St. Kilda Festival, Melbourne, Australia

The big day has arrived! My first saturation in music since I left the U.K in august beckons at the Free St. Kilda Festival Sunday. A scattering of 6 stages were primed and ready as the music began early. I was there to witness the days best and worst musical offerings. Over the course of the day I managed o cactch a total of 16 bands so here is a brief(ish) report on the days talent.

Georgia Fields
First up on the New Music Stage was the twee indie pop of Georgia Fields. Musically they were pretty tight and lyrics were quite good to. Just what the gloomy overcast day needed, some happy mellowness to ease us into the festival.

Chistian Mizzi & the Sirens
The rain didn’t worry the crowd gathered to watch the next band up on the new music stage. These guys were fun time pop/rock band who have some cracking tunes in their arsenal. Catchy, melodic, fun, danceable and highly entertaining. Easy singaling chorus’s struck the right chords with me and I really hope these guys make it big some point soon.

Catching the end of their set on the Main stage I wasn’t overly impressed. One track was superb but in between the lacklustre poor mans snow patrol mix of songs they were easily forgettable.

The WooHoo Review
An Australian Gypsy band…apparently so! They were musically very good too, a more traditional take on the gorgol bordello madness was on show here. Violins, guitars and trumpets drive each instrumental track on its merry way. The lack of vocals made this grow tiring faster than it probably should have, so I left looking for more musical thrills.

Last Measure
If you are ever in the unfortunate position of being at a Last Measure gig, make sure you have a good pair of ear plugs for this extreme youth playing the angy punks. In a word Bloodyawfulterribledigracefullybad (Now I know that’s technically 5 words strung together, but they were just that bad).

Trip Hop died in the 1990’s….clearly nobody told these guys…shame really!

Ryan Meeking and the Few
At last another good act and its yet again at the New Music Stage. These guys have had some good coverage from the indie station triple J and the crowd size reflected this popularity. Their blend of country fold with honest lyricism rolled into a neat poppy package was very palatable. Their show was very good and had its fair share of foot stomping moments. These guys already seem to have what it takes to succeed in the biz good luck to them.

The Violet Flames
Sticking with the new music stage next was last years support band for the aussie Bon Jovi tour, so I obviously was there to witness their slot. They were very accomplished and confident! With a set of great pop rock they had every right to be confident as the crowd lapped up each rock and rolling song. Their lyrics were top notch, topical, amusing and above al catchy. I had a grand time here and there guys will be stuck on stereo’s for years to come.

Neon Love
I dared head back to the teenage friendly stage, location of earliers musical outrage to witness a very suprising band, Musically neon love and miles ahead of their years blnding electro and jerky guitar riffs into a bloc party melting pot and coming up trumps. Only flaws are the distinct lack of a decent vocalist. With a few more shows and years these guys could make some very interesting music.

The Galvatrons
My left ear was physically pounded by the onslaught of hugely over the top 80’s keyboards and glam metal guitar grunt. The keyboardist was ace, producing cheesy y power riff after another each of van halen standard. Backing up the keys was a ludicrously colourful front man who loves to rock out with his shaggy 80’s perm while wielding hi crunching metal guitar. This was so much fun and even though they are big silly and stupid…they are a whole lot of greatness on stage! These also supported Def leppard on their Ozzy tour too,

Jackson Jackson
I’m not usually an dance music man, but these guys won me over with their funky baselines, warped synths and emotive lyrics. This is a different breed of electro music which while being danceable was also experimental and progressive. I liked them a lot, also having 4 women (Plus another man with an eye patch & you get he Jackson Jackson 5…haha) backup singers in tight dresses also improves their onstage appeal….hehe.

The Angels
A weary old rock band they look like but age hasn’t slowed these vets down one bit. They punp out adrenaline fuelled AC/DC’esque classic rock and roll. Their songs were catchy and more importantly they rocked pretty good too. The huge crowd were going crazy for these guys and they had every reason to. The Angels energy and showmanship was awesome, putting some of he younger bands to shame. A cracking rock and roll show!

Tex Perkins & His Ladyboyz
A comedy cover band played some very obsure 80’s soft rock numbers. Except from the comedy aspect they were pretty dull and lifeless. Avoid!

So that brings the festival to a close and I trot off to my hostel feeling very content and very tired afte an awesome day of FREE LIVE MUSIC!!!!

Live & Local in St.Kilda, Melbourne, Australia

Now I know Its been a fair while since any new gigging content has been posted. This is mainly due to the fact that I’ve been saving cash on my global travels. So what a better way to catch some live music than to head too a free festival.

The St. Kilda Festival is a yearly free festival put on in the small seaside suburb of Melbourne of (guess where?) St. Kilda. This years started with a week of free music gigs around town in various cafes and bars. So like a true gig hunter, I headed out into the 46 degree heat searching for good music and up and coming acts. I quickly gave up on that idea as I was physically melting in the scorching sun! I did venture out later in the evening once the sun had set towards the Village Belle Hotel to watch my first “free” show.

Sam Pollard, is a local Melbourner who with his band play a great combo of indie pop rock. His voice is very similar to the great Ted Leo with the same falsetto and smooth vocal delivery. He was swapping between very hook heavy original tracks with some very catchy chorus’s and some unexpected covers. Each cover was done pretty well and has the very small crowd beaming with delight (well me and the other 5). Covers included Robbie’s Let Me Entertain You including trumpet solo, The Animals Daydream Believer, Muse’s Our Time Is Running Out and as if they knew I was coming The Darkness’s I Believe In a Thing Called Love (I give top marks for muse and the darkness, even though he admitted not knowing who they were…misguided fool).

The highlight of their set was their original track entitled Blah, Blah, Blah. A fun track loaded with comical lines and a good time vibe. I really enjoyed this show, they had great original tracks, a shed load of musical talent plus a gift for cool lyrics. I hope these guys will ascend to the popular audience but being so far down the ladder, sadly it’s hard to imagine they will ever leave the Australian shores.

I stuck around for the next group up the Andy Grant Duo. I rather with I hadn’t time would have been wiser in bed. Their singer / guitar combo was pleasant enough but their American sound was tried, tested and proven to death by bands much better than they. The one cover of Creedence Clearwater Revivals I heard it through the grapevine was ok, but non inspiring. So I headed for n early night ready for the big festival Sunday.

Top Albums of 2008

I know this is slightly late, but I havent had time to post it since writing it in December!

Albums of 2008

The top ten albums which have been rocking my world in 2008!

10, Foxy Shazam – Introducing…

Foxy Shazam manage something remarkable in 2008, and thats they managed to sound like absolutly nobody else around. Mad piano bashing, fuzzed up guitars packed with energy, a crazy vocalist who pours fiest and desire into each idiotic srewball lyric. Yet despite their eclectic arrangements they make some cracking tunes all packed into this short but super album. Top Tracks: Dangerous Man, The Rocketeer & It’s Hair Smelled like Bonfire…

9, The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely

After a promising hit and miss debut, White and Benson hit all the right notes on their sophomore lp. Their mix of brandon’s pop sensibilities matched with jacks gift for crafting stunning blues riffs make for a cracking album. The range of influences is huge producing superb rocking licks, dreamy blues & folk storys all with the greatest ease. Another album at this standard and The White Stripes may be on the back burner for a little while longer. Top Tracks: Salute Your Solution, Consolers of the Lonely & Carolina Drama

8, Black Tide – Light from Above

Here we have a stonkingly great traditional heavy metal album, which to put it bluntly. Rocks your face off! Huge guitars wailing solo’s filled with blisteringly fast riffs backed with a string vocalist adds the final touches of accessibility to create a collection of metal masterpieces. Wanna Rock??? Look no further the Black Tide. Top Tracks: Warriors of Time, Shockwave & Hit The Lights

7, The Gaslight Anthem – The 59′ Sound

Here is a band ive been championing for quite some time! I love these guys after releasing their debut Sink or Swim and this album picks up where the last left off. Full of punk energy, springsteen ideology, farytale storytelling, rough vocals and love for rock and roll. I love these guys and this album is another reason why you should too. Top Tracks: Great Expectations, Here’s Look At You Kid, Old Lincoln

6, Flight of the Conchords – S/T

Ive been kept laughing all year with this comedy album from this mock new zealand band. Songs were taken from their hit tv comedy of the same title, which is also hilarious! The sharp snappy lines are combined with the thing which is missing from so many comedy bands…good music! They create a huge range of fun hip hop, sweet melancholic acoustics and funky electros. Top track: The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room, Business Time & Bowie.

5, Airbourne – Running Wild

If you want a good old fashioned romp of a rock and roll record, Running Wild is your answer. AcDc Rock-a-likes have outdone their idols in 2008 and wrote, by far, the most catchy ball to the wall traditional hard rock, sex drugs and rifftastic record of the year. Innovative? …no! Great? …you bet your ass! These guys live show is a riot too!! Top Tracks: Running Wild, Stand Up For Rock and Roll & Blackjack

4, Motion City Soundtrack – Acoustic EP

I know its only 5 songs long but the quality of the songs on this album is amazing. Focusing on their lyrical content of zany lines brings to the fore what it so great about this band. Beautifully arranged and superbly produced this is acoustics at its finest. Top tracks: Point of Extinction, Broken Heart, Fell in Love Without You

3, Rose Hill Drive – Moon is the New Earth

Hard blues rock plays loud on this super sophomore album from this american trio. Big vocals and Bigger riffs are the driving behind this cracking album. Quality is top notch and they keep pummeling you with superb guitars all lp long. Top Tracks: Sneak Out, The Eighth Wonder, Altar Junkie

2, Black Stone Cherry – Folklore & Superstition

Back after their cracing first album, number 2 picks up where the first left only with a bit more heart poured into it. Despite the soul devted to it, each track rocks your socks off with blazing guitars and flailing solos coming from every angle. Their Deep South influences are here again in abundance but this adds to the appeal and auora. Top Tracks: Things My Father Said, Blind Man, Devil’s Queen

1, Frank Turner – Love, Ire & Song

After seeing Frank perform at dot to dot festival in bristol, there really was only going to be one winner of the crown this year. His passion, love of music, amazingly transparant lyrics and tales of rock and rolling on are each amazing in their own ways. This album has a bundle full of cracking pop tunes, tonnes of witty lyrics and so many beautiful moments. Songwriting is excellent with his anti-folk style and stripped acoustics. I love this guy and this album should only propel him onto bigger and much better things Top Tracks: Long Live The Queen, Photosynthesis, Reasons To Be An Idiot

The oh so close but yet so fars… Buckcherry – Black Buttefly, Ida Maria – Fortress Around My Heart, Hold Steady – Stay Positive, Enjoy Destroy – S/T, The Mae Shi – HillyH