australia - The I-94 Bar

Bad Shepherd Ade Edmondson has punk covered

Folk and punk may seem a bizarre match, but they're a perfect marriage. They're both about belief, emotion and bags of power. The Bad Shepherds make it all look easy; I know damn well it's not. 

Cherie bombs as Sydney stays home

cherie bombGrowing up in Sydney in the ‘80s,  we were spoiled. The amorphous thing called Pub Rock spawned an explosion of live music and it was literally everywhere. The one thing all those bands had in common is still hard to put your finger on but you could term it The Pub Contract.

From the audience side, the Contract read like this: “Don’t give us any airs and graces. If you aren’t any good, we’re going to put shit on you. Due to us consuming social lubricants in prodigious proportions, you need to play hard to get our attention.”

Those days are gone and only a few people care anymore. The ones who might be keen are buried deep under mortgages, families and adulthood.

Maybe it was the lack of a crowd, skewed expectations or the fact that The Runaways were never mandated high rotation listening in my own world, but Friday night’s Cherie Currie show at the Manning Bar in Sydney fell flatter than a soufflé in a bricklayers’ pie oven.

It wasn’t entirely the fault of the headliner.

The Runaways’ place in history is notable if slightly perverse. On one hand, as an all-girl band in a man’s world, they provided inspiration for a later generation of Riot Grrrls and (Punk Rock) Sisters Doing It For Themselves. On the other hand, they were shamelessly objectified, used and abused and have become a cautionary object lesson in exploitation.

Chris Masuak announces Sydney show

maz factoryChris Masuak’s musical history reads like a muscle car ride through the mean streets of Australia’s rock and roll underground, but appearances Down Under have been few and far between since he relocated to Spain. Masuak is about to right that wrong with a handful of select shows in NSW in March and April, his first in four years.

Riding the best reviews of this solo career with his album “Brujita”, recorded in Spain, the ex-Radio Birdman guitarist will play a handful of selected Aussie dates with a hand-picked Australian band, The Harbour City Wave Riders, featuring Tony Bambach (Lime Spiders) on bass and Stuart Wilson (New Christs, Loose Pills) on drums.

CJ Ramone tours Oz

cj-logoIf you have to ask which band he played with you’re in the wrong place. We're talking about xx-bassist for the greatest rock roll band in the history of the world, CJ Ramone, who will undertake his first solo band Australian tour in February to support a new record.

The extensive run by the ex-Ramones bassist takes in the ACT and all states except WA.

Dung Australia - Cosmic Psychos (Timberyard)

dungaustraliaAustralian trio the Cosmic Psychos is fast filling the yawning void of relentless punk rock consistency left vacant by the Ramones' departure. Which isn't to say they're a replacement for Da Bruddas, by any means, but If The Song Ramones the Same, then Psychos Never Sleep. Expect no quantum leaps with "Dung Australia", their first long player in a year, and you'll be happy as a pig in, er, dung.

Ex-Cramp Kid Congo back with new album

kid congo posterPacking their fourth and probably strongest album so far, Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds are heading back to Australia in August. 

“La Araña Es La Vida” summons the Mexican muse of The Great Spider Goddess of Teoticuhan, who sprouts hallucinogenic morning glories and protects the underworld, or in Kid’s eyes, the world of underground music.

Recorded at The Harveyville High School gym in Kansas by guitarist-vocalist Kid Congo Powers (The Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds), bassist Kiki Solis (Baby Baby Dance With Me, Knife in The Water, Rhythm of Black Lines), drummer Ron Miller (Switch Hitter, Up The Academy) are joined by Chicano, Mosrite playing guitarist Mark Cisneros (Medications, Deathfix), it’s on In The Red Records.

Kid Congo and his band toured Australia to rapturous reviews in January 2016. The extensive tour just seven months later covers five states and the Northern Territory. 

KID CONGO & THE PINK MONKEY BIRDS AUSTRALIAN TOUR
THURS 18 AUG - Lighthouse Theatre, Darwin Festival, NT 
FRI 19 AUG - Mojo's, Fremantle, WA 
SAT 20 AUG - Crown & Anchor, Adelaide, SA 
WED 24 AUG - The Bridge Hotel, Castlemain, VIC 
THURS 25 AUG - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC 
FRI 26 AUG - Friday Nights @ NGV, Melbourne VIC
SAT 27 AUG - Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, VIC 
THURS 1 SEPT - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW 
FRI 2 SEPT - The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD - Tickets

Folk me! Rustic America meets Melbourne

michaelhurley mono
In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s ascendency to the American presidency, political sociologists scratched their heads trying to explain the emergence of the Trump vote. While some fumbled for the convenient crutch of a conspiracy theory, others acknowledged that there had been, maybe only temporarily, a seismic shift in the American voting demographic.

For those outside of the comfort zone of institutional politics, economic security and politically correct discourse, Trump’s colourful rhetoric was a beacon of hope.

Michael Hurley is a product of the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960's. Back in the day, the Village was a haven for earnest singer-songwriters whose blend of poetic lyrics and folk melodies laid the musico-cultural foundations for the more celebrated counter-cultural movement that peaked toward the end of the decade. Some, like Bob Dylan, mutated into pop cultural icon; others, like Hurley, remained on the fringes.

Irish eyes are smiling, again

slf

Surfing on the back of rave reviews for their last run of Australian shows, Stiff Little Fingers are back in February 2018. 

Formed in 1977 in Belfast, Ireland, SLF were at the forefront of the Punk movement. The tour marks their 40th anniversary (better late than never.) 

SLF’s signature style combines the energy of punk, infectious hooks, and lyrics that meld the personal and political, with a delivery that rings of honesty and commitment. It’s longest-serving vocalist Jake Burns' integrity and style that has meant that all these years later Stiff Little Fingers are still as in demand as ever.

Monday 19th February – Perth – The Rosemount
Tuesday 20th February – Adelaide – The Gov
Thursday 22nd February – Brisbane– The Triffid
Friday 23rd February – Sydney – Metro Theatre
Saturday 24th February – Melbourne – Croxton Bandroom
Tickets on sale here

 

It would be a shame to miss this

men of no shameThis February and March, legendary Sex Pistol Glen Matlock will be joined by Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom and notorious John Lennon/Bowie lead guitarist Earl Slick for their only Australian tour as The Men Of No Shame.

That's right, three of rock's true anti-heroes mixing it live around Australia with shows in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Newcastle, Adelaide and Melbourne.

If you missed the Pistols anarchy in '76, the Stray Cats ballin' in '83 and the original Ziggy Stardust tour, this is your chance to relive some of that historic chaos. Matlock, Slick and Phantom bring it all back live in 2016.

You'll hear the songs that made punk, rockabilly and glam history performed by the history makers themselves. Plus new material that will spark a riot like it's still 1977.

And as part of the package, all three legends will be available for exclusive Q&A sessions at each venue before their performance. If you've ever wanted to talk to a Sex Pistol, a Stray Cat or a Glam God, here's your last chance. No subjects will be off limits. Click READ MORE for booking details.

Poison Idea to play Australia

Poison IdeaSome 34 years after they formed, punk rock icons Poison Idea are finally making it to Australia.

Four dates have been announced for the influential band from Portland, Oregon. Catch them at The Enigma Bar in Adelaide (May 14), Crowbar in Brisbane (May 15), The Baldfaced Stag in Sydney (May 16) and The Bendigo in Collingwood, Melbourne (on May 17.) Ticketing details and supports are still to be revealed.

Poison Idea has been cited as an influence by bands and musicians like Nirvana, Zeke, Turbonegro, Eyehategod, Pantera, Napalm Death and Machine Head. They formed in 1980, broke up in ’93 and have been gigging only sporadically since '98.

Solo Ed (By Request) and fresh The Aints! gigs roll out

ed solo by request

It wouldn’t feel normal in Australia if it wasn’t raining Ed Kuepper shows. Already announced as the Melbourne headliners for this year’s Reclink Community Cup at Melbourne’s Victoria Park on June 24, Kuepper's new favourite band The Aints! are playing an additional show at Geelong’s Barwon Club Hotel the night before.

Joining Kuepper in The Aints! are Sunnyboys bassist Peter Oxley, Paul Larsen (drummer for both The Celibate Rifles and The New Christs) plus solo jazz performers Alister Spence (keyboards), Eamon Dilworth (trumpet) and an additional brass section. Tickets for The Aints! play The Saints with special guests Ausmuteants are on-sale here.

Stiff Little Fingers live in Australia

jake burnsDuring these past few weeks there has been a stream of classic 1977 UK punks band bands floating through, or announced to play in, Sin City, aka Sydney.  Names like Buzzcocks and The Stranglers have been something of a call-to-arms. And now a band that has less of a profile locally, Stiff Little Fingers, is playing.

Stiff Little Fingers emerged out of Belfast in 1977 as a bunch of teenagers playing in a punk band in a city with its soul ripped apart. It was a hard place but one that still had heart. Anyone who looks at news footage at the time knows Belfast was a warzone.

I remember a great uncle telling me first-hand stories of how brutal the city really was. Daily body searches by the English soldiers, ruthless gangs that murdered you for your religion and children that were bashed within an inch of their lives after school for walking down the wrong street.  Entrenched generational anger and hatred ran deep on both sides.

Stunning X recording makes it to vinyl

x-spurts-lp

 

Remember that sublimely raw set of demos by the Australian X that came out as the “X-Spurts” CD a few years ago? Canadian label Ugly Pop Records has just re-issued it on vinyl after doing the same with the “X-Aspirations” album. 

Recorded in a lounge room in Sydney's Surry Hills and stored for 35 years, "X-Spurts" pre-dates "X-Aspiration" and features the oririginal X line-up in stunning form. This is one of the greatest "lost" recordings to have been unearthed of any band. You can procure a copy here and there is an Australian distributor if you prefer the bricks and mortar store option. 

 

Sunny summer as Sunnyboys announce tour and more re-issues

sunnyboys-logosComeback kings the Sunnyboys have announced a full-blown Aussie summer tour, along with deluxe releases of their second and third studio albums.

The 2015 tour will include shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide plus a slot at the Perth International Arts Festival, just the second Sunnyboys appearance in the W.A. capital since 1984.

Brisbane and Sydney will be treated to appearances by their former sparring partners, the Riptides. Other guests on the February tour include The New Christs (Melbourne and Sydney) young punks Bad // Dreems (Adelaide) and Dom Mariani's post-Stems vehicle DM3, in Perth.

Suzie Stapleton flies home for solo dates

suzie liz reedAustralian alternative artist Suzie Stapleton is heading back home in 2018 for a long overdue homecoming tour.

This is Stapleton’s first time back to Oz since relocating to London in 2015 and she'll perform solo shows in hometown Melbourne and Sydney in March with more to be announced.

Over the past three years Suzie has been captivating audiences with her electric live performances, midnight vocal, and guitar-driven noir soundscapes whilst touring the UK and Europe with artists such as Mark Lanegan, Mick Harvey, and Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind.

In 2017 she appeared as guest vocalist on Lydia Lunch & Cypress Grove’s unlikely album “Under The Covers” - a continuation of Stapleton’s collaborations with Cypress Grove on "The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project", featuring Iggy Pop, Nick Cave and Debbie Harry.

The Rolling Stones in Adelaide

stones-adelaideVoula Williamson photo

For the last two weeks, Stones fever, ably abetted by the broadsheet newspaper, has hit Adelaide.

Not for everyone, of course, mostly fogeys. Of which I am one.

In the days running up to the gig, Stoneswatchers staked out their hotel, their rehearsal ‘room’ (disused Glenside Mental Hospital, not that there’s any shortage of clientele, just that funds are a bit short apparently). 

The Supersuckers back in Oz

supersuckers-tourMuch-loved garage-cum-country rockers The Supersuckers are revisiting Australia with a new album in tow and a bunch of hardcore fans to play to.

There's nothing stupid about these touring plans

Spain's premier portable party band, Los Chicos, is heading to Australia for another tour, travelling on the back of last year's album on the Off The Hip and Dirty Water labels, "In The Age of Stupidity". Here's their promo video and the dates.

APRIL   
2 – The Espy, St Kilda, VIC
3 – The Tote, Collingwood, VIC
4 – Boogie! Festival, Tallarook, VIC
5 – HOLA!, Barwon Club, Geelong, VIC
8 – Newtown Social Club, NSW
10 – Wollongong Uni Bar, NSW
11 – Retreat Hotel, Brunswick, VIC

 

They reign in Spain and now Adelaide says Yes to Senor No

senor no tourGod bless those wonderful creative people who say: "Screw this boring world, I'm gonna do what I want to do". Because, when all is said and done, we won't be here forever, and if what you fancy makes other people dance and leap about like they've got uncool illnesses, so much the better.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone who claims to love rock'n'roll has their own idea of what rock'n'roll is.

And, it's a suspicion of mine that a hell of a lot of rock'n'roll bands exist because no-one is playing the kind of rock'n'roll they want to hear (this may have been one of Kim Salmon's reasons for re-emerging with another Scientists in 1982).

Last week we saw The Animals, sharp and bright as a new nail, rejoicing in the simple power and beauty of the r'n'b explosion, and the determination to stay stable in a troubled world.