Show Review: Grinspoon 23.08.13

Published in The Music (WA) | 28.08.13 | Issue # 3

GRINSPOON, EMPERORS, THE LOVE JUNKIES

ASTOR THEATRE

23 August, 2013

Shuffling into the lobby of Astor Theatre, early-comers were met with what sounded like a fistfight between blues and grunge. The Love Junkies have had a solid year and treated their opening support slot as another chance to win over the uninitiated.

With a quick changeover, it was time for Emperors to do their thing. You couldn’t find a better band to get an audience into party mode on a Friday night – or any night, for that matter. They’ve taken everything great about Australian rock and bundled it together to produce infectious tunes that translate extremely well to the stage. With frontman Adam Livingston shaking his head in a bobblehead-like manner, the locals finished things off with the dangerously catchy Be Ready When I Say Go.

There was a vibrant red Eski perched upon the drum riser when Grinspoon strolled out to eerie background music. Led by what appeared to be an intoxicated Phil Jamieson mimicking the dance moves of Michael Jackson, the band took their positions on the festival-esque stage and kicked things into gear with Run. By the end of tune number one, it was clear the vocalist was off his face. However, when he put a guitar on for Branded, it was clear he could more than hold his liquor. It wasn’t long before they began laying out the hits, with No Reason surfacing first. In keeping with the festival vibe they had going, the floor space near the front erupted into a violent mosh, which saw security rush to break it up. “You can’t destroy their fun tonight,” Jamieson yelled mid-song at the security. “As much as you want to destroy their fun, go fuck yourselves.”

Having become a staple of Australian music, a majority of punters had no doubt listened each of the band’s singles to death. A nice acoustic rendition of Just Ace injected new life into the tune and showed the band could probably nail a stripped-back set too. The word “adios” out of Jamieson’s mouth meant little considering the fact they hadn’t played their biggest songs yet.

Resurfacing with an acoustic guitar, he made amends with the security before serenading the audience with Repeat, and having his band mates join him for Lost Control and DCx3. The only thing higher than the band’s blood alcohol level at set’s end was the energy flowing through the room. There’s no other Australian rock band quite like Grinspoon, and few acts can match the intensity of their live show.

Written by Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/reviews/reviews-live/2013/08/26/grinspoon-astor-theatre-daniel-cribb/

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THE MUSIC WA: Black Flag Column (Issue 3)

Published in The Music (WA) | 28.08.13 | Issue # 3

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BLACK FLAG

PUNK AND HARDCORE WITH DANIEL CRIBB

Michelle Obama teaming up with Blink 182’s Travis Barker to work on a hip hop record? Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott making cameos in a punk rock music video? It’s been one hell of a confusing couple of weeks.

An artist singing about politics is just as common as love ballads and songs about partying, but when politicians start engaging with music, it can be interesting. It’s like a good actor trying to become a musician – it’s often a disaster.

Politically-driven, passionate musicians are, most of the time, ready-made politicians – take Peter Garret for example. They know how to win an audience over and can articulate their beliefs in an efficient way. Most politicians, however, would made lousy musicians.

By reading this column, it’s somewhat safe to assume you’re a fan of punk and/or hardcore, and thus may have aligned your political views with what most bands playing the genre preach, right? If not, you’re listening to the wrong genre, and Rise Against, Ant-Flag, Dead Kennedys and Propagandhi may not be the bands for you.

Either way, it should be no surprise there’s some Abbott bashing below. If you were to give the opposition leader a guitar and stick him in a recording studio, and it was the 1950s, you’d end up with chart-topping singles. But it’s 2013, and can you imagine the backlash an artist would receive these days if they released a single against same sex marriage?

Agreeing to appear in Canberra band Super Best Friends’ new music video was no doubt an effort by both Abbott and Rudd to look like fun guys, which is probably why Abbott thought it would be a good idea to call up Sydney’s 2DayFM when Katie Perry was on-air to ask when she’s coming back to Australia because his daughters love her. It was hilarious when she jokingly asked his views on same sex marriage and he continued like the question hadn’t been asked. You can imagine him on the phone next to his publicist and the look of pure horror on their face when Perry uttered the topic.

I would have assumed Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl would be off limits in the Abbott household. Being a huge fan, as he declared on-air, surely he’d know one of her most popular songs?

Trying to fit Labor into a suitable musical environment would also be an awkward task. Kevin Rudd is like the Art Garfunkel of Australian politics. He plays an important role and does it pretty well, but he’s no ones favourite.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Super Best Friends’ music video for Round And Round yet, it’s up on their YouTube account and is a great watch. As far as the Michelle Obama hip hop CD goes, I’ll keep you posted.

theMusic Sessions: Glass Towers

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WATCH GLASS TOWERS SERENADE US WITH TWO ACOUSTIC TUNES

23 August, 2013

Staff Writer

Formerly Byron Bay, now Sydney-based indie dudes Glass Towers have made 2013 their own, with the release of debut LP Halcyon Days, a trip to the UK for The Great Escape and a stack of dates, culminating in their big album launch tour which ends in their old hometown tonight.

When the band were in Perth on this tour, they took the time to sit down and play us a couple of stripped back versions of tracks from the aforementioned record, it was heaps of fun and they turned out pretty nicely, we reckon.

Watch the band play Halcyon and Jumanji below.

Stay tuned as we’ve no doubt there’s plenty more action to come from the Glass Towers camp in the months to come.

Interview: All Time Low

EXTRA NEW STORY: 

http://themusic.com.au/news/all/2013/09/01/all-time-low-could-barely-play-instruments-when-they-first-formed/

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Published in The Music (QLD) | 21.08.13 | Issue # 2

Published in The Music (NSW) | 28.08.13 | Issue # 3

Published in The Music (VIC) | 28.08.13 | Issue # 3

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BAND OF BROTHERS

Forming in the ninth grade, All Time Low could barely play their instruments. Approaching their ten-year anniversary with the same line-up, guitarist Jack Barakat looks back on the dream that became a reality while Daniel Cribb tries to decipher the magic formula.

After seven weeks in Europe, All Time Low’s Jack Barakat finds himself slumped on the couch, watching baseball and eagerly anticipating their next journey. “We’ve played Europe so many times now that we’ve got a good following there. We were over there opening up for Green Day for seven weeks, so it was awesome, but it was definitely a new crowd; we were playing to a bunch of new people,” Barakat begins.

It’s only been five months since their appearance at Soundwave, and a return next month is proof of their tireless efforts. “If you see us at a festival and you see us at a headlining show, it’s a completely different show. With festivals, we’re working a bunch of new fans over and putting on a less relaxed show; we’re a little bit uptight and focused when we’re on festivals because we’re trying to gain some new fans, but if you come see us at a headlining show at a club, it’s going to be a lot more relaxed, we’re going to be messing around with people and bringing people up on stage. It’s a different kind of vibe.”

It’s not that the four-piece make a conscious effort to spend almost all of the year on tour, it’s just all they’ve ever known. In ninth grade, Barakat was playing in a band with a few friends when he met vocalist/guitarist Alex Gaskarth. They got Gaskarth onboard and then slowly tweaked the line-up to somewhat of a local “dream team”, finding the best drummer in the school, Rian Dawson, and finally tracking down Zack Merrick, a bassist that everyone in town was raving about. At 17, while other students where sending off college applications, All Time Low were sealing envelopes addressed to record labels and trying to scope out a manager.

“We could barely play our instruments, we definitely didn’t know how to write songs – we were just playing covers at that point. I definitely didn’t think we’d be doing it for a long time,” he admits. “We were so young when we started playing, and we got pretty serious about it by 17, so at that point, I mean, most people still don’t know what they want to do. We knew that we wanted to play music. There was never anything that we were passionate about that wasn’t music, so no one ever even talked about or thought about college. Going to college wasn’t even a real thing.

“We’ve been touring for so long now that we have it down to a science – we get along so well. We all kind of grew up together and it’s really like a touring family. We don’t really have a problem at all.”

On top of that, they’ve had the same line-up since forming. “A lot of drugs,” Barakat swiftly responds when queried on the secret. “No, I’m just kidding,” he laughs. “We have a really good time touring and if you enjoy doing what you’re doing then it kind of makes for a stress-free environment where everyone’s in good spirits, everyone’s in a good mood. If you’re enjoying it, it makes it a lot easier to keep doing it.”

In the blink of an eye, from playing Green Day covers at their parents’ houses to supporting the band on a European tour, ten years passed. “At this point in our career, we realise we’re a career band; we’ve made it this far, we can make it another ten years, easily. I mean, it feels like it’s gone by so quickly. We’ve proven to ourselves and the people that we’re going to be around for a while and we’re not going anywhere.”

The release of their fifth studio record, Don’t Panic, saw them leave major label Interscope, a choice that ensured the mentality between one another remained relaxed and productive. “It’s just a good feeling to be able to do whatever we want, when we want to do it, how we want to do it. We can kind of be a little bit more relaxed about everything and just be on our own schedule. I guess it’s a little bit more like being your own boss. It’s cool – it’s definitely the right move for our band, and I think it’s cool to be on a label where you get a lot more attention rather than being on a major.

“It wasn’t as terrible as I’m sure other artists have had. We still had a lot of creative control, we still wrote all the songs – no one was writing songs for us or any of that kind of stuff – we just had more people giving their opinions; more cooks in the kitchen, and I mean, there was so many people giving their opinion that it was swaying everyone differently and no one could agree on the same thing, so everything took longer.”

The main aspect of being on a major label that was appealing was the financial support provided. Now everything has to be paid for by the band and they no longer have a budget to tour with a large crew. Once finalising a budget for it, they’ll be employing a full-time cameraman on tour to piece together their second DVD. “Since the last time we’ve done a DVD, we’ve toured the world a bunch of times. I think this time, it’s going to be a lot more involved with world stuff, and not just the US tours we based the first one on”

Although they’re about to embark on their second world tour of the year, they’ve still taken some time to record a couple of songs and write some more. A new record won’t be out anytime soon, but with any luck they’ll find a substantial break next year to get stuck into album number six. “I think Don’t Panic was quite possibly the strongest comeback we’ve ever had, and I’m not really saying it’s a comeback because we didn’t really go anywhere, but I just feel like it really kind of re-energised our fanbase, and re-energised us as a touring band. I think it was definitely the perfect record to make at the perfect time.

“At this point we’ve kind of found our sound, and there’s always going to be an aspect of us that’s going to be a little more rock than pop, and there’s always going to be a couple of songs that are going to be a little bit more poppy. So [the new songs] are definitely similar, and I think it’s going to be a Don’t Panic 2.0. At this point we’ve honed in on our sound and I think we’ve got it.”

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2013/08/28/all-time-low-jack-barakat/19204/

THE MUSIC WA: Black Flag Column (Issue 1)

Published in The Music (WA) | 14.08.13 | Issue # 1

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BLACK FLAG

PUNK AND HARDCORE WITH DANIEL CRIBB

It’s only a matter of time until I find myself financially gutted for using the Black Flag name. In fact, I’m surprised founding guitarist Greg Ginn hasn’t tracked me down already.

Like most hardcore fans, I was overwhelmed with glee when the band announced an Australian tour. That excitement was quickly met with the realisation that it wasn’t Flag – the better reformation of the band, and somewhat of a supergroup.

While Ginn’s Black Flag is the original act, he’s really the only notable member of its current lineup. Flag, on the other hand, has ex-members Bill Stevenson (Descendents), Keith Morris (Circle Jerks, OFF!), and more, as well as Descendents’ Stephen Egerton. It seems a lot of fans also think Flag is a better band, which really doesn’t sit well with Ginn, and thus the lawsuit he has filed against them.

In 1981, Ginn penned the lyrics for Police Story, an anti-establishment number in which he wrote, “This fucking city is run by pigs.” Now he’s utilising a system he once despised. He’s one KFC Family Feast bucket of irony away from joining the Madden family.

Although the same people created both shows, Ginn suing Flag is like the UK version of The Office filling a lawsuit against the US version for being better… okay, I’m probably the only one who fancies Steve Carrell and co to the Gervais super team.

Maybe Ginn’s just upset that he wasn’t invited to Flag, and that’s why he fired up Black Flag again. There’s been some bad blood between the ex-members of Black Flag in the past, so it’s not surprising that this has happened. Ginn’s SST Records used to have a habit of not paying its artist their royalties, which led to numerous lawsuits. Apparently when Ginn lawyers up, he lawyers up good, so Flag may be nearing their end. The whole thing doesn’t seem to be about pride, though, if anything, it’s about money. And that’s about as far away from the hardcore way of life that you can get. But that’s just the way the music industry is going.

It was shocking to see Nirvana apparel sold at Big W, and when I was in Starbucks last year, the Ramones CD that sat for sale at the counter was good for a laugh. Grunge sold out, punk sold out, and now it’s hardcore’s turn. As of last month, US retailer Urban Outfitters began stocking Minor Threat t-shirts – and that’s with the approval of vocalist Ian MacKaye. Although he didn’t seem to take much notice, labeling the development as “absurd”, he let it slide. If it were mainly Minor Threat fans purchasing the tees, that’d make sense. But with the natural of retailers like Urban Outfitters, it’ll most likely be those who know very little about the band – like the Big W Nirvana fan who occasionally stumbles across Smells Like Teen Spirit on the radio.

If Ginn’s Black Flag doesn’t implode on itself over the next few months, you can catch them Sunday 24 November at Amplifier/Capitol when they headline Hits & Pits – that’s if the guitarist doesn’t embark on a vendetta against Black Flag insecticide.

Show Review: Karnivool 11.08.13

Published in The Music (WA) | 14.08.13 | Issue # 1

Pic by Daniel Cribb (Not Published in The Music)

Pic by Daniel Cribb (Not Published in The Music)

KARNIVOOL, NORTHLANE

METRO CITY

11 August, 2013

It wouldn’t be surprising if Metro City stuck up noise level warnings at their entrance just for Northlane. Quickly admitting they were an unorthodox support for the tour, frontman Adrian Fitipaldes showed a new sense of energy since the last time the band ventured west. Unfortunately, for most of the set, the rest of the band remained too reserved, and as a post-hardcore band, that’s the one thing they really couldn’t afford to skimp out on.

Ending with Dream Awake, a number that allowed Fitipaldes to showcase his melodic vocals, the Sydney five-piece pleased a select few fans with a tight, six-song performance, but didn’t win any new ones over.

As the lights went down for the main attraction, it was clear that people had been eagerly awaiting the last stop onKarnivool’s Asymmetry album tour for months. A faint, reverb-drenched loop of vocalist Ian Kenny pushed its way through the darkness, as guitarist Drew Goddard snuck out and began tamping with his pedals, transforming the loop into a pulsating ambience that quickly melded with the screams of a sold-out venue as the houselights went on for A.M. War.

The band unleashed on their respective instruments, and Kenny’s energy was vented through a series of dance moves that met somewhere between a praying mantis casually jiving and a dad dancing to cheesy ‘80s hits. It was perfect.

Being hypnotised by the post-rock madness at hand, it was easy to forget how long their songs went for. By the time tune six rolled around, Eidolon, it was clear everyone was in for the long haul. It seemed some thought that was it, as the crowd preemptively began chanting the lyrics to Fade – a song you’d expect to close the set. Through a grin, Kenny invited everyone on tour before the band congregated around the drums for a last-minute set change and resumed withFade.

The only thing that sounded bigger than the entire room yelling the hit were the six guitar cabs occupying the stage. Some might say it was overkill, but Goddard and Mark Hosking’s blaring wall of noise was the anchor that held everything together. Through effects and modulation, half the time it didn’t even sound like guitars pumping through the speakers.

Apart from yanking at his bass strings in what looked like an attempt to snap the neck, bassist Jon Stockman has an incredible screaming voice. Unfortunately, it was only as the set began winding down did he really get to unleash it during The Refusal.

Almost two hours of non-stop rock, and the band showed little sign of fatigue. Karnivool paved the way for Perth prog rock, and in front of a sold-out home crowd, they proved they’re still laying down the foundations for what will hopefully be a long time to come.

Written by Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/reviews/reviews-live/2013/08/12/karnivool-northlane-metro-city/

Interview: Fear Of Comedy

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 08.08.13 | Issue # 350

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BLACK COMEDY

Although they’ve only just launched their new record, Fear Of Comedy vocalist Laith Tierney tells Daniel Cribb they won’t play the songs ever again.

Since their formation in 2005 as a straight out punk band, Perth’s Fear Of Comedy have transformed into an experimental doom rock band. Their latest offering, Delapsus Resurgam, aside from being seemingly cursed, is their darkest and heaviest work to date.

“I think we’ve got a cursed CD player things happening at RTR FM,” frontman Laith Tierney begins. “The day I took the album into the station, during the Out To Lunch show they played a track off the album and it got five minutes in and it skipped and they had to turn it off, and we’re like, ‘AW, NO!’, and it actually happened the week of the Killing Joke gig. They played the single from the album and that skipped before it got to the main verse, and we’re like ‘What the fuck’s going on’,” he laughs. “Our CDs are cursed!”

They may have four releases under their belt, but Tierney sees Delapsus Resurgam as a debut. “We’ve got several releases out already but it’s almost like a completely different band. The previous Fear Of Comedy album was like a punk album and this is as far from punk as you can get. I’d say it’s our second album and our forth release. But it also works as our first release if you just ignore everything that we’ve done in the past, which is probably a good idea.

“Tastes and abilities evolve and you just grow up; the music grows up and the people grow up. The old stuff is from a time when we were still growing up,” he explains. “I’ll probably ditch this [sound] and get a new one in a couple of weeks. You’ve got to be like David Bowie and Madonna and shit and reinvent yourself. ‘Oh, now I can play Jazz. Let’s make some fuckin’ jazz. I couldn’t play jazz five years ago’.”

When queried on what direction the next Fear Of Comedy record may take, he rattles off “jazz-post rock death metal” with such speed it could actually be a possibly. “Without being silly, it could be more electronic, it could be anything because your directions do change. It happens to every band – every good band anyway. They start experimenting with new sounds and new directions…a lot of people ask about it and freak out, ‘Oh my god, how come your sound’s evolved?’ – doesn’t that mean we’re doing it right? What are you doing standing in the same place. You still sound like The Ramones now, man. What’s going on?”

The band’s ever-evolving lineup no doubt played a role in such a steep genre change. Just before heading into the studio a year ago, one of the band’s guitarists, James Styles, left, leaving Tierney to play the guitar parts. Then, as they were finishing the record, Yaegar Mora-Strauks [keys] signed on with Styles rejoining a few months later. Right before they launched the album, the band’s 2005 guitarist, Ben Waters, also rejoined the band. Following the album’s launch show, drummer Liam Dunn left the band. As the only common denominator in Fear Of Comedy, Tierney feels the need to shake things up and keep it fresh.

“I think rather than teach the drummer to play the songs, we’re just going to write a whole new album. We’ll never play these songs again probably…it’s almost like three members of the band have nothing to do with the songs that we’re playing, and that’s boring. They didn’t have as much say or input as they should and they’re really talented guys, so I want to write whole new songs with them. It’s a whole new lineup, so a new album will have to come out of it as soon as possible.

“We won’t change genres too much because we do have that dark alternative thing going on, even though we’ve changed from more punk to more prog, it’s still always been a little bit gothy, so it’ll still work whatever we experiment with.”

WHO: Fear Of Comedy

WHAT: Delapsus Resurgam (Independent)