TOP TEN GIGS 2019
Ashley King photo
It is always hard to cut it down to ten but here goes.
Ice Cream Hands supported by Bryan Estapa Band- Factory Floor, Sydney
A great night of cleverly and carefully crafted power pop from Ice Cream Hands as Charles Jenkins and co bewitched us again with their sublime sounds. Support act Bryan Estapa Band were also a delight with their songs that owe a bit of a nod to high quality 70s AM radio sounds.
Charlotte and The Harlots/COFFIN/Turbobelco/Generation Landslide/Hy Test/Neptune Power Federation – Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney
All killer no filler as this mighty bill saw each band up the ante and be better than the one before them. COFFIN and Neptune Power Federation were especially outstanding.
Thee Marshmallow Overcoat – The Caravan Club, Oakleigh, Melbourne.
Ashley Naylor, Davey Lane and Brett Wolfie playing two sets of their favourites from the 60s and 70s. Do I need to say more?
Ice Cream Hands – The Caravan Club, Oakleigh, Melbourne.
Oh yes, the night after Thee Marshmallow Overcoat, at the same venue. Bliss, heaven on a stick and a more sympathetic mix than was apparent at the Factory Floor show.
The Dark Clouds/Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers/Radio Birdman – Factory Theatre
The Dark Clouds showed why they are one of the best hard rock bands around but it was Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers who wowed the crowd with their set. Peppered with tracks from the Open Season album and select gems from Mick’s back catalogue they were the stars of the night. Radio Birdman also delivered a fine set and it was probably Rob Younger’s best vocal performance with RB for some time.
Releases and Gigs
1 “Open Season” – Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers
This abum is a must for any Screaming Tribesmen or Mesmerisers fan. Full of catchy tunes. My number-one easily.
2 Hits live
Hits played Collingwood/Melbourne. Never a dull moment when drinking beer with Dick (Rich) Richards
3 “Ann Arbor Revival Meeting” - Scott Morgan’s Powertrane
After having a shitty bootleg for years it’s great that this has finally been re-released on LP and CD.
4 Radio Birdman, The Stems, Los Chicos - The Croxton Band Room, Melbourne
What a line up of talent! The Stems’ sound was amazing, Best bit of the night thoughg was meeting legendary X singer Steve Lucas (pictured at right - hatless) and his lovely wife Joey.
5 The Johnnys – Memo, St Kilda.
The Johnnys are still the Cow Punk Kings of The World,
Well. It's that time of year.
The time of year when all right-thinking folk set out the Santa traps on Christmas eve, hoping for a big, juicy Santa (and not the scrawny weasel we caught last year, jesus, no meat on him at all) and the traditional charcoal spit-roast Santa in the back yard with all your mates and beer a-flowing. Done just right, the flesh falls right off the fucker's bones and melts in the mouth.
Preferably with apple and cinnamon sauce, but maybe that's just me.
Truth is that, while I heard a lot of wonderful music this year, I really don't feel up to delivering a Top Ten. Sure, there are some which leap out, but I didn't really listen that widely, I don't think. And I hardly went out. All were reviewed, look 'em out if you don't believe me.
I mean, look:
Gigs to remember:
The Animals and FriendsThe Animals and Friends
Gang of Four
The Gig of Glory (which I didn't review, but was the same line-up as the Banned from the Fed gig, but with the immortal Sean Tilmouth bringing up Fear and Loathing to international status, and the proper line-up of the Filthy Gypsies - ditto international status)
Cradle of Filth
The Drama Dolls
Hot Tuna - Rialto, Septermber 10
Veteran duo in electric mode with drummer. As heavy as it gets. Jack and Jorma playing with the same fire they had 50+ years ago. At the climax of one of the extended jams, Jack pogoed across the stage. We got right up to the front of the small venue for full effect.
Tom Rush - Ellen Theater, Bozeman, August 31
An unexpected visit by first division folk singer does not disappoint. At 79 years, he still has his voice and nimble fingers. Funny too. 2+ hour show. He manages to avoid playing any of his signature tunes.
Jeff Tweedy - Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back)
Well written and very funny. Tweedy weaves a compelling story about his childhood, bands and years of prescription drug addiction. Plenty of insight into the workings of Wilco and his songwriting. One of the best musician-penned memoirs I’ve read.
So Good I Can’t Take It - Aug 2 Ellen Theater Bozeman
Kirk Leclaire document’s the Montana music scene of the' 70s and '80s. Jeff Ament and Steve Albini figure large in the story. I get some face time too, though I only just make it into the time frame. Donovan’s Brain music is featured. A great story of small town misfits tearing it up and terrorizing the locals. A universal story that can be enjoyed even if you didn’t grow up in Montana. A Donovan’s Brain MK 1 reunion followed the screening.
February 2 at The Lyrebyrd Lounge, Ripponlea: The Lyrebyrd Lounge was the first of seven shows for me in Melbourne this year. It felt like coming home; what a marvellous club - run by my buddy Leon Storch. This show also featured Penny Ikinger and would turn out to be the start of something good.
Late January marks the birth of my special new friend '' Arthur Robert Collie''
Stephen Cummings at The Triffid on April 4:
An unlikely choice for my Top Ten but when you are hot you are hot. This was the gig of the year, no doubt about it. Clare Moore on drums and Sam Lemann on guitar.
Ten bands Joey saw live in 2019 - or wishes she did and watched online:
- Bigger Than Jesus (Australia)
- The Heinous Hounds Blues Band (Australia)
- The Sick Rose (Italy)
- The Stems (Australia)
- Rough n Tumble (Netherlands)
- Radio Birdman (USA/Australia)
- The Casanovas (Australia and in expectation of their album launch cos I know it will blow my mind)
- Jeff Dahl (USA)
- Sonny Vincent (Testors)
- The Laissez Fairs (Ireland/USA)
Joey Bedlam was the leader of Melbourne's Doll Squad and will be releasing a new recording in 2020.
Top Ten lists for 2019. Barman promises free rein. Let's test the limits. Top 10 questions you should want answered.
1. Was Donald Trump's 1980s application for a casino in Darling Harbour rejected because of his links to organised crime?
Answer: Yes. And very much on public record though no-one seems to remember.
2. Why was God's honest man, Scott Morrison, sacked from his position as head honcho at Tourism Australia?
Answer: Despite his prominence in the NSW Liberal Party, Scomo got dropped quicker than a turd burger in Macdonalds. Nobody is talking and sod all folk are asking.
3. What the fuck is the deal with Anthony Albanese?
Answer: Maybe he got dusted in the snap. Maybe Labor politicians need to embrace the left.
4. If Elvis faked his death, would he have died for real by now.
Answer: Statistically, it is extremely likely.
5. Why has everyone forgotten Trump was friends with Epstein.
Answer. See question 1
In no particular order, The Barman’s Top 12 albums of 2019:
“So I Could Have Them Destroyed” – The Hard-Ons (Music Farmers)
You could say “What a comeback!” but only if they’d really gone away. So much variety yet it hangs together so well.
“The Devil Won't Take Charity” - Kim Volkman and the Whiskey Priests (Beast Records)
Kim and his band have that Stonesy-Keef vibe down pat. Raunch and roll.
“Mystery Train” – Chickenstones (Crankinhaus Records)
Sydney’s best kept secret. Doc might be driving the bus but Preacher Phil really steps up. Soulful and abrasive tunes played with heart.
“Shake Yer Popboomerang Vol 3” - Various Artists (Popboomerang)
Some of the material back-tracks but it’s a collection of rolled gold. Aussie power pop for the ages.
“Black Door” – The Volcanics (Citadel)
High-energy, passion and variety. Their best to date. The Volcanics are truly a world class band.
“The Aints! Play The Saints” - The Aints! (Fatal Records)
Will we ever see their faces again? Maybe. Maybe not. This is a white-hot snapshot of what they delivered live.
“Ann Arbor Revival Meeting” - Scott Morgan’s Powertrane featuring Deniz Tek & Ron Asheton (Grown Up Wrong)
As historical artefacts go, this is as good as they get. It’s a generously appointed re-issue of a stellar, all-star show.