Tag Archives: review

ARCADE FIRE @ SIDNEY MYER MUSIC BOWL 2014.01.22

Setlist:
Normal Person
Rebellion
Wake Up
My Body is a Cage
Keep the Car Running
Ocean of Noise
The Suburbs
It’s Never Over
Afterlife
Sprawl II
No Cars Go
Joan of Arc
Devil Inside (INXS Cover)
Here Comes the Night Time

Encore:
Ready to Start
Reflektor
Power Out

 

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deerhunter @ the hifi 10.12.2013

As a band whose music is known to be characterised by melancholic themes and introverted lyrics, they carry themselves with much confidence on stage. Perhaps it was because tonight would be the last headline show of the tour, but Cox was in an uncharacteristically talkative mood, abruptly shifting from random nonsensical observations to even more incoherent monologues with the audience, at a point even leaving a voice message for his family back in Atlanta as the band watched on, waiting for their cue to start playing again.

Their live set varied dramatically from rock jams to delicate harmonies. Their bass notes would reverberate with such intensity, aided by the tightness of the Hifi, which ensured the sound didn’t drift away – Cox at a point even joking about amplifiers not being loud enough in Australia, insisting there wasn’t a ’12’ switch. Their 15-song set spanned their entire discography to this year’s Monomania, which more than sufficiently lived up to the expectations following their 2010 opus, Halcyon Digest. Whilst a change in direction, these s0ngs translated well in a live setting with Sleepwalking, Back to the Middle and the title track, being well received by the audience. But even above the infectious music, it is the uninhibited enigma which is Bradford Cox which makes watching Deerhunter perform such a memorable experience.

Setlist:
Earthquake
Neon Junkyard
Don’t Cry
Revival
Desire Lines
T.H.M.
Rainwater Cassette Exchange
Nothing Ever Happened
Hazel St
Sleepwalking
Back to the Middle
Monomania

Encore:
Cover Me
Agoraphobia
Helicopter

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a perfect circle @ soundwave festival, sydney olympic park 24.02.2013

In what I felt was an arguably different vein from the rest of the bill, A Perfect Circle was probably the reason I went to Soundwave festival.

Most of the crowd at the front of the pit appeared to be staking out for a good spot to see Metallica a couple of hours later and seemed disappointed that their music was less mosh-able, in relative terms compared to Stone Sour who was last on this stage. 

Perhaps it was the crowd not being used to having the lead singer stand towards the back of the stage, almost removing any engagement with the audience. But having seen Maynard perform before, I knew what to expect, and seeing A Perfect Circle for the first time, I couldn’t care less. They were musically sound, and held their own as a headline act in the massive ANZ stadium despite a less than enthusiastic audience.

Setlist:
Annihilation
Imagine
Weak and Powerless
The Hollow
Passive
Rose
Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums
By and Down
The Package
The Noose
When the Levee Breaks
The Outsider

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cat power @ enmore theatre 02.03.2013

the greatest.

 

Setlist:
The Greatest
Cherokee
Silent Machine
Manhattan
Human Being
King Rides By
Sun
Bully
Angelitos Negros (Pedro Infante)
Always on my Own
3, 6, 9
Nothin’ But Time
I Don’t Blame You
Peace and Love
Ruins

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foals @ oxford art factory 23.01.2013

As a band known for their performance on stage, Foals didn’t disappoint last night at the Oxford Art Factory. It was the second of an exclusive two night run of Big Day out sideshows and a return to the more modestly sized venues that Foals’ music started off at – compared to the arena tours that they’ve embarked on as of late. On a stage that was just large enough to fit all the equipment, they were clearly enjoying themselves as they comfortably jammed to a string of fan favourites. Everyone sang along enthusiastically to Olympic Airways and Miami Blood as the lead singer could be heard telling everyone to ‘up the BPM’ in between songs. The night was not complete without its fair share of stage dives, crowd surfing, and at a point which the lead singer performed from atop the bar, much to everyone’s delight.

Sydney was also treated to three new songs from their yet to be released album Holy Fire, with the fans already singing back the lyrics to My Number and Providence. My first impression was they were headed towards a heavier, even ‘hard rock’ sound, but still managing to retain the distinctive dance-punk sound that they pioneered two albums ago, the first taste leaving everyone eager as ever to hear their upcoming album.

Setlist:
Prelude
Total Life Forever
Olympic Airways
Miami
Blue Blood
My Number
Balloons
Providence
Spanish Sahara
Red Socks Pugie
Electric Bloom

Encore:
Inhaler
Two Steps, Twice

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sigur ros @ urbanscapes 2012, padang astaka, petaling jaya, malaysia 25.11.2012

After a day of relentless heat and humidity, the refreshing rain proved to be the perfect setting for Sigur Ros’ final show of the year. Perhaps out of place, they were one of the only international bands playing at the Urbanscapes festival, which from the outset appeared to be dominated by urban acts. Many of their fans in the audience had travelled from all over the country (and even further) to see them.

As the band came on stage to pick up their instruments, I felt I could finally stop holding my breath. The glockenspiel’s ethereal tune revealed an unanticipated beauty as they launched into the staple opener for this year’s tour, I Gaer, from 2004 album Hvarf-Heim with Jonsi’s distinctive voice overlaying the band. The backing brass, strings and choir worked well in adapting Sigur Ros’ epic songs for a live setting. And it was smiles all around for the band – especially Jonsi’s delight hearing the audience enthusiastically singing along to Med Bloonasir without any prompting.

Each sound that emanated from the stage seemed to be played in a meticulous fashion. As I was standing closer to the left side of the stage, I got a really good view of Orri, who played the drums with conviction – especially during Brennistein, introduced as a new song which had not yet been recorded. It was drastically different to the more ambient Sigur Ros sound in recent years. If similar to anything they’d done before, it would be the more post-rock sound of Von. The harsh, almost metal sound of the guitar and drums contrasted so well with the vocals.

This was followed by Varud, the only song from Valtari to be played. It sounded more beautiful than on the album, with the live strings and choir which really brought out the dynamics of the album, especially as the song reached its climax. Their final song for the evening was Popplagid, from ( ). Also used as the closer for the 2008 tour, it was still amazing to be in the moment as they slowly built up the song, as the stage lights flickered with the drum beats. The whole experience was quite visceral. At times I felt as though they had captured and held the audience’s attention effortlessly – both sonically and visually, the background landscapes and patterns moving in sync with the music.

Setlist:

Í Gær
Glósóli
Svefn-g-englar
Sæglópur
Hoppípolla
Með Blóðnasir
Olsen Olsen
Festival
Varúð
Brennisteinn
Popplagið

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Radiohead @ Sydney Entertainment Centre 12.11.2012

It wasn’t until Thom, Jonny, Ed, Colin and Phil finally took to the stage that the fact that I was seeing Radiohead live truly sunk in. They looked comfortable, as they launched into Bloom, the opener from their latest album The King of Limbs. The stage featured twelve LED panels which were repositioned in between songs, to great effect, in addition to the hypnotic visualisations accompanying the music.

Most of their songs were adapted for a more rock-orientated sound from their original recordings, with the help of a second drum kit. Songs like The Gloaming and Myxomytosis sounded drastically different to their album incarnations, retained their original punch.

Sydney was also lucky enough to hear a couple of new songs throughout the night – Staircase and Fullstop which sounded like a continuation of their sound in more recent albums but was well definitely well received by the crowd. It seemed as though each song received a lengthy applause, just in show of appreciation towards the band for making their way over to Australia again.

Radiohead played a string of songs from In Rainbows, including Videotape, Nude, and Lotus Flower, which was probably the first song played so far, which remotely resembled a ‘hit’. The impression that they were much happier playing newer material was immediately dispelled when distinctly familiar intro to Planet Telex was played.

This was followed by Feral which was a surprise highlight for me; especially hearing the vocal utterances live, layered throughout the song, not to mention the build up of bass towards the end of the piece.

After a hugely animated rendition of Bodysnatchers, they came back for the first of three encores, starting with the quieter and more subdued Give up the Ghost with just Thom and Jonny on stage. The band then re-entered as Jonny Greenwood took to the lead, bowing his electric guitar in a haunting performance of Pyramid Song, one of my favourites off Amnesiac. This was in stark contrast to Paranoid Android, which the crowd sang along to almost religiously.

The second encore featured 15 Step, then an epic, drawn out version of Everything In Its Right Place, with the repeating keyboard pattern building up as the band members left one by one, then came back for the final time to play Idioteque, finishing off an unforgettable show that was many years in the making for alot of people.

Setlist:

Bloom
Lucky
Morning Mr Magpie
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
Myxomatosis
The Gloaming
Separator
Staircase
Videotape
Nude
Full Stop
Lotus Flower
There There
Planet Telex
Feral
Bodysnatchers

Encore:
Give Up the Ghost
Pyramid Song
These Are My Twisted Words
Reckoner
Paranoid Android

Encore:
15 Step
Everything In Its Right Place

Encore:
Idioteque

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laura marling 09.02.12

After seeing her at Laneway over the weekend, I simply couldn’t pass off another opportunity to watch Laura Marling play, especially at the Opera House. She played two entire sets, with the first half being her latest album, A Creature I Don’t Know in its entirety. Backed by a band made up of drums, double-bass, banjo, a cello and keyboards noticeably different from the more folk-oriented album, they reflected the strength of Laura’s more developed, and flawless vocals from the heartfelt I Was Just a Card (which Laura mentioned was actually written whilst in Australia during her last tour), to a fierce version of The Beast. Sophia was met with the loudest applause, as well as the more upbeat All My Rage.

Following a short interval, Laura and her band were back again to play what were clearly crowd favourites including Ghosts and My Manic and I. She and the band were clearly enjoying themselves, Laura treating everyone to some very amusing banter including interesting facts shared throughout the evening, for instance: that the inspiration for the song Alas I Cannot Swim came from an Iranian poem, or that the Queen is a frequent drinker of alcohol and also possesses a driving licence. When the band were introduced, the crowd was lucky enough to be further entertained by several doses of British humour. Sound wise, the acoustics in the Opera House emphasised the dynamics, especially noticeable during one of the highlights, Alpha Shallows. Laura also debuted an epic Andalucian-styled song for ‘pure self indulgence’ and purposes of ‘living life on the edge’ which was a real pleasure to hear.

For those who’ve not seen Laura Marling before, she explained that they didn’t do encores, as they think it should be something spontaneous (as do I), finishing off with the title track from the second album, I Speak Because I Can, and modestly and humbly left the stage to a standing ovation from a full house at the Opera House.

Setlist
The Muse
I Was Just a Card
Don’t Ask Me Why
Salinas
The Beast
Night After Night
My Friends
Rest in the Bed
Sophia
All My Rage 

INTERVAL

Ghosts
My Manic and I
Alas I Cannot Swim
New Song (unknown title)
Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)
What He Wrote
Rambling Man
Alpha Shallows
Made by Maid
I Speak Because I Can

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Muse – The 2nd Law

Muse have been, and will always be one of my favourite bands. Their appeal lies within a number of things, lead singer Matt Bellamy’s vocals, which work so well with the electric guitars, their outer space-related themes (I’ve always been a bit of a physics-nerd), or just simply their worthy of mention guitar riffs that set them aside from other British Rock bands. As of late, they’ve thrown most, if not all of this, out the door, especially with the release of their later albums, The Resistance and more recently, The Second Law. They’ve begun to tackle more ambitious themes of political domination, war and revolution, contrasting their more introspective earlier work.

The title of the album is based on The Second Law of Thermodynamics, which is referenced in the two part climax and alludes to destruction and disorder, exactly what the album is centred around. It is a wild pastiche, with echoes of Queen, especially in their hit, Madness, David Bowie and more contemporary dub-step electronica throughout. Their fan following (which has never been modest), has grown exponentially, following the success of the Twilight franchise, and now the Olympics, with the song Survival. Arguably, it is this same massive fan base which can be deemed responsible for the band’s ambitious attempt to encapsulate too many of their exorbitant ideas in one go.  Save Me and Liquid State are a pleasant surprise with bassistChris Worstenholme stepping up to the microphone, but further more add to the lack of orientation in the album. An overall disappointing effort, despite its promising construction, in practice, it lacks coherence.

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rufus wainwright @ hammer hall 15.09.2012

On his fourth visit in six years, Rufus Wainwright was certainly no stranger to Australia as he played the first of two nights at packed Hammer Hall on Saturday night. Supporting his latest album, Out of the Game, he started off with Candles sung a capella in the dark. He was very much at ease, singing effortlessly, his voice reverberating through the silent hall.  If anything, his voice was more refined than last tour for All Days Are Night, much like a good wine. The stage then lit up with elaborate lighting Dressed in a white suit adorned with sequins, his every movement created a reflection like a mirror ball, launching into Rashida. The band complemented very well, with two back up singers, guitars, keyboards, and drums, the setlist well chosen to reflect this. A number of crowd pleasing favourites, or as Rufus said, ‘greatest hits, volume half’ were played, including Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk, and The Art Teacher.

One of the night’s many highlights was the middle of the set, starring Wainwright’s backing musicians, Teddy Thompson and Krystle Warren, who each covered one of the late Kate McGarrigle’s songs, doing a fine job. They also joined Rufus in a touching cover of One Man Guy, one of his father’s songs. In contrast, Montauk was a more personal song from the present, followed by 14th Street to round off the evening. 

This wasn’t my first Rufus Wainwright show. I recall in 2008, when the encore was a sing and dance rendition of Judy Garland’s Get Happy. But I had no idea that it would be so elaborate. It all started off with the entrance of cupid, and in no particular order, followed with: mythological figures, Rufus as a Roman God, members of the audience joining him on stage, to Bitter Tears, as well as the entire three sections of Hammer Hall dancing, a rebirth, then Gay Messiah, for a really memorable evening.

Setlist:
Candles
Rashida
Barbara
April Fools
The One You Love
Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk
Teddy’s Song
Kystle’s Song
Respectable
Out of the Game
Jericho
Perfect Man
The Man that Got Away
One Man Guy
Art Teacher
Going to a Town
Montauk
14th Street

Grand Finale:
Bitter Tears / Gay Messiah

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