Oct 29, 2023

Paul McCartney @ Allianz Stadium

Paul McCartney is an icon. A legend. A true music giant. No need to explain his contribution to music. My mum used to tell me that I was born in 1964 when The Beatles toured Australia. So I was ‘around’ when the legendary band conquered the world but obviously I was too young to appreciate them. But when I got older I became intoxicated by their genius. Their story was full of mysticism and wonder. After watching the Get Back series my wife and I pledged that we would see McCartney if he ever toured Australia again. We rarely do stadium shows but we decided to make an exception for him. And boy was it worth it. 

Friday night was the first of two sold out shows at Allianz Stadium. We had reasonable seats on the floor and even Paul was hard to see we could spot him on the big screen. And we could hear him. Man could we hear him. For close to three hours he tore through Beatles, Wings and solo songs. It was a glorious time. Countless highlights. Too many to mention. But some were the amazing ‘Let Me Roll It’, the iconic ‘Let It Be’, the serene ‘Blackbird’ and of course the crowd singalong’Hey Jude’. ‘Something’ was begun on ukulele with beautiful photos of George Harrison. ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ was mesmerising and ‘Band on the Run’ was euphoric. The encore was perfection, with a virtual duet with John Lennon and the emotional trio of Abbey Road sings to finish an ecstatic night. Paul is now 81, but his voice is still intact and his energy is boundless. An absolute true privilege to witness this magical evening. 

Set List
Can’t Buy Me Love
Junior’s Farm
Letting Go
She’s a Woman
Got to Get You Into My Life
Come Onto Me
Let Me Roll It
Getting Better
Let ‘Em In
My Valentine 
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
Maybe I’m Amazed
I’ve Just Seen a Face
In Spite Of All the Danger
Love Me Do
Dance Tonight
Here Today
Lady Madonna
Fuh You
You Never Give Me Your Money
She Came In Through the Bathroom Window
Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!
Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da
Band on the Run
Get Back
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Hey Jude

I’ve Got a Feeling
Sgt. Peppers’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
Helter Skelter
Golden Slumbers
Carry That Weight
The End

Oct 22, 2023

Built To Spill @ Manning Bar

Built to Spill run deep into my heart. Since the 90s I have loved their melodic guitar wizardry. I would be very happy to say they are close to my favourite band of all time. I have been very fortunate to see them live a few times over the years too. Both here in Sydney and in the US. But Friday night at the Manning Bar was their first Australian show in seven years. I am happy to report that they are still as great as ever. Just a sensational night of thrilling guitar heroics. For a veteran band they are still making wonderful music too and their album of last year, 'When the Wind Forgets Your Name' was one of my favourites of 2022. Surprisingly perhaps they only played one song from that record. But not complaining too much as they opted to give a good taste from across their illustrious career. So each song they played was invariably a highlight. But the absolute standouts were the beautiful 'Reasons', the incendiary 'I Would Hurt a Fly' and the epic 'Stop the Show'. But the biggest thrill of the night was closing the main set with the perfection of 'Carry the Zero'. Just sublime. The band are now a trio too. Of course Doug Martsch is still the centrepiece. The unassuming frontman with no artifice just plies his trusty Stratocaster with perfect skill. The band is now rounded out by bass player Melanie Radford and drummer Teresa Esguerra. They were both fantastic, backing Doug to from a tight and very clean sound. Melanie even took lead vocals on a great Heartless Bastards cover. I'm here to tell you Built to Spill are still perfection personified. Fact.

Set List
Goin' Against Your Mind
Center of the Universe
I Would Hurt a Fly
Gonna Lose
Virginia Reel Around The Fountain
The Mountain (Heartless Bastards cover)
Stop the Show
Big Dipper
Carry the Zero

Conventional Wisdom

Oct 15, 2023

Camp Cope @ Sydney Opera House

Friday night at the Sydney Opera House was a bittersweet night. For it was the final and farewell show for one of Australia’s finest bands of the last decade. Camp Cope, after three albums, decided to call it a day. They ended with a show full of joy but also tears. A fierce band that did it in its own way without regrets or compromise. Passionate, personal and political to the end. It was a set full of career highlights and favourites. And special guests too with Julia Jacklin joining them on two songs. But ultimately it was three strong women. Georgia, Kelly and Thommo. They copped unwanted criticism but never wavered and remained strong to the end. Fittingly they closed with their signature song in ‘The Opener’ which was elongated into a ten minute version which ended a night and a career in the best way possible.

Set List
Stove Lighter
Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams
The Mountain 
The Screaming Planet
Lost (Season One)
How to Socialise & Make Friends 
Keep Growing
Sing Your Heart Out
Running With the Hurricane 
The Opener

Oct 8, 2023

Volume Festival @ Art Gallery of NSW

The Art Gallery of NSW gave us a brand new exciting festival this year, namely the Volume Festival. It was an eclectic lineup covering many different genres. Even better it was to be held in the brand new North Building. So last Thursday night we ventured along, excited to see two acts. One new and one old. The new one was Black Belt Eagle Scout, which is essentially a one woman show. That being Katherine Paul. She played an hour long set of atmospheric and melodic rock, pulling material from her three excellent albums. She is both an excellent guitarist and songwriter. I really loved her set. 

The older act was none other than Mount Eerie, the genius that is Phil Elverum. He actually played two sets. The first was downstairs in The Tank. It was an unusual set where he mainly conducted an hour long drone set that was experimental and brave. And was probably not enjoyable in the true sense of the word but probably suited the setting. He then played a more traditional set in the Atrium, with Paul joining him on stage. It was duelling electric guitars with two extremely talented artists giving us a magical hour of music. I really loved this festival. I hope they can do it all again next year. 

Oct 4, 2023

Kevin Morby @ Factory Theatre

What an absolute pleasure it was to welcome back the great Kevin Morby to Australia last Saturday night at The Factory. I've been fortunate enough to see Kevin a few times over the years and his first Australian show in about four years was an absolute delight. In the last year or so he has released two 'Photograph' albums so it was a given he would lean heavily on that material. And they were superb to hear live. But there was plenty of room to hear a good cross section of his career, with Kevin dipping into various albums over the night. I think though the thunderous 'Wander' might just have been the highlight. Not farr behind was the ever great 'City Music' and the the epic 'Piss River'. My favourite song of his is 'Dorothy', so I was delighted to hear that song again. 'Beautiful Strangers' was indeed beautiful to hear in the encore, with a enthusiastic crowd singing along. Kevin seemed in great form. It was a very lively performance and he seemed to be enjoying every minute. And yes Kevin, so were we. 

Set List
This Is a Photograph 
A Random Act of Kindness 
Bittersweet, TN
Rock Bottom 
Five Easy Pieces
Piss River
City Music
I Have Been to the Mountain
A Coat of Butterflies 
This is a Photograph II

Crybaby (snippet after fan request)
Beautiful Strangers
Harlem River