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

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.

Mountain Goat Valley Crawl

Saturday 16 February 2019.

What do you get when you band 10 live music venues together to put some seriously great bands on? The Mountain Goat Valley Crawl is what! Spread across 3 blocks (so easy scramble distance between venues) and some of the best up and coming as well as established bands from Brisbane and beyond, this always promised to be a good night.

As I got my wristband, I realised that I had left my glasses at home (hurrah for living very close – boo for disorganisation and bad eyesight!) so had to scoot home again leaving me with minimal time to catch Perve Endings at The Foundry.

Perve Endings do great synth punk pop – a lot more punk than their Unearthed Profile would suggest, and a lot noisier than their recordings there too. They had a decent sized crowd for a 6.30 slot – the hard work they have been putting in (Voiid’s Sludge Session to name one) has paid off.

Perve Endings – Photo Bec Harbour

The Bonnie Doons were on at the Crowbar in my 7pm timeslot. I have almost seen them countless times, only to have a scheduling conflict – interestingly enough there was one with this line up for me too – Being Jane Lane at Blutes. If you like a laid back, almost reggae tinged sound (think surf-punk-coastal music) you will love these guys. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of their set – get on their Unearthed page and have a listen.

The Bonnie Doons – Photo Bec Harbour

Being Jane Lane were in full swing when I arrived at Blutes. By full swing, I mean going off. Blutes stage area is small and the band had spilled off the stage onto the floor area, merging with the audience. I saw them last supporting Horace Bones (I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, a criminally under attended gig – RIP live music at the Bloodhound Bar) and missed them at VB Hardyards. I was trying to work out out where their lead singer Teigan was, she was in the crowd much to everyones delight.

Being Jane Lane – Photo Bec Harbour

After a quick dinner break, I went back to the The Foundry, where Tiny Castle was playing in the Back Room (AKA The Bowie Room). If you like bands like the Killers and City Calm Down, these guys are for you. It seemed that the audience was filled with friends and family (grandparents included). The Back Room at the Foundry has surprisingly good acoustics – it felt like we were at a house party in someone’s lounge room.

Tiny Castle – Photo Bec Harbour

My must see for the night was Cry Club. Their recordings only give half the indication of the energy and noise that comes from a live show. Heather is the consummate front person – high energy and engages with every member of the audience. I love noise pop that I can dance to and Cry Club are a band delivers this in spades.

Cry Club – Photo Bec Harbour

My first band at the Zoo for the night was Minor Premiers. This band sounds like they are from another time, like something off the early 90’s Merge Records roster. They had a bunch of loyal fans ready to go. I had been waiting to see them for some time and they did not disappoint. It was then off to Barbara to see Pool Shop.

Minor Premiers – Photo Bec Harbour

I had popped into Barbara earlier to do a light reading – it seemed darker and more crowded when I went back. Barbara is not really geared for this type of live music (and frustrating sound issues as well as lack of lighting) and the punters were all squashed in, with more trying to get in. I took my shots and went outside to listen to the rest of their set. Pool Shop is one of my favourite Brisbane bands, fantastic shoegaze style, melodic power pop.

Pool Shop – Photo Bec Harbour

My biggest scheduling clash of the night was Raave Tapes and IV League. I went over to the Brightside to catch IV League first. IV League put out a solid beginning to their set (was hoping for Superstar – maybe I left before it?) then off to the Zoo for Raave Tapes.

IV League – Photo Bec Harbour

I have been singing the praises of Raave Tapes to whoever will listen – I saw them live for the first time as the “surprise” band at the end of the Against the Grain festival. It seems that the rest of Brisbane has arrived – the line to get in was down to the convenience shop (thank you media wristband). It was already packed upstairs too. It was already heaving – Raave Tapes are a band that will make you have a good time, and all your friends as well. They invited a big pile of their friends up for their song “Corridor”, members of Bugs, Sweater Curse and Stumps and other randoms. The crowd loved every minute of it.

RAAVE Tapes – Photo Bec Harbour

After that little bit of excitement, it was back to Blutes for the “surprise” gig of the night – Washington. New songs and old favourites were performed. It seemed that not everyone got the memo about Washington playing straight away – the line up at the door started well into the set.

Washington – Photo Bec Harbour

Once again, Mountain Goat Valley Crawl put on a stunning array of talent. Because you can’t be everywhere at once, I missed Selfish Sons, Sleep Club and Requin – bands I really wanted to see. Stumps I missed due to utter confusion with the schedule (sorry guys – next time?). I’m looking forward to seeing some of these bands around this year.