Mar 23, 2024

Wilco @ Enmore Theatre

If you have the opportunity to see Wilco more than once, then just do it. So we had little hesitation in seeing the Chicago band for a second night in a row at what would be their final night of their current Australian tour. Plus Wilco always switch up their set list from night to night and so it proved. Obviously we received standards like ‘Jesus, Etc.’ and ‘Impossible Germany’. But we also received different songs from the night before such as ‘At Least That’s What You Said’ and ‘I’m The Man Who Love You’, which were both magnificent. I can’t add a lot more to my review from the night before, suffice to say Wilco were in incredible form. And the crowd lapped it all up. And as much as the Opera House is a great venue nothing beats a night at the Enmore. 

Set List
Infinite Surprise 
At Least That’s What You Said
Handshake Drugs
I Am My Mother
Cruel Country 
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
One Wing
Either Way
Box Full of Letters
Jesus, Etc.
Impossible Germany 
Dawned On Me
I’m Always In Love
Heavy Metal Drummer
I’m The Man Who Loves You
A Shot in the Arm

California Stars
Falling Apart (Right Now)
Spiders (Kidsmoke)

Mar 22, 2024

Wilco @ Sydney Opera House

Wilco are an electrifying band live. Despite their veteran status they would put many younger bands to shame. I've been very lucky to see them a few times over the years and they are never less than stellar. But this current Australian tour is their first in ten years so it felt extra special to see them Thursday night at the Sydney Opera House. And for two hours they showed why they are such a dynamic live act. Old classics mingled with new tunes. Country mixed with rock. They can go poppy and also heavy and experimental. They gave us a taste of everything and it was all great. Too many great songs to mention, but I really loved the opener in 'Hell Is Chrome'. 'Hummingbird' was super fun as was 'The Late Greats'. They always play 'Jesus, Etc.' and it was glorious, as was the closer in 'A Shot in the Arm'. Of course the band were great and so well tuned to each other. Jeff Tweedy is a great frontman, with wry quips spread through out the night. Whilst Glenn Kotche pounds the drums like few other. Of course the great Nels Cline is just an incredible guitarist. Never more evident than on the epic 'Impossible Germany'. The encore was supposed to finish with 'Spiders (Kidsmoke)' but the band was running short on time so they gave us a change up instead. It was all great though. I can safely say that Wilco satisfied all of us lucky to be there.

Set List
Hell Is Chrome
Handshake Drugs
I Am My Mother
Cruel Country
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
If I Ever Was A Child
Side With the Seeds
War on War
Bird Without a Tail/Base of My Skull
Box Full of Letters
Jesus, Etc.
Impossible Germany
Whole Love
Heavy Metal Drummer
The Late Greats
A Shot in the Arm

Via Chicago
California Stars
Falling Apart (Right Now)
I Got You (At the End of the Century)
Outtasite (Outta Mind)   

Mar 8, 2024

Black Country, New Road @ Sydney Opera House

Thursday night marked the first ever Sydney show for exciting young UK band Black Country, New Road. As part of their maiden Australian tour, they had the pleasure of playing the Sydney Opera House. The show was long sold out and the crowd was enthusiastic to say the least. Black Country, New Road are a fascinating band. They released two highly acclaimed albums, but on the eve of their second album release in early 2022 band leader Isaac Wood left the band. But the other six members decided to carry on, but not play any of 'his music' live. Eventually they would release a live album named 'Live at Bush Hall'. So they came to Sydney and I wasn't actaully sure what would be played. In the end they played about half of the live album and quite a few new songs. So it was a slightly surreal experience to be witness to so much fresh music. I also felt that since Wood left the band's music has changed a bit. It still has post-rock influences but is even more orchestral and floral now. The band use a number of instruments. Not just guitar, bass and drums. But saxophone, flute, violin and even banjo. It makes for a heady mix, even if some songs work better than others. They use four main singers, so there is a lot of variety and variance through out the set. The absolute highlight was 'Turbines/Pigs', which was epic and massive. It even received a standing ovation, something I never seen before. So all in all a very interesting night from a very exciting band.

Set List
For the Cold Country
The Boy
24/7 365 British Summer Time
Laughing Song
Across the Pond Friend
Nancy Tries to Take the Night
Up Song (Reprise)

Mar 6, 2024

MJ Lenderman @ Howler Melbourne

Tuesday night in Melbourne I was very lucky to see MJ Lenderman for the second time within a week. I was in Melbourne for work and the incredibly talented musician was playing a show at the very cool small venue, Howler in Brunswick. And what a show it was. It was a longer show than Sydney. So we got all the favourites plus some extra content. New songs were played and let me tell you they were all great. Especially 'Wristwatch', a spectacular song. MJ announced his new album is finished and is coming out this year, so it was great to hear some previews of what is to come. MJ and his band are really tight and full of energy and great musicians. A bonus was that Wednesday singer Karly Hartzman joined the band too for the entire night. Songs like 'Hangover Game', 'Knockin' and 'Tastes Just Like It Costs' have quickly become crowd favourites and were received with rapture. And as mentioned the new songs were very exciting too. Lenderman is a serious talent. Great musician. Great singer. Great lyricist. A sound that feels like crossing Neil Young, Pavement, Jason Molina and Drive-By Truckers. Speaking of Neil Young, we received an encore. A cover of Young's classic 'Powderfinger', which was fantastic to say the least. A superb way to end a super night.

Set List
Hangover Game
Wristwatch (new song)
Joker Lips
You Have Bought Yourself a Boat
TLC Cage Match
Under Control
She's Leaving You (new song)
(new song)
Catholic Priest
Rip Torn (new song)
Live Jack
Someone Get the Grill Out of the Rain
(new song)
Tastes Just Like It Costs

Powderfinger (Neil Young cover)

Mar 2, 2024

The National & Fleet Foxes @ Aware Super Theatre

With rising costs everywhere we are now seeing quite a few great international acts teaming up for Australian tours. I presume to save costs. But what a bonus for us. Friday night was a huge double bonus for those lucky to be present at the Aware Super Theatre with The National playing supported by the incredible talents of Fleet Foxes. What a night it was. The National were set to tour here in early 2020 but the tour was cancelled because of that pesky pandemic. They have been regular visitors over the years so it was great to welcome them again. They truly are an incredible live act. They entralled us for nearly two and a half hours. Last year they surprisingly released two albums. Both were good but not really truly great. Obviously they played a good selection from those two and they actually presented well live. Especially 'Eucalyptus', 'Tropic Morning News' and an epic 'Smoke Detector'. Although they did clump them together and that perhaps slowed momentum slightly. There were also some older tracks they played that I was surprised by, such as 'Lit Up'. Especially as they didn't play live favourite 'Conversation 16'. But mere quibbles as it was still a spectacular show. 'Don't Swallow the Cap' was an early highlight. This song was also the first of three times that leadman Matt Berninger well fully into the crowd. He seems to really enjoy it and sets the crowd alight. Of course the band were great in support. The Dessners are remarkable guitarists. The night climaxed with a thunderous encore. 'Terrible Love' and 'About Today' are just modern day classics and an unplugged 'Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks' is always special. The National. A great band, always welcome anytime in Australia.

Set List
Once Upon a Poolside
Tropic Morning News
New Order T-Shirt
I Should Live in Salt
Don't Swallow the Cap
Bloodbuzz Ohio
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
I Need My Girl
Mistaken For Strangers
Murder Me Rachael
Lit Up
Grease In Your Hair
Laugh Track
Smoke Detector
Day I Die
Pink Rabbits
Fake Empire
Space Invader

Light Years
Mr November
Terrible Love
About Today
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

Fleet Foxes are truly one of the greatest bands on the planet. That's a pretty great support act in itself. I was very excited to see them and they were expectedly great. Last here in 2017 they gave us an hour of the 'hits'. It was just a beautiful set of six part harmonies led by the impossibly pure voice of Robin Pecknold. They gave us a good cross section of favourites, even delving way back to their debut EP in 'Sun Giant'. So many wonderful songs played such as 'Montezuma', 'Ragged Wood', 'Your Protector' and many more. Then closing with the classic in 'Helplessness Blues' was a major treat from a major band indeed.

Set List
Sun Giant
Can I Believe You
Ragged Wood
He Doesn't Know Why
Your Protector
Third of May/Odaigahara
Blue Ridge Mountains
White Winter Hymnal
A Long Way Past the Past
Grown Ocean
Helplessness Blues

Mar 1, 2024

Wednesday @ Factory Theatre

Wednesday released my favourite album of 2023. Easily. Rat Saw God was a phenomenon. Ten tracks of perfect rock, with some country thrown in. In a short space of time I have become a huge fan. So I was super excited to seem them Thursday night on their first Australian tour. For a little over an hour they played a blistering set, with eight songs from their great album of 2023, plus a few old ones thrown in. They also played two new songs which were both great. The band were really great, playing seemlessly together. The lap steel of Xandy Chelmis was a particular highlight. But most focus was on wonderful front woman Karly Hartzman, who was both charming and ferocious. Many highlights of the set but one song soared above all. 'Bath County' was just a monster live. But 'Quarry', 'Chosen to Deserve' were not far behind. The crowd were really enthusiastic and the the fervour kept building until the blockbuster closer in 'Bull Believer'. Wednesday are truly a great and hugely talented band. I can't wait to see what they do next.

Set List
Ghost of a Dog
Hot Rotten Grass Smell
Wound Up Here
Formula One
Chosen to Deserve
Elder Berry
Bath County
Turkey Vultures
Got Shocked
Fate Is...
Bull Believer 

The support act was no ordinary one, that is for sure. MJ Lenderman is an incredibly talented performer. He actually plays guitar in Wednesday, but now has his own successful solo career. His album in 'Boat Songs' was one of my favourites of 2022. He played an hour long set that was both euphoric and beautiful. His band, The Wind, also included two members of Wednesday, so naturally they were great too. HE has touches of Neil Young and Bruce Sprinsteen, with a North Carolina flavour. The set was mostly made of 'Boat Songs' tracks, but he also had time to play three new songs as well. It was especially great as well to hear so many of the crowd singing along to many of his songs. What a double bill this was. A fantastic night of music indeed.