screaming tribesmen - The I-94 Bar

A Date With Some Vampires or a Dark Surprise? Masuak joins Phantom Fifth for US mini-tour

phantom fifthNew York City-based band Phantom Fifth (pictured right) has announced that Chris “Klondike” Masuak will be joining them for shows in California and New York in July.

Phantom Fifth is from New York City and is comprised of expatriate Australian bassist Greg Delves (ex-Inner Sleeves, Radio Luxembourg), Irishman Colin McCarthy (drums) and US-born Paul Stinson (guitar, vocals.)  

Formed in 2015, the band bio says it "embraces the sonic sound and dark energy of Nick Cave, Joy Division, The Strokes and The Stooges. The Phantoms' sound is built around dark melodies, shimmering guitars, and propulsive bass lines, with lyrics about wolves, ghosts, murderous paramours, Italian discos, and other manifestations of love and madness".

Originally from California, where he co-founded the "punk Americana" band The Stripminers with members of X and The Donnas, Paul Stinson moved to Brooklyn in 2014 and quickly met up with power pop guru Delves and McCarthy (formerly of Amsterdam-based Belsonic Sound).

The trio immediately began writing, recording and performing in and around NYC and have plans in the works for tours of both the UK and Australia. The band's debut EP is due out in the US Summer of 2016.

July 20 – Brick & Mortar Music Hall, San Francisco, CA
July 22 – The Uptown Nightclub, Oakland, CA
July 24 – The Viper Room, Hollywood, CA
July 29 – The Bowery Electric, NYC

Phantom Fifth on the Web

Chris Masuak on the Web


A two-night Date With Some Mesmerisers

brian and mickBrian Mann and Mick Medew trading licks in Thirroul. Shona Ross photo.

Gonna break that rule about not reviewing I-94 Bar gigs, as the second of this two-night engagement was badged thus. If you can’t write about things you like, what’s the point? It’s the ethos of why we do this e-zine thing.

So let’s be up front and say that Mick Medew is a good mate and his band, The Mesmerisers, are lovely people. In customary evangelical spirit, I’m unashamedly going to tell you that if you love rock and roll then you have to see them - in their native Brisbane or on one of their few forays outside of Queensland. 

The first leg of this two-night weekend stand was a support to the mighty Sunnyboys, opening a bill shared with the mercurial Ups & Downs. The venue was the magic Anita’s Theatre in Thirroul, an hour-and-a-bit south of Sydney. The second was a Sydney show at the increasingly familiar stamping ground of Marrickville Bowling Club. The Mesmerisers are making the road trip a family affair with partners and two offspring in tow.

BARFLY TOP TEN: Mick Medew of Mick Medew & The Mesmerisers

mick twin townsIn no special order:

1. The Damned at The Triffid, Brisbane, March 15
A school night: Wednesday. The Mesmerisers go on at 7.30pm to a packed house. We carve, the crowd makes us feel like they are there to see us. The Damned 's tour manager remarks that he has never encountered a support band being granted a bottle of Gordon's gin as part of their drink rider: another milestone ticked.

The Damned play for two-and-a-half hours - brilliantly. They are a big hit with the audience - and with Captain Sensible back in the band, they could hardly miss.

2. Perfect Match
Now I do know where she comes from: Banyo. I’ve got a Date with a Banyo girl, tonight.

3. Died Pretty, Radio Birdman and The Mesmerisers at The Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane, June 23
The crowd have all turned up early and turn on to us straight away. Died Pretty get better every time I see them. They always were a fantastic band.

4. Perfect Purchase
My Zoom H5 portable recording device does everything i wanted it to.

5. Gap Farmers Markets, Brisbane, June 25
Andrew Ross and Co sure know how to put on a festival . We go on before dusk. I wear my sunglasses for half the set. Michael again chooses the right shirt for the occasion.

Brujita - Chris Masuak & The Viveiro Wave Riders (I-94 Bar Records)

brujita smIt’s difficult to believe that Chris Masuak is only in the second half of his 50’s when you examine his output. It’s been a diverse and solid career, spanning almost four decades.

He was in his late teens when he joined Radio Birdman. He was half of the sound of the “twin-guitar attack” that assaulted Sydney with its array of proto-punk influences, to forever stake Birdman a claim as one of the most influential bands the city has produced.

Then there were the post-Birdman bands. The Hitmen never had the songs, in my opinion, but they always delivered as a live act. Masuak’s guitar playing was the stand-out.  Chris was still in his early 20’s and still forging his own style. It lay somewhere between the technical brilliance of Mountain and the pop-rock sensibility of The Dictators.

I Want, Need, Love You: Garage-Beat Nuggets From The Festival Vaults - Various Artists (Playback Records)

FestivalNuggets SmallA vinyl fanatic you may be, but owning most of these 26 tracks in their original format would set you back almost as much as a down-payment on a modest piece of real estate in the over-heated Sydney property market. So put aside your collector scum aspirations and focus on the merits of this formidable collection of ‘60s gems on CD instead.

Australia’s garage and beat history is under-appreciated - despite the best efforts of labels like Raven and others of dubious legal standing - so new imprint Playback is a welcome market entrant. “I Want, Need, Love You” focuses on the output of The 5, Toni McCann, The Black Diamonds and The Pogs, spanning the period 1965-68, with about half the tracks new to CD. As many as possible have been sourced from the original masters.

Mick Medew returns to Sydney for first show in five years

mick gig webLong regarded as one of Queensland rock and roll's most venerable singer-songwriters, Mick Medew is returning to a Sydney stage after a five-year absence with his band The Mesmerisers.

With one album ("The Mesmerisers") under their belt and another underway, Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers will play Marrickville Bowling Club on Saturday, February 24, with support from Loose Pills and The Dark Clouds. Tickets are on sale here.

The Sydney show has been added to follow a support to The Sunnyboys in Thirroul on February 23.

Vocalist-guitarist Medew is co-founder of the Screaming Tribesmen and more recently leader of Mick Medew and The Rumours, and he's been making a mark on Brisbane (and Australian) music for more than 30 years.

Originally a member of seminal inner-city Brisbane band The 31st, whose ranks included future members of the Hoodoo Gurus, the Hitmen and Died Pretty, Medew went on to front the Screaming Tribesmen, a band schooled in tough guitar rock overlaid with alternately hooky and plaintive melodies.

The Tribesmen outgrew their home town and moved to Sydney in the 1980s, becoming Australian independent music chart toppers with the classic single "Igloo".

The band lasted 16 years, signed to a US label, released three albums and toured North America and Europe (twice) before Mick moved home to Queensland and put them on hiatus in 1993. Reunions for tours followed in 2011 (Australia) and 2012 (Europe).

The 31st - The 31st (LCMR)

the 31stCopies of these four songs have been circulating for years and two have surfaced on compilations. The balance were re-recorded by members’ subsequent bands. But don’t kid yourself that you don’t need this vinyl only 12-inch EP.

The 31st started when future members of Died Pretty (Ron Peno and Chris Welsh), the Screaming Tribesmen (MIck Medew) and the Hitmen/New Christs/Screaming Tribesmen (Tony Robertson) started playing shows in a strip club and anywhere else that would have them. Evidently, they played no one style of music - which must have been confusing for the Brisbane punks, boogie-heads and blues fans to pin a tail on.

The 31st were a future supergroup before those things were called that in Australia. They kicked around the undergrowth of Brisbane’s downtrodden music scene in the early 1980s, and fell to pieces before anyone outside of it saw or heard them.

Future Hoodoo Guru Brad Shepherd was to briefly become a member although he's not on these recordings. 

The Glory Days of Aussie Pub Rock Vol 1 - Various Artists (Festival)

glory days“What's he doing reviewing THAT?”

Only people of a certain age will “get” this review. The term "Guilty Pleasure" will not be used at any point.

Admit it, punk. If you grew up in Australia in the 1970s and ‘80s (OK, you were might have been underage and still growing up, but you could sneak into licensed premises) and lived anywhere outside of Melbourne and Sydney’s inner-city regions, a dose of Pub Rock was unavoidable. A way of life, even.

Welcome Aboard - The On and Ons (Citadel)

On and Ons WelcomeGreat guitar pop is timeless and that’s what Sydney’s The On and Ons have delivered (again) on their second long-player. 

Well established on the strength of their 2015 debut, “It’s The On And Ons Calling”, Morris and Co have doubled down on the pop factor on “Welcome Aboard”. The rock is turned down just a tad and (to these ears at least) it takes a few more listens for the songs to take hold.

Truth-be-told, I almost marked it down half-a-beer for not rocking as much as the debut - but the pop smarts won out.