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.
I first saw Charlie Collins at A More Perfect Union last year, supporting Gang of Youths. Charlie was wearing this jumpsuit which she told us needed a good wash, then played some of the most amazing country inflected music.
Support act Jaguar Jonze has been on my list to catch live, I have crossed paths with Deena, the amazing person behind the “Jonze” brand at industry events. Jaguar Jonze was the perfect starter for Charlie Collins with her own brand of alt-country.
Charlie Collins came with her band and played a rocking set that had an interlude where she played with just her accoustic and then some violin. The set culminated with her single from late last year ‘Mexico‘.
Charlie said at the start of her set that she hadn’t expected the amount of people that came. Charlie captured Brisbane peoples attention at A More Perfect Union, and kept their interest by making really great music. Don’t be surprised if you’re at a bigger venue next time you’re in town, Charlie Collins.
I saw Tape/Off at the Valley Drive In during BIGSOUND 2018, all I could hear was a wall of sound coming from behind the Brightside, and I wanted to know more. I checked them out on their Triple J Unearthed and Facebook profiles later on and realised that their favourite bands included many of mine. I like a noisy band.
Tape/Off released ‘Broadcast Park’ last year just before BIGSOUND and the latest single ‘Vigorous Lover’ is a step away from their usual sound dynamic. Cnt Evn, Minor Premiers and Requin as supports were thematic choices with their own brands of quality noise.
Tape/Off played a solid set that included ‘Wake in Fright’, ‘Micronation’ and ‘Day In, Day Out’ and of course ‘Vigorous Lover’. ‘Vigorous Lover’ shows the melodic chops the band has and some clever lyric play: “She wanted a vigorous lover, that would go all night, I’m not such a vigorous lover, but I go alright…”
Get and see Tape/Off, especially if you like noise in abundance. The tour namesake single ‘Vigorous Lover’ shows a bit of a sardonic side through the lyrics and softer sound that you might not realise Tape/Off possess.
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.