Archive of ‘Gig Reviews’ category

The Holidays, Step Panther / Wollongong Uni Bar


An end of semester bash at Wollongong Uni Bar recently afforded me the opportunity to catch Sydney local’s The Holidays coming off the release of their fantastic second studio album, Reel Feel. The night began with supporting act Step-Panther, a local garage-pop trio, delivering a fast-paced, unapologetic set. Although their offering of gritty lo-fi tracks seemed to have a somewhat polarising effect on the crowd, I was definitely digging their brash riffs and raw sound.
The atmosphere changed for the upbeat when the aptly named, indie-pop outfit The Holidays emerged on stage to deliver a slew of vacation-reminiscent sounds. After milling about eagerly during set-up, the crowd responded to the sensory delight that these guys had in store by erupting in a joyous sea of rhythmic movement before the end of their first song.
With the release of a second album, the group has established a substantial library of much loved songs, all dripping with fanciful, soul-pop sounds and to the delight of an energetic crowd, they threw most of them our way. The set was highlighted by the percussion-heavy ‘2 Days’  from their debut release and ‘All Time High’, a dreamlike single from their latest release that really showcased frontman Simon Jones’ adept vocals. These were followed by the sounds of ‘Home’ which, aside from getting them some serious play on the national airwaves, gave everyone a reason to cast disposition aside and bust an unconditional move.

The Middle Names, The Dark Hawks, Angry Beige / Brighton Up Bar

Middle NamesThings began slowly at the Brighton Up Bar for the Remember Me At All Tour that has seen Hobart’s indie pop-rock outfit The Middle Names travelling about. Things kicked off with support acts Angry Beige - possibly the most daringly contradictory band name of recent memory – and The Black Hawks both delivering intense, seductive sets which at times extended beyond the stage as if to spite the dwindling crowd. The Black Hawks boasted some serious post-rock chops with resounding drum beats and delightfully abrasive guitar riffs complimenting the raw, powerful vocals. I hadn’t heard much of these guys going in but I found myself eagerly tapping along with every one of their songs regardless.

By the time The Middle Names took the stage the crowd had really emerged, eager to see the Tasmanian natives – and they did not disappoint. It was a tight set, showcasing the groups musical range, from the fast paced, punk-pop inspired sounds of ‘Full Friends’ that have come to define the band’s sound, to their homage to spaghetti-westerns in ‘You Came Around’, a song that left few able to resist the temptation to contribute to the inevitable dance-floor hoedown. Their newest track, the headlining ‘Remember Me At All’ also showed off the groups dual vocal musings which really added depth to an already interesting sound and left me anticipating whatever comes next from these guys.

There is something infinitely relatable about The Middle Names and though I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, it didn’t stop me, or anyone else at the Brighton Up Bar, from being totally captivated by there playful, unassuming performance. The group’s candid stage presence managed to create a comforting sense of nostalgia that played at me throughout the set and had me anticipating each song as though their’s was the first album I ever owned. In short you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on these guys.

Gig Review – Jungle Giants, Millions, and Shortstraw @ Metro Theatre

Jungle Giants

The opening night of The Jungle Giants Tuss Tour was certaintly one that I am not going to forget in a while. This is in part because of a sweet line-up of music, and part because it made me question whether mid-twenties males are allowed to like indie pop. (After careful consideration, and the way I bopped along during the night, I decided it was ok).

We got there just after Shortstraw finished, and based off the yells and screams of the crowd, they must have done a pretty good job. However, its always hard to tell at underage gigs, because they squeal excitement at anything. Even when Dom from Millions suggested they buy their shirts.

Which brings me onto Millions. A band I have followed since they first popped their singles up on Triple J Unearthed, it was great to see the guys decked out in matching white outfits ready to wow the crowd. A little clockwork orange in their appearance, they delivered a solid set with a host of favourites ‘Slow Burner’, ‘Those Girls’, and closed out with their most popular tune, the thumping ‘Nineteen’. They also played a host of new songs, and announced they have new music coming out soon, which based of the newly trialed numbers is pretty exciting. In fact my only criticism is that they dropped ‘Guru’ out of the setlist. Yeah, pretty devo about that one.

When the Jungle Giants came out, you would have sworn you were at a One Direction concert based on the number of teenage screams that erupted from the crowd. I felt very over aged, and insecure at how deep my voice was. Nonetheless, the Jungle Giants came out guns blazing and played a set that ensured all those fans would be back again. Although the significance of the lyrics may have be lost on most of the crowd, ‘Domesticated Man’ went off, along with ageless debut ‘Mr Polite’, and modern classics ‘Skin to Bone’, and ‘She’s A Riot’. It was a fast paced energetic set, that had everyone dancing, including us older folk who were cutting a much more conservative groove. Oh, and the notable shout out for Sam who crowd surfed on teenagers pumped full of red cordial and fizzy drinks.

With the Tuss tour in full swing, Groovin’ The Moo, Live It Up and Triple J One Night Stand to come, there are plenty of opportunities to catch The Jungle Giants. Despite my above cynicism they are one sweet live act you don’t want to miss out on.

Gig Review – Sticky Fingers, and Little Bastard at Metro Theatre

1909291_446992325433656_244178795_oIf you rate the catchy synth riff of Gold Snafu when its spun on the Js, wait till you catch it live. Friday night was my first taste of Sticky Fingers latest single live, and I wish I got to relive what was one of the most fun and intense shows I’ve been to in recent times.

When the crowd is calling out for a band well before they go on stage, you know you’re in for something special, and luckily Sticky Fingers didn’t disappoint. They were ably supported by the hipster come country sounds of Little Bastard, who managed to not only fit all 7 members on stage, but also to unleash some hip, jiving, barn stomping good tunes – complete with violin and harmonica.

The Stickies hit the stage to a home crowd who did more than adore them, clearly, considering they sold out two shows at Metro. It was an irresistibly raucous set, filled with the arrogance of a punk rock, and the clear delight of a local band whose reggae musings had grown more than they ever expected. With the crowd singing along word to word to every tune, Sticky Fingers, knocked off their entire debut album, plus a couple of bonus newbies. Caress Your Soul, opener Freddy Crabs, and Clouds and Cream saw the crowd scream with every note, only outdone by the frenzy when Spit Syndicate MC Nick Lupi hit the stage to spice up the hip hop side of their performance.

The Stickies then unleashed their homely number Australia Street as their encore to close out the set, despite the screaming crowd begging for more, in what was a legitimately earned encore – none of this predictive stage stuff. Unfortunately they never came back out, and my night mellowed off as I tried to exit with the sticky bodies of some more than satisfied customers.

<The super sweet pic was shot by, check em out>

Gig Review – Little May and Mikhail Paskalev

mikhailWednesday night we caught two super exciting emerging bands at the iconic Oxford Art Factory.

Kicking us off was the low-fi pop rock musings of Little May. Having released two of my favourite tracks last year in ‘Hide’ and ‘Boardwalks’, and been suitably been rewarded with a spot on the Laneway Festival line-up, it was great to see these girls (and guy) continuing on to better things. Word has clearly got around because these guys had packed house from the outset.They played a tight set, showing off their brooding indie pop, and dropping their impending next single ‘Mexico’ towards the end of the set to great reception.

Mikhail Paskalev hit the stage opening with a nice solo folk infused number called ‘Susie’, before inviting the rest of his band out to get stuff going. ‘I Spy’ was the crowd favourite and had rightly drawn the numbers to the gig, but boy does Mikhail and his band have talent. From slide guitars, to horns and some super tight drumming these guys put on a show with a range of upbeat pop tracks to slow rock ballad numbers. Not even some slight technical mishaps with the acoustic guitar could stop the guys. With his album just being released in Australia, Mikhail Paskalev showed he was no one trick pony, and the album would definitely be worth the investment.

Gig Review – Holy Holy, Eleanor Dunlop and Winterbourne at Name This Bar


On Friday Night I was lucky enough to catch Holy Holy and their supports in what was easily in the top three gigs I have been to this year – and we go to a fair few.

Opening the night was the initially quiet duo ‘Winterbourne’ who then exploded in what was hands down the best opening act of 2013. Featuring a host of their own tunes ranging from super catchy folk to more sombre ballads, the twosome just left the room in amazement. If there was any doubt that these two were not going to be one of the acts to watch in 2014, a splendid rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s, ‘Mrs Robinson’ put that to rest. Great muscianship, phenomenal vocals, and can write songs. Watch out for these guys next year!

Eleanor Dunlop was the next act up, and wowed the crowd with her take on moody haunting piano pop. Having not heard much of her before, it was good to finally catch her live and see what the hype was about. She played a solid set, incorporating a pretty cool Queens of The Stone Age cover to keep the night rolling on in the right direction.

Holy Holy took the stage with and really got the bar buzzing from the outset, delivering a momentous tight and truly complete sound. If you loved ‘Impossible Like You’ then you will be happy to know that these guys have the goods, playing a set that was hard to pick a weak point in. With an album due out early next year, this sneak preview of their new tracks left me very eager for new songs to drop already. They just delivered one of those sounds that was textured, heavy and backed by vocals that just melted your ears in all the right way. When they finally closed their set, I was definitely left wanting more!



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