DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL. Flemington, Melbourne. 11-03-2019.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Zo Damage.

After a hit movie, making the sequel usually comes with a lot of extra pressure to perform and live up to the standards of the first. With Download Festival, add onto that the even greater pressure of taking over from where Soundwave left off in the heavy music category, and the comparisons it will bring being at the same location with similar lineups. From gates opening though, Download (the sequel) looked certain to be a hit at the ‘box office’. Continue reading

THE OCEAN, Chaos Divine, Toehider. Jive, Adelaide. 25-01-2019.

Words Will Oakeshott.
Photos David Rubinich.

24 Hours prior to this event, Adelaide suffered the hottest day on record; well beyond conception. This writer was left defeated as was South Australia in reality – but our resilience wasn’t. Defeat is never our definition – and our adoration for heavy music was once again showcased in quality numbers, even though the competition for live music on this night was immense; thankfully however, three excessively talented outfits rewarded the Adelaide heavy music enthusiasts to an immeasurable degree.

Melbourne three-piece Toehider proved they were not an opener but in fact, a menace. Somehow a mixture of Rush, Judas Priest and The Mars Volta worked; it was quite the extravaganza. As eccentric as it sounds, it was defying, odd and a victory. The vocal and musical gymnastics were near super-human in substance, truthfully this was an honest understatement of how they portray their art. Adelaide for the most part, could not keep up with the insane vocal delivery of front-man and guitarist Michael Mills as it was eerily similar to Rob Halford and the band’s intricacy was enthralling. In all honesty, this was more than a pleasant surprise, it was astounding, especially with This Conversation Is Over, which had an immaculate delivery. Continue reading

DESERT HIGHWAYS CONTRIBUTORS TOP 10 LIST’S (+ MORE) FOR 2018!

Here’s a few of the Desert Highways team’s Top lists for 2018. Thank you all for your support again throughout 2018, it’s very much appreciated! Also a massive thanx to all of our contributors. Very proud to work with such an incredibly talented group of people!

Mark Ireland – Writer.

Best gigs 2018:
Power TripBendigo Hotel.
Roger WatersRod Lavar Arena.
MAMMALCroxton Bandroom.
Streaker Gate Benefit GigGasometer.
Meredith Music Festival: The Presets, Billy Bragg, Little Ugly Girls.
The Stems, Even Northcote Social Club.
Boogie Festival: Cable Ties, Clowns, The Southern River Band, Birdcloud, Cash Savage.
Golden Plains Festival: Mogwai, Baker Boy, Black Angels.
Stiff Little FingersCroxton Bandroom.
Download Festival: NoFx, Hot Water Music, Prophets of Rage, Arch Enemy.
BeckMargaret Court Arena.
David ByrneMargaret Court Arena.
The Demon Parade – Psych FestThe Tote Hotel.
Fuck The Fitzroy Doom Scene, El Colosso Sookie Lounge.
ShameThe Tote Hotel.
Future Of The LeftThe Old Bar.

Continue reading

THE BREEDERS, Hachiku. The Corner Hotel, Melbourne. 08-12-2018.

Words Anthony Moore.

The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, played host to the first of The Breeders Meredith sideshows, the second on the next night at The Forum, both sold out.

‘Dream pop with an avant garde twist’ quartet Hachiku opened as the only support as the room steadily filled. What was mainly an older audience (and suitable for long term fans of The Breeders) watched on as the much younger band floated their set throughout the room. Hachiku is the solo project for 23-year-old Detroit born, German raised Anika Ostendorf, who writes and records all the songs herself, and after moving to Melbourne, filled out the rest of the live band.

As Ostendorf played between guitar and keys, her vocals reminisced of those before like Kate Bush and Tori Amos with the band giving off a Sundays and Belly vibe. Yes, I’m using older comparisons, but after all, it was a Breeders gig. Her vibrato is stunning and the dream like quality of the songs made them feel like a pop fairytale. This was the first-time hearing Hachiku and I look forward to listening to the CD without the added chatter of eager Breeders fans at the Corner talking loudly over the top. Continue reading

MMW: CIVIC SOUNDS LANEWAY FESTIVAL – Regurgitator, Nai Palm, RVG, Ro, Auntie Leo & The Backstabbers, The Bennies, The Cherry Dolls, Bec Sandridge, Destrends, IV League, The Grogans, Batz, DPRS – Democratic Peoples Republic of Surf. Cherry Bar, AC/DC Lane, Melbourne. 18-11-2018.

Words Mikaelie A. Evans.
Photos Zo Damage.

Opening up AC/DC laneway as a part of Melbourne Music Week, the infamous Cherry Bar plays home to this year’s Civic Laneway Festival. Hosting a diverse variety of some of our cities finest bands, the venue has organised a set-up catering to the diverse line-up, with the inside stage adorning its regular velvet red backdrop, the outside stage boasts a similar rock n roll aesthetic.

On the outside stage, DPRS (AKA Democratic People’s Republic of Surf) began the day with their soothing surf melodies, welcoming the early arrivers into the festival with their catchy summer tunes. Following on are Batz, with front-woman Christina Albury flipping off her bandmates for arriving late. Their garage-disco melodies sweep our feet into motion, as we groove across of the laneway’s heating concrete.

Leading us inside with their catchy grunge openers, The Grogans take to the Cherry Stage with high energies as the three-piece supercharge us into the early afternoon. Outside, IV League channel their contagious choruses through the amplifiers as punters begin to congregate under the sunshine to experience their performance. Continue reading

ASH, Big Orange. Rosemount Hotel, Perth. 15-11-2018.

Words, videos and photos Kim Anderson – Shoot The Wicked Witch.

This month there was a clash of gigs I’d applied for and my pass for Ash came through first. Leading up to it knowing all my photographer mates would be at The Wombats show I was thinking “geez have I made the right choice?” and the answer is YES. Yes I did. With bands that have been around as long as Ash there’s always some trepidation if you haven’t seen a band live before that they might not be any good live, or what if they aren’t as good as they were back in the days of Britpop, have they got old and lost their ability to hit the right notes or have any stage presence? Well they are awesome live, sound amazing and Tim Wheeler is a fantastic frontman. 18 year old me was ecstatic!! Continue reading

ASH, Lead Worm. Fowlers Live, Adelaide. 14-11-2018.

Words Will Oakeshott.
Photos David Rubinich.

An interesting fact about Wednesday is that this character from The Addams Family named after the weekday was apparently called it by her father because “Wednesday’s child is full of woe”; upsettingly upon entrance into Fowler’s Live on this “Hump Day” evening, it appeared as though the daughter of Charles Addams had used her evil abilities to diminish Adelaide’s spirit with only a minuscule audience present for the opening act. But as former NBA star Paul Pierce once said: “The game isn’t over till the clock says zero” – truthfully, there was not one aspect about this show that represented zero at all, so the show must go on.

To say that local quartet Lead Worm were ecstatic about opening this event would be a vast understatement; it was made abundantly clear by frontman / guitarist Michael Van on numerous occasions. However, from this writer’s point of view, this was the most spirited the outfit actually became in their 40 minutes in the stage light. Admittedly, there was the reduced stage size acting as a challenging obstacle, that was more than apparent and influential on the four-piece’s abilities – although honestly, the band members seemed to have little interaction with each other or their audience during song performance. Respectably, they do transport themselves into their own musical universe that lands somewhere around the post-grunge label and it is an accomplished amalgamation. All-in-all though, their delivery presents itself as slightly insipid. The influence of Californian band Oleander was enjoyably evident on songs ‘Forgive Me’ and ‘Wasted’; furthermore, Lead Worm did have the responsibility of warming up the crowd which had now grown exponentially and to that degree, they achieved a satisfactory result. Nevertheless, maybe with more bigger supporting roles and some touring opportunities, the quartet could grow to a formidable group. Continue reading

BEASTWARS, Child, Holy Serpent, Honeybone. The Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne. 03-11-2018.

Words Mark Ireland.
Photos Sally Townsend Photography.

The almighty Beastwars made their return to the stage after lead singer Matt Hyde fought cancer. The electric energy in the air was palpable, the crowd and the band were salivating. Honeybone, Holy Serpent and Child all played face melting sets, Holy Serpent especially tore the flesh slowly from all that witnessed. I hadn’t seen them in quite a while so it was great to be pulled into the vortex of sludge and doom once more. Their sound crawls under your skin like a flesh eating virus, first my fingernails started to shiver and then I could feel the bass riff in my teeth, at the end of the set I was vibrating. Continue reading

THE BRONX, High Tension. The Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne. 31-10-2018.

Words Mark Ireland.
Photos Stephen Boxshall.

Tonight’s gig was always going to be special not only was it Halloween but it was the 15th Anniversary of The Bronx touring Australia. Unfortunately I missed Private Function but from all reports they smashed it out of the park.

High Tension recently released their third album Purge, so their set was a good mix of new tracks as well as classic tracks from Death Beat. The whole band dressed up as members from King Diamond, which was suitably apt for Halloween. As High Tension’s career has progressed they’ve only gotten heavier. Tonight’s set vocalist Karina Utomo really did seem to evoke Satan on stage. She has got one hell of a voice and the rest of the band complement her presence, especially Lauren Hammel whose drumming was like a pounding migraine that pulsated through the skulls of everyone that was present. Continue reading

CHURCH OF MISERY, Witchskull, Sumeru, Dawn. Bald Faced Stag, Sydney. 05-10-2018.

Words El Jefe.

Fitting weather for a Church Of Misery show I thought to myself as I heading to the ‘Stag. Pissing rain and cold, in the early days of Spring. Yeah, that would be right!

Being fashionably late, I had well and truly missed the first couple of bands, and arrived for the last 3 songs by Dawn, with their tripped out doom. I always enjoy this band, and the self-indulgent theatrics (playing a mortar and pestle, as a mate described some of the percussion) add to the show. Heavy, sludgy and totally dedicated to the song, Dawn are really worth a look.

I stepped out briefly to grab a kebab (a necessary counterpoint to the beer that was going down so well), and missed the first couple of tunes by Sumeru. I wasn’t familiar with these dudes at all, but the tight, ripping stoner-metal was first-rate, powerful vocals, twin screaming guitars which were often syncing with each other flawlessly, and other times opposing each other with a fierce aggression. I’ll definitely check ‘em out again! Continue reading