Jul 29, 2018

Camp Cope @ Sydney Opera House

Camp Cope sure have come a long way. As lead singer Georgia said on Wednesday night 3 short years ago they played their first show in Collingwood and now here they were playing the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. What an achievement that is. Camp Cope have built a devoted audience on two albums that explore love, depression, life and everything else. The second album especially shines a light on the issues of a male dominated music world and also the issue of masculine toxicity and all the issues that come with that. They do it all in powerful package that delivers. No wonder their audience continues to grow.

Wednesday night was probably the longest set I have seen them play. For an hour and a half they gave their all and then some. They played nearly their full catalogue and even had time for covers. The most amazing cover was the extremely poignant 'Heads Roll Off', a tribute to the immensely missed Scott Hutchison who we lost earlier this year. Also very special was a rare performance of 'I've Got You' which Georgia performed solo on acoustic. The song is a tribute to her late father and tremendously moving. The only slight quibble on the night was the sound. The vocals and lead guitar seemed a little low in the mix and therefore were a bit dominated by the bass. But apart from that issue it was a triumphant and joyous night.

Set List
Warning (Green Day cover)
Keep Growing
Sagan-Indiana
The Face of God
Done
West Side Story
How To Socialise & Make Friends
Stove Lighter
UFO Lighter
I’ve Got You (Georgia solo)
Head Rolls Off (Frightened Rabbit cover)
Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steel Beams
Footscray Station
Trepidation
Flesh and Electricity
Lost (Season One)
The Opener

Jul 28, 2018

Kendrick Lamar @ Qudos Bank Arena

Kendrick Lamar is unique for many reasons but I think the most relevant one is that he is perhaps the only artist in the world right now that is both commercially successful and also critically acclaimed. Most of the charts are filled with artists raking in the dollars but hardly bringing the acclaim in the field of artistic merit. Kendrick does both, appealing to various subsets of people in a hugely satisfying manner. Tuesday night at Qudos Bank Arena was the first of two back to back sold out nights. What a show it was. He is a magnetic, generous and spectacular performer. He is also slightly understated in the realm of stadium shows. Although this show had a few more bells and whistles compared to his show at the same venue 3 years ago. There are more visuals projected onto a large screen and he even came into the middle of the crowd onto an elevating stage to perform 'Money Trees'. Kendrick doesn't say much. He lets his music do the speaking. Of course he performed a huge chunk from last year's smash hit album in the shape of 'DAMN.' The highlight being a great rendition of 'HUMBLE.', where the audience took the song from him for a near acapella version before he basically went back and performed the song again in its entirety. Of course he made room for classics like 'Backseat Freestyle' and 'Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe' too. The show was finished off nicely with his huge hit from the Black Panther movie in the form of 'All the Stars'. It completed a night with a performer that is at the top of game. In complete and total control.

Set List
DNA.
ELEMENT.
King Kunta
Big Shot
Goosebumps
Collard Greens
Swimming Pools (Drank)
Backseat Freestyle
LOYALTY.
FEEL.
LUST.
Money Trees
XXX.
m.A.A.d city
PRIDE.
LOVE.
Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe
Alright
HUMBLE.

All the Stars
King's Dead
X

Jul 19, 2018

Lord Huron @ Factory Theatre

I missed Lord Huron on their first tour of Australia, so this time around I wasn't going to miss out. They have certainly made a bigger name for themselves, a growing reputation only helped by this year's excellent album in 'Vide Noir'. Thankfully their Sydney show last Sunday night wasn't at a massive venue but at the always reliable Factory Theatre in Enmore. It was a fun night, a great band armed with a slew of hugely enjoyable songs. Most of the tunes were taken from their previous two albums although I was very pleased to hear an older one in the stately 'Ends of the Earth'.

Leader Ben Schneider is not only an excellent singer but also has an amiable charm keeping an excellent crowd enthralled through out the night. He led the way on acoustic and what once was a solo project is now a fully fleshed out band with four guitars, drums and keyboards. The band was excellent, plying their brand of country and folk tinged rock with great aplomb. Lord Huron are certainly a band to see live if they ever come through your time.

Set List
Ancient Names, Pt. I
Meet Me in the Woods
Hurricane (Johnnie's Theme)
Never Ever
Ends of the Earth
Dead Man's Hand
Back From the Edge
The Balancer’s Eye
Wait by the River
Frozen Pines
Celestial Poem Interlude
La Belle Fleur Sauvage
Fool for Love
Ancient Names, Pt. II
Way Out There
When the Night Is Over
The World Ender
Time to Run

The Night We Met

Jul 15, 2018

Wolf Parade @ Divadlo Archa,Prague

A Sunday night in Prague was complete and utter joy. I was seeing Wolf Parade and it was just as perfect as perfect can be. If Wolf Parade aren't my favourite band of all time then they are certainly in my top three. They definitely made my favourite album of all time. 2005's majestic and sublime 'Apologies to the Queen Mary'. Back then I also saw them Support Arcade Fire in Vancouver. I also saw them again in Canada in 2007, cementing them in my heart forever. After three albums though they announced a hiatus. Sadly. But in 2016 they returned with an EP and some live shows. 2017 saw a brand new album in 'Cry Cry Cry', my favourite record of that year. I knew I needed to see them live again. I was just waiting for the right opportunity. When they were announced to play Primavera Sound in Barcelona I was there. It was great of course but to see them in their show would be extra special of course. I looked through their European dates and the one that suited best was Prague. So on a beautiful Sunday night I was front row to Dan, Spencer, Arlen and Dante and everything was right once again in the world.

The whole night was complete perfection. The venue was small and intimate. The crowd was great and perfect. Enthusiastic and respectful. And the set list was all I could hope for. They played the classics of course. And they played a good selection from the new album. All of it was great. I loved every single second. I can't really single anything our from the night. Although there was an extra squeal of joy when they closed with epic 'Kissing the Beehive'. Arlen and Dante are the perfect rhythm section, the bedrock of the band. Dan is the complete guitar player and so friendly and gracious and of course Spencer is just Spencer. A genius on keyboards. What a night of music. I will never forget it. I'm sure I will see Wolf Parade again in my lifetime. But if I don't then this night will live with me forever.

Set List
Lazarus Online
Soldier's Grin
Grounds for Divorce
You're Dreaming
Valley Boy
Shine a Light
What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)
Incantation
You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son
Fancy Claps
Fine Young Cannibals
Baby Blue
This Heart's On Fire

Modern World
I'll Believe in Anything
Kissing the Beehive

Jul 14, 2018

Primavera Sound 2018

At the end of May I ventured to Barcelona for my first ever visit to Primavera Sound. Pound for pound I think it's the best music festival in the world and one I have always wanted to attend. When this year's lineup was announced I just really felt the need to go. And go I did. I had been to Barcelona previously in 2016 and loved the city so going again was an added bonus. I had a fantastic time and would thoroughly recommend it as a festival destination.

The festival takes place in a huge park near the centre of the city. Although it's more of a concrete space with ample room to move than a park. It's right near the water and at the end of May the weather is perfect for an outdoor festival. It's easy to get to as there are plenty of transport options from downtown Barcelona. There were plenty of food and drink outlets and despite the crowds wait times were never too long. There weren't many bottlenecks and I thought it was relatively easy to move around. Sound was excellent, clear and bright. And on the two biggest stages there were huge screens, so even if you were a distance from the stage you still felt part of it. Crowd was a good mixture of ages and styles and even though there are always a few annoying types it was generally a good vibe with people there to have a good time. If you wanted to you could go for a week and have music each day. Monday and Tuesday there are a few free concerts in the city and even the Wednesday when the action moves to Parc del Forum it is free. It really cranks up though on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with music running from about 5pm all the way through to 5am. So you need stamina for sure. But I somehow managed. On the Sunday there are more free concerts in the city but my schedule was Wednesday to Saturday.
Wednesday night was all about one band only. Wolf Parade. My all time favourite whose presence started the idea for the trip. I had seem them twice before but many years ago before they embarked on their hiatus. So even though it was a only a short festival set I was thoroughly and totally entertained by these all time greats. The songs from their comeback album sounded great and of course they gave us the classics. Such a pleasure to see them live again after all these years.

Set List
You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son
Fancy Claps
Soldier's Grin
Valley Boy
You're Dreaming
Grounds for Divorce
Weaponized
What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)
Shine a Light
Baby Blue
This Heart's on Fire
I'll Believe in Anything

The highlight of Thursday was definitely the magnificent guitar stylings of The War on Drugs. The Philadelphia band are at the peak of their powers and they provided for glorious sight and sound.

Set List 
In Chains
Pain
An Ocean in Between the Waves
Strangest Thing
Nothing to Find
Knocked Down
Red Eyes
Under the Pressure
Eyes to the Wind

This day I also enjoyed the talents of Vagabon, even though she only played for thirty minutes, Sandy (Alex G), Rostam, which was the worst crowd I experienced of the whole festival and lastly Vince Staples had a huge amount of people going nuts.

Friday I think was my favourite night of the festival. It started a bit later but what a start with the truly magnificent Father John Misty. He is so great live and was once again. He also played four new songs from his just released album and they sounded great. I followed him up immediately with always superb The National. Truly of the world's greatest bands. But the total highlight came through at 2am in the morning. For an hour Ty Segall and his incredible Freedom Band tore my face off with a truly ferocious set. I love Ty so much and he is a true pleasure to see live. Just magnificent.

Set List
Wave Goodbye
Fanny Dog
Finger
Squealer
Candy Sam
Every 1's a Winner
Despoiler of Cadaver
Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)
My Lady's On Fire
Alta
Caesar
Love Fuzz

Saturday was a smorgasboard of greatness. So much to see and delight. Car Seat Headrest was the most talented act I saw and I loved their set. But they only played for 45 minutes and the sun was still blazing so it probably wasn't my favourite. Melbourne favourites Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever were a delight and after a few years it was great to see Deerhunter back in action. The glorious Beach House were superb as usual and a great way to close my festival experience but I would say my pick of the night were the eternally great Grizzly Bear.

Set List
Aquarian
Losing All Sense
Cut-Out
Yet Again
Fine for Now
Ready, Able
Mourning Sound
Sleeping Ute
Two Weeks
While You Wait for the Others
Three Rings
Sun in Your Eyes

Jun 23, 2018

Car Seat Headrest @ Paradiso, Amsterdam

Well this show was very special. As good a show that I have ever been to. Will Toledo is some sort of musical prodigy genius. His band Car Seat Headrest are extra special so the chance to see them live on my European jaunt in the wonderful city of Amsterdam felt like it definitely could be a special night. And it was. Every second of this night would be burnt into my memory. Great venue (a converted church), great and enthusiastic crowd and a perfect set list made for a night I won't ever forget. Ever.

In 2016 Car Seat Headrest released the wonderful 'Teens of Denial'. This followed a slew of home albums that eventually caught the attention of the music world. This year one of those albums, 'Twin Fantasy', was given a reworking and re release. The results were fantastic, one of the best listens of 2018. So this show would hopefully showcase those two albums plus a few other gems for good measure. So it proved. Seattle trio Naked Giants warmed up the crowd with a fun and joyous set. Then they actually morphed into Will's band. As Naked Giants and the two other regular band members joined the stage they started with an Instrumental break before Will joined in and the band launched into a Lou Reed cover. It was sheer perfection for the rest of the night. The extra guitarist actually allowed Will to go guitar less for all but two songs. This also allowed him to engage in his slightly dorky dancing. And yes there was much dancing. This started with the infectious 'Bodys' and then never let up. It was all great but I especially loved the riotous 'Cute Thing' and the older gem in 'America (Never Been)'. Will's songs are just huge in scope and design, featuring anthemic builds and insane hooks. Plus incredibly intelligent and humane lyrics. It's a potent mix. One that had all of this night in raptures through out. Then to top it off the encore was perfection. Will started the haunting 'Sober to Death' solo and then they closed with the epic 'Beach Life-In-Death'. I was transported to nirvana for the entire night. I think we all were.

Set List
Intro/Waves of Fear (Lou Reed cover)
Bodys
Fill in the Blank
Maud Gone
Destroyed by Hippie Powers
(Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn't a Problem)
Cute Thing
America (Never Been)
Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales
Nervous Young Inhumans

Sober to Death
Beach Life-In-Death

Jun 16, 2018

Ty Segall @ Trix, Antwerp

In recent years Ty Segall has become of my favourite artists. The ever prolific Californian guitarist has unleashed a slew of quality music in recent times. His blend of ear for melody and guitar heroics has made him a firm favourite in my heart. I recently decided to attend Primavera Sound in Spain with Ty's spot on the lineup a major factor. So I thought it would be a good idea to find a show elsewhere in Europe that his band was playing. I landed in the ancient city of Antwerp in Belgium and it was a good decision. The city is historic and beautiful and worth the trip and I got to see Ty perform in his own show at a venue named Trix.

It was a big lineup supporting Ty with two stages and seven bands. But it was Ty I came to see and hear and for an hour and a half they just blistered the stage. The Freedom band is his latest band of friends to play with him live. They are tight and expert. His longtime friend Mikal Cronin on bass combines expertly with drummer Charles Moothart to form a formidable rhythm section. Emmitt Kelly is a sublime guitarist and is a great foil to Ty, whilst Ben Boye  provides ample colour on keyboards. The whole night was a bit of a blur and I don't have the full set list. Suffice to say it totally rocked. They opened with the pounding rock anthem 'Wave Goodbye' then ran through a set of Segall classics such as 'Finger' and 'Caesar'. Of course they played a strong selection from this year's wonderful new album in 'Freedom's Goblin'. Tracks such as 'Alta' and 'Fanny Dog' were especially well received. They even encored with a Beatles tune in 'one After 909'. My only complaint about the show was the sound. The guitars were tuned way up virtually stomping all over the vocals. Which was a shame because the energy in the room was off the charts and the sound was the only thing stopping this night becoming one of the greatest music nights of my life.