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
The Face of God
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
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
King Kunta
Big Shot
Collard Greens
Swimming Pools (Drank)
Backseat Freestyle
Money Trees
m.A.A.d city
Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe

All the Stars
King's Dead

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)
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
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
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
Candy Sam
Every 1's a Winner
Despoiler of Cadaver
Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)
My Lady's On Fire
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
Losing All Sense
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