Live Music Reviews

Posted 20 Mar 2017 @ 12:51pm

Reviewed on Saturday March 18 (photo by Ashley Mar)


Amid a sea of nostalgia-baiting anniversary tours, there are a few notable standouts. The best of them show that the passing of time has taken none of the fire out of the music, nor the band itself.


For tonight’s openers Screamfeeder, a stalwart of Australia’s grunge/garage scene, nostalgia was far from the...

Posted 20 Mar 2017 @ 12:50pm

Reviewed on Friday March 17 (photo by Ashley Mar)


In 2012, Endless Heights first played the Enmore supporting Refused. Back then, the youthful hardcore outfit were visibly terrified of playing such a room – a far cry from the PCYCs and halls they were used to. Smash cut to this evening and it's as if they're a completely different band. Now as forthright and confident as they'...

Posted 20 Mar 2017 @ 10:55am

Reviewed on Sunday March 19


Sydney jangle-pop merchants Body Type are not exactly the loudest or most raucous band on the scene. Still, juxtaposed with tonight's headliner it's essentially an equal level of disparity as a two-act bill comprised of Nick Drake and… well, Drake. But hey, more life to Body Type – after all, they're quickly becoming one of the most exciting bands to...

Posted 20 Mar 2017 @ 9:31am

Reviewed on Friday March 17


The Friday night atmosphere at Oxford Art Factory felt a world away from its pre-midnight, dull and rain-soaked Sydney setting. It started with a mellow and bubbly crowd filling out while Sampology live-sampled and built a groove for the headliner to launch from. The room was eager, best represented by a sole crowd member sashaying with flair,...

Posted 17 Mar 2017 @ 2:54pm

Reviewed on Wednesday March 15 (photo by Ashley Mar)


During the first three songs of his Sydney show, (‘Mark My Words’, ‘Get Used To It’ and 'Where Are Ü Now'), Justin Bieber spent a substantial amount of time performing inside boxes and cages. It could easily be assumed the cages were a thinly veiled metaphor for how trapped he feels by the rock’n’roll lifestyle. The...

Posted 13 Mar 2017 @ 11:53am

Reviewed on Sunday March 12 (photo by Ashley Mar)


There are only two kinds of heavy music in the world – Meshuggah, and those cowering in Meshuggah’s blood-soaked wake.


But, as often is the case in this genre, the gods were kind and saw fit to take in Blacktown belligerents Thy Art Is Murder as they ransacked the nation. With the impressively consistent return...

Posted 13 Mar 2017 @ 9:48am

Reviewed on Friday March 10


The last time tonight's headliners performed in Sydney, a fiery up-and-coming band by the name of Gang Of Youths were opening. Since then, they have gone on to become one of the country's most in-demand and celebrated acts – not entirely on account of their Frightened Rabbit slot, of course, but it certainly couldn't have hurt.


In the...

Posted 10 Mar 2017 @ 4:05pm

Reviewed on Thursday March 9


Synthesisers have been all the rage the last few years in live music. However, having a synth player who practises, has a creative output, and is willing not to look so bored that they might just fall asleep in front of an audience is apparently getting tougher to find. Cue tonight’s opening act Skull And Dagger, who proved that drowning your...

Posted 10 Mar 2017 @ 10:47am

Reviewed on Thursday March 9


It's a cross-generational affair tonight at the Enmore, with a diverse demographic comfortably filling out the room. Whatever age, whatever background and wherever they are in the venue, the 2,500-strong crowd are united in one thing: singing, dancing and celebrating their love of the band that has, in one way or another, kept ska alive for nearly...

Posted 10 Mar 2017 @ 10:14am

Reviewed on Wednesday March 8


Looking around the half-empty Sydney Opera House Concert Hall with only 15 minutes to go until showtime, you can’t help but be struck by how odd a venue this is for a band like Kasabian.


With seating all the way down to the stage, no support band, and only two drinks allowed per visit to the bar, the experience is already unlike...

Posted 9 Mar 2017 @ 9:59am

Reviewed on Tuesday March 7


Pixies’ latest Sydney show was, without a shadow of a doubt, a wonderful testament to their body of work.


It’s a catalogue that draws influences from a wide range of places; so much so that David Bowie, a public admirer of the group, once paraphrased the famous Sex Pistols myth – that anyone who attended Pixies’ early gigs had then...

Posted 8 Mar 2017 @ 2:10pm

Reviewed on Tuesday March 7


It’s been said before that ‘everything old is new again’; an adage that was made quite clear at the Enmore Theatre when C.W. Stoneking fused his take on Mississippi Delta blues to Nathaniel Rateliff’s alt-gospel country rock, to wondrous effect. As bands and musicians continue pushing into new sounds, these two and their accompanying bands strip it...

Posted 6 Mar 2017 @ 1:09pm

On my nearly two hour trip from Thirroul to Mosman, I was anxiously preparing for news that the Kurt Vile show I was on my way to might be washed away in torrential rainfall, making me the idiot who dragged his plus one to Sydney for no reason whatsoever. 


Thankfully we received no such news and found a soggy spot on the hill just as Mick Turner was getting started. He proved...

Posted 6 Mar 2017 @ 10:41am

As the city readied itself for a rowdy weekend of Mardi Gras partying, us alt-rock tragics retreated to the Factory theatre for an unexpectedly quiet Friday night affair. 


Ben Britton of opening act Strangers clearly felt out of place on an acoustic tour. “We’re used to being quite loud,” he opined, as the band slid into another familiar and tightly composed track. Being seated...

Posted 6 Mar 2017 @ 10:30am

"Let's give thanks to the weather gods for making the rain stop," cracked The Living End’s frontman Chris Cheney partway through his Taronga Zoo set. 


Indeed, an outdoors show in the middle of one the wettest weeks of the young year was never going to be the live experience the band’s fans are used to.


But it wasn’t just the weather that was altered: everything...

Posted 2 Mar 2017 @ 1:13pm

Reviewed on Wednesday March 1


Big Thief’s music is the music of eruption. Choruses break underfoot like bracken, silence is carefully weighted and measured out, and lyrical surprises appear out of nowhere, like a silver filling flashing in someone’s mouth as they laugh. And so it was at their Newtown Social Club show, a gig defined by left turns and surprises carefully and...

Posted 28 Feb 2017 @ 12:45pm

Reviewed Friday February 17 - Monday February 20 (photo by Leah Hattendorff)


Having experienced the weird wonders of accompanying David Hasselhoff on an EDM cruise last November (and yes, that was really a thing), there seemed no finer opportunity to put...

Posted 27 Feb 2017 @ 12:46pm

Reviewed on Friday February 24 (photo by Ashley Mar)


“This one's from 1989,” says Nursery Crimes vocalist Phil Rose, pacing around a stage he and his bandmates could have only ever dreamed of back in the day, as the band prepares to strike up ‘All Torn Up Inside’. Another wisecrack – “Taylor Swift was conceived to this one” – and they're off again, sharing their melodic punk...

Posted 27 Feb 2017 @ 11:54am

Reviewed on Saturday February 24 (photo by George Gittany)


The residents, businesses and musicians of Parramatta came together on Saturday for a fantastic community event with the purpose of proving to the higher political powers – and indeed Sydney residents at large – that live music will never wilt in the face of the lockout laws. Live And Local Parramatta set out to...

Posted 27 Feb 2017 @ 10:14am

Reviewed on Sunday February 26


When asked if they would be attending Animals As Leaders’ gig at the Metro Theatre, a fellow music journalist replied, “No, I don’t go to AIM” (the Australian Institute of Music). Ultimately, it’s their loss – while the barb was tongue-in-cheek, it overlooks the distinctive emotional space that this kind of progressive metal can create.


Posted 27 Feb 2017 @ 9:49am

Reviewed on Saturday February 25 (photo by Daniel Boud)


Hit YouTube and search for Warpaint’s ‘Disco//Very’. The four-minute clip will instantly reveal a lot of what you need to know about the LA four-piece: they’re full of attitude, cool AF and were obviously far from the back of the queue when good looks were being dished out. Musically, they make sassy, electro-tinged indie...

Posted 24 Feb 2017 @ 10:59am

Reviewed on Thursday February 23 (photo by Prudence Upton)


It’s been a long time coming. From Manning Bar to the Enmore, and now the big leagues: Explosions In The Sky at the Sydney Opera House.


It’s a fitting venue; stately, ceremonial and jutting into the sky as its sails simultaneously shimmer across the harbour. As such, there seems to be something...

Posted 20 Feb 2017 @ 10:30am

Reviewed on Sunday February 19


The second episode of this year’s Summer Dance series took place in the sandstone comforts of Darlinghurst’s National Art School over the weekend. Refreshingly compact in its size and stage design, it’s fast become Sydney’s yearly signature Sunday session.


With the Summer Dance event now into its third season, Astral People have...

Posted 20 Feb 2017 @ 9:40am

Reviewed on Wednesday February 15 (photo by Dan Boud)


Truth be told, I find it difficult to review classical music at the best of times – and let's be clear, catching Ludovico Einaudi at a packed-to-the-sails Opera House was just such an occasion – since my knowledge of composition and context is a touch uneven. What exactly is the canon here? Is this man taking his cues from...

Posted 20 Feb 2017 @ 9:30am

Reviewed on Sunday February 19


It's been a hot minute since sugar-and-spice pop-punk delights Bloods were playing shows with any regularity. Still, if there's one way to make a comeback, it's on the grand stage of Taronga Zoo, playing to a largely unfamiliar audience and scoring new fans along the way. Now with a second guitarist filling out their sound, the Sydney band pulls...

Posted 20 Feb 2017 @ 9:16am

Reviewed on Friday February 17


Uncertainty is in the air ahead of our headliners' first Sydney show for over a decade – Taronga has been rained out for most of the afternoon, and intermittent showers still loom as the crowd snakes its way through the elaborate maze that leads to the gardens. After that ordeal, it's nice to have Jack Carty serve as a calming presence, treating...

Posted 17 Feb 2017 @ 4:19pm

Reviewed on Thursday February 16


Don’t judge a book by its cover, the saying goes. By judging Mike Savino, AKA Tall Tall Trees, purely on surface value before a note is played – hirsute, well-dressed, wielding a banjo – one might expect an apple that doesn't fall far from the Mumford family tree. The book we're presented with, however, tells a very different story.


Posted 15 Feb 2017 @ 10:48am

Reviewed on Tuesday February 14


A myriad of adjectives come to mind when one thinks of James Taylor – singer, songwriter, guitarist, occasional actor and American folk icon. Perhaps the most fitting one, however, would be ‘beloved’. It takes all of a stroll out onto centre stage and a tip of his cap to elicit a huge round of applause – some even take the initiative even further...

Posted 13 Feb 2017 @ 11:44am

Reviewed on Friday February 10


“Not in this lifetime,” Guns N’ Roses told the world. And yet here they were in Sydney for a fantastically well-received stadium performance with their classic lineup, minus Izzy Stradlin.


ANZ Stadium turned into one giant dive bar with enough smoke and sweat to account for the thousands of venues Guns N’ Roses have filled over the...

Posted 13 Feb 2017 @ 11:29am

Reviewed on Tuesday February 7


There are certain things in life that might never have quite found their way onto your personal bucket list, yet when they roll around there’s an unexpected frisson there regardless. Catching The Beach Boys (well, most of ’em) perform was a pretty grand experience, but the real memory of the night belongs to the opener, The Temptations. While only...