Sunday, May 20, 2012

Boy & Bear @ Forum Theatre, 16/05/2012

It really doesn't seem like that long ago that I was seeing some little-known Sydney folk quintet opening for Mumford & Sons at the Palace Theatre in 2010, but here we are two years later and Boy & Bear are pretty much, in Australia at least, on a level playing field with that band. Their debut EP With Emperor Antarctica was a huge success, no doubt due to the unbelievably catchy pair of tunes Mexican Mavis and Rabbit Song, and the songs that followed it, and the Moonfire album in 2011, have earned Boy & Bear plenty of love from the musical community in this country. After a successful run of shows in 2011, both prior to and following the Moonfire release, and a well-received slot at this year's Big Day Out, the Sydney gents evidently thought, "Another tour? Why not!", and are currently trekking across the country on their Remembering the Mexican tour, in homage to that song that helped to make them so damn popular. And damn popular they are; tonight was the first of three sold-out shows at the Forum. So anyway, what a gig! Shows at the Forum are always awesome, and this was no exception. I would have liked to see another song or two from With Emperor Antarctica make it in, but all in all it was a solid setlist; I had no idea prior to the gig they were putting new songs in the set too, so that was awesome to hear. My only other (very minor) complaint was that I'm not sure if such a large venue is suited to this kind of music; with a lot of very slow and chilled out songs, it seemed a bit weird to see so many people standing around doing absolutely nothing. They had the same problem at Big Day Out too. But they got the crowd moving with the "big hits" and on the whole, it was just a great show from a great band. Can't wait for album number two!

Rabbit Song
Lordy May
Milk & Sticks
My Only One
Three Headed Woman
Fall at Your Feet (Crowded House cover; with additional snippet of Neil Young - Heart of Gold)
Part Time Believer
(Unknown; new song)
Feeding Line
Big Man
Mexican Mavis
Golden Jubilee


Monday, May 14, 2012

Helm (and other awesomeness), 11/05/2012 @ the Espy

So, Gold Coast proggy/post-rockers Helm made the journey south, in support of their newest single Bullets (which features a pretty awesome guest drummer). I really enjoyed their set supporting The Butterfly Effect last year (more so than The Butterfly Effect as it were), and I've been really getting into their two albums in the past few months, so I was more than keen to check them out this time. Especially with dat support bill, and the venue being walking distance :)

So first up, we have the never-failing-to-be-awesome Ezekiel Ox, doing his thing with just a microphone and his guitar. Obviously I'm a bit biased being a fan of his previous (and current) work, but in some respects his solo (and Fury) shows are some of the sets I've enjoyed the most from him over the years. I really appreciate how deeply personal some of the songs are to him; you get to see another side of him rather than the usual in-your-face ranting punk rocker (although I do enjoy that side of him too). So anyway. A nice cruisy set to kick the evening off; I guess most of these tunes are going to be appear on the next Fury album, if and when that ever gets released. I hope it does.
Poison in Crisis (the lyrics clearly say "venom". I'm confused.)
Sick and Tired
Don't Let It Grow
Fire to Sun


Up next was an absolute belter from stoner/riff-heavy rockers Dive Into Ruin, who for the uninitiated feature Craig (bass/vox in this band) and Trent (drums) from Mushroom Giant - although they couldn't sound less like Mushroom Giant if they tried. I don't think I saw these guys at all in 2011, so I was really looking forward to this one because they were one of the first bands out of this underground scene that I got into when I moved to Melbourne. I'm happy to report they still sound awesome, although I couldn't remember a lot of the songs being played. And there were quite a few newies in there too. The setlist I grabbed doesn't exactly match what Craig introduced some of the songs as, so I've just had to wing it a little bit. Plus the titles are in shortened setlist form. But yeah, these guys are great. Hope to see a bit more of them this year.

(download to follow)

Ennis fucking Tola. When did I see these guys for the first time? I can't remember, I think it was the Floating Me gig at the East Brunswick (RIP) last year, and they made an immediate impression on me that night. There's just nobody around at the moment that sounds quite like them, and with their recent run of reasonably frequent gigs, they're looking more and more at home on a live stage. Whether it was because it was their last show for a while (they're now going to get stuck into making their second album), or maybe it's just because they're awesome, they had a very respectable-sized, and very appreciative crowd on this night. What a good set this was. They played plenty of old tunes and some solid newies from that eagerly-anticipated upcoming album and like I said, their stage presence is improving significantly. The friend I was with has been a bit harsh on them for being a boring live band in the past (I never agreed with him though), but he enthusiastically declared at the end of their set that he was very impressed with their progress. So yay for them having another fan, they deserve it. Anyway. Great set!

(download to follow)

Unfortunately that set was so awesome that lots of people decided to leave before Helm (it was also getting pretty late), which was a real shame because these poor dudes travelled a long way and I think people really should have stayed at least for a few songs to give them a bit of support. Frontman Lucas Stone understandably commented on the sparse crowd at the front of the room; he did it in a jocular manner but it was obvious he was a little disappointed. Neverthless, the show must go on as they say, and go on it did, in great form. The small crowd didn't seem to bother them; they played really enthusiastically, especially during their heavy bits. It's a bit cliche, but the "whole group headbang" always looks pretty awesome. Anyway, yeah, good set, it was a fucking late one but worth sticking it out for! More people need to appreciate this band!

(download to follow)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Mountain Goats @ The Toff in Town (09-05-2012)

Supported by Catherine Traicos

Of the five or six times I've seen the Mountain Goats this show ranks up there with the best. In probably the longest set I've seen them play, they performed 25 songs spanning the last 10 years of their discography. Difficult to pick a highlight, new songs like "Night Light" from their upcoming album Transcendental Youth I enjoyed just as much as older favourites like "Palmcorder Yajna" and "You or Your Memory".

1. For Charles Bronson
2. Old College Try
3. Birth Of Serpents
4. Damn These Vampires
5. Jeff Davis County Blues
6. Counterfeit Florida Plates
7. Hast Thou Considered The Tetrapod
8. Hawaiian Feelings
9. Fall of the Star High School Running Back
10. Woke Up New
11. You Were Cool
12. Transcendental Youth
13. The Diaz Brothers
14. White Ceder
15. Palmcorder Yajna
16. International Small Arms Traffic Blues
17. Night Light
18. Pigs That Ran Straightway Into The Water, Triumph Of
19. Love Love Love
20. Game Shows Touch Our Lives
21. You or Your Memory
22. This Year

23. 1 Samuel 15:23
24. Quito
25. The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton

Length: 1:38:10

mp3 (150MB)
flac (527MB)