Oct 2, 2022

The National @ Surly Brewing Festival Field, Minneapolis

The third and final show of my little American trip was the always wonderful and reliable The National. I have seen them live a few times but I always look forward to seeing them again. Especially as the planned 2020 Australian tour was canceled just as the pandemic hit us all. So on a warm Wednesday night in Minneapolis it was a pleasure to see them again. The venue was within walking distance of my hotel and was part of the Surly Brewing Company. There is an open air field for bands to play and it turned out pretty well. The sound was great and as the sun set the enthusiastic crowd lapped up the glorious sounds.

The National now have a substantial catalogue and they always try to cover a bit from most of it. Ideally I would love to hear more than just one song from my favourite in 'Alligator' but it's hard to get to everyone. Nonetheless the band played many crowd favourites and also three new songs that will be on a hopefully upcoming album. They are just a force live and Matt went into the crowd three times. It was all just pretty great. Encore was unbeatable. They played the new song they recorded with Bon Iver and the live staple 'Mr November'. Then the last two are just the best. 'Terrible Love' is just a beast live and 'About Today' is just so incredibly beautiful. What a pleasure it was to see this great band again. 

Set List
Don't Swallow the Cap
Mistaken for Strangers
Bloodbuzz Ohio
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
I Need My Girl
This is the Last Time
Slow Show
Ice Machines
Wasp Nest
This Isn't Helping
Conversation 16
Tropic Morning News
Day I Die
Rylan
Light Years
Pink Rabbits
England
Graceless
Fake Empire

Weird Goodbyes
Mr November
Terrible Love
About Today  

Sep 29, 2022

Pavement @ Orpheum Theater, Los Angeles

Pavement! Yes, Pavement. The greatest band ever? Possibly? Well, to me they are. This show was the second one of my recent US trip. And it was perfection. Pavement hot me like a hurricane in the 90s. They basically had everythign I ever wanted from a band. Then it was over. But in 2010 they reformed for a tour and I was lucky enough to see them in Sydney and New York. Now in 2022 they are back. And to see them again was something I will never forget.

This show was the second of three in a run at the beautiful Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles. And for two hours they delighted and confounded us once again. It was a seated gig but as soon as the band started playing everyone was up on their feet. If you have noticed recent set lists the band changes it up every single night. This night was no different with the 'hits' of course but also some very deep cuts from across their catalogue. Songs like 'Pueblo' and 'Fillmore Jive' were played for the first time since the 90s. I loved all of it of course but the triple sledgehammer of 'Unfair', 'Zurich is Stained' and 'Grounded' was hard to beat. The band sounded as good as ever. The sound was great as was the lighting and the visuals. Strangely the only letdown was a strangely subdued crowd. Maybe it was because it was a 'seated gig'. Hard to say. But the band did their part. Magnificently. Long may they reign.

Set List
Frontwards
Transport Is Arranged
Stereo
Harness Your Hopes
Father to a Sister of Thought
Serpentine Pad
Cut Your Hair
The Hexx
Blue Hawaiian
Motion Suggests
Perfume-V
Type Slowly
Kennel District
Unfair
Zurich is Stained
Grounded
Home
Pueblo
Gold Soundz
Here

Two States
Black Out
Embassy Row
Shoot the Singer (1 Sick Verse)
Range Life
Fillmore Jive

Sep 28, 2022

Porridge Radio @ Lodge Room, Los Angeles

Recently I had the good fortune to be in the US for a couple of weeks. It was my first time overseas in 3 years so I wanted to pack in as much as possible. On my schedule were 3 concerts, the first of which was hugely talented UK band Porridge Radio. I loved their first album and their second album released this year (Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky) is one of my favourites of 2022. So you could say I was very excited to see them. They did not let me down.

The venue was in the very cool area of Highland Park. The Lodge Room is in an historic building and room was just the right size to see a band. The show was just so much fun. Energy, passion and joy excuded from the band. Lead singer Dana Margolin is very energetic on stage with a great energy. They ripped through the set in just over an hour, with most songs coming from their second album. It was all great to be honest, topped off by a cover of a classic Wolf Parade song. I really hope this excellent band find their way to Australia very soon.

Set List
7 Seconds
Give/Take
End of Last Year
Circling
Trying
Good For You
Splintered
Birthday Party
Jealousy
U Can Be Happy If U Want To
The Rip
Long
Sweet 
Back to The Radio

Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky
You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son (Wolf Parade cover)

Jul 31, 2022

Parquet Courts @ Metro Theatre

Parquet Courts are a swirling mass of fun live. I managed to see them a little while back at a Laneway Festival but this was my first time seeing them live in their own show. So Friday night at the Metro was totally worth the wait. They are just truly dynamic live. But a confession, I am not a huge fan of all their recorded works. I love many of their songs but not every song hits with me. But live when you get the best of their songs it all comes to togther perfectly.

Parquet Courts I think are hard to categorise. Sure they are an American four piece rock band. Seems fairly conventional. But their music is not just rock. It contains unusual time signatures, it can be funky. it can be jazzy. They have long jams and flat out rockers. It all comes together perfectly. In this show they played a fair bit off their 2021 album 'Sympathy For Life'  including my favourite in 'Walking at a Downtown Pace'. But plenty of older tunes had the crowd going. Especially the back to back of 'Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience' and 'Freebird II'. The band are multidimensional too with all joining in on the vocals. Alhtough Andrew Savage does most of the lead vocals. Early on in the show bassist Sean Yeaton's amp blew but that was really the only speed bump in what was truly an excellent show.

Set List
Application/Apparatus
Human Performance
Dust
Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience
Freebird II
Marathon of Anger
Zoom Out
Walking at a Downtown Pace
Wide Awake
Plant Life
Light Up Gold II
Homo Sapien
Black and White
Mardi Gras Beads
Stoned and Starving
Pulcinella

Jul 27, 2022

Wet Leg @ Oxford Art Factory

Live music is thankfully back in full swing and Monday night was another step back onto the journey of returning to normal. This time it was hyped British band Wet Leg at the Oxford Art Factory, my first show at this venue since early 2020. Wet Leg released their excellent debut album earlier this year to much excitement. They then scored a spot on the Splendour in the Grass lineup, but sadly their Friday spot was cancelled due to the horrendous weeather. Luckily they still had gigs in Sydney and Melbourne lined up. A sold out crowd gave them a rapturous reception and the young band gave all of us a great night.  With only one album behind them it was a short hour of action with all of the debut record being played. Many favourites on the night but my personal highlights were 'Wet Dream', 'Too Late Now' and 'Angelica'. Oh and of course the magnetic 'Chaise Longue'. They also played 'Smoko', the song by The Chats in their short encore. The band features Hester Chambers and Rhian Teasdale with Teasdale taking nearly all the lead vocals. And live they are fleshed out by 3 more members on guitars, keyboards and drums. It all adds up to a beefy sound with plenty of power. Wet Leg showed the goods on their first Australian visit, hopefully we will see them again soon.

Set List
Being in Love
Wet Dream
Convincing
Supermarket
It's Not Fun
Obvious
Oh No
Ur Mum
I Want to Be Abducted (By a UFO)
Too Late Now
Angelica
Chaise Longue

Smoko (The Chats cover) 

Jun 14, 2022

Lucy Dacus @ Forum Melbourne

As the thrill of international artists returning to our shores grows one of the ones I most excited for was Lucy Dacus. Normally I would have attended her Sydney show but work placed me in Melbourne. So with good fortune I attended her Melbourne show at the Forum last Wednesday night. Firstly, what a great venue. Big room with Roman style ornaments and a beautiful blue ceiling. And as expected the music matched the venue. Lucy is a performer of not just great talent but also one of beautiful energy.  
The crowd was excited and ready to sing along to everything. And so they did with full and emphatic voice.

Last year Lucy released her excellent third album in 'Home Video' and this set was heavily composed of that album. My favourites were 'VBS' and the beautiful 'Cartwheel'. 'Thumbs' was especially beautiful too. Of course I loved older tracks such as the fearsome 'Timefighter' and of course the extremely excellent 'Night Shift'. Another bonus was several luminaries (Julia Jacklin, Gordi, Alex Lahey) joining the band for a singalong on 'Going Going Gone'. To top the night off Lucy closed the night solo with a new song in 'Bus'. An excellent end to a completely wonderful night.

Set List
First Time
Addictions
Hot & Heavy
Christine
VBS
Cartwheel
Yours & Mine
Timefighter
Partner in Crime
Brando
Fool's Gold
Thumbs
Going Going Gone
I Don't Wanna Be Funny Anymore
Kissing Lessons
Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Night Shift

Triple Dog Dare
Bus

Jun 6, 2022

Georgia Maq @ Sydney Opera House

Our second show for VIVID in 2022 also took place in the Sydney Opera House. But this time in the small and intimate Utzon Room. It's a great space that has a nice view of the Harbour. Saturday night we were treated to a wonderful show from Georgia Maq. Georgia is best known as the lead singer of the always great Camp Cope. But on this night there was no Camp Cope at all, it was purely a Georgia show that drew a little bit from her debut album and a whole bunch of new songs. Plus 'Samson', a Regina Spektor cover. Sometimes that can be slightly difficult as the audience has to go into the unknown. But for this show there were no problems at all as the new songs sounded great and were very well recieved. By the sounds of it there perhaps is a second solo album on the horizon as Georgia mentioned she wrote these songs during lockdown in 2021. And they truly sounded great, and very personal. She was backed by a great trio on violin, cello and piano. The piano was actually played by her stepmother. It all combined for a wonderful show in a truly beautiful setting.