Monday 3 October 2022
Photos by Jonathan Armstrong of www.bigjphotography.com
The 1982 Capitol Theatre run of shows in Sydney was a crossroads for Midnight Oil. They were broke and had already notched 500 gigs since September 1977, which was the date that they decided to go full-time after a Bondi Lifesaver show.
Midnight Oil was equally the largest drawcard on the Australian live circuit but it was not reflected in record sales. It had cost a lot to record their third album, “Place Without a Postcard’ overseas with legendary producer Glyn Johns (Rolling Stones and The Who). “Place” was a rocking, earthy and colloquial album. The production was warm - yet it was of the past and sounded like it had been recorded it in 1970.
Caveat Emptor - Slug (self released)
The northern New South Wales town of Lismore has been a magnet for people from Sydney’s ‘80s underground music scene and their Melbourne cousins. Or it was until successive floods wiped half of it off the map. Slug draws on this influx of tree changers for paret of its membership, and sounds like they brought some eroding bricks from the Hopetoun Hotel with them.
Slugs don’t move quickly so it should come as no surprise that the band’s debut long player is out decade or so into the band’s life cycle. “Caveat Emptor” is swampy, psychedelic-tinged rock and roll. Recorded live in a studio with minimal overdubs, It sounds more urgent than a bunch of old farts are entitled to be.
John Curtin Hotel, Carlton, VIC
Friday 23 September 2022
I’m pretty sure the first time I saw Frowning Clouds was around 2007, upstairs at the Tote supporting The Dolly Rocker Movement.
The story was that the Frowning Clouds, at the time stumbling toward the end of their high school tenure, had been banned from the Tote for drinking in contravention of a venue management edict.
Apparently they’d been given a reprieve to play that night, on the promise no such unlawful activity occurred. But judging by the pint glasses in the band members’ hands and general unruly behaviour, they’d screwed the memo up and drop kicked it out of mind and sight.
At a subsequent gig, this time at the Birmingham on Smith Street, again supporting Dolly Rocker, the Frowning Clouds had accidentally brought Dolly Rocker’s psychedelastic set to an end when they managed to spill beer on the fold back monitors on the front of the stage.
We Got A Right – The Golden Rat (Vicious Kitten Records)
What do you get when expat bi-coastal American underground star Mr Ratboy collides with Hiroshi The Golden Arm (aka Japan’s Johnny Thunders) in a Tokyo garage, each armed with the songs that pre-occupied their formative musical minds in the period spanning 1976-82? An absolutely killer album.
“We Got A Right” is a record that came about through necessity. Hiroshi The Golden Arm and Mr Ratboy first met in 1993 when the latter was a member of Jeff Dahl’s touring band. Fast forward a few years and Mr Ratboy is a resident of the Land of the Rising Sun and the pair strike up a musical partnership in the electro-trash outfit Ace Killers Union.
Monday, 3 October 2022
Shona Ross photos
Midnight Oil are Australian icons. People are often divided about where the split in their canon lives… that point where they stopped being a pub rock staple and moved into political activists. People of a particular political persuasion love them; they worship the ground they walk on, while their detractors feel equally aggrieved by their preaching. While tonight was one for the true believers, it also had something for everyone.
The Hordern has been the scene of Sydney’s greatest rock shows. This was one of them. It was the end of an era, probably where the last doors of an eight-tonne touring truck slammed closed on the glory days of Aussie pub rock. By the looks of the crowd of aged and gnarled surfers, elderly vets of rock days gone by, and the second and third generations of Oils fans, they couldn’t have kept up the pace of a five-night-a-week gigging schedule, anyway.
Wandering past the venue on our way to the Captain Cook Hotel pre-gig, the faithful were assembling en masse nearly three hours before kick-off. Hordes of worn T-shirts, black with the familiar yellow cover of their second album, “Head Injuries” adorned every second or third punter… as we neared the end of the Hordern and opened door gave us a glimpse of the Oils sound checking their 2020 staple “Gadigal Land” … and it sounded good. It augured well for the night ahead.
+ Lady Lyon
The Great Club, Marrickville, NSW
Thursday 29 September 2022
Sitting at my favourite breakfast haunt with the rain hitting its stride, the nearby beach appears to resemble a wild mosh-pit. The mobile phone rings. I decide to answer and then gulp the last of my coffee: it was my mate Vic.
"I saw Grace Cummings last night, and I know you’d like her; you don’t often see a support act get a standing ovation at the Recital Hall."
Vic rarely raves about too many artists, I slurped down my coffee and started to Google. As the rain pelted down, the sounds of Grace’s song "Heaven” blared from my phone.
That voice and what a song.
As the rain continued and I traversed the slippery pavement, finding spots of shelter on the way home. Grace’s voice resonated from the mobile phone in my coat pocket, sounding for all the world like music coming via a treasured transistor radio from years ago.
Le Cape Noir – The Ramalamas (Half a Cow)
This soundtrack to an imaginary ‘60s cult movie, or so the shtick goes, is really a collection of intriguing garage-swamp pop outbursts by enduring but low-key Sydney band. It’s the fifth long-player by The Ramalamas and their first on vinyl.
“Le Cape Noir” is a celebration of ADHD. It swings from surf-tinged rockers to garage pop and back to spy movie instrumental in the space of a few tracks. Its 16 (yes, 16!) songs are broken up by snatches of spoken word faux movie dialogue.
Sit back and let it wash over and you could be sitting in the Valhalla Cinema at Glebe watching a cult film, and ending the night stumbling out of the Sydney Trade Union Club at 4am.
Psycho-Acoustic Processor – Shark Arm (self released)
Don't argue, just get it, and make sure you catch them live.
The Iowa brothers make enough bloody racket for eight men. Even though you'd swear they were a four-piece on first listen. Bass, drums, vocals, guitar.
Three of these are played by Nathan Iowa, while Damian pounds the hapless skins. Their songs are a rumbling chaos shot through with ordered lightning and purple viscera.
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