Music

Music Reviews

Yours & Owls @ Stuart Park 01-02/10/16

First seen on AMNplify!

Back for its third annual run, Yours & Owls Festival really stepped up its game, delivering 40 artists across two stages last weekend. With the backdrops of the Illawarra escarpment and North Wollongong beach, Stuart Park was no doubt one of the most luxurious festival locations in NSW, maybe even Australia.

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Yours and owls

Yours & Owls | Britt Andrews

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The focus of course wasn’t just on music. There was a huge range of food and retail stalls, several art installations, a projector tent for a live screening of both footy finals, the charity Project Forever markets and a panopticon rave prison. When Foucault makes an appearance at a festival, you know there’s something truly unique happening. (more…)

Melanie Martinez @ Big Top Luna Park 14/8/16

First seen on AMNplify here!

On the one-year anniversary of her debut concept album Cry Baby‘s release, Melanie Martinez headlines a tour around Australia and New Zealand this month. First making a name for herself as a contestant in The Voice in 2012, the 21-year-old singer-songwriter made it through a few live rounds before being knocked out during nationwide voting. After her surprising success on the hit singing competition, Melanie spent a year working on Cry Baby, writing and recording and crowdfunding the first single’s music video. It is an album full of electropop drenched in childhood symbolism and matured by the underpinning concepts at play. The Cry Baby Tour is well at home here, performed at the Big Top in Sydney’s Luna Park and supported by Triple J Unearthed High winner of 2014, Japanese Wallpaper.

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Melanie Martinez

Melanie Martinez | Catherine Connell Photography

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In a startling display of unprofessionalism, producer Japanese Wallpaper is forced to play to a crowd with the house lights on for his whole set, rendering the experience horribly informal and chatter-drenched. For his part, the young producer proceeds with gusto, backed by bandmate Miles who apparently ran the City to Surf earlier that day. Crowd favourites Breathe In and Between Friends featured as part of his set, working to create atmospheric melodies amongst the crowd. Special guest, Airling finished out the set, lending her vocals for Forces.

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Japanese Wallpaper

Japanese Wallpaper | Catherine Connell Phography

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Lights down, phones up and a huge cheer as Melanie Martinez takes the stage in the form of a huge, covered set piece wheeled on by roadies revealed to be a huge bassinet. We are in store for a theatrical production. The intro music is a pastiche of feedback and arbitrary sounds interrupted by baby cries. A mobile lullaby churns out and the two band members in their adult-sized teddy bear outfits take their places behind drums and synth keys. As the intro to the title track, Cry Baby begins, Melanie bursts out of the crib and the crowd erupts in delighted screams.

Fortunately, we can hear Melanie’s vocals of the screech of teens, maybe at the expense of our own hearing… Big Top’s acoustics do nothing to improve the matter.

Greeting the crowd straight out of the first track, Melanie announces it’s Cry Baby‘s first birthday, she’s that damn happy to be [in Australia] and emphatically thanks all the support she’s received from her fans. The next song is her first song ever released and does anyone know what that is? The crowd yells “Dollhouse!” at her and this pleases her.

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Melanie Martinez

Melanie Martinez | Catherine Connell Photography

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Sippy Cup gets a dialed back intro with subdued synths and the crowd racing ahead of Melanie with the lyrics before the beat kicks in and it resumes its regular pace. The thumping beat for Alphabet Boy absolutely goes off, with the whole crowd bouncing in time. Milk and Cookies has some particularly impressive guitar work in the band and a beat break down before the close that’s very dance worthy.

By the time Soap comes around, the crowd should have realised she’s playing the album start to finish in the same order, as per the story the collected songs tell. Still, every song arouses a huge scream of joy. Melanie Martinez’s fans are passionate if nothing else.

She makes a big show of saying Mad Hatter is the last track of the night then spends next to no time teasing the audience waiting to come back for an encore with a cute little quip: “Is it cool if we play two more? This one is a present I put out for Christmas.” Gingerbread Man, a Christmas single from December 2015 is a much better way to hear her voice. Slower and more heartfelt and less known by the crowd.

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Melanie Martinez

Melanie Martinez | Catherine Connell Photography

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21-year-old tip-toeing around the stage in her socks, wearing pastel pink with a furry bolero, tattoos peeking out and some complex ideas coming out her mouth in the form of elaborate metaphors. She’s very good at moving around the stage and engaging both her band and the crowd in her vicinity and her voice is exactly as the package describes: soulful and whispery yet playfully suited to her lyrics and theme. At the very least, she had a ball with her fans: “I’m so excited to come back with the next record!”

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Check out Catherine Connell’s full gallery from the night here!

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Connect with Melanie Martinez!

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Billy Talent @ The Metro Theatre 13/8/16 (Live Review)

First seen on AMNplify here!

Off the back of their fifth studio album, Afraid of Heights, Canadian four piece rock powerhouse Billy Talent returned to Australia in their first headline tour in over four years. Forming in 1993 under a different name, Ben Kowalewicz (vocals), Ian D’Sa (guitar), Jonathan Gallant (bass) and Aaron Solowoniuk (drums) were part of the Toronto indie music scene until 2001, when they reached mainstream success. While Aaron continues his long-standing battle with multiple sclerosis, Jordan Hastings of Alexisonfire filled in for him, with local five piece The Lazys supporting the tour.

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Billy Talent

Billy Talent | Britt Andrews Photography

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After hooking up with Billy Talent at Canadian Music Week 2014 in Toronto, The Lazys arrived on stage with literal buckets of energy, rock god shapes and tunes to make AC/DC head bang along. In actual fact, I expected them to break into an AC/DC song from the outset of every intro. The influence is obvious with power chords, songs soaked in guitar solos and feel-good lyrics. The highlight of their set was lead guitarist Mathew Morris foraying from the stage to the sound desk to rock out amongst the crowd. They did an excellent job of rallying the audience for the headliners.

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The Lazys

The Lazys | Britt Andrews Photography

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In a blaze of guitar riffs, screaming, and clashing percussion, Billy Talent took the stage like a foreboding storm. Vocalist Ben was a veritable lightning strike, unable to stand still for more than a few moments. His range included anything from a whisper to a scream with a decidedly theatrical expression colouring every lyric he sang. Ian‘s guitar work was formidable however it needs to be said he provided an intriguing vocal dynamic for Ben to play off, especially prominent in the harmonies of Saint Veronika and later tracks from the set list. Not to be left behind, bassist Jonathan provides gravely backing vocals on every chorus while Jordan keeps everyone in time on the drums.

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Billy Talent

Billy Talent | Britt Andrews Photography

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The setlist had an even focus across all five studio albums, revisiting some oldies like Prisoners of Today and This Is How It Goes, as well as playing Pins and Needles – a track that is rarely played live. Ben dedicated Surprise Surprise to himself for being awesome, and Stand Up and Run was dedicated to Gord Downie.

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Billy Talent

Billy Talent | Britt Andrews Photography

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There was a really cool moment in the show where Ben left the stage, strengthening the focus on Ian, Jonathan and Jordan jamming in an extended version of Try Honesty. The best part was that he actually joined the audience and watched the boys on stage tear it up for a good few minutes. It must be a mark of professionalism and respect, as well as his deep appreciation for music, to act this way. When he returned to the stage he made a point of thanking each of them for their contributions to the band, saying they would miss Jordan when he returns to Australia in January 2017 with Alexisonfire‘s forthcoming tour.

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Billy Talent

Billy Talent | Britt Andrews Photography

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Much of Billy Talent‘s repertoire having a socio-political focus, there wasn’t much time wasted on speechifying. However, during the encore Ben laid down the law: “Times are tough. Every day there’s a new tragedy in the news. Let’s be thankful we’re together, safe and happy […] Because my reality does not include people like Donald f**king Trump!” He also spoke out against the mass murder in Orlando before switching back to lead singer mode and powering through Falling Leaves and Viking Death March to close out. Overall the night was nothing but hard rock and fun for all. It was great to see these guys finally on the road again, performing their new material live. The fan base is as strong as ever and stoked to be a part of Billy Talent‘s journey.
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See Britt Andrew’s gallery from the night here!

 

Connect with Billy Talent!

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Set list:

Devil In A Midnight Mass
This Suffering
Big Red Gun
This Is How It Goes
Afraid of Heights
Rusted From The Rain
Saint Veronika
The Crutch
Pins And Needles
Surrender
River Below
Prisoners of Today
Surprise Surprise!
Stand Up And Run
Louder Than The DJ
Red Flag

Try Honesty
Fallen Leaves
Viking Death March

Gang of Youths – Let Me Be Clear (EP Review)

Following their debut record The Positions from 2014, Gang of Youths have returned with a new EP Let Me Be Clear dropping on Friday 29th July aka TOMORROW! AMNplify was lucky enough to get a sneak peek and here’s what we thought.

.Gang of Youths Let Me Be Clear Cover Art - assorted images depicting the band and other mundane items such as cars, a kitchen sink and oven, and more.

What starts off with a piano melody that gives you a feeling like you’re about to be taught an important life lesson soon feeds into a slow, deliberate build of a marching beat and sincere strings, culminating in the musical manifestation of The Good Fight, literally. David Le’aupepe’s desperate vocals crash against cymbals and wretched guitar, scratching at the final question of “Will someone tell me why I need all this stuff?!

If you want to bit hit in the feels, this is the song to listen to. Have no fear though, there’s a certain hopeful quality to everything the Jung Kim and Joji Malani do with those guitars. It sets a precedent that Gang of Youths mean business. They aren’t afraid to have a bit of fun while they take on some tough concepts in Let Me Be Clear.

Native Tongue is a feel good piece detailing the gorgeous evolution of relationships. Every instrument thrums with delight to be a part of something so beautifully messy as getting to know someone and being honest with them. There’s an element of tonal clash reminiscent of Silversun Pickups but Gang of Youths’ sound has evolved in a totally different direction.

.Gang of Youths group photo.

With a jovial introduction promising an anthem both Strange Diseases and A Sudden Light bring hope to any listener from the base beauty of normality. The chords are clear, drums uplifting, Dave’s imploring voice seems to yield a kind of release. The realisations in the lyrics seem to free us all. There are definitive hints of Arcade Fire and even The Middle East.

Slowing it down with Still Unbeaten Life, acoustic and electric blends with all manner of sounds. The horns and harp in particular stand out, an intricate combination of layers showing nothing but good certainty and clarity of purpose. This track is a relaxing yet complex. You could listen to it over and over.

The EP also features a bonus track, Both Sides Now. It’s a raw track, a seemingly “uncut” insight into David’s mind and ultimately relatable for anyone listening.

A number of meaty tracks to sink your teeth into, with thoughtful lyrics and time to process the concepts explored, Let Me Be Clear suggests nothing but more good music to come. Pick up a copy as soon as you can!
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Connect with Gang of Youths!

Official WebsiteFacebookTwitter

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Jack Garratt @ The Metro 21/7/16 (Live Review)

First seen on AMNplify!

The award-winning London-based singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Jack Garratt hit Australian shores earlier this week, playing some sideshows ahead of his spot in Splendour in the Grass at North Byron Parklands. His debut album Phase dropped in February this year to critical acclaim and was awarded triple j’s feature album. AMNplify had the opportunity to check out his sold-out Sydney show on a Thursday night at the Metro Theatre.
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Jack Garratt

Jack Garratt | Andrew Evans Photography

Supporting from the US: Kacy Hill and her two band mates contributed a sound that was easily much larger than the space they were given to work with. The drummer and keyboardist’s matching striped shirts and black blazers made a nice touch, backing Kacy’s high tremulous voice with deliberate beats and atmospheric electronic pop. With only six tracks to rev up the packed crowd, Kacy and the boys started the set at 100% and turned it up from there.

After smashing out the first track, Kacy eagerly greeted us. Her awkwardness came off as a goofy sort of charm that instantly won over her audience, although it seemed totally at odds with the maturity of her music. She debuted a new song from an upcoming album, Hard To Love as well as Keep Me Sane, both worth checking out when you get the chance.

Kacy Hill

Kacy Hill | Andrew Evans Photography

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In between songs Kacy was so overcome with excitement/delirious with jet lag, she sounded at times a bit like a voice actor from a Disney Playhouse episode. All three of them were characters in their own right, the drummer beating the shit out of his kit like it did him a grievous wrong, and the keyboardist had some dance moves that simply need to be seen to be believed. The Metro grew incredibly fond of her, whether as an adorable somewhat clumsy kitten (for she told us about only wearing one contact and almost tripping because of it) or as the fierce lion she sings about, I’m not sure.

Jack Garratt’s set was nothing short of eventful, filled with hilarious improv, covers and technical difficulties as well as guitar and drum solos amongst crowd favourite tracks Breathe Life and Worry. He stood at the centre of the stage cloistered by instruments and surrounded by angled lighting rigs, utterly a one-man band, as he powered through the first two tracks, inserting a cute little “Hello Sydney!” address mid-song.

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Jack Garratt

Jack Garratt | Andrew Evans Photography.

With a guitar in hand for the third track, he teased the crowd mercilessly, seemingly enjoying himself and miffed at the same time that they would anticipate what song he was about to play. At one stage they cheered so loudly Jack silenced them with the closing of his fists such as you would for a choir. Jack began to pick out the melody of Weathered and the crowd immediately began to sing along, at which point he stopped them and explained this had happened in Melbourne the night before. He asked for someone backstage to film the crowd as they essentially sang the whole first verse and chorus before he took over, ramping it up with drums and layers of keys and synths. The entire venue sang along, and credit to the sound techs for keeping Jack’s lovely voice audible without deafening us.

Having finished that track, Jack claimed those were the only songs he had and launched into a piano and vocal cover of Michael McDonald, drawing cheers until he abruptly stopped and said, “No, I’m not fucking gonna play that!” Apparently he only found out a week ago that Phase did well here.

Unfortunately, after playing through Far Cry, technical malfunctions struck.
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Jack Garratt

Jack Garratt | Andrew Evans Photography

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While stage hands fiddled about with his setup, Jack treated us to several instances of improve jazz piano that was later embellished with mouth trumpet that drew far too much applause than he thought it was worth. (It was honestly the best mouth trumpet I’ve ever heard though.) When everything seemed to be resolved, it seemed like Jack was testing out the device when people recognised the beat from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme. And so went another performance shared between The Metro and Jack Garratt, the endless good sport even in the face of some apparently significant malfunctions.

The Craig David/Justine Timberlake mashup cover Jack performed on BBC’s Live Lounge made an appearance. Definitive crowd-pleaser right there. From there the rest of the set went quite quickly, cut a bit short from all the delays between songs. His final address was the only point in the night where Jack became somewhat philosophical: “Every award I’ve won and everything I’ve done is nothing compared to what I might do tomorrow” – an attitude he encouraged his audience to carry as well.

Even though some things went wrong last night, a lot of things went so right. Jack Garratt is the kind of performer who will stop at nothing to make sure that his crowd is enjoying themselves. Even in the face of glitches he displays a professionalism alongside sheer instrumental talent and melodic genius and one of the few falsettos that lends itself beautifully to his music. It was an honour to witness this man on stage.
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Check out Andrew’s full gallery HERE

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Connect with Jack Garratt

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Set list:

Coalesce (Synaesthesia Pt. II)
Breathe Life
Weathered
Far Cry
Seven Days/Senorita (Crag David/Justin Timberlake)
The Love You’r Given
Fire
Surprise Yourself
Worry

Broods @ Enmore Theatre 9/7/16

First seen on AMNplify!

A brother-sister duo hailing from New Zealand, Georgia and Caleb Nott as Broods broke into the scene with the single Bridges in 2013, featuring Georgia’s lead vocals and Caleb on production and backing vocals. They went on to release a self-titled EP in early 2014 in anticipation of their debut full-length album Evergreen later that year. Last month, after leaving the fans to fend with just the single Free, sophomore album Conscious dropped. This second full-length album embodies the iconic indie pop electronica hip hop they’ve become known for at festivals and touring with the likes of Ellie Goulding, Haim and Sam Smith. In honour of this most recent release they started the now sold out promotional tour for Conscious at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre on Saturday night. The all ages event was sponsored by Play Safe, a NSW government initiative promoting safe sex and education.

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Broods

Broods | Photography by Belinda Dipalo

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Celia Pavey, second runner up in The Voice Australia rebranded as Vera Blue and dropped two hit singles followed by the EP Fingertips, supported Broods on this tour. Settle kicked off her set after an intro of atmospheric soprano notes overlayed with synths. This new project incorporates Celia’s country-influenced ethereal folk singing style with electronic rhythms. The intro to Turn had a group of girls in the crowd imposing the lyrics from Jojo’s Leave over the top. That was until Celia began to sing a very different melody.
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She has these floating hand movements very like Florence Welch but with not quite the same execution. It was unfortunately quite distracting to watch when she was singing. Acoustic guitar in hand, Celia played and sang through Patterns, which had the clearest annunciation of all her songs. The crowd really enjoyed that one but when she introduced the Triple J Like a Version cover of Jack Garratt’s Breathe Life, her fans in the audience knew what to expect and anticipatory cheers exploded. That track went off. It was easily the best received song in her whole set list. She closed out with Hold, her oldest and best known single, ending her set on a high note, ready for Broods to take over.

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Broods

Broods | Photography by Belinda Dipalo

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After an unusually long pause between playlists, John Farnam’s The Voice came on and the majority of the audience were chanting the lyrics to the chorus, not knowing the verses well and not really able to hear Mr Farnham very well. The haters were relieved when Broods’ intro music cut off Farnham and the crowd. A huge cheer went up as Camille and Jono took their places either side of Caleb’s very tall setup. Caleb joined them soon after and Georgia took the stage in a storm of black sequins and long flying fringing. After powering through the first two tracks in the setlist, the Sydney audience got their obligatory acknowledgement from Georgia. Broods aren’t particularly into wasting much time on speeches but Bedroom Door?? received a special introduction as being a song with huge personal significance that always makes Georgia cry.
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In the middle of the show, the band left the stage, Caleb was handed an acoustic guitar and there was a very intimate little acoustic set. After making a blunder towards the end of All of Your Glory, Georgia promised to make it up to the audience by bringing out a very close friend of theirs, causing an overenthusiastic eruption of cheers. “You don’t even know who I’m talking about! You’ve got no idea…” Georgia exclaimed, a little bit bemused. Fellow musician and co-writer Jarryd James joined them on stage to play 1000x, a very new track that, in such an intimate setting, really showcased the amazing harmonies of Georgia and Jarryd’s combined voices. The acoustic portion finished up with Sleep Baby Sleep, the stage went dark as everyone exited.

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Broods

Broods | Photography by Belinda Dipalo

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From this point onwards, the show took an unquestionably upbeat turn. Camille came out and played some cords on the keyboard in anticipation of Caleb and Georgia re-joining the stage. They had changed from their sombre black outfits to shades of ivory. After smashing Recovery – one of the most popular tracks from Conscious – out of the park, Georgia cheekily told us, “We’ve symbolically changed our outfits because now…it’s time to party!” What followed was nothing short of a marathon of tracks from a thorough cross-section of Broods’ entire discography.
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As a frontwoman, Georgia Nott was a powerhouse, never standing still, always dancing. She has this amazing ability to be both lost in her music and present in the venue, checking in with the crowd. As one half of the duo, she embodied audience engagement while Caleb played puppet master from the high riser behind her, giving everyone the lush layers of music to enjoy.
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Check out Belinda’s full gallery here!
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Connect with Broods!

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Set list:

Intro
Conscious
Hold the Line
Every Time
Never Gonna Change
Bedroom Door
Freak of Nature
All of Your Glory (Acoustic)
1000x (Acoustic, special guest Jarryd James)
Sleep Baby Sleep (Acoustic)
Recovery
Are You Home?
Heart Lines
Pretty Thing
LAF
We Had Everything
Mother and Father
Free
Encore- Four Walls (Piano)
Bridges
Couldn’t Believe

The Bennies @ UOW Uni Bar 8/7/16 (Live Review)

First seen at AMNplify.

Some bands don’t want to subscribe to a genre, The Bennies on the other hand can’t seem to make up their mind. They’ve been taking their unique blend of “Psychedelic Reggae Ska Doom Metal Punk Rock from Hell” to all corners of Australia in a massive 27 dates over 40 days to promote the recent release of their third album, Wisdom Machine. With Anty taking care of vocals and korg, Jules on the guitar, Bowie drumming and Craig covering the bass, you won’t be bored at one of their shows. Friday night saw them in University of Wollongong’s Uni Bar with local punk rock trio Kaleidoscope alongside the tour’s special guests, Axe Girl and Clowns.

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The Bennies - photo by Britt Andrews Photography

The Bennies – photo by Britt Andrews Photography

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Kaleidoscope kicked off a full lineup, punching out a half hour set of tracks very reminiscent of late 90s garage punk. Instrumental was definitely their strong point with the three South Coast locals head banging long dreads and defiantly shouting their lyrics to be heard over the rolling melodies of guitar and bass. Mayalla was the standout track from their set.

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Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope – photo by Britt Andrews Photography

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Originating from Perth, aka the other side of the world, Axe Girl’s distinctly brighter, fast-paced pop punk, wasn’t exactly what the crowd was expecting. However, by the time the set was over, many were declaring “I’ve never heard of them before but they were fucking awesome”.

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Axe Girl

Axe Girl | Photography by Britt Andrews

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Their set started out slow bass-heavy with rumbling guitar riffs and it only accelerated from there, accented by the off-centre, explosive feminine vocals of Axe, reminiscent of Metric’s Emily Haines or Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. From the second track of their set onwards, they were winning over the crowd. Mid-way through Axe picked up a glittering red guitar and added some welcome layers to their melodic full sound. With her blue tipped fly away hair, blue eye shadow, star spangled leggings, and endless bounds of energy, manic pixie Axe is definitely the epicentre of the group. On the last track, they even threw in some screams, a great way to transition to Clowns’ music.
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Clowns’ frontman Stevie came out to three jamming band mates, declared the song was about those few times why it’s bad to take drugs and was crowd surfing by the end of the second chorus. A-rhythmic short fast loud songs interspersed throughout the set list. Clowns know how to build a song with an apex of intensity. Early on in the set they debuted a new song with a ripping guitar intro (didn’t tell us the name though). Stevie gleefully staring into the pit of writhing punters. If your dream was to crowd surf, Clowns would be the band to make that happen. They’ve got audience engagement down to a science.

They were absolutely unwilling to let any silence into their whole set from the moment they entered the stage to the time they left.

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Clowns

Clowns | Photography by Britt Andrews

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Jared King aka Goon’s guitar string snapped mid-song and threw off the rest of the band. Apparently they’d never fucked up a song that badly before and Stevie joked that would be his last show with them. “Does anyone know any guitarists looking to rock with the Clowns?” Regardless, they went back, fixed it up and finished out with aplomb. The pinnacle of their set was when Stevie climbed up to the top of two speaker stacks and jumped off to be caught by the ecstatic clump of fans several metres below.
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To give you an idea of The Bennies set you need to know this, elicit substances consumed on stage sets the tone for the rest of the evening. Puffing on a joint in between lyrics, Anty was barely in one place for longer than a second, at one point flapping his arms like he was about to fly away. Right from the start the set was supercharged reggae ska rock. Axe came on and shouted out a verse from Heavy Disco. She and Anty shared some adorable in-joke choreography to a synth percussive accent in the track. They also invited Stevie of Clowns back to lend his vocals to Corruption.

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The Bennies Axe Girl UOW Uni Bar Britt Andrews

The Bennies featuring Axe Girl | Photography by Britt Andrews

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The chemistry between these four blokes is incredible to behold. At one point, Anty lovingly stroked the hair behind Craig’s ears while he continued to shred the bass. Throughout the set they took the time to feature each other. Craig demolished a particularly compelling bass solo in Acid on Me Brain. Even though Anty took a break in My Bike to get the audience involved in the lyrics, the highlight was him, Craig and Jules sitting on the stage like good little school kids watching Bowie thrash his drum kit in a killer solo. Jules had some amazing moments to shine all night long with every melody intricate yet catchy, a standout example being the intro to Anywhere You Wanna Go. Anty, Jules and Craig’s voices could be heard in different parts of each song.

The final few tracks took a decidedly theatrical turn with Party Till I Die (Or Die Trying) and Corruption – reverb everywhere, slow, thick and greasy bass, guitars, everything really, punctuated by painstakingly screamed lyrics.

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The Bennies UOW Uni Bar Britt Andrews Photography

The Bennies | Photography by Britt Andrews

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They made you work for the bridge of Party Machine: everyone’s favourite line to shout over and over, “One part party, one part machine!” The final message to us before closing out with Knights Forever was “Make slow changes with massive outcomes by being nice to each other”. Telling absurd stories in their songs makes people comfortable to behave however they want. Perhaps that’s why there were shoes flying everywhere the whole night (and some dejected looking patrons missing half their footwear at the end of the night).

If anyone ever said smoking too much weed makes you complacent and lazy, they haven’t seen The Bennies live. These guys will stop at nothing to get every single person moving and screaming.
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Check out Britt’s full gallery HERE

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Connect with The Bennies!

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Set list:
Heavy Reggae
Detroit Rock Ciggies
What’s Ya Fucken Problem?
Heavy Disco
Highrider
Acid
Sensi Mi
My Bike
Anywhere
Burnout City
Party Till I Die
Corruption
Party Machine
Knights Forever

Cherie Currie @ Manning Bar 27/05/16 (Live Review)

First seen on Amnplify here

This was the first time touring Australia for Cherie Currie, iconic lead singer of The Runaways, and, for a long time, the other half of Joan Jett. At the tender age of fifteen, Cherie performed David Bowie covers until she found out Joan Jett and Kim Fowley was looking for a singer for the first all-girl rock band. The flame burned fast and hot for The Runaways, fizzling out within three years of its inception but forever immortalising these queens of noise. In 2010, a little of the band’s history was documented in film form, with Dakota Fanning portraying a young Cherie opposite Kristen Stewart’s Joan. Decades later Cherie finally graced our shores performing some of her old band’s hits, some covers and debuting tracks from her forthcoming album, Blackheart.

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Cherie Currie Live at Manning Bar Sydney

Cherie Currie by Peter Dovgan

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Hot Sweets kicked off the show with a short and—you guessed it—sweet 20 minute set. The vocals were very much in the spirit of late 70s, early 80s rock. Vanity Riot followed up with a punch wall of sound and wailing vocals backed by some really stellar pick work on the lead and rhythm guitars. But the crowd really only cared about one person and that was the rock queen herself, without a doubt.

Cherie Currie and her band took the stage with zero fanfare, launching into a rousing rendition of American Nights. Cherie was nothing but vibrant on stage, power in every step and every syllable. That remarkable voice was a thrill to hear in person. Full of funny anecdotes in between songs, she regaled the crowd with funny quotes like, “I do like Black Sabbath. I just don’t write like Black Sabbath!” Cherie had nothing but praise for Suzi Quatro, demanding she be immortalised in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame before The Runaways since she was such an incredible influence paving the way for them.

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Cherie Currie live at Manning Bar Sydney

Cherie Currie by Peter Dovgan

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Possibly the most striking moment in the night was when Cherie stopped to do her David Bowie tributes. Upon introducing them she referred to Dakota’s re-enactment in The Runaways, in which the fictional Cherie was pelted with food for being so extraordinarily out there. After exclaiming, “I fucking ran that show!” Cherie was overcome with grief for the late pop icon and master influence on her. Tears interrupted her utterly heartfelt cover of Lady Grinning Bare, which transitioned into an exhilarating performance of Rebel Rebel. Later Cherie confided it was the first time she had cried since his death earlier this year.

Lacking a barrier between stage and pit, the set was intimate and Cherie took advantage of every second, thrusting the microphone in front of as many punters as possible. One girl with lilac hair seemed to be an expert at memorising lyrics and the only one confident enough to actually project into the mic… Cherie came back to her again and again. She definitely made a few people’s nights with her passionate crowd engagement.

See Peter Dovgan’s full gallery here!

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Connect with Cherie Currie!
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Official Website
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Facebook
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Twitter


Setlist:

American Nights (The Runaways)
Rock & Roll (The Velvet Underground)
Rock n Roll Rosie
Dear Mum (Shameless)
Is It Day or Night? (The Runaways)
Roxy Roller (Nick Gilder)
Heartbeat (The Runaways)
Queens of Noise (The Runaways)
California Paradise (The Runaways)
Midnight Music (The Runaways)
Believe
Lady Grinning Soul (David Bowie)
Rebel Rebel (David Bowie)
Do You Love Me? (KISS)
Cherry Bomb (The Runaways)

TEDxYouth @ Sydney Opera House 25/05/16 (Live Review)

First seen on Amnplify here

TEDxSydney and TEDxYouth are events held in tandem, occupying the Concert Hall and the Joan Sutherland theatre respectively at Sydney Opera House. The mission for any TEDx event is to nurture and spread powerful ideas. These ideas can take on many forms, most noteably speeches but also performances, music, food and so on. TEDxSydney 2016 is the largest TEDx event to-date with an estimated 4,500 people in attendance and more than 500 people on the ground and working behind the scenes to make it happen. TEDx lacks political, economical or religious agenda and no TEDx event is the same as they are all community-driven and independently developed under a free license. This year’s event theme was that of “together”; Edwina Throsby, Head of Curation and host for the first session cited the best ideas as “products of conversation and collaboration”.
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Photo: Katie Barget | TEDxSydney

Photo: Katie Barget | TEDxSydney

Each event borrowed from the other (TEDxYouth relying perhaps more heavily on TEDxSydney) by simulcasting a live stream of the speakers from each hall. One of the ten films from the 2016 TEDxSydney Film Program punctuated each speech transition. This year, TEDxYouth@Sydney upgraded from the Opera House’s Drama Theatre to the Joan Sutherland theatre, making up an audience of about 2,500 young minds. Created by young people and intended for young people’s ears and eyes, TEDxYouth brings together bright young thinkers and big new ideas to inspire the next generation.
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Photo: Katie Barget | TEDxSydney | Tralala Blip

Photo: Katie Barget | TEDxSydney

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As always, the event began with acknowledging the traditional custodians of Sydney Harbour: the Birrabirragal band of the Eora people. TEDxSydney went one further with a performance from Matthew Doyle welcoming the audience to this country. The first session, which kicked off with a performance from Tralala Blip. This five piece electronic outfit comprised of three members with intellectual disabilities who contribute every bit as much as their fellow musicians. Backed by gorgeous graphics on the screen behind them, Tralala Blip delicately and passionately expressed themselves through their most recent singles, Title and Title. They make a wonderful example of collaboration and it’s refreshing to hear from voices that are usually silenced, literally.
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Photo: Gary Compton | TEDxSydney | Tara Winkler | Cambodian Children's Trust

Photo: Gary Compton | TEDxSydney

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The first speaker was Tara Winkler, founder of Cambodian Children’s Trust. In her speech she fervently detailed the painful realisations about residential housing institutions around the world, specifically that of children’s orphanages in Cambodia (outlawed in Australia, the UK and USA). Tara persuaded both audiences through a retelling of her experiences – of the orphanage she volunteered at as a tourist in 2006(?), of discovering its corruptions within, of finding that most of the children weren’t in fact orphans and that voluntourism is a hideous industry fuelled by the very people who think they are helping it. The Cambodian Children’s Trust is her solution. It aims to reunite children with their families, finding them stable income and support to raise them, or finding foster families for the true orphans in Cambodia.

Jordan Nguyen followed in the simulcast from the Concert Hall. He’s doing some fascinating work with his social business Psykinetic teaming with Humense to create virtual reality copies of people. These copies have profound implications: being able to copy some of the greatest minds – Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk were examples he cited – or loved ones. He seriously considered the possibility of copying his grandfather, who passed away when he was still a child, if the technology had been available then. After presenting this potentiality to his mother, Jordan was faced with the ethical dilemma of these copies effectively forcing people to relive the loss. Evidently there is more research to be done on the subject. The first short film, a documentary on Being a Robot Usher by Ian Williamson and Russ Tucker, followed this speech. This short film was a standout to me, showing how technology might shape the experience of going to a live event. The film was both poignant and humorous, with clips showing interviews with human ushers we could recognise from outside.

TEDxYouth was then treated to yet another live stream, this time a performance from Kirin J Callinan. The first song was a surprising clash of electronic and guitar with Kirin shouting incongruous lyrics, the only stand out of which was, “in China!” The guitar work was intricate and transfixing, even if there was a little unnecessary use of effects pedals. The next song Kirin traded his electric guitar for an acoustic, which he failed to plug in. Kirin proceeded to serenade the Concert Hall away from any semblance of mic. Much of his performance was utterly lost on the TEDxYouth audience who was plunged into utter silence (soon filled with awkward laughter). This song devolved into what could only have been a skit. Part of the acoustic guitar was lost inside its body and Kirin, soon aided by first one then another stagehand, would shake the guitar overhead vigorously. This lasted for the remainder of his allotted time on stage (we could see the clock ticking away) and then exactly as the clock ran out the guitar part was found and Kirin left the stage, somewhat put out.
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Photo: Gary Compton | TEDxSydney | Kirin J Callinan

Photo: Gary Compton | TEDxSydney

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I have no idea what kind of point he was trying to make but, in keeping with TEDxSydney’s theme, he brought together three people briefly on stage and united two audiences in laughter at his antics.

The next speaker, also simulcast from the Concert Hall, was Kelli Jean Drinkwater, an artist, supermodel and “fat activist”. Her speech was one of the most resonant of the day, inspiring a huge reaction on social media and in the audiences. Highlights for me included her notion of “claiming space for [her]self” and her retelling of her artist’s practice. Kelli engages in activities typically thought to be “non-fat”, inviting other fat people to join her and then making art about it. (Pictures of some of her sculptures and photographs were shown overhead while she spoke.) A noteworthy activity she participated in was a “fat” ballet called Nothing to Lose! Kerri’s main message was to stop the moral panic associated with fear of fat; the diet industry prevents people’s ability to “make peace” with their bodies.

For the first time in this daylong event, a person finally addressed the TEDxYouth audience on the stage of the Joan Sutherland theatre. Jenny Anagnostopolous from the curation team officially welcomed us and introduced speaker Jodi Rowley. Jodi is a conservation biologist at the Australian Museum with a passion for amphibians. She detailed the impact of losing frogs on their surrounding ecosystems and the environment at large. Jodi led a team in Cambodia to discover and name 29 new species of frogs. She implored us to save the frogs however provided very little instruction for how to do that.

The second live speaker for TEDxYouth was cross-disciplinary artist Emily Parsons-Lord. Emily told us all about her practice, which focuses on air in a way that allows herself and her audience to “picture” it in its plurality: from a small breath to something as big as the whole planet. She has recreated air from various long ago time periods as well as “future” air; a human-made combination of gases that is much heavier than the air we currently breathe and has many implications on the future as far as climate change is concerned. Emily’s speech inspired me to consider this basic phenomenon that facilitates life, and the ways in which we take it for granted.

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Photo: Saidie Daher | TEDxSydney | WAFIA

Photo: Saidie Daher | TEDxSydney

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Session One closed with a two-track performance from Arab-Australian singer, WAFIA, to my absolute delight. Supported by Thomas Dean on a gorgeous grand piano, WAFIA sang her hit single Heartburn in a beautiful contra-alto. Stripped of its usual electronic enhancements, the song was an intimate new experience throwing emphasis on the sincerity to her voice. She then debuted a collab called Window Seat with Thomas, who leant his voice to the second verse. Their harmonies on the second chorus were an irresistible blend of rich tenor and light, girlish notes.

Other standout speakers include Stanislava Pinchuk (proposed the idea of trading custom tattoos for independently determined value like clothes, dinner out or a roadtrip) and Sandra Garrido (explored the reason why we listen to sad music from a psychological perspective).

TEDxYouth is an action-packed day full of huge ideas, good music and humour. Sydney Opera House is a splendid venue to host such a program both in the size of the ideas presented and the capacity of people there to witness these ideas. Next year I recommend going to the TEDxSydney program just to minimise the amount of time watching people present on a simulcast. You can catch the full program of speakers and films on the TEDxSydney YouTube channel!
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Connect with TEDxYouth!
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Official Website
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Facebook
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Instagram
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Snapchat: @tedxyouthsydney

All images sourced from the official TEDxSydney Flickr account under a Creative Commons license.

Matt Heafy has the longest tongue I’ve ever seen

Originally posted on Amnplify here!

Sydney was the last stop in Trivium’s UK, Japan and Australia Silence in the Snow tour, promoting the band’s seventh studio album. Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Matt Heafy, lead guitarist Corey Beaulieu and bassist Paolo Gregoletto returned with their newest addition, drummer Paul Wandtke after saying goodbye to Mat Madiro last year.Silence in the Snow also signaled a new era in Heafy’s vocals. After suffering blow-outs from over-screaming in the past, Matt worked with Disturbed vocalist Dave Draiman. These changes should make for an intriguing dynamic for longtime fans who’ve already seen previous incarnations of Trivium live.

 

Kicking off the show was home-grown metalcore outfit, Polaris. After several bursts of terrible feedback that triggered a round of booing, they launched into a searing little set. Vocalist Jamie Hails’ unwavering enthusiasm won the crowd over by the skin of their teeth. Polaris brought some serious energy to the evening, giving us a taste of what was still to come. Standout tracks from the evening such as Regress can be found on their EP, The Guilt and the Grief. – (more…)