Show Review: P!nk 03.07.18

Published on, Jul 2018

Pic by Sean Finney

P!nk, The Rubens

Perth Arena

Jul 3

WA was on a mission to paint the town pink, with the hotel adjacent Perth Arena illuminated to match the evening’s headline act, much like The Rubens’ name on the screens inside the venue as the homegrown rockers kicked off the Aussie leg of the Beautiful Trauma world tour with their recent cut Go On.

“We’re kinda nervous, but seeing all your faces makes us excited,” said frontman Sam Margin. Early tunes like Hold Me Back and I Knowmanaged to fill the arena with an upbeat, punchy vibe, but overall, got lost in such a big venue; they were tight, but didn’t quite cut through. It wasn’t until Margin equipped himself with a guitar, giving their sound extra crunch, that the five piece found their stride, sliding into an infectious indie rock groove with The Best We Got.

The energy continued to build in The Day You Went Away, as drummer Scott Baldwin and bassist William Zeglis locked in, and their stage presence was on-point during set highlight and slick single My Gun.

It was party central when Pink’s resident DJ, KidCutUp, hit the decks, spinning a whirlwind medley of upbeat ’80s and ’90s hits that left fans more than ready.

A sensory overload welcomed punters to Pink’s set; the headline act suspended high above the stage and swinging around a futuristic chandelier that was spitting fireworks to the tune of Let’s Get The Party Started, while a flurry of stylish and eclectic backing dancers orchestrated mesmerising arrangements below.

One song in and the audience was stunned, struggling to process the intro as punchy single Beautiful Trauma saw the stage fill with fog and warped streetlights, eventually resembling something from a classic Disney fairytale.

Pop hooks backed by rock arrangements rendered Just Like A Pill the perfect partystarter, and as Pink danced around the runway protruding from the stage, it was clear she was giving it her all, both physically and emotionally, in a way few other pop stars could.

But it wasn’t all theatrics and insane production, sometimes a song’s melody and beat were enough, as evident in Who Knew, when the chaos temporarily subsided to make way for interpretive dance.

Her humour was on show as she welcomed punters to Revengeland via a warped, gory and hilarious claymation video that acted as a fitting introduction to Eminem collab Revenge. Quirkiness met class for the R&B-inspired single, which saw Pink go head-to-head with a massive inflatable Eminem in another stunning aerobic display. “It’s hard work kicking a blow-up doll’s arse,” she said.

The soaring rock’n’roll guitar lead of Funhouse by Justin Derrico then took centre stage, sliding into an unexpected and welcome cover of No Doubt’s Just A Girl, elevated by backing singers Stacy Campbell and Jenny Douglas-Foote. “Feel free to lose your minds for the next four minutes,” Pink yelled, with drummer Mark Schulman taking control and rolling into more unexpected and surprisingly epic territory with a raging cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Secrets saw the multitalented performer team up with dancer Khasan Brailsford for an acrobatic display that would rival that of a Cirque du Soleil act, and then the entire production followed suit; the stage becoming a dark, fairytale-like forest playground occupied by various animals for Try – Pink playing out the song’s meaning through more compelling, calculated choreographed dancing.

From the woods to an abandoned mansion, props transformed the stage into the set of the Just Give Me A Reason music video, and Pink was joined by Fun vocalist Nate Ruess – who guests on the studio recording – via an old TV; an addition that was quickly background noise once Pink was hovering above the audience on a bed.

The theatrics subsided once more for I’m Not Dead, allowing Pink to soak up the atmosphere before things heated up again, literally. Bursts of flames fittingly spat out from various parts of the stage in time to Just Like Fire, and if that wasn’t enough action, emotionally draining affair What About Us once again employed mesmerising choreographed dance moves from her backing ensemble, leading into ballad For Now.

Pink finally got a chance to interact with fans, getting up close and personal with frontrow punters and going so far as to sign someone’s arm for tattooing purposes – “no pressure”. It created an intimate atmosphere for acoustic number Barbies, with the singer joined by a stripped-back backing band at the end of the runway. “I like Transformers, too, but I couldn’t find anything to rhyme with Transformers,” she joked.

Even the acoustic portion of the set was upbeat, as I Am Here erupted into a folk pop onslaught in its chorus, Pink bouncing up and down to its pounding beat and continuing her inspirational journal via Fuckin’ Perfect and a speech on inclusion through a touching anecdote about her daughter.

Raise Your Glass, complete with fireworks, signalled the end was near, but not before megahits Blow Me (One Last Kiss) and So What made an appearance, the latter of which had Pink soaring around the entire arena attached to numerous cables – she could almost high five ticketholders in the nosebleed section… whilst being suspended upside down.

But that wasn’t how she wanted to leave things, bringing the vibe back down to earth and a relatable level as she emerged in a t-shirt and jeans for Glitter In The Air, singing its final chorus to an arena illuminated by smartphones; a perfect send off and a chance for many to soak up the insane two hours of nonstop action that had just unfolded. Few acts master production, stage presence and songwriting like Pink.

Advertisements Is Technology Making The Music Industry Better Or Worse?

Published on, June 2018

There seems to be a lot of people stabbing in the dark when in comes to the future of the music industry, but few as qualified as CHANGES Melbourne speaker Cherie Hu, who tells Daniel Cribb what we might expect moving forward.

The award-winning Billboard and Forbes columnist is coming off a month of non-stop conferences around Europe and gearing up for an appearance at new Melbourne music summit CHANGES in July, marking her first-ever trip down under after familiarising herself with some local talent last month.

“They were quite the…  spectacle,” laughs the US music writer and researcher Hu on catching Australia’s Client Liaison live at Primavera Pro in Barcelona in May.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been to a conference like [CHANGES], in that all the talks are just lightning-style, TED Talk-style — they’re 30-minute snippets, so I’m very interested to see how that will go,” Hu says.

As not only a writer but also a researcher, Hu finds that other conferences around the world don’t tend to go as in-depth as she’d prefer, something she believes the format of CHANGES has a chance to remedy.

“I moderated a panel at MIDEM in France about AI and music marketing and I thought it was a great topic, but the panel was so big and we only had half an hour and there were five other people on it, so we each only had a little bit of time to speak anyway,” Hu tells.

But that’s not to say the standard music conference format doesn’t have its benefits.

“If it’s done well, it’s really beneficial,” Hu emphasises. “I’m always very interested in debates; I definitely don’t think there’s consensus on a lot of things, including where the music industry is going. For example, what is the future of Spotify? What is the future of streaming? Is that the be-all-end-all solution? I don’t think everyone agrees on that and so at their best, I think panels highlight the fact that there are these competing or opposing views, in a respectable way.”

read more:

Having embedded herself firmly within music and tech, and constantly travelling the world to attend conferences as a speaker, you’d struggle to find someone more qualified to discuss that future of music than Hu.

She’ll be giving a talk on Voice And The Rise Of Streaming Beyond The Phone, unpacking what happens when visual interfaces disappear and highlighting the fact that so much music marketing assumes that people are interacting with a stream through a screen when that might not be the case in the near future.

“What happens when people are requesting through voice? What happens when you can’t scroll through a list to discover music? What happens when video isn’t the centrepiece anymore?” Hu asks.

“Bose is building these smartglasses that involve augmented reality, but it’s all powered by audio, so there’s no visual component. It’s very early stages, but I think if you tap something on the glasses, or you make a gesture with your hand in some way, it’ll trigger a voice command.

“I demoed this at SXSW, so an example would be, you walk down a street in downtown Austin and you walk past a venue and you could preview music from the bands that would be performing there that night.”

The barrier of entry is now much lower for artists, but it means they have to work harder and be creative to cut through the noise.

“I met someone, also at SXSW, who records and uploads music to Spotify all on his phone. He has an 8-track app, two bandmates and a mic that’s affordable that you can plug into your phone.

“Then there’s a free distribution app called Amuse, which allows you to upload to Spotify for free, and they can do that in a day.”

On the flipside, it’s harder for a lot of bands and companies to actually make any money, even some of the biggest in the world, which is the biggest challenge Hu believes we face over the next 12 months.

“ was the hottest app a couple of years ago and it was most popular among young teenagers, so 12 to 15 years old. It was a lip-syncing app, so you’d take a selfie video of yourself lip-syncing to an excerpt from a song, and there were these young teenagers who had millions of follows,” Hu explains.

“It had the traction of Vine in that sense; people were building their own personality and brands off this. At SXSW, the head of said, ‘We still don’t actually have a monetisation model — we don’t know how to make money off this stuff.’”

It’s likely that Twitter shut down Vine because they couldn’t figure out how to monetise it efficiently, while Soundcloud was in serious financial trouble last year and YouTube keeps restructuring its paid subscription service.

“That’s just an ongoing challenge of these platforms that have a huge cultural impact and influence not being able to make any money, and I think that’s partly because the legal foundations are not really there and this is a trend across any industry where tech will be ahead of the law in terms of change,” she says.

“As the barriers to entry are lowering, more and more people will want to remix content, and more and more people will want to make their own derivative works off of music, and I think we should be enabling that. Gradually, the industry attitude is going more towards, ‘Yes please, make content from out content,’ as opposed to being fearful and being in takedown mode, so that’ll be interesting to follow.”

Head over to the CHANGES Melbourne website for more details.

Show Review: Michael Bolton 24.06.18

Published on, Jun 2018

Michael Bolton

Perth Concert Hall

Jun 24

Michael Bolton is an interesting character. While many of his creative counterparts throughout the years have become stuck somewhere between novelty and nostalgia, Bolton has risen above, and within minutes of the music legend taking to the stage, it was clear why.

Calm and collected, he quickly found his groove with Perth Symphony Orchestra, led by acclaimed conductor Jessica Gethin, as his trademark raspy vocal tones gave a new edge to Ben E. King’s Stand by Me.

Crooning through the chorus of To Love Somebody, Bolton gave it his all, playfully sweeping through big string sections and backing vocals, and when he wasn’t stunning audience members through song, he was charming them with quick-wit and anecdotes.

His dry humour didn’t always connect, but that’s part of what makes his onstage presence so great; what you see is what you get. Bolton’s down-to-earth aura makes his lyrics more relatable and also encouraged numerous heckles throughout the evening and even a mid-show signing request, all of which he used to his advantage to create comedy gold.

While reinterpreted Frank Sinatra (That’s Life) and Bob Dylan (Make You Feel My Love) songs, among others, were welcome to additions the setlist, it was during original numbers like Said I Loved You… But I Lied that all the pieces came together and the atmosphere was electric.

Bolton’s more than aware that collaboration is key when it comes to music – as his fruitful songwriting career to-date proves – and the addition of Australian singer Silvie Palad to the stage for a handful of duets was a welcome change of pace.

After going through the motions of How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and more, Palad was given the stage for a stirring version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah while the man of the hour temporality disappeared.

Another focal point of the evening was Jason Peterson DeLaire, who well and truly stole the show with a gut-wrenching rendition of You Are So Beautiful, before the evening came to a roaring close with a medley of hits including How Can We Be LoversSteel BarsTime, Love And Tenderness and encore Soul Provider, knocking the emotional wind out of everyone in attendance.

Bolton’s back catalogue is as diverse as any, and with decades of hits across numerous genres to pick from, there was never a dull moment, rendering the setlist a perfect snapshot of his career to-date, encapsulating his best original work, re-interpretations, humour, charm and more. Sam Perry On ‘The Voice’ Win: ‘It Helped Me In Ways That Emailing Triple J Never Could’

Published on, Jun 2018

WA loop artist Sam Perry might still be riding a high from winning The Voice grand final on Sunday night, but prior to auditioning for the show, he was close to calling it quits.

Speaking with The Music, the most controversial artist in the show’s history said he signed up in an effort to hopefully attract a few more punters to his gigs from the blind audition.

He’s now well and truly on the mainstream radar, but the Perth musician has been “slugging” it away for years and before rising up through the show was finding it harder and harder to cut through the noise on the internet.

“I’ve hit up triple j, I’ve gigged, I’ve toured, I’ve done everything and I’ve just been ignored a little bit, to the point where I was being told by people they’d manage me if I DJ’d, and I was close to giving it up,” Perry said.

“A mainstream program like this, I would never normally think of doing, but they’ve done nothing but embrace what I do. They’ve pushed it harder and turned me into something that could actually get out of Australia pretty quickly.”

Perry admits he never loved reality TV shows and The Voice was never something he’d watch, which is why the support he was given throughout the contest came as such a surprise.

“The crazier my ideas were, the more accommodating they were; they’ve helped me in ways that years of slugging and emailing triple j never could have done for me,” he said.

“The stereotype I had about a show like this is completely not what it was.

“I went in thinking I was going to hate it and, man, I’ve had fun.”

read more:

The show’s judges, Kelly RowlandBoy GeorgeDelta Goodrem and Joe Jonas, might have loved his loop station and beatboxing, but they also branded him as “controversial”.

“It’s important to be refreshing – I’ve brought something new to the show and I think that’s important,” Perry said.

“I kind of love all the controversy I have started, coming in here and turning the whole thing on its head.

“Actually, me and Boy George are really good friends now – he’s a really cool dude, and Joe Jonas would come out to late night gigs with us. They’re all just really nice people.”

Having taken out the grand prize on Sunday, Perry scores a cash prize of $100,000 and a contract with Universal Music.

The signing comes with new single Trust Myself, and while other finalists had their post-win single allocated by the label, Perry pushed to write his own song.

“With Universal, we’re talking about pushing my live show more and we’re going to sit down and talk about what path I want to go on, rather than them making me do things,” Perry explains.

“One of the stigmas of the show is that kids come on and think they’re going to be superstars.

“I’ve toured for five years and I understand that it takes a lot of hustle, and I’ve got a mortgage to pay, so I’m not just going to sign a contract that signs away my rights.

“I’ve already got the music, I’ve already got sets and I’ve already got shows, whereas, I think a lot of the others are in cover bands or don’t write their own material.”

Perry’s planning on booking a run of shows around the country to celebrate his win before focusing on bigger things set in motion by his coach on The Voice, Rowland, and the contacts she’s put him in touch with.

“I’m going to be flying to LA to meet up with them and talk about future movements.

The Voice has opened up so many doors I didn’t know existed.”

Show Review: Joshua Radin 18.05.18

Published on, May 2018

Pic by Dana Weeks

Joshua Radin

Rosemount Hotel

May 18

Ohio-born acoustic artist Joshua Radin was quick to make Rosemount Hotel his own as he eased into his unique brand of “whisker rock” like someone getting acquainted with old friends.

The troubadour’s voice was as smooth as the whiskey soda he was sipping throughout the set; every charming imperfection and emotion was amplified as punters stood in silence and hung off every word. It was only when the venue’s front door opened that distant traffic noises and murmurs from the beer garden broke that spell.

Radin’s calm, calculated tone between songs was enchanting, as he recalled past heartbreaks and regret with painful honesty, before diving headfirst into songs that had a real emotional connection. He wasn’t holding back and it paid off big time for those in attendance.

Melodies on fan favourite such as Winter and You’ve Got Growin’ Up To Do had a more free-flowing nature to them, and by slowing everything down slightly, even happier songs such as I’d Rather Be With You and Vegetable Car had heartbreaking undertones.

He also showcased an impressive vocal diversity, jumping from his trademark whisper to soaring melodies throughout the set, but it wasn’t until opening act Cary Brothers joined Radin onstage for an upbeat cover of Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, Its All Right did the headline act really give it his all, stepping back from the microphone and belting out the last chorus with grit, proving he could easily front a rock band.

When Radin is on stage, everyone’s made to feel like part of something; a sentiment echoed with the clapping and stomping along to the chorus Belong – one of many highlights from a memorable set.

Watching Joshua Radin play to a relatively small crowd is a perplexing experience, given the sheer charm and raw talent that he extrudes, and while it would be nice to see him fronting arenas like he deserves, there’s some special about enjoying one of the world’s best-kept secrets in a such an intimate atmosphere.

Show Review: Richard Dawkins 14.05.18

Published on, May 2018

Richard Dawkins

Riverside Theatre

May 14

“What would replace religion if it went away?” asked the evening’s moderator, Australian radio host, satirist, filmmaker and author John Safran, to the formidable force sitting across from him. Celebrated evolutionary biologist, acclaimed author and atheist Richard Dawkins didn’t think for a second before rattling off a number of alternatives: “Human friendship, music, art, science, literature.”

He was relatively calm and softly spoken throughout their conversation, but would unleash when confronted with an opinion he opposes, which happened often when questions from Safran and audience members touched on the psychology and inherited flaws of religion, a lot of which he discusses in his new book, Science In The Soul.

“You can call religion a computer virus,” Dawkins said, discussing the way in which religion gets passed down through families, generation after generation. “It’s an amazing coincidence that everyone is born into the right religion – think about that.”

The conversation was largely driven by points he makes throughout the 2017 novel, with audience members treated to live readings, which were quickly given deeper analysis by the legend on stage.

A number of videos were also played, with Dawkins providing commentary, including Ray Comfort’s banana argument. “Checkmate, Richard,” said Safran, to which Dawkins responded, “It’s like a Monty Python set.”

Dawkins doesn’t shy away from controversy, he embraces it, as evident to his response to Republican Todd Thomsen trying to get him banned from doing a speech at the University of Oklahoma back in 2009: “I’m quite proud of that” – it’s a badge of honour.”

Having coined the term meme in his 1976 novel, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins was treated to “the life of a [modern] meme” by Safran, who projected images of Pepe the Frog onto the screen, detailing the character’s transition from a happy frog to hate symbol. “That’s quite good,” Dawkins said. “It does show an evolutionary progression.”

But being a founder of meme culture isn’t enough for Dawkins, who revealed he’s working on a children’s book (working title OMG, I Think I’m An Atheist).

He also covered off Darwinism (which he rejects – “natural selection does not have foresight”), and championed those like Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson, the latter of which toured Australia in 2017, thanks to the same promoter, Think Inc.

It felt like a true privilege to be in the presence of such a historical figure for an evening, and the packed house and slew of questions thrown Dawkins’ way proved people are hungrier now more than ever for answers and change. EXCLUSIVE: Daryl Braithwaite On Harry Styles’ ‘Horses’ Obsession: ‘Stranger Things Have Not Happened’

Published on, May 2018

Harry Styles pic by Kane Hibberd

No one expected Harry Styles to bust out the chorus of The Horses numerous times at each show during his Australian tour, especially the man behind the hit, Daryl Braithwaite, who describes the occurrence as “quite extraordinary”.

Speaking with The Music about Styles’ obsession with the classic hit (originally by Rickie Lee Jones), Braithwaite said, “stranger things have not really happened”.

The pair met “ever so briefly” at the ARIAs last year, which is likely when the One Direction member’s love affair began, being treated to a live performance of The Horses during Braithwaite’s induction into the Hall of Fame.

Fast-forward five month and Braithwaite is sent a video of Styles singing the song to a stadium full of fans.

“I only found out about it by someone at Sony sending me a little video footage of him singing it and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s interesting’, and then it continued on,” Braithwaite said.

The next thing he knows he’s on FaceTime with the UK singer.

“He was at a restaurant with Denis Handlin from Sony, Michael Gudinski and Delta Goodrem and that was really funny.

“I looked at the phone and I thought, ‘Fuck, it looks like that Harry guy.’ He seemed genuinely nice. Maybe he was put up to it, or maybe he wanted to do it, but he was very complimentary.

“It’s funny, it really is – I’m old enough to be his grandfather, but it’s charming in the way he did it, and I did see some footage where he did tell someone off who didn’t like it.”

It also surprised Braithwaite that Styles’ prominently younger audience knew the song so well.

“It’s flattering that he would pick that song and on top of that from what I’ve heard on the videos I saw of it, that people seem to know it, which is more enduring.”

“My career’s not over just yet.”