Posts Tagged ‘live review’

I made a promise to myself midway through last year to see more live hip-hop. However I think I failed that one, as I don’t recall seeing any after Splendour in the Grass. It’s a shame too, because this gig cemented once again how entertaining live hip-hop can be.

I entered The Zoo – slightly damp thanks to Brisbane’s sudden downpour – to what I initially thought was only house music. I figured out though, as the guy behind the laptop thanked the sparse audience, that it was an act called Tigermoth. Clearly not the most engaging set I’ve witnessed.

Not long after Tigermoth’s exit, a series of projections appeared on the back wall – a velociraptor, John Howard, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The images changed between celebrities, political figures and various pop culture references before two figures in mop-like full body costumes appeared onstage. Think a cross between Cousin It and Bigfoot. I considered how brave the duo must be to wear such outfits in a notoriously sauna-like venue, even on a relatively cool night. The idea of performing in the outfits added a sense if intrigue but ended up detracting from the performance after a little while. After a few songs though it was revealed that one of the mops was Quan Yeamons (the other was Emilie Goegan) before launching into a cover of Regurgitator’s ‘All Fake Everything’. Despite having seen Regurgitator perform this song just a few months ago, it was certainly interesting to see it performed in such a different context. I think it may have even worked better with Disaster as neither member was focusing on playing music and could put all of their energy into the rap. Not to mention the fact that Yeamons and Goegan bounce off each other so well, not only interacting with the audience while they are onstage but interacting with each other.

Next up was American rapper Lakutis, delivering a short set of roughly 20 minutes before the headliners were to appear onstage. Lakutis has an enjoyable arrogance about him – you’re drawn in unable to look away, but at the same time cringing to yourself at just how ridiculous it all seems. With songs like ‘Lakutis in the House’ and ‘I’m better than Everyone’ it’s easy to not take him too seriously, but still appreciate his skills and charisma.

Das Racist took to the stage in full swing. The Brooklyn three-piece opened their set with ‘Who’s That? Brooown!’ from their debut album Shut Up, Dude. The crowd approached slowly to the front of the stage, the venue sadly only about half full. By the time the much better known ‘Brand New Dance’ from their latest offering Relax started, everyone seemed to ease into the show a lot more comfortably. The group hilariously introduced most songs with ‘We’re gonna do a couple more American rap songs for you,’ and kept the crowd entertained with stories about their first encounter with cricket. Their energy that is so well captured on record translated well live, with each MC being an incredible enigmatic performer in his own right. ‘Michael Jackson’ was the clear pick of the night, gaining the first real roar of applause from the crowd all night. The group exited the stage saying, ‘We’re gonna pretend to do an encore and we’ll be right back’. Keeping their promise, they came back with an encore of ‘Rainbow in the Dark’ which pleased older fans but left many wondering where ‘Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell’ was.  This was only a small let down at the end of an extremely enjoyable night though, and hopefully the start of more live hip-hop for me in 2012.

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SUNDAY 31/07

Bands Seen: The Holidays, Yelle, the Vaccines, The Herd, Drapht, Elbow, Friendly Fires, Kaiser Chiefs, Pulp, Coldplay

Highlight: Pulp

I’ve never been a massive Pulp fan, but this set absolutely blew me away. Jarvis Cocker is an absolutely amazing frontman. I’m still in awe that I don’t really know what to say. The band was tight and energetic and the crowd seemed to absolutely love ever moment, shouting out the lyrics to every song. It’s one of the things I love about seeing older bands – everyone seems to get just that little more enthusiastic when they play the ‘classics’.

Disappointment: My own lack of organisation…

Again, it’s not like any acts I saw were disappointing. I somehow just kind of lost any sense of organisation on Sunday. There were a lot more acts that I could have seen during the day but time just kept on getting away from me. Such is the festival life I suppose.

Headliner: Coldplay

I really couldn’t care about Coldplay. I really, really could not care less about them. I’d even go so far to say if they were clashing with Mogwai like Kayne did on the Friday night, I would have chosen Mogwai over Coldplay. But, similarly I did enjoy the whole spectacle of seeing such a well known band put on a mind playing stage performance (more fireworks, confetti, lasters etc) and play a whole bunch of songs that I already knew. They’re a tight band and Chris Martin is pretty entertaining. The music still isn’t quite my cup of tea, but I certainly enjoyed seeing them live more so than I ever have enjoyed listening to them recorded.

And that wrapped up a pretty amazing Splendour in the Grass for me. Great music and great times, shared with great friends.

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Bands seen: Tim & Jean, Dananananakroyd, Gareth Liddiard, Foster the People, Architecture inHelsinki, Thievery Corporation, Regina Spektor, Jane’s Addiction

Highlight of the day: Architecture in Helsinki

To be honest Jane’s Addiction was absolutely the highlight of my day, but headliners aside it was easily Architecture inHelsinki. I’ve always been a casual AIH listener and this was the first time I’d seen them live. This performance has turned me into a full blown fan. Catchy and energetic, they’re just the right mix of cheesy and fun while maintaining musical credibility.

Disappointment of the day: Regina Spektor

Not her performance, not in the slightest. Well, possibly. It’s hard to tell. The GW Mclennan tent was packed out. And due to some conflicting sound issues with the Mix Up Stage, being outside of the actual tent meant that you couldn’t really hear anything. I heard half of ‘On the Radio’ before giving up and going to scope out a good place for Jane’s Addiction. Disappointing, but these kind of things happen when you try to see acts with overlapping time slots.

Headliner: Jane’s Addiction

Jane’s have been one of my favourite bands for many, many years. Last time I saw them was at Big Day Out ’03 and I was a little concerned that 14 year old Bianca was just seeing them through rose coloured glasses. They didn’t fail to impress 23 year old Bianca at all though. They’re tight as ever, and while Perry Farrell’s voice isn’t quite what it used to be, they’ve tweaked some of the songs a bit to compensate (mainly Ritual material like ‘Stop’ and ‘Been Caught Stealing’). ‘Jane Says’ as an encore is always a special moment. Was just a bit disappointing to see that barely any people turned up for the set – I’d say the numbers could have matched British Sea Powers’ opening slot on Friday morning.

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Before I launch into my official Splendour in the Grass run down, I’d like to point out a pretty amazing act I saw on Thursday evening – Mr Percival. Those who have previously been to Splendour or the Woodford Folk Festival have most likely come across him before, but this was my first time seeing him after friends had hyped him up so much. Simply speaking, he’s a vocal artist that builds songs on recorded loops but he’s honestly one of the most talented performers I’ve seen. Engaging and totally entertaining, I really wish I had also caught his vocal workshops each morning.

FRIDAY – 29/07

Bands seen: British Sea Power, Wild Beasts, The Kills, James Blake, Warpaint, Modest Mouse, The Hives, Kanye West

Highlight of the day: The Hives.

I’ve never heard of the Hives putting on a disappointing show. Ever. The Swedish five-piece put on a magnificent show in the Ampitheatre, going through a great deal of their singles and also some new material from their upcoming album. Frontman Howlin’ Pelle was on absolute fire that night, crowd interaction and faux-arrogance at an all time high.

Disappointment of the day: Timetable Clashes!!!

None of the acts I saw were disappointing in the slightest. In fact I would have loved to see more of pretty much all of them. The biggest disappointment for me was missing out on Mogwai to see Kanye West. I’m a much bigger Mogwai fan, but I know there would have been too much wondering and too much regret if I didn’t witness the spectacle that was Kanye West. Fingers crossed for Mogwai coming back at some point soon…

Headliner: Kanye West

The production of Kanye’s show was something else. The fireworks, the man himself rising on a platform above the crowd in a cloud of smoke, the dancers and the choreography. It was all pretty interesting to watch, especially as someone who doesn’t really go to stadium sized shows. The actual performance was good enough. I can’t say I was blown away, but Kanye certainly has some good tunes and does a fantastic job at holding the whole stage to himself. Material from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy were the winners from the set, but seeing ‘Gold Digger’ in a live context was pretty amazing.

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Local four piece Millions opened the night to a half packed Alhambra Lounge with their retro sounding garage pop. Triple J favourite ‘Citrus’ got the ever-growing crowd enthusiastic early on in the set, though attention started to wane towards the end, with crowd chatter dominating between songs. ‘Those Girls’ finished the set off nicely with its catchy bass hook, but for the most part the set was rather same same. Individual songs were enjoyable but a full set from the band was rather bland.

Adelaide’s City Riots were up next, marking a very noticeable difference in energy from Millions. Upbeat and continually encouraging clap-a-longs, City Riots powered through their set confidently. Latest single ‘In My Head’ was a highlight and the set ended magnificently with a guest appearance from Dan James of Drawn from Bees to cover Bruce Sringsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’.

Ball Park Music opened strongly with their single ‘iFly’ which got most of the sold out crowd singing along. There’s really not much left to be said about Ball Park Music. You know straight up that you’ll be walking into a fantastic show, and you’re guaranteed to get exactly that. Sam Cromack is easily one of the best frontmen Brisbane has to offer with his quirky sense of humour (“This next song is by Coldplay, it’s called ‘Clocks’…of course it’s not you fucking idiots”) and crazy stage antics.

They played a perfect mix of old and new from ‘Culture Vultures in the Year 2008’ and ‘All I Want is You’ right through to latest single ‘It’s Nice to be Alive’. The group somehow managed to pull off an awesome no-frills cover of ‘Peaches’ by the Presidents of theUSA. I can’t possibly imagine another band that could have done such a straight forward cover of such a ridiculous (by which I mean ridiculously awesome) song.

As usual, the six-piece played spot on – musically tight and absolutely entertaining and energetic. Ball Park Music are easily one of the most exciting live bands to watch at the moment. They closed their set with crowd favourite ‘Sad Rude Future Dude’, consisting of a great chorus sing-a-long, a second verse reprise and some pretty impressive crowd surfing from Cromack.

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To celebrate a thousand issues and 20 years since its inception, local street press Rave Magazine put together a bit of a Brisbane all-star gig at the Zoo last night. Indie rockers Velociraptor opened the night to a fairly sparse crowd, sporting 11 of their 12 members tonight (well, 10 members for the first couple of songs as main frontman Jeremy Neale explained, “Lauren’s parking her car but we’ll have a keyboard player at any moment.”). There were a few moments where you had to wonder maybe six guitars in are too many guitars in one band, with some of the heavier moments sounding a little messy. Despite this, the group put on an exciting show, high in energy and enthusiasm.

Keeping in theme of bands with a ridiculous amount of members, folk-pop group Inland Sea were up next, opening their set with ‘Traitor’. Tonight they were down a few members, namely their string section which unfortunately impacted on their overall sound quite a bit. The strings add a much needed middle ground between ‘soft’ and ‘soaring’. It seemed like the group tried to make up for the lack of strings by simply being louder, instead coming across as overdone rather than enthusiastic. ‘All Fall Down’ was enjoyable, as it is simply a beautiful song (as is that whole EP actually), but for the most part the set failed to impress.

Highly anticipated, Dave McCormack of Custard fame took to the stage next. Custard, or any of McCormack’s other projects, have never really featured too heavily in any of my music adventures so I didn’t really know what to expect from the set. A few glitches with the synth/keyboard (which Seja Vogel from Sekiden/Regurgitator was helping out on) early in the set stalled things a little bit, but was a fairly seamless performance overall. McCormack proved that he’s still a mighty fine performer and enigmatic frontman.

Easily the most highly anticipated act of the night (apart from the ‘mystery’ headline act) was the Brisband Experience. Consisting of members from Hungary Kids of Hungary, Drawn from Bees, The Boat People, Rhubarb, the Blood Poets, Transport and as also Katie Noonan, the group performed some classic songs fromBrisbanebands. ‘Breath in Now’ by george was as beautiful as ever, with Katie Noonan showing that she still has an amazing voice. Rhubarb’s ‘Exerciser’ and the Go-Betweens ‘Streets of Your Town’ were both highlights that prompted some nice sing-a-longs. However the best moment of the set was easily the cover of Savage Garden’s ‘To the Moon and Back’, where Dan James of Drawn from Bees helped to turn a fairly corny song into something pretty awesome.

There were a lot of names thrown around as to who the mystery headline act could have been. Powderfinger, Robert Forster, Butterfingers, sixfthick and the Grates were a few rumours floating around. Most punters consistently guessed the act to be Regurgitator though, and there was a roar of applause as the trio walked onto the stage. Performing a classic hits style set, the ‘Gurge certainly made a spectacular comeback toBrisbane’s live music scene. Opening with ‘I Sucked a Lot of Cock to Get Where I am’ and then continuing on through favourites like ‘My Friend Robot’, ‘I Wanna be a Nudist’ and ‘The Drop’ there wasn’t a dull moment to the set. ‘Black Bugs’ transformed into a brief rendition of ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ and Seja Vogel came back to help out on synths for a few tracks, making ‘Polyester Girl’ a particular highlight. They closed their far too short set with ‘! (The Song Formerly Known As)’ and ‘Kung Foo Sing’, leaving most patrons on a trip down memory lane.

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