The guys from Grain are getting very good at selected great acts for a great night out – Against the Grain festival was an eclectic line up of established and up and coming bands and their SILO nights are using the same formula.
The 4th instalment of the SILO nights grouped the very welcome return of Major Leagues with Grace Turner and Sacred Blue.
Grace Turner and her band are one of the hardest working acts around (or are at least stretching themselves thin) as they took off after their slot to play Grow Your Own festival. From Newcastle, the flow of bands from Newcastle playing in Brisbane is increasing and Brisbane is loving it. I also love that Grace plays a Flying V. Her brand of jangly indie pop was a great segue-way to from Sacred Blue to Major Leagues.
I have photographed Jaimee in her other project Pool Shop several times last year and was very much looking forward to seeing and photographing Major Leagues. Major Leagues are a happy power pop quartet (if you love stuff like Best Coast, Throwing Muses or Belly these guys are for you). The ease of style and not missing a beat (except when Vlada lost an earring!) made for a set that went all too quick (they are supporting Snail Mail so if you have tickets to that you are in for a treat).
All these artists have Bandcamp sites – check them out below:
The 3rd annual instalment of the National Live Music Awards (the NMLA’s) took place at the Triffid on December 6, 2018. A celebration of all live music in Australia, by Australian bands and in support of a great Australian initiative, Support Act.
Australia has a lot to be proud of in the live music department, my hometown, Brisbane has a vibrant live music scene that keeps me busy as a photographer and blogger. Melbourne has always had a massive live music culture and represents a significant chunk of the live music nominated at the NMLA’s. Sydney is gaining some ground and Perth and Adelaide have their own smaller but significant scenes.
The awards were divided into state and national winners with the gala event for the national and Queensland awards held in Brisbane at the Triffid. The field of nominees across all categories at both state and national level read like a who’s who of touring artists in Australia. The awards are voted on by a panel of 100 experts from around the country and there are 2 peoples choice awards voted by the public.
The Brisbane gala was hosted by Dominic Miller, with live performances from Electrik Lemonade, Pink Matter, Katie Noonan and Timothy James Bowen, Bugs, Alice Ivy and Magic Dirt. The NLMA’s are run by Heath Media, with the event directed by Larry Heath.
The national winners were:
Best R&B and Soul Live Act
Best Blues and Roots Live Act
All Our Exes Live In Texas
Best Pop Live Act
Best Country Live Act
Best Hard Rock Live Act
Tropical Fuck Storm
Best Electronic/DJ Live Act
Best Hip Hop Live Act
International Live Achievement – band
Gang of Youths
International Live Achievement – solo
Live Photographer of the Year
Best Live Music Event of the Year
Best Live Instrumentalist of the Year
“The Sheddy” Best Live Drummer of the Year
Best Live Bassist of the Year
Isobel D’Cruz Barnes
Best Live Guitarist of the Year
Girls Rock! Australia
Best New Act
Tropical Fuck Storm
Live Voice of the Year
Live Act of the Year
Peoples Choice Awards
Best Live Act – The Cat Empire Best Live Voice – Harry James Angus
A collective howl went up from Brisbane earlier this year when Gang of Youths announced their Australian tour and there was no date for Brisbane. It was quickly followed with a message to wait as there was something special in store for Brisbane.
Then we waited, finally on August 8 Gang of Youths announced they would be doing a mini-festival, A More Perfect Union at the Riverstage with Publique, Charlie Collins, Thelma Plum, Luca Brasi and Jack River. It predictably sold out in about an hour.
Publique kicked off the festival. They were a great opener, with an urgent jangly guitar sound. You should always get and see opening bands, you might just see something you like.
Charlie Collins played a great set, her easy-going country-tinged music a great soundtrack to kick back with on the Riverstage lawn and enjoy some food and drinks.
Thelma Plum gave us lovely anecdotes about growing up in Brisbane and going to gigs among other things, her amazing belter of a voice filling the amphitheatre.
Luca Brasi took us into the late afternoon, with their usual high energy offering, this is a band that enjoys what they are doing and it shows with the audience pressed up against the barrier trying to get closer.
Jack River has just released her new album, Sugar Mountain. The crowd lined up to hear favourites such as Ballroom. As with all the acts on for this festival, people were lined up at the stage singing along with whoever was on stage at the time.
Publique – photo Bec Harbour
Charlie Collins – photo Bec Harbour
Thelma Plum – photo Bec Harbour
The crowd was getting excited to see the headliners Gang of Youths and it was all too much for some (saw several people carried out of the crowd by security). Dave Le’aupepe is an amazing frontman, as Jack River said, you’re all going to see some sexy dancing next.
They dedicated “Heart is a Muscle” to Dave’s recently departed father and zipped through a ‘best of’ set that kept the crowd engaged and singing at the top of their lungs.
Dave Le’aupepe (Gang of Youths) – photo Bec Harbour
Joji Malani (Gang of Youths) – photo Bec Harbour
It was a different innovation to have a mini-festival and one wonders if the lack of a larger venue in Brisbane contributed to that. The line-up was great, once again get there early you might just see something amazing and support acts work just as hard as headliners and deserve your support. Gang of Youths are the ultimate live band and have honed their craft since I saw them last at Splendour in the Grass in 2016. Go see them, they are also a band with a social conscience (see their anti-Via GoGo posts on social media) as well as a band that puts on a great show.
Brisbane, you got a (mini) festival, the opportunity to see some great up and coming artists and some amazing established bands thanks to Gang of Youths.
East Brunswick All Girls Choir – photo Bec Harbour
Once again a gig has been moved due to noise complaints about the Bloodhound Bar. Greaser was business as usual with their restaurant trade continuing around the bands. I quite like the idea of going out for a burger and seeing a great band so hopefully, they can continue this.
First up was Gold Stars giving us a nice serving of noise. The narrow stage seemed too small for them and they spilled out onto the floor in front.
Jack Spider – photo Bec Harbour
Gold Stars – photo Bec Harbour
Jack Spider was next, borrowing musicians from other Brisbane bands (I see you Dougal you busy bass player!) dropping an energetic set that had people coming from their tables where they were eating their dinners to have a look.
This prepped the way for East Brunswick All Girls Choir. Touring on the back of their latest release Teddywaddy, East Brunswick All Girls Choir had made a decent splash at BIGSOUND this year (I was impressed enough to see them twice).
The band showed the casual banter that makes them a really great band to watch, Marcus and Rob filled up the tiny narrow stage area with their energy on songs such as “Essendon 1986” and Jen was in the middle with Rie tucked away in the corner. A young punter had his first band experience with them (great way to start) and Marcus offered him his glass of red in tribute to the occasion.
East Brunswick All Girls Choir played a great show, pulling out all the stops, engaging with their audience and pushing the tiny venue to its limit. 100% will see them next time they play in Brisbane.
East Brunswick All Girls Choir – photo Bec Harbour
This festival is a really good idea, set up to showcase the local area, the eateries and local businesses, it has succeeded. Set up in the park across the road from the little community of restaurants, cafes and other shops, behind the repurposed substation, there was plenty of parking early on, as well as access to regular public transport.
The festival had a great selection of food and drink and plenty of seating. There was something for everyone at this festival, with “the paint box” for kids (big ones too) to have a bit of a creative moment, plenty of lawn and hay bales to sit or play on as well as family-friendly food options.
The musical entertainment opened with Gooby Jim and the Goobs, who don’t sound as lo-fi playing live as they do on their recordings. They were followed up by Moreton, another band that sounds a lot more up-tempo live than the recordings I was able to find for them online.
Gooby Jim & the Goops – photo Bec Harbour
Moreton – photo Bec Harbour
The Butter was up next (I envisage a name change for these guys – there are a lot of bands with close variations of that name). They are a good fun, funky band that had a lot of the kiddies having a dance. Then somewhere in between Moreton, The Butter and Jade Imagine, there was a flash mob of sorts that many audience members jumped in on and had a dance.
The Butter – photo Bec Harbour
End of the Line Festival dance off – photo Bec Harbour
Jade Imagine – photo Bec Harbour
Jade Imagine was a band that I wanted to see as I had enjoyed their set at the BIGSOUND Closing Party earlier in September. I love a bit of fuzzy guitar dream pop, and Jade Imagine have that brief covered.
Fraser A Gorman was next with his country-inflected pop, then Handsome. I wasn’t sure what to expect of Handsome as they described themselves on their Facebook site as “tomboy pop”. Reality is they are a lot of good fun, electronica, it’s good they have decided on their own genre, it suits them.
End of the Line Festival – photo Bec Harbour
Fraser A Gorman – photo Bec Harbour
Body Type has recently re-released their singles as EP. I saw them supporting Alex Cameron at The Foundry earlier this year, and thought they actually stole the show. Body Type played noisy, fuzzy guitar sweetness, with an underlying worldliness.
They were followed by Gabriella Cohen, another 2018 BIGSOUND alumni. Gabriella’s music is great, jazz-infused and with plenty of rock to spare.
The festival was a great success, it catered for all people at all stages of their lives (singles, families, retirement). It also showcased what the southside had to offer as a festival venue, food and entertainment, as festivals and music often sit in the domain of the Valley.