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Dead of Winter Festival 2019

Jubilee Hotel and The Tivoli – 13 July 2019

svetlanas - dead of winter festival 2019 - photography Bec Harbour Photography
Svetlanas – DOW19 Bec Harbour Photography

The annual metal and punk festival is in its 10th year and its only bigger and better in each of its incarnations. Held at the Jubilee Hotel and The Tivoli, there were 6 stages to choose from as well as an absolute trove of bands to see.

The day kicked off at The Tivoli on the Young Henry’s Stage with Blue Savannah Underworld and the wind blowing a gale. These guys had a tambourine player (is that a usual thing or was he unable to play a guitar that day?) and were going hard in the bright windy sunshine of their 12.15 slot. Then it was inside to see Patient Lounge. I am always in awe of a band like Patient Lounge, they have absolute musicianship, but are able to windmill their hair while playing.

Next I went and saw Hammers, there was a good sized crowd waiting at the Riffs and Licks Stage, and they did not disappoint, with crowd banter and lead singer Fish crooning into his jazz styled microphone. Then it was over to the Hysteria Stage where The Wrath were sound checking. I really didn’t know what to expect from The Wrath, but my curiousity was piqued when their bass player rocked up with a double bass looking like a member of The Cure. I was pleasantly surprised by a band that sounds like the Misfits sped up.

I then went upstairs to the Drum Cartel Stage to see The Gastons – I feel like I haven’t seen them play in like an eternity and they are still a lot of fun to see live, even in a tiny function room.

The next band on my list was Whiskey & Speed on the 4ZZZ stage in the Jubilee carpark. Faces painted with what only can be described as zombie Hello! Kitty masks and Loki with his usual bright outfit they played an energetic set, complete with confetti canons and the front row of punters with glitter hats.

Then things got confusing, bands were getting delayed at airports because of the wind, social media algorithms did not help getting the message out so I missed Bare Bones and Rick Dangerous and the Silky Bantams. I caught Nick Oliveri’s accoustic set up at the Young Henry’s stage and drank a coffee from the very awesome Death Before Decaf people.

I watched the tail end of The Decline, then went down to get ready for The Svetlanas. Many of the people I spoke to were very keen to see The Svetlanas for more reasons than the music. Olga Svetlana is a photographers dream, political, expressive and punk as fuck. They brought Nick Oliveri on stage for a few songs and made him look almost harmless.

Festival favourites Flangipanis (say that fast) were next. I will never get sick of seeing Flangipanis and they suit a big stage so they can fire off their toilet paper leaf blower contraptions and throw pool toys into the crowd. They are a band that loves interacting with their crowd on their own terms.

The next part of the festival was when the serious timetable clashes were, The Go Set, Horace Bones, HITS and Blowhard. Horace Bones were the ultimate winner for me, as they were upstairs on the smaller stage I decided to get there early then go back down to the Hysteria Stage to catch the second half of Blowhard. Horace Bones had other ideas. Horace Bones are a bunch of dangerous guys in a band and aren’t afraid of a crowd that at this stage are pretty topped up. It did not take long for vocalist Oisin to jump off the stage into the crowd into a group that had been heckling him from the get go. With a mic cord and some pushing and shoving going on, the media crew stayed on the sidelines trying to capture the mayhem. This also meant that I was very late to see Blowhard and the stage area was packed.

I took a well deserved dinner break – the food options at Dead of Winter were amazing, I chose to have chips and salt and pepper calamari from the chippy truck, but there was also Greek, South American and vegetarian options.

Next was Mammal, I caught lead singer Zeke, with his current project Ezekiel Ox a few weeks earlier at the Black Bear Lodge, I wonder how many Mammal fans would have enjoyed his new band (who are funkier and sludgier if that’s a thing) than Mammal? The media pit was bedlam with nearly all photographers working the festival in that tiny gap.

Then it was back to the Jube for Bodyjar. It was my first time seeing them live, having spent my youth in a town where no bands toured. They played my favourite cover ‘Hazy Shade of Winter’ and were definitely a crowd favourite.

Then it was back to the Fireball Stage at The Tivoli for COG. COG fans are everywhere at this festival and they are a popular band (on band shirt Fridays there are an incredible amount of COG shirts at my work). Seeing them live for the first time, I can see why they have such loyal fans. Their stage spectacle and musicianship is amazing. They wrapped up the Dead of Winter festival for 2019 in true spectacle.

Dead of Winter will get bigger next year and has potentially outgrown the Jubilee Hotel and The Tivoli venues. It has been 10 years in the making and is a fantastic mid-winter local festival. At no point was there any issues other than wind causing scheduling problems, and everyone was there just to have a great time and see some loud fast music.

West Thebarton – the ‘Tops’ tour

The Triffid – Brisbane – 21 June 2019

Ray, lead singer of West Thebarton at the Triffid 21 June 2019
Ray – West Thebarton – The Triffid – photo Bec Harbour

If you are not from Adelaide, you might not realise that you pronounce the second half of West Thebarton’s name as theb-arton not thee-barton. Formerly known as West Thebarton Brothel Party, they recently dropped the extra baggage and became a band to see live.

There are things that can make or break a show for a photographer and 2 of the biggest happened at West Thebarton’s stop at The Triffid, bad lighting and an unruly crowd. In between the venue getting plunged into darkness then bathed in all of the lights and being clocked in the back of the head by a punter we do what we can.

The evening kicked off with Being Jane Lane, one of my favourite local bands. They always seem to be having such a good time on stage and tonight was no different. They were followed by A. Swayze and the Ghosts. Frontman Andrew Swayze didn’t stay on the stage long, climbing over the barrier into the crowd to a chorus of “do a shoey” (note to fans – they dont do shoeys and they are gross – stop asking for them). I very much regret not going and seeing A. Swayze and the Ghosts at BIGSOUND last year, from all accounts they went off at all venues they played at.

After an amazing set from 2 amazing support bands the anticipation for West Thebarton was building. Touring for their latest single Tops and some great live shows to back them, this was a much anticipated gig for many. And they did not disappoint. They played a ripping set including Moving Out, Set It Straight and of course their new single Tops. Lead singer Ray telling the crowd at one point to “have fun and enjoy yourself, but don’t be dick” when drinks started getting dropped over the D barrier (maybe some people weren’t letting go of the shoey thing?).

West Thebarton were Tops. They have a loyal following and most people were there to have a good time and see some amazing music played. Great gig from a great band, with great choices in support acts.

Gallery – photos by Bec Harbour

Ezekiel Ox – Cheering Bombs from Deckchairs

The Blackbear Lodge Brisbane – June 13, 2019 – words & pictures by Bec Harbour

Most people would be familiar with Ezekiel Ox from fronting funk metal band Mammal (who are on the line up for Dead of Winter festival this year). With a new EP Cheering Bombs from Deckchairs and touring Australia from top to bottom, the prolific Ezekiel Ox brand has a refreshing urgency not often heard in music right now, with the funk element making you want to dance right along to some hard rocking music.

Supporting band Born Lion from Sydney were first up, they were loud on their soundcheck, and they were loud during their set (thank fuck for earplugs). A hardcore influenced punk outfit, that would seem right at home in the 90’s, their blistering set should be taken in by more people (get there early to the gigs people – I can’t say it enough, there is a reason your band have chosen their support act – THEY like them).

Born Lion – The Blackbear Lodge – photo Bec Harbour

Ezekiel Ox and band were up next and tore through the new music from the EP (check out the video for Meglomania in fact you can check out the whole new EP here) as well as some older stuff. Zeke was off the stage early on, interacting with the audience and making the most of the small space.

The band was tight, and the front man was charismatic and fully engaged with the small crowd. I highly recommend getting along and seeing them as they are another step up live from their recordings (Adelaide and Darwin still to go).

Gallery

Press Club

The Foundry – 1 June 2019

Natalie Foster – Press Club at the Foundry – photo Bec Harbour

Press Club have just finished touring around the UK and Europe and have just dropped themselves into an Australian tour. You would think that they would be exhausted but no. Press Club put on one of the highest energy shows that I have seen in a long time.

They were supported by local band Blussh (who I missed as I had a 40th to attend) and Melbourne band Mid City. Mid City played a high energy set but were left looking lethargic (they weren’t) in comparison to Press Club’s energy.

Singer Natalie Foster came on stage with the biggest grin and engaged with the front row of adoring fans. They reeled off song after song from their release from last year Late Teens as well as the single they are touring for “Get Better”.

It looks like they are back off to Europe and the UK again in August, if you can I highly recommend that you get along and see them while they play these smaller shows in Australia – the audience interaction and energy is well worth it.

Stones Corner Festival

Sunday May 5, 2019 – Photos by Bec Harbour

The Stones Corner Festival raises money for MND and Me Foundation, while showcasing brewers and foodtrucks and celebrating Stones Corner.

Stones Corner is slowly coming out of a dry patch, many retailers left when the outlet stores that populated the shopping moved themselves out to DFO. The precinct was left a bit empty and with no reason for people to go there, the area went quiet. Newer retailers and eateries began moving in, the pub went through a revitalisation and the Stones Corner Festival was born 6 years ago.

Headlined by Jebediah, Area 7 and Brisbane favourite Darren Middleton, the music line up was stellar, with a bit of everything for everyone. With the biggest attendance to date, the crowds still moved freely, and people had places to sit and catch up. A kid oriented play area down the Old Cleveland Road end ensured that the festival had a family vibe. The festival is only going to get bigger next year (they might need to expand a bit!) and if they deliver the amazing music, craft brewers and food offerings again, it will continue to grow.

Gallery

Philadelphia Grand Jury

24 April 2019 – The Blackbear Lodge – words and pictures by Bec Harbour

In 2009, Hope is for Hopers was a breath of fresh air in Australian music when it was wandering about not really knowing what to do with itself. I’d stopped listening to Triple J and had moved across to sourcing my new music from the internet. Philadelphia Grand Jury, or as their kick drum skin proclaims – the Philly J’s, didn’t sound like like much else out there.

They still don’t.

The Philly J’s are an eclectic mix, their sound has evolved but their high energy has remained the same – they move around the stage more than any other band I have photographed AND this includes drummer Dan W. Sweat who at the end of the set got his kit moved into the crowd.

They were supported by Georgie Nielsen and the Palms and Jaguar Jonze. I missed Georgie Nielsen and the Palms, by all accounts I missed a great set from them (darn Valley parking). Jaguar Jonze played an amazing set – they just keep getting better every time I see them play.

The Philly J’s started their set with No You Don’t. Second song was Ready to Roll.Their set was carefully constructed with crowd favourites sandwiched with the brand new song $10K – and recorded dialogue (I was trying to work out how Simon “Berkfinger” Berckelman was speaking – turns out you record your stage banter prior to the gig). At the end of the set Berckelman and Joel “MC Bad Genius” Beeson swapped guitar and bass duties, then handed them off to members of the audience while they moved the drum kit into the audience.

This was a great gig, they only have one show left to play after this one (Gum Ball Festival in the Hunter Valley). If you missed this gig, you might have missed out on seeing them for a while.

Meg Mac – Give Me Back My Name

Tivoli – 13 April 2019 – reviewed by Bec Harbour

Meg Mac – Tivoli – photo Bec Harbour Photography

Meg Mac has had a busy 6 months since the Brisbane Festival last year. Meg has put out a new single (Give Me Back My Name) and has been touring all over. Somewhere along the way Meg has also found time to record a new album.

Meg’s set included favourites including Every Lie and Low Blows, as well as newer music – Give Me Name Back and Hope (which is also the name of her new album).Meg’s music often has a serious undertone but resonates with her audience, with the crowd singing along on nearly every song. The cover of Tame Impala’s Let It Happen is still a part of her set and a big crowd favourite since its debut on Triple J’s Like A Version.

The set was over before you realised (no encore) and the crowd walking away satisfied at the end of the performance.