Cor that Portishead album is a cracking good listen.

No seriously, it will take you away, drifting you further and further downstream, sweetly manipulate your senses, before it begins punching you in the face and between the ears. It manages to represent an audiophonic equilibrium between two contrasting forces. The musical binary opposites that operate within Third are mixed into each other as is typical of Portishead’s trade mark style and Beth Gibbon’s vocals, but at the same time they are allowed room to breathe creating cohesive songs independent of what we expect Portishead to sound like. I am anticipating that Third to be doing the rounds in seven months time when bloggers start compiling their Top 10 lists, which is where the album should be. Third appears to be Portishead taking their sound and finally moving forwards without managing to sound static or dated, it just was such a damn shame it took them so long.

Machine Gun is the first single for the band off the album, and while I agree that it is a suitable choice, I can’t help but feel that the potency of its visceral sound coming straight after Deep Water on the album is somehow lost, that there’s all push and no pull. It still packs a punch but its more a dead arm from a sibling or an errant friend rather than the gang street bashing that the song delivers in the context of the album. But judge for yourself, here is the band doing their thing with Machine Gun live on Later with… Jools Holland.

Why Anzac Day isn’t just an excuse for a drunken long weekend.

Oh lord, that ending always makes me cry.

Girl caught in a blatant attempt to catch up.


Contemplating a blog face lift of sorts.

Because I figure this here blog is about a year old. Because I’m lazy, and am currently far I’m busier than I have been in years. Which is good, gives me something to do, but I don’t think I’m suppose be this drained all the time and in a never ending cycle of being sick.

So to recap the last couple of gigs.

Stars @ Spectrum.

Flowery, and lush with music that created a lot of lovely slow smiles.


First time that I had been, but I was kinda disappointed. Punters seemed to have that over priced op-shop outfit going on, and it was at times claustrophobic.

Okkerevil River would have been awesome, if I were able to see actually see or hear the band. Being stuck up the back of an overcrowded laneway, and next to some moron who decided to sing the entire gig, complete with shouted lyrics and some annoying guitar hero vocals.

I might have lost my specs in Dan Deacon’s conga line, but god damn he still was the most dorky fun I’ve had in a long time. No too-cool-to-do-anything-pretenders at his shows, I imagine that they’d be thrown out in appropriate fashion.


BSS+Stars+Feist= OMG OMG OMG from, well everyone. Magic. BSS the way it should be. Oh Leslie Feist. Look girl crush aside, can I just take her home? And then wheel her out for girly chats, guitar playing, and some kick arse parties. Can I? Can I? Can I?

Bailed after Feist magic, due to work the next day. Kinda bummed that I missed Cool Kids and the “secret” Dan Deacon show, on the plus side however I didn’t have to see Gotye or The Presets disappoint.

Beirut @ Manning Bar.

Translated rather well from record to stage. Zach is a cutie, and I may have said that a tad too loudly on the night in question. But THAT VOICE! I felt like was traversing through Europe having a magical holiday and not the package kind either. Some made up hybird of 1950/60’s chic with Vespas, Louis Vuitton trunks, and Federico Fellini meets Amélie and Jean-Luc Godard. Plummeted back down the earth post gig, when a Tramp ran up to me at the bus stop.

Tramp: I dont want to rob ya!

Me: (thinking) That’s a good start.

Tramp: I just want to know where the nearest pub or servo is. See I was in this band, and then they drove off and left me at a service station and I’ve been here ever since.

Me: Is that so? Pub down the road. No servo’s round here.

Tramp: Thanks mate.

Tramp toddles off towards the pub with ten dollars worth of change rattling in his hobo pockets. If I were really in Europe it’d be gypsies.

Post-January Blues? No Way!!

Image/drawing copyright David Shrigley, 2008.

With all the January gig and festival madness that had been happening, it’s easy to forget there are plenty more excellent shows to come in February and March. I’m expecting the down turn to hit about April/May, hopefully by then some local bands will be doing the rounds. All the following gigs are in chronological order, it’s just my layout that is all over the place, maybe its time for a facelift???


  • Dappled Cities Fly are doing another quick tour in February, before they disappear back into the studio in sometime for work on album number 3, (Gee don’t these guys ever rest?) They are playing Oxford Arts Factory, on Wednesday 13th and Thursday the 14th (aww valentines day Dappled) of February, with Bluejuice, and The Seabellies supporting. Tickets are $16.50+bf and are available through Moshtix.
  • Explosions in The Sky are here hooray! They are playing the Manning Bar on Friday the 15th of February. But it’s SOLD OUT I’m afraid. So if you have ticket, and you don’t want it, I’ll happily take the burden off your hands.
  • Good Vibrations festival is on again in Centennial Park on the 16th of February headliners include The Rapture, Kayne West, Cypress Hill, and the Thievery Corporation. Tickets are available here from moshtix, $120 + bf.
  • Sonic Youth are performing @ the Enmore Theatre. Playing their classic album Daydream Nation, as part of the Don’t Look Back, All Tomorrows Parties series in Sydney on 18th and 19th of February. The show on Monday the 18th is SOLD OUT but tickets are still available for the 19th, $66.60+bf available through Ticketek.
  • Interpol are playing the Hordern Pavilion (I know the Hordern *groan*) on the 21st of February, tickets are $ 69 +bf through Ticketek.
  • Comedian Daniel Kitson is in Sydney doing two sets of shows. Check his website for dates in other cities. First his new stand up, The Impotent Fury of the Privileged, from Sun 17 – Wed 27 February at The Factory Theatre. Tickets are $23 +bf. Then his new story show, The Ballad of Roger & Grace, at the Belvoir Street Theatre with singer/songwriter/guitarist Gavin Osborn from Sat 23 – Wed 27 February, this show I should add starts at 11pm, but the theatre is by the train station. Tickets aren’t on their website atm, so it might be best to give them a call.
  • Dan Deacon is playing Oxford Arts Factory on the 22nd of February, tickets are $19+bf, through Moshtix.
  • Stars are playing Spectrum on the 26th and 27th of February, tickets are $33+bf through Moshtix.
  • Okkervil River are playing at the Manning Bar on the 27th of February, tickets are $38+bf through Moshtix.
  • Broken Social Scene or Kevin Drew depending on which state you’re in is/are playing the Manning Bar in Sydney on the 28th of February, and tickets are $38+bf through Moshtix.
  • Rap/Hip Hop outfit Cool Kids will bringing their awesome old skool sound to the Oxford Arts Factory on Saturday 29th of Feb tickets, $20 +bf through Moshtix.
  • Feist playing the Metro on the 29th of February , she is now SOLD OUT. Don’t be too disappointed though. If you missed out like me, I’ve been hearing swirling rumours about a Feist + Stars harbour cruise gig. Here’s hoping that one pans out.
  • The Laneway Festival back again with among others (deep breath)…
  • Feist (!!!)
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
  • Broken Social Scene (!!!)
  • Okkervil River (!!!)
  • Dan Deacon (!!!)
  • Devastations(!!!)
  • Stars (!!!)
  • Cool Kids (!!!)
  • Manchester Orchestra
  • Darren Hanlon- yay!
  • The Basics – yay!

And this time Laneway is expanding to include Brisbane, and Adelaide, as well as Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney’s will be held on Sunday 2nd of March, and has now SOLD OUT. But tickets for other states are still available through Moshtix.

  • Beirut is playing @ The Manning Bar on the 5th of March, tickets are $38+bf through Moshtix and we all know it will be gorgeous.
  • If you like me kicking yourself that you missed Jens Lekmans solo show in January, you would should be pleased to note that Jens is touring with his band and playing at The Manning Bar (Gee, what’s up with all these shows on at the Manning Bar, who did Uni of Syd have to sleep with to score some of these indie heavyweights, it’s not even that good a venue), on the 8th of March tickets are $38+bf through Moshtix.
  • Cat Power is coming back, and playing at the Enmore Theatre on the 9th of March, tickets are between $ 50-61.50+ bf through Ticketek, remember to double check the seating plan before buying your tickets.
  • Iron & Wine is playing the Manning Bar in Sydney on 11th of March, the tickets are $40+bf through Moshtix.
  • Múm who I have been dying to see live for years, have announced they are touring, playing the Manning Bar on the 18th of March, tickets $40+bf through Moshtix.

I am no doubt probably missing a few shows. In fact I know I am, here they are…

PJ Harvey (18th Feb), CYHSY (27th Feb), Ween (1st March), Chemical Brothers (7th March), Coco Rosie(8th March), Future of the Left (9th March), and Wilco (18th March).

Big Day Out 2008


Worst. Big Day Out. Ever.

For me at least. I don’t think I will be attending the Big Day Out again unless I organise myself and go down to the Melbourne one again, Melbourne do a good BDO. It seems a complete shame to end my BDO attendance this way. Because frankly, we’ve had a pretty good relationship, it was always the highlight of my under aged years, along with the (used-to-be-decent) Hottest 100 countdown.

I’m going to list the top 4 pros (Thumbs up), and cons (Heads down) of the day. Sean has set lists for Spoon, Arcade Fire, and LCD Soundsystem on his BDO review and where he might not have wanted to rant, but I sure as hell will.

Thumbs Up to…

1. LCD Soundsystem! James Murphy may have had a nasty case of sunstroke and sunburn from surfing the previous day, but he came out all tambourines, and cowbells a-blazing. The man has an amazing voice, accentuated by the fact he uses an old school hand held microphone, he’ll shout, he’ll scream, he’ll sing and he’ll hold notes for at least 30 seconds, before starting all over again. He gets everyone up, singing and dancing. His band + some of Arcade Fire helping out on stage were shit hot. All his songs translated incredibly well, and were much more rock orientated rather than dance, which made for great listening. And look I don’t care that some of the folk I was dancing with kept calling him fat, James Murphy is one sexy man. Yeah, All My Friends, Movement, and North American Scum were personal highlights.

I heard that his sideshow at the Enmore where he played the BDO setlist plus stuff off his previous albums as well Get Innocuous, and covered Joy Division’s No Love Lost was kick arse too.

2. Arcade Fire! This band will never fail to impress, and astonish me. That moment when they and the crowd all launch into Wake Up together, sent chills down my spine, made the hairs on the back of neck stood up, and gave me goosebumps all at the same time. Of course the Enmore show was more special and a millions times better, but still those kids will always put on an a-maz-ing show! My highlight was the spellbinding accapella ending to their set and Rebellion (Lies).

3. Spoon! Keyboard troubles aside. These guys are so much fun, cracking smiles, and yet getting down to the point of playing really good music. Will talk about their excellent Annandale show, and the brass section that they brought with them from the Annandale to BDO. It was really cool to see under age Spoon fans, enjoying and appreciating one of the most consistently excellent and tightest outfits I have ever seen. Kudos to the little ones for not bugging me, and getting the chance some of us never got way back when. I missed their 2001 Sydney show, since I used to be one. I also got some ok Spoon photos will post, when I have more room on flickr, I should really get a paid account one of these days.

4. Constantly running into people, I hadn’t see in over six months/one-two years. It’s always nice when you get to catch up with folk you like.

Heads Down to…

1. Bjork pulling out the night before with Yorke’s excuse. I was and still am so cut about this. Especially when I had missed out on tickets to her amazing side show. Although, I was informed that even music related folk with clout and serious connections couldn’t get a look in ticket wise to her sideshow, so that makes me feel slightly better. But I had been saying to myself these past few weeks that doesn’t matter that I missed out, because seeing her at the Big Day Out will make up for this. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

2. The confusing maze that constitutes as the Big Day Out. But more importantly the nightmare that was the poorly managed D barricade. All I wanted to do was see Arcade Fire in close proximity. I was going to clear off and see LCD Soundsystem. Not everyone had trouble with the D, and I’ve never had any real trouble every other year I’ve gone to the Big Day Out. I also had never ever admitted defeat to the D till this year. But after being incredibly crushed for over an hour, and when I say crushed I mean, not able to breathe, so you’re on the constant verge of passing out, or being swept under thanks to the idiots who think it’s fun to push everyone dangerously to and fro; I had to bail and miss out.

3. The god awful embarrassing pantomime that has become silverchair and Daniel Johns. It was like watching an effeminate and over polished David Brent car crash in slow motion perform on stage, he was just that toe curling. Also Enter Shikari for being one of the stupidest and worst bands, I have ever seen, I was waiting for spoon to start on the opposite stage I must stress. Their “screamo/trance” aka being a poor man’s Linkin Park numbers, just made me feel physically sick. Also the NME like em and hype me- reason number 380. to just avoid them.

4. The water happy security guards at Spoon who refused to listen to Britt when he asked them to stop, and just kept going. They only stopped until after Britt lost it calling one security guy in particular a ‘fucking arsehole’ and ‘a dipshit’, and the crowd had finished hurling enough bottles. FYI security guards indie kids don’t like to be sprayed, we aren’t uncontrollable dogs. Some of the rage fans could have used a god hosing maybe, but not the indie kids we’re a respectable lot. No one had better be pulling that kind of thing at Laneway or I’ll be writing a letter of complaint.

Phew. No wonder everyone seemed beyond exhausted.

The Arcade Fire @ The Enmore Theatre.



It almost seems not fair that all these wonderful bands and performers are playing, clashing, and tearing up and down the country at the same time. Normally a tour of any one of the bands that have been on offer this January, would elicit palpitations from even the most jaded of music critics. But having everything and everyone touring at once makes this summer a real life indie/music nerd/fan girl/boys wet dream. I’m not complaining of course, it just can all seem slightly overwhelming at times, but hey when it rains in this drought ridden land, it bloody pours.

Now I wouldn’t want to pit one brilliant band against another, unless of course there was a drunken dance off of some sort involved. But where The National on Monday were impressive, epic, heartbreaking and frenzied; The Arcade Fire on Tuesday were impressive, epic, silly, and good old fashioned wholesome fun. There is nothing quite like seeing a band that are at the top of their game, and how their concert will always remain firmly etched into your memories. This was boys and girls was one of those special nights.

Look, I know that The Arcade Fire are a rock multi-instrumental indie outfit. But I found myself surprised at just how much gusto and power their songs contained. Part stage magicians, part funfair, and all band, Arcade Fire opened with Wake Up, it was gloriously loud, joyful beginning to an gloriously loud, energetic, joyful, and uplifting show.

I have heard some negative comments about the crowd on Tuesday night, and in response all I want to do is ask what show were you attending? It certainly wasn’t the same show that I attended, the one where Arcade Fire had the entire sell out audience eating out of their hand, smiling, singing, crying, jumping, clapping, and dancing along to every single song. And hey I should know, I kept turning around to watch all those happy faces.

I know that I should probably talk more about why The Arcade Fire charmed the pants off everybody, but seeing as my review is coming two days late, (hey I was busy doing detailed job applications, and writing a story, in that order) pretty much everyone seems to have Arcade Fire eloquently covered. But I will say this all the hype you have heard about Arcade Fire live is completely and utterly true, and all those live videos really don’t do them justice, you cant feel their music as it pounds and resonates through the air, see the sweat running off their perky faces, or shout, clap and scream in appreciation without attracting some odd stares.

The Setlist for the Tuesday Night (22/01/08)

Wake Up
Keep The Car Running
Black Mirror
No Cars Go
Black Wave/Bad Vibrations
Neon Bible
Age of Consent- A New Order cover, as if you didn’t know that…
Ocean of Noise
The Well and the Lighthouse
Headlights Look Like Diamonds
(Antichrist Television Blues)
Power Out
Rebellion (Lies)

Personal highlight of the show, was when the band played Headlights Look Like Diamonds off their The Aracde Fire EP, which along with their 2001 Demo, I probably listen to the most. It was like a little recognition along my own cheesy lines of, ‘Hey you haven’t heard the older stuff live Sydney so this one’s for you.’ I was pretty impressed that I managed to get all the woos from that song in perfect time to the vocal. I’m normally the odd one out, when it comes to that sort of thing.

The Arcade Fire live were everything that I hoped they would be, everything that I wanted them to be, everything that they should have been, and then a whole lot more.

How to gracefully dissapear in a room, or why The National live blew me away!

The National @ the Sydney City Recital Hall


To badly paraphrase Spank Rock co-hort MC Amanda Blank, The National’s rhymes are painful and fresh. Where other bands and singer songwriters can accompany you into dark corners, or take the lid off your mind and tinker with the insides. The National seem to belong that group of bands that hold your adult hand, tell stories to which you can relate to, and show you all those the dark corners, in the millisecond before they switch the light on.

I was having a hard time trying to imagine or conceptualise the band playing their songs in all their deserved glory, a side effect of only hearing The National through speakers and headphones. Not to mention all the reviews I’ve read of their other Australian shows, which all made reference to the fact that something was missing. And because of the formal venue that the show would be a strictly sit down affair. So you can understand why I was slightly apprehensive about seeing them live.

I needn’t have worried. First off I had a bloody good seat, AAA 49= first row dead centre. There wasn’t much banter between songs, but what was said was pithy and enough. Odd venue is City Recital Hall sure it has some comfy seating throughout, but I think the band realised this, not the comfy seating, but that it was new kind of venue for them to play in with a seated sort of atmosphere, a fact that they mentioned. When I arrived and saw just how cavernous the City Recital Hall is, my first thought was how on earth are they going to fill this up. A more intimate, softer sounding band might have come undone, lost in all that space. But not The National.

Their songs have an epic wall of sound element to them, forever building in intensity, held together and almost encouraged by drummer Bryan Devendor’s powerful rhythms. Padma Newsome is a frenzied multi-instrumental (keyboard, piano, harmonium among others), violin playing mad man. While the three remaining members Aaron Dessner (guitar, bass, piano), Bryce Dessner (guitar), and Scott Devendorf (bass, guitar), give their all in creating these larger than life impressive guitars that give gravitas to singer Matt Berninger’s lyrics. And with all that accompanied by a horn, a clarinet, trumpet, and a bassoon, meant that by god we heard that wall. We heard right through the wall of sound and back again.

Matt Berninger may appear on-stage to be an almost reluctant and slightly angular front man, but that voice. That VOICE! That baritone voice, which just explodes and when heard live is so much more richer, gentler and full of intensity. That there is a real man, slugging down a bottle of vodka on stage, and doing his own version of the Thom dance*.

*Thom as in Thom Yorke from Radiohead who when playing live does this intense, but funny spazzy sort of tamborine dance.

The Setlist:

Start a war

Mistaken for Strangers

Secret Meeting


Baby, We’ll be Fine

Slow Show

Squalor Victoria

The Geese of Beverly Road


Racing Like a Pro


Apartment Story

Green Groves

Fake Empire



Mr. November

About Today

LORD I wanted to stand up during the encore performance of Mr. November I really did, but I was held back by the fact that I would be blocking someone else’s view, and being one who hates view blockers, I chose not to be one myself. I chose wrong, so very very wrong. Especially when Matt decided to come down off the stage and sing right in the first row, crawl up and over both mine and my neighbours seats, and stand on top of them, before losing his balance and landing in some lucky blokes lap. Shame, it wasn’t a stand up venue, I read somewhere that has a habit of Matt crowd surfing during Mr. November.

Support act was sister band to The National, Clogs. They are musically sound, incredibly skilled, and seemed to have a hold on the audience, but I found my interest and attention waning as their set continued, so I guess I wont be going out to buy any Clogs albums any time soon.

The National left everyone reeling from awe and yet most certainly wanting a hell of a lot more. I honestly hope that they come back soon, so I can see them in a venue when I can stand up and don’t appear to be the only one in a row who is standing out, by visibly enjoying the show in just plain embarrassing fashion.

What. A. Night!