Show Review: Scott Aukerman 29.08.16

Published on, Aug 2016


Scott Aukerman

Astor Theatre

Aug 29

Teasing fans with a brief stand-up intro, prolific US podcaster and talk show host Scott Aukerman set the mood for improv perfectly with hilarious observational comedy about Perth and the venue before diving headfirst into Comedy Bang! Bang! and introducing the first of three guests in Mike Hanford, who took on the persona of a bicycle-loving, money-hungry John Lennon.

While the bizarre and hilarious interactions on his show are usually no more than a couple of minutes long, this first set of questions extended well beyond 30 minutes, with the high points made all the funnier by the ridiculous banter between.

CBB regulars and crowd favourites Paul F Tompkins and Lauren Lapkus were quick to follow; Tompkins stealing the spotlight with his portrayal of Santa, while Lapkus injected a different edge to the show playing Ho Ho the foul-mouthed Elf. The chemistry between the four, given it was the last date on the tour, was electric and a refreshing change of pace that gave an exciting, raw look at the inner-workings of Comedy Bang! Bang!.


Show Review: Trevor Noah 25.08.16

Published on, Aug 2016


Trevor Noah

Perth Arena

Aug 25

The Daily Show star Trevor Noah’s on-screen personality bled in thick and fast as he navigated a minefield of contentious issues through a series of jokes that played out like TV skits.

Easing into things with some observational humour about Perth, it wasn’t long before he unleashed an encyclopaedia’s worth of humorous knowledge on geography, biology, history, language and more, broke down the issues surrounding racism, sexism and more through easy to digest similes; his most powerful lines on Indigenous Australians leaving the room in awe.

Blending humour and political commentary with ease, Noah raised all the right questions, baiting the audience into aching for the answers; but the real impact came when he left certain talking points in the air, for punters to ponder on the way home and beyond.

The funnyman said the anecdote to ignorance was travel, but a dose of Trevor Noah goes a long way. “Words can change, people can change; we can do anything.” And coming from a man who was just pretending to be a penis in front of several thousand people, his words resonated all the more.

Cycling through countless accents (to perfection) and speaking at least five different languages, it’s not surprising his set ran overtime.

Show Review: Ben Folds 23.08.16

Published on, Aug 2016


Ben Folds with yMusic

Perth Concert Hall

Aug 23

A cello solo with an edge of dramatic horror welcomed acclaimed New York City orchestra yMusic to the stage, with all six members of the ensemble chiming in one by one for an organised yet chaotic onslaught that was the perfect blend of class and quirk for what was about to unfold.

When the man of the hour, scruffy and respectable, arrived with faultless opener So There, it seemed Ben Folds and his small army were Capable Of Anything.

Playing an “ironing board” of a keyboard that had “buttons and shit on it”, Folds scrolled through numerous tone presets, spinning well received improv jokes.

The crowd weren’t the only ones in stitches from Folds’ charming, casual banter, with the US singer breaking down laughing himself numerous times during Effington; perhaps the whisky perched in front of him had something to do with it.

Even punters who hadn’t heard the songs off Ben Folds’ and yMusic’s collaborative record, So There, were bopping along attentively to the upbeat Phone In A Pool and heartbreaking Mess. Through their contributions to career-defining hitsJesusland, Song For The Dumped and You Don’t Know Me, yMusic established a tight and elevating presence without being too intense, while punter requested Rock This Bitch “in Perth”, with an unconventional keys solo and improvisation from the orchestra almost gaining a standing ovation; something elicited with an insane jazz breakdown in Steven’s Last Night In Town.

With sad lyrics set to happy music, Ben Folds and yMusic created the soundtrack to your best worst day, producing hauntingly quirky art that resonated on a number of levels. End Of Fashion Frontman On How The Band Became “Sour”

Published on, Aug 2016


End Of Fashion frontman Justin Burford might be in the middle of tracking new material for his solo project, Coco Blu, when he answers the phone, but it’s only been relatively recently that his passion for music was reignited.

“I’d just been over it for a really long time; I was kind of over music,” Burford begins from his home studio. “I only got into it again maybe 18 months ago when I got this studio and started recording again. Before that there were a good few years where I was like, ‘Ugh, it’s too hard.’”

It was a feeling that began before local legends End Of Fashion went on hiatus in 2014, with the entire band needing a breaking to explore other creative, personal and professional pursuits. “It just kind of wound down,” he recalls. “It starts to feel like it becomes sour; you put all this work into it and you might not be getting what you want out of it any more. So naturally it just kind of lost it.”

After two years on the sidelines, End Of Fashion played a last-minute hometown show back in February, which lead to a 10-year anniversary tour in support of their smashing indie-pop gem of a self-titled debut album. “I guess like anything else, your tastes change and hopefully mature, and progress in a way. I can look back on a lot of those songs and there’s moments where I’m just kind of like, ‘Jeez, that’s awesome,’ I couldn’t think of that now. And there’s other parts of songs where I’m like, ‘Oh God – what was I thinking.’ Usually the lyrics. Something this intense stirs up good and bad memories,” he laughs.

One of the more negative memories comes from comments the singer made in reference to triple j back in 2014, stating on his personal Facebook that the station was largely responsible for the band’s demise. “For me, it was sort of a mountain out of a molehill – just a Facebook rant,” he explains.

“It sucks being tarnished with that. I remember at the time thinking, ‘Jesus, we didn’t get any kind of attention for any of the music we’ve put out on the last two records, that sucks.’ I couldn’t believe that anybody would put that much stock in it or anything I had to say. It’s not pleasant.”

“I’m definitely not anti-triple j, in fact I’m the opposite. I wish there were more triple js. I think that the problem is that there is literally just one triple j. That’s a very limiting access point for a lot of bands. I guess over the years I’ve seen different industries and how they operate and the Australian creative landscape is pretty abysmal across the board.”

His comments on the Australian scene at large are reflective of the singer’s own admission of jumping the gun and speaking in absolutes, which is where the triple j issues arose, and why he told many that End Of Fashion would never return to the stage again. “I should watch what I say,” he tells. “I’m sitting here saying, ‘I don’t think [End Of Fashion] will be another creative thing.’

“Given the choice of pursuing End Of Fashion and pursuing something new, the answer is of course, pursuing something new. But if there was a way of kind of balancing the two so that they both sort of had their value, then sure.”

But for now, it’s Coco Blu that’s consuming his creative output, with something hopefully released in the next six months. “We mixed the tape about a week ago. So it’s kind of at the point now where it’s like, ‘I’ve got this thing, what am I gonna do with this thing?’ I’ve actually been showing people, which is exciting and terrifying.”

End Of Fashion hit the road in September; check out theGuide for all tour dates and ticketing info.

Show Review: The Australian Bee Gees 19.08.16

Published on, Aug 2016

The Australian Bee Gees

Regal Theatre

Aug 19

When the tribute band on stage almost look like the tribute band on the poster, who almost look like the real deal, things can get a little confusing.

After head scratching subsided and the band rolled into song number three, More Than A Woman, (one version of) The Australian Bee Gees truly hit their stride; with ear-piercing three-part harmonies painting a spitting image of music icons Maurice, Barry and Robin Gibb.

Set over two eras, a montage of ‘70s Aussie ads hit the screen to set the mood, and its editing was just as charming as it was cheesy; intentional or not, it set the tone perfectly for what followed.

The other half of the set saw the three frontmen completely reinvented to mirror the brothers’ more iconic, dapper look, with a musical focus that shone a light on their bigger disco hits, climaxing at Fever, Stayin’ Alive and You Should Be Dancing.

With another Australian Bee Gees show booked in Las Vegas the following night, it’s hard to know exactly how many iterations of the band exist – or how experienced the members on this tour are – but what they lacked in immersive, convincing banter was more than remedied with their conviction of the songs. EXCLUSIVE: Here’s What Macklemore Was Working On In A Perth Studio

Published on, Aug 2016


Macklemore @ Perth Arena. Pic by Tashi Hall

With such chaotic schedules, touring musicians often piece together new tunes while on the road, which is why Seattle hip-hop maestro Macklemore spent seven hours in a Perth recording studio over the weekend.

Performing at Perth Arena on Friday night with Ryan Lewis, Macklemore setup at Northbridge studio Crank Recording the following day with his entourage and local engineer Charlie Young to put the final touches on a new, untitled single.

“It was a mostly finished song, and he put the final 20% into it, so by the end of the night it was ready to go,” Young

“It was in the same vein as his latest album, and it was awesome; I think it’s going to take off.”

The studio often attracts A-list musos, with The Game, Justin Beiber and more laying down tracks there in recent years, and while a lot of those bigger name also have inflated egos to match, Young says Macklemore was “completely cool; no ego issues or anything.”

During the session they tracked piano and vocals, including parts from Eric Nally, who features on Downtown.

“I go to do a little bit of piano, which was awesome,” Young reveals. “I was blown away that he trusted me with that.”

“He brought his piano player along, but they were all catching a flight, so once they thought they got everything, the band took off and Macklemore was just sitting here with me, going over it one final time, and discovered that a couple of chords didn’t work.”

INTERVIEW: Frenzal Rhomb

Published in The Music (NSW, QLD, VIC) and on, Aug 2016


A Lesson On Australian Values With Frenzal Rhomb

In the midst of a project that’s “ruining” his life, Frenzal Rhomb vocalist Jay Whalley tells Daniel Cribb why they’re selling out.

If you were to round up all the letters of complaint that Frenzal Rhomb have been issued over the years, you’d probably be able to publish a book. “I love that so much,” Frenzal Rhomb frontman Jay Whalley laughs, recalling a memo they received while booking their upcoming 25th anniversary tour.

It seems one venue refused to let the Aussie punk icons celebrate the milestone there. “What was the wording,” he pauses, “Oh, ‘We are a family pub and Frenzal Rhomb do not reflect Australian values.’”

After 25 years offending the masses and poking fun at the world with quick-wit, catchy melodies and tight hooks, they’re releasing a Best Of in We Lived Like Kings (We Did Anything We Wanted). “It feels like we are doing something that my 20-year-old self would kick me square in the balls for,” Whalley explains. “Just going like, ‘You fucking sell-out prick, what the fuck are you doing, Best Of, you idiot.’ So yeah, total cash grab, and I think it’s going to work. I think we’re all going to buy houses after this.”

Carefully curating the release of “wall-to-wall” hits, single Never Had So Much Funalmost didn’t make the cut, “because my band is a bunch of fucking idiots.”

“I spent a lot of time on the flow too, like Ball Chef going into Home And Away; people are going to lose their minds,” he says.

But Whalley’s had little time to think about the album’s supporting “requests only” national tour, in the midst of a recording project he says is “ruining” his life. He’s currently working with Blackie from the Hard-Ons, who is recording a song a day for a year. “We’re up to 219 songs,” he tells. “It’s like doing 30 full-length records in a year. It’s ridiculous, and it’s ruining my life, to be honest. But I do love it.

“He’s a legend, he’s one of the reasons that I sort of started Frenzal in the first place…it was pretty exciting for me to be working with him even if he wanted to do such a nuts project.”

With Frenzal Rhomb scheduled to hit The Blasting Room in Colorado with punk drumming legend Bill Stevenson on Oct 16, Whalley’s collaboration with Blackie might have an influence on their new material. “I’m basically just ripping off heaps of it,” he says.

The follow-up to 2011’s Smoko At The Pet Food Factory was put on the back-burner while drummer Gordy Forman recovered from a broken arm he suffered in Perth last year, but now it’s all systems go. “Everyone started panicking a few months ago, and about a month ago everyone went, ‘Aw fuck, we’re going, it’s happening.’ It’s like, ‘We’ve got our tickets, we need songs.’

“The hard thing with Frenzal is trying to get that balance between sounding energetic and how we’ve been getting slightly heavier sounding over the years. The songs have to be good by themselves; we could write a million fast, melodic songs, but just getting that slightly intangible thing is a bit elusive sometimes.”