
Lil Wayne Rebirth Cash Money/Universal
1/5 It’s a rare occasion that it is this difficult to find something positive to say about an album. Rebirth is a challenging listen and offers moments of redemption, but far too few to save it. Over production is the real issue here. The first single, ‘Prom Queen’, like many other songs on the album, suffers from overuse of auto tune and the music is reminiscent of the bland Nu Metal bands of the late Nineties and early Naughties. The more promising moments throughout this set come when Lil Wayne reverts back to his hip-hop roots while a guest vocalist sings the melodic hooks. In the end, this album is an epic and angry fail from an artist that could well have delivered better. For fans of: Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Eminem. ~Nick Bielby
Jason Lowe Grey Cap Times ABC
4/5 The rustic restlessness of landscapes seems to live and breath in Jason Lowe’s music. For someone so young, he certainly embodies a wise wanderer’s spirit. The looseness of the arrangements flood these folk songs with a dreamy quality, giving the impression of someone that is looking for somewhere to lay their soul. But the haze of the music is anchored by some clear personal reflections about love, distance and nature. Inspired by the autobiography of Woody Guthrie, Lowe travelled around America before the making of this record. As a result, the songs feel well-travelled - as though they’ve absorbed more than just the four walls of a musician’s bedroom. While the record isn’t particularly diverse in its
arrangements and production, it is an experience that is engaging from beginning to end. It’s as if you’re floating down a long river - the shape of the shore changes, but the current rolls at the same pace. Getting on the water is the easy part, but getting off is a lot more difficult. The most beautiful things about Grey Cap Times are the subtle moments, where Lowe’s melodies find a small inflection that catches you in the gut. Whether it’s the rise of a note in his choruses or a dark drop in one of his guitar’s chords, Lowe understands what is required to captivate. For fans of: Bob Dylan, David Gray, Neil Young, Damien Rice. ~Nick Milligan
MM9 The Air Between red recordings/mgm
4/5 Sydney-based MM9 have been relentlessly gigging around the country over the last few years, supporting tons of big-name international acts. Known for their energetic live performances, this constant touring has allowed them to refine their infectious electro-rock style in front of a burgeoning fan base. Their MySpace page boasts 250,000 hits! The Air Between sees a band that has honed their craft substantially, helped by a solid mix from Mike Barbiero (G’N’R, Metallica, Anthrax). They’re a strange beast, effortlessly fusing heavy riffs, electronic elements and completely danceable rhythms. Dan Sutherland’s vocals are reminiscent of M. Doughty from Soul Coughing and the dude from the Presets at different times, with plenty of angsty stuff filling in the bulk. The Air Between is a seriously catchy release from one of Australia’s most impressive live acts. For fans of: Orgy, Pitchshifter, Good Charlotte. ~Ben Hoskings
otouto Pip Inertia/Two Bright Lakes
3.5/5 This is the rather curious debut for Melbourne trio Otouto, a quirky, minimalist art pop affair driven by ethereal melodies and sparing arrangements. Sisters Hazel and Martha Brown make a fine vocal combination, whether in unison or fragile harmony, but there’s often very little instrumental undertow to keep them anchored, and the album thus becomes a little aimless and static. There are exceptions to this, most notably the single ‘Astronauts’ which maintains an energetic dissonance and sardonic wit, but subsequent tracks never quite manage to capture the same musical vitality. Nevertheless, this is a unique outfit with plenty of potential, and Pip is definitely worth a listen. For Fans Of: The Brunettes, Tess Henderson. ~Hugh Milligan
Fionn Regan The Shadow of the Empire Speak n Spell
4/5 On a list of annoying rock clichés, “folk troubadour goes electric” sits fairly near the top. So the knee-jerk reaction to Fionn Regan’s plugged-in sophomore LP, The Shadow Of An Empire, is to groan and roll your eyes. But that would be the wrong reaction. The centre piece of ...Empire, as with his debut The
Hoodoo Gurus Purity of Essence Sony Music
4/5 The title of the Hoodoo Gurus’ ninth studio record is perfect for two reasons. The first, is that the purity of the Gurus’ essence is as omniscient throughout this album as it has been in their back catalogue. It’s ever-present, even when singer Dave Faulkner leads his legendary band through off-kilter genre shifts. The Gurus always sound quintessentially like themselves. The second reason, is that Purity Of Essence exemplifies their tongue-in-cheek humour. As you listen to these sixteen songs that are all distinctly different in influence, the record’s title becomes deliciously ironic. From the galloping open chords of debut single and opener ‘Crackin’ Up’, the Hoodoo Gurus demonstrate that they’re no shrinking violets. Dave Faulkner’s lyrics and vocal delivery are as venomous and satirical as ever and Brad Shepherd’s guitar flourishes haven’t lost their rollicking charm. As you might expect from the Gurus, this latest album is a bubbling melting pot of musical styles, which they stir with delight: surf rock, soul, blues, Detroit punk - they’re all there. But a big surprise is ‘Evening Shade’, a slow-burning ballad that delivers one of the biggest emotional punches of their career. It’s an instant highlight and it’s shadow-drenched atmosphere feels immediately different to everything we’ve ever heard from this enduring four-piece. Purity Of Essence finishes with the soaring epic ‘The Stars Look Down’, which is Faulkner’s rumination on death, following the passing of his father. It’s hard not to be moved when the singer declares in a soulful wail, ‘I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die.’ It instils in the listener a reassurance that if there’s breath in the Hoodoo Gurus’ lungs, they’ll keep releasing great rock music. ~Nick Milligan
End of History, are Regan’s powerful lyrics. “Let me be your hairpin/Little buttercup underneath your chin” he sings on ‘Coat Hook’. Regan doesn’t have to talk dirty for his songs to smack of the sordid. ‘Catacombs’ is equally potent with its chorus: “Let’s take it outside/ the kids are sleeping/I’vll pay you to/do me some damage”. In place of the mellifluous, finger-picked folk of ...History, The Shadow Of An Empire has yelping, punch-in-the-guts country and rock n’ roll. Regan’s voice holds forth in the more intense setting, and his guitar chops will slap you ‘round the face. This is well-trodden ground, but Regan is traversing it masterfully. ~Lucy Hearn
Suckers Suckers EP Spunk/EMI
3.5/5 Given that this six track EP by Brooklyn four-piece Suckers, is produced by Yeasayer’s Anand Wilder, you might just get an idea what Suckers are all about. Although while the comparisons to the
aforementioned band and Vampire Weekend may be warranted to a degree, there is something a little bit more accessible going on here – especially with ‘It Gets Your Body Movin’, with its singalong bravado and swooping crescendos. There is a lot going on with this EP – from flute, trills, horn blasts, synth stabs and beyond, yet it is presented in such a way that it never feels too ‘orchestrated’. There is a definite sense of ‘looseness’ (albeit extremely well constructed) across these six songs – not least the 80s retro ‘Beach Queen’ - with some extremely fine-tuned pop sensibilities and lush melodies providing the anchor. Even when it borders on the child-like, with the lazy ‘Easy Chairs’ which gives more than a casual nod to Talking Heads’ impresario David Byrne. You get the idea that these guys have some grandiose vision with their music and this EP provides a satisfying glimpse into what looks to be a more than interesting full length ~Stephen Bisset
The Tealeaves The Tealeaves Vitamin
4/5 The Tealeaves are a perfect metaphor, and suiting name, for this gorgeous home-grown collaboration. Not unlike a cup of tea, the group’s music is calming yet uplifting, subtle yet sweet, and an outstanding example of Australia’s strengthening folk-revival movement. From the first few seconds of ‘Barefoot and Beautiful’, the opening track on this charming self-titled debut, one is completely enthralled. The lyrics are thoughtful and the instrumentals: soft, chilled and sometimes kooky – create a beautiful sense of fluency as the record softly unfolds. Tracks such as ‘Travelling Far’ are effectively upbeat, while the more poignant ‘I Come Undone’ is completely heart-wrenching – drawing comparisons to the likes of Damien Rice and David Gray. The sleepily melodic ‘Lullaby’, in contrast, offers a delicate example of female folk. While this album offers nothing overtly unique, it is an accomplished addition to the folk genre and will leave one yearning to embrace their barefoot dancing, floral-wearing indie-side. For fans of: Angus and Julia Stone, Midlake, Simon and Garfunkel. ~Lee Tobin
Vaudeville City on the Brink Independent
4/5 If you have never heard of Vaudeville before City on the Brink, it’s a great place to start. The Newcastle based three piece have delivered their most poignant and driven work so far. They carry the electro alternative rock sound that they are best known for to a whole new level on this EP. The opener, ‘This Dimension’, is a strong pop rock style track which gives the listener a taste of what they are in for. The stand out track is ‘Ordinary Boy’ in which we really get to hear the experimental styles that Vaudeville can create. It’s a hard hitting and fast-paced track beginning with a beautiful electro guitar introduction that leads into a flawless rock anthem - it’s this song that takes them to the next level as rock musicians. Reminiscent of some of the Arctic Monkey’s or Silverchair’s early work City on the Brink is a well crafted and enjoyable rock sound – definitely worth checking out. ~Mark henderson
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NEWCASTLE Don’t forget — Live & Local every Wednesday night 3-4 April Diesel
Justin Townes Earle
10 April Sara Storer 15 April Rock trivia 16 April Steve Prestwich
17 April Damien Leith 18 April Spy Vs Spy 20 April The Break 3 parts Midnight Oil, 1 part Violent Femmes 21 April Bob Brozman 23 April Paul Greene 25 April 1927 29 April The Black Sorrows 30 April Tower of Power 1-2 May Diesel 6 May
Variety Club Bash Fundraiser
Grace Knight and Jonathon Welch
11-12 May Jeff Martin
14 May Daryl Braithwaite 15 May Catherine Britt 16 May Bobby Flynn 21 May The Flood 22 May Dragon 26 May Sheila E, Ricky Peterson w/ The Peterson Brothers 28 May Harry Manx 29 May Taxi Ride 30 May Mr Percival 3,9 June Tim Finn
For bookings and information, phone (02) 4956 2066 or visit lizottes.com.au
r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 4 5 — a p r i l 2 0 1 0
Thursday, April 1 Byron Bay Bluesfest Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle As I Lay Dying + The Storm Picturesque + Dropsaw Enmore Theatre, Sydney Buddy Guy + Taj Mahal Erina Leagues Club Summerland Kings Gener8r, Eastlakes Salvation Army Centre Ivoryline + Six and Sevens + Halyard + A Nighttime Skyway + Bye Bye Birdy Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland DJ Jonathan Hamilton Station Hotel, Newcastle Mind Over Matter + Eleqour + Scarlet City Jack’s Bar, Erina Jacob Pearson Kincumber Youth Centre Mind Priorities + Few and Far Between + Random Ride + Sky Squadron Lizotte’s, Kincumber Loren Kate Northern Star Hotel, Hamilton Grayson + Matt Purcell The Factory, Sydney Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Zoe K and the Lost Souls
Friday, April 2 Byron Bay Bluesfest Cambridge Hotel, Red Bar Mojo’s Lab Newcastle Panthers Bluejuice Station Hotel, Kurri Kurri Mark Cashin Woy Woy Leagues Club Blues Brother Revival
Saturday, April 3 Bateau Bay Hotel Elisa Kate barker Beach Hotel Broadway Mile Byron Bay Bluesfest Club Tuggerah Kotadama Crowne Plaze, Terrigal Jenny Marie lang Doyalson RSL Bluejuice Hamilton Station Hotel, Newcastle Bright Yellow + Spew Ya Guts Up + Crystal Cove Hope Estate, Hunter Valley Carole King + James Taylor
Lizotte’s, Kincumber Mental As Anything + Dexter Morph Lizotte’s, Lambton Diesel Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Dave and the Demons
Sunday, April 4 Budgewoi Hotel Gail Page Byron Bay Bluesfest Harrigans Irish Pub, Pokolbin John Deer Lizotte’s, Kincumber Kim Cannon + Andy Sorensen Lizotte’s, Lambton Diesel Prince of Wales Hotel, Merewether Hot Rock Buns w/ Little Blak Dress + Empire Burlesque + Mornings Eleven + Mark Wells + DJ Ules View Factory, Newcastle Kid Mince + The Scorcher + Chuan Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Gold Cadillac
Monday, April 5 Byron Bay Bluesfest Catherine Hill Bay Hotel Mark Cashin Chilli Lounge, Wyong Buried In Verona + Kill Crotty + In The Wake Enmore Theatre, Sydney Gypsy Kings Sydney Opera House The Swell Season
Thursday, April 8 Chilli Lounge, Wyong Ruins of an Empire + Invision + Eternal Rest Lass O’Gowrie Hotel, Newcastle Urban Freeflow Lizotte’s, Kincumber Bex Marshall Lizotte’s, Lambton Justin Townes Earle + Jason Isbell Queens Wharf Brewery, Newcastle The Wireflys + Emily Rose Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Tall Poppy Project
Friday, April 9 Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Illy + M-Phazes Chilli Lounge, Wyong My City Screams + Overthrown + The Driftwood Theory Erina Leagues Club Chris Byrne Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland Powerage Hamilton Station Hotel, Newcastle One Vital Word + Burning Fiction + Judged By You + I The Hunter Kantara House, Green Point Watussi Lizotte’s, Kincumber Sara Storer + Brooke Harvey Lizotte’s, Lambton Nick Saxon + James Chatburn + Dan March Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Milestones
Tuesday, April 6 Metro Theatre, Sydney MGMT Watussi
Wednesday, April 7 Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Local Resident Failure + The Decline + Wiseheimer Fanny’s Niteclub DJ Naiki + DJ Ules + MC Sam Dough + DJ Essjay Lizotte’s, Kincumber Andrew McCall + Smokey Denn Lizotte’s, Lambton The Lucky Wonders + Amy Vee Newcastle Entertainment Centre Rockwiz Sydney Entertainment Centre Lady Gaga View Factory, Newcastle Centresection + Broadway Mile
Saturday, April 10 Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Watussi + DJ Surian + DJ Lazycat CBD Hotel, newcastle Wax Motif Chilli Lounge, Wyong Imperial + Mistaken + Short Notice Lizotte’s, Lambton Sara Storer + Brooke Harvey Mayfield Ex-Services Club The Bad and the Ugly The Loft, Newcastle Here Come The Birds + Enemy Of Average + K-Square + Capoeira + Control Disorder + There Goes The City + Allay the Sea + The Pedantics + Pat James + Liam Green
UNSW Roundhouse New Found Glory + Saosin + Hit The Lights Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Jezabels Party
View Factory, Newcastle Kieran Glasgow Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle The Dennis Boys
Sunday, April 11
Sunday, April 18
CBD Hotel, Newcastle Little Blak Dress Civic Theatre, Newcastle Roger Hodsgon + 10cc Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Ghost Road
Catherine Hill bay Hotel Eye On You Lizotte’s, Lambton Spy Vs Spy Oasis Youth Centre Mark My Words + Persist + I The Hunter Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Steve Edmonds
Tuesday, April 13 Civic Theatre, Newcastle Tom Green Lizotte’s, Kincumber Lucy Thorne Manning Bar, Sydney The Mountain Goats + Catherine Traicos
Tuesday, April 20
Wednesday, April 14
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle The Shake Up + Of The Red Sea + Stars of Addiction Lizotte’s, Lambton Bob Brozman Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Mornings Eleven + Little Blak Dress
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle The Lazys + The Foreign Objects Hamilton Station Hotel, Newcastle Abdoujaparov + Mesa Cosa Lass O’Gowrie Hotel, Newcastle The Scrapes + Lander Configurations Lizotte’s, Lambton Liv Gritten + Dan Conway + Thomas Lawson + Morpeth Jugbusters Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Jungal
Thursday, April 15
Sunday, April 25
Lizotte’s, Lambton The Break
Wednesday, April 21
Thursday, April 22 Chilli Lounge, Wyong Dirty York + Oursane + The Able Archers Lizotte’s, Kincumber Paul Greene + Penny and the Mystics Lizotte’s, Lambton The Wishing Well
Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland Hussy Hicks Lizotte’s, Kincumber Spy Vs Spy Lizotte’s, Lambton Rock Trivia Newcastle Entertainment Centre Kelly Clarkson Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Like Alaska
Friday, April 16
Friday, April 23
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle The Vasco Era Hamilton Station Hotel, Newcastle The Laurels + Elephant Lizotte’s, Kincumber Deni Hines Lizotte’s, Lambton Steve Prestwich Mayfield Ex-Services Club The Fake Four Northern Star Hotel, Hamilton Monique Brumby CD launch Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Johnny Green’s Blues Cowboys
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Mojo Juju and the Snake Oil Merchants + Kira Puru & The Very Geordie Malones + The Snowdroppers Chilli Lounge, Wyong The Exit Lights + The Sacred Truth + Villain Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland Dirty York + The Fireman Kantara House, Green Point Afro Moses Lizotte’s, Kincumber Bob Brozman Lizotte’s, Lambton Paul Greene + Penny and the Mystics Mayfield Ex-Services Club The Urge Newcastle Panthers Short Stack Northern Star Hotel, Hamilton Cornstalk + Let The Cat Out Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Milestones
Saturday, April 17 Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford Crusty Demons Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle The Tunstalls Chilli Lounge, Wyong Empirical + Invasion + I Am The Agent + Katabais Enmore Theatre, Sydney Stereophonics Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland Direct Influence Lass O’Gowrie Hotel, Newcastle Little Blak Dress Lizotte’s, Kincumber Steve Prestwich Lizotte’s, Lambton Damien Leith Mayfield Ex-Services Club Kick
Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland Zoe K Lass O’Gowrie Hotel, Newcastle Sketching Cato + Sarakula + Go no Go Lizotte’s, Kincumber 1927 + James Chatburn Lizotte’s, Lambton Swanee + Alan Barnes Mayfield Ex-Services Club Dirty Love Telarah Bowling Club Retaliate w/ Mischling + Vaudeville + Order of the Dragon + Broadway Mile + Stonehawk + Enemy of Average + Villain + Shamballa + South Willow + Court and Club Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle The McNastys
Saturday, April 24 Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Of The Red Sea + Oh Ye Denver Birds + Long Island Sound + Yae!tiger CBD Hotel, newcastle Beni Cessnock Workers Club The McClymonts Coast Hotel, Budgewoi Mark Cashin and the Lil Hussys Gateshead Indoor Sportsworld Helter Smelter Roller Derby Bout
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Chuck Ragan + Frank Turner + Tim Barry+ Ben Nichols Lizotte’s, Kincumber Swanee + Alan Barnes Lizotte’s, Lambton 1927 + James Chatburn Sydney Entertainment Centre Spandau Ballet + Tears For Fears Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Johnny Green’s Blues Cowboys
CENTRAL COAST Don’t forget — Live & Local every Wednesday night 3 April
Mental As Anything
15 April Spy Vs Spy 16 April Deni Hines 17 April Steve Prestwich
23 April Bob Brozman (USA) 24 April 1927 28 April Eric Bogle 1-2 May The Black Sorrows
Tuesday, April 27 Civic Theatre, Newcastle Ross Noble Sydney Opera House Regina Specter
3-4 May Jeff Martin
Wednesday, April 28
7 May 8 May
Fanny’s Niteclub Universal w/ The S#!T Laycock Street Theatre, Gosford Ross Noble Lizotte’s, Kincumber Eric Bogle Lizotte’s, Lambton Nate Armsberry + Brooke Harvey + Croc + Emerson Newcastle Panthers Henry Rollins Sydney Opera House Regina Spector
Thursday, April 29 Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Bacardi Band Search Blush Night Club, Gosford Amy Meredith + Tonight Alive Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland Claude Hay Lizotte’s, Lambton Black Sorrows + Mark Wells Newcastle Entertainment Centre Deep Purple Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Heart Attack and Vine
Don Walker Variety Club Bash Fundraiser Mother’s Day Lunch with Kerri Garside Trio
14 May 13 May 16 May 21 May 22 May
Catherine Britt Bobby Flynn Daryl Braithwaite Dragon The Flood
27 May Harry Manx
28 May Taxi Ride 29 May Mr Percival 4,8 June Tim Finn
Friday, April 30 Belmont 16ft Sailing Club The McClymonts Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Street Warriors single launch Chilli Lounge, Wyong Test Group Z + The Patient Mile + Enemy Of Average Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland Carra Hamilton Station Hotel, Newcastle Vamp + Heartattack and Vine + The Dread Sky Lizotte’s, Lambton Tower Of Power Wickham Park Hotel, Newcastle Chase The Sun + Claude Hay
For bookings and information, phone (02) 4368 2017 or visit lizottes.com.au
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MELISSA AU F D ER MAUR
Wild at Heart While her legion of admirers may have discovered her as a member of Hole and Smashing Pumpkins, Melissa Auf der Maur has soared from the coccoon as a solo artist. Her second solo record, Out Of Our Minds, is a three-dimensional release — an album with an accompanying half-hour fantasy film and comic book. Nick Milligan speaks with Auf der Maur about the evolution of this project. Hello, Melissa. Nick! Nick is my father’s name. So it is. Yeah, Nick Auf der Maur. He is the omnipresent man of my life. He was a journalist and politician wasn’t he? Yeah, journalist gone wild. Politician to represent the voice of the people. Unfortunately he died 12 years ago this year. But he lives on incredibly strong in my city and in my life. I even have a little guest room in my house called ‘The Nick Room’ [laughs]. He had a lot of great framed photos and posters and there’s this amazing painting someone once made of his name. It’s above the guest bed and it’s this big ‘Nick’ painting composed of all these conflicting flags, like the old Russian flag mixed with the Italian flag. All these different political influences that he had. Have you had many opportunities to perform your new material live? I have, it’s great. Last year I knew, even though I didn’t know how, that I would be releasing this project one way or the other. In North America I’m releasing it myself on my own label, but internationally with Roadrunner. I [performed at] a Scandinavian weekend last year, just to test out the new material. And to also test out playing the film — the fantasy film is this perfect opening act. It builds into the show, and that’s been really great. I’m playing SXSW, the Austin music festival, with Motorhead and Voivod and I’m very excited [laughs]. The one thing that happened, after having a five year journey with the record and it expanding into this conceptual art project — and also becoming an independent business woman 26
r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 4 5 — a p r i l 2 0 1 0
and a creative survivalist in the changing technology era — is my [renewed] love of the bass. The simple relationship between me and the bass has begun again. After doing all these other things for this whole epic chapter — quite literally I’ve been self-financing and producing this — my mind for the first time was split. I always lived in fantasy/creative land, but in the last two years I became half manager/secretary as well. I did that to protect the art, but what I didn’t realise I was in some ways doing, was to free it on a much bigger level than just creative freedom. The relationship to music changed as I began to work my fucking ass off on the boring stuff. What’s interesting is now, for the past year when I’ve played a show, it’s felt like a new ball game. A new relationship. It makes me wonder if musicians do all these things just to reinvent the love of music. To kick start your loverelationship again. Is it true that the album was finished in 2007? No, a version of the album [was finished] when I was making it for Capitol Records. It was basically prepared to be mixed, right when everyone at Capitol Records was fired in one day. Everyone that had been working on the record. Therefore, there was a version and it has transformed since then. There was a moment where I was booking mixing time and talking about the release date, then the next thing I know, every one of those nice people — and they were actually quite supportive, I really did like my relationship with Capitol — they were all fired in one fell swoop. That’s when my real experiment and journey began. How does the released version of Out Of Our Minds compare to the one that was nearly released with Capitol?
I’d say, musically more diverse and I took a more adventurous approach during the song edits. Over the course of four years I basically had far more than 12 songs. I had like, 25 songs. When I started really narrowing it down, I made a conscious decision to go on these tangents, versus putting the songs that sounded similar together. The refining of the edits and the top layers and allowing it to be a little bit more of a journey. I put the record on pause for a full, solid year after that thing happened with Capitol. Not only was there legal issues that had to be sorted, but in order to save my heart I turned away from music for a moment. That’s when I began to dive into this fantasy film. The making of the fantasy film and working in a different language and using different tools to tell stories and relay emotions, and working with different types of creators like technicians and artists, it really unleashed and opened up a lot. The atmosphere which we built in the film influenced a lot, [because] when I turned back to the record I wanted to create more of that, if that was possible. Is there a narrative in Out Of Our Minds? Not a literal one, but definitely thematic. The gateway into the concept is the chorus of ‘Out Of Our Minds’. “Travel out of our minds, into our hearts standing by.” The way that song came out of me and came to be, it made it clear that it was the heart of the album. I was searching for the concept and the core of the record and that was clearly it, when it was written. It was a wave, it just fell out. Some songs, that are equally important, are laborious. You just keep chiselling. The theme is obviously quite ancient, you know, the struggle between the mind and the heart. Leaving the mind behind in order to find the emotion. It’s the feminine, the masculine, the spiritual, the physical. The theme is broad and yes, all the songs do orbit around it. But the theme is broad enough that it shouldn’t be literal. The film and the comic book, which is a reflection of the film, is literally inspired by ‘Out Of Our Minds’ the song, but most of this is the language of dreams, which is why it isn’t literal. It’s more playing within symbols and feelings, rather than storylines — although there is a story. But it’s more about experiencing the music.
The film took on a life of its own when it was invited to premiere at Sundance last year, and since then its gone from fantasy film to fine art. It’s interesting to see that it’s embraced by all, because it’s this grey area between experimental film, very high-end language of cinema — but then it’s also fantasy, so it caters to anyone that loves fantasy. Because it’s more vague, it confuses — in a good way. Being a bass player, do you write your songs on bass? One of the great things that happened on this record is that I actually allowed myself that privilege. Being a bass player, it’s no fun to play without a drummer. It really is boring to play at home without a drummer. So the majority of my songs, and all of my first record, was written on a guitar with my four-track and my simple power chords, allowing me to get more melody and build more traditional songs. On this album I really wanted to experiment a bit further with my songwriting and see what would happen if I wrote on the bass. ‘Out Of Our Minds’ was written with a drummer in a room and that’s a telling sign that I should probably be hanging out with drummers more often. I love drummers more than anything, but I don’t have one living in my house [laughs]. I wish I did! The drummers on my record are very, very key. That’s the first I think about. The top layers of glassy guitar are a secondary invitation. The opening track ‘Heartbeat’… actually it’s called ‘The Hunt’. It was called ‘Heartbeat’ because it was a jam on a heartbeat. I had an hour in the studio with one of my favourite drummers, John Stanier, that played on my first record. I knew I wanted that to be the opening of the album, because I already knew there would be this concept of a heart dragging us out of our minds. Now my bass [playing] is better than ever, in terms of being a good friend to me. I feel like it’s this cosy, old... [sighs]. It’s so nice.
Well anyone that can jam with John Stanier, and keep up with him, can’t be too bad... [laughs] Or Jimmy Chamberlin, for that matter! Out Of Our Minds is out now through Roadrunner.
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j o h n m aya l l
ELECTRIC BLUES The John Mayall Interview If there were a hierarchy in blues music, 77 year-old John Mayall would most certainly be in its upper echelons. His band, The Bluesbreakers, included young musicians like Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood, who would go on to form acts like Cream and Fleetwood Mac. Nick Milligan speaks with Mayall from his home in Los Angeles. You’ve been to Australia a number of times over the years. What are your fondest memories of your trips here? I love the people and I love the weather, particularly. It’s very like LA in that respect, so every time we’ve been to Australia we’ve found the reception to the music really impressive. It’s probably because we’re such a long way apart in the world and it’s such a good feeling when we get there. You’ve been a lover of the blues since you were an early teenager in the late 1940s. What is it about the style that’s kept you so passionate about it over the years? I’ve got my own style, basically. I just try and transmit that through the music and include the audience with it. I must be doing something right after all these years [chuckles]. What would you say are the defining aspects of your approach to the blues? Blues is a personal music and traditionally a blues singer sings about things that are on his mind and his experiences in life and what’s going on around him. They’re personal stories and that’s what sets it apart from other styles of music. That’s one of the main reasons blues has endured for so long and people can identify with human experiences. You’ve been writing lyrics for over fifty years now. Have any of the words you’ve written changed in meaning for you? When I listen to the songs, the main thing that occurs to me is that it brings back the things that motivated the songs or the people the songs were about. For that reason, to me, they’re a kind of musical diary of my life. It’s a very good feeling to revisit some of those things
and remember who I was, who I was with and what I was doing at that particular time. They’re all very precious.
“…it brings back the
Do you ever go back and listen those early albums that you made in the mid-sixties? Yeah. Not consciously, but they do crop up — I hear them on the radio or in the course of doing interviews. Songs I haven’t heard for a little while get chosen as illustrations and it’s always very refreshing to revisit them.
the songs or the people
You would have seen some significant changes in recording technology since you started making records. Have you always embraced new technology or are those original methods intrinsic to the sound of the blues? I don’t believe that it really has a great deal to do with it. It was a lot more challenging I suppose to record the early albums on a four-track machine. Now, of course, you’ve got limitless possibilities in technology to add as many tracks as you want. But it still all comes down to the music and as long as you can capture that spontaneity and the creativity of the musicians, the technology has very little to do with it.
diary of my life.”
Has your songwriting process changed a lot since the sixties? I think it’s pretty much the same. Things happen to me that will trigger off a cue for a story in a song. You have a story or an event, or whatever it’s going to be about. You have that for your lyrics, then you choose music that will support that mood. Those two things come together and bang, you’ve got a song. Do you get very restless if you’re not writing or performing? No, it’s the complete opposite really. I never
things that motivated
the songs were about. For that reason, to me, they’re a kind of musical
play anything if I’m at home. I have my home life, then when I go on the road I get together with the musicians and it’s all totally fresh. Obviously a long line of amazing musicians have been in the Bluesbreakers over the years. Eric Clapton famously said that it was a “school” for young blues players. What do you feel would have been the greatest lessons that players took away from working with you? Well, I think the main thing is the experience of having the freedom to explore what they’re capable of within the structure of one of my bands. Not just in the Bluesbreakers, but in all the other bands I’ve had with jazz musicians and rock musicians. Now the Bluesbreakers are no more. It’s a new crop of musicians under my own name. We all learn from each other. I supply the environment for us to create together. Are you still learning? I think learning is something that you’re not even conscious of. I don’t think in those terms when I’m on stage playing with people. You let the music, the improvisation and the interplay take over and it automatically drives you into areas
that you hadn’t thought of before. Every night is an enjoyable outing, where you’re finding new little things to do — little riffs, or whatever. Was it ever difficult to see amazing players come and go from the Bluesbreakers, or was it a part of the culture in the sixties for people to play in multiple bands? I think it was a part of the musical environment. So many of the people were barely out of their teens when they were starting out and they were finding their own feet. The sixties was a time when just about anything goes. Audiences responded to it and musicians picked up on it and developed their own style within that genre. What was it about the social environment of England in the sixties that made blues explode in popularity? I think it was probably a feeling of rebellion everywhere that it matched up with. Certainly there were a lot of factors that one can’t pin down, but there was an explosion of colour, fashion, art and all these things. It seemed to happen at the same time. I wouldn’t say there was a revolt against the system, but there was a new feeling in the air. You also played in a lot of backing bands for amazing artists — was there anyone that had a particularly large impression on you? I learned a lot about dynamics from John Lee Hooker, because I worked with him in 1964 and many times afterwards. That was one thing that did strike me. [With the] harmonica, Sonny Boy Williamson was definitely a big influence on me and remains so to this day. John Mayall plays Byron Bay Bluesfest, as well as Twin Towns Services Club, Sunday, April 4. r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 4 5 — a p r i l 2 0 1 0
musicians. He has contributed to scores of album tracks, dozens of TV and film soundtracks, countless commercials, and played in too many line-ups to name. Through his own album, No Apostrophe, and albums like Richard Clapton’s Goodbye Tiger and Mark Hunter’s Big City Talk, his distinctive sound has become engrained in the fabric of Australian Rock Music. Kirk Lorange plays the Lismore City Bowling Club, Tuesday, April 27.
RIPE NOOSA CC the Cat
CC THE CAT LOCAL ALBUM LAUNCH
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MM9 TRIPLE HEADER
It has been a long time coming, but MM9’s debut album, The Air Between, is upon us. To celebrate the release, MM9 will take their renowned live show around the country during April, playing The Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour, Wednesday, April 14 with Electric Horse and Swimming With Sharks, The Brewery in Byron Bay, Thursday, April 15, and Neverland at Coolangatta on Friday, April 16, 2010 with Electric Horse.
TAKING LUCILLE ON THE ROAD
It’s been a long time between drinks but the time has finally come for The Vasco Era to release their long awaited second album, Lucille. The Vasco Era plan to mark the occasion with a national tour, dropping into Newcastle’s Cambridge Hotel, Friday, April 16, Coolangatta’s Neverland on Thursday, April 22, and the Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay, on Saturday, April 24.
LAST CHANCE TO SEE PAUL DEMPSEY
It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so anyone might expect Paul Dempsey to be mighty proud that the release of his Bats EP includes covers of ‘Out The Airlock’ by Clare Bowditch and ‘Ramona Was A Waitress’ by 2010 AMP nominees, Oh Mercy. ‘Bats’ is the stunning opening track on Paul’s Everything Is True album. ‘Out The Airlock’ and ‘Ramona Was A Waitress’ were the first two singles from the album. Dempsey is about to take his Burning Leaves national tour on the road with very special guests Dan Kelly and his Dream Band. This will be Dempsey’s one and only Australian headline tour for 2010 before relocating to New York City for the remainder of the year to play shows and begin writing the new Something for Kate album. You can catch Dempsey at the Great Northern Hotel, Thursday April 15.
U & I & NUMBERS RADIO
Since the 2008 release of their self titled EP, Numbers Radio has become synonymous with thumping Aussie rock amd roll and there latest single hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Yet another slammin’ number from the Brisbane trio, ‘U & I’ is trendy pop meets angry rock (after school for a fist fight). Catch Numbers Radio as they head down the east coast at the Coolangatta Hotel (with British India) on Saturday, April 10, Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay, on Friday 23, and the Cambridge Hotel, Saturday, May 1.
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Reggae rockers CC the Cat are looking forward to the first show of their East Coast Tour, launching their much-awaited debut album, Inna Babylon Jungle, at the Lennox Point Hotel. A special show at their local pub for local fans over the festive Easter weekend. Two years in the making, their genre-mashing reggae/dub/ disco/funk voyage explores love, sex and politics in the urban jungle and is a call out to nature, community and the healing power of music. Recorded in basements, bedrooms and crazy studios from Lennox Head to the Gold Coast, the album features the anthemic songs and soulful vocals of front woman CC the Cat, the dub FX of Boyd Luadaka, Ozzy Mistress of Bass Tracy Stephens, and the unstoppable Guy Anderton on drums. The first date of their east coast tour is just for you, Lennox Point Hotel, Saturday, April 3.
MARK EASTON TOURS DVD RELEASE
BREAKER’S REVENGE AT THE PLANTO
Lets face it… over the past five years we can all admit to rocking out to a Kid Kenobi and MC Shureshock set. Kid Kenobi was voted Number 1 DJ in the Technics InTheMix Top 50 three years in a row; he’s chalked up so many mix CDs for Ministry of Sound Australia that they made a special sessions series for him. MC Shureshock, the only MC to appear on a Ministry of Sound compilation [ever], he’s worked with a stellar cast of musicians, from BeXta, DB Chills, Greg Packer, to big wigs Fat Boy Slim, Krafty Kuts, The Stanton Warriors, Goldie, Freq Nasty and The Crystal Method, his talents aren’t bound by genre or border. Together, they will be hitting the Plantation Hotel, Coffs Harbour under the Breaker’s Revenge 2010 banner, Saturday, April 3.
GROOVE ASSASSIN AT THE BEACH HOUSE
Known for his sublime blending of soulful sounds with a host of other influences, UK’s Groove Assassin returns to Australia and will be paying a visit to the Beach House, Port Macquarie, in April. Drawing inspiration from disco, funk, jazz, latin, RnB, soul, early house to the diverse range of early 80s breakdance and electric boogaloo, Groove fuses his music with contemporary, innovative sounds to keep his DJing style unique and fresh. Supported by Phil Hudson and Ollie Brooke, Groove Assassin performs at the Beach House, Port Macquarie, Saturday, April 24.
Gold Coast bluesman, Mark Easton, will be rolling across the border into New South Wales to promote the release of his brand new DVD, Live at the Sydney Blues Festival. Mark Easton performs at the Seaview Tavern, Woolgoolga on Saturday, April 3, the Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour on Sunday, April 4, Lennox Point Hotel on Monday, April 5, Australian Hotel, Ballina on Friday, April 9, and the Imperial Hotel, Murwillumbah on Friday, April 16.
Dig your roots deep and get ready to party again in 2010 as Ripe Noosa is racing back to the Sunshine Coast with more anticipation than ever! Watch the sun setting through the valley as you kick up your heels, then slide on into the night to the sounds of RIPE on Saturday May 29. Ripe Noosa’s 2010 line up will be their biggest to date including The Cat Empire, Grinspoon, Birds of Tokyo, British India, Urthboy, Funkoars, Infusion, Cassette Kids, Washington, Bridezilla, Kid Kenobi, MC Shureshock, Goodwill, Kid Mac with more major artists yet to be announced.
URTHBOY SNEAKS INTO TOWN
In the name of late nights and lost mornings, Urthboy is coming to your town on the Sneakquel Tour throughout April and May 2010. Nominated for this year’s Australian Music Prize (one of the only artists nominated twice) Urthboy is joined on stage by the incandescent Jane Tyrrell and DJ/producer Elgusto. In support is gun-lyricist Mantra, whose debut album drops in March on Obese Records. One of the most gifted MCs in the country, see why he’s the buzz of the hip hop community. Catch Urthboy at the Great Northern, Byron Bay on Thursday, April 29, or at Neverland, Gold Coast on Saturday, May 1. You can also catch him at the Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle on Friday, May 21, 2010.
TURBO FOLK FROM FRANCE
The dynamic duo of Marylise Frecheville and Eric Boros have been lugging their nomadic turbo folk sound and modus vivendi all over the planet since the turn of the century, originally as the rhythm section of the performance striptease jazz-punk trio NNY, and since 2002 as Vialka. Hailing from deepest France, via everywhere and nowhere, they are a devilishly high-spirited guitar/ drums duo who tour hard and fast across the world. Their music skips joyfully across borders, channelling desert blues, Chinese folk songs, scatter rock and Eurogypsy song dynamics in a whirlwind of dervish energy. It’s an endless gypsy punk folk rock tale, with hard hitting poly-rhythms and yelps and howls making for a danceable and intoxicating brew. Turbofolk from France, you can catch Vialka at the Lennox Point Hotel, Saturday, April 10.
KIRK LORANGE AT LISMORE BOWLING CLUB
Canadian born slide guitarist, Kirk Lorange, arrived in Australia in 1974 and became one of the countries most sought after session
Consider this a warning. The excitedly stupid hard rockers that are Fat Albert are about to roll down the north coast again, but this time there’s more than just the usual insanity to be found. Joining the brothers’ bedlam in a new and colourful backline is Rob ‘Captain’ Park on drums and Marty ‘Wing’ Holt on keys, bass and harmonies. Catch them on Easter Saturday, April 3 at the Backroom, Hotel Great Northern, Byron Bay, Friday, April 9 at Cabarita Beach Bar, Saturday April 10 at Yamba Pacific Hotel and Sunday, April 11 at Shaws Bay Hotel.
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CASS EAGER 9:30pm n u s e h T e s a h C w/ RANCE) 9:30pm (F A K L IA V H SAT 10T Y 4pm
The Surfing Priests Progressive instrumental surf rock performed by members from Midnight Oil and The Violent Femmes. What more is there to say, besides maybe, who wants to shoot the curl? Dean Joy catches up with Jim Moginie from The Break. Before Midnight Oil, there was the largely unknown Farm, and now there’s The Break; only this formation won’t go unnoticed. The difference, besides the members and the musical refinement, is that Farm was mostly instrumental out of necessity, but The Break is instrumental because of passion and innovation. The Break’s debut album, Church of the Open Sky, is as powerful and as strangely melodic as you’d expect from a collection of such prolific musicians. In many ways it’s both a tribute to the past and a nod to future of surf music. Three of the four members of The Break, namely Rob Hirst, Martin Rotsey and Jim Moginie, have been playing together for over 20 years in the legendary Midnight Oil. “The instrumental thing has been in our back pocket the whole time and we’ve always had a very strong instrumental base to our music,” explains Moginie. But The Break was really born when the three Oils invited the Violent Femme’s bassist, Brian Ritchie, to fly up from Tasmania and have a jam. For those of you who haven’t heard, Ritchie has recently migrated from America to our own southern land, Tasmania. “One day we invited Brian Ritchie, he’s an old mate of ours and he lives in Australia now. And we said ‘Mate, get on a flight, we want to have a jam.’ Brian also has a background in instrumental music, from playing the flute, that we didn’t even know about.” Moginie goes on to say that they were all coming from bands that had lead singers, so forming an instrumental band was somewhat of a revelation to them. “Brian was our missing link,” explains Moginie. The Break’s sound is definitely tilted toward surf music, but that doesn’t mean that their album’s without some wild and original flourishes. Church of the Open Sky is quite progressive, complete with twitching time signatures and captivating melodies. “We used surf sounds and themes but we didn’t want to get boxed into the surf genre. We just wanted to do something a bit more energetic. It’s a whole new frontier for us,” said Moginie. “It’s a great challenge to play instrumental music and make it exciting and melodic, so that people can kind of sing it.” “There are ways of making music very interesting without vocals. It opens up infinite
possibilities once the vocals disappear. I think people can have extreme reactions to singers. They can like the band but not the singer,” says Moginie. “The lack of vocals frees you up to hear the guitars, and all the details of the music and its subtlety. The music can drag you in differently than a singer can.” The band name, the music and even the song titles are surf themed. “Almost all the songs are named after surf breaks from around Australia; five rocks, winkipop, cylinders — all are surf breaks. Any self-respecting surf band must know about the surf breaks. And they’ve all got their own character. Some of them are dangerous, some are very sweet, and some are tempestuous. We tried to match up the nature of the surf breaks to the nature of the music,” said Moginie. “With 22,000 miles of coast there’s lots of inspiration.” Church of the Open Sky was recorded at Moginie’s studio, Oceanic, which is appropriately located at Sydney’s northern beaches. The album was written and recorded over three sessions, each consisting of only three days. “We used a lot of first takes, not much gilding the lily,” says Moginie, who goes on to describe the sessions as an outpouring of music, explaining that they’d been waiting for years to do something together, adding that when you finally do it and it works, you don’t stop. Not many people realise that one of the first Midnight Oil songs played on the radio was an instrumental tune called ‘Wedding Cake Island’, which was also surf themed. And in a kind twist of fate, The Break is reliving the vocal-less legacy of its own past, and like the tide they’re certain to capture those who wade into their depth. The sound of the Church of the Open Sky is like the ocean itself; one minute it can be majestic and soothing, the next it’s raging and primitive. Check out The Break at Bluesfest, Byron Bay, April 1-5, and Lizotte’s, Lambton on Tuesday, April 20. The Break also support the Hoodoo Gurus at Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, April 30, and at Yamba Bowling Club, Saturday, May 1. Church of the Open Sky is out on April 16 through Bombora/MGM.
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A JANE FRI 30TH AUROR Webb 9:30pm w/ Mal
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LIVE MUSIC FROM 4P
Corner Byron Street & Pacific Parade Lennox Head, NSW PH: 02 6687 7312
myspace.com/lennoxpub Lennox is now on facebook! This information is subject to change without notice r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 4 5 — a p r i l 2 0 1 0
MM 9 — th e v a s c o e r a
AIR TRIGGER With their debut long player, The Air Between, finally on the shelves, Sydney band MM9 have a lot to be excited about. Ben Ellingworth, drummer and sample-meister, took time out from his day job to chat with Stephen Bisset. Hi Ben. So, what are you up to? Well, I’m actually at work at the moment. I work at Billy Hyde Stage Systems, which is a back-line hire company and I’m the drum tech. How does it feel to finally have the debut album under your belt? We’re all so relieved to finally be getting it out there. While we’re all really excited, we’re also a little bit apprehensive because this record is a lot bigger than our previous and there’s a lot of new stuff on there. We finished the album a while ago and then we went out on the road to really get a feel for the songs live and to basically let people know that we have an album coming out. We seemed to get a really positive response for the new songs which is good and there also seems to be a few people talking about the album on forums, so it’s good to see a little bit of a buzz generated about it before it’s released. How much of what ended up on The Air Between did you have ready to go heading into the studio? All up we had about 20 or 25 tracks written before we started recording, which we culled back down to the final 11 that ended up on the album. We spent about eight weeks at a place
called The Pits and our home away from home, Zen Rehearsal Studios, just tying everything together. It’s kind of a high class problem having too many songs heading into the studio than not enough, right? Yeah definitely, and heading in we all had our clear faves that were always going to end up on the record, then we basically whittled the list down to what ended up on the album. We did come to loggerheads a few times over a few songs, but it definitely worked out well in the end, I think. You guys have done a fair bit of touring in between releases. How would you say that life on the road has informed what ended up on The Air Between? Well, it’s informed it a lot! The title of the album, The Air Between, is a reference to everything that makes us what we are as a band. We’ve experienced the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows together and I guess the collective experience is what makes up the air in between. But yeah, we have basically got touring down to an artform and I guess the main piece of advice I could give to any aspiring young musician is that you have to learn how
to be cool with not talking to each other. All of us are really different people and we don’t really hang out that much outside of the band, so you just have to learn to take a step back from it, I guess. That said, if I could be on the road all the time I definitely would. What was it like working with the likes of Mike Barbiero [Metallica, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Anthrax] and Evan McHugh [Hard Ons, Epicure, Grinspoon]? Well Evan and Dan [Sutherland, MM9 vocalist] produced the album together and the relationship worked really well. Evan has a fantastic ear, especially when it comes to more melodic stuff and I think we really needed him to help keep us grounded as he is really straight down the line. Mike was also fantastic, especially in
Stripped Bare On the eve of a national tour following the release of their sophomore album, Lucille, The Vasco Era’s front man, Sid O’Neil, catches up with Nick Bielby to talk about wanting to be a part of the party. Here’s a riddle: How does a young band from Melbourne avoid the critical beating that befalls most bands when they release their second album? According to a yawning Sid O’Neil, the answer is to make a first album that isn’t very good. Despite his casual modesty, The Vasco Era have been steadily climbing the ladder since the release of their 2007 debut Oh We Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside. Their latest offering, Lucille, has been given the nod by critics as a step forward. “We always said we’d make the first one as raw and loud as possible so we have somewhere to go from the very start,” explains O’Neil. “Pick any band really and their first album isn’t their best.” With the help of producer Scott Horscroft, known for his work behind the desk for 30
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Silverchair and The Presets, the trio came out of a tight three-week recording session with the album basically finished, aside from some cutting and polishing. “He’s not selfish or conceited in terms of getting some kind of massive production he wants, he just makes the band happy, which is really good,” O’Neil tells of his experience working with Horscroft. “And if there’s something that’s not supposed to be in there but the band likes it, he’ll leave it, which is great.” O’Neil seems determined not to fit the mould as a lyricist. After struggling with what he describes as cliché and try-hard lyrics, he began to purposely put himself into situations where he might find something interesting to write about. This paid off one night in Melbourne’s Crown Casino when a drunken O’Neil had a random conversation with a stripper and her seemingly conservative
partner, an encounter that formed the narrative thread for the entirety of Lucille. “I mean people have done albums about couples before, like Berlin by Lou Reid and things like that, but I don’t think people have done it changing from a male to female perspective. That’s what I tried to do,” he says. The Lucille recording sessions took place in March 2009, but the release of the album was substantially delayed when an unsure O’Neil felt the need for escape to be too great. “I had like a core life crisis and was going to quit music for a while because I was just over it and I ran away to Queensland and travelled around for a while, which is what you do when you finish an album, you think it’s shit for a bit,” he explains. It’s the close relationship between Sid and Ted, as well as with drummer Michael
his knowledge of where to put everything in the mix — especially the relationship of electronic and ‘organic’ instruments. With Mike, there was money in the budget to fly to the US and mix with him, but just before we left the Aussie dollar dropped and we couldn’t afford to go. So we were basically just sending him files via email and that’s how we did it. The first batch of files we sent was about 400 gigabytes worth of just layered synth and effects, and he replied that he had never worked on a project this big. Needless to say, he was super patient with us. MM9 play the Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour, Wednesday, April 14, the Brewery at Byron Bay, Thursday, April 15, and Neverland, Coolangatta, on Friday, April 16.
Fitzgerald, which forms the basis of the band’s chemistry both on and off stage. They’ve known each other a long time and seem to be enjoying the ride together. “Half the time we’re laughing because all we’re doing is showing off in front of a lot of people,” O’Neil admits. “It’s really funny, no matter how people dress it up that’s all you’re doing.” With an upcoming national tour looming, O’Neil seems to lift at the mention of playing headline shows again. The band was invited to play at the prestigious South By Southwest in the US this year, but the release date for the album along with the band’s media commitments meant it wasn’t to be, much to the front man’s disappointment. When asked how the narrative thread of Lucille will translate to a live setting, the singer is unsure. “We’re being supported by a band called Big Scary, who’ve got an organ player so he’s going to play the organ parts live,” he explains. “But it might get a bit much if we do the whole album. People might get a bit bored.” Though O’Neil does concede: “You can kind of read that anyway, and if that’s the case then we might do it as a story but we’ll just have to play it by ear every night.” It looks like The Vasco Era is happy to have secured their place at the party for now at least. “Yeah it’s a funny thing. There’s no way I’m ever going to own a house or anything but it’s a pretty fun life.” The Vasco Era is playing at The Cambridge Hotel on Friday, April 16, Coolangatta’s Neverland on Thursday, April 22, and the Great Northern Hotel in Byron Bay on Saturday, April 24. Lucille is out now through Universal Music.
Thursday, April 1 Beach Hotel, Byron Bay Fyah Walk Club Coffs, Coffs Harbour Colin Hay Gollan Hotel, Lismore Cath Simes Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay Thousand Needles in Red Lennox Point Hotel Marshall and the Fro Youth Activity Centre, Byron Bay BLKOUT + Word Up! + Spray + Shackles
Saturday, April 3 Beach Hotel, Byron Bay Wild Marmalade Beach House, Port Macquarie The Aston Shuffle + Mark Maxwell + AWOL Federal Hotel, Bellingen Glenn Heath + Deep Blue Sea Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay Fat Albert Henry Rous Hotel, Ballina Matt Seaberg Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour Ebb n Flow + Brown Sugar + This Kateesh Lennox Point Hotel CC the Cat Lismore Workers Club Jabiru Neverland, Coolangatta P-Money Pioneer Tavern, Wollongbar Glen Massey Plantation Hotel, Coffs Harbour Breakers Revenge w/ Kid Kenobi + MC Shureshock Seaview Tavern, Woolgoolga Mark Easton
Lennox Point Hotel The Painted Crows Neverland, Coolangatta Numbers Radio + Buck Six + The Shake Up Pioneer Tavern, Wollongbar Toke
Saturday, April 10 Beach Hotel, Byron Bay The Melodics Beach House, Port Macquarie Ollie Brooke + Jim Naylor + JBD Club Coffs, Coffs Harbour Rowland Moye Coolangatta Hotel Numbers Radio + British India Henry Rous Hotel, Ballina Glen Massey Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour Ben Francis Lennox Point Hotel Vialka Lismore Workers Club The McClymonts Pioneer Tavern, Wollongbar Neil Anderson Tommy’s Tavern, Lismore Jabiru Yamba Pacific Hotel Fat Albert
Sunday, April 11 Beach Hotel, Byron Bay DJ Crucial D Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour Mick Bateman Lennox Point Hotel Lou Bradley Shaws Bay Hotel, Ballina Fat Albert
Sunday, April 4
Wednesday, April 14
Beach Hotel, Byron Bay King Tide Beach House, Port Macquarie Mark Maxwell + AWOL + Partnaz In Crime Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour Mark Easton Lennox Point Hotel Sujitoko Twin Towns Services Club John Mayall
Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay 10cc Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour MM9 + Swimming With Sharks + Electric Horse Shaws Bay Hotel, Ballina Clay
Thursday, April 8 Beach Hotel, Byron Bay Tim Loydell and the Deckchairs Neverland, Coolangatta The Yacht Club DJs + DZ + Howl Paul Dempsey
Friday, April 9 Australia Hotel, Ballina Mark Easton Beach Hotel, Byron Bay Round Mountain Girls Beach House, Port Macquarie Sullivan Cabarita Beach Bar Fat Albert Club Coffs, Coffs Harbour Manjo Rock Coast Hotel, Coffs Harbour Vanessa Lee Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay Yacht Club DJs Henry Rous Hotel, Ballina DJ Josh Pollard
Thursday, April 15 Gollan Hotel, Lismore Mossy Rocks Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay Paul Dempsey + Dan Kelly & his Dream Band Greenhouse Tavern, Coffs Harbour DJ Brown Sugar The Brewery, Byron Bay MM9 + Electric Horse
Friday, April 16 Beach Hotel, Byron Bay The Vaudville Smash
Beach House, Port Macquarie Nick Smales Henry Rous Hotel, Ballina DJ Josh Pollard Imperial Hotel, Murwillumbah Mark Easton Lennox Point Hotel Transvaal Diamond Syndicate Neverland, Coolangatta MM9 + Electric Horse Pioneer Tavern, Wollongbar Guy Kachel Plantation Hotel, Coffs Harbour Jimmy Z Seaview Tavern, Woolgoolga Empire Shaws Bay Hotel, Ballina Cactus Tommy’s Tavern, Lismore Adrian Keys Twin Towns Services Club Brian Cadd and Russell Morris Yamba Bowling Club The Sunny Cowgirls
Seaview Tavern, Woolgoolga The Ford Brothers
Saturday, April 24 Ballina RSL Bowling Club Damien Leith Beach House, Port Macquarie Groove Assassin + Phil Hudson + Ollie Brooke Coast Hotel, Coffs Harbour Sabotage Coolangatta Hotel Bluejuice + The Holidays Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay The Vasco Era Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour Vanessa Lee + Roadtrain Lennox Point Hotel The Phonies Twin Towns Services Club John Schumann
Saturday, April 17 Beach Hotel, Byron Bay Dirty Laundry Bellingen Diggers tavern Tijuana Cartel + The barons of Tang Club Coffs, Coffs Harbour Rob Dowsett Coast Hotel, Coffs Harbour Adrian Keys Coolangatta Hotel British India Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay Brittle Henry Rous Hotel, Ballina Betty Blisset Lennox Point Hotel Red Belly Black Lismore Workers Club Wolverines
Sunday, April 18
Sunday, April 25 Beach Hotel, Byron Bay The Feremones Beach House, Port Macquarie Sullivan + Phil Hudson + Ollie Brooke Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay Bluejuice Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour Errol Gray Seaview Tavern, Woolgoolga Mick Hart
Beach Hotel, Byron Bay Lisa Hunt Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay Jason Delphin Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour Rod Dowsett Lennox Point Hotel Matt Seaberg Neverland, Coolangatta Yves Klein Blue + Cloud Control + Last Dinosaurs + PAM! PAM! PAM!
Tuesday, April 27
Thursday, April 22
Friday, April 30
Ballina RSL Bowling Club The Big Gig w/ Fred Lang + Ellen Briggs Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay Jon J Bradley Neverland, Coolangatta The Vasco Era
Beach Hotel, Byron Bay Bonjah + Jess Harlan Beach House, Port Macquarie Ollie Brooke Club Coffs, Coffs Harbour Vanessa Lee + Road Train Gollan Hotel, Lismore Mossy Rocks Henry Rous Hotel, Ballina DJ Josh Pollard Lennox Point Hotel Aurora Jane + Mal Webb Seaview Tavern, Woolgoolga Gunshy Tattersalls Hotel, Lismore Sound Crucible w/ The Scrapes Twin Towns Services Club Hoodoo Gurus + The Break + Gun Street Girls
Friday, April 23 Beach Hotel, Byron Bay Raz Bin Sam and the Lion I Band + Shoebox Club Coffs, Coffs Harbour John Curtin Coolangatta Hotel Die! Die! Die! Federal Hotel, Bellingen Barrel House Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay Numbers Radio
Lismore City Bowling Club Kirk Lorange
Thursday, April 29 Gollan Hotel, Lismore The Claymors + The Tendans Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay Urthboy + Mantra
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T ALKING S H OP — 1 9 2 7 — c a m e r o n s i n c l a i r
Profiling music industry professionals with Jess henderson
There’s no one better in Australia to give insight into the world of artist management than veteran manager, Bill Cullen. Who do you work for? One Louder Entertainment. Current position title? Managing director/owner. How long have you been in this position? Ten years with One Louder. What are your main responsibilities? We organise and strategise everything careerrelated for and with our artists — touring, recording, promotion, marketing, etc. We work with large teams of people on each artist — labels, agents, publishers, crew, publicists etc — we oversee everything, and try to keep everything working towards the big picture strategy. How did you get involved in the music industry? Like most half-decent managers, I played bass fairly badly in a band, and quickly realised I was much more useful off-stage. What sucked me in was working at the Hopetoun Hotel. I worked there, on and off, for about six years, and got to see amazing bands nearly every night. Proudest moment? Tour-managing Crowded House at their Farewell To The World concert on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. Is there anyone you would really like to meet? I don’t think I really want to meet any of my heroes, just in case they turned out to be wankers. Best live show you’ve been to? Neil Young, Reading, mid-90s, with Pearl Jam minus Eddie Vedder as his backing band. Favourite venue? Hopetoun Hotel (RIP), Annandale, and, in Newcastle, I love the Civic — one of the most beautiful theatres in the country. Favourite musical instrument? My 1968 toothpaste-green Fender Musicmaster bass that I sold to pay for my air ticket to England. Free plug – who should we be listening to? I am really liking Kid Sam, Oh Mercy, as well as Boy & Bear. What would be on your ultimate rider? M&Ms — you can leave the brown ones in, a cricket bat, clean socks, Coke Zero and a backstage personal barista. Best way to spend a Sunday morning? At home with family. Any advice for people trying to break into the industry? Take every opportunity you can seize. Be prepared to work for next to nothing. Only do it if you have enormous passion for music and the business. If you’re in it for the glamour or to hang out with famous people, you will be very quickly disillusioned. 32
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The Year That Was Whe ex-Moving Pictures’ songwriter Gary Frost saw Eric Weidman singing on a segment of Hey Hey It’s Saturday’s ‘Red Faces’, he drove straight to Melbourne. The two then formed a four-piece rock band called 1927. In a whirlwind six years from 1987 to 1993, the group had some massive hits like ‘That’s When I Think Of You’ and ‘If I Could’. It ended almost as quickly as it started, but now Weidman is dusting off the songbook to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary. He spoke to Noah Cross. Has a part of you missed touring and performing these songs? It took me a long time to even want to do it again. The experience of 1927 at first, was crazy. When it all sank in, I didn’t really enjoy it all that much. There was a lot of conflict in the band. Fame does strange things to people, including myself. I had my moments where I lost the plot a bit. It was difficult, but to be away from it for so long was good because it gave me the opportunity to reflect on it and actually get back to enjoying it and being proud of what I did. How have you found getting back out on the road as 1927? It’s been a real blast. It’s not something that I expected to be doing at this point in my life. I hooked up with Richard Clapton early last year on one of the tours he was doing. The guy he was working with, who now manages all
There’s a story in that, which is pretty bizarre. My total score was actually 19. Daryl, when he said it, actually said 27. But that’s not how we got the name.
my stuff, said, ‘What are you doing? You haven’t done anything with the band for such a long time, you should get out there and do it.’ Not long after that the record company got in touch and said they were interested in doing the 20th anniversary tour. When you went on Hey Hey It’s Saturday, was it your intention to be discovered? No, it was just a stupid dare. For me, in my life at that point, I was already living the dream. Because I was a young man working a job and then playing in a cover band on the weekend. For the average joe, that was living the dream. I was having a ball. I wasn’t thirsting to be a rock star. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Who does? Do you remember what your total score was on Red Faces?
Were you aware of who Gary Frost and Moving Pictures were before he approached you to be in a band? I was aware of Moving Pictures, but I never liked the band. I never liked the song ‘What About Me’. I thought it was a cry-baby song at the time. I was listening to The Jam, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, so I didn’t get Moving Pictures too much. But I think ‘What About Me’ is a pretty cool song. I think Shannon Noll butchered it, but anyway… [laughs] What are your plans for 2010? I’d like to make a new record, so that’s a pretty large possibility. I’d love to keep playing music and that’s about it really. I love what I do, I love every day that I wake up. Would you release a new album as 1927? I think so, because if I released an Eric Weidman record, people would say, ‘Who the hell’s that?’ 1927 play Lizotte’s Lambton on Sunday, April 25, and Lizotte’s Kincumber on Saturday, April 24, 2010.
Flippin’ Nuts Australia’s own free-style motorcross star Cameron Sinclair took some time out of his rehab and training schedule to talk to Scarlett O’Horror about his signature trick, near fatal crash and the upcoming Crusty Demons Apocalypse Tour. How did it feel the first time you landed the double back flip? Amazing! It’s just such a scary trick. After finally landing it, it was just such an amazing feeling. It was great. I was over in Spain as well so that made it even bigger. Was there a reason you didn’t participate in practise jumps and rides with the other riders that day? I was doing double back flips the day before. I didn’t just want to go out there and practise normal riding stuff. I just wanted to keep the double back flip in the back of my mind, do that one trick only and just go for it.
was struggling to walk because I’d done nerve damage to my brain. They taught me to walk upstairs — I had to re-learn everything, basically. It took about four months to get back to where I could really get by, but it took about seven months. It’s been eight months now and I’m still not 100 per cent. I’ve still got a fair bit to go. I’m just getting better and better each week.
On your last attempt in Madrid last July, you under-rotated on this trick and suffered some life-threatening injuries. What was going through your head after the crash, when you were able to think about the situation? I’ve had a bit of time to think about it and watch the footage. Being over in Spain I was riding a different bike, I was using a different ramp. Everything was just a bit different. It was just an accident.
Your doctors gave an estimate of 12-months rehab time. You’ll be riding in the Apocalypse Tour before that time frame. What made you decide you were ready? They said I could go for a ride on my bike if I wanted to, no jumps or anything, just on the flat ground to get my balance and stuff back. A couple of months after that I felt well enough to start jumping. The Crusty Tour contract came across, it’s given me a goal to get better before then and it’s all coming together now.
Can you tell us a bit about the rehab process? I’ve been going to physio twice a week and I’ve been going to rehab three times a week. When I was in hospital they taught me everything. I
This new attempt is a pretty big deal, are you confident about landing this trick again? Yeah I’ve been thinking about it every night
for the last six months. Yesterday I went for a ride with a couple of mates. They set up a few practise jumps, after the first one it all came back to me, now I know I can do it again. I’m just going to practise almost every day and get it sorted and then it should be good to go. How psyched are you to get back on your bike for a tour like this? I can’t wait, it’s been a long time. I’ve been riding FMX for six years now and this is the longest break I’ve had not doing any shows. I’ve been hanging out for it. What do you rate most about the Yamaha YZ250? Yamaha have been one of my biggest sponsors. They’ve helped me out a lot and the bikes are fantastic. I ’ve changed a few bits and pieces for the double back flip like the seat and the suspension. Crusty Demons will perform at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford, Saturday, April 17.
reviewed Clio Renault Sport 197 reviewed by Peter Douglas
Revvy Renault Renault has a chequered history in this country with its heyday back in the early 1970s when the cars were actually assembled here. Couldn’t kill them with a stick. The Renault 16 was bulletproof and the 12 was a good thing - loved by female teachers for some reason. The giant froggy company was in and out of Oz (once with Volvo) then came back a few years ago with $25 million to spend on advertising and promotion and plans to sell 10,000 vehicles a year. Ooops, they blew the 25 mill’ and are still struggling to sell a couple of thousand units a year. That’s because Renaults are too expensive for what they are, particularly when you look at the low rent interiors which are a sea of hard, grey, cheap plastic - yuk. The Koreans learned their lesson here a few years back, but not Renault. To be fair, there are some gems in the lineup, the Megane RS Cup for example - ugly but possibly one of the best driving hot hatches around, and the diesel Scenic mum-bus, even though it has a four-speed auto transmission, is a good thing. The Koleos (sounds like a bowel scan procedure) is OK too in a sea of highly competitive SUVs. Which brings us to the Clio Renault Sport 197 (for horsepower), a would-be hot-hatch competing against the likes of Honda’s Civic Type R and on price against the Sooby WRX. It looks pretty good with a serious rear diffuser under the rear bumper and aggressive looking vents cut into the rear of the front
guards. Sparkling alloys feature quality rubber and twin wide-space pipes hang out the back. It has an earnest-looking front with a mild body aero kit all round to underline the car’s intent — which is to go fast… but it doesn’t. Having read all the bullshit PR hype, we got into the RS with great expectations only to be deflated as soon as we pushed the accelerator pedal. Some dude in a 10 year-old Pulsar 2.0- litre blew us away at the lights. And the RS sells for a tick under $38 grand. It would make you spew if you just coughed up that amount and this happened. But you would have to get used to it because the thing just doesn’t go. We took it for the obligatory blast up the Old Pacific and to be fair, handling and brakes were not an issue but that’s partly due to the fact that you ain’t moving through the air at a rapid pace. Rev the thing up to 6500rpm and it goes a bit better until redline at 7500rpm. Not much of a performance envelope is it? The engine is a 2.0-litre, naturally aspirated four pot with variable cam timing and a claimed 145kW/215Nm output. They must be using the French pit pony power scale because this pretend fast frog would be annihilated by the Type R in every aspect of performance and handling - wouldn’t see where it went - and the Type R has a similar power and torque rating. But the Clio RS is a porker at 1221kg, which explains a few things. Where is all that lard hidden? It’s a tiddler size car for goodness sake - not overloaded with luxury accoutrements,
1kg, 2 2 1 t a r e i s a p or k S R o i l C t hing s. w e “… t he f a s n i x pla dden?” i which e h d r a l t s a l l t ha W he r e i we might add. Renault claims a 6.9 second 0-100kph sprint time - they’re dreaming. We could beat it on a treadly (joking) but 6.9 is not realistic, about 8.0 would be closer to the mark. Luckily the six-speed manual gearbox is fun to use and has closely spaced ratios to get the most from the engine. It has a slick change action coupled with a light clutch action noice. The brakes are awesome, among the best we have sampled on a small “hot-hatch”. You can come honking up to a tight turn, jump on the picks and the RS has done its stopping well before the critical point. Big tick for that one. There’s a clever double axis front suspension system that isolates the steering and suspension from the drive system, thereby eliminating torque steer. One wonders why other manufacturers haven’t cottoned on. It means you could theoretically feed 250kW through the front wheels and not need a road as wide as a footy field to keep control. The RS is a pleasant enough car to drive in ‘everyday’ mode with a comfortable suspension, easy steering with quick response,
relatively comfortable seats, OK audio and the usual array of goodies like aircon, power ancillaries and even a trip computer. The variable cam timing system can be felt with a mild increase in performance when it kicks in, but the exhaust note is rubbish even with dual outlets. We achieved about 8.5-litres/100km fuel consumption in mixed driving which is only OK especially when it’s premium unleaded - 98 Octane we are talking. Apparently, Renault went to its F1 team for the aero design but aero is irrelevant in a slow car. We went looking for the spare to keep the car on the road if it gets a flat but there was nothing, no space saver, no can of goo, nuthin’. Safety is well addressed with a five star crash rating, multiple air bags, stability control and other stuff. We were seriously disappointed with this car and Renault would appear to concur because there’s a new model just around the corner called the Clio RS 200 (for horsepower). We doubt three horsepower will be enough to get this puppy out of the poo. But it should come down in price given the exchange rate between the A$ and the €uro. Bet it doesn’t, bet they don’t sell (m)any. r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 4 5 — a p r i l 2 0 1 0
fashion — photogr aphy by luke holdstock
top right In The Hood black dress $110. Gothic lace tights $35. Black knit jacket Hussy $199.95 (jacket on rock stylist’s own). Suede platform ‘Therapy’ boots from Glue Store $79.95. Jewellery from Diva. above Black ladder-back dress $190. Thigh-high boots RMK $180. top left Dark Romance velvet and lace one shoulder dress $260. Thigh high boots RMK $180. left Little Mermaid gold bandeau dress $285, jewellery from Diva.
Photography by Luke Holdstock Designer clothing by Jaclyn Sutton Styling by Jaclyn Sutton Hair & make-up by Wade Ambler Modelling by Rebecca Frith at Vixen Management
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fashion — photogr aphy by luke holdstock
far left Rebecca wears Estelle halter neck one piece suit, navy with white contrast swimsuit in nylon lycra, RRP$159. Vintage faux pilot cap $15. Black Vybe shoes from Payless Shoes, Kotara $49. left Juliette wears Gidget beach shorts in limited edition buttercup yellow weave vintage crimplene fabric, RRP$69. Vintage polka top $8.
above Black tassle suede wrap $255. In The Hood black dress $110. left Glitz and Glamour cut out zip dress $375. Tony Bianco shoe boots $180. below left Military marching jacket $255. Gold pipe leggings $35. below Little Mermaid gold bandeau dress $285. Jewellery from Diva. Black buckle-up shoes Betts $149.95
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BLOOD SPORTS reviewed Aliens vs. Predator [Xbox 360/PS3/PC] reviewed by Hugh Milligan rated 7/10 The Alien vs. Predator series has had, given its source material, a surprisingly ill-fated history. The idea of pitting two of cinema’s most iconic extra-terrestrial nasties against each other looks great on paper, and yet the results have been less so, including a number of rather sketchy games and two utterly disastrous films. Rebellion Developments released one of the better known incarnations in 1999, and while it valiantly attempted to unite Alien, Predator and Human with some semblance of cohesion, the game’s brilliantly established atmosphere was undermined by some considerable gameplay faults. Now, ten years later, the team has returned to the AvP franchise for a second bite at the cherry — once again, it’s a hit-and-miss affair.
The single player campaign is split into three storylines, each following the same series of events from a different perspective and all three contributing to a complete narrative. While this structure maintains some degree of consistency, it creates an unfortunate repetition in level design; the environments, though fairly diverse, are simply rehashed in a different order for each strand of the campaign [with nondescript titles like ‘Colony’ and ‘Jungle’], and the whole setting begins to feel distinctly generic by the end. This is more obvious in the case of the Alien and Predator, who are simply motivated to slaughter everyone for their Queen and their Honour respectively. The Marine has
a meatier storyline [though he follows in the long tradition of nameless, voiceless ‘rookies’ who, despite a complete lack of combat experience, nevertheless outlive their entire squad] — there’s considerably more dialogue, some interesting allies and numerous audio diaries that give fragmentary insight into peripheral characters. Still, given that the characters invariably visit all the same places, it would have been nice to see them actually cross paths at some point and have a more direct influence on each other.
Fundamentally, the campaign is designed to showcase the diverse playing styles offered by the three races. The Marine plays like an ordinary shooter, with a variety of powerful firearms at his disposal. If anything, he’s a little too effective; the campaign begins brilliantly, setting up a cat-and-mouse fight for your life against a pursuing Xenomorph, but eventually you’re mowing down so many of them that they just don’t feel that threatening anymore. As an Alien you’ll employ stealth and fear tactics, creeping across walls and ceilings, splitting up patrols and butchering them with jaws, claws and tail. While the controls allow you to move quite fluidly between surfaces, the rapid re-orientation of the camera can be confusing, especially when moving at great speed [of which the Alien is more than capable] or in complex environments. The Predator also relies on stealth, but is allowed greater creativity with a wealth of high-tech gadgetry, such as a shoulder cannon, disc launcher and stealth device. While the Marine sometimes feels overpowered, the Predator often seems much too weak; a burst of gunfire is enough to take you down, and though such fragility is obviously designed to keep you in the shadows at safe distance, it feels distinctly out of character for such a fearsome hunter.
Despite their flaws, however, all three offer a unique challenge, and you’ll certainly find a favourite among them whatever your preferred play style. You’ll also find that they’re far more carefully balanced in multiplayer. The game also includes a remarkably detailed mêlée system, based upon blocking and counter-attacking your opponent, which makes the up-close combat more intense and rewarding. It also provides further opportunity for a gruesome execution, particularly in the case of the Alien and Predator — there’s grotesque satisfaction to be had in grabbing a marine from behind and crushing his skull, impaling him or removing his spine as a dandy trophy.
The deadliest game of all
Weaknesses aside, the campaign is still a solid introduction to the various play mechanics, and once you’ve mastered your creature of choice you’ll no doubt be eager to hunt your fellow man online. Aliens vs. Predator includes a range of game modes and, as mentioned, the developers have clearly made an effort to balance the races perfectly. Though the selection of levels is less than ideal, each is expansive enough to accommodate all manner of tactics, and the mêlée system is even more visceral when your adversary is human-controlled. Like the campaign, however, the great strengths of AvP’s multiplayer are all but scuppered by
some utterly bizarre deficiencies. As it has no dedicated servers, the game’s matchmaking system is deplorably slow; when finding a game through ‘Quick Match’ [designed to be the fastest method of entering a ranked match], you’ll be forced to wait anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes or more, and even then you may only be connected to a handful of other players. The matches themselves suffer from heavy lag that often renders them nigh unplayable — the mêlée combat system, which relies on instinct and timing, is absolutely ruined by such delay. This game has a huge amount of potential. The levels are nicely detailed [as long as you don’t look too closely at some of the surface textures], and contribute to a bleak, shadowy ambience, and the sound effects are absolutely fantastic; all the little growls and snarls have been faithfully recreated from the films, and just hearing an Alien moving through the air duct above you is enough to give you chills. But ultimately, the game succumbs to the curse of its forebears — it’s ultimately hollow, and never quite achieves its intended experience. It seems rushed, even incomplete, as if Rebellion didn’t have the time or resources to bring all their ideas to fruition. It is still, without a doubt, one of the best offerings of the franchise, but it’s a shame that were it not for some absolutely baffling mistakes, it could have been something truly spectacular.
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r e t a l i a t e — k i tch e n c o m p l a i n t
THE FIGHT BACK Retaliate [re·tal·i·ate] — verb: to return like for like, esp. evil for evil: to retaliate for an injury. In the case of Retaliate 2010, a music festival to be held at Telarah Bowling Club in April, it is the uphill battle that Heavy Rock and Metal has in finding love from venues and promoters that is being fought. To prepare, coheadliners Vaudeville and Mischling threw questions to their respective vocalists, Dan Runchel and Steve Simmons. This is the whimsical conversation that ensued. Sizing each other up, Simmons [Mischling] feigned indifference. “So Vaudeville is what type of music?” Runchel [Vaudeville] rolls his eyes, “Split Enz mate, we sound like Split Enz on acid.” With the pleasantries out of the way, we get down to business. “So Mischling are back for the big money reformation tour,” Runchel puts forward. “What can the punters expect? Have you guys still got it?” Simmons laughs. “Don’t you worry about that, we’re tighter than ever — better sound, better equipment, with less vomit! How about you guys, have you been borrowing drummers from Spinal Tap?” Runchel looks Simmons squarely in the eye.
“Spinal Tap, you reckon? Matt Thomas is his name, great drummer and he does explode behind that kit, get it! Did you hear that we played the Big Day Out in 2009?” Runchel countered. “Top that one buddy.” Simmons nodded, and with a subtle smirk on his face, “Yeah, I heard something about that. Did you hear that I played the Big Day Out in 2000 with Henry’s Anger. Remember them? Yeah, I’m sure you do.” Simmons and Runchel are standing toe to toe, neither giving an inch. An unsettling silence fills the air, until smiles break both faces and beers are reached for. “Ok, let’s get serious,” says Simmons, “we’re supposed to be interviewing each other. Tell us about your new EP. How was
the recording?” “Why thank you for asking Steve,” Runchel says with a straight face. “We did do a fair bit of pre-production. We wanted it to be raw, with a live feel in the studio. How about yourselves, are you guys going to be recording now that you are back together?” “Damn right”, Simmons says firmly, “we’ll be recording a lot of the heavier tunes that didn’t get on to the EP first time round. They are finally allowed to stand up and be known. Hell, they’ll feel like new songs as production has weeded out the weaker moments and turned them into hooks or massive headbanger delights.” With both bands co-headlining Retaliate 2010,
the subject naturally turns to the event. “How about this Retaliate gig?” Simmons asks, “really looking forward to playing with you guys. Just so I’m ready, what can we expect from Vaudeville?” There’s a smile on Runchel’s face, “Blood, sweat and rock 'n' roll. That’s what we’re giving you.” With a collective laugh, Simmons counters “nudity, sweat and exhaustion. Unlock your daughters, mothers and sisters cause Mischling is coming. Retaliate’s going to be big.” Retaliate 2010 will be held at the Telarah Bowling Club, Saturday, April 24, with Mischling, Vaudeville, Enemy Of Average, Order of the Dragon, Stonehawk, Villain, Shambhala, South Willow, Court & Club and Broadway Mile.
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Live reviews AFI + Gallows Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney Tuesday, Febuary 23
AFI ©Joel Attenborough
Ready to bask in the nostalgic sounds of AFI, I made my way to Luna Park with the enthusiasm of a fourteen-year-old. Although leaving my All-Stars and skinny legs at home, I felt perfectly in place as Davey Havok launched into the powerful ‘Leaving Song Pt. II’ from AFI’s masterful and forever enigmatic Sing the Sorrow. This, along with the crowd-pleasing ‘Medicate’, saw the audience partake in some rather energetic bouncing which was by no means exclusive to those behind the barriers. Channelling both the ironic theatrics of The Smiths’ Morrissey and the epileptic antics of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, Havok was clearly concerned with making an impact. This meant that delicate tracks such as ‘Silver and Cold’ were buried under an influx of bright lights and heavy instrumentals; while more intense numbers such as ‘Death of Seasons’ were transformed into b-grade hardcore covers. This is not to say that AFI lack talent; Havok’s more melodic moments are testament to his capabilities. The excessive screaming, on the other hand, should be left to someone more equipped – vocalist Frank Carter of the brilliant support band, for instance. Gallows exemplify just how “I-don’t-givea-fuck” hardcore should be done. Encouraging the audience to get some “fucking exercise”, Carter leapt into the crowd and performed the entire set inside a circle pit. Popular tracks ‘In the Belly of a Shark’ and ‘Abandon Ship’ were performed with commendable amounts of energy and, at one point, from the top of a human pyramid of fans. Brutality aside, Carter, in his endearing British accent, chatted continuously to the audience – providing a refreshing contrast to the larger-than-life AFI. ~Lee Tobin
Mick Fleetwood Lizotte’s, Lambton Monday, March 1
Along with Lenny Castellanos and Mark Johnstone, the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band took those present on a journey through the music of the original Fleetwood Mac (pre Buckingham and Nicks), when the band drew heavily on American blues. To be blunt, this was quite possibly the best blues live performance I have witnessed. There was the supple emotion, the forceful stomp, and the aggressive edge – all used to provide vivid colour to an often overplayed and abused genre. Add to that the hits ‘Albatross’, ‘Oh Well’ and ‘Black Magic Woman’ (no, it is not a Santana song), and the sight of one of the best drummers in the world, and you have a night that will be remembered for a long, long time. ~Kevin Bull
Brian Jonestown Massacre Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Thursday, March 4
The Cruel Sea Coolangatta Hotel Saturday, March 6
Brian Jonestown Massacre ©Kevin Bull
It was certainly a coup to have underground legends, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, play at the humble Cambridge Hotel. With eight members on stage, the Californian group delivered a two-hour hypnotic set of slow-burning psychedelia - a wall of hazy guitar, organ and tambourine (provided by Joel Gion). With the inclusion of guitarist Matt Hollywood, who hadn’t been in the group for many years, this was as close to the original line-up as one might ever have the chance to see. With calls of “Thanks for coming to Newcastle!” and flowers being lobbed from the adoring crowd, the band were certainly made to feel welcome. There were no outrageous outbursts from singer Anton Newcombe, whose crazed moments in the rockumentary Dig! have sadly coloured the public’s perception of him. If anything, BJM seemed very peaceful on stage, lost in the swirling miasma of halcyon guitar-work. While a few in the crowd seemed to lose interest due to the sometimes monotonous nature of the set, those that kept focus and invested in their performance were rewarded with a live experience that they won’t forget any time soon. ~Noah Cross
Pavement Enmore Theatre, Sydney Friday, March 5
Mick Fleetwood ©Cassie Davison
If having Fleetwood Mac play in the Hunter Valley late last year was not enough, the opportunity to have its founding member perform at the intimate Lizotte’s Restaurant was an absolute privilege for Newcastle. Joining Fleetwood on stage was Rick Vito, one-time member of Fleetwood Mac, having replaced Lindsey Buckingham in the late 80s.
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stars do know how to bury hatchets, and don’t always fall out of love with the material that made them famous. This is the second of Pavement’s two Sydney performances and there is eager anticipation all through the crowd. When the five-piece wander on to the stage and hit their opening notes, it’s clear that this Pavement is as fresh as the day the cement first dried. From Malkmus’ understated stage presence (which he intersperses with faux-drunken stumbling and guitar twirling) to Spiral Stairs’ ragged guitar contribution and backing vocals, this is an impressive two-hour concert. The crowd go particularly loopy for ‘Cut Your Hair’, ‘Stereo’ and ‘Gold Soundz’. Bob Nastanovich adds his humourous stage banter, synths and percussive wizardry, while bassist Mark Ibold (now a permanent member of Sonic Youth) and drummer Steve West provide the groovin’ rhythms for their band members to improvise over. Live, Pavement feel very loose - as if they could fall apart at any second - but of course, they never do. It’s all just part of the charm. Let’s cross our fingers for a new studio record. ~Nick Milligan
Pavement ©Derek Fernandez
Yes, this is one of those surprising reunions that we thought would never happen. But it’s becoming more and more evident that rock
the Prodigy Newcastle Entertainment Centre Wednesday, March 10
Prodigy ©Mark Snelson
In plumes of smoke and a wall of backlighting, the silhouettes of The Prodigy appear. Opening with the droning bass of ‘World’s On Fire’, Maxim Reality’s imposing, dreadlocked frame roars from the tumult, ‘Where are you, Newcastle?!’ Needless to say, the crowd goes a little nuts. The Prodigy’s set list covers the majority of their best material, mixing the old with the new: ‘Omen’, ‘Voodoo People’, ‘Breathe’, ‘Firestarter’, and ‘Thunder’. The slow grind of ‘Poison’ has bodies gyrating and sweating, as does the encore’s reggae sample of ‘Out Of Space’. As always, Keith Flint leaps around the stage, working the crowd. Liam Howlett commands proceedings from behind his banks of techno-gadgetry. If dark, aggressive and powerful music floats your boat, then The Prodigy are in an ocean of their own. They deliver one of the most primal shows of any band in the world - an experience like no other. ~NOah Cross
DINOSAUR JR Metro Theatre, Sydney Thursday, March 11 The Cruel Sea ©Celia Galpin
A shiver of trepidation creeps through me as I scan the crowd of sun damaged women and male pattern baldness. I get this feeling every time I see a band that falls into the “icon” category. I don’t know what it is, perhaps it’s the fear of the familiar, but there’s something about a middle-aged crowd that quietly terrifies me. As I take a closer look at their faces filled with anticipation, desperation and alcohol, I make a mental note to myself: “Do not get between the middle aged women and the band”. These cougars would tear me to pieces if I stupidly strayed between them, and the objects of their desires. After what seemed forever The Cruel Sea, minus Perkins, strolled on stage. And with a rendition of their instrumental classic ‘4’, we’re all gently reminded why this band has cut such an enormous reputation for themselves. On the level of pure instrumental ability, these guys are amongst the best in the country. Enter from stage right, resplendent in boardshorts and double plugger thongs, Tex Perkins. The man who has taken relaxed to an almost underground level. Much to the crowd’s delight The Cruel Sea worked through their back catalog with tradesman like, if not laid back, precision. Hearing well loved songs like ‘Better Get A Lawyer’ and ‘It’s Alright’ is like putting on your favourite old jeans again. They may be a bit rougher around the edges than they once were, but hey, The Cruel Sea were always that way. Fortunately these Aussie icons have yet to slip from legend to myth. The Cruel Sea still pack a room, and they still rock. ~Stephen Bocking
Dinopsaur Jr ©Kevin Bull
Stepping up to his microphone, a veritable wall of amplifiers behind him, J Mascis led his legendary three-piece into ‘Thumb’. Long, blonde hair covering his face, Mascis’ understated approach to his music hasn’t changed since the birth of Dinosaur Jr. You can just imagine him as a teenager in his bedroom, singing and playing exactly as he does now. As one would expect from a Dino Jr gig, this was a loud, raw and pure concert. Murph pounded the drums as hard as always and Lou Barlow provided a tight bass sound for the rhythm section, allowing Mascis to launch into his extended, wailing solos. From their brilliant 2009 record, Farm, the band played ‘Pieces’, the wah-wah driven ‘Over It’ and the slower ‘Plans’. The crowd went noticeably mental for the classic ‘Feel The Pain’. There was also a welcome encore of two songs from their 1987 record You’re Living All Over Me - ‘Kracked’ and ‘Sludgefeast’. A man of few words - and little conventional stage presence - J Mascis really is a joy to watch on stage. He’s got one of the hardesthitting guitar styles on the planet. Let’s hope Dinosaur Jr keep kicking on, because they’re only getting better with age. ~Nick Milligan
Live reviews Gig of the month
FUTURE MUSIC FESTIVAL
You Am I ©kevin bull
You Am I Queens Wharf Brewery, Newcastle Saturday, February 27
Sunny Saturday afternoon, harbour location, free You Am I concert - why would you be anywhere else? A cheerful and diverse crowd were well settled in as the Full House sign went up at the venue, and support band (and local lads) The Nickson Wing took to the stage. The band made the most of a reasonably short set, their eclectic mix of melodic rock impressing the crowd and leaving many wanting more. And more is what certainly arrived as the crowd swelled in anticipation of the collective arrival of Tim, Davey, Andy and Rusty, who wasted no time in reacquainting themselves with the always-welcoming Newcastle crowd. Kicking off with ‘Rumble’ and holding the punters in the palm of their hands all afternoon, these rock dilettantes proved once again why they are one of the country’s premier live acts. A career- spanning setlist shifted between the bluesy swagger of ‘Rosedale’, the onslaught of ‘It Ain’t Funny How We Don’t Talk Anymore’ and the rousing acceptance that followed the opening chords to ‘Berlin Chair’. The fact that their set left out so many crowd favourites (only one song from Hourly Daily) is a testament to the songwriting prowess of alwaysengaging frontman Tim Rogers. His heartfelt birthday dedication to his daughter (‘Nuthin’s Ever Gone Be The Same Again’) moved many in the crowd, and the band’s tight and instinctive interplay reminded many of the power this quartet can muster. The final ringing chords of set closer ‘The Piano Up The Tree’ competed with the rapturous applause from a well satisfied crowd. Rogers then thanked the crowd and The Brewery for keeping “live music alive” – a sentiment undoubtedly shared by many in attendance. ~Paul Frost
Royal Randwick Racecourse, Sydney Saturday, March 6, 2010 While there were numerous and very convenient free coaches running from Central train station into 2010’s Future Music Festival, the 90 minutes it took to get inside the event really put a dampener on the day’s proceedings - and meant that many acts were missed. To say that the festival was disorganised would be to murder it with understatement. Once you get inside, Future Music is a whole lot of fun. The layout is unusual, with the two halves of the festival connected by a long, long path that takes about eight minutes to
walk, but once on either side there are stages everywhere you turn, very short drink queues and lots of places to chill out and get away from the sun (if ‘chilling out’ is something you’re capable of doing at Future). It may have been a windy day, but the sound at the main stage was disappointing. If you were outside the D-barrier, you really couldn’t hear anything. This meant missing Franz Ferdinand’s set because the volume was low and the mix was getting washed away. However, when we made it to the front of the stage for The Prodigy, the sound was incredible. The pioneers of British electronica had a lights malfunction, but being the warriors that they are, they simply performed
jeff lang ©Terry Paull
blue mountains folk festival Katoomba Friday, March 12 — Sunday March 14
You couldn’t want a more grand old town than Katoomba, in the Blue Mountainss, to hold such a wonderful festival as the Blue Mountains Music Festival. Firstly, there was the exciting and entertaining phenomenon that is Claude Hay, who is re-inventing the notion of the one-man band. He plays all his instruments into a recorded loop then adds the next instrument, so in the end an amazing invisible band is cranking John Butler Trio-style blues/funk at you with toe-tapping flare. It was difficult to be at all the wide-spread stages at once, but I was lucky enough to be at
the right stage at the right time to experience the powerful, yet beautiful, voice of Gail Page and her very talented trio. Such an amazing voice of the likes I haven’t heard for along time. Gail’s voice is a rare mix of Janis Joplin and Renee Geyer. Vince Jones blessed the festival with a stage presence that can only be acquired with years of refinement and dedication. Vince’s songs and heartfelt performance left the audience in a dream like state. For those of you that are familiar with Jeff Lang, I don’t need to sing his praises as one of Australia’s standout blues artist. There is such depth and richness to his playing and songs that you really have to experience it for yourself. His skill with a lap slide guitar is unparalleled
in the dark. It was very cool. For a mainstream artist, David Guetta was incredibly impressive. He’s certainly a master on the decks and probably had the biggest crowd of any other artist on the bill. Empire Of The Sun put on the spectacle that we’ve come to expect and they sounded fantastic. Another frustration was the timetable clashes - there were so many bangin’ artists on the bill that you simply couldn’t see them all, particularly with the afformentioned long, long path you had to take to get between both sides of the festival. But for all its faults, Future Music Festival is a very hectic day out. My only advice is to get there very, very early. ~Nick Milligan
gail page ©Terry Paull
in this country. A performer that was previously unknown to me was Bob Malone from Los Angeles. He blew me away with his high-powered delivery of keyboard and vocals, in the tradition of some kind of crazy Ray-Charles-meets-Jerry-LeeLewis-collision. As far as Saturday night big bashes go, Mojo Juju and the Snake Oil Merchants really strutted their stuff to create a potent highlight to the evening’s events. I’m a big fan of this dark-world blues outfit and they never fail to entertain. If you’re looking for a diverse cultural festival in a beautiful old historic town, then I suggest you take the time to make the most of this unique event next year. ~Terry Paull
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bacardi express review
Express yourself Take four bands, one DJ, a shit-load of media and competition winners, and let’s put them onto a train for two days. The Bacardi Express has just rolled through Brisbane, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle and Sydney, and Reverb Magazine was along for the ride. The general public all get the chance to see one of the four gigs, but what actually happens behind the train carriage door? Kevin Bull finds out. Toot toot! It was an early start Friday morning for all involved. Considering this followed the first gig in Brisbane, and the post-gig motel room drinks that went well into the night, it was never going to be easy. By 9am, we had boarded the coach, and were on our way to the train station where The Southern Aurora awaited. Once aboard, the music started, even before we left the platform. It became quite clear that the ‘jam carriage’ was going to be the focus of the trip. Members from the Cassette Kids, Miami Horror, Yves Klein Blue and Art Vs Science provided an ever-changing band that ripped into some wildly impressive improvisation and riffage, including stabs at some Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty and some twisted ‘stoner’ jamming. It shouldn’t come as no surprise that when you throw talented musos into the same room, the result can be quite well formed and forceful. We even received some bass work from head Peer Group Media honcho, Adam Zammit. Ten minutes after the train left Brisbane, the three bars opened, and the Bacardi 40
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flowed. We all threw ourselves into the free cocktails, with Yves Klein Blue frontman Michael Tomlinson and Art vs Science’s Jim Finn [keyboard/bass] taking a stint as bartenders. Luckily for all involved, there was plenty of food on offer, including an amazing three-course lunch in the plush dining carriage. Whether it was hot finger food, muffins or cookies, as well as the Bacardi, it felt that they were always within arms reach. There was also the ‘games carriage’ where Band Hero and DJ Hero were continually in use — mainly by the competition winners, I should add. Real musicians play real instruments, you see. An unexpected bonus was for artist/ illustrator David Bromley [davidbromley.com] to be making the trip with us. In one of the carriages, an artist studio was set up where Bromley worked on three of his current works. Paint hit the canvas while he happily fielded questions from passers-by. By midday, everyone had explored the train, were well lubricated, and mixing freely. Artists were getting stuck into the jam sessions, all
except La Roux who had not been seen as yet. The box full of party costumes were being plundered, and things were getting quite loose between the artists, media, and promoters. The pleasure of this relaxed openness is the small insights into the real artist — like sitting opposite Sean Cook [Yves Klein Blue, bass] while he reads The Communist Manifesto, the same Cook not knowing the chord changes to ‘Born To Be Wild’, and discussing over lunch the technology that is allowing DJ Sampology to successfully mix video into his sets. As we rolled into Coffs Harbour, Elly Jackson [La Roux] appeared, walking casually through
the carriages, bringing with it an impromptu version of ‘Bulletproof’ sung by those present. It is a real shame that she has spent the trip locked away in her cabin as the thought of her jamming with a live band was quite tasty. Reflecting back on my trip from Brisbane to Coffs Harbour, it is clear that no expense has been spared. Food, alcohol, and travel expenses were all provided in order to give the public four free concerts. My hat goes off to Bacardi and Peer Group Media as they have realised that the music in itself is a powerful force, and to be aligned with it is a reward in itself. ~kevin bull
film reviews Mass deception reviewed Green Zone reviewed by Nick Milligan rated 4/5 With his background in documentary-making, director Paul Greengrass again tackles a screenplay that blurs the lines between fiction and non-fiction. But it’s the chilling hints of truth that make Green Zone such a taught and well-constructed thriller. The most fantastical elements, like members of the American government lying about the existence of weapons of mass destruction [WMDs], are disturbingly familiar. The film takes its title from the name of the International Zone in Iraq, a ten-square kilometre area in central Baghdad. Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller [Matt Damon] is on the ground in the Iraq war, heading a unit that is investigating the supposed locations of WMDs. When their searches continue to find absolutely nothing, he begins to question where the US military’s intelligence is coming from. His fears are dismissed by Clark Poundstone, a Pentagon suit who is clearly up to no good. But Miller finds an ally in Martin Brown [Brendan Gleeson], an old-school member of the CIA, who is also fearful that a deception is taking place. Green Zone unravels at a cracking pace, and in a similar fashion to The Hurt Locker, takes the viewer effectively into the intense streets
Heart of gold
of Iraq. The film has been criticised for being anti-American, but Damon’s protagonist is certainly a voice of reason and a patriot. While Greengrass’ hand-held camera work is overdone, the strength of the cast make Green Zone a gripping experience. The performance of Khalid Abdalla, as Miller’s Iraqi translator, Freddy, is ultimately what takes the movie into its most lingering and powerful territory.
Crazy Heart is one of those films that has quite a simple and familiar story at its core, but due to some exceptional qualities it is a far superior viewing experience than expected. ‘Bad’ Blake [Jeff Bridges] is a 57 year-old washed up veteran country singer who is playing small bars in dead-end towns, whilst battling financial woes and his love affair with the bottle. When he gives a rare interview with reporter Jean Craddock [Maggie Gyllenhaal], he falls for her in a way he has not felt for years, giving him a new sense of hope. Their relationship quickly develops, despite Jean, a single mum to a four year-old boy, knowing full well the pitfalls of falling for such a man. This is a very impressive directorial debut from Scott Cooper, who lets the audience take the journey in an unhurried pace, giving plenty of time to get to know all of the key players so that you really do care about their lives.
reviewed Crazy Heart reviewed by Mark Snelson rated 4/5 Bridges’ performance in Crazy Heart is a career highlight and it was a well-deserved Oscar win for his efforts. It is his heartbreaking turn, combined with the soulful tunes penned by T Bone Burnett [and sung by Bridges himself], that lift this rather straightforward story into something special. Maggie Gyllenhaal is also very convincing in her role and there are some great minor parts from the likes of Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell. Essentially, Crazy Heart is a redemption story very reminiscent of last year’s The Wrestler, albeit with a country twang. But no matter how familiar the path may be, character-driven films that are this well made and told are a rarity, making it an instant classic worthy of all the accolades it has received.
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Guise of Dolls In a dilapidated workshop, a small, robotic doll comes to life. Painted on his back is the number ‘9’. Lying on the workshop’s floor is the rotting body of his creator. When the wide-eyed doll ventures over to a window, he sees a world that was once inhabited by humans — but they’re all gone. Now the landscape is roamed by savage, destructive robots — macabre monstrosities of metal and bone. 9 quickly discovers that he is the ninth in a series of robot dolls, each with their own design and personalities. 9, as voiced by Elijah Wood, is an intrepid and resourceful hero and soon makes his mark on this post-apocalyptic universe. He is also intent to discover the purpose of his creation — in other words, his reason for existence. This is just one concept that is woven into the tapestry of this story. It’s rife with ideas on humanity that become more apparent as the mystery unravels. The voice cast are all well-chosen. John C Reilly is the naive 5, Jennifer Connelly is the fearless 7 and Crispin Glover is the supposedly crazy 6. There’s also Christopher Plummer as 1 and Martin Landau as 2. Just as District 9 started life as a short film before getting the green light to become a feature-length movie, 9 was originally a short animation by writer/director Shane Acker and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 [Acker also worked as a Weta animator on The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King]. Tim Burton was so impressed by the short that he threw his weight behind it to turn it into a full-length movie. Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov [Night Watch, Day Watch, Wanted] also lent his production credentials. The screenplay of 9 combines mystery, action-adventure, science fiction and horror to create a very original film. Shane Acker’s direction of the animation is superb, with some wildly inventive sequences that give the 42
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reviewed 9 reviewed by Nick Milligan rated 4.5/5 narrative an epic feel. The chases and battles are tightly choreographed, with a lot of thought going into possibilities of this post-apocalyptic landscape. While the potential hazards of artificial intelligence have been explored in films such as The Terminator and The Matrix, there’s something incredibly moving about seeing a post-apocalyptic world through the innocence of these small robot dolls. The dark brown, junkfilled horizon that these sewn protagonists inhabit seems to harbour so many surprises, sometimes beautiful, sometimes disturbing. Familiar objects appear in the decay of the civilisation, whether it be a jet fighter, a button or a surgeon’s scalpel. It’s never clearly stated that the film is taking place on Earth. Though flashbacks do reveal a human race, and humanity is a concept at the core of 9, the atmosphere and costuming echoes of World War II and not the modern populous that we are now. There’s a sense that this might be an alternate reality, though that never detracts from the emotional truth of the script. With fast-pacing, deeply imaginative set designs, mesmerising animation and some sincere, heart-felt voice performances, Acker has created a little masterpiece. When Christopher Plummer’s character, the elder 1, utters the words, “They left us nothing… nothing… Why do we have to right their wrongs?”, it’s one of the most poignant and loaded questions to be uttered in modern cinema. 9 is a richly rewarding and moving experience — part of you wishes it went for longer than 85 minutes. The DVD release is a worthwhile package, which includes a feature commentary, deleted scenes and a series of featurettes that delve into the creation of the movie. 9 is certainly one of the finest animated movies ever made — one that you will want to revisit on more than one occasion.
As Ricky Gervais’ introductory voice-over explains, The Invention of Lying is set in an alternate world where the human brain has not evolved, or developed, the ability to lie. Unless something is completely apparent, a person’s mind cannot articulate it. In addition to that, people cannot withhold their honest feelings. So if someone thinks you are fat or stupid, they’re incapable of not telling you. For a person like Mark Bellison [Ricky Gervais], who isn’t traditionally attractive or successful, this universe deals him many a harsh blow. When he manages to score a date with the gorgeous Anna McDoogles [Jennifer Garner], who is “way out of his league”, their conversation is awkward to say the least. Bellison is clearly becoming increasingly saddened and frustrated with his life and in a moment of desperation, he remarkably finds it within himself to “say something that wasn’t”. Once he realises his unique ability, Bellison starts to experiment, discovering the good and bad consequences of telling a lie. Co-written and co-directed by Matthew Robinson, who apparently came up with the script and presented it to Gervais [his comedic idol], the pair have created a second American vehicle for the British comedian, but it’s an incredibly watered-down version of his sense of humour. Like his previous major step into mainstream Hollywood with Ghost Town, Gervais puts himself in a storyline that is bland, cliched and, despite its grand overarching concept, quite conventional. The bittersweet poignancy of his British productions, like The Office and Extras, is sorely lacking. While there are a few interesting ideas in this universe of supposed ultimate truth, there’s no real depth here. The hyper-real, silly dialogue often detracts from the humanistic moments, making it hard to empathise with Gervais’ protagonist.
A Blurry Vision For Blur fans, this feature-length documentary about the British four-piece’s 2009 reunion will be a cathartic experience. It follows Blur’s decision to bury the hatchet with guitarist Graham Coxon and play a series of special shows in England. It was the first time the original line-up had been together since Blur’s experimental album in 1999, 13. Using candid new interviews with all four members, No Distance Left To Run revisits the origins of the band, explaining how they met at school and started tinkering with their instruments. The film then follows their commercial rise, a picture of four very young guys who are thrown into a hectic world of fame — the excess of success and their media-fuelled feud with Oasis. There’s some wonderful footage of the reformed band returning to some shabby little
reviewed The Invention of Lying [DVD] reviewed by Nick Milligan rated 1.5/5
It’s certainly an ambitious concept for a screenplay, but the humour is so American in taste that it often feels very trite. Even Liar Liar, the 1997 Jim Carrey vehicle, had more profound insights into humans’ multi-layered ability to fib. When Gervais, a proud athiest, brings religious ideas into The Invention of Lying, he seems to bite off a little more than he can chew. The introduction of ‘God’ into the plot highlights a fatal flaw — in a universe where humans are bound to ‘truth’ and take the world at face value, only able to vocalise things they know to exist, it rules out the capacity for abstract thought. That mental process, which allows humans to be spiritual, religious and even existential, also allows them to invent technology which does not exist. If we can’t hypothesise, where does that leave science? It’s difficult to believe that society would have evolved as far as it has in The Invention of Lying if this is the case. If Gervais hadn’t introduced a debatable topic like religion, the viewer may have been more inclined to overlook these technicalities. The notable lack of Gervais’ regular co-writer and co-director, Stephen Merchant, might explain this overly indulgent script. But what makes this film the most uncomfortable to watch is seeing Gervais’ comic genius inadequately transplanted into a glossy and very cheesy American comedy. In all honesty, this is a disappointing movie.
reviewed Blur: No Distance Left To Run reviewed by Nick Milligan rated 4.5/5
venues they played in when they were starting out — a series of secret gigs for friends and family. The reunion will eventually take them to a triumphant headline slot at Glastonbury and then two nights in Hyde Park, London. The band’s interviews convey some poignant themes about friendship and hardship, and along with some breath-taking cinematography, ensure that this film transcends your standard rock doco. The two-disc release comes with a full live concert from Hyde Park, making this a must-have release for rock enthusiasts.
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