Adalita - Melbourne Town Hall
Adalita performed in the magnificent space of the Melbourne Town Hall, with J.P. Shilo playing the four storey-high Grand Organ. They were accompanied at various stages by Adalita's band, plus backing vocalists Charm of Finches and The Letter String Quartet. Adalita's emotive and well-crafted songs were driven home by her powerful guitar playing and the brooding sound of the swirling organ. A contender for one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen in my life.
Ed Kuepper and Jim White - Rising Festival
Ed Kuepper and Jim White opened the ill-fated Rising Festival in Melbourne at the Comedy Theatre and what a show it was. It felt pretty exciting to be at a gig in another iconic building. There was also an element of fear - in this seated though crowded space, was I going to get out of there virus free? All in the name of rock ’n' roll!!!
The Rising Festival had an eclectic, artistically challenging and ambitious programme of events but unfortunately was closed down on the second day due to you-know-what. Another one bites the dust.
Liz Reed photo
Simon Chainsaw with The Liberators at Frankies Pizza in Sydney. Anthony Mitchell photo.
2021 was a bit of a re-run of 2020.. lockdowns, gigs cancelled, industries decimated. While in 2020 I was inspired to create and consume, 2021 left me fatigued, lethargic and generally disinterested. Let’s hope 2022 too is not a rerun! However, there were some bright spots that come to mind.
At the MoshPit Bar in Sydney. Sandra Kingston photo
Celia Curtis’ Top Ten-ish of 2021 (in no particular order)
Pat Todd & The Rank Outsiders - “...there’s pretty things in Palookaville...” Album.
Sixteen songs from the Punk/ Country/ Blues/ Rock’n’roll master craftsman. Pat Todd is the real deal! Sure, it’s not as instantaneously enthralling as 2008’s “Holdin’ on to Troubles Hand”; But seriously, SHOW ME AN ALBUM THAT IS? “..pretty things” grows on you like a stubborn fungus.
Literally anything Pat does in a year is Top 10 worthy. Luckily he put this record out so I didn’t have to rate one of his turds. (Which would have been good shit by the way).
Kevin 'BIGDADDYK' Cherry
SYDNEY SOUNDS 2RRR 88.5 SATURDAY 6PM (Sydney time)
TOP 10 + 2 OF 2021.
DATELINE: FRESHWATER BEACH, SYDNEY, NSW: I'm fortunate to be living within 10 minutes walking distance to the birthplace of Australian surfing - affectionately known to the locals as Freshie. I usually go there in the early evening around 6pm when it's un-patrolled as there are less people and cooler so I’m less likely to get sunburnt. Water temperature has been tropical (around 21 degrees Celsius) but refreshing. A great, healthy and socially-distanced way to spend Summer.
The following 12 highlights (in no particular order) are by local bands recorded during Covid lockdown and regularly played on The Sydney Sounds Show ON SaturdayS 6pm 2RRR 88.5mz.
1. MOONLIGHT FIVE
Made their debut last year (and listed in my Top 10 of 2020) with the polarising song/video “Lockdown Blues”, followed a few months later with the more accessible “Listening to Gospel Music on The Radio” - both of which received radio airplay, locally and overseas, to critical acclaim. About to launch their third song/video “I Just Want To Be Me” which had its radio airplay debut on SYDNEY SOUNDS on January 8. A band that are not afraid to go out on a limb and create something a bit different from the usual Sydney rock sound.
2021 was a year of invention, reinvention and history slowly fading away – and that’s just on the subject of Brisbane music! Losing Fred Hardon of the Hardons and the Leftovers’ Ed Wreckage dealt huge blows as two pioneers from the first wave of punk gave their last middle fingers towards the sky.
From a personal standpoint, Phase 4 Records sadly left Fortitude Valley after six years and not because of the price of rent – just the ultimate cost of nobody bothering to walk its promenades while the sun was out. It’s the customers who help pay it after all!
After a brief stay under Backbone’s wing in East Brisbane before the council decided it’s best to turn a vibrant and accessible venue and artspace into greenspace (or is that developers’ dreamspace?), we again moved the store to a new forever home on the top floor of the Cave Inn, a ball’s throw from the grounds of the Gabba. Here, at the discretion of Omicron, we will be hosting bands and events as well as running Brisbane’s only after hours record and vintage emporium. The only downside could be the loss of our slender figures, with the pizza and beer providing fine companionship for our racks.
VOIGT/465 – "LIVE KIRK GALLERY 19/05/79" (Download only, self-released)
Sydney's Voigt/465 used punk almost as a cue to unleash a sound that captured their love of (daggy) UK art-rock of the early 70s and throw it right into the fire of Sydney’s ever-expanding inner-city music scene. Their Kirk Gallery show – which you’ll find on their Bandcamp page - was originally recorded via the ABC’s mobile truck for a radio broadcast that never happened.
This show (which was shared with the Thought Criminals and Tactics) serves as an impressive aural document from this short-lived act that left us with only one single and an album over their all-too-brief life. And if one more person spells the band name as Voight/465, I too may scream like co-lead vocalist Rae Macron Cru!
MONSTER THUNDERCLAP’S TOP TEN
1. EAST COAST LOW – “SEAS ON FIRE”
Cause I f&*king like it!
2. LUCIFER STAR MACHINE – “THE DEVILS BREATH”
Cause I F#&king like it!
3. GRINDHOUSE – “SEX PUNK POWER”
Cause it’s SEXY!!
4. SHOWS 2021
Cheers to all the awesome bands we shared a stage with, and a huge shout out to all the venues…. CAUSE I SAID SO!!!
5. LEADFINGER AND SWEDISH MAGAZINES AT MARRICKVILLE BOWLO, NSW
No explanation needed!!
6. TUMBLEWEED 30TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS AT LA LA LA’S, WOLLONGONG, NSW.
7. SPIDERS – “SHAKE ELECTRIC”
Cause it’s Killer!
8. MONSTER MAGNET – “A BETTER DYSTOPIA”
Cause it’s a mind-blowing album of covers!
9. MARVEL – “LIZARD LOUNGE”
Cause they do it for me!
10. AUSSIE BANDS
All the great Aussie bands putting out inspirational music (WE SALUTE YOU!) F@$k all the lazy MOFO’s, that say there isn’t any good music anymore.
Monster Thuinderclap plays guitar for Wollongong's The Dark Clouds.
The Scientists with LIndsay Hutton.
During these times when time and space seem displaced to a point beyond rescue, here’s a wee list of what’s been keeping me going during that which was designated 2021. We’ll approach this alphabetically because I don’t believe in that numerical bollocks. I’m reporting here while Scotland waits on the thundersnow to arrive. Thundersnow is a weather phenomenon, not an act you need to check out.
2021 Top Ten
But I am choosing to not count very well as I wanted to share a lot of stuff. I was at home for most of the time – of course. An amazing time to live through. Knowing most of the entire world was going through the same thing, figuring out the same problems, trying to work out what was real and what wasn’t in the daily news. Incredible.
And it levelled the music scene. I loved that! All the competitive shit between players just stopping for a while. I also kept doing a weekly show on RRR in Melbourne - doing it remotely like most of the volunteers on air – and all I wanted to play was music made in this time. And there was a lot of music coming out.
A Top Ten from the recliner rocker…
Firstly, some YouTube highlights for me in 2021.
Clyde Bramley’s Top New South Wales Live Music Venues 2021
“The Magnificent Seven” (I’m sure there are many more out there, but I haven’t had a chance to interact with them over the past year!)
1. Marrickville Bowlo, Marrickville, NSW
The flagship Sydney venue at the moment. I particularly like the Sunday arvos with a very civilised 4:30-7:30 time frame. Richard Ball always does a sensational mix.
1. COURETTES – “BACK IN MONO” (DAMAGED GOODS)
The Courettes still seem to be without profile in these parts but have been gathering plenty of fans across Europe over the past few years. A Brazilian/ Danish wife (guitar & vocals)/ husband (drums) team who have been fine tuning their garage crossed with 60’s girl group sound, culminating in this whizz bang LP.
2. HARD-ONS - I'M SORRY SIR, THAT RIFF'S BEEN TAKEN (CHEERSQUAD)
I thought the prior Hard-Ons album was their best yet and then they go and drop this. Hard to beat!
3. CIVIC - FUTURE FORECAST (FLIGHTLESS)
Fantastic rockin’ album which delivers on the promise of their earlier EP and singles.