2nd AustralAsian WorldTurboJugendDays: Day 2. The Balls, Drop B Sharps (Dr. Colossus), Wolfpack, Garlic Nun, The Dirty F Holes (QLD). The Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne. 06-03-2020.

Words Mark Ireland.
Photos 3 Chord Images.

Turbonegro have some of the most loyal fans in the world. They have their own gang called Turbojugend, with chapters all over the world. Over four days in Melbourne, three venues celebrated all things Turbo. It started at The Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar on Thursday night, the party continued at The Bendigo Hotel Friday night, and will finish at The Spotted Mallard. That’s a lot of love for Turbo!

Friday night’s gig at The Bendigo had five killer bands playing dirty punk and metal. Coming down from Brisbane, The Dirty F Holes, slayed the crowd. What made them stand out was the skronking horn player. Lead singer Chucky jumped off the stage into the crowd like a possessed preacher in the pulpit. This was a good indication on what was to come. Continue reading

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

COCKNEY REJECTS, Wolfpack, The Clinch. The Corner Hotel, Melbourne. 23-10-2019.

Words Mark Ireland.

It’s only taken the Cockney Rejects 40 years to make it to our shores, and last night they definitely made up for their absence.

Local Oi punks The Clinch, knocked the crowd around for a couple of rounds, with their gang vocals and anthems such as ‘Common Goal’ and ‘Our Path As One’, they gave the crowd what they wanted.

Wolfpack are one of the few bands around that walk the walk and talk the talk, they sing about political issues and they stand up 100% for what they believe in, they are a 100% not for profit band and all their earnings go to animal charities. They have a brutal hybrid mix of metal and punk, a bit of kick one, two to the head and guts. At the end of the set I felt match fit for the main act, bounce on the toes, take off the gloves, a few deep breaths and I’m ready to go again. They finished off their set with the Judas Priest classic ‘Breaking The Law’.

The Rejects kicked off with ‘Someone Like You’, which has strong working-class themes like rejection from society, and isolation. It’s songs like this that have kept the Rejects relevant for 40 years, because they sing about the common man, and they live like common people, no pretense whatsoever. Continue reading

CHERRY BAR – Farewell AC/DC Lane Street Party. Melbourne. 30-03-2019.

Words Mark Ireland.
Photos Stephen Boxshall.

For the past nineteen years Cherry Bar has been a huge part of not only my personal rock’n’roll life, but also of Melbourne’s. Any visitors who come to Melbourne who like live music, the one answer you give them is simply Cherry Bar.

What made this simple hole in the wall bar such a special place for music lovers, this can’t be told in one sentence, because it means so much to different people for many different reasons. For aspiring bands, it was a place to cut your teeth and get a chance to play on a legendary stage, it was intimate. There was no barrier between the bands and the stage, and it wouldn’t take much to fill. For touring musicians, it would be a place to kick back after a gig and maybe jump on the decks and turn the crowd on. 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

TATSU MIKAMI (CHURCH OF MISERY) Interview.

Interview Mark Ireland.
Photo Eriko Kagawa.

Church Of Misery (Japan) landed in Brisbane yesterday to kick off their Australia / New Zealand tour as part of the Doomsday Festival by 666 Entertainment. Mark Ireland caught up with their founder, bass player and songwriter Tatsu Mikami.

Mark Ireland: The 7 inch cover ‘Hallowed Axe‘ is a copy of the classic John Mayall Blues Breakers album cover, has the 60’s blues scene inspired your sound?

Tatsu Mikami: I am not influenced directly that much. However, many 70s heavy rock bands which became basic of our musical roots are influenced by the blues. Therefore I think that it may be said that we come under influence indirectly. Continue reading

POWER TRIP, Shackles. The Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne. 28-09-2018.

Words Mark Ireland.

Going to a Power Trip gig was like being set into a battle zone with nothing but a water pistol to protect yourself. Support band Shackles pulverised the crowd up first by body slamming them into the floor and then continued to round house them for 40 minutes or so.

For their inaugural trip to Australia, Power Trip made a very lasting impression on Melbourne.

They’ve released two albums, Manifest Decimation and Nightmare Logic, they played one or two songs from Manifest but most of the set consisted of tracks from Nightmare Logic. The bands style of classic thrash (Metallica, Sepultura and hardcore punk Unsane) in my opinion is why they’re so popular, they wear their influences on their sleeves proudly. Continue reading

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

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.