THE IRON MAIDENS, Envenomed, Trigger. The Corner Hotel, Melbourne. 01-06-2018.

Words Mark Ireland.
Photos Adam Russ – Right Eye Media Australia.

When bands pay homage to other artists there are two groups; cover bands who just play the songs of other artists and then there are tribute acts, when bands take on the mannerisms, use the same stage props and so forth. The Iron Maidens definitely fit into the tribute act category, from the copy cat mascot, instead of Eddie The Head its Edwina T Head, and the band members have changed their stage names to copy their male counterparts, instead of Bruce Dickinson it’s Bruce Chickinson and Adrian Smith becomes Adriana Smith.

At some of their gigs, Iron Maiden play the intro from UFO’s ‘Doctor Doctor’, so for true fans it was a great tribute of finer details.

The crowd was full of testerone and passion and fans who knew all the words to the songs. The crowd, as well as the band, kicked into high gear from the start when ‘Aces High’ obliterated the room. Then it was straight into fan favorite ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’. It revved into high gear when this reviewers personal favorite riff from ‘The Trooper’ electro shocked the room.

Pretty much every song brought a deafening scream to The Corner Hotel and shook the venue to the foundations. Continue reading

RATHEAD ‘Sick Of My Brain / Drinks’ 7″ Review.

Words El Jefe.

So I found in my hot little paws a copy of the new 7-inch by Rathead, Sick Of My Brain/Drinks. Gonna give it some bonus points ahead of the final siren for the true genius of having it pressed outta vinyl made from the last ever batch of Green Slime (though Slime With Worms woulda been cooler!). Great touch, guys!

Rathead are based in Shepparton, not too far from the NSW/Mexico border, and are comprised of Taylor Bain, who wields the guitar and handles the vocals and Sam McPherson on drums and backing vox.

Soundwise, they immediately brought to mind a tonne of mid-80’s post-Detroit style riffnroll. No-one I could really put my finger on, but the vibe was as familiar as ya fave boots. Continue reading

RED FANG, Drunk Mums, Dirty Pagans. Fowlers Live, Adelaide. 16-05-2018.

Words Will Oakeshott.
Photos Alex Kwong Photography.

If this event could be surmised in one phrase, the legend of Black Flag, part-time actor, writer, spoken word genius and prodigy of anything else which interests him, Henry Rollins captured this show’s essence with his quote: “Life is weird, great and dangerous”.

Adelaide quartet Dirty Pagans had the honour of opening the event and were hellbent on crafting a weird and wonderful statement about their art. In terms of the historical undulated road modern rock’n’roll has undergone for decades since its inception, this four-piece are on a mission to explore the majority of this genre’s pathway. Elements of southern rock, classical rock, thrash metal, hair metal, stoner rock and sludge rock were all combined to create a rather original sound. Featuring songs from their Dirty Pagans EP and recently released full-length VOLUME 1, Dirty Pagans left an imposing impression on the modest but very intrigued audience. It was slightly abnormal but on that same note, awe-inspiring also.

Continue reading

CHERRY ROCK 2018. Cosmic Psychos, The Cribs (UK), Kid Congo Sex Beat Party (US), Cash Savage & The Last Drinks, The Mamas, The Chats, Fulton Street, The Southern River Band, Fluff, Gabriella Cohen, Diet, A. Swayze & The Ghosts, Pistol Peaches, WÜRST NÜRSE. Cherry Bar, Melbourne. 06-05-2018.

Words Mark Ireland.
Photos Stephen Boxshall.

Every year Melbourne rock city gets destroyed by Cherry Rock, the best street rock’n’roll festival. For twelve years it’s been promoting local and overseas rock and metal acts, giving them a chance to play to a massive festival crowd, this year was no exception.

Opening the festival was Wurst Nurse, they kicked off proceedings with their anthemic punk that electro shocked the crowd. It was unseasonably warm weather for Cherry Rock, good beer drinking weather, and A. Swayze & and the Ghosts from Tasmania were a great addition to the day, their unique post punk sound was what was needed to send the crowd left of centre.

I moved inside to catch Fluff before the bar got jammed. They play classic rock in the sense of Zeppelin and any other 70s band you could throw a bone at. Neil Wilkinson’s high shrill would put Robert Plant to shame, and local legend Danny Leo is in my opinion the best drummer in Australia hands down. His powerhouse style is something that could shatter a window a 100 metres away. Fluff have an album coming out in a couple of months, so todays set was a good chance to showcase the new material.

On the Furphy stage Gabriella Cohen was charming the crowd with her sweet crunching pop, an interesting inclusion to Cherry Rock.

Soul fever was potent when Fulton Street hit the Cherry Bar stage late in the afternoon, Shannon Wick’searth shattering vocals shook the venue to its foundations. The band have been regulars to Cherry’s legendary soul night, packing out the place on numerous occasions.

The Southern River Band are the new boys on the block and they’ve already earned their stripes by blowing crowds away at Queenscliff Music Festival and Boogie Festival, so todays set broke the crowd into tiny pieces. They’ve already honed that classic ‘Oz Rock’ sound, so the crowd just drank the energy the band threw at them. Their album is in high anticipation, so I think a return visit is definitely on the cards for the near future.
Inside again The Mamas sweet soul pop stylings had the crowd pack the dancefloor and cause a sweaty mess in no time.

I had heard a few things about The Chats, but nothing prepared me for what I saw, tight as fuck, killer riffs and it was all over in 30 minutes, that is rock’n’roll personified. And as one of their song goes, not even time for a ‘Smoko’!

Cash Savage and the Last Drinks have been a festival favorite for a number of years now, so the crowd warmed up to them straight away. Their gothic country blues was what was needed for a cold autumn night. Cash has incredible stage presence that commands attention, like Nick Cave she stands on the lip of the stage and draws the crowd in with every song, The Last Drinks are an amazing backing band that consists of two guitarists, drummer, fiddle player and bass player, so when the band break into ‘The Hypnotiser’, the sound that was created was like a man mad hurricane, with its slow build to its tumultuous climax, it really put the audience through the ringer.

The Cribs have been around since 2001, so it’s safe to say they know how to turn a crowd on its head. They played a varied set from a number of different albums, their latest album 24-7 Rock Star Shit has one of the best titles from last year. As soon as they hit the stage they don’t fuck around and its straight down to business, slaying the crowd with anthemic indie rock gems.

Closing off the Cherry Bar stage was a DJ set from Kid Congo, he played a killer set of mod hits, surf rock and classics from Bowie and Suzi Quatro, the crowd flooded the dance floor immediately as he hit the decks.

What else can be said about The Cosmic Psychos, they are the stuff of legend! Their influence runs deep not only in Aussie bands but also you can hear their sound in many 90s American bands too.

When they ripped out their classic ‘Nice Day To Go The Pub’, the crowds sing a long could have been heard on the other side of the Yarra! The buzz saw bass blast of ‘Dead in a Ditch’ deafened me within seconds. They ended the night with the classic ‘Lost Cause’. The Psychos haven’t changed their sound in over 30 years, the saying ‘If it Aint Broke Don’t Fix It’ was probably coined after seeing the band at the Tote.

After twelve years Cherry Rock is still selling out and looks it won’t be slowing down anytime soon. James Young, co-owner of Cherry Bar and one of the head honchos behind the festival is one of the biggest supporters of live music in Melbourne, and Cherry Rock is the love child of his support of local rock and roll.

Melbourne loves Cherry Rock and Cherry Rock loves Melbourne.

JOHN GARCIA, Peter Black (Hard-Ons). Factory Floor, Sydney. 21-04-2018.

Words El Jefe.
Photos Rod Hunt Photography.

We arrived too late to catch the support, Peter Black in acoustic mode. Sorry mate!

The stage setup looked like a well-lived in share house, replete with ice bucket, some tasty beverages, tulips etc. Just missing a bong and sandwich maker! So after some apparent minor delays, John Garcia and guitarist Ehren Groban took the stage (well, mosey’d on to the stage and dragged up the armchairs!), and prior to their collective musical excursion, Garcia gave a rundown on how much he dug the chance to be doing what he was doing with these (classic) tunes, and how he loved that we were all there to support it. Gracious, and humble and clearly battling through some nerves or shyness, he came across as an easy going dude. Continue reading

SHAME. The Tote Hotel, Melbourne. 08-02-2018.

Words Mark Ireland.

Before Shame even landed in Australia, they had a hell of a reputation but with enough secrecy to still have some surprises up their sleeves. They have been heavily lauded in the British and American music press, they tore Glastonbury apart last year and punched Laneway Festival so hard it was coughing up blood, so when they landed at The Tote the energy of the band and the crowd was salacious, you could feel the condensation just dripping from the ceiling.

Lead singer Charlie Steen hulked about the stage staring down the crowd, you felt like he was going to attack at any point, but this is all stage persona.

When they burst into the single ‘The Lick’ and the opening lyric is “So in the past week I’ve made several trips to the gynaecologists”, you know the boys tongues are firmly planted in their cheek, they wear their influences heavily on their sleeves, The Fall, Eddy Current. Steen has the Mark E Smith’s venomous lyric spit combined with Brenden Huntley’s manic dance moves. The song ‘Friction’ with it’s heavy chiming guitars flogs the crowd around the head and induces aural comas. The entire pub is transfixed, a bomb could have gone off and the crowd wouldn’t have noticed in the slightest, that’s how enigmatic they were. Continue reading

FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES + Cancer Bats. Fowler’s Live, Adelaide. 06-02-2018.

Words Will Oakeshott.

There is a quote by the infamous and supposed anonymous UK-based graffiti artist Banksy that states: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” – this in retrospect, operates as a very suiting theme for what transpired at this event. The South Australian summer had certainly exposed its true colours providing sauna-like conditions, which was quite the opposite from both touring bands’ current home weather statuses (UK and Canada respectively). Landing on a Tuesday evening was also more of a predicament in terms of attendance, with spectator numbers being best described as dozens initially. However, art, more specifically punk music was never about “comfort”; truthfully it is more likened to rebellion, the underground and discomposure. So essentially these “conditions” as it were, surmised to an accommodating scenario. Continue reading

FUZZ EVIL / SWITCHBLADE JESUS Split – ‘The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter VII’.

Words El Jefe

Switchblade Jesus are a heavy-duty bunch of motherfuckers hailing from Texas. Their ST debut has had plenty of airplay in the El Jefe homestead. Mrs El Jefe also particularly dig’s their catchy, dirty stoner rock!

Fuzz Evil are from nearby Arizona, and as the name applies, are a fuzzed-out band with a love of…fuzz. The Glitterbones 7 inch was a great intro to this mob too.

So FE and SJ have joined forces for The Second Coming Of Heavy; Chapter VII release, out now through Ripple Music, with each band contributing 3-4 songs each and all of scorched earth proportion.

Rather than fuck around with niceties, Switchblade Jesus instead chose to launch a vicious punch to the side of the head with ‘Snakes And Lions’. A growling menace of a song, with a filthy wah-fest intro to one of their trademark riffs. Great drumming too! Continue reading

Punks Against Poverty #4: Xmas Edition! Blindspot, Benny Mayhem (with band), Joanie Get Angry, Grant Larseny (acoustic), Incomplete, Triggered. The Boston, Perth. 08-12-2017.

Words, Photos and Video, Kim Anderson – Shoot The Wicked Witch.

For the 4th Punks Against Poverty show I wanted to do something special and made it a Christmas show. I actually hate Christmas but I figure homeless people probably hate it more than me so why not try to put a happy spin on a shitty situation that’s still happening in the world.

I enlisted some of Perth’s coolest kids to pretend not to be Grinchier than me and sing Christmas songs, there was some resistance but they did it and nobody died. Grant Larseny took this one step further by actually writing a song for it! It’s a great song about Christmas in Australia and I think we can all identify with it on some level. It’s available for download on Bandcamp so definitely check it out!

New band Triggered covered Tim Minchin’s ‘White Wine In The Sun’, Incomplete covered Kevin Bloody Wilson, Joanie Get Angry sang ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ and I’m gutted I missed it I really wanted to see what they did with a Disney song, Blindspot sang about 8 White Boomers and lastly Benny Mayhem sang The Pogues ‘Fairytale Of New York’. I had a playlist of random Christmas songs to play inbetween and despite not hearing half of the songs (it didn’t get paused while the bands played) The Wiggles ‘Felice Navidad’ played and I was feeling pretty proud of myself. Yes I played The Wiggles at a punk show. Continue reading

BORRACHO ‘Riffography’ Album Review.

Words El Jefe

Stoner rock power trio Borracho have had a busy 12 months; releasing two full-length LP’s in this period and they’ve backed up the excellent Atacama with Riffography, and it’s yet another grease and dirt road trip from hell.

Soundwise, Borracho are a gutsy and powerful unit, heavy on both grooves and distortion. And they know when to pull back as well as when to drop the clutch and hammer the riff home too. Supremely cohesive songwriting coupled with their playing always makes for a great album as well.

Riffography opens with the ball-tearing ‘Rectify’, and is quickly backed up with ‘Circulos Concentricos’, a re-recording of ‘Concentric Circles’ from their 2011 debut, Splitting Skies, and given a Spanish facelift and a great mangled guitar attack. Continue reading