australia

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

Official WebsiteTwitter Facebook YouTube

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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

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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!

Official WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram


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

Little May @ UOW Uni Bar – Thursday 5 April 2016 (Live Review)

First posted on Amnplify here.

The Sydney-based indie/folk trio kicked off their Australian album tour at University of Wollongong’s Uni Bar. For the Company is their debut LP and was released in late October last year. After opening for the likes of Dallas Green of City and Color, they are headlining their own tour with a range of dates across the nation. Liz Drummond, Annie Hamilton and Hannah Field began their musical journey together as a covers band without the Little May title, testing out their original songs on pub crowds as though they were also covers. Drummer Cat Hunter and bassist Mark Harding fill out their sound from quiet folk to a sort of indie rock.

Little May - photo by Josh Groom

Liz Drummond, Little May – photo by Josh Groom

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Scandaleggs: When “Free Range” Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

As a vegetarian-cum-vegan, industries based around livestock are something I’d like to advocate for. The egg industry is full of scandal. Egg-laying hens are excluded from protection against animal cruelty. In recent years, the caged egg industry has had several aspects exposed including but not limited to living their entire lives confined in cages, having parts of their beaks cut off without any pain relief. Despite being able to live a natural life of up to 10 years, a hens whose egg production slows (as early as 18 months old) is sent to slaughter. Male chicks in any part of the egg industry are routinely killed as “waste products” of the egg industry due to their inability to produce eggs. (more…)

Limitless era is looking up for Tonight Alive

Hailing from Sydney, Tonight Alive returned to local venue, The Metro, for an “intimate live album preview” according to the venue’s Facebook event. Limitless is due for release in 5 weeks and to say the band and the fans are excited is a massive understatement. Tonight Alive is undergoing a transformation towards a larger audience, securing their first commercial radio time with the track Drive, the third single from the upcoming album.

Photos courtesy of Sian Sandilands. Check out the full gallery HERE.

D At Sea opened, just one man and his acoustic guitar smashing out a very quick chilled set. The playlist in between sets included such classics as Blink-182’s I Miss You and, to the entire crowd’s utter delight, John Farnham’s You’re The Voice, which triggered an anthem-like response. The lights went dark and lead guitarist Whakaio Taahi, rhythm guitarist Jake Hardy, bassist Cam Adler and drummer Matt Best entered to the sound of Jenna McDougall’s disembodied voice singing the intro to To Be Free. She ran on stage in Adidas track pants and I was momentarily confused as to whether I was at a rock show or a rap concert, especially with the addition of lasers. While it may have been jarring at first, Jenna effortlessly conveyed who she was as the band’s front woman, barrelling through 3 tracks before stopping to introduce them all:

“We are Tonight Alive and, if you don’t know what we’re about, we stand for personal expression and emotional freedom.”

Full of power poses and spinning roundhouse kicks, Jenna spent most of her time dancing on top of a narrow riser the ran the width of the stage, her voice impeccably clear and bright. The crowd was all too willing to sing the lyrics for her whenever she pointed the mic their way (which was often). Jenna also recognised some audience members who’ve been coming to their gigs since 2008.

Photos courtesy of Sian Sandilands. Check out the full gallery HERE

Five tracks in and the boys left just Jenna and Whakaio sitting on the edge of the riser with an acoustic guitar. They played Closer on request. Jenna dedicated Breaking and Entering to their record label, Sony Music, in an attempt to dispel some preconceived notions about being on a major label and to thank them for being “like a family”. Afterwards Jenna left Whakaio to adjust something. The crowd chanted for a solo and Whakaio played a few bars of Blink’s I Miss You to elated cheers. When it came to introducing the third acoustic track, The Other Side, Jenna cheekily replied to the audience, “Oh, you don’t want to hear this one? I’m so sorry!” and played it anyway.

They didn’t bat an eyelid when a man dressed in a Spider-Man morph suit made it on stage. Whakaio, Jake and Cam were full of a bro-type camaraderie, each of them trying to include Matt as much as possible. There was a moment where the three boys perched on the corner of the drum riser and jammed together while Jenna did her thing up front.

Even though they left the stage before doing an encore, they didn’t waste much time teasing the audience. It was barely a few minutes before a roadie was on the drum kit to play the intro recording to How Does It Feel.

Overall, the band is filled with such energy and electricity; I anticipate this new Limitless era will be something worth seeing

Connect with Tonight Alive!
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Limitless will be available on 4th March!

Set list:

To Be Free
The Fire
The Ocean
Hell & Back
Bathwater
Amelia
What Are You So Scared Of?
Closer (acoustic, played on request)
Breaking & Entering (acoustic, dedicated to Sony)
The Other Side (acoustic, extended unreleased version)
Human Interaction
Don’t Wish
Wasting Away
Listening
The Edge
Drive
How Does It Feel
Lonely Girl

Halestorm at The Tivoli on 15.12.2015

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Lzzy Hale & Josh Smith

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Lzzy Hale

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Lzzy Hale

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Lzzy Hale

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Lzzy Hale

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Lzzy Hale

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Joe Hottinger

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Lzzy Hale

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Joe Hottinger (Halestorm), Mark Dalbeth (Bellusira), Jeremiah Bennett (Bellusira), Lzzy Hale (Halestorm), Tosha Jones (Bellusira), Crystal Ignite (Bellusira), Josh Smith (Halestorm) Where is Arejay???

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Lzzy & Arejay Hale, Josh Smith

Halestorm and Bellusira @ Manning Bar 13.12.2015

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Bellusira, Crystal Ignite

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Bellusira, Crystal Ignite

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Bellusira, Mark Dalbeth

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Halestorm, Lzzy Hale

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Halestorm, Lzzy Hale

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Halestorm, Lzzy and Arejay Hale

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Halestorm, Lzzy and Arejay Hale

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Halestorm, Josh Smith

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Halestorm, Lzzy and Arejay Hale

All photos taken on Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ57

Lzzy and the boys brought the literal Halestorm to Australia

Via AMNplify, see the original post here.

It’s no coincidence that, two days after Grammy award-winning band Halestorm took the stage, Sydney was hit with hail stones the size of fists not to mention a tornado or two. This was the four-piece band’s first tour Down Under after playing together for nearly 13 years and with 3 studio albums under their belts. Rock n’ roll is far from dead and that’s what they were here to prove.

Manning Bar wasn’t too crowded when doors first opened. The opening band Bellusira, part Australian, part Kiwi and two parts American, set the scene with loud and heavy sound and a genuine thrill to be on stage. Frontwoman Crystal Ignite talked about her abusive and bullied upbringing and how that gave her the strength to pursue music, which gelled well with the tracks from their most recent album, The Healing. By the time they left the stage, the bar was packed and the crowd was ready for the main act.

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Halestorm @ Manning Bar, 13/12/2015. Check out Peter Dovgan’s full gallery HERE!

I had no idea what to expect when Arejay Hale strode on stage and took his seat behind the sparkling gold Pearl drumkit. Josh Smith, bass player, and Joe Hottinger, guitarist, joined him and Arejay immediately started in on the intro drum solo of Sick Individual with his sister, Lzzy Hale, taking centre stage after an appropriately dramatic pause.

Right from the beginning, they were gonna do whatever the fuck they wanted.

They seamlessly segued into Apocalyptic, also from the newest record Into the Wild Life, and it was awesome to hear the crowd singing the lyrics alongside Lzzy. Joe shredded the guitar solo to pieces and the song ended on just Lzzy’s voice, leaving the perfect set up for her to address the crowd. She apologised for how long it took Halestorm to finally make the trip here and listed the rules for the evening:

We are here to have a fucking good time and,
When I say “scream”, you fucking scream!

This was again another flawless transition into the first track from the new record, appropriately titled Scream. Josh’s bass and Arejay’s drums were wonderfully heavy, Joe ripping up the guitar and Lzzy generally just running amuck with her powerful vocals and custom Gibson. As with the record, Scream bled into anthem track, I Am the Fire. The crowd sang along with – if possible – more enthusiasm. Lzzy asked the crowd if we liked it heavy, to which there was nothing but screams of agreement and there was yet another track from the new record. The emphasis on the most recent record was pretty obvious but broken by a crowd favourite from The Strange Case Of…: Love Bites (So Do I).

I don’t want to continue commentating the setlist so I’ll leave it down below and tell you that these musicians were flawless. (The sound guys could probably use some practice with their levels though,Lzzy’s guitar drowned out her vocals every time she played. If it weren’t for the crowd singing along I wouldn’t have heard most of the lyrics.) Their thirteen years on stage together showed in the well-oiled machine that was their set. You could see how much they care about their fans, making eye contact with anyone and everyone they could see.

Midway through the set, the boys left Lzzy alone on stage with her keyboard and guitar. She addedBeautiful With You to the set list in front of Dear Daugher at the request of “girl with the glasses”. During this touching dedication, she then declared her new go-to answer to the question of “If you could have any super power, what would it be?” was to know everyone’s names and wouldn’t they “freak the fuck out?”

Every time Joe stepped forward for a particularly thrilling bit of guitar work, I could see him mouthing something. I know it wasn’t lyrics because there was no singing going on. I can only assume he was counting time? He and Lzzy had a terrific rapport of ridiculous facial expressions throughout the show. It was great to see their onstage chemistry unfold especially as, towards the end of the set, Joe crossed over to share Lzzy’s centre stage mic and the two faced off in a mock challenge.

Arejay’s energy blew me away. By the end of Apocalyptic he’d already jumped clear over the kick drum and landed behind his sister brandishing his drumsticks in one hand and the Horns in the other. The photographers scrambled to get evidence – it was the first time Sydney had seen his antics – but the crowd soon grew to expect this kind of enthusiasm from Halestorm’s drummer. Not one to fade into the background, he was every bit the frontman to Lzzy’s frontwoman.

He was especially riveting during the longest, most impressive drum solo I’ve ever been able to pay attention to. Arejay even got the crowd involved, clapping and chanting along, before his bandmates reclaimed their instruments and they launched into a heavy rendition of Mayhem. Not long after, he smacked himself in the head and roadies were popping on stage in between songs to hand him a tea towel (“Yes, you are bleeding”) and then an ice pack.

I should mention I was right in front of Josh the whole time and he was every bit the classic bass player, understated but dynamic. His presence was undeniable.

In the words of Lzzy, we’ve opened the door to Halestorm, we can’t stop them from coming back. And I absolutely wouldn’t want to. The night was incredibly inclusive; all the fans were friendly and the band made everything feel like the family reunion you always wanted to have. The sooner they return the better!

Sick Individual
Apocalyptic
Scream
I Am the Fire
I Like It Heavy
Love Bites (So Do I)
The Reckoning
Rock Show
Bad Girls World
Mz. Hyde
Amen
Beautiful With You (unplugged with just Lzzy on the keys)
Dear Daughter (mostly unplugged again)
New Modern Love
Arejay’s Drum Solo
Mayhem
It’s Not You
I Get Off
Freak Like Me
I Miss The Misery

Connect with Halestorm
Facebook
Official Website

Trial by fire

So this week is all about the Internet. As I am sure you are aware, the NBN has been trying to roll out across Australia for a long time. Due to political and industrial busybodies, uptake of the idealistic open-access data network has been severely inhibited. Kate Bowles has likened the roll out to that of television in Australia 50 years ago with a few differences.

I decided to follow up with my friends, Jon, Mary, David and Grace to see how they connect to the Internet. There are a number of observations that interest me.

Grace (85) lives in an area the NBN has no immediate plans for. Not only that, she is signed up with Telstra Bigpond to an internet account with 500 GB of data each month. This is more than double that of my household (200 GB) and I don’t even use all of that, which I explained to her in order to help her understand how egregious her own plan is. What’s worse is that I figured this out a few weeks ago and she still hasn’t changed her plan. Some Telstra employee completely took advantage of a woman who only uses the Internet for email.

David (66) also lives in an area the NBN has not started work in. The M7 separates his suburb from Blacktown and a big expanse of NBN work that is in progress. He also observed that he has more stable internet connection with cable than ADSL2+ but, most interestingly, the 4G range in his area is much more consistent than other parts of Sydney. In fact his preference for Internet access at the moment is using 4G wireless data on his smart phone. (I still have to check he knows how to make his phone into a wifi hotspot.)

Jon (70s) lives in Orange where the majority of the area has NBN available or build preparation in process. However he does not have NBN. He’s in the middle of trying to get it for his farm in Mudgee where there is no work in progress. Our phone conversation was cut off before I could find out what his current Internet provider was.

Finally, Mary, whose Internet access I share, is frequently dropping out due to an ongoing dispute with Telstra Bigpond. I thought it was interesting when Kate observed that technology is an area where children begin to educate their parents and grandparents. Even though Mary asks me how to work things or change settings my opinion on our Internet Service Provider when we moved was ignored. Money still plays a big part in decision-making. Mary doesn’t have any NBN work in her area either.

So far none of these individuals have access to the NBN but it doesn’t seem like most want it either.