BOB BLUNTVenue helper, organiser and frontperson for both Garry David and Beijing BikiniSydney, Australia
2020 in a nutshell
Let's not start with the boring and the obvious - the moan that goes 'oh, what a shitty year that was' or how "Sydney is dead co's it aint what it used yo be'"- yawn. That rhetoric and emotion doesn't belong here - we're on an onward and upward trajectory - yep, the good gigs plus the other good stuff.
This is going to be a very biased view and I’m not trying to hide it. I’ll make my own rules just so I can bend them to suit my agendas.
Best gig of the year - The Stew Cunningham Benefit night in Sydney at Marrickville Bowlo. All the bands were awesome but what won the night over was the atmosphere and goodwill of all the people that attended. A truly special night.
Best local live act - The Celibate Rifles. The Rifles slayed it in support of The Sunnyboys at The Factory, then followed it up with a couple of scorchers at The Marrickville Bowlo and The Narrabeen RSL. The old fellas have still got it. Honourable mention to Stiff Richards who tore the roof off in support of The Rifles at the Bowlo, great band.
Best local release - The Aints!, "The Church of Simultaneous Existence". Wonderful album from go to whoa. Honourable mention to Warped - "Bolt From The Blue" - brutal honesty at its best.
Best international gig - Señor No at The Botany View Hotel. It was wild, crazy and a helluva lot of fun. honourable mention to Los Chicos at the Rad Bar in Wollongong, they put on a show and a half, they were just pipped at the post.
The Celebrity Roadie informs The Barman that he can't go out in public like that. As usual, he's ignored. Kyleigh Pitcher photo.
This is a Top Ten of two parts. First, live gigs, and second, albums. You know. Second part, different from the first.The rule of not reviewing my own gigs goes right out the door from the get-go. Got an issue with that? See you in the carpark...
Chris Masuak and the Sydney City Wave Riders:This was a sensational run of shows- a mini-tour in and around Sydney because that’s all that time allowed - by Klondike and his crack band of Tony Bambach (bass) and Stuart Wilson (drums). Great players, top blokes. Armed with a killer setlist drawing on most of Chris’s back catalogue, the guys fired from the get go. Many of the versions surpassed the originals with Maz playing two guitar parts, as few people can. The shows blew away much of the skullduggery and malakarey involved with certain ghosts from the recent past.
HITS at Marrickville BowloYou can’t keep playing the same old songs or you’ll get staid and there’s no sign of HITS doing that just yet. Members are now scattered the length of the East Coast so it can’t be easy getting together…or maybe that’s a blessing in disguise because it keeps things fresh. They continue to be THE Aussie band to follow.
Tom Wilkinson photo.
The SchizophonicsGrinding EyesSk8tergrrrlMarrickville Bowling ClubThursday, June 6, 2019Photos by Tom Wilkinson
This gig was a bit of a big deal for Sydney’s spluttering live rock and roll scene. There’s an online buzz on San Diego’s Schizophonics, driven by their livewire videos and their reputation for spectacular shows. The Harbour City, however, was absent from their original travel plans.
A tour through New Zealand was being followed by just one Australian show - at The Tote Hotel in Collingwood, Melbourne - until last-minute intervention by a drummer in one of Oz’s most prominent bands (Russell Hopkinson of You Am I knows who he is) and another party who shall remain nameless.
So a side trip to Sydney was organised - for a Thursday night show at Marrickville Bowling Club. The night after a hurriedly organised, extra Melbourne show.
Marrickville Bowlo has become a haunt for Sydney’s older rock and roll demographic. Lansdowne for the kids, Bowlo for the seniors. It’s a nice-sounding room with a great PA and friendly staff. The drinks are cheap.
Pete Bourke, Phil Van Rooyen and Pete Trifunovic from Sonic Garage.
Sonic GaragePocketwatchBayley and the Liquid SquidMarrickville Bowling Club, NSWFriday, 11 March 2022
You can say “Boring Old Fart” but it’s good to stare rheumy-eyed into the middle distance, drool into a beer and recall much less complicated times in hushed tones. Times like the early 1980s, when the biggest challenge on a Friday night was to decide which two or three rock and roll shows you were going to attend, all of them within a short distance of each other.
If they were local bands, the door charge was free or modest, and if the headliner was on the national touring treadmill, entry might set you back a ten spot. At least one of the supports was a band you’d never heard of, but paying your money and taking your chances was all part of the ritual. You got to conduct a post-mortem as soon as their set was over or over a hair of the dog at your local the next day.
Belated reviews are the best reviews. You know, better late than never.
Eleven days have elapsed since feedtime played Marrickville Bowling Club. The excuse for the late review is that the tinnitus needed time to subside. No, there are never excuses, only reasons. After experiencing two - Two sets! Count ‘em! - sets by feedftime in one night, you need time to get over it.
Not time to analyse it. Music like theirs should never be picked over like an insect that ends up pinned to a back-board in a display case at the Australian Museum. As if you didn’t know, feedtime plays music from the guts, not the head.
Allow me a brief Robert Brokenmouth-style digression.
Clyde Bramley’s Top New South Wales Live Music Venues 2021
“The Magnificent Seven” (I’m sure there are many more out there, but I haven’t had a chance to interact with them over the past year!)
1. Marrickville Bowlo, Marrickville, NSWThe flagship Sydney venue at the moment. I particularly like the Sunday arvos with a very civilised 4:30-7:30 time frame. Richard Ball always does a sensational mix.
They emerged from the fog of COVID a year ago to give the pandemic the middle finger, riding a container ship to Australia all the way from Pismo Beach.
The Psychotic Turnbuckles have again been coaxed out of semi-retirement in their palatial beachside mansions on the California coast to Destroy Dull Sydney one more time. Tickets are on sale here.
Make being at Marrickvile Bowling Club on Saturday, February 26 your New Year’s Resolution to see The Undisputed Champions of Rock and Roll bring the thunder.
Jessie the Intruder, The Grand Wizard, The Psychedelic Unknown, Count Forza and Gorgeous Karl Domah will be laying waste to two pretenders to the throne in Melbourne’s The Vibrajets and The Dark Clouds.
Comprised of past and present members of The Stems, The Shimmys, and The Breadmakers, The Vibrajets aren't the garage band the pedigree might suggest.
This is wigged out and twangin' surf and frat and rock'n'roll that goes back to the source – and is best enjoyed while shakin’ your moneymaker on the dance floor!