2. New Rock Syndicate Masami Kawaguchi from Tokyo graced us with his stunning soul again this year. Please refer to everything Penny Ikinger said in her Top 10. This gentleman is the most startling, perfect and inspiring guitarist I have ever seen and a true darling of a human being. Eternally grateful to have met him. Look at anything he has done, please. You’re welcome.
3. The Kids Are Alright You know when you’re 32 and you think rocknroll has probably hit its comfortable slippers and pipe phase, and will be unlikely to return to what you’ve felt it to be in your life. Then you get to 39 etc. and realise ashamedly that you were very wrong. About most things, pretty much everything - it is an experience that spans generations, and is one of the many joys of ageing.
So many “young people” (definition pending, vomit pooling in throat) made music that blew my tiny mind out of my ears this year. Please pay attention to a band called Cable Ties, and one called Stiff Richards. Important, incendiary, vital, nasty, gorgeous, respectful, clumsy, intricate, hot, cold and wild. You may select which adjective attaches to which band yourself - like a choose your own adventure! God, this one has been bloody ridiculous, I’m sorry and you’re welcome.
If there's one recent (i.e. it came out in late 2009 and is still being spun) Australian album that merits robbing a bank, mugging your neighbour or running down to Cash Converters and pawning your partner so you can purchase a copy, it's "Living With You Is Killing Me" by Brisbane band HITS.
1) White Stripes –Vault #33 Icky Thump X Third Man Records Vault only release, 10 year anniversary edition. Includes a wacko coloured vinyl re-press of the double album plus two bonus albums containing all the non-album b-sides and the full demos housed in a way out box. The demos are furious ! Only released for a few months via Third Man Records.
2) Shy Impostors CD (maxi EP/mini album CD) Unleashed by those God-loving folks at Citadel Records. Seven demos recorded 1980 and now finally after a loving re-mix by Jason Blackwell sound truly fab. The songs, vocals and rough as guts musicianship by these proto legends are gold. Melodic and dirty.
3) Buffalo Revisited gig at Brewtality Festival in Melbourne Is it truly an honour for me after being a Buffalo fan since 1974 to be playing with their mighty vocalist Dave Tice with some fellow Buffalo maniacs (Troy and Marcus). And to be playing those great songs (a mind melt to learn btw). We hit our cosmic groove at the Brewtality Festival in Melbourne; more to come for sure.
This year was returning to my childhood and gromit years - teenage times as well as inner-city music, alternative and garage rock, beer-soaked pubs and the alternative. Namely the Beatles, Midnight Oil and Patti Smith.
Patti Smith and Paul McCartney get the guernsey for the best gigs of the year. And for the same reasons. Both artists are incredible live and these final tours were a massive thank you to the fans…
1 Macca at Suncorp Brisbane Sir Paul delivered on all fronts. With the most thoughtful visual show and a hit every minute over those three hours and ten minutes, it ranged from pure, four-on-the-floor garage rock with guitars sonically attacking to more mellow stuff.
From “I Want To Be Your Lover” which would have made the Stones sound like a get-together at a nursing home to “Helter Skelter”, to the bombastic, “Live And Let Die” which inflamed the stadium, the cheesy “Mull of Kintyre” with a 25-piece pipe band, to the solo acoustic moments with “Blackbird”, this was gold. Macca’s voice, his insights, wit and humility, and his guitar playing were magnificent; 42 songs played. I won’t forget it a hurry.
1 Patti Smith at the State Theatre and spoken word at Sydney Opera House Another pair of gigs where Patti gave 300 percent. Patti engaged us with insights, stories and, as with Macca, showed a great deal of humility. The band, led by Lenny Kaye, at times still had the intensity of 1975 CBGBs Patti, yet with overtones of a grandmother and an earth mother.
The Top 10 People I Love In RocknRoll That Make Me Love People In RocknRoll (2017 Edition)
1. Shannon Cannon Shannon is an A1 World Class Top Shelf Human. She is somehow simultaneously all ticker, all smarts, all love, all staunchness, all practicality and logic yet all compassion and instinct. That kinda mix just don't happen often.
From her borderline illegal and harmful practical jokes on idiots she works with to her endless efforts and love to rehabilitate her dear daschund Bruce to walk again against all odds and massive financial hurdles, she is a wave crossing the full spectrum of traits of inspiring people.
Shannon takes this all into her music, I've seen it get pummelled outta her on stage playing bass like a war machine, I've seen it in the drive and focus with which she has forged Juliette Seizure and the Tremor Dolls (incidentally the majority of which are honourable mentions for this top 10), and I've seen it in the difficult, taxing and uncomfortable work she does/has done to earn money to fund music. I've seen it in the minimal twitch of her eye in place of a fist to the cock that she chose to use to respond to a dear and misguided friend of mine's amazement at her wearing a Dictators shirt ("a chick! Wearing a Dictators shirt!"). Shannon is the real deal whatever the hell that means to any of us.
Honourable Mention: Tremor Doll Graeme Cole (happiest man in rocknroll) and of course Bruce.
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.
In a parallel historical universe the vast southern continent now known as Australia might have been conquered by France.
While France was still a functioning monarchy at the time Captain James Cook invoked the now discredited legal fiction of Terra Nullius to claim the territory on behalf of the English throne; by the time Arthur Phillip lobbed into Botany Bay in 1788, France was starting to buckle in the face of rising bourgeois unrest, and had bigger internal fish to fry (or heads to lop, as the case may be).
Evil Dick Enterprises is the latest incarnation for Evil Dick, formerly of Strutter, the Aampirellas and currently the frontman for one of Australia’s best-loved bands, HITS. While HITS remain a sporadic going concern (you couldn’t kill that band with an axe), Evil Dick Enterprises launched as Richard’s official side project on New Year's Day 2020.
Evil Dick’s “plan” is to make music outside the framework of HITS and the first project is a digital single, half the proceeds of which are being donated to Rural Fire Services in the wake of Australia’s devastating summer bushfires.
“I Hope That No-One Knows” is a haunting, ethereal debut that you can hear and grab with its B side, “Lovecats”, at Evil Dick Industries’ Bandcamp site. Here’s what various people are saying about it:
With a guitar sound dirtier than a mud wrestler’s crotch after a dozen championship belt rounds and 10 short, sharp songs delivered in no-nonsense and rapid succession, the debut full-length album from Brisbane punk trio Shrewms hits the Rock Action bullseye with grim accuracy.
These are high-tensile tunes delivered with lashings of gutter rock charm and despite the clever wordplay in the title, you won’t find any Westboro Baptist Church choir numbers among them. Unless the congregation has taken to gargling with paint stripper instead of fundamentalist Kool-Aid.
One of Australia’s few remaining dangerous rock and roll bands, Brisbane's wonderful HITS, is heading out on the road again in February…and it’s all in the name of Disaster Relief.
WTF? We’ll let the band explain in its own words:
“As many of you already know 2014 was a bittersweet year us little Hitsies, but behind the scenes things went quite a bit shit.
“Gregor broke his leg quite badly, Evil is currently sporting two broken ribs and ringworm, Tam almost had her finger amputated, Stace fell off her balcony and someone tried to cut Andy's rats tail off while he was asleep. But we aint dead yet!!!
“We are hitting the road again with some of our best friends and bringin' our bullshit with us to spread across your toast like Vegemite.”
Here’s the word on the dates they’ll play. More details about venues and supports as soon as they send ‘em:
FEB 26. NEWCASTLE with FRONT END LOADER FEB 27. SYDNEY with FRONT END LOADER FEB 28. WOLLONGONG with FRONT END LOADER MAR 6. MELBOURNE with THE NEW CHRISTS MAR 7. GOLDEN PLAINS FESTIVAL (SOLD OUT) MAR 9. GEELONG with THE OBLIVIANS (USA), WARPED + More MAR 13 BRISBANE WITH MICK MEDEW AND THE RUMOURS MAR 20 ADELAIDE WITH THE MEATBEATERS MAR 21 ADELAIDE WITH THE MEATBEATERS
The chaotic, unpredictable and, dare we say it, dangerous thing that is Brisbane band HITS have announced that their long-awaited second album is on its way on Queensland label Conquest Of Noisein April.
Do you miss the thrill of the unexpected? Do you long for the anticipation and uncertainty that goes with risk taking and the sudden inhale of breath in response to seeing someone break the rules? You need to visit The Imperial Hotel in Sydney’s Erskineville on a Friday night.
Forget the clichés about French rock and roll bands being full of pale and inspid breadstick-chewers who can barely rock and are lamentably unable to roll. This Paris trio can do both as well as almost anyone you can name, and might just be the best band you’ve never heard.
3 Headed Dog are Brenko (guitar), Vinz (bass) and Manga (drums.) All have been members of anarchic noisemeisters, Dimi Dero Inc, and the late Holy Curse, who for mine were the best rock and roll outfit in 20 years to have crawled from under the lid the establishment keeps firmly on France’s underground music scene.
Last night, Jim Dickson (of the New Christs et al) feigned fear of my venomous penmanship. As if I’d write a bad word about Jim! The trouble began when the Barman sent me a pile of his old rubbish over to review. It’s not my fault he needed someone to put the boot in. Besides, I just called it as I saw it. Now everyone thinks I’m out to do them in. Here’s a review to prove that you only need fear me if you produce crap. I will give you every chance to prove me wrong and I’ll admit it when you do.
How many rock and roll tours have you heard about where the people booking the run are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts for a band they’ve never met? That’s the unlikely scenario behind the Australian East Coast visit by Perth’s The Bible Bashers.
Brisbane’s endearing gutter punks HITS andJames Doyle from Raygun Mortlock are the benevolent bookers getting right behind The Bible Bashers' tour starting in Queensland tonight.
HITS and The BibleBashers will meet for the first time at Stones Corner Hotel In Brisbane ,and the pairing will continue all weekend with shows at Curummbin Creek Tavern on the Gold Coast (Saturday) and Condong Bowls Club in NSW (Sunday).
Gigs in Newcastle and Sydney follow with a finale at The Record Crate in Sydney on October 1.
You can have a listen to The Bible Bashers on Bandcamp and, if so inclined, see them in person at one of their shows. They also hang out on Facebook.
Turn up early as all the supports are behind this tour, too.
Bible Bashers East Coast Tour Stones Corner Hotel, Brisbane with HITS - Sept 22 Currumbin Creek Tavern, Gold Coast with HITS - Sept 23 Condong Bowls Club, Condong with HITS - Sept 24 Lass O'Gowrie Hotel, Wickham with The Grounds - Sept 27 The Union Hotel, Newtown with Thee Evil Twin - Sept 28 Time & Tide Hotel, Dee Why with The Mis-Made - Sept 29 Frankies Pizza, Sydney with Mumbofish + Marvel - Sept 30 The Record Crate, Glebe, NSW - Oct 1
Radio Birdman is playing a limited number of Australian East Coast shows over two weekends this September/October, before heading off for a 22 date tour of Europe.
The Australian run will coincide with the release of "Descent into the Maelstrom”, the Jonathan Sequeira-produced documentary dealing with the band's rise and demise in the late 70's and later re-emergence.
The documentary has received great attention at various film festivals in London, Glasgow, Norway, Amsterdam and Detroit and is now scheduled for local release on DVD with bonus content this September.
It will be available at the band's shows, online and via discerning retail outlets.
Supports on this tour will include Adalita (Melbourne), Brisbane's Hits (Brisbane and Sydney) and all shows will feature special guests from Spain Los Chicos.
RADIO BIRDMAN AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2018 SEPT 27 - Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne + Adalita + Los Chicos 28 - The Triffid, Brisbane + Hits + Los Chicos 30 - The Gov, Adelaide + Los Chicos + The Sunday Reeds OCT 6 - Manning Bar, Sydney + Hits + Los Chicos + DJ Frank Cotterell
Tickets for all shows are on sale from Wednesday. June fromOztix.