You want me to write a year in reflection? Well, where and how to start? I will bang on these keys and most likely bang on in my usual stoic warm way.
Mind you, I rarely write about music these days. I look back and reflect on the shit I once wrote and it seems all so naïve, sycophantic almost. But here’s a try and since it’s not the 10 best gigs, nor the 10 best recordings, I have license to mix it up.
Best thing that happened – helping out with the band bookings at MoshPit, a small unpretentious little bar down the south end of King St which now fits 120 people. Yes, it’s small, and don’t go there if you feel paranoid or claustrophobic as you’ll probably hate it. But, in the vein of CBGB’s in NYC, Frenches which was on Oxford Street (Darlinghurst) the Old Bar in Melbourne, and its local counterpart Midnight Special in Enmore, this place oozes fun.
Where else can you put on your favourite bands and liken it to your best ever lounge-room party. There’s a whole range of yummy booze, great staff, the co-owners Pat n Wax, + two sound people who know what they’re doing within limitations. Nunchukka Superfly, Thee Evil Twin, Face Command, White Knuckle Fever and Los Monaros are just some of the great local acts that graced there in 2019. We was lucky and their goodwill was priceless. Sydney needs venues like these so in my unbiased best, please support.
Best things I listened to – newish stuff from Pallet, Small Town Incident, White Knuckle Fever, Sounds Like Winter, Syntax Error, Joseph Leonard, Wreckless Enterprise Recordings volume 1 and 2 – compilations featuring Dirty Slutz, Babymachine, Leftards, Minor Surgery, Space Bozzies, Bitchcraft, Piss to Eme.
BOB BLUNT Venue helper, organiser and frontperson for both Garry David and Beijing Bikini Sydney, 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.
KEITH CLARINGBOLD Bassist - The Smart Folk, The Amazing Woolloomoolloosers Inveterate live streamer of gigs Sydney, Australia
2020 Top Ten
1.) Sunnyboys warm up gig, The Pink Fits in support at the Factory Floor in Sydney A big thank you to Steve Teece for tipping me off about this one. That sound, those songs, up close! The Pink Fits were great too.
2.) Nunchuka Superfly/Bitchcraft/White Knuckle Fever/Baby Machine/Beijing Bikini – Marrickville Bowling Club As someone said to me, ”so great to see so many women on and off stage”.
3.) PopBoomerang night- Ups and Downs/Halfway/ The Aerial Maps – Marrickville Bowling Club |A full house at the Bowlo. Halfway had one of the best live sounds I’ve ever encountered. Ups and Downs the icing on the cake.
4.) The Schizophonics/The Fangin' Felines/The Drop Offs- Marrickville Bowling Club. Exciting garagey fun. The Drop Offs twin drum attack! The family that drums together. This was the last gig before the Covid-19 Sydney lockdown.
KEVIN "BIG DADDY K" CHERRY 2RRR-FM host of "Sydney Sounds" Sydney, Australia
I'm sure that everyone agrees that 2020 has been a shitty year. The worst I can remember in my 60 years on this planet. I'm not generally into reminiscing and my bad short term memory usually prevents me participating in these types of lists. Living on the Northern Beaches area of Sydney and being in lockdown for the second time, however, I've decided to attempt to give my impression of the year's music events.
The last band that I saw before the first lockdown in March (which resulted in all the gigs I had planned to go to in the following weeks collapsing before my eyes like a stack of dominoes) was THE MEZCALTONESat The Orient Hotel in Sydney’s The Rocks district.
THE MEZCALTONES are a fantastic Mewxican Hillbilly Surf band from the Northern Beaches fronted by COL “PADRE” PORTER, his guitar-slinging wife NERALYN and whip-twirling, go-go dancing, singing percussionist, MISS MIMI, as well as the three other members. They always put on an entertaining performance of original songs and crowd pleasing covers and obscurities. They attract an audience that loves to get up and dance.
I also saw them at a socially distanced performance at The Marrickville Bowlo, which was a different atmosphere due to the restrictions, which meant that none of the audience could get up and dance or even stand with a drink in their hand.
PETER ‘ROSSY” ROSS Celebrity Roadie, Jupiter 5 bassist Sydney, Australia
This is a list of things that have caught my eye in 2020 - in no particular order.
WHITE KNUCKLE FEVER Everybody’s favourite two piece have been kicking goals all through the year culminating with a new double single release that is killer. Ross and Celia are not only hard working but one of the funniest bands in Sydney.
OUTTASPACE RECORDS Milly and Adam have been working their rings out throughout the year, releasing high quality record after record. It’s been great watching the rise of their Central Coast colossus. Now they’ve even got their own venue in Woy Woy, The Link and Pin! Honourable mention also goes to Wreckless Enterprises.
LIVE MUSIC OFFICE Sydney’s dormant live music scene won’t return overnight to prominence, and it doesn’t happen by accident. Blokes like John Wardle, and his team, have been pushing for legislative support and reforms to remove the barriers to get live bands into back into venues. They’re kicking some goals and it would be remiss to not acknowledge their massive efforts.
MONDAY EVENING GUNK Live from the little venue that tried, Sydney’s version of CBGBs The Moshpit, MEG was one of the bright spots in a difficult year. Driven by The I-94 Bar’s Barman and Jill “Force of Nature” Dures, it was one part history lesson, Rockwiz knock-off, Molly Meldrum’s Humdrum and a live gig packed into a one hour live stream for 10 weeks… a garage rock version of Countdown if you like. A technical conundrum handled with style by Zac Ruokari from Zenn Streaming, the show was fun to be involved with and we can only hope it gets another airing in 2021.
Catch Chris Masuak (ex-Radio Birdman, Hitmen, Screaming Tribesmen and the New Christs among others) on Monday Evening Gunk at 7:30pm Sydney time on November 2 on the MoshPit Facebook. Klondike will be interviewed by Bob Short (Filth, Dead Rabids) and Tiffany Palmer (Sydney Rock and Roll Markets) before ripping into a live set with his band The Viveiro Wave Riders.
Angelo, Jay and The Celebrity Roadie front up for Jupiter 5.
Jupiter 5 + 50LgE The MoshPit, Erskineville Saturday, May 1, 2021
The Moshpit is such a great venue. Located down the Sydney Park end of Newtown, this is the sort of establishment you would walk past during the day and not even be aware that it existed.
It is, virtually, a corridor with some lounges inside the entrance, a bar, some tables and chairs then the stage. Fantastic intimate vibe with a lot of band memorabilia lining the walls, craft beers on tap and friendly staff and clientele. The Moshpit is currently celebrating three years of operation with many great bands playing - so now you have an extra excuse to visit this iconic venue and check it out.
JOEYS COOP + THE SMART FOLK MoshPit, St Peters, NSW Saturday 26 March, 2022
A Sydney night of intermittent rain stifles the post-COVID nightlife revival. Or so it seems. The Best Little Small Bar in Sydney, The MoshPit, has other ideas - and so do Joeys Coopand supports The Smart Folk.
It almost goes without saying that pandemic lockdowns have put obstacles in the way of everything. Joeys Coop put the release of their second album on ice and tonight is the Sydney leg of a much-delayed world (read: New South Wales) tour to launch “Lachlan Valley Dirt” at The MoshPit in Sydney’s inner-west.
The impacts of the dirty little virus live on. A whole bunch of MoshPit patrons who were at the King Street Crawl gigs a fortnight before were taken down by it. An unrelated infection forced The Smart Folk to play the Sydney Rock ‘n’ Roll & Alternative’s Sixities Stage without bass-player Keith Claringbold.
Tonight’s news is that another wave of COVID infections and the seven-day isolation rule has shut down a two-band bill at the nearby Golden Barley Hotel. A few punters and unaffected band members make their way to this show.
Sydney is in lockdown so local bar MoshPit and I-94 Bar are re-running last year's Monday Evenring Gunk series. Here's Episode 7 "Address to the Nation from Chris Masuak" that went to air on November 3. This episode saw Gunk going international with ARIA Hall of Famer and ex-Radio Birdman guitarist Chris Masuak joining by Zoom with Sydney Rock asnd Roll Mzarklets founder Tiffany Palmer and Bob Short (from Sydney’s first punk band Filth) co-hosting. Watch Chris and his Spanish band The Viveiro Wave Riders give us a face melting set of originals and classics from lockdown in Spain here.
Join Celia and Ross of Sydney's White Knuckle Fever when they chat with special guest Dave Faulkner of the Hoodoo Gurus and The Victims on our "Monday Evening Gunk" Internet TV show at 7.30pm Sydney time on Monday, October 12. You can stream if free from the MoshPit bar Facebook page or catch up here on the day after.
"In The Flesh" with Joeys Coop + Paul Berwick The MoshPit, St Peters, NSW October 11, 2020
I attended a very special show from the delightful Joeys Coop. Must have been something in the stars or numbers - as on 10/10/20 we were part of something special. In these Covid days where we have been starved of live music, the hip MoshPit played host to 20 fans and close associates of the band AND it was live-streamed by Zenn Stream.
I felt hugely privileged being there and in the company of my music bestie after a wonderful Greek taverna feed nearby, and felt obligated to share my thoughts.
For those who need an intro, JC is a supergroup of sorts with the critically acclaimed Brett Myers (Died Pretty) on guitar, Mark Roxburgh (Decline of The Reptiles/ME262) on lead vocals, the engine room of Lloyd Gyi on percussion/vocals (Perry Keyes/ Sicarios et al) and Marc Lynch (Glide), they are a tight and sophisticated outfit who play smart Rock from the heart.
Catch Monday Evening Gunk on the MoshPit Faccebook at 7.30pm every Monday or catch up here every Tuesday. Next up on Gunk: Chris Masuak of Radio Birdman, the Scraming Tribesmen, the Hitmen and the New Christs who will be interviewed by Bob Short (Filth) and Tiffany Palmer (Sydney Rock and Roll Markets) and play a set with his band, The Viveiro Wave Riders.
Phantom Records founder and Radio Birdman roadie/manager Jules RB Normngton chats to old friends Julie Mostyn Gilbert of Flaming Hands and Warwick Gilbert, bassist and graphic artists for Radio Birdman, on on our "Monday Evening Gunk" Internet TV show at 7.30pm Sydney time on Monday, October 26. You'll "Break Down and Cry" if you miss it! You can stream if free from the MoshPit bar Facebook page or catch up here on the day after. If you're in Sydney, admission is free but numbers are limited, and doors open at 6pm.
The latest release on our own I-94 Bar Records is on sale and it's a killer. It's the debut 45 for Sydney band Jupiter 5, "H-Bomb" b/w "Supersonic Hero" and it's unveiled at The MoshPit in Erskineville, Sydney, on Saturday night.
Pre-sales of the vinyl are here and come with an instant download of both A sides and a live cover of the Dictators' "Minnesota Strip", which is on the limited edition CD exclusively on sale at gigs.
Jupiter 5 is a fuzz-laden garage-punk and hard rock five-piece with DNA extracted from Sheek the Shayk, Hitmen DTK, Thurston Howlers, 69BC and the Psychotic Turnbuckles.
They'll be supported by 50LgE,a bulldozing trio from the NSW Far North Coast making their Sydney debut and comprised of former members of the Psychotic Turnbucklesand The Eastern Dark.Doors open at 8pm or you can buy a pass to stream the show here.
The second episode of the I-94 Bar Internet TV show "Monday Evening Gunk" streams live this Monday at 7.30pm (AEST) from the Moshpit Bar in Sydney with swamp rock legend Kim Salmon the special guest.
This week's co-hosts Jay Katz and Tiffany Palmer will talk to Kim about his new album with the Surrealists, "Rantings From The Book of Swamp", as well as matters to do with the Scientists, the Beasts of Bourbon and his numerous other musical and art projects.
"Monday Evening Gunk" is free and comes to you from Moshpit, Zenn Stream, City of Sydney Council and Coopers beer. You can watch it on the Moshpit Facebook page here and register for a reminder at the associated Facebook event here.
It's a night of high octane rock and roll with Simon Chainsaw & The Liberators, The Dark Clouds and Toadvine at the MoshPit Bar in Sydney from 7pm (AEST) on Sunday, April 18. Catch the bands live or watch the stream by grabbiung tickets here.
Check out the magnetism: Paul Berwick, Jiom Diockson, Matt Galvin and Nick Kennedy.
You could say they’re about to “step into the light” because that’s the name of the debut single for Sydney band Paul Berwick’s Magnetic Quartet. Bandleader Paul Berwick was the guitarist, singer and songwriter for Sydney’s late 1980s favourites Happy Hate Me Nots and has teamed with old friends Matt Galvin (guitar), Jim Dickson (bass) and Nick Kennedy (drums) to produce new original songs.
The individual band members have a wealth of experience (Happy Hate Me Nots, Radio Birdman, New Christs, Knievel, Big Heavy Stuff, Died Pretty, The Orange Humble Bandand Settlement)but have played only a couple of shows together as Paul Berwick’s Magnetic Quartet. They’re a class outfit as evidenced by their I-94 Bar promoted support to Leadfinger earlier this year.
They’ll launch the single with good mates Joeys Coop (featuring Died Pretty guitarist Brett Myers) at Sydney’s MoshPit Bar on Friday, November 12. Limited numbers of in-person tickets (and unlimited streaming passes) are selling here. (We’ll post a link to the single on Bandcamp after the gig.)