Show Review: Weezer 23.01.13

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 31.01.13 | Issue # 323

WEEZER, CLOUD CONTROL & BALL PARK MUSIC

PERTH ARENA

23 January, 2013

A surprisingly early kick-off time to accommodate plenty of room for the headliners two sets meant that Brisbane’s Ball Park Music picked up their instruments at the same time most ticketholders were picking up a pre-show snack. Despite this, they didn’t let up once, bestowingLiterally Baby as a parting gift for early comers to remember them by. Weezer fans had waited 16 years for the return of their idols, and the unbearable anticipation engrossing diehard fans in the hour leading up to their set was soothed by the indie pop of NSW’s Cloud Control.

Unfortunately, they lacked a certain energy that Weezer fans have grown accustomed to over the years. A medley of cheesy ‘80s theme songs introduced the Californian four-piece onstage, and was swiftly drowned out by a roaring welcome. Frontman Rivers Cuomo invited everyone into the Weezer time machine for their greatest hits set, which first stopped at Memories – an appropriate opener for a night of overwhelming nostalgia. After having an MRI due to a leg injury sustained at the band’s Melbourne show a week earlier, Cuomo posted that he had “ACL deficiency”. Even he wasn’t quite sure what that meant. Although he moved with a distinct limp, the person who controlled his spotlight still had their work cut out for them. With a huge, W-shaped light sitting behind the stage to guide their time machine, they hit all stops on the Weezer best of, finishing with You Gave Your Love To Me Softly to get punters in the mood for their performance of The Blue Album in full.

Karl Koch, that band’s roadie of 20 years, led an insightful and humorous slideshow during intermission. After delving into significant detail surrounding the The Blue Album’s conception and birth, the band finally resurfaced. The problem with playing an album start to finish is it ruins the element of surprise. Luckily fans were still in a state of shock from the previous set and seeing such an iconic album live was a worthwhile trade-off. “Maybe we can come back next year?” Cuomo pondered. And while 16 years was a long time to make fans wait, after two solid sets, the band was surely forgiven. One song had been missed during their first set, and although no one expected an encore, Weezer returned one last time for Island In The Sun, which ended in all four members behind the drums, smashing the kit with sticks as hard as humanely possibly, leaving a ring in people ears that will no doubt last until they return.

Written by Daniel Cribb

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Interview: Bad Religion

Published in:

 TheMusic.com.au 21.01.13

Inpress (VIC) | 20.02.13 | Issue # 1262

Drum Media (WA) | 07.03.13 | Issue # 328

A NEW TESTAMENT

As Bad Religion settle into their fourth decade as one of the world’s most prevalent punk rock bands and release their 16th record, guitarist, songwriter and businessman extraordinaire Brett Gurewitz tells Daniel Cribb that if the band had formed over the past few years, it would have “failed miserably”.

A short phrase written in memory of someone, usually as an inscription on a tombstone, is known as an epitaph. But what the term commonly evokes in the minds’ of alternative music lovers is the vast catalogue of the label of the same name. When Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz founded the small indie label back in 1980, maybe he was paying tribute to a close friend or family member who had passed away. Today, however, the label’s name more appropriately relates to the dying genre it once exclusively played host to.

“In the beginning, I thought it would just be a punk label, and I didn’t plan more than three years ahead, and I never have. But the time came when I had to sign something else…punk rock, in terms of the punk rock that Epitaph had been doing in the mid ‘90s, had sort of become mainstream rock, and I was not in the mainstream rock business. We’re an indie label, and so that was sort of out of my league to do that stuff. Underground punk bands were just selling nothing, so if I put those out I just wouldn’t have a business, and all the people that work for me would go hungry and their children would die.”

Punk rock isn’t what it used to be, but luckily Bad Religion dug their claws in deep when the genre was at its prime, and to this day, as they enter their 33rd year as a band, are still reaping the benefits.

“Nobody likes this kind of music anymore,” Gurewitz speaks of punk rock. “The people we’re selling records to are not 16-year-old kids – maybe a few, I mean, don’t get me wrong – there’s a few kids that like their dad’s music or something,” he laughs.

“The thing that makes a punk band different than the kind of music that’s happening nowadays is you have to be able to play – you have to be able to pull it off live and be motherfuckers onstage. If you’re some screamo band, or dubstep band, or something like that, then it’s all programming, it doesn’t matter, you can go up there and do karaoke. But in a punk band, you have to play your instruments like a motherfucker. And to do that you can’t keep breaking up and changing members and all that.”

Although Bad Religion has had their fair share of line-up changes over the years, the creative core of the band has remained the same for the most part. On two occasions Gurewitz stepped back from the band to focus on Epitaph, firstly from ‘83 to ‘86, and again from ‘94 to ‘01, but always found his way back – even if he isn’t a touring member of the band anymore. While he shares songwriting duties with frontman Greg Graffin, he hasn’t actually toured with the band since a European tour promoting the band’s 12th studio album, The Process Of Belief, in 2002. So if you’ve seen Bad Religion at any point since 2002, you wouldn’t have seen Gurewitz. “I don’t look at it as one side of things. I’m lucky that I get to still be in the band and have a label and get to do lots of interesting things,” he tells.

Although it may seem like a somewhat unorthodox way of running things, their formula is working. The latest release through Epitaph is the band’s 16th studio album, True North. The album sees them doing a complete circle and returning to their roots with 16 songs crammed into 35 minutes. And although they’ve recreated an album with a similar feel to their earlier material, they’re in no way recycling and regurgitating old riffs or melodies. “It was the record Greg and I wanted to make, and I think maybe it felt a little bit like we had lost the plot on the last album, if not lyrically, maybe musically,” he admits.

“We really remembered the things that were driving us in our heyday, you know. Things like making sure there’s no bullshit in the song, making sure that the chorus is hard-hitting, making sure that the message is honest, making sure that there’s no fat on the bones, making sure that the intros aren’t indulgent – that they pull you in, but then you’re hit with a chorus before you’ve got time to think. All the sorts of things that we thought made punk rock better and more exciting than the bullshit rock that was happening when we started the band. Sometimes when you’ve been doing it a long time, you lose sight of why you did it in the first place, and I think this time we remembered, so I think that’s what made the record good.”

Returning to the songwriting style of 1988’s Suffer and 1989’s No Control is only part of the reason True North feels like the early days of BR. When they rocked up to the studio to begin fleshing out True North, their co-producer, Joe Barresi, had just picked up a two-inch tape machine and some tape for his ever-growing collection, and mentioned it could be an option.

“We weren’t really connecting that with the idea of, ‘Well, we’re making an old school record, let’s record in an old school way.’ But it sounded like fun and we had made most of our records that way, in the old days…I think there’s something [really cool] about tape. I’m not one of these purists that say you have to do it that way, but it gives you some freedom because it takes away a lot of choices. That might sound like a contradiction, but you’re just going to play it as good as you can when you know you’re on tape. You’re not worried about recording it, and moving it around, and adding all kinds of bullshit to it, so you put everything else out of your head and you just play as hard as you can.”

With most of the band around their 50s, it’s not uncommon to hear them joke onstage about putting their backs out or rattling off dad jokes about younger bands or more interesting genres at festivals. All it takes is a sarcastic comment from Graffin hinting that whatever record they’re currently working on might be their last, and fans worldwide go into panic mode and the internet is overruled with news posts about the band calling it quits.

“We’re so fucking old now that we keep making records and everyone keeps thinking it’s our last. Especially if you make a good one, then they really think that. Although, this one seems like it was a particular good one. I feel it’s very successful artistically, I don’t know if it will be successful commercially, but that doesn’t really matter to me at this stage of my career.

“The band is really happy with the record, and so, when you make a really good one, of course it’s tempting to say you want it be your last, but I don’t think we can do that. Honestly, I don’t know what could cause us to stop making records. We enjoy it too much, you know. When we go a little while without doing it – without writing or recording songs – Greg and I start to yearn to do it again. It’s not like we’re dependent on it for our livelihoods – he’s a professor and I’m a business owner, so we’re doing it for love, we’re not doing it for money. So I don’t see why we’d ever have to stop.”

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2013/01/21/bad-religion-brett-gurewitz/12198/

Show Review: Gyroscope 10.01.13

Published on TheMusic.com.au 11.01.13

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 17.01.13 | Issue # 321

Gyroscope_Daniel Cribb 1

GYROSCOPE

INDI BAR

10 January, 2013

The Indi Bar’s usual Thursday open mic night was thrown into chaos when Gyroscopeannounced they would be gatecrashing for a last-minute, and somewhat secret, show. It had been a while since Gyro fans had their fix, and with door sales only $5, the narrow streets surrounding the venue were flooded with cars, and the intimate confines within hit capacity in no time. With drummer Rob Nassif currently residing overseas and only visiting his hometown for a couple of weeks, fans didn’t want to miss out on what could be their last opportunity to see the band for a while.

Pushing their way through the tightly knit crowd and onto stage to the sounds of Midnight Oil’sPower And The Passion, Gyroscope spent a few minutes casually setting up gear. One of the best qualities of The Indi Bar is its intimacy, and Gyroscope utilised it to its full extent. Skipping the usual theatrics of an opening track, or fancy lights show, it was a simple “How ya goin’?” from frontman Daniel Sanders that kicked things into motion. After smashing out 1981 and What Do I Know About Pain with no worries, the crowd became somewhat unruly, crushing those up front, and bumping into microphone stands. “Settle the fuck down,” guitarist Zoran Trivic announced, as the band stopped mid song so Sanders and Nassif could leap into the crowd and dissolve the situation. With some hugs and handshakes dealt out, it was back to the rock. “I think I’ve broken my finger,” bassist Brad Campbell joked. “You broke your finger? I broke my everything,” Trivic laughed, referring to a motorcycle accident he had last year that broke both of his legs.

Pic by Daniel Cribb

Doctor Doctor was the perfect tune to throw things back into gear, and the crowd’s collective roar in the chorus unsurprisingly overpowered the vocals blasting out of the PA.

Sanders’ usual stage acrobatics and liveliness were limited due to the size of the stage, but that didn’t stop him from aggressively fist pumping into the ceiling and screaming his lungs out. During Live Without You, he made his first attempt to venture into the crowd, but took the brunt of the crowd’s drunkenness, stepping on a bounty of broken glass… barefoot. A true rocker, he didn’t let the band stop, and their roadie quickly wrapped a towel around the gushing wound, allowing them to kick onto Fast GirlBaby, I’m Getting Better, and Snakeskin. Besides some cuts and bruises on the band and a few rowdy punters, gigs don’t come much better than this. Hopefully it isn’t too long until Nassif becomes homesick again.

Pic by Daniel Cribb

Written by Daniel Cribb

Interview: Descendents

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 17.01.13 | Issue # 321

PERTHAGE

It’s still a few more weeks until Descendents touch down in Perth for their first appearance in the city, but Daniel Cribb finds guitarist Stephen Egerton sunbaking and boogie boarding at Cottosloe beach.

Without a mop of hair to hide under, there’s no mistaking the recognisable Stephen Egerton. But a Descendents fan taking a leisurely stroll along the WA coastline a month out from the band’s first ever show in Perth would probably dismiss their idol as an incredible lookalike. After all, what on earth would one of punk rock’s most influential guitarists be doing in the state weeks before the show?

“[My wife] grew up here and she lived here until she was 11 and then moved to the States,” Egerton tells. “We try to come [to Perth] every two years. You know, like, Descendents came over to Australia two years ago and we sorted of added our last trip to that. The funny this is, I come here, and I never go to shows or anything – I actually know nothing about the music scene here, because when I’m here I’m quite disconnected from my normal music life. I’m in a completely different mindset.”

It was indeed in 2010 when Descendents, after being a band for 32 years, announced their first-ever Australian tour. But though Egerton ventured to Perth, the rest of the band flew home after the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane legs of the No Sleep Til festival due to frontman Milo Aukerman’s time-consuming and demanding work commitments as a biochemist.

East Coast fans were in disbelief when the band announced they were making that trip in 2010, and, at that point, the thought of a headline tour two years later was an unfathomable concept – the fact that Perth made it into the schedule was even more surprising. “Three of the four of us have families. We had to sort of get our kids up to an age where we were able to get back to playing some shows. Also, all of our kids were like, ‘What’s the deal?’ They took some interest in what we had done and were like, ‘Well, you guys were in this band, are we ever going to see you play?’ It was actually No Sleep Til who were the first people to come say, ‘Hey, why don’t you come and play, because you’ve never been to Australia?’ and that coincided with our drummer, [Bill Stevenson], having some very major health issues a few years back, so we were glad that he was alive and we were talking a lot.”

Another element that saw Descendents on and off hiatus over the years was Aukerman’s work commitments. Well, Aukeman grew up, went to college, and finally, after dealing with everything that sucked in-between, got a promotion. “I don’t think that it had occurred to Milo, or any of us, that we could [do short tours], because we had always toured in one way – months on end,” Egerton explains. “There was really no precedence for us doing weekend fly-in kind of shows. That was just something that we never really considered, and Milo was doing his work thing. Now he’s more in an administrative role, in a way… he can shift his schedule around a little bit.”

Before heading into the Indian Ocean, Egerton delivers a quick update on the next Descendents record. “There’s an expectation amongst all of us that we will do another one. What we haven’t been able to do is really commit to any real timeframe for it because everybody is working, and we’re going to have to fit this in. It’s not like we can all just take two months off and go play and rehearse. Karl and Bill live in the same city, so they’re writing songs, and Bill can facilitate demos for those songs, I can do them on my own in my studio, and Milo has stuff in his house now. So everybody’s writing a lot right now and everybody’s got a fair amount of songs – there’s probably close to enough to make a record, and we definitely want to do one, but we can’t really nail a timeline… I’d like to think it could come out some time this year, so it’ll be our normal nine-year cycle that we like to do,” he laughs.

Daniel Cribb

Drum Perth (Jan 17, 2013)

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/descendents-stephen-egerton/

CD Review: Los Coronas

LOS CORONAS

EL BAILE FINAL

16 January, 2013

What’s not to like about instrumental Spanish surf rock? Even hearing the title of the genre sends one to a secluded beach at sunset, with an ice-cold drink by one’s side. But the problem is, it can be hard to track down bands that can play it half-decently. Luckily, one of Spain’s finest, Los Coronas, have bottled up 14 songs that encapsulate the genre in a nutshell.

What most similar bands fall short on is filling the void often left with no vocals. Without a voice guiding the listening and, most of the time, telling them how they should feel through lyrics, the music is left to do the talking. Western-esque guitar leads sit alongside and fight for attention among heart-wrenching trumpets solos that more than compensate for any space left from a lack of lyrics. At times it feels like certain instruments are having a showdown with one another. This is the kind of music that Clint Eastwood would surf to. That image being burned into your mind is reason enough to give El Baile Final… a listen.

These easygoing, upbeat tunes can turn a bad day into a good one – or at least temporarily transport its listener to a place that relieves stress. The multipurpose genre that Los Coronas have mastered goes down well in any situation. They’re the T-shirt tuxedo or piano tie of the musical realm; the band is quirky, but can slide into most occasions and lighten the mood.

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/reviews/album/2013/01/16/los-coronas-el-baile-final-de-los-locos-y-los-cuerdos-daniel-cribb/

CD Review: After The Fall

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 17.01.13 | Issue # 321

AFTER THE FALL

BITTERSWEET

16 January, 2013

Central Coast outfit After The Fall had a pretty sweet ride, with their first two releases being on major label Festival Mushroom Records in ’04 and ‘05, but then they thought it would be a good idea to go independent, and by the time their third album, [In] Exile, surfaced in ‘09, they had lost most of the momentum gained from extensive touring, festival spots and a wealth of airplay, and pretty much fell off the face of the planet. Most people who discovered they were releasing a fourth album were surprised that they were still kicking around. What’s more surprising is this album isn’t too bad.

Home recordings seem to be all the rage these days, and recorded mostly in houses that guitarist Mark Warner was house-sitting (home owners may have returned to some angry neighbours), not only can they boast about free electricity, but they’ve created their rawest and most organic album yet.

While this album packs quite a punch and shows that, left to their own devices, After The Fall can produce a solid record, it unfortunately doesn’t offer any tracks that stand out as singles, or are as catchy as 2004’s Mirror Mirror or 2005’s Concrete Boots. That said, put Bittersweet’s Liesor Dirty Sheets up against either of those past singles in a live environment and it will tear them a new one. The band said they made this record for no one else but themselves. These 11 songs truly reflect that claim, and it wouldn’t be surprising to find After The Fall playing club shows 15 years from now, even if to no one other than themselves and a few drunks.

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/reviews/album/2013/01/16/after-the-fall-bittersweet-daniel-cribb/

theMusic.com.au: CROWD CHAOS AT SECRET GYROSCOPE GIG

 

***Written by a staff writer at TheMusic***

CROWD CHAOS AT SECRET GYROSCOPE GIG

11 January, 2013

Perth rock veterans Gyroscope were forced to stop mid song to diffuse an “unruly” crowd at last night’s secret hometown gig.

The band, who announced the last minute show at Indi Bar yesterday, entered the crowd to ease the rowdy situation after it became evident that fans up the front were being crushed. Guitarist Zoran Trivic told punters to “Settle the fuck down” and once the situation was safe the band continued their set.

TheMusic.com.au’s Daniel Cribb was on hand to witness the outfit put on a bruising (literally) and fast-paced show, playing hits like Baby, I’m Getting Better, Snakeskin and Fast Girl.

http://themusic.com.au/news/all/2013/01/11/crowd-chaos-at-secret-gyroscope-gig/