even - The I-94 Bar
Thirty years of The Meanies? Who woulda thunk? The last show of theirs’ I attended probably lasted 30 minutes. While the celebratory tour winds its way around Australia, boutique label Fantastic Mess has dropped this heavyweight Méaniee à Trois on us in a run of 300.
The A side keeps you guessing where it’s going with odd tempo changes. It's a fine slice of freakbeat that works its way into your head and up to a freak-out before skidding to a halt. It’s a long way removed from The Meanies’ early buzzsaw blasts and there are shades of Sun God Replica (Link’s other band) on a sunny day here.
Sydney radio host*
Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Top Ten in Twos
1. Two Hendrix covers
Lucie Tiger – The Wind Cries Mary"
Sydney country singer transcribes one of Jimi’s more melodic tunes for solo piano with stunning effect, but leaves the song intact. Lucie acknowledges where it’s come from, but takes it somewhere new. Hear it.
Lachie Doley - "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)"
Sydney blues and soul keyboard master gives the whammy clavvy a serious workout on this. Check out the vid.
2. Two political songs
Chuck Prophet – "Get Off The Stage"
Subtle demolition job on the soon to be Toddler-in-Chief. The late great John Prine rates a mention even though the song was recorded pre-Covid because (as Chuck said when I interviewed him) everyone needs to listen to John Prine.
Matthew Caws– "When History Comes"
Nada Surf front man delivers one of the best protest songs in decades. Totally in your face without being cruel and ends with a rallying call to vote because “it’s important”.
Australia has produced a number of fine powerpop bands over the years. One of the first – the very first according to US bible Bomp! Magazine – was Adelaide’s Young Modern. One of the most successful has been Even.
The link between both bands will be underlined by a special show in Melbourne on December 9, where Young Modern will team with Even's Ashley Naylor and one of his other bands, The Triad.
Young Modern will be celebrating 40 years, while Naylor and The Triad will salute mutual influence The Byrds.
Young Modern debuted in Adelaide – supporting Radio Birdman – in 1977. The band was formed by singer John Dowler, a seminal figure who's been talking about Big Star since the '70s.
I couldn’t find a clear winner for Gig of the Year for 2018. Here are 10 that were special.
TODD RUNDGREN – Oxford Art Factory.
His Toddness, the runt ,the hermit of Milk Hollow. Backed by a cracking band Davey Lane’s Drunken Blue Roosters, Todd took us from The Nazz, through his AM hits and on a detour to play many songs he admitted to not having played live for some time, if at all.
Great songs, top musicianship and Todd really seemed to be enjoying himself.
KC goes to more live shows than your mother goes to Tuppaware parties. Here's his Top Ten of Sydney gigs.
EVEN – NEWTOWN SOCIAL CLUB
A power pop fans dream and a very early “gig of the year” contender from the Fab Three. Supported by the wonderful On and Ons and Soul Movers on a stinker of a summer EVENing. Is it heresy to say I like them and their songs so much more than You Am I? I eagerly await the Christmas Even show at The Landsdowne on December 23.
THE APARTMENTS – THE FACTORY FLOOR
A wonderful set of sparse songs, full of emotion, not sentimental but heart tugging and soul searing. Spare and simple arrangements enhanced by nuanced and subtle musicianship of Peter Milton-Walsh’s fellow musicians, including Amanda Brown.
DIED PRETTY – ENMORE THEATRE
Following on from two cracking shows in 2016, Ron Peno and co delivered another amazing set and they were the band of the night at Radio Birdman’s big show. Brett Myers, what a guitarist.
Matthew, Ash and Wally are Even. Emma-Jane Johnson photo.
Ask any Australian fan of hooky powerpop who they rate and the answer will almost inevitably include Even, the Melbourne institution that’s been a fixture on the Oz scene since forming in 1994. Fronted by singer-songwriter-guitarist, Ashley Naylor, with Matthew Cotter on drums and Wally Kempton (aka Wally Meanie) on bass and backing vocals, they have just released their eighth album, “Down The Shops”, and it's reviewed here.
“Down The Shops” is a beautifully presented, vinyl collection of covers Even has released down the years. Ever since working up a rocking version of Badfinger’s “No Matter What” in their early mid-‘90s days playing the pubs around Fitzroy and St Kilda, Even have usually had a cover or two on the go. And they weren’t adverse to working up a load of them; they did "Even Jukebox" performances every year at Melbourne’s Cherry Bar.
The Stems, Perth's most popular and iconic 80s garage rock band, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the release of their classic debut album "At First Sight Violets are Blue" with a successful all Australian capital cities tour in November 2017. To coincide with the tour, "At First Sight Violets are Blue" was reissued as a limited edition tour CD.
The tour garnered enough interest in Europe for Spain’s Fuzzville Festival to make an offer for them to appear at the festival. More shows naturally followed and the band are now set to embark for a three week European tour over April/May which will cover Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and the UK.
The UK leg includes a show at London's historic 100 Club.