Tag Archives: queensland

Live review: The Queensland Music Awards – The Powerhouse, Brisbane – 30/3/15

blank realm
Blank Realm

THE talent-rich sunshine state celebrated another fantastic year of music and creativity at the Queensland Music Awards at Brisbane Powerhouse in New Farm last night, with big wins for Violent Soho, Sahara Beck, Bobby Alu, The Amity Affliction and Airling.

Hosted by six-time veteran Sarah Howells of triple j and the wonderfully hilarious Fred Leone of Rival MC and Yarwah fame, the event – moved from its normal September slot to avoid clashing with BIGSOUND – proved to be another fine showcase of the outstanding range of quality music coming out of Queensland in recent months.

While Violent Soho bagged album of the year for Hungry Ghost, freakishly-talented teenager Sahara Beck deservedly grabbed the gong for most popular female, and a laidback Bobby Alu picked up the most popular male award, leaving last year’s winner Jeremy Neale empty-handed.

The Amity Affliction accepted their award for most popular group with a video message from somewhere on tour in the northern hemisphere, while Airling not only performed her excellent track ‘Wasted Pilots’, but also snagged the pop award for the same song.

In an unfortunate yet sweet set of circumstances, The Grates’ pair Patience Hodgson and John Patterson were unable to accept their award in the rock category as they had to put their infant child to bed, while The Vernons not only won the regional gong for ‘To The Sky’, but also the hearts of a packed room with an acceptance speech including the words “My parents will be filthy they didn’t come tonight.”

yarwah
Yarwah

The excellent The Medics deservedly picked up an award in the Indigenous category for their track ‘Wake Up’, with singer Kahl Wallis giving thanks in poetry form, while country rock ‘n’ rollers Halfway nabbed gongs in the country category and for song of the year for ‘Dulcify’.

With live performances from Yarwah, Halfway, Sahara Beck, MKO, Airling, Katie Noonan + cln, Blank Realm (who were, by far, the outstanding live performers of the evening) and We All Want To, the Queensland Music Awards for 2015 proved to be another celebration of everything that’s great about music in the state, with every nominee deserving of being a winner.

A special mention has to go to host Fred Leone, who not only performed with his excellent band Yarwah and helped introduce the #notON campaign aimed at stamping out violence against women, but was a constant source of hilarity throughout.

“I’m getting on towards middle age for a black fella,” he said, at one stage, to awkward laughter. “I’m 36 and we die around 50.” At another point he had the room in stitches while, after listening to Sarah Howells talk about and thank her dressmaker for a bit longer than was perhaps necessary, he uttered the immortal words “And I would like to thank Trade Secret at Chermside for these pants – $30.” What a dude.

Full list of winners:

SCHOOLS (GRADE 6 – 12)
SASKIA
Song Title: ‘Days Of Doom’
Writers: Saskia van Iperen, Alistair Marsden

POP
Airling
Song Title: ‘Wasted Pilots’
Writers: Hannah Shepherd, Tom Iansek, Graham Ritchie

ROCK
The Grates
Song Title: ‘Holiday Home’
Writers: Patience Hodgson, John Patterson

BLUES/ROOTS
Leanne Tennant
Song Title: ‘Bearing The Crown’
Writers: Leanne Tennant

COUNTRY
Halfway
Song Title: ‘Dulcify’
Writers: John Busby, Chris Dale, Ben Johnson, Elwin Hawtin, Luke Peacock, John Willsteed

URBAN
Dubmarine
Song Title: ‘None the Wiser’
Writers: Joel Alexander, Terry Cassels, Paul Watson, Paul Donehue, Jeremie Nagabbo, Mikael Strand, Nick Torpy, Billie Weston

FOLK/SINGER SONGWRITER
Quintessential Doll
Song Title: ‘Live Like I’m Dying’
Writers: Steph Linsdell

WORLD
Mzaza
Song Title: ‘Enfants du Chemin’ (Children of the Road)
Writers: Pauline Maudy, Greta Kelly, Jordan Stamos, John Robertson, Stephen Cuttriss, Chloe Ann Williamson

JAZZ
Laique
Song Title: ‘Closing Time’
Writers: Kylie Southwell

ELECTRONIC/DANCE
Michelle Xen
Song Title: ‘Short Term Plan’
Writers: Michelle Oxenham

HEAVY
Guards of May
Song Title: ‘Numbers’
Writers: James Harden, Keita Neralic, Richie Harvey, Damian Saloman, Levi Russell

CHILDREN’S MUSIC
The Kangagang
Song Title: ‘Hungry Crocodile Chomp’
Writers: Carolyn Simpson

VIDEO
The Kite String Tangle
Song Title: ‘Arcadia’
Writers: Daniel M Harley

INDIGENOUS
The Medics
Song Title: ‘Wake Up’
Writers: Kahl Wallace, Jhindu Lawrie, Andrew Thomson, Charles Thomas

REGIONAL
The Vernons
Song Title: ‘To The Sky’
Writers: James K Nikiforides, Jonathan K Nyst

THE BOQ PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD – MOST POPULAR FEMALE
Sahara Beck

THE BOQ PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD – MOST POPULAR MALE
Bobby Alu

THE BOQ PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD – MOST POPULAR GROUP
The Amity Affliction

SONG OF THE YEAR
Halfway
Song Title: ‘Dulcify’
Writers: John Busby, Chris Dale, Ben Johnson, Elwin Hawtin, Luke Peacock, John Willsteed

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Violent Soho
Album: Hungry Ghost

For The AU Review

Cale Fisher of The Floating Bridges: “Our music has a very positive vibe”

floating bridges

SUNSHINE COAST roots quintet The Floating Bridges are aiming to bring their tropical vibe to as many sets of ears as possible with a new single and upcoming tour, says bass player and vocalist, Cale Fisher.

“Our music has a very positive vibe in our lyrics,” he says. “It’s about day-to-day living stuff; how you treat other people, what you do when you go out and setting examples for others. That vibe comes across in the music and people latch onto it. It’s a really positive, uplifting sort of vibe.”

After coming together following high school, the band got into roots music and found their sound. A line-up change earlier this year saw Fisher move from rhythm guitar to bass, and the acquisition of Johnny Curran – brother of Jeff Curran of Dallas Frasca – to play additional guitar. It’s this line-up which wrote the as-yet unreleased single.

“He came and had a jam with us and it’s going really well,” Fisher says. “He had some neat little licks and just kind of fitted in. We’re just putting the final touches to [the single]; it’s called ‘Dreamcatcher’. We’ve got a heap of songs written, and it’s basically just a matter of narrowing them down at the moment. We’ve always had a bit of a rule that if a song is written we don’t disregard anything. Even if it sort of gets shelved for a little while before we come up with something new to make it better, we’ve always had this rule not to write anything off. We go from there and work on it all as a group. We’re group writers and everyone has their input into the band.”

The band hails from Yandina, in an area which Fisher says has helped shaped the band’s sound.

“We believe that where we live is one of the most beautiful places in Australia from what we’ve seen,” he says. “So we’re pretty lucky like that. There is a really strong roots music scene up here, especially over the last three years, and definitely a lot of our influences that we draw locally come from other bands here and Brisbane bands that are similar to us. We’ve never had any issues or blues at our gigs. People just enjoy the vibe.”

Refreshingly in touch with social and racial issues, Fisher says a part of the band’s approach is to raise awareness of cultural respect and fairness.

“We’re really passionate about Indigenous culture in Australia,” he says. “We’ve got a very big connection to our local elders in our area; the Gubbi Gubbi people. We’re very well connected with those guys, and we think it’s really good as a young person these days to be culturally aware of what’s going on and what’s happened in the past. We don’t want to cause any arguments or anything like that, but we just want people to be aware of what’s happened here before and everything, so when you make your decision on cultural awareness [issues], you’re well educated, you know? A lot of people make uneducated comments about different things, but we believe it’s really important to know where you’re from and to know what happens.”

With a new single and EP in the works, the rest of the year is set to be a busy one for the group.

“We’ll get a heap of shows under our belts around the country first,” Fisher says. “Then we’ll be looking to release the single, probably some time in the next three or four months. We’ve got our single release, then an EP release later in year and we want to lock in as many festival dates as we can. Basically, we want to enjoy the journey.”

For Beat and The Brag

Scott Owen of The Living End: “I guess we just get along as mates and respect each other”

living end

THE LIVING END have just played five Soundwave shows and will headline The Big Pineapple Music Festival next month; not bad for a band technically on a break. Upright bass player Scott Owen explains why the Melbourne trio doesn’t sit still for long.

“Soundwave was fantastic,” he says. “We didn’t know what to expect as it was all very last-minute; we only got added to the bill two weeks before the festival. It was unexpected, but you can’t complain about getting up in front of audiences like that. Everyone seemed to file in there early and there was a really respectable amount of people there. [Short notice] can work either way for us; sometimes we rehearse our arses off before a show and for one reason or another it’s difficult to pull it together, and then sometimes you just have to jump into the deep end without a chance to rehearse, and they can be the best gigs. We went for the middle ground and only had a couple of rehearsals in the week leading up to it, and left it at that; just enough to dust out the cobwebs a little bit, but not overthink it.”

The band will be the top-billed rock act at next month’s second Big Pineapple Music Festival, which also features Dead Letter Circus and Spiderbait.

“Because we’re at a stage right now where we don’t have a new record out, we’re just kind of getting up and trying to tailor our set – and this probably sounds wanky – to please everyone,” Owen says. “We figure with festivals you’re there for a good time, not a long time, so we just try to play things that we think people are going to know and things people can sing along to; I think that’s our job at a festival. We didn’t really think of doing [AC/DC’s] ‘Jailbreak’ until the day of the gig at Soundwave in Brisbane, but every now and then we’ll pull out a cover and it’s normally something that’s planned. We’ve got six albums, so there’s a lot of catalogue to choose from and it can be difficult to try to think of what will please everyone, but that’s why we tend to rely on the songs most people are going to know. It’s not our own show; people are there to see a bunch of bands, so we just try to offer a good time.”

This year marks two decades since the band formed in Melbourne, but Owen isn’t keen to make a fuss of the anniversary.

“We did a retrospective tour the year before last, where we went out and played all of our albums for seven nights in each city, and that was a good way to look back over everything,” he says. “I think we’re more into looking forward than looking back now, although the plan is to do nothing for pretty much the rest of the year, apart from a few gigs here and there, and then sometime next year we’ll get together again and start thinking about the next record. This is the first time we’ve all not lived in Melbourne. Over the last couple of years we’ve all moved in different directions; Chris [Cheney, singer-guitarist] is over in America, I live in Byron and Andy [Strachan, drums] is down the coast in Victoria. There’s a bit of a distance between us and we figured it’s a good opportunity to just chill out for a reasonable amount of time. Fortunately we’ve never had any major difficulties with each other and we’ve been lucky to continue to get people to want to watch us play. I guess we just get along as mates and respect each other, and just enjoy getting up onstage and playing together. I really don’t know how to read it any more deeply than that.”

The band’s sound includes elements of rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll and punk; a formula that has worked well for the trio, although Owen’s ‘bass stunts’ – primarily standing on his instrument mid-performance – wasn’t always the polished party-piece it is today.

“When Chris and I were in high school we were only interested in’50s rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly,” he says. “Getting up on the bass was always part of the act; it was happening from day one. The funniest time was when Chris and I started playing; we were only about 16 or 17 years old when we started playing pubs around Melbourne. One of the very first times we played a proper pub – and we were still just doing rockabilly covers at the time – Chris climbed up on my bass to play a guitar solo and it all went horribly wrong and we ended up in a pile on the floor. It was devastating; we were thinking we could never get up onstage and show our faces again after such an epic fail. But we got over the hurdle. Luckily it hasn’t happened in front of an enormous audience.”

THE LIVING END PLAY THE BIG PINEAPPLE MUSIC FESTIVAL SATURDAY MAY 17.

Interview: ill.Gates

ill gates

Canada-born, California-based EDM legend Ill.Gates will be at Island Vibe Festival later in the month for what promises to be one seriously bass-heavy party. From headlining festivals, to working with some of the best in the business and teaching up-and-comers, Gates has it covered.

What is the scene like for bass-heavy music in San Francisco right now?

San Francisco has an incredible scene for bass music. Period. Or maybe even exclamation mark. Yeah… I’ll go with exclamation mark! It’s awesome. People there are very forward-thinking and always want to hear whatever’s new and innovative. There are massive events and street festivals all the time and the people do not tolerate unoriginal music or poor sound systems. We are also lucky enough to have the American branch of PK Sound based in SF, so you can often find their sound systems bumping at special events.

The only thing you can complain about really is that the fetishism of new original music and high quality sound systems kind of ruins travel to much of the rest of the world. Trends move very fast, so whatever is new to the rest of the world is already old news in the Bay. Definitely a first world problem.

How do you keep up to speed on new technology and software as it emerges?

It has gotten to the point that many of the companies and innovators simply contact me directly as their gear is being developed and/ or send me demo units. I read a lot about new stuff online as well. Blogs like djtechtools.com are excellent sources of reviews and there’s always the ableton forum as well.

What’s your favourite piece of DJ equipment that you own?

I’d have to say my MIDI Fighters are the most fun. I love Ableton Push for melodic performances, but the MIDI Fighter just slays it. It’s like an MPC made of arcade buttons, and then suddenly all those hours logged on ‘Street Fighter II’ at the arcade are musically useful. Go order one now. Trust me.

Another string to your bow is the role of musical educator. What form does this take?

Lately it’s nearly all online. Since I signed on with Circle (agency) I have been gigging more than ever before so it is very difficult to financially justify the time it takes to do a workshop. When I have a workshop online it can eventually generate the residual income to justify it to my management but grinding it out doing physical workshops doesn’t really make sense any more.

I am, however, treating this Australian visit as more of a vacation than a business venture so I will take the time to teach for the love of it when I’m there.

What is the biggest misconception about DJing that you would like to see change?

I would like to see audiences appreciating actual live electronic music more. People like Mad Zach, Araab Musik, Sibot, Shake Beats, AmpLive etc. are absolutely epic when it comes to finger drumming live. It’s amazing. To make a whole song happen ACTUALLY LIVE with no quantise or looping or anything to fall back on is magic. Audiences don’t really understand that it actually takes years of practice to be able to truly do it live.

I’d like to see more appreciation for the art and craft of finger drumming, and I’d like to see more people doing it. DJing is great, but being able to actually play instruments live on a stage is pretty amazing too.

Do you have any plans for releasing new material any time soon?

I’m basically doing one track at a time these days because nobody has the attention span for a whole release any more. I’m planning to keep going like that, and then put out mixtapes of all the favourites every now and then. That seems to be the format people are responding to. You can get a new release every month or so at illgates.com or on my soundcloud. Bon appetit!

What drives you to continually find new sounds and styles?

Hack artists ruin every subgenre as soon as it gets popular, so if you like the feeling that music gives you then there is no other option but to constantly seek out new sounds and forms of expressing yourself. Music saved my life. Literally. I owe it to the world to return the favour. I’ve also got absolutely nothing else on my resume so I’d better give this thing my all if I want to support myself.

There really is something to be said for music as a full time profession. If you’ve got no safety net at all you really have to hustle to stay relevant. Artists and trends come and go so fast these days that it’s adapt or die.

You’ve played some huge festivals like Burning Man and Shambala, but what can fans expect from your show at Island Vibe?

I love Jamaican music. Love it. I have all kinds of remixes, dub versions, etc in my back pocket I’ve been dying to bust out for ages and I see Island Vibe as my best chance for it. In my previous trips to Australia I typically stayed away from playing tracks with vocals (Aussies tend to think it ‘commercial’, lol) so I’ll have a chance to explore some new territory this time around. I can’t wait!

And finally, what are your plans for dealing with the Queensland heat? Beer or water?

Coopers Pale Ale, obviously… cheers!

Ill.Gates plays Island Vibe October 25-27. He also plays the joint IV After Party/ Earth Frequency Launch Party at the Hi-Fi November 2.

Record review: The Vernons – Volume I (2013, EP)

Vernons

The Vernons are four guys from The Gold Coast, who – having plundered their parent’s record collections and loaded up on retro-fuelled rhythms and a truckload of optimism – have set out to create music that makes you want to rock. Damn hard.

The band’s bio lists their interests as “beer and rock ‘n’ roll” and this four-track debut EP is built on solid foundations of both those things. While it’s hard to describe their music without listing the obvious influences from the best of ’60s and ’70s classic rock, the young quartet have enough of their own thing going on to avoid being labelled copycats.

Opener and highlight ‘Shake ‘n’ Roll’ borrows heavily from the likes of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and Ten Years After’s ‘I’m Going Home’, and barrels along at a frantic pace from the start, before breaking down into a more bluesy groove as the song progresses.

‘Standing In Line’ is a more controlled affair, but loses none of the band’s trademark groove in the process, while ‘White Wine’ is even smoother still. Closer ‘Mercy’ makes a return to hard-rockin’ riff territory before we get too relaxed and before we know it, the EP is finished. With a similar sound to contemporary bands like WA’s The Love Junkies and NSW’s The Rubens, The Vernons have a good thing going on here, and the fact this EP is called Volume I would surely suggest there’s more to come from these Queenslanders.

These songs sound like they would be dynamite played live, and with a reputation for a killer live show, The Vernons are a band to keep an eye on.

VOLUME I BY THE VERNONS IS OUT NOW

Live review: Queensland Music Awards – The Tivoli, Brisbane – 13/8/13

IMG_4670

There are two headlines you will already have read concerning the 2013 Queensland Music Awards: the first is that the night ‘belonged’ to Best Female award winner Emma Louise, and the second that Ball Park Music are still pretty damn good. Both these things are at least partly true, but a large percentage of the following also happened.

My own evening starts with an exasperatingly winding taxi tour of the Valley, as a ludicrously dated so-called community festival is taking place at the RNA Showgrounds and there are road closures all over the joint. Upon arrival at the Tivoli, it seems that most of the rest of the guests must also be having confused taxi-driver syndrome, as only around a third of the seats are taken. Ah well – on with the show.

First up is Zimbabwean-Australian Blaq Carrie; the young rapper performing her debut single ‘Let There Be Hope’. It’s a pretty good start, but not as good as Thelma Plum; who looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth with her sweetly shuffling introduction and cute ankle socks, and while a few rounds of “fuck-yous” in her song ‘Dollar’ may be amusing or mildly shocking to some, it’s really no big fucking deal.

It’s around this point that it becomes apparent that there’s a fairly large amount of people who have arrived at the Tivoli this evening with the aim of standing at the back in their probably-expensive-yet-tacky-looking frocks/suits and chattering amongst themselves like a bunch of schoolchildren who need delivered instantly back to an era where corporal punishment was de rigeuer – these clowns simply need several wheel braces to the spinal column. What the fuck is the point in coming to an awards ceremony and ignoring the vast majority of the evening’s proceedings, while rudely and loudly babbling shit to each other during all the important parts? If you’ve paid big money and a band is putting in a dismal performance and turning you off, I get it – vent your dissatisfaction with all the bland self-important fury your tranquillised-to-the-eyeballs hedge fund manager parents bequeathed you, but for fuck’s sake shut your useless traps when Mick Hadley’s widow is presenting a video tribute to him and accepting his Lifetime Achievement award on his behalf. Makes sense when you think about it, wouldn’t you say? Dickheads.

Meanwhile, Pigeon put in a typically fantastic performance that has host Sarah Howells marvelling at their ability to get stupidly sweaty in the space of a couple of songs (they are surely one of Brisbane’s best live acts right now), and Seja Vogel follows with another sweet burst of tuneage from her seriously synth-heavy new album All Our Wires.

Now, there’s another sticking point right here. Let me start by saying The Trouble With Templeton are a fine band and their debut record Rookie is an excellent and worthy piece of work; I highly recommend adding it to your collection and songwriter Thomas Calder and his band deserve awards and recognition in spades. However, when Q Music give them the Rock award, then allow Violent Soho to put in the best rock live performance of the evening by far (and I include The Trouble With Templeton in that), we have a rather disconcerting, head-scratching moment. But, what the hell; most of the audience aren’t paying attention anyway. Did I mention those fuckheads up the back?

Violent Soho
Violent Soho

Country Award winner Harmony James then puts in an entertaining short performance, showcasing that fine country vocal twang she’s got going on, and then another highlight flits in and out of tonight’s proceedings: a trio of new songs from The Jungle Giants, with Cesira Aitken putting in the axe-wielding performance of the evening with a series of quick-fingered, Fender-based riffs – beautiful.

The Jungle Giants
The Jungle Giants

After an epic giant-slaying of David and Goliath proportions that sees Jeremy Neale gloriously beat Bernard Fanning to the coveted crown of Best Male, it’s time for The Trouble With Templeton to show why they are considered to be such a strong new force on the Brisbane music scene. Their song ‘You Are New’ is particularly great addition to the evening’s entertainment, and after another win for Emma Louise and a by-now fairly hammered Ball Park Music, it’s time for Brisbane’s only (?) Afro-Cuban salsa group Chukale to play to a by-now practically empty Tivoli.

All in all, it was a great evening and very important part of the Queensland musical calendar; one in which the bands and artists we witnessed showed what a high standard of music is being made in the Sunshine State. All the winners were worthy and live performances were across-the-board outstanding. Now, I’m off to find a wheel brace…

The Trouble With Templeton
The Trouble With Templeton