newcastle - The I-94 Bar

In Heat - The Fools (self released)

in heat the foolsLet’s get the clichés out of the way; the show business myths that promise that the cream rises. That living fast and dying young will ensure immortality. It’s all bullshit. Too many artists fall through a crack in the Earth whilst laurels crown the insipid and the banal.

How many great albums and films have vanished to land fill? How many books are lost because libraries can’t afford the storage on their back catalogues? How much blood, sweat and tears has evaporated into the ether? Forgotten whilst the over culture lets us eat dog food. Here is your chance to right that wrong.

March of the Jack Boots - Monkeypig (Subversive Song Records)

march of the jack bootsMonkeypig covers a lot of ground in the space of its 10 punk-pop songs. An entirely self-sufficient and self-produced band now based in Newcastle, north of Sydney, it’s the vehicle for front-of-house operator and band-member-around-town, Christian Ryan.

“March of the Jack Boots” was recorded in a home studio in the bushy Sydney suburb of Engadine. No offence to Engadine, but it’s an unlikely well-spring of musical creativity. Ryan recorded, mixed, mastered, sang lead vocals and played almost all the instruments. He wrote every song except one (a co-write). The label is his own. Considering the record’s humble origins, he must have a good ear because the album sounds great.

Mick and his Mesmerisers return to NSW in March

marrickville bowlo ed black 2020Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers bring their killer brand of rocking powerpop to New South Wales in March for just two shows. 

Catch them Friday, March 27 at Marrickville Bowling Club in Sydney and Sunday, March 29 at Mayfield Bowling Club in the Hunter.

The only Sydney show pairs them with Peter Simpson and his Vanity Project, the  rock machine par excellence led by Peter Simpson of The Dubrovniks and his hand-picked line-up. 

Opening proceedings will be local psychedelic-garage rock super-group Jupiter 5, with members of Psychotic Turnbuckles, Buffalo Revisited and Sheek the Shayk. Tickets are on sale here. 

It’s 4pm doors at Mayfield where the supports are Imaginary Things, The Stoids and The Perils. The Mesmerisers hit the stage at 9.30pm.

“Open Season” is the latest album for Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers (on I-94 Bar Records) and it’s full of clever, hooky song-writing, a soulful engine room and driving guitars.

And of course there’s the unique voice of Mick Medew, front-man for the Screaming Tribesmen, the Brisbane-born and Sydney-bred pop-rock legends who topped independent charts in Australia and the US in the ‘80s.

Radio Birdman in Newcastle and Sydney

rb-flagRiding to Newcastle to catch the first show of Radio Birdman tour is the obvious choice. Didn’t quite seem like it, trying to get outa Sydney on a Friday arvo. I took a quick spurt up the footpath a few times to relieve the tension. Then we hit the freeway and Jenny gave me that tap on the left hip that means ‘slow down’ but I was doing 90mph through one of the tighter curves and slowing down wasn’t the point. Nor possible. Can’t brake a motorcycle unless it’s reasonably upright.

1982, the first time I really heard Radio Birdman was the 1976 2JJ show at midnight on a Monday. Used to be a lot of good movies on late back then, ‘Vanishing Point’, ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, ‘Five Easy Pieces.’ One night I walked into my little bedroom at the back of the house, flicked on the radio and my life changed.

Every friend and lover, every beautiful terrible moment, it all started then. It’s been one hell of a ride and the road rolls ever on.

Things are heating up as The Fools re-emerge

fools dylan
Guitarist Dylan Webster from Newcastle band The Fools

In the early ‘90s, raw and tough rock and roll was supposedly being re-birthed. Grunge had ushered in The Year That Punk Broke and the mainstream was finally embracing music that wasn’t safe and bland. Yeah. Right.

In reality, Real Rock and Roll was still fighting. The tidal wave that was the MP3 was about to arrive in earnest but the only game in town, as far as The Industry was concerned, was Grunge, a sludgy offspring of heavy metal and punk that promised little and (mostly) delivered less.  

Too harsh?  A lot of fine and worthy bands were trampled under the rush by major labels to sign any act with tuned-down guitars wearing flannelette shirts. It didn’t matter if their songs mostly remained the same; the big label A & R men couldn’t see past their own shaggy fringes.

Like Newton used to say, every action produces an equal and opposite reaction. In Australia, a fresh wave of high-energy acts like Powder Monkeys, Asteroid B612, Brother Brick, the YesMen and Bored! were kicking against the pricks and doing things their own way. A lesser light from the industrial port city of Newcastle, two hours north of Sydney, created their own ripples.