Live review: Fatboy Slim + Erick Morillo + Nick Galea – Brisbane Riverstage – 25/1/16

fatboy slim brisbane riverstage 2016

A near sell-out crowd witnessed a bonafide EDM legend’s triumphant return to Brisbane on a balmy Australia Day Eve, as the man sometimes known as Norman Cook proved he’s still the master of his craft.

An opening run-out for local talent Nick Galea was followed by a two-hour set from Erick Morillo as dusk closed around the natural amphitheatre of the Riverstage. “If you’re having a good time, make some motherfucking noise,” the Colombian-American demanded, to massive cheers. “If you’re having a good time and you’re gonna have sex tonight, make some motherfucking noise,” came next, to a much less confident response.

After only a few minutes turnaround, Cook appeared on stage at 8:30pm, and attacked his audience with a non-stop assault of sound for 90 minutes. Such is the length and breadth of appeal of Cook’s career that it could almost be divided into eras, and elements of every one of them got a run out and were met with a similar positive response.

‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat’ and ‘Renegade Master’ kicked off proceedings, and as Cook moved through a relentless run of his many tracks and remixes, he also found plenty of time to pay homage to his musical heroes, with excerpts of Iggy Pop, Marvin Gaye, the White Stripes, Talking Heads and of course, the Chemical Brothers thrown in for good measure. A couple of well-appreciated Bowie tributes were nice touches, including mashing ‘Rebel Rebel’ into the mix, and the light show would have worried every epilepsy sufferer from Southbank to the Valley.

The only way to finish was, of course, his signature tune, ‘The Rockafeller Skank’. As the vast, happy audience poured out of the Riverstage, Fatboy Slim had to be given major credit for raising a valid question: when was the last time so many happy Brisbanites came together and danced their socks off on a Monday night?

For Scenestr

Record review: Edge of Red – Queen of Hearts (2012, EP)

Edge Of Red Cover

Maybe it is a good time for Brisbane pop-rockers Edge Of Red to make a name for themselves, with Evanescence once again riding high with their particular brand of epic, female-fronted, melodic rock. Based on the evidence of this independently-released debut, they wouldn’t sound out of place supporting a band of that calibre. It could also be argued however, that Edge Of Red’s style of music has had its day, and that day ended some time in 2003. Songs like ‘Break The Rules’ and ‘Hard To Breathe’ are respectable stabs at the genre, and the musicianship is of inarguably high quality. Lead singer Ally Marks puts everything into her vocals, and would probably sound great on a Soundwave stage, but the formulaic nature of Edge Of Red’s songs starts to grate after a couple of listens. Their sound is good, but only if you like this sort of thing. (Independent)

Record review: Tom Milek – Love & Ambition (2012, EP)


With this reflective and melancholy debut EP, Melburnian Tom Milek has joined the ever-growing ranks of earnest young folkies telling stories of youthful anxiety. A well-worn path that may be; but Milek isn’t put off and does it better than many of his contemporaries. While the soaring strings are a little overdone at times, there are plenty of appealing vocal melodies and deft guitar touches. Milek has a gentle, almost adolescent voice that sounds best on up-tempo single ‘Vicious Curves’, and his lyrics tell brutally-honest tales of oh-so painful longing. Opener ‘Time Machine’ sees him happy to be remembering his first kiss, but by fourth track ‘Treading Water’ he’s heartbroken and seeking solace in booze. The recurrent downbeat nature of the songs make this more of a Sunday morning than a Saturday night listen, but one nevertheless infused with skill and promise. (Independent)

Record review: The New Invincibles – Hear Some Evil (2012, EP)


Garage/punk/blues outfit The New Invincibles describe themselves as ‘one of Perth’s best live bands’. After hearing this EP – their third release since forming in 1999 – I can only conclude that this boast is a massive insult to the many fine bands from that city. The four-piece attempt to make noise like groups from the original wave of ‘60s garage, such as the 13th Floor Elevators and The Sonics, but it all feels far too contrived, and the desire to play as fast as possible strips the music of any soul or groove. Opener ‘Barnaby’ is the worst example of this; it’s three minutes of painful keyboard and guitar thrashing that goes absolutely nowhere. ‘Rubber Lovely’ and Oasis-on-speed closing track ‘Night’ have some redeemable moments despite the wailing vocals, but ultimately this EP is an excruciating listen. (Casa del Diablo Records)

Record review: Graveyard Train – Hollow (2012, LP)


Melbourne country-horror madmen Graveyard Train are primarily known for their stomping, ramshackle live shows and chain-whacking gimmicks, but their third album should change all that. Sounding like the Lost Boys soundtrack done by Tarantino, Hollow drips with creepy baritone harmonies, dark country twangs, and tales of whisky, locomotives, and the devil. The song writing is stronger than ever; ‘Get The Gold’, ‘The Sermon’, and ‘Mary Melody’ being the best examples, and there are Nick Cave-esque touches sprinkled throughout too; most noticeably on ‘Hollow Wind’. Almost all the tracks have elements that will only enhance the Graveyard Train live experience; from sing-along choruses to apocalyptic let’s-drink-like-it’s-the-end-of-the-world lyrics. Ever wanted to go out into the desert and dance like a monkey around a massive bonfire, wearing nothing but a necklace of rattlesnake bones? Take Hollow and a good whisky, and have the time of your life. (Spooky Records)

Record review: Dumbsaint – Something That You Feel Will Find Its Own Form (2012, LP)

Dumbsaint Cover Scan
All the best albums should take the listener on a journey, and this debut release from Sydney’s Dumbsaint has the rocket ship fuelled and ready to take you to a planet inhabited by all the parts of David Lynch’s mind that haven’t yet made it onto film. Four years in the making, this hour-long instrumental album from the post-rock three-piece has enough cinematic grandeur to soundtrack an entire catalogue of Lynchian dream imagery. Layers of intertwining guitar, bass, and drums wash over you within seconds of the start of nine-minute opener ‘Rivers Will Be Crossed’, and don’t let up over eight tracks. Guitarist Ron Prince is the star of the show; his thunderous riffs set the pace and he even finds time to throw in a little violin halfway through. Silly band name aside, this an epic and impressive piece of work. (Bird’s Robe Records)

Record review: Army of Champions – Animal Versus Man (2012, LP)

This debut release from Brisbane five-piece Army Of Champions has all the ingredients of a first-rate punk record: high energy, angry guitar, and venomous vocals. But there’s so much more to like on show here. With a world-weary vocal style somewhere between Paul Westerberg and Shane MacGowan, singer Matt Hoara’s delivery is full of melody and soul, and his band’s songs are a varied mix, underwritten with a solid punk-rock backbone. They’re not averse to a guitar solo on single ‘Shake Out The Moan’, or a spot of balladry on ‘Just A Little Time’, and there’s even a touch of sax on opener ‘Before We’re Bones’. Punk albums often cross the fine line between brilliant and boneheaded, but Army Of Champions have filled theirs with nothing but intelligent and catchy rock songs. (Arrest Records Australia)

Record review: Dirt Farmer – Dirt Farmer (2012, EP)

dirt farmer
If you’re sick of cold weather you should probably get hold of this debut EP from Melbourne five-piece Dirt Farmer and let it inject some summery warmth into your frigid bones. Previously banjo-toting country boys (hence the name), Dirt Farmer moved to the big smoke and are now masters of shiny surf pop; all jangly guitars and breezy vocal harmonies. Opener ‘Kick It’ is impossibly catchy; showcasing singer Stuart Barlow’s smooth and laid back vocals, and some seriously stylish guitar twangs. ‘Johnny Marble’ continues in a similar vein, with a falsetto chorus and an outro that you don’t want to end, before ‘Real Young’ throws a curveball with some harmonica that at no time sounds out of place. Closer ‘Honey’ couldn’t be more Kinks-esque if it tried; bringing me to the conclusion that there ought to be more bands like Dirt Farmer around. (Independent)

Record review: The Sound Platform – The Sun & Silver Anthology Vol. 5 (2012, LP)

sun and silver
This volume of ten songs by defunct experimental rockers The Sound Platform forms part of a sixty-eight track, career-spanning anthology of Melbourne rock journeyman Darren Smallman, who also had stints in rock bands Warped! and Toad in the early ‘90s. Now running his own label, Smallman has thrown together the best parts of his final band in this ‘90s-tinged collection. There are hints of what could have been in Sonic Youth-esque third track It’s Cold In The City, while elsewhere there are lyrics that could have come from the mouth of Evan Dando, Doors-y keyboards, and jangly guitars à la The Byrds, adding up to make quite a mish-mash of an album. Despite the age of some the material, the sound quality is excellent, and well worth checking out. (BATTLE/Low Transit Industries)

Record review: The Dillion James Band – One Chance To Say It (2012, EP)

dillion james
With this debut EP of bluesy reggae, Brisbane-via-North-Queensland groove collective The Dillion James Band might just have made one of the smoothest sounding local recordings this year. Formed in West End with an ever-evolving line-up centred around the man himself, they have put together a funky, yet socially-conscious set of songs that seamlessly fuse the best elements of reggae and blues. Despite his relatively tender years, James’s lyrics deal with social and cultural issues in the manner you would expect from some old bluesman or Indigenous band, but his husky voice has the character to pull it off, and the overall sound is finished off with top-notch musicianship from his band. This music is perfect for an open-air summer festival, and I for one am looking forward to hearing it in that setting. (Beanstalk Records)