sydney - The I-94 Bar
Born out of a surf club fundraiser, this trio from the Manly Dam Delta on Sydney’s Northern Beaches have just rolled out album number two. “Gypsy Mojo” makes it clear that if The Hollering Sluggers have sold their souls to the Devil at the Brookvale Oval crossroads, they ain’t getting a refund.
The Sluggers are a trio playing blue collar blues with a distinct rock and roll edge. There’s no new ground being broken on “Gypsy Mojo” but that’s not going to worry fans of this style. It’s honest and unpretentious blues-rock.
Good god, what a fucking racket.
“Johnny Streetlight” is four-and-a-half bottles of joyous, fresh-faced old school rock’n’roll, soaked in piss and substance abuse and if you treat it right you’ll lose part of your hearing (just don’t eat the worm at the bottom). There’s no bad songs on “Johnny Streetlight”, they’re all good for gold. If this band had been around in the mid-‘80s they woulda been huge.
The inner sleeve pic by Leif Alan Creed makes the band look positively criminal (one gentle soul makes up for his lack of pupils by wielding a rather lethal saw).
Pop – Simon Chainsaw (Bad Apple)
The ‘80s isn’t such a bad place to hang out. Simon Chainsaw has been there, musically speaking, since his former band The Vanilla Chainsaws, tasted success 30-something years ago, and this is his 14th album under his own name.
That '80s reference isn't inferring Chainsaw's musically moribund. Simon rarely sits still and was already Sydney's hardest-working musician before COVID fucked without the universe. The Chainsaw sound is instantly familiar, a sweet but tough mix of melody and downstroke power, and naturally uses what was learned during a golden time of Australian music. It's translatable toi places where Real Rock and Roll survives.
Rod Hunt is a passionate sharp shooting Sydney music photographer and has been perfecting his craft for more than 25 years. Now an accomplished and sought-after snapper, he has many published works and awards under his belt.
Hunt’s upcoming exhibition, “Rod Hunt: Portraits, Pits & Punks” draws on his extensive catalogue of work for his first major solo show taking place from February 16-26 at Chrissie Cotter Gallery in Camperdown, Sydney. Legendary Australian music photographer Tony Mott will be guest speaker on opening evening.
As a teen, Rod frequented his local music venues, shooting punk outfits such as Hard-Ons, Massappeal and the Hellmenn, at places like Sutherland Royal Hotel and Penshurst Den, the Lansdowne, the Journo’s Club, the Hopetoun and the Evil Star.
A slightly edited version of the mockumantary about Sydney '90s garage punk misfits The Crusaders, "The Kids Are All Wrong", is back on Vimeo after some sad sack had the oriignal cut taken down. Enjoy!
Ex-Kelpies, Rollcage, Brother Brick, Panadolls
Top Ten Gigs I wish I was at drunk
Beatles - @ the Kaiserkeller - Hamburg, Germany. October 1960.
From the era when the Beatles played four sets a night, 50 days straight, making themselves an extremely tight rock n roll machine. Heineken ja ja!
The Doors - @ Whiskey a Go Go - Los Angeles, USA. August 1966
Mostly I just want to hear a fat version of “The End”. I’d probably drop a trip as well. JD.
Coloured Balls/Lobby Lloyd - @ Sebastians, Melbourne. Saturday April 15, 1972
I’d make sure I was fucking hammered and slammed my head into the PA when they did their “torture rock porn” version of Heartbreak Hotel, suck more piss indeed. Just beer.
Robert Johnson @ anywhere around the Mississippi Delta, USA. 1935
“Hellhound on my Trail” is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. Moonshine.
The Byrds @ Whiskey a Go Go - Los Angeles, USA. 1966
So influential, changed everything, still listening to them. A trip as well? Not sure. Watermelon wine.
Jessie The Intruder makes a point, The Grand Wizard adds riffage.
The Psychotic Turnbuckles
White Knuckle Fever
Factory Theatre Fusebox, Marrickville, NSW
Saturday, April 17 2021
This was my the first concert since early 2020 that did not have some form of restrictions like seating (although numbers were capped) and what a great night it was. Held in the Fusebox at the Factory Theatre, a smaller and more intimate venue than the adjoining main performance space, this was the perfect venue to showcase three top rate bands.
Starting proceedings were The Stallers who were the perfect reason you cannot afford not to get early to a gig and not catch the support bands. "Tight", "loud", "devastating", "passionate" are four words to sum up the powerhouse of The Stallers.
Sunnyboys will celebrate 40 years since the release of their eponymous debut EP with a one-off show on December 13 at the Sydney Opera House’s Joan Sutherland Theatre. Tickets are extremely limited so join the Sunnyboys mailing list by 10am on November 26 for your chance to secure pre-sale tickets. General tickets are on-sale on Tuesday, December 1 via sydneyoperahouse.com
Half of the Flaming Hands: Julie Mostyn, Warwick Gilbert and Jeff Sullivan. Drummer Baton Price is obscured. Murray Bennett photo
In preparation for their upcoming support slot with the Sunnyboys at the Enmore Theatre, the band calling themselves "The Strangers" - aka The Flaming Hands - lined up a show at Marrickville's Factory Floor.
The Thursday night crowd gathering outside the venue contained many familiar faces of gig goers and musicians from what was loosely termed the "Detroit Scene" of the late '70s-early '80s from which The Flaming Hands emerged.
X in full flight in Sydney. Murray Bennett photo
Forty years of X and there’s a national tour to celebrate. Who would have thought? Certainly none of the original members, of which Steve Lucas is the only one remaining alive.
Lucas and bassist Ian Rilen were, of course, the only constant members of X. Almost. Even Ian was went briefly MIA from one line-up. The pair’s tumultuous relationship has been documented in many places and they were the heart and soul of the band.
In an alternative universe where justice prevails, Leadfinger would be spending their Friday night cranking out a two-hour set to a packed Hordern Pavilion. Five-thousand sweaty people would be singing along to every word of every song from their newest - superb - album.
Instead, they’re middle-of-the-bill and out front of a half-full Factory Floor in Marrickville. And the thing is, to watch them and to listen to those brilliant songs played with such passion and fire and love, you wouldn’t know the difference on stage.
This was only my second Leadfinger show. My first was at the Blood Bank Benefit for Mick Blood in 2014. I’d heard of them but not heard them. I spent the next 40 minutes standing there with my jaw on the ground going “Who the fuck are these guys and where have they been all my life?” Now to be fair, I had waged a blitzkrieg on sobriety that day and only remember general amazement, and a scorching cover of “City Slang”, but I blabbered about them for ages to everyone I spoke to in the real and cyber worlds.
It seems a lifetime ago when the two great outposts of Sydney rock and roll were its northern and southern beaches. They were feeder tributaries to the inner-city and spawned bands like the Celibate Rifles and the Trilobites, to name just a couple.
The venues that were their spawning grounds have long closed down, the bands willing to play their own music thin on the ground. Only a hardy few are still willing to take a risk and make the swim up-stream.
Blue Oyster Cult. Fashionably obscure forerunners or collective remnants of past glories? Only in it for the money tourists or a heritage act with a reputation to uphold and something still to say? The first band to make the umlaut cool? You can debate these things until you're Blue in the face. The only way you're going to find out is to get off your arse and see for yourself.
I often put forward the argument about his Bobness that if any new artist produced a run of albums with the depth and quality of "Time Out Of Mind" in 1997 until "The Tempest" in 2013, we would hail them as a lyrical genius, the likes of which we'd not heard since Leonard Cohen.
We would be in wonder of this songwriter who draws Americano from his depth of styles, whether it be through darkened Southern blues, Western swing, folk ballads, rockabilly or Irish balladering.
We'd note the remarkable gravel in the vocals akin to Tom Waits and Shane Mc Gowan, and the way they descend to a whisper, the aural equivalent of the oldest oak tree, all weathered and timbered.
But it's Dylan. No singer/songwriter compares, and there is no other career like his.
After such a phenomenal fundraising performance by Team Leadfinger (Melbourne Branch) and everyone at the Tote Hotel in Melbourne recently, it’s time for Sydney/Wollongong Team Leadfinger to run with the momentum created.
A group of friends are organising “See You Tonight – A benefit gig for Stewy ‘Leadfinger’ Cunningham” at Marrickville Bowling Club on Friday, November 23.
Cunningham, singer-guyitarist for Leadfinger, Asteroid B612, Challenger 7, Proton Energy Pills and The Yes-Men, was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year
This will be one memorable night with a host of Sydney and Wollongong artists coming together to celebrate the man and the music that is Mr Cunningham.
Also on the bill are international tourists Señor No, direct from the Basque country in Spain. High-energy veterans Señor No are big fans of Australian underground music and played host to Leadfinger when they toured Spain in 2017. This will be their only Sydney show.
The line-up is:
- SC5 (Sydney’s own amazing MC5 tribute featuring ex members of the New Christs and Lime Spiders)
- Señor No
- Adam Young and the Down Main (Adam and mates bring some Alt Country rock to the night)
- 300 St. Claire (Sydney Blundstone rock from guys you all know)
- Fangin Felines (a very new band with Carrie Phillis from Booby Traps and Morgana and Sarah from Nitocris)
- Dave Curley’s Ripped Genes (featuring members of Leadfinger along with special guests Kent Steedman (Celibate Rifles), Bill Gibson (The Eastern Dark) and others.
Be sure to stuff your wallets with cash money for the night. With the awesome assistance of some great labels and record stores across Australia, organisers will be raffling off CDs, vinyl, tees and other goodies. Tickets here.
Some of Melbourne’s keenest worshippers of guitar pioneer Link Wray will share their adulation of the man with Sydney on Saturday, October 19 with a special gig at Enmore’s Hideaway Bar.
All-girl combo The Wraylettes (Melbourne) will be joined by sleazy ’60s psychedelia advocates Cheetah Beat, surf reverb fanatics Los Tremoleros (Melbourne) and Sydney’s own The Missing Link with DJ support from King O.P.P.
The Wraylettes are something of a supergroup, comprising lead guitarist Yolanda DeRose (DollSquad, Mass Cult and The Beat Taboo), drummer Susan Shaw (The Exotics, Girl Monstar, The Wet Ones and Andre Williams), bassist Nikki Scarlett (Asylum, Dusty Springclean & The Pops. The Jasmine Mahon Trio) and guitarist Sammy-Lou (The Shimmys The Vibrajets.)
Cheetah Beat are no slouches too with membership drawn from The Crusaders and The Booby Traps while The Missing Link were Link Wray’s Sydney pick-up band for his one and only Australian tour in the ‘90s. Leader Bones and Co play out rarely these days.
The Link Wray Tribute became a thing on the Melbourne live music calendar a couple of years ago. Hideaway Bar is at 156 Enmore Road - a short stroll form the Enmore Theatre. Admission is just $10.
Blondie and her session men plus Clem Burke (obscured). Dean Ertl photo
I come at this review as a fan. Since 1976 (earlier if you count the Dolls and the Velvets), I have been enamoured of that New York New Wave sound. It's a broad church. Suicide could thrash synthesizers and Television could probe the stratosphere with spiralling lead guitar lines. The Ramones could make dumb look smart.
The Talking Heads sounded nothing like the Heartbreakers. The Fast sounded nothing link Mink DeVille. But the scene was still recognisable as a whole.
Blondie lived in the spotlight of eternal summer despite spending a lifetime dodging sun rays. You could be walking through the Lower East Side, see a boy you liked and say hello. Even if you found yourself charged with solicitation, everything would be all right because you are young, beautiful and in love.
It depends where you live but electrified Deniz Tek shows are more or less annual affairs these days, with the good Doctor spending half his time tending to A&E patients in Sydney, Australia, or Billings, Montana, with rock tours squeezed in during down-time. Unplugged gigs, on the other hand, are fewer and further between.
So it’s goodbye from them. After 12 years of playing gin places, late-night dives and boltholes all around Australia, a US tour, two EPs and two albums, with one final lap of honour, Sydney's Hell City Glamours will be no more. “Deux” is the farewell long-player and it’s a pretty good way to go out.
Adelaide is off for now but Sydney and Melbourne are going ahead. That’s the news from Melbourne indie-rock legends Even.
Fresh from two rapturously received Xmas shows in Melbourne and still celebrating their best-ever ARIA Album Chart debut (#18) for their double-LP, “Reverse Light Years”, Even has postponed their Adelaide album launch on January 8, due to COVID. Tickets remain valid with a new date to-be-advised.
Fortunately, the group has been able to confirm that their Friday, January 7 Sydney launch at Mary's Underground will proceed. A run of Melbourne album launches late in the month are also on. Full dates are below.