Show Review: America 24.07.17

Published on, Jul 2017

Aussie treasure Russell Morris was quick to spread the Black Dog Blues, strutting around the stage with an acoustic guitar and cowboy hat while his band unleashed a classic blues rock onslaught, led by insanely talented guitarist Pete Robinson.

His renowned pipes got a workout during Dylan hit It’s All Over Now Baby Blue and things only heated up from there – Morris crooning his way through Wings Of An Eagle before finally giving up The Real Thing. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was a Russell Morris headline show.

The Tin Man set the stage for America with its quirky rhythm and spot-on harmonies; Dewey Bunnell’s voice instantly conjured up an overwhelming sense of nostalgia with most of the audience transfixed on the US rock legends.

With one of the most unique voices in rock, main man Gerry Beckley took control for You Can Do Magicbefore newcomer Andy Barr really stole the spotlight as he took lead for Don’t Cross The River while simultaneously driving the song with fast-paced banjo riffs.

A crisp acoustic guitar medley paved the way to 1971 as the band visited their roots with Riverside and I Need You from their debut album. The former showcased their classic rock skillset while the ballad was from a more intimate segment of the band’s diverse songwriting repute.

Keeping things in chronological order, they jumped across to album number two and a song that pertained that classic America sound, Ventura Highway, proving just how quickly they found their sound in the ‘70s.

After paying tribute to their long running producer, George Martin, they dived into a cover of Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby – a fitting transition given Martin’s status as the fifth Beatle.

Continuing their obsession with all things liquid, Down To The Water evolved into an insane jam session, with Beckley finally revealing his fast finger work during its guitar solo.

“These aren’t oldies, they’re classic rock,” said Beckley. You can label their extensive back catalogue any number of things, but worn out isn’t one of them – including megahits Sister Golden Hair and A Horse With No Name. 47 years in the biz and America aren’t showing any signs of slowing down soon.


Show Review: kd lang 23.07.17

Published on, Jul 2017

Canadian music icon kd lang wasted no time in delivering a compelling mission statement to the audience, as lush four-part harmonies danced around the smooth verse melody of Save Me, all the while weaving through an emotional slide guitar. Ingenue had begun and the album’s 25th anniversary celebration kicked off in fine style.

Lang fell into a trance during the soul-driven The Mind Of Love, with its soaring chorus lines dishing up nothing but pure class, despite ear-piercing feedback.

The singer’s eclectic style transformed the venue into something unrecognisable, and punters were transported to a different world with the French vibes of the accordion-led Miss Chatelaine, complete with lang shuffling back and forth in bare feet.

It was early days, but the entire audience was already transfixed; a sea of love crashing over lang amid some chuckle-worthy heckling. “That takes it to a whole new level,” she said, as someone demanded she take off her jacket.

“I’ll talk to you after the album is over, so sit back, relax, and jack off if you want.”

The crash course on love and lust continued with Wash Me Clean; a raw and intimate number that captured the essence of the album perfectly.

It was Ingenue’s subtle intricacies that made it truly captivating live, as proven during Season Of Hollow Soul, which utilised instrument spacing. Every sound – from faint brush hits to uplifting bass runs – had an important purpose.

While stripped-back numbers such as Still Thrives This Love were beautiful, nothing compared to uplifting hits like Outside Myself – during which long-running bassist David Piltch stole the show – and Constant Craving; both unleashing the best harmonies of the night.

Tears Of Love’s Recall gave guitarist Grecco Buratto and pianist Daniel Clarke the spotlight between bursts of gut wrenchingly emotional vocals from lang; her band once again proving to be some of the best as they adapted to a forgotten verse during Sing It Loud.

“This is really just validation that I’m a senior,” lang said to another congratulatory Ingenue heckle.

The overall experience was enriching and took punters on a unique and memorable journey. Lang is only getting better with age and still has one of the best singing voices going around, cemented in the final choruses of Neil Young’s Helpless and a spine-tingling version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Show Review: Neil DeGrasse Tyson – A Cosmic Perspective 22.07.17

Published on, Jul 2017

“I can’t wait for the next generation to take over so they can fix the world we broke,” echoed the wise words of astrophysicist and pop culture icon Neil deGrasse Tyson throughout a packed Riverside Theatre.

With the evening split into three sections (a lecture, conversation and Q&A), the cheery New Yorker delivered a different show than one might expect. He toed the line between a university lecturer and a stand-up comedian, all the while remaining within his element and blowing minds in every direction, frequently citing the musings of Carl Sagan.

A crash course on life as we know it was first on the schedule, with Tyson improvising as he hit technical difficulties, friendly hecklers and embarrassingly brilliant, off-the-cuff dad jokes – a pun about the metric system was tweeted live on stage.

Cosmic Perspective was indeed delivered and through relatable anecdotes and metaphors, Tyson was able to convey the significance of science, biology, chemistry and more in an entertaining way that many may have thought wasn’t possible. His powerful dialogue was both uplifting and, at some times, depressing; a shock to the ego he had warned attendees about upon entry. The show ran well over time as Tyson gave in-depth and engaging answers to questions, and his excitement was so infectious as he unpacked the universe that it no doubt set some punters on their own cosmic journey.

INTERVIEW: How The Inaugural Indie-Con Conference Aims To Fill A Void

Published on, Jul 2017

Australia’s newest music conference, Indie-Con, is looking to reshape the country’s independent music scene, as programmer Stuart Watters tells Daniel Cribb.

“We can bring something that is unique to the music industry that’s not trying to compete with any of the pre-existing events, and that’s certainly been first and foremost in our minds,” tells Indie-Con conference programmer Stuart Watters as the inaugural two-day July event fast approaches.

“We are not a BIGSOUND and nor do we want to be. We are not a Face The Music and nor do we want to be… we want to complement each and every one of those events by having a dedicated space for the independent label system that can feed into whatever those events are doing.”

Curated by Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) – of which Watters was CEO for five years – the new music industry conference accompanies their highly anticipated annual awards ceremony, this year making its Adelaide debut. Indie-Con was first established in the UK by AIR’s sister association, AIM, in an effort to address the needs of independent labels and artists. “We think that’s a fantastic event in its own right, and it just made sense that we would develop something locally here in the Australian market,” he says.

It’s somewhat filling the void of Adelaide-based music conference and festival Fuse, which dropped off the map a few years ago. During its prime, Fuse was “a real focal point” that saw a wealth of people fly in from around the country annually. And so, for the next three years, while the AIR Awards are in SA, Watters is hoping they’ll see a similar trend, all with the goal of “trying to establish an event that can hold its own long term”.

“Making sure there’s a long-term viability around it is absolutely paramount,” Watters reiterates. “So getting the content right, making it speak to the people who are going and making it relevant to those people is important.

“From the CEO of the largest independent in the country to the independent artists that walk in the door, they’ve all got to walk away with something that’s useful, meaningful and [that] they can apply to their business.”

There’ll be a number of panels throughout the conference that do just that, including speakers such as Portia Sabin (Kill Rock Stars/The Future Of What), Jen Cloher, Briggs, Sebastian Chase (MGM) and more. “There are a couple of key topics that need to be [discussed] by the independent label sector. One of those is what’s happening with safe harbour; it’s a big issue among the recording sector.

“Is block chain important? What is block chain? I would say a lot of labels – and I would argue a lot of the music industry – have a very rudimentary understanding of what block chain is.

“On the artist side, I’m very interested in trying to empower artists to understand how they can harness and utilise data to give them the insight to make informed choices about where they invest.”

Watters describes the DIY approach many artists and labels now take on as an apprenticeship, with valuable lessons learned along the way, but a major focus of Indie-Con is relaying how important collaborating is. “Maybe it should be DIO – Do It Ourselves; do it together. I love the old adage that I heard from a good friend in the industry who said, ‘You want to be nice to everyone on your way up because you want them to catch you when you’re on your way down again’.”