Set Yourself Easy – Kent Steedman (self released)
Adjust your expectations. This is not a collection of Celibate Rifles-styled pyrotechnics -although some (notably, “Lockdown Shuffle” and the title track) could have worked for them.
Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that Kent Steedman has never been just about flamethrower rock. His work outside the Rifles has spanned the oblique, avant noise of Crent, the proto-boogie blues of Jim Moginie and the Family Dog, sonic adventurism with the Deniz Tek Group and live shows using Tibetan singing bowls.
It's almost 2019… and the world seems to be going mad. But the big question I ask myself… is rock dead?
I see alternate styles of music like rap, hip-hop and commercial pop dominating youth culture. I wouldn’t recognise Drake or Flume if they dropped their USB sticks in front of me. In closeted rock’n’roll enclaves such as the I-94 Bar dirty rock’n’roll seems to be thriving, but one by one icons are dropping off the perch. How much longer can it survive?
The benchmark I’ve been looking at is guitar sales. Electric guitar sales have slipped 22.7 percent since 2008… the price of guitars is rocketing, yet it appears that the acoustic market is on the up… Something like a 15 percent increase over the same period. Although insipid, whiny vocal sounds have probably been tied to the same trend.
The trend that parallels the increase of Ed Sheeran wannabes is the rise of vinyl sales. I’d guess that pot smoking hippies, listening on their Technics SL1200 to Bob Dylan re-masters trying figure out how to play protest songs while avoiding the dreaded F chord are to blame.
Despite my sense of foreboding I did manage to catch some quality rock’n’roll but I put that down to confirmation bias. My personal faves:
Midnight Oil Hordern PavillionMonday, 3 October 2022Shona Ross photos
Midnight Oil are Australian icons. People are often divided about where the split in their canon lives… that point where they stopped being a pub rock staple and moved into political activists. People of a particular political persuasion love them; they worship the ground they walk on, while their detractors feel equally aggrieved by their preaching. While tonight was one for the true believers, it also had something for everyone.
The Hordern has been the scene of Sydney’s greatest rock shows. This was one of them. It was the end of an era, probably where the last doors of an eight-tonne touring truck slammed closed on the glory days of Aussie pub rock. By the looks of the crowd of aged and gnarled surfers, elderly vets of rock days gone by, and the second and third generations of Oils fans, they couldn’t have kept up the pace of a five-night-a-week gigging schedule, anyway.
Wandering past the venue on our way to the Captain Cook Hotel pre-gig, the faithful were assembling en masse nearly three hours before kick-off. Hordes of worn T-shirts, black with the familiar yellow cover of their second album, “Head Injuries” adorned every second or third punter… as we neared the end of the Hordern and opened door gave us a glimpse of the Oils sound checking their 2020 staple “Gadigal Land” … and it sounded good. It augured well for the night ahead.