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.
New York City-based band Phantom Fifth (pictured right) has announced that Chris “Klondike” Masuak will be joining them for shows in California and New York in July.
Phantom Fifth is from New York City and is comprised of expatriate Australian bassist Greg Delves (ex-Inner Sleeves, Radio Luxembourg), Irishman Colin McCarthy (drums) and US-born Paul Stinson (guitar, vocals.)
Formed in 2015, the band bio says it "embraces the sonic sound and dark energy of Nick Cave, Joy Division, The Strokes and The Stooges. The Phantoms' sound is built around dark melodies, shimmering guitars, and propulsive bass lines, with lyrics about wolves, ghosts, murderous paramours, Italian discos, and other manifestations of love and madness".
Originally from California, where he co-founded the "punk Americana" band The Stripminers with members of X and The Donnas, Paul Stinson moved to Brooklyn in 2014 and quickly met up with power pop guru Delves and McCarthy (formerly of Amsterdam-based Belsonic Sound).
The trio immediately began writing, recording and performing in and around NYC and have plans in the works for tours of both the UK and Australia. The band's debut EP is due out in the US Summer of 2016.
July 20 – Brick & Mortar Music Hall, San Francisco, CA July 22 – The Uptown Nightclub, Oakland, CA July 24 – The Viper Room, Hollywood, CA July 29 – The Bowery Electric, NYC
Brian Mann and Mick Medew trading licks in Thirroul. Shona Ross photo.
Gonna break that rule about not reviewing I-94 Bar gigs, as the second of this two-night engagement was badged thus. If you can’t write about things you like, what’s the point? It’s the ethos of why we do this e-zine thing.
So let’s be up front and say that Mick Medew is a good mate and his band, The Mesmerisers, are lovely people. In customary evangelical spirit, I’m unashamedly going to tell you that if you love rock and roll then you have to see them - in their native Brisbane or on one of their few forays outside of Queensland.
The first leg of this two-night weekend stand was a support to the mighty Sunnyboys, opening a bill shared with the mercurial Ups & Downs. The venue was the magic Anita’s Theatre in Thirroul, an hour-and-a-bit south of Sydney. The second was a Sydney show at the increasingly familiar stamping ground of Marrickville Bowling Club. The Mesmerisers are making the road trip a family affair with partners and two offspring in tow.
Hello from the Dimboola farmhouse folks and has it been rocking here! The reason is that Chris “Klondike” Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders have released a rocking good album. Their second long player, “Address to the Nation”, is the follow-up to 2016’s “Brujita” and is pure guitar driven tracks from start to finish.
Myself, I think it’s a lot stronger than the first album - there is less pop and more grunt.
Well, let’s start with any folks who are not savy to Klondike’s cv: RADIO BIRDMAN, HITMEN , THE NEW CHRISTS, JUKE SAVAGES, NORTH 40 and the wonderful SCREAMING TRIBESMEN. To name a few.
The first autobiography from a Radio Birdman member is on its way. “Faith and Practice in Bedlam” is by the band's former guitarist Chris "Klondike" Masuak (Screaming Tribesmen, Hitmen, The Raouls, Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders, New Christs, Juke Savages, Klondike’s North 40) and is 4-6 weeks from release.
It’s on WestAustralian imprint High Voltage Publishingand the 280-page paperback is available here at the special pre-order price of $A24.95.
Says its editor (and I-94 Bar writer) Robert Brokenmouth: “When he decided to write about his life, Masuak found that his writing came in short, precise bursts, like songs.
“After a while, he realised that the order in which these stories should be read should not be chronological, but thematic.
“Also, he discovered that his life, as reflected here, formed a trajectory of self-discovery, with redemption peeping out from the wings. To allow us to dwell on that story of self-discovery, most real names have been disguised or omitted.”
1. The Damned at The Triffid, Brisbane, March 15 A school night: Wednesday. The Mesmerisers go on at 7.30pm to a packed house. We carve, the crowd makes us feel like they are there to see us. The Damned 's tour manager remarks that he has never encountered a support band being granted a bottle of Gordon's gin as part of their drink rider: another milestone ticked.
The Damned play for two-and-a-half hours - brilliantly. They are a big hit with the audience - and with Captain Sensible back in the band, they could hardly miss.
2. Perfect Match Now I do know where she comes from: Banyo. I’ve got a Date with a Banyo girl, tonight.
3. Died Pretty, Radio Birdman and The Mesmerisers at The Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane, June 23 The crowd have all turned up early and turn on to us straight away. Died Pretty get better every time I see them. They always were a fantastic band.
4. Perfect Purchase My Zoom H5 portable recording device does everything i wanted it to.
5. Gap Farmers Markets, Brisbane, June 25 Andrew Ross and Co sure know how to put on a festival . We go on before dusk. I wear my sunglasses for half the set. Michael again chooses the right shirt for the occasion.
I suppose my prevailing sentiment has been one of simmering frustration and anger at a world more out of control and stupid than I can remember. Perhaps it’s always been this way and I’m only noticing it in my dotage.
Whatever the reason, I’m noticing that personal selfishness and cultural callousness are the new black and that I just haven’t been able to continue being my usual conciliatory self.
It’s difficult to believe that Chris Masuak is only in the second half of his 50’s when you examine his output. It’s been a diverse and solid career, spanning almost four decades.
He was in his late teens when he joined Radio Birdman. He was half of the sound of the “twin-guitar attack” that assaulted Sydney with its array of proto-punk influences, to forever stake Birdman a claim as one of the most influential bands the city has produced.
Then there were the post-Birdman bands. The Hitmen never had the songs, in my opinion, but they always delivered as a live act. Masuak’s guitar playing was the stand-out. Chris was still in his early 20’s and still forging his own style. It lay somewhere between the technical brilliance of Mountain and the pop-rock sensibility of The Dictators.
A vinyl fanatic you may be, but owning most of these 26 tracks in their original format would set you back almost as much as a down-payment on a modest piece of real estate in the over-heated Sydney property market. So put aside your collector scum aspirations and focus on the merits of this formidable collection of ‘60s gems on CD instead.
Australia’s garage and beat history is under-appreciated - despite the best efforts of labels like Raven and others of dubious legal standing - so new imprint Playback is a welcome market entrant. “I Want, Need, Love You” focuses on the output of The 5, Toni McCann, The Black Diamonds and The Pogs, spanning the period 1965-68, with about half the tracks new to CD. As many as possible have been sourced from the original masters.
Our own loss-leading I-94 Bar Records is proud to announce the imminent release of "OPen Season", the new album by Mick Medew and The Mesmeriers.
Led by Brisbane legend Mick Medew, the band includes members of his Screaming Tribesmen, the Lipstick Killers, The 31st and Shy Impostors. "Open Season" is available for pre-order from our Bandcamp now and will be out on CD and digitally from June 4. Enjoy this teaser and the ordering link is here.
Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers bring their killer brand of rocking powerpop to New South Wales in March for just two shows.
Catch them Friday, March 27 at Marrickville Bowling Club in Sydney and Sunday, March 29 at Mayfield Bowling Club in the Hunter.
The only Sydney show pairs them with Peter Simpson and his Vanity Project, the rock machine par excellence led by Peter Simpson of The Dubrovniks and his hand-picked line-up.
Opening proceedings will be local psychedelic-garage rock super-group Jupiter 5, with members of Psychotic Turnbuckles, Buffalo Revisited and Sheek the Shayk. Tickets are on sale here.
It’s 4pm doors at Mayfield where the supports are Imaginary Things, The Stoids and The Perils. The Mesmerisers hit the stage at 9.30pm.
“Open Season” is the latest album for Mick Medew and the Mesmerisers (on I-94 Bar Records) and it’s full of clever, hooky song-writing, a soulful engine room and driving guitars.
And of course there’s the unique voice of Mick Medew, front-man for the Screaming Tribesmen, the Brisbane-born and Sydney-bred pop-rock legends who topped independent charts in Australia and the US in the ‘80s.
Long regarded as one of Queensland rock and roll's most venerable singer-songwriters, Mick Medew is returning to a Sydney stage after a five-year absence with his band The Mesmerisers.
With one album ("The Mesmerisers") under their belt and another underway, Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers will play Marrickville Bowling Club on Saturday, February 24, with support from Loose Pills and The Dark Clouds. Tickets are on sale here.
The Sydney show has been added to follow a support to The Sunnyboys in Thirroul on February 23.
Vocalist-guitarist Medew is co-founder of the Screaming Tribesmen and more recently leader of Mick Medew and The Rumours, and he's been making a mark on Brisbane (and Australian) music for more than 30 years.
Originally a member of seminal inner-city Brisbane band The 31st, whose ranks included future members of the Hoodoo Gurus, the Hitmen and Died Pretty, Medew went on to front the Screaming Tribesmen, a band schooled in tough guitar rock overlaid with alternately hooky and plaintive melodies.
The Tribesmen outgrew their home town and moved to Sydney in the 1980s, becoming Australian independent music chart toppers with the classic single "Igloo".
The band lasted 16 years, signed to a US label, released three albums and toured North America and Europe (twice) before Mick moved home to Queensland and put them on hiatus in 1993. Reunions for tours followed in 2011 (Australia) and 2012 (Europe).
The new album from Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders is out in early August on I-94 Bar Records and we’ve opened pre-orders. The lead-off track "1776" is embedded above. Place an order here.
“Address to the Nation” is full of trademark Masuak melodies and power with harmonies, a wide-ranging record where powerpop gems rub shoulders with bristling, muscular rock and roll, and punk. It’s in a similar vein to its predecessor, “Brujita”, but a touch harder-edged and more pointed, with lyrical insights about life, love and the sorry state of geopolitics, all powered by Klondike's ace Spanish band There’s also a healthy dose of satire, lurking deep in its grooves.
If you pre-order, your copy of the CD will be sent the day the album arrives back from the pressing plant. You’ll also receive a full digital copy, with bonuses, shortly before. If you're in the market for vinyl, we'll keep yuou posted.
Copies of these four songs have been circulating for years and two have surfaced on compilations. The balance were re-recorded by members’ subsequent bands. But don’t kid yourself that you don’t need this vinyl only 12-inch EP.
The 31st started when future members of Died Pretty (Ron Peno and Chris Welsh), the Screaming Tribesmen (MIck Medew) and the Hitmen/New Christs/Screaming Tribesmen (Tony Robertson) started playing shows in a strip club and anywhere else that would have them. Evidently, they played no one style of music - which must have been confusing for the Brisbane punks, boogie-heads and blues fans to pin a tail on.
The 31st were a future supergroup before those things were called that in Australia. They kicked around the undergrowth of Brisbane’s downtrodden music scene in the early 1980s, and fell to pieces before anyone outside of it saw or heard them.
Future Hoodoo Guru Brad Shepherd was to briefly become a member although he's not on these recordings.
Only people of a certain age will “get” this review. The term "Guilty Pleasure" will not be used at any point.
Admit it, punk. If you grew up in Australia in the 1970s and ‘80s (OK, you were might have been underage and still growing up, but you could sneak into licensed premises) and lived anywhere outside of Melbourne and Sydney’s inner-city regions, a dose of Pub Rock was unavoidable. A way of life, even.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all and thank for your support throughout another year. Things right across the board have been slower and less frequent although there are still many good things to report.
1. In March Ursula and I began recording out first full length album together. It is due for release early March 2022 on I-94 Bar Records.
2. April 25 – Died Pretty Mick Medew and Ursula supported The Died Pretty at The Triffid. Ron was in wonderful form as was the band and I continue to find The Triffid one of my favourite venues in Australia to play or have a night out. 3. May 9 - Dave Graney and Clare Moore at The Junk Bar, Ashgrove.
Great guitar pop is timeless and that’s what Sydney’s The On and Ons have delivered (again) on their second long-player.
Well established on the strength of their 2015 debut, “It’s The On And Ons Calling”, Morris and Co have doubled down on the pop factor on “Welcome Aboard”. The rock is turned down just a tad and (to these ears at least) it takes a few more listens for the songs to take hold.
Truth-be-told, I almost marked it down half-a-beer for not rocking as much as the debut - but the pop smarts won out.
Their legacy was just two LPs and a stack of singles but Fixed Up’s punky and soulful garage rock touched people in their native France and all the way around to the other side of the world in Australia.
A lot’s been made about the Sydney-Detroit connection, mainly through Radio Birdman and its now fading local musical legacy. The irrefutable fact was that Birdman and its associated influences ruled the Sydney roost in the early 1980s. As true as that was, you can make a strong case for the affinity between Australia and France being almost as important, once the Sydney underground scene started to diversify and expand.
The Franco-Ausstralian link was made when John Needham, chief of seminal Sydney label Citadel Records, started dealing with the likes of Sonics Records in France. Suddenly, there was a pipeline for Australian bands to have their music heard on the Continent - meaning outside the UK where the perpetually jaded music press briefly adopted Aussie arty pop, junkie rock and the swamp sound for a time.