It is always hard to cut it down to ten but here goes.
Ice Cream Hands supported by Bryan Estapa Band- Factory Floor, Sydney A great night of cleverly and carefully crafted power pop from Ice Cream Hands as Charles Jenkins and co bewitched us again with their sublime sounds. Support act Bryan Estapa Band were also a delight with their songs that owe a bit of a nod to high quality 70s AM radio sounds.
Charlotte and The Harlots/COFFIN/Turbobelco/Generation Landslide/Hy Test/Neptune Power Federation – Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney All killer no filler as this mighty bill saw each band up the ante and be better than the one before them. COFFIN and Neptune Power Federation were especially outstanding.
Thee Marshmallow Overcoat – The Caravan Club, Oakleigh, Melbourne. Ashley Naylor, Davey Lane and Brett Wolfie playing two sets of their favourites from the 60s and 70s. Do I need to say more?
Ice Cream Hands – The Caravan Club, Oakleigh, Melbourne. Oh yes, the night after Thee Marshmallow Overcoat, at the same venue. Bliss, heaven on a stick and a more sympathetic mix than was apparent at the Factory Floor show.
The Dark Clouds/Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers/Radio Birdman – Factory Theatre The Dark Clouds showed why they are one of the best hard rock bands around but it was Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers who wowed the crowd with their set. Peppered with tracks from the Open Season album and select gems from Mick’s back catalogue they were the stars of the night. Radio Birdman also delivered a fine set and it was probably Rob Younger’s best vocal performance with RB for some time.
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.
I couldn’t find a clear winner for Gig of the Year for 2018. Here are 10 that were special.
TODD RUNDGREN – Oxford Art Factory. His Toddness, the runt ,the hermit of Milk Hollow. Backed by a cracking band Davey Lane’s Drunken Blue Roosters, Todd took us from The Nazz, through his AM hits and on a detour to play many songs he admitted to not having played live for some time, if at all.
Great songs, top musicianship and Todd really seemed to be enjoying himself.
￼1) Died Pretty at Factory Theatre, Sydney Astounding, amazing, Ron Peno sounding great and enjoying himself. What am I saying? The whole band sounded great.
2) Died Pretty at Factory Theatre for Spencer Jones Benefit Not content with being brilliant just once, they came back and proved it wasn’t a fluke, a pretty (!) tough trick, given the more relaxed vibe of the evening and the fact they were playing a short set.
3) Los Chicos - Marrickville Bowling Club I’d never seen nor heard them but trusted the raves of folks with good taste and went along! What a night! So much fun. Notable Celibate/New Christ/Leadfinger/Birdman guests joining in all star renditions of MC5 and Flamin’ Groovies classics..let alone the quality of the originals.
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.
Yesterday Repeating - The Smart Folk (self released)
There’s a treasure trove of slightly backward-looking, beat and mod-based pop by veterans coming out of the UK on a coterie of labels like State Records and Damaged Goods right now. Aussie band The Smart Folk would be right at home on either of them.
It doesn't have the explosive pop brashness of The Embrooks or the raw swagger of Graham Day or CTMF, but “Yesterday Repeating” displays its own slightly darker charm.
Born out of a mod revival duo in Sydney six years ago, these old codgers have become a staple on their hometown’s small but tenacious live scene. “Yesterday Repeating” is their debut full-length album and it’s reflective of the quartet’s stylistic starting point without being limited by it.
Rubber Necker - Hollywood Hotel, Surry Hills. Three sets!! Free admission! On a school night! In Surry Hills! Just like the old days and Rubber Necker were brilliant. Their debut album is coming in 2023.