It is always hard to cut it down to ten but here goes.
Ice Cream Hands supported by Bryan Estapa Band- Factory Floor, Sydney A great night of cleverly and carefully crafted power pop from Ice Cream Hands as Charles Jenkins and co bewitched us again with their sublime sounds. Support act Bryan Estapa Band were also a delight with their songs that owe a bit of a nod to high quality 70s AM radio sounds.
Charlotte and The Harlots/COFFIN/Turbobelco/Generation Landslide/Hy Test/Neptune Power Federation – Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney All killer no filler as this mighty bill saw each band up the ante and be better than the one before them. COFFIN and Neptune Power Federation were especially outstanding.
Thee Marshmallow Overcoat – The Caravan Club, Oakleigh, Melbourne. Ashley Naylor, Davey Lane and Brett Wolfie playing two sets of their favourites from the 60s and 70s. Do I need to say more?
Ice Cream Hands – The Caravan Club, Oakleigh, Melbourne. Oh yes, the night after Thee Marshmallow Overcoat, at the same venue. Bliss, heaven on a stick and a more sympathetic mix than was apparent at the Factory Floor show.
The Dark Clouds/Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers/Radio Birdman – Factory Theatre The Dark Clouds showed why they are one of the best hard rock bands around but it was Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers who wowed the crowd with their set. Peppered with tracks from the Open Season album and select gems from Mick’s back catalogue they were the stars of the night. Radio Birdman also delivered a fine set and it was probably Rob Younger’s best vocal performance with RB for some time.
4 Radio Birdman, The Stems, Los Chicos - The Croxton Band Room, Melbourne What a line up of talent! The Stems’ sound was amazing, Best bit of the night thoughg was meeting legendary X singer Steve Lucas (pictured at right - hatless) and his lovely wife Joey.
5 The Johnnys – Memo, St Kilda. The Johnnys are still the Cow Punk Kings of The World,
The time of year when all right-thinking folk set out the Santa traps on Christmas eve, hoping for a big, juicy Santa (and not the scrawny weasel we caught last year, jesus, no meat on him at all) and the traditional charcoal spit-roast Santa in the back yard with all your mates and beer a-flowing. Done just right, the flesh falls right off the fucker's bones and melts in the mouth.
Preferably with apple and cinnamon sauce, but maybe that's just me.
Truth is that, while I heard a lot of wonderful music this year, I really don't feel up to delivering a Top Ten. Sure, there are some which leap out, but I didn't really listen that widely, I don't think. And I hardly went out. All were reviewed, look 'em out if you don't believe me.
Hot Tuna - Rialto, Septermber 10 Veteran duo in electric mode with drummer. As heavy as it gets. Jack and Jorma playing with the same fire they had 50+ years ago. At the climax of one of the extended jams, Jack pogoed across the stage. We got right up to the front of the small venue for full effect.
Tom Rush - Ellen Theater, Bozeman, August 31 An unexpected visit by first division folk singer does not disappoint. At 79 years, he still has his voice and nimble fingers. Funny too. 2+ hour show. He manages to avoid playing any of his signature tunes.
Jeff Tweedy - Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) Well written and very funny. Tweedy weaves a compelling story about his childhood, bands and years of prescription drug addiction. Plenty of insight into the workings of Wilco and his songwriting. One of the best musician-penned memoirs I’ve read.
So Good I Can’t Take It - Aug 2 Ellen Theater Bozeman Kirk Leclaire document’s the Montana music scene of the' 70s and '80s. Jeff Ament and Steve Albini figure large in the story. I get some face time too, though I only just make it into the time frame. Donovan’s Brain music is featured. A great story of small town misfits tearing it up and terrorizing the locals. A universal story that can be enjoyed even if you didn’t grow up in Montana. A Donovan’s Brain MK 1 reunion followed the screening.
Number 1 February 2 at The Lyrebyrd Lounge, Ripponlea: The Lyrebyrd Lounge was the first of seven shows for me in Melbourne this year. It felt like coming home; what a marvellous club - run by my buddy Leon Storch. This show also featured Penny Ikinger and would turn out to be the start of something good.
Number 2 Late January marks the birth of my special new friend '' Arthur Robert Collie''
Number 3 Stephen Cummings at The Triffid on April 4:
An unlikely choice for my Top Ten but when you are hot you are hot. This was the gig of the year, no doubt about it. Clare Moore on drums and Sam Lemann on guitar.