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Interview: Paul French of Mining Boom

mining boom 1

This Labour Day weekend is not only a three-day affair, but Goodgod Small Club is celebrating turning three with a birthday bash filled with more musical talent than you can shake a stick at. On the bill with the likes of The Murlocs and Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys is Perth indie-rock quartet Mining Boom. Frontman Paul French tells me what to expect from the gig.

Ok, so I was trying to look up stuff on Mining Boom, and your Tumblr basically consists of videos of trannies fighting and a picture of a man punching a giraffe. What’s the deal with that?

Rest assured, the Tumblr was made with the best of intentions. Early on we realised that we never had anything to update it with, so it just descended into all kinds of shit talking and pop cultural debris. None of us own a camera, or do anything other than playing music, so we never have any kind of band hi-jinks to document. In saying that, there is something about the concept of a physically imposing tranny, that we as a band fully endorse.

Your music has variously been described as “garage pop”, “stoner rock” and “suburban Australian misery”. How would you describe it?

Lately we’ve had a few people brand us with the ‘stoner’ tag. I would definitely say we are more of a meth-oriented band; in fact you might even say we are the Cypress Hill of meth. Nah, I’ve always had difficulty trying to put a banner term on what we do. The thing about genres is that they are generic. To me it’s just common sense kind of stuff, it sounds like the place it is from, it has synths because it is 2013 etc.

You’ve just played the BIGSOUND festival for the first time, and got pretty great reviews. How was the show for you? What other bands stood out for you?

We didn’t really get a chance to see many bands, between playing our set and trying to find a place to stash our equipment, we kind of had our hands full. Robert Forster was good and I heard Bad//Dreems played well. I saw Thelma Plum hanging around at the bar before we played and she looked good, I probably should have said something.

Shortly you’ll be playing the Goodgod’s third birthday party. What can Mining Boom fans expect from the show?

Pyrotechnics, choreography, classic band banter.

In ‘Craigie’, there’s the line “One day I will bash that c*nt,” and “One day I will go to the gym.” Is it written about one person in particular, and are you more of a weights or a cardio band?

People always misquote that line, it’s actually ‘one day I will go legit’. It must be my thick West Australian accent or something. I’d say we would be 75% cardio 25% weights, on account of our drummer, Brendan. He is quite the physical specimen. I’ve seen him rip up phone books and impregnate men.

Recorded music from Mining Boom: we want some. What is on the horizon in terms of your debut record?

Yeah we are still working on our album, it should be all done by the end of the year. It’s going to be called ‘TAFE’ and will be available on Spunk Records early next year.

What would be included in your ultimate tour rider?

Protein shakes for Brendan (jack3d, horny goat weed etc.) Camembert. Coon. Quince paste. Emu Export. Tony Abbott’s daughters.

What are your plans for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

Finish the album.

TICKETS FOR GOODGOD BIRTHDAY NIGHTS ARE AVAILABLE HERE: http://www.dashtickets.com.au/?/tour/26

Interview: Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys

Bed Wettin Bad Boys

This Labour Day weekend is not only a three-day affair, but Goodgod Small Club is celebrating turning three with a birthday bash filled with more musical talent than you can shake a stick at. On the bill are Sydney’s brilliantly shambolic punks Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys. We chat to Nic and Ben about their plans for the gig and life as a ‘Bad Boy.

I have to start by asking you about the band name. How did you settle on Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys?

Nic: The same way all good bands get their name, a ouiji board ceremony with celebrity magician David Bowie.

Shortly you’ll be playing the Goodgod’s third birthday party. What can BWBB fans expect from the show?

Nic: A pretty similar set to most BWBB sets: eight or so loud rock songs, with one or two mishaps and maybe a bit of jive-talk. As Adam Lewis and the Goodgod team have taken care of promotion and organisation very well we don’t have to worry about back line, parking, figuring out the door split etc., so we may even be a little more relaxed than usual. When your band is called Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys you’ve pretty much got to create most the shows you play. So thanks Adam for asking! I’m looking forward to plugging in and playing for once in my friggin’ life and having very few other responsibilities.

Ben: Today some people at work said they’re going to come to the show. I have a distinct professional, as opposed to social, way of dealing with things. Expect accountability, micromanagement, responsibility, outcome measures.

You’ve just played the BIGSOUND festival in Brisbane, and got pretty great reviews. How was the show for you? What other bands stood out for you?

B: BIGSOUND was the one time as a band we got a few perks. They put on a free barbecue during the day after we played. We got to watch cable TV. A guy let us borrow a drum key. It was a great few days. We played an all ages show at Tym’s Guitar Store with Songs, and it was good to see a bunch of young people at the show having fun, in a place like Fortitude Valley, which can be really draining in every way.

N: I don’t want to talk about it, ’twas a strange few days. Glad we did it though as it showed the industry you don’t have to be a caricature of a human to be in a band.

It’s practically impossible to find a written description of your music – including Pitchfork’s – that doesn’t mention The Replacements. How much of an influence were they on your musical development? What other bands have shaped how you write and play music?

B: Sometimes I feel as that The Replacements comparison is warranted, but other times it’s just lazy writing, an easy way out. ‘This band is gonna rock you like this band,’ rather than working at writing actually how a band makes you feel.

N: We all agree The Replacements are a great band but I actually don’t think they were that important on our development musically, as in I don’t think any of us use them as a template for our song writing or playing. I do think there’s an underlying philosophy or approach to playing rock ‘n’ roll that we share though, essentially being liberated by punk then drawing from the history of guitar music until it forms into something that feels familiar but isn’t some awful retro-rock revival. I think the huge scope of music I’ve listened to has indirectly shaped how I write and play music as opposed to any specific artist. From (Australian) X to Brian Eno, the behemoths of classic rock to your humble basement rockers.

Moving to Sydney from Cairns must have been an experience. How did you find the move at first, and in what ways did you discover music when you got there?

B: This is a really complex question to answer and I just wrote down a huge answer but didn’t cover anything significant. I’ve been in Sydney for six years now. A quarter of my life. I was back in Cairns a couple of months back and it was the first time since moving to Sydney that I realised what an unbelievably beautiful place it is, visually.

BWBB have a reputation for performing while less-than-sober. What would be included in your ultimate tour rider?

N: Collectively I don’t think we’re ever that drunk playing any more, I mean at least not most of the time. It’s nice to have a few drinks before, while and after playing cause we’re all busy people and it may well be the only time we get to let loose that week. I think people confuse less-than-sober with not being a bunch of timid, top-button-on-shirt-done-up, beige, flaccid indie band. Ya know; being a little bit primal, rock ‘n’ roll as a release, not a fashion show.

B: I feel there’s a real boredom during the three hours between loading in gear to a venue and playing. Don’t drink out of boredom, but sometimes there’s nothing else to do. Drink to celebrate. Hey, we’re a group of friends playing rock ‘n’ roll and at the end of the day there’s no pressure to do any more, any less. I’ll drink to that! (note I’m not a very good guitar player just to clear up reasons why I mess up at times)

N: Tour rider: I’d prefer some type of stout or dark ale opposed to the watery beer usually provided. If we’re talking big dumb music festival that breeds inflated egos: Gin and tonic water. DVD of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Some Lebanese bread and dips. Picture book of baby animals. Music device that plays rap music like Kool Keith, Big L, Tommy Wight III, UGK, Clipse to get me PUMPED UPPPP.

B: For the tour rider, I’m a sweet vermouth man.

What are your plans for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

N: Being a Bed Wettin’ Bad Boy feels real easy at the moment. For the first time since Doug joined which was 2 to 3 years ago we don’t really have any set goals or deadlines. We literally have no plans and will just continue to do what we do. Earlier this year we wrote a list of half-song, riffs, home demos and unreleased songs we’d like to re-work or re-visit. Hopefully through the summer we’ll have the time to “work” on them. I say “work” cause I don’t think it’ll feel like work. Playing together has started to feel like second nature and although we’ve been taking it easy post-album launch and tour I think we’ve unknowingly been pretty creatively productive. Once we have a big old list of songs ready to go we’ll think about working towards another record.

B: I was away for four months this year and I guess it’s a bit of catch up still after that. We’re all busy people outside of this band, so we just try do what we can when we can.

TICKETS FOR GOODGOD BIRTHDAY NIGHTS ARE AVAILABLE HERE: http://www.dashtickets.com.au/?/tour/26

Interview: Gary Jarman of The Cribs

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Having recently celebrated ten years in the business of making top-notch punk-tinged indie-rock and with a new record full of songs spanning the band’s career, Gary Jarman, the refreshingly down to earth bassist for The Cribs, is looking forward to coming to these shores for a run of shows next month.

What can fans expect from a Cribs show in 2013?

Usually when I’m asked this question it’s a pretty tough one to answer, because we’ve always hoped that, idealistically, it’ll be somewhat unpredictable like it always used to be when we first started out. We always thrive off the idea that we never really plan stuff too much, and we’re never a particularly slick prospect, as that was the thing that used to drive us and keep things interesting. With these tenth anniversary shows we’re trying to mix in a bunch of the older stuff for people who didn’t see it the first time round, as we never toured the first album in Australia. The shows will be smaller, and I think that’s the right way to do it, and will hopefully be the best representation of where the group is coming from and from where we first started out.

If someone told you ten years ago that you’d be touring Australia for your tenth anniversary, how would you have reacted?

It would have been a real thrill, you know? But that never goes away; we’re still the same band that we were when we started out. We still have the same motivation and we have the same feelings about things. I think that comes with being in a band with your brothers; we’re still kind of amazed to be able to travel that far away from where you’re from and have people be interested in it. We never lost that sense of disbelief that a project you started with your kid brothers will be something that people will not only care about, but care about for a decade, and then to travel pretty much as far away from Wakefield – where we’re from – as possible, and have people come and be excited to see you play. That’s something we’ve never taken for granted, and being in a band with your brothers has been key to that. If I’d been in a band with other people I might have become jaded over the years, although it’s never been plain sailing for us – far from it. But the fact it’s a family thing makes us such a close and tight unit, and it makes us so honoured that it’s resonated in some way with people, no matter what level.

Some bands with several family members end up hating each other over time, but it obviously works well for The Cribs?

I think so, because the key thing is that we trust each other, and we grew up with the same stuff, and when we formed the band it was out of necessity as my brothers were the only people who had the same tastes as me, because we grew up with the same music. So it was basically a really convenient and ideal scenario for us. Over the years, we’ve managed to retain that, even though we all live in different places thousands of miles apart, and that’s been really good for us as we can all bring different things to the table from our different experiences. Rather than being alienated, it helps us.

Obviously Johnny Marr is no longer in the band, so what challenges does that bring when playing live?

Well, as far as live goes, we never expected to be a four-piece when we started the band, and we never expected there to be a fourth person there, as we didn’t have a fourth brother! Johnny coming along was like a really surreal and exciting thing for us, so we had to adapt to being a four-piece rather than re-adapting to being a three-piece, so it was really natural to go back to being a three-piece. But we do have another person playing guitar with us, who is like a live member, so we can add extra things to records and still pull them off live.

What do you miss most about having Johnny in the band, besides his guitar playing?

The camaraderie. While it lasted, it was a good way of dissipating the intensity in the family dynamic. Everything becomes really extreme in that sense; when the shows are good they’re really good, but when they’re a bit off they can be destructive. So having another person there makes it easier to reduce that intensity. There’s a different dynamic with your brothers or with your family than what you’ll have with anybody else, and you can often forget that unless there’s someone else in the room. It’s easy to forget how full-on it can be and how differently you speak to people you’ve grown up with. It was nice to have someone, not necessarily to mediate, but to see things a bit more rationally, instead of the emotionally-charged way we would always do things.

You won the Outstanding Achievement Award from the NME, and just released what’s essentially a Best-Of album. How do you feel about reaching milestones like these when you’re still so young?

Winning the award was such an amazing thing for us. When you can step away from things and look at them from a distance, it’s really a crazy kind of scenario. To get a lifetime achievement award like that, and to have a greatest hits record – if you started a band aiming for things like that, it’d be an egotistical and cut-throat thing. We never set our sights on that sort of stuff; we came from more of a punk-rock background, but it’s nice to be able to sit back and look at all the ups and downs of the last ten years and lay them all to rest and move on, in some ways. We’ve been playing a lot of these songs for ten years now, and that’s a kind of insane proposition, so this is a nice way to wrap it all up and move on to the next chapter I guess.

You’re known for having a DIY and independent approach to things. Is that something that will change as the band gets older?

If anything, it’s got a lot more pronounced. Initially, it wasn’t something strange to us, as we had no choice. But when the band started doing well, we didn’t feel the need to deviate from that, and we enjoyed doing a lot of things that way, and we took satisfaction from it. For example, we used to love playing on the main stage at the Reading Festival, and we’d be the only band who had a van; there was something perverse and appealing about that. But, from a different point of view, we’ve never been signed to a major label in the UK, so there was never a great deal of money flying around. We’re actually a really efficient band, you know? We do things on a level that avoids all that rock-star shit, and even when we’ve had top-ten records it’s been business as usual, and that’s possibly why we’re still here after ten years. We get a lot of satisfaction from adversity; we’ve always been so independent and nothing’s changed. Nobody makes money from record sales any more, and it doesn’t bother us at all; we’re used to existing on a shoestring anyway. We’ve never been dependent on anything and although it sounds like a bit of a cute statement, the only people I’ve ever depended on is my two brothers. If we get offered a show and we want to do it, we find a way to make it happen one way or another. It’s an idealism thing. I hate the idea of being dependent on things that other bands depend on to make things happen.

What are you most looking forward to about coming to Australia?

We had such an awesome time last time. We came out there in January, and it was one of the most fun tours we’ve ever had, so it’s not that I’m looking forward to one single thing, just the knowledge that we had such a really awesome time last time is enough to be really exciting for us.

THE CRIBS TOUR AUSTRALIA STARTING OCT 23 IN NEWCASTLE

Record review: Crosby, Stills & Nash – CSN (2013, LP)

The music of Crosby, Stills & Nash will be forever intertwined with the era in which it was created. The coming-together of members from some of the most prominent American groups of the ’60s – The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Hollies to be precise – saw the creation of some of the best politically-charged folk-pop seen in music up to that point, in a time when post-JFK, America was tearing itself apart. It’s impossible to listen to their music without getting images of the Vietnam War, Woodstock, the Summer of Love, the Black Panthers, and the Chicago Democratic Convention police riot in your head. Their heyday also came at a time when some of the best damn music in existence was being made.

Strangely enough, the trio only got together after the Summer of Love in 1967, but ultimately were to go down in history by being part of Woodstock in 1969, along with the likes of Canned Heat, The Who, and of course, Jimi Hendrix. The fact their music is so closely associated with a particular era makes another ‘Greatest Hits’ (which this essentially is, with added extras) hard to view objectively, but one thing is crystal clear: this is classic stuff.

Known for their often complex vocal harmonies and political activism, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash have had a monumental influence on music, in America and elsewhere, and it’s all here to see in all its glory. There’s a demo of ‘Guinnevere’; the original being from their classic 1969 debut, and an alternate version of ‘Woodstock’; originally penned by Joni Mitchell. There are also spotless live versions of ‘Black Queen’, ‘Dark Star’, and ‘Love The One You’re With’, and an embarrassment of riches plucked from the entire career of the band. Basically, this is essential stuff – every home should have one.

Live review: Major Leagues + Babaganouj + RINSE – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane – 9/8/13

Lately, I’ve been going to gigs and finding myself more impressed and entertained by the support acts than the headliners themselves; Big Scary, Pigeon, and Jagwar Ma have all put in live performances more memorable than the groups above them in the bill. Is there an argument that support bands have more to prove, so tend to put in more effort? Possibly, although doesn’t every band with enough balls to get up on a stage have something to prove, night in, night out? I’m putting it down to coincidence.

I mention this, as tonight’s support acts at Brisbane’s Black Bear Lodge are both outstanding, as well as being closely related, musically and personnel-wise. First up is local lads RINSE, featuring members of Babaganouj and Jeremy Neale’s band, amongst others. Playing a tight set of heavy shoegaze and dream-pop, the band leave quite an impression, and climax with ‘Coin’; a Buzzcocks-esque number with added keys.

Babaganouj
Babaganouj

Next is Babaganouj, lead by Charles Sale and featuring members of Go Violets (the Brisbane music family tree is a complex and extensive one), each band member comes on-stage one song at a time, until the quartet is complete. Their sound is heavy with mid-’70s radio rock influences, with a touch of The Replacements circa 1984 in there for good measure, and their entertaining set culminates with perhaps their most pop-y track, ‘My Favourite Colour Is You’. Sale is an engaging frontman with a strong voice, and is equally adept at getting the audience out of their seats and dealing with a mid-song tuning issue.

Major Leagues
Major Leagues

The house music cuts out and Major Leagues kick into their first song so inconspicuously that some people in the small venue take a short while to notice that the head-liners have begun their set. The four-piece’s vocals are a little lost amongst the sound of their own instruments at first, inciting the desire to walk over to the sound desk and turn up the relevant dials, but the band’s strong point is their knack with a surf-rock/pop melody, and this makes them pretty special. Major Leagues have the melody gene dripping out of every pore, while drummer Jacob Knauth keeps things from ever getting too light. The single they are here to launch, ‘Endless Drain’, is a typically cheerfully melodic, summer-y pop number with a sneering lyric and plenty of vocal harmonies. While ‘Teen Mums’ is still their best track, this band have a bright future if they keep producing tunes of this calibre.

Interview: Dan Rothman of London Grammar

london grammar

With favourable comparisons to The XX and Florence and The Machine, English art-rock trio London Grammar have barely been making music together for a couple of years, but are already being tipped by some as a band with a big future. I had a chance to chat with guitarist Dan Rothman ahead of the release of their debut album, If You Wait.

Your new album is coming out on September 6th. What does it sound like?

It’s kind of consistent to what people have heard so far I guess. I think that was the idea. We released a few tracks that were representative of the record, as I think we always wanted to make quite a consistent album with a consistent sound, mood, atmosphere, and that kind of thing. That was our intention anyway. There are also a few surprises in there that people might be excited about. It’s quite dark and emotional; I think that’s the warning I would give as well.

Your band has a definite sound that makes you pretty much unmistakeable. Is that something you consciously developed or did it just naturally happen that way?

We definitely developed it consciously in that regard because it’s something we wanted to do, but the fact that we have that specific sound is also a natural development as it’s just what happens when the three of us are in a room together, and we all have different influences which help to make that the case. Generally whether we want to play guitar, sing, or play a song as a whole, it’s really important to have a sound that’s someway recognisable as being our own. And that’s what hopefully separates us from other bands.

Do you sometimes clash over influences?

We’ve clashed a fair few times. Me and Dot tend to have these huge arguments over certain bands which tends to fuck Hannah off for various reasons, mainly having to listen to us arguing. Mainly we argue over The Smiths, as I’m quite a big fan, but Dot despises them.

So, how do your songs come together?

It tends to vary a lot; Hannah has written certain songs on the piano and brought those in and we’ve worked on them from that point onwards, or I’ve brought in guitar parts, or Dot’s brought piano parts, but probably the majority of them – like ‘Hey Now’ for example – were written in a room together in a rehearsal, or in my garage in a jam-like fashion. It does vary; there’s no set format for us.

How was the recording process? Did you enjoy it?

Personally, I really enjoyed it. I think the process for us was long, and it wasn’t quite how I envisaged it; it was quite a choppy process, almost messy and complicated, and I kind of find it difficult to recall what happened, as we spent so much time developing it in different studios, demo-ing it up and getting it to a certain point, and once we had all the songs written, we went into the studio to record the album. From that point I think of really fondly; I really enjoy being in the studio. There’s loads of old gear to look at and lots to learn, but it’s also a bit stressful as we were so concerned about making the right album, so we had arguments over certain choices. It’s a wicked thing to do, and was definitely one of the greatest experiences we’ve had – I think we all really enjoyed it. We spent so much time on the album, and every different part was so arduous that we were so glad to have it finished by the end, and as a result we find it kind of hard to listen back to it now, which is a shame, but it’s just the way we are I guess. I’ve spoken to other bands who’ve had the same feeling after finishing an album, but I think we’re all really proud of it and happy with the final result. When you’re going through the whole process of writing it, producing it, re-producing and re-editing it, and then being involved in the mixing process as well, you’ve heard the songs a thousand times and it’s hard to view it objectively any more.

How do you feel when your band is labelled as an overnight sensation?

It doesn’t feel like that to us, because it’s been such a long process, and it’s even been seven months since we put ‘Hey Now’ out, but a lot of people think that it’s happened really quickly for us, which I guess it has in some ways. I wouldn’t want to disagree with the fact that things have happened quickly for us, and we’re really grateful for it. If people want to label us as that it’s completely fine by me. There was a singer in the ’80s, Paul Young, who said he spent ten years becoming an overnight sensation, so that’s a bit worse than us. His act was just so ’80s, so once the ’80s were finished he was pretty much fucked!

How big a role has the Internet had in your breakthrough?

Pretty much a huge part to be quite honest, although it’s not like one of our songs went viral and had millions of hits or something like that Gotye record did, or ‘Video Games’ by Lana Del Rey. Everything combined – from blogging, Twitter, Facebook – did it for us I think, and a body of stuff on there has propelled it forward.

What are your plans for the rest of 2013?

Touring, lots of promo, and we should be coming out to Australia some time too, although I’d better not say anything, because l got in trouble last time for telling someone we were playing at Laneway and we weren’t!

LONDON GRAMMAR’S DEBUT ALBUM IF YOU WAIT IS RELEASED SEPTEMBER 6TH.

Record review: The Trouble With Templeton – Rookie (2013, LP)

It’s been a rollercoaster couple of years for Brisbane’s Thomas Calder, singer and songwriter for indie-rock quintet The Trouble With Templeton. After releasing the mini album Bleeders in 2011 and expanding his musical project out of his bedroom and into the form of a five-piece band, The Trouble With Templeton have received considerable amounts of radio play and industry attention both at home and abroad, chiefly in the United States. As recently as March this year Calder bagged the APRA Songwriting Award (and $30,000 worth of industry prizes), and has received warm critical appraisal for the maturity of his song-writing.

Rookie is the band’s second release, and is an assured and accomplished effort, by any standards. At times soft and gentle indie-pop, at others shivering, grandiose balladry, Rookie is chock-full of the type of quality stuff the likes of fellow Brisbane act The Art of Sleeping might write.

Opener ‘Whimpering Child’ is as delicate as the name suggests, with Calder’s controlled vocals almost whispered over restrained guitar lines and soaring vocal harmonies fluttering in the background. Single ‘You Are New’ has been played pretty regularly on Triple J and is probably the most recognisable track; “punched in school, I guess that’s what those scars were for,” hinting at the subject matter. Fourth track and second single ‘Like A Kid’ brings a welcome dose of rock to proceedings and ‘Six Months In A Cast’ has an almost Latin feel despite the less than Fiesta-esque subject matter. Calder’s vocal theatrics are most impressive on ‘I Recorded You’ and there are even some brooding synths on the darker ‘Soldiers’.

This is a confident and promising album by a band who surely have a big future ahead of them.

ROOKIE IS RELEASED AUGUST 2ND. THE TROUBLE WITH TEMPLETON TOUR NATIONALLY STARTING AUGUST 16TH IN MELBOURNE.

Live review: The Hoodoo Gurus + Blue Oyster Cult + The Flamin’ Groovies – The Tivoli, Brisbane – 18th April 2013

Despite only having three bands appearing at the Brisbane leg of the festival, The Hoodoo Gurus’ Dig It Up Festival at Brisbane’s The Tivoli promised to be a fascinating night of classic rock music. A crowd with a healthy amount of grey hair filled the venue, quaffed beer like it’s 1982, and threw caution to the wind during the hard-rocking three hours of music.

First up for tonight would be The Flamin’ Groovies, and the four-piece take us right back to San Francisco circa 1969 with their mix of psychedelia, pub rock, and jangle pop. The excellent ‘I Can’t Hide’ sounds like everything Lee Mavers of The Las has ever tried to be, and ‘Between The Now’ from the Now album is turned into an epic rock jam, with frontman Cyril Jordan putting in more energy than many performers half his age. The band sign off with “Fuck Kim Jong Un and God help us in this world! It’s been real and it’s been nice, and it’s been real nice.” Well played, sirs.

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Next up is New York’s Blue Oyster Cult playing their first ever gig in Australia, and unquestionably the quintet steal the show. “We’re very glad to be here, where have you been for the last forty years?” asks guitarist Eric Bloom as the band come flying out of the traps with ‘It’s Alright’; a hillbilly, rockabilly, super-silly blast of classic rock riffage that immediately proves these guys are some seriously top-drawer musicians. Bassist Kasim Sulton (previously of Utopia, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and Meatloaf) proves himself to be an effortlessly cool and talented customer on the right side of the stage throughout the entire show. Next comes ‘Golden Age of Leather’ with it’s brilliant chant of “raise your can of beer up high” making The Tivoli audience do just that.

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‘Burning For You’ from the Fire Of Unknown Origin album is next, before ‘Then Came The Last Days of May’ from their 1972 debut, featuring long, shredding solos from firstly Richie Castellano, followed by Donald Roeser. ‘Godzilla’ is a track that shows the band don’t take themselves too seriously amongst some of the prog influences, before the vital closer, ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’. It was at this point I saw several gentlemen of advanced years crying and clapping their hands together like little kids who just got their first trampoline – beautiful.

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And so, it falls to our hosts for the evening to finish things off. The Hoodoo Gurus come onto the stage in a maelstrom of noise and flashing lights, launching into ‘Bittersweet’ from 1985, then ‘Poison Pen’. “Thanks for coming back again!” says frontman Dave Faulkner, before introducing ‘In the Wild’, explaining that the song began life being called ‘In the Dry’. At this point, it becomes clear that the highlight of the night would be Blue Oyster Cult (their virtuosity, showmanship, and great tunes are just unable to be bettered), and the Gurus’ ‘Hayride to Hell’, ‘The Other Side of Paradise’, and ‘Tojo’ weren’t going to change that fact. In saying that, it was a pleasure to see three ‘older’ bands show exactly how much they still have to offer, and indeed be able to rock our socks off more ferociously than most of the newer bands around today. What a great night.

Record review: Dick Diver – Calendar Days (2013, LP)

DICK-DIVER-CALENDAR-DAYS-575x575

There’s something so charmingly unassuming about Melbourne quartet Dick Diver that makes you think that catching them indulging in clichéd rock star behaviour is about as likely as One Direction turning punk. Their 2011 debut New Start Again was an appealing collection of lo-fi indie slacker fuzz, and while second effort Calendar Days is a more polished affair, it retains all the salt-of-the-earth appeal of its predecessor.

Single ‘Alice’ is the perfect example of everything the band are about; it’s the sound of four people making perfectly sunny indie Australiana, without seeming to be really trying. “I get out of bed and get my toast to the perfect shade of gold,” sets the scene perfectly as the first line, and the breezy slices of guitar pop roll by in a haze from there.

Alistair McKay and Rupert Edwards provide the bulk of the vocals, but when drummer Steph Hughes – who also beats the skins in Boomgates – takes to the mic, the charm of the album is cranked up several notches, as on the title track.

It’s not all catchy sweetness; the brooding crawl of ‘Boys’ provides a stark contrast to what comes before, as a tale of broken friendship is sung over a creeping bass line and mournful guitar.

Later highlights include the beautifully lilting ‘Gap Life’ and up-tempo ‘Bondi 98’, which sees Hughes getting heavy behind the kit and providing tasteful harmonies throughout, before closer ‘Languages of Love’ proves that the band can sometimes find themselves on the wrong side of the fine line between charming and awkward.

Dick Diver aren’t the type of band to be embarking on an arena tour any time soon; their music is best listened to in a gloomy bedroom as you put on your favourite winter jumper and make another cup of tea – and that’s the way we’d like to keep it, thank you very much. (Chapter Music)