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.

CHERIE CURRIE. Manning Bar, Sydney. 27-05-2016.

Words El Jefe.
Photos Rod Hunt.

© Rod Hunt 2016.Friday night in Sydney, late May and winter had just decided to hit. I’d also had the week from hell at work, with more of the same in the pipeline. Long days and a mountain of bullshit that just kept getting higher. But nothing was gonna stop me from hitting the Cherie Currie show. Not even the thought of staying at home, drinking beer and watching the Swans whip the piss outta North. Continue reading

BABY ANIMALS Debut Album 25th Anniversary gig. The Forum, Melbourne. 21-05-2016.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Stephen Boxshall.

© Stephen Boxshall 2016.Baby Animals self-titled debut from 1991 was one of the first albums I bought on CD and what an absolute cracker it is too! Fast forward to, unbelievably, 25 years later and the band are touring playing the album in its entirety. Two sets of Baby Animals; the first with a mix of songs from the current lineup of Suze DeMarchi (vocals, guitar), Dave Leslie (guitar), Dario Bortolin (bass) and Mick Skelton (drums), the second set playing their debut with the original lineup, DeMarchi, Leslie, Eddie Parise (bass) and Frank Celenza (drums).

There was no support band opening up, just straight into Baby Animals. They kicked the night off with ‘Got It Bad’ from 2013’s This Is Not The End album. Leslie was having some amp issues to start off with but it didn’t put a dampener on things at all, the rest of the band already had the room’s attention and DeMarchi’s vocals, amazing power and tone! The first time I’ve ever caught Baby Animals live and in the first few seconds of hearing her sing I decided it will definitely not be the last! Continue reading

CHERIE CURRIE (The Runaways) Interview.

Words El Jefe.

It was one of those days. First day back at work from annual leave, up early. But I was also locked in for a quick chat with Cherie Currie, frontwoman for The Runaways, solo artist, actor, author, as well as (I had only learnt the night before!) chainsaw artist and is also about to begin her Australian tour this May. So things weren’t all bad. I dialed the number in the states (555….) and was greeted by Cherie’s very warm and friendly voice. I also found her to be very open and charismatic. And she was a whole lot of fun to have a conversation with.

Cherie: Hey, is this Jeff? How are you, great to talk to you!

EJ: Hey Cherie, thanks for the chance to talk to you, I’m really excited about this. Being on limited time, I thought I’d jump straight in. For starters, I was checking out some of your chainsaw carvings, which really intrigued me. I hadn’t seen this done before and was wondering what the inspiration to do this was.

Cherie: I had been sculpting and sketching for a long time, I was just always drawn to creating art. I was driving one day, in 2002, and passed some guys who were doing it. I was fascinated, and while I didn’t stop at the time, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I went back a couple of weeks later, and met the guys and they agreed to take me on as an apprentice. When I first told my family, they were totally against me doing it, working with chainsaws and forbid me to do it. But I wasn’t going to be stopped and being forbidden to do it just made me want to do it more. It’s not an easy thing to learn, but before too long, I was winning competitions with my carvings, and selling them as well. I have my own gallery now as well. Continue reading