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.

Tape/Off – ‘Vigorous Lover’ tour

Black Bear Lodge – 1 March 2019

Tape/Off – photo Bec Harbour

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 – photo Bec Harbour

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.

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