RIVER ROCKS 2019: The Meanies, Hard-Ons, Painters and Dockers, Rocket Science, Los Chicos, Cable Ties, Stiff Richards, Moler, The Neptune Power Federation, The Tremors, Thee Cha Cha Chas, Dr. Colossus, The Breadmakers, Gentle Ben and His Shimmering Hands, Dicklord, Danny Walsh Banned, Fangin’ Felines. The Barwon Club, Geelong. 09-11-2019.

Words Mark Ireland.

To paraphrase the late great Chris Wilson, ‘If your ears aren’t ringing at the end of the gig fuck off and go home’.

Your family reunion has been relocated from your grandmother’s house to a dirty dive bar in Geelong, but instead off your family members sitting around the piano playing ballads, your going to get kicked in the head from people jumping off the stage, and the soundtrack is every band you love from now until yesterday.

Every year the Barwon Club puts on the dirtiest, filthiest, rock n roll festival this side of the gutter, all your best friends are here, and you’re all sleep deprived because you’ve all just crawled out of a bar 24 hours before. This behaviour is not out of the ordinary, it’s just how the rock’n’roll community rolls.

Danny Walsh Banned kicked off proceedings on the main stage. No matter who Danny is playing to he always manages to win them over, his kinetic energy is something you can’t bottle. 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.

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RIVER ROCKS REHAB 2018 – Magic Dirt, Cosmic Psychos, Hits, Totally Unicorn, The Chats, Grindhouse, Hobo Magic, Future Tongues, Shanty Tramp, Meatbeaters, Jelly Mammoth. The Barwon Club Hotel, Geelong. 18-11-2018.

Photos Stephen Boxshall.


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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.

MAMMOTH MAMMOTH ‘Mount The Mountain’ Album Review.

Words Adam Cooper.

When I was asked to review four-piece Melbourne dirt rockers Mammoth Mammoth’s new offering, Mount The Mountain, I was pretty chuffed. Having shared the stage on quite a number of occasions (and a few beverages) with these maniacs, I consider them good mates. Then I thought, “Aw man, what if it sux”? Luckily, this was not the case.

When I first heard the band a few years back, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I got was a hybrid of Motorhead, Cosmic Psychos and Rose Tattoo. They’d been described to me as a stoner band in the past and although I hear elements of that (Black Sabbath), it’s definitely not my go to thought when I hear Mikey (vox), Cuz (guitar), Pete (bass) and Bones (drums) doin’ their thang. It’s a riff fest sure. Rifferama if you will. Mount The Mountain being no different.  Continue reading

COSMIC PSYCHOS, Power, Batpiss, Organ Donor. Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne. 27-01-2017.

Words Mikaelie A. Evans.
Photos Suzanne Phoenix – Photos Punctuate My Life.

Comprising an ecstatic Melbournian line-up for the evening, Organ Donor kicked off the first of three massive nights in celebration of The Bendigo Hotel’s 7th Birthday Bash. The three-piece unleashed their defiant hardcore rhythms throughout the filling band room, setting the pace for the evening’s line up to follow.

Batpiss are next in line, who hit the stage with a loud presence; distorted vocals mix through their coarse layers of spiralling guitar licks and dooming drums. Bringing the boozy crowd to the front of the room are the deepening grooves of their set list that turns into rounds of applause as they slur The Bendi a happy birthday. The venue doesn’t look big enough for the amount of punters who have managed to find enough space to stand. This makes it hard to believe that it’s become big enough to provide the space for the swelling pit of jumping heads that’s on the rise, though they’re making it work as they jump wildly about throughout the Batpiss show. Continue reading

L7, Cosmic Psychos. 170 Russell, Melbourne. 12-10-2016.

Words Mikaelie A. Evans.
Photos Suzanne Phoenix – Photos Punctuate My Life.

L7Taking the stairs by two to run into a sea of bodies, the amplifiers pound like thunder inside the thick walls of 170 Russell as ‘Dead In A Ditch’ is among the opening songs for boozing punk legends, Cosmic Psychos. The venue’s filling, and they wholeheartedly dedicate a song to our Australian Prime Minister; “This one’s for Malcolm Turnbull and it could be for Donald Fuckin’ Trump.” The heavy bass groove of ‘Better, Not Bitter’ takes over and a round of applause is received with a cheer of laughter. Their raw jams continue to be reciprocated, with their sounds well known in their home town. Rocking through their set, the three piece maintain their energy that is shared amongst the venue; ’She’s A Lost Cause’ has the crowd screaming along to the lyrics. Before too soon their set comes to a close and the cue for the bar more than doubles during the intermission. Continue reading

DONITA SPARKS (L7) Interview.

Words Mikaelie A. Evans.
Photos Matt Munx.

It’s 5pm somewhere: an interview with Donita Sparks from L7.

Photo © Matt Munx.Remember that saying, “it’s 5pm somewhere,” and you almost feel less guilty about cracking a cheeky beer at 10am? That’s kind of how I’m starting to feel as it’s 9.45am AEST and Donita Sparks mentions that it’s 5pm where she is, looking out towards the Hollywood sign as we begin our delayed phone call. Sparks doesn’t live in Hollywood, though she can see the infamous big letters sprawled out across the hills from where she does reside in L.A.

I’m thankful that prior to having the phone line connected I was made aware that it was an international call, because I probably would have suggested we go for a cheeky morning beer if she and L7 had already landed in Australia! We exchange a brief hello, which is enthusiastic – much to my surprise – on both ends of the phone. Sparks quickly asks me how to correctly pronounce my name, which is a prominent tongue twister to many of those having to pronounce it; I break my name (Mik-hay-lee) into syllables and we both laugh at the inconvenience of unusual names. Continue reading