2019 was first year for a while that I wasn’t doing a radio show and being in Canberra for work, I felt I was little bit out of the loop. Nonetheless, it was another memorable rock ‘n’ roll year and here’s my top10 in no particular order.
Kim Volkman and the Whiskey Priests at Marrickville Bowlo in Sydney This took me back to when I first started seeing bands in Melbourne in the mid ’70s. It was no-nonsense loud rock. Two really good guitarists on top of a solid rhythm section. I loved how the band occupied half the stage and hardly broke formation through the gig. The record’s pretty good, too.
Sue Telfer Tribute in Sydney It was really sad to lose Sue. She was seriously special and it was great to see so many people come out and so many good bands turn it on. All the bands I saw were great with X as a four piece the standout. I reckon it was the best gig I’ve seen Steve Lucas do.
Rock n Roll CPR v Nostalgia Neuralgia TheDean’s 2019 - 10 things you should know
1) D is for Dickhead Hey you! Yeah you sitting on your lounge watching TV. You sitting on your lounge, watching people sitting on their lounge, watching TV. If you’re a fan of that show no worries. I can live with that but if I have to listen to you talk to your mate Thommo about it the next day, way too loudly on the phone in a crowded carriage and your follow up sentence is “all music these days is shit” and that there hasn’t been a decent Aussie Rock Band since the Screaming Jets, you my friend; are a Dickhead.
2) A is for Australian Dirty, Fast & Built to last. The Australian Kingswood Factory album Bloodshot and Shakin’. Get on it. Buy Australian & buy it now! Cow Punk, Punk-a-billy, punk, punk rock, rock punk or just plain old dirty rock n roll? Not sure how to pigeon hole these guys but I do know they are pretty much everything I ever liked in a band back in the day. If you don’t check ‘em out next chance you get, that’s just plain Unaustralian.
The World's Forgotten Boy. Miriam Williamson photo.
Iggy Pop Sydney Opera House Monday, April 15 2019 Miriam Williamson photos
Iggy Pop and band put the torch to the Sydney Opera House the same night that a fire devastated Notre Dame in Paris. Coincidence? I think not.
The Pop has been a semi-regular tourist to Australia since 1983 and I’ve caught him on every run but one. Stooges excepted, this was close to his high-point.
It is true that at age 71 - a pubic hair’s breadth away from bringing up 72 - James Osterberg moves a little more gingerly these days. The stage-dives are gone - at least where hard-backed seats are fixed to the floor - and he’s clearly pacing himself to go the distance.
Beloved alt-rockers The Lemonheads are returning to Australia this December.
Since they were formed by Evan Dando in Boston, Mass, in 1986, the family tree of The Lemonheads has many twisted tentacles and tangential branches, and a host of one-liners etched into its bark. Anyone could be a Lemonhead but for how long who knows? Leastways they’ll be shoulder-to-shoulder with Evan throwing discordant chords against alt-country-tinged melodies, playing that light and dark card. Through their ranks have passed Descendents, Blokes Babies, Dinosaur Jr - and even a member of Australia's The Eastern Dark.
Hugh Cornwell & band The Gov, Adelaide Sunday May 5, 2019 Richard De Pizzol photos
It's a chilly sort of night and I really don't feel like going out at all.
However, I have made arrangements and shall honour them.
Bad Bob arrives, leans on his horn and I am dragged from my chamber to encounter my chum, all chirpy and smoky, in a dinky little white car and we zoom off, leaving dazed possums and alarmed cats behind us.
Hugh Cornwell The Manning Bar, Sydney Thuirsday, May 9, 2019
The Stranglers were the first UK Punk/New Wave band I ever saw. It was February 25, 1979, at the State Theatre in Sydney with opening band, The Hitmen.
Of course, The Stranglers were not punk or new wave or pub rock or ANYTHING. They played Strangler Music (god bless their drug taking, karate fighting, foul mouthed socks). A band like that couldn’t last forever. Lead singer/Guitarist Hugh Cornwell went one way, the rest of the band went another way…que sera sera …what ever will be will be.
As far as The Stranglers go, he's the man who wrote the hits, sang the hits and played guitar on the hits. Hugh Cornwell was an integral member of the band until 1990, before carving out his own solo career.
Cornwell will grace Australasian audiences with his presence in May with a tour playing music from The Stranglers and his latest solo album "Monster".
Expect "Golden Brown", "No More Heroes", "Strange Little Girl", "Always The Sun", "Nice And Sleazy", "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)" and "Peaches" – the great songs that established the legend of The Stranglers - after a set of his own material with his crack UK band.
MAY 1 - Christchurch – Churchills 2- Wellington – San Fran Bath House 3 - Auckland – Powerstation with The Murder Chord 4 - Brisbane – Triffid 5 - Adelaide – Gov 8 - Canberra – Basement 9 – Manning Bar with Little Murders 10 - Melbourne – Max Watts 11 - Perth – Rosemount with The Painkillers Tickets on sale here
The Damned - arguably the greatest surviving British punk band, bar none - are back to inflict their brand of insanity on Australia in August for three shows only.
Still firing on all cylinders and breaking all the rules, this most spiritually chaotic of all punk groups have never been away, never surrendered their ideals, always forged onwards. When Lemmy of Motörhead famously referred to them as “the only real punk band” you know they are the real deal.
Their live show is still as riotous as ever. As The Independent said: “They have become, if possible, more eccentric and outrageous as they grow older, with many of their live traits coming across as delightfully raucous.” Tickets go on sale Thursday 18 April at 9am here.
TOUR DATES: Thursday 22 August – Factory Theatre, Sydney 18+ Friday 23 August – The Triffid, Brisbane 18+ Saturday 24 August – Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne 18+
The Dammed The Factory Theatre, Marrickville Thursday, August 20 2019 Photos: Monique Simmons
Culturally, Britain was so different to the USA in so many ways in the ‘70s, and that had much to do with distance. The US is a vast place with all sorts of cultures and entrainment influences. The south was different to the west coast and out was again different to the east. And that really showed in the disparate pockets of music that sprang up everywhere.
On the other hand, England was more centralised. Long before the ‘70s dawned, it had the ingrained tradtiion of music halls as its historical DNA.
Music halls were everywhere. At one time there were more than 200 theatres in London alone. They hosted events running for four hours and ranging from comedy, clowning, horror to seriousdrama. For more than a century, popular theatre was a staple for the working man and middle class alike.
Well, you may ask, what has this got to do with The Damned appearing live in Sydney on a Thursday night? I say, everything.A Dammed gig is like a trip through classic British pantomime and theatre, full of drama and packed with wit and slapstick.