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Posts Tagged ‘boy and bear’

Adelaide quartet City Riots have had a busy couple of years. Now they’re about to do another national tour, this time with local Brisbane band Ball Park Music. Frontman Ricky Kradolfer sat down to chat about touring locally and internationally and fondly reminiscing on times spent with grunge gods the Smashing Pumpkins.

Can you tell us a little bit about how City Riots came together?

My dad used to be a drummer, so we always had musical instruments lying around the house when we were kids. I went from playing saxophone to drums to piano before finally settling on guitar. My brother Dan now plays drums. There was always music being played in the house, but it was when my dad bought me Springsteen’s Born in the USA record that really kicked things off for Dan and I and we soon started jamming every night, pissing off the neighbours and writing songs. We met Matt Stadler (keyboards/guitar) at a local hangout in the west end of Adelaide one night. Matt was impressed with Dan’s – and I quote – ‘hi-hat skills’ after watching a City Riots show. Dan was equally impressed with Matt’s hair and thought Matt should be in a band. Incidentally we needed a keyboard/guitar player. Matt could do neither, but within two days he was sitting in our lounge room learning the song. Three weeks later he was on tour with us. As for Matt Edge, we knew him from Sydney band Traps. When the Smashing Pumpkins tour was offered to us and we needed a bass player, he was the first guy I thought of. He is an incredible songwriter and player in his own right and luckily he said yes to joining the band.

How would you describe your sound?

Guitar driven, indie rock, creating pockets full of pop gems

Who have been your main musical influences in forming the sound of City Riots?

Anything that has great melodies and great hooks. We’re all fans of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Prince , Ryan Adams, My Bloody Valentine, Icehouse, The Smiths, The Cure, The Kinks.

You’re about to embark on a tour with Ball Park Music, what are you looking forward to most?

The best thing about doing a run of dates with another band is the comradery you build with the other band through the tour. We haven’t actually met any of the BPM dudes yet and from some of there videos they seem like a lot of fun, so we really looking forward to hanging with those guys. Perhaps there will be some kind of on-stage collaboration too!

I’ve heard that you played a few shows over in the States recently – what was that like?

We had spent a fair bit of time in the US in the past 3 years or so. We were recently over there at the end of last year to play Filter magazine’s ‘Culture Collide’ festival as well as the CMJ festival and support Boy and Bear. The US is always a lot of fun and the audience really love Australian music and there are always lots of venues to play. Plus, there is also nowhere else in the world where you can order eggs, bacon, tomatoes with a side of waffles, French toast and get a complementary stack of pancakes on the side and receive it all on the same plate.

What was it like to support the Smashing Pumpkins on their most recent Oz tour?

It was one of those tours that went way to quick. We didn’t want it to end. It was a great experience and we learnt a great deal from it. On one hand it was a lot of fun, on the other hand it was like bootcamp. We had toured a lot in the past, but had never seen anything like this. Just the logistics of all the backline and staging alone was mind boggling. As for the shows, it was actually really tough. Pumpkins fans don’t take any shit, and to be honest, when you go to see a seminal bands like the Pumpkins you don’t really give a shit who is the support act. It was a hard, gruelling and amazing experience on how to win over a crowd. We had to work for every clap we got, but 3 or 4 songs in, when people began responding more and more, we knew that what we were doing was working which was a good feeling. We also had the chance to hang out with Billy where I had some of the most interesting and insightful conversations I have ever had, and at other times, the weirdest, intimidating and uncomfortable conversations and situations I have ever experienced. It was one hell of a trip and something we will never forget.

What can the uninitiated expect from a live City Riots Show?

A show full of rocking pop gems that we aim to have you unknowingly singing the next morning while drinking your coffee.

What’s your favourite thing about playing in Brisbane?

The weather is always warmer in Brisbane, so Brissy people are always happy and in the mood to have a good time, which is such a great, infectious vibe and atmosphere to be around. We also get to see our lovely friends in Drawn from Bees, Hungry Kids and John Steel Singers who live up there.

What has been your most memorable moment as a band so far?

Supporting Smashing Pumpkins at the Tivoli in Brisbane. It was the last show of the Pumpkins tour, at such a beautiful venue, we were hitting our tour stride having played quite a few dates in a row. Billy Corgan asked if he could iron his pants in our tiny dressing room and James Hetfield from Metallica said ‘nice set’ then later accidently belted me in the arm when he was air drumming to Bullet With Butterfly Wings.

What does the rest of the year hold for City Riots?

Our new single “In My Head” was just released! It comes with ‘She Never Wants to Dance’ and a previously unreleased track called ‘Stupid Questions’. We’re looking forward to hitting the road and having a blast on and off the stage with Ball Park Music through July before we record a sneaky little track that we’ve recently come up with that we’re excited about which will be on the EP that comes out this October.

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Sydney folk duo Georgia Fair are just about to kick off yet another Australian tour and are also getting ready to release their debut album later in the year. I got a chance to have a chat with Ben Riley about recording the album and playing backgammon with tour-buddy Daniel Lee Kendall.

Your new single ‘Marianne’ features Lisa Mitchell and members of Boy and Bear on backing vocals – how did this collaboration come about?

We’d done a tour with Lisa and Boy & Bear mid last year which we all really enjoyed. So when we planned to record a new track for the Times Fly EP we thought it would be great to have Dave and Tim sing on it. So we recorded it with them one day and loved it. Then a few months later, Lisa was inSydneyand so we thought it would take the track to a new level if we could get her voice in the mix.

I hear you have a full length album coming out later this year – can you tell us a little about it?

Yeah it’s out soon and it’s our debut LP. We recorded it in Asheville, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia with an amazing guy named Bill Reynolds. We ate ribs, listened to Tom Petty and drew constant inspiration from the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville.

What has it been like preparing and recording an album as opposed to an EP?

It has been on another level for sure. It reveals more about us, allows us to unfurl our sails and tell a bigger story.

What have been your main influences (musical and non-musical) while writing for the album?

Writing never stops for us so I guess we draw inspiration from everything, day-to-day. So I’d say the way we interact with people and new experiences have been and will continue to be big influences. I was also listening to a lot ofCrosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

You’ve had some very awesome support slots over the last year or so – what have been the highlights?

That Lisa Mitchell tour last year was up there and the fact that it was the first time we’d gone all roundAustraliain one hit was definitely a highlight for us.

This will be the second time you’ve toured with Daniel Lee Kendall – there must be a pretty good touring chemistry between you guys?

Yeah we get along well and touring with him is a breeze. He’s a pretty good backgammon player so we had some fierce competitions last time which’ll no doubt continue this tour.

What can the uninitiated expect from a Georgia Fair show?

Lot’s of positive energy and love.

Nice to see a few Queensland dates on the upcoming tour! What is your favourite thing about playing in Brisbane?

Just the overall Valley experience is something to savour, you never know what’s gonna happen!

Have you ever considered extending the band to more than just a duo to fill out some of the sounds we hear on record?

Yeah we keep experimenting with different setups to keep it interesting and I’m sure we’ll eventually end up rocking it with a band more often, but we enjoy playing as a duo and will always make time at a gig to do so.

What has been the highlight of Georgia Fair’s career so far?

Recording our album in America with Bill was a life changing experience and something I’ll forever see as a turning point in our career.

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Wow. Didn’t think it would be this long between posts. Apologies about the delay all….not long after my last post, my internet was disconnected and I’ve spent the last couple of week frantically trying to find a new roof to put over my head. Thankfully I’ll be moving house next week and I’m hoping that the Internet will be set up soon after! In the mean time…..finally, the second installment of the Sunset Sounds review.

 

The rain was pouring before most people even set foot inside the gate, but looking amongst the sea of ponchos it was obvious that everyone came a little bit more prepared for the weather. Laneous and the Family Yah started proceedings, and you have to give them credit for the amount of energy they poured into their set.

Up next were Boy and Bear, who delivered a lacklustre set that was barely audible.  Their most popular song by far was their cover of Crowded House’s ‘Fall At Your Feet’, but their Triple J spins ‘Rabbit Song’ and ‘Mexican Mavis’ both received generous applause as well.

A great deal of the crowd charged up the muddy hill and over to the River Stage to witness the Children Collide set. The group powered through their more popular tracks ‘Across the Earth’, ‘Farewell Rocketship’, ‘My Eagle’ and ‘Jellylegs’. The band held themselves well against mediocre weather and fairly complacent crowd, but didn’t seem to try and go above and beyond their regular entertaining set. ‘Social Currency’ was the biggest hit with the crowd, as would be expected, and one of the few tracks that really got the small mosh at the front of the stage going. Unfortunately the set really should have ended on this high note, but the band launched into an extended grungy instrumental that paled by comparison.

By the time The Morning Benders took the stage, most of the crowd was ankle deep in mud. Surely this would have been a worry for the band, who were on their first tour of Australia, but if they were concerned about the reception they certainly didn’t show it. The band delivered a mostly mellowed out set, suiting the atmosphere of the afternoon perfectly. Those less familiar with the band enjoyed a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ before finishing off the set with a sing-a-long rendition of ‘Excuses’.

Expectations for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were mixed. Some were dying to see this legendary artist perform while others were sceptical that it may end up as a lifeless performance done solely for the cash at the end of the night. However from the opening bars of ‘Bad Reputation’, Jett and her backing band had everyone simply captivated. Her energy throughout the set far surpassed many of the younger bands playing before her today and it was without a doubt that she still loved rock and roll (and the love seemed to be rekindled in most watching judging by the amount of fists pumping in the air). Jett and her backing band powered through their classics ‘Cherry Bomb’, ‘Do You Want to Touch Me’ and ‘I Hate Myself For Loving You’, ending a set that would be very hard to follow.

At this point in his career, there’s not much to be said about Paul Kelly, apart from the fact that you know you’ll be guaranteed a fantastic set. Relaxed and natural, Kelly and Co delivery an almost greatest hits style set that can’t be faulted. ‘From Little Things Bit Things Grow’ and ‘Song from the Sixteenth Floor’ were well received, but ‘To Her Door’ can only be described as magical. It was a little disappointing that there wasn’t a larger crowd to witness iconic performer, but those who stayed were able to witness an Aussie music legend at his best.

For someone who has never been particularly a big fan of Klaxons, this is a great re-introduction. Despite the muddy conditions, the English quartet got a lot of people dancing. ‘Golden Skans’ was pulled off surprisingly well, with that vocal melody sung spot on. The group finished with ‘It’s Not Over Yet’, marking the end of the festivities. Similar to Interpol’s set the night before, Klaxons’ performance flew by with no real stand outs, and no real complaints. It wasn’t a perfect end to the night, closing with either Joan Jett of Paul Kelly would have left everyone on a nice high, but it was good enough. 

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I spent about two weeks trying to figure out who to see at my first ever Big Sound Live. I wouldn’t say the line up was spectacular but there was certainly a decent amount of acts to choose from, and at a variety of different venues around the valley.

 

My night started out at the Club House, under the Tempo Bar, waiting for New Zealand artist Kimbra. Performing a pop-soaked mixture of funk and soul, it was a great way to start the night. She has a voice to match Florence Welch and a seemingly endless amount of energy and charisma. It was a bit disappointing that nobody in the audience was really getting into it, but instead it was like the usual trench for Brisbane audiences lately – standing back with their arms crossed (I will admit that I fell into this category during the show). I liken it to a high school dance where the boys and girls really want to dance, but are just too scared to ask each other. You just need that one person to set it off and then you’re good. Despite all this though, Kimbra powered through her set. The layered vocal loops of ‘Settle Down’ worked amazing live and ‘Love is a Two Way Street’ saw Kimbra practically howling into the microphone. By the end of it a few punters were shuffling their feet, and I like to think that next time I see her (and there will be a next time) the atmosphere will be a lot more relaxed.

 

I dashed across the road to the Artisan Gallery’s outdoor venue to see Hungry Kids of Hungary. As expected, it was absolutely packed. What I hadn’t expected though, was that they had already started. I estimate that I missed maybe 10 or 15 minutes of their set since the rest seem to fly by. I still managed to catch the few songs of theirs I knew – ‘Let You Down’, ‘Scattered Diamonds’ and ‘Wristwatch’, which brought out the only real dancing I would see all night. The set lacked the intimacy I expected from Big Sound (and which I got to witness earlier during Kimbra’s set), and there wasn’t really anything spectacular about the performance, but the hungry kids still put on a decent enough show.

 

Next stop was the Troubadour to see Central Coast singer-songwriter Daniel Lee Kendall. This is exactly the kind of show I expected at Big Sound – talented artists who are still unsure of themselves, performing to audiences who don’t really know much about them. He mostly performed on his own, but was occasionally helped out by his lap top on keys or strings. I think utilising this more, like he does on record, would have benefitted him by added a lot more depth to his sound. It was obvious though from his guitar playing and ear for a good melody that he has potential to make something good from this. Or maybe I just have a thing for boys who play guitar. Either way I was glad I was there for his set.

 

 

After Daniel Lee Kendall’s set, the crowds suddenly rushed into the venue for Boy and Bear. The Troubadour was packed to a ridiculous degree, and my Twitter feed told me there were even people lined up past McDonalds. The band played through their singles – ‘Rabbit Song’ and ‘Mexican Mavis’ much to the crowd’s delight. Musically they were tight, and their signature vocal harmonies pitch perfect. The only downfall was when they sampled a new track with a much more country flavour. It was average sounding compared to their other songs and fell a bit flat. Even lead singer Dave Hosking seemed like maybe the style wasn’t the best suit for the band, adding after the song “I warned you all it was a country song…”.

 

I caught the end of Disco Nap at the Club House and was extremely surprised to find the place practically deserted. It must be hard for bands to maintain a decent level of energy when your crowd is so sparse, and it’s a shame these guys didn’t handle it too well. The two or so songs I saw were fairly bland and it seemed like they couldn’t wait for the set to be over. Maybe next time guys.

 

I had higher expectations for Bridezilla. I don’t know if it was an off night for the group, or if the balance of sound just wasn’t right. I feel like every instrument, including the vocals, was just completely drowned out. I’d love to see them again in a better context, because on record they’re absolutely brilliant, but this performance just seemed like a mess despite their enthusiasm.

And now I just need to catch my breath for tonight!

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