May 29, 2024

The Hold Steady @ Stay Gold Melbourne

Two years ago The Hold Steady brought their Weekender to Melbourne and I was happy to fly down and attend one of the three shows. It was totally worth it. In 2024 they did it all over again and I flew to Melbourne to attend the third night of the Weekender. It was at the intimate Stay Gold in Brunswick. And what a wonderful night it was. The Hold Steady have been around for 21 years and thus have a large catalogue to draw on. Interestingly they are happy to play many old favourites. But I really love their latest two albums and I would have loved to hear more from those albums. But I’m certain the enthusiastic crowd loved every minute, as I did. We sang our hearts out to ‘Stuck Between Stations’ ‘Chips Ahoy’ and ‘Stay Positive’. It’s a dedicated fanbase, The Unified Scene. It’s real and not fake. If you hadn’t seen front man Craig Finn before you might think it’s a bit of an act. But it’s not, it’s all genuine. Finn speaks about the unique connection between band and fan. It’s truly unique. Long may The Hold Steady reign. 

Set List
Hornets! Hornets!
Constructive Summer
Same Kooks
Family Farm
Party Pit
Don’t Let Me Explode
Sequestered in Memphis 
Carlos is Crying
Girls Like Status
We Can Get Together 
Yeah Sapphire
Chips Ahoy!
Modesto Is Not That Sweet
Denver Haircut
T-Shirt Tux
Stuck Between Stations 
Massive Nights
Unpleasant Breakfast 
Your Little Hoodrat Friend
Most People Are DJs

Certain Songs
Entitlement Crew
Stay Positive 
Killer Parties

May 25, 2024

Explosions in the Sky @ Sydney Opera House

Friday night was the opening night of Vivid 2024. And what a way to start. A celebration of Spunk Records. After 25 years the label is closing down and this night was a form of celebration. It was a great lineup in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House. Firstly there was the return of The Middle East. They really aren’t together anymore but it was great to see them return for this special night. Then there was a short set from Aldous Harding, but it was Explosions in the Sky we all came to see. The Texas masters are just a phenomenal live band and they proved it again tonight. 21 years ago they released their classic album ‘The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place’ and tonight they would play the album in full. 5 songs of pure thunderous beauty. It was glorious to behold as the five men swayed in time to the music, riding every peak and lull with sensual movement. After about 50 minutes we were able to catch our breath as the album closed. The band then gave us about another 30 minutes of great music to send us into the night completely and totally satisfied. Explosions in the Sky are truly one of the great bands on the planet and proved it again tonight. 

Set List
First Breath After Coma
The Only Moment We Were Alone
Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean
Your Hand in Mine
Greet Death
Magic Hours

May 22, 2024

Sleater-Kinney @ Metro Theatre

Thirty years go Sleater-Kinney played their first ever show in Sydney. Tuesday night in Sydney the legends returned. Carrie Brownstein reminded us of this last night. Last here 8 years ago they produced an exciting and thrilling show, conclusively proving they have lost nothing at all. Their energy and spirit is certainly intact. This was billed as their 'Little Rope' tour, in regard to releasing that album in January. I think the album is pretty great, their best in years. So it was a great pleasure to hear 8 of the 10 tracks played. They sounded great live, especially 'Untidy Creature' and 'Small Finds'. Of course with a large catalogue they have plenty more to choose from. So many standouts on the night. 'One More Hour' was my personal highlight, a firebrand of a song. But I also loved 'Price Tag', 'Bury Our Friends', 'The Center Won't Hold' and 'Jumpers'. The two founding members are as great as ever. Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker have great energy and synergy and Tucker's voice is still a weapon, one of the greatest voices in rock history. Their encore was great too and a little different. They played a real old one in 'Slow Song' upon an audience request and then closed with the classic rocket in 'Entertain'. Sleater-Kinney are still as great as ever I am here to tell you.

Set List
Needlessly Wild
Bury Our Friends
The Center Won't Hold
Small Finds
The Future is Here
All Hands on the Bad One
Hunt You Down
One More Hour
Start Together
Don't Feel Right
Price Tag
Can I Go On
The Fox
Dress Yourself
Dig Me Out
Modern Girl
Untidy Creature

Slow Song
Say It Like You Mean It
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone