Friday 18 January – Rockinghorse Records
Friday 18 January – Rockinghorse Records
11 January 2019 – The Foundry
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
Live Act of the Year – WAAX
Live Voice of the Year – Amy Shark
Live Venue of the Year – The Triffid
Live Event of the Year – BIGSOUND
All Ages Achievement – Woodfordia
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This year was Against the Grain’s 3rd year, a truly boutique festival in a landscape of festivals being incorporated and going big, and often going broke. The choices of venues (The Brightside, The Valley Drive-In and The Foundry) and proximity were excellent choices and while I’m sure there were things going on behind the scenes, the experience seemed very seamless from an attendee’s point of view.
Created by Chris Langenberg, the third instalment of this festival sees him joined by Brodie Popple to create a festival experience that could really only happen in Fortitude Valley with the proximity of venues. The line up was thematic, covering no wave to dream-pop/shoegaze, for lovers of a distorted or jangly guitar with melody, this year’s line up was stellar.
The day was one of the first stinkers of the Brisbane hot season (let’s face it we really don’t have a summer or a winter here) and the thought of traipsing up and down with 8 kilos of camera equipment the block from Warner Street to The Foundry in Wickham Street was a bit daunting. Thankfully it was shaded, and a cool breeze kicked in for the afternoon.
A video production company had set up in the courtyard and invited me to capture some stills of the 2 bands they were interviewing, Blonde Tongue and Eliza and the Delusionals.
I caught Blonde Tongue’s set, it was nice to listen to some dream pop in the airconditioning. Blonde Tongue posted on their Facebook that they had not played a gig in about 3 years, no one could tell, they sounded great, and The Brightside’s acoustics kept their sound clear and unmuddied.
Next up at The Valley Drive-In was Concrete Surfers, guitar-driven and danceable – although no-one was dancing just yet, the heat was still present. Then it was off to The Foundry for Sleepclub, another dream pop entry for the festival, there was a sizeable crowd for them. It was also my first encounter with the helium balloons used as decoration (please don’t).
It was then back to The Valley Drive-In for Eliza and the Delusionals. They supplied a giant slice of fun fuzzy guitar pop. Then it was quickly inside The Brightside to catch the first few songs by Candy, then back over to catch Pool Shop, who I was very keen to see after catching their Big Sound performances. Pool Shop has lovely whimsical music sung by Jaimee Fryer of Major Leagues, that will make you smile and nod your head along.
After Pool Shop, I stopped in for a food break at Blute’s in the Brunswick Street Mall. Blute’s has one of the best bar snack menus I have come across (go the fried mozzarella sticks and the Dorito crumbed popcorn chicken, you will not be disappointed). Then it was back to The Valley Drive-In for Sweater Curse.
Sweater Curse is one of my favourite Brisbane bands, and the Against the Grain festival is only here because of their guitarist Chris Langenberg’s vision and hard work, along with this years co-conspirator Brodie Popple. I had caught Sweater Curse the previous weekend supporting Horror My Friend on tour (which explains why Chris was hard to get hold of – he is a super busy person with a tour AND organising a festival). Sweater Curse is an amalgam of no wave influences as well as shoegaze to form their own beautiful noise. The recently released “Mon’s Song” is an already established crowd favourite as well as “Can’t See You Anymore”.
First Beige is anything but beige, on entering The Brightside there were people jumping around everywhere to their dance-inflected sounds. This is a band that looks like they are playing hard but having a really good time, the crowd are on board with this and were dancing hard and having a great time. It was then off to The Foundry to catch Totally Mild.
Totally Mild were having sound issues, but once they were sorted they launched into their sweet dream pop sounds. After Totally Mild, it was back to The Brightside for the tail end of Maddy Jane.
The crowd was packed in at The Valley Drive-In ready for City Calm Down. The last time I saw City Calm Down was at Splendour in the Grass in 2016, they played late afternoon and did a fantastic cover of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance (which was very apt for that time). The crowd sang along with favourites such as Pleasure & Consequence, lead singer Jack Bourkes ability to draw the crowd into the moment evident with the sea of outstretched arms across the D barrier.
Then the secret, not so secret, after party act, Raave Tapes at The Foundry. Thank you for booking these guys, they are my new favourite thing right now. Raave Tapes are from Newcastle, like several of the bands on the line up (there was even a joke made that Newcastle was a suburb of Brisbane). From K Bye to Suds, they played everything that made you want to dance, they are an amazing and entertaining live act. About halfway through their set, they pulled Chris Langenberg and Brodie Popple up to do a song with them. Raave Tapes were a great end to a great festival.