conspirators - The I-94 Bar

BARFLY TOP TENS: Mine Host, The Barman

Rossy and BarmanThe Celebrity Roadie informs The Barman that he can't go out in public like that. As usual, he's ignored. Kyleigh Pitcher photo.

This is a Top Ten of two parts. First, live gigs, and second, albums. You know. Second part, different from the first.The rule of not reviewing my own gigs goes right out the door from the get-go. Got an issue with that? See you in the carpark...

Chris Masuak and the Sydney City Wave Riders:
This was a sensational run of shows- a mini-tour in and around Sydney because that’s all that time allowed - by Klondike and his crack band of Tony Bambach (bass) and Stuart Wilson (drums). Great players, top blokes. Armed with a killer setlist drawing on most of Chris’s back catalogue, the guys fired from the get go. Many of the versions surpassed the originals with Maz playing two guitar parts, as few people can. The shows blew away much of the skullduggery and malakarey involved with certain ghosts from the recent past.

HITS at Marrickville Bowlo
You can’t keep playing the same old songs or you’ll get staid and there’s no sign of HITS doing that just yet. Members are now scattered the length of the East Coast so it can’t be easy getting together…or maybe that’s a blessing in disguise because it keeps things fresh. They continue to be THE Aussie band to follow.

BARFLY TOP TENS: Sydney Celebrity Roadie Peter "Rossy" Ross

rossy and johnny rocketeerThe Celebrity Roadie Peter Ross attracts fans wherever he goes. Veteran road manager John Pearce (right) inspects his ponytail to make sure it's real. 

The On and Ons @ almost everywhere – The Sydney power-pop phenomenon rolls on and gets ready to record a third album. Strong songs from singer/songwriter Glenn Morris and the pedigree of Clyde Bramley, Jon Roberts and Brian Morris make for irresistible pop. Welcome Aboard!
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The Flaming Hands @ Factory Theatre & Enmore – A couple of power packed shows from these '80s icons blew my mind. Julie Mostyn’s crack band of Radio Birdman’s Warwick Gilbert, Peter Bull and Barton Price brought a polished sheen to Jeff Sullivan and Julie’s songs. They should come back again… soon!
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Thirty years later: The Conspirators return for one night only

conspirators 2017

If you remember the halcyon days of Sydney’s exploding live music scene in the 1980s, you need to make a beeline for Marrickville Bowling Club in the city's inner-west on Saturday night. 

The Conspirators were in the thick of it back then, an archetypal garage band formed by five then young Sydney music fans who were sick of paying to get into gigs. 

They became something of a fixture, growing a following and issuing a single and an EP before going on to other bands including The Sweet Ride, Psychotic Turnbuckles and Sheek the Shayk. 

With their last show 30 years ago, The Conspirators are reforming for one gig only. They’ll be joined by The Stukas - punk rock veterans - and rejuvenated mods, The Smart Folk. Special guest DJ will be Steven Danno, spinning his collection of prime ‘60s punk and ‘80s Detroit rock.

The Conspirators are doing a special re-issue CD of their back catalogue (plus a new song) for sale on the nightm and have had T-shirts printed for this auspicious occasion. Tickets available on the door or cheaper in advance here.

Vi-Nil re-animated with record launch shows in July

vi nil launchBack in the 1980s, Sydney indie label Vi-Nil Records released the likes of singles by Hard-Ons, Lipstick Killers, Psychotic Turnbuckles, Labradogs, Conspirators, The Klerks and more. Forty years on, a new compilation album "Indie Sounds From The Harbour City (1983-1987)" showcases the cross section of bands on the label, and has been pressed on 14-track splatter vinyl and a 20-track, digipak CD.

To celebrate the album and the re-launch of the label, a series of kickarse live shows are locked in for late July. The first album launch is at Marrickville Bowling Club in Sydney on Friday, July 22, featuring the seasoned power pop of The Labradogs, the garage/punk/psych sounds of newly signed teensters Shacked, the stripped back intimate airs of Peter Black (aka Blackie from Hard-Ons) the Detroit garage energy of The Conspirators (playing a very rare show). 

Tickets go on sale hereon Tuesday. 

Lion Island, Labradogs, Shacked and Blackie will play a second launch at Link and Pin Cafe in Woy Woy onj July 23 and the4 Hamilton Station Hotel will host a Newcstle launch on July 24 with Disgraceland, Shacked and Labradogs. Pre-sales for the album are open here.

Vi-Nil retrospective casts a different light on Sydney's underground heyday

indie sounds vi nil cvrIndie Sounds From The Harbour City (1983-87) – Various Artists (Vi-Nil Records)

The Vi-Nil label lurched into life in 1983 with The Klerksand spawned more notable offspring such as the Hard-Ons and the Psychotic Turnbuckles before winding down at the end of the decade. This collection marks the label’s re-birth, and features a representative selection of its first era stable.

There are 20 tracks and it’s a diverse output, ranging from power-pop to acid punk and back to new wave and garage rock. Vi-Nil’s release of “Sockman” by the Lipstick Killers was my introduction to the label and to these ears it still epitomises the frenzied attack of the first era line-up.

Where's The Professor? He's in Sydney this Sunday night.

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The Professors were formed in 1978 and were part of a booming inner Sydney scene that developed following the departure of temporary residents The Saints and homegrown Radio Birdman. They took their name from singer, Stephen Vineburg’s friendship with Chris Bailey of The Saints.

Vineberg - was name-checked by their friend, Saints vocalist Chris Bailey, in the lyuics of "Know Your Product" ("Where's the Professor?/We need him now").

The Professors were a prime example of the DIY ethos. They were largely self taught and established a successful music venue at the corner pub: The Royal Oak Hotel in Chippendale. They also played at most of the popular venues in Sydney including The Civic Hotel, the Rex Hotel, Paddington Town Hall and Henderson Road. 

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