Friday, 30 November 2012

Dave Dobbyn - 14 November 2012, Corner Hotel

The advantage of seeing big names of New Zealand music in Australia is that they tend to play much smaller venues than they would in their home country. The downside is that the shows are usually packed wall to wall with obnoxious ex-pats. This show had the former, but not too much of the latter, which made it more enjoyable than these things sometimes are.  It also helped that Dave Dobbyn is currently touring a greatest hits release, which offered an ideal opportunity for Australian audiences to reacquaint themselves with his impressive back catalogue, given he hasn’t toured here for nearly 20 years.

It didn’t hurt that he’d also brought an impressive band with him (although it doesn’t come through much on the recording, the bass player was particularly good). While Dobbyn frequently commented on how much fun he was having, this show didn’t really manage to move from very good to great. I can’t put my finger on what it needed, but something extra from the band or the crowd could have lifted this. Even so, this is a good show that’s worth a listen.

The first couple of songs here have a bit of occasional distortion (I think these recordings have a bit more power than the stuff I did a while back, but in future I’ll reduce the input volume to try to remove the distortion). After that the sound is really good.

Lap of the Gods
Hanging in the Wire
Pour the Wine
Rain on Fire
Beside You
Just Add Water
Outlook for Thursday
Be Mine Tonight
Devil You Know
Love You Like I Should

Blindman’s Bend
This Town
Welcome Home

Harvest Festival

Hadn't really thought about the fact that when I update the post the date on it doesn't change so it doesn't move to the top. Just a reminder that I've been periodically adding bands to the original post (Beck will be in the next few days, not sure about Sigur Ros, but if you can't wait try - Fan Made Recordings (mp3 and lossless no less!)).

In case you're wondering, there isn't any reason for that picture other than I saw it somewhere else recently and it reminded me of liking that film when I was growing up, no idea if it still stacks up.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

War on Drugs - 13 November 2012, Northcote Social Club

I’ve already raved about the greatness that is the War on Drugs, so I won’t repeat that (actually that’s a promise I can’t keep - . But I did mention that the only letdown at their Harvest set was the fact the crowd wasn’t that into it. That wasn’t a problem at the Northcote Social Club – the band had sold out the venue (I’ve never seen it so full) and the crowd were strangely intense and focussed. The band repaid this with a set drawing from both their albums, and finishing up with a 12 minute version of A Needle in Your Eye #16 (sometimes drawing out songs like this can just result in a boring meandering, but the band are pretty adept at hypnotic jamming when the mood takes them). Some people might have been disappointed by the fact there wasn’t an encore, but the two songs listed for the encore ended up being played in the main set, and really, the band probably couldn’t have done much to top the way they ended their set anyway.

There’s a little bit of distortion in the recording, but not much (the band were really really loud). Likewise, there’s a tiny bit of talking through bits of it, but not much. This was an amazing show; I’m hoping they make a return trip next year.

Your Love is Calling My Name
The Animator
Come to the City
Comin’ Through
Best Night
Taking the Farm
I Was There
Baby Missiles
Black Water Falls
Buenos Aires Beach
Arms Like Boulders
A Needle in Your Eye #16

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Radiohead - 16 November 2012, Rod Laver Arena

I had meant to put this up a bit quicker, but there was a bit of noise on the recording that I tried to fix. That ocassional talking is the main reason I've rated this night lower than the following one - really they were both great in different ways, but the recording of this isn't as good as night 2.

For me, this show started off a bit slow, and I didn't really get into it until Myxomatosis. Thom's voice is also a bit flat on ocassion, but warms up as the show goes on. The obvious highlight is Karma Police, given that its a 'hit' (as much as Radiohead has hits) and was unexpected, but there are a bunch of songs that are at least as good.

Lastly, I can't help but mention the person liked Feral a lot more than they should. Its either funny or disgusting depending on your perspective.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson - 27 October 2012, Regent Theatre

This was a while back now, and I nearly forgot about it to be honest. The show is fine, but not great. The songs from new album are really good. If anything, I don't think the older songs (particularly Kasey Chambers' ones) are as good - or at least they don't fit well with the style they're playing now.

As usual, quiet shows are hard to record; this one is a bit hollow, but otherwise not too bad.

Adam and Eve
Wreck and Ruin
The Quiet Life
Rattlin’ Bones
Familiar Strangers
Still Feeling Blue
Trick Knee Blues
Famous Last Words
Bad Machines
Jimmie Rodgers Was a Vampire
Not Pretty Enough
The Captain
Barricades & Brickwalls
The House That Never Was
Flat Nail Joe

Troubled Mind
Sick as a Dog

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Radiohead - 17 November 2012, Rod Laver Arena

Final night of the world tour, and while the band didn't play anything completely leftfield, there were lots of songs that have only made infrequent appearances on this years setlists. Unlike last night, Rod Laver filled up on time and the band only came out five minutes late (also like last night there was quite a lot of room in general admission, which must really annoy everyone that missed out on tickets). It's hard for me to judge the quality of some parts of this, because the visuals are almost a show in and of themselves (I'm not sure whether You and Whose Army? was amazing, or if it's just the memory of the somewhat creepy super extreme Thom Yorke closeup).

The sound for this is really good (a bit better than the first night because I did a better job setting levels and had less talking around me). I've also started converting a few tracks to mono where someone on one side is talking a lot (the Beck recording from Harvest has someone talking almost throughout and I think this trick might save it).

The only thing left to say is that hopefully we don't have to wait eight more years (or nearly 15 if you're in New Zealand!) for another tour (they must nearly have a full album of songs ready with The Daily Mail, Staircase, Supercollider, Ful Stop, Identikit, and These Are My Twisted Words (if they wanted to go back to an older unreleased-on-an-album track)).

Lotus Flower
There There
The Daily Mail
The Gloaming
Kid A
How to Disappear Completely
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
Ful Stop
You and Whose Army?
Paranoid Android

Exit Music (for a Film)
These Are My Twisted Words
Pyramid Song
Planet Telex

Give Up the Ghost
True Love Waits/Everything in it's Right Place

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Harvest Festival - 11 November 2012, Werribee Park

After missing out on Harvest last year and hearing all the rave reviews of it I was pretty determined to go this year. Then the lineup was announced and, other than Sigur Rós, I either wasn’t that interested, or had already seen the bands. I ummed and ahhed and finally bought a ticket at the last minute. Good decision. I finally get what people are on about when they talk about lineups not mattering that much at some festivals. Having said that, with the benefit of hindsight, if there had been lots of bands I really loved on the lineup I would have inevitably missed some and/or much rather have seen them headlining than playing crowd pleasing sets. And crowd please they did, Beirut in particular seemed to know exactly what people wanted. While his show at the start of the year was good, this was great.

My only serious criticism of the show was the amount of sound that bled between stages – the quiet bits of Sigur Rós’ set weren’t quite as ethereal when Crazy P are thumping away in the background. Hopefully next year they’ll be able to organise the stages slightly differently and/or slightly reduce the volume limits. Having said that, it wouldn’t deter me from going next year.

Rather than put up a post for every set, I’ll just update them here as I do them.

The War on Drugs -

Having only discovered this band recently I’m already pretty obsessed by them. I think it’s pretty safe to say they’ll be on my ‘Best Albums I Bought This Year Because I’m Not a Fancy Reviewer Who Gets Free Albums and Can Do a Best Albums Released This Year’ list, and they’ll be soundtracking a lot of my summer. Their set at Harvest was pretty early in the day, so the crowd is small. At the time I didn’t enjoy the set that much, but listening back to it, it’s actually really good, it was just weird having such a small crowd who weren’t really focussed on the band.

The quality of the recording is good. The band switched from setting up their instruments to starting the set without any warning, so I had to organise my recorder as they began. This caused a bit of russling, but after that the sound is very good.

Your Love is Calling My Name
The Animator
Come to the City
Comin' Through
Baby Missiles
Best Night
Taking the Farm
I Was There
Arms Like Boulders

Silversun Pickups -

I’d heard a lot about Silversun Pickups, but never heard their stuff before this. They were OK, but I wasn't blown away. Part of the problem was the amusing/obnoxious people in front of me. You can hear quite a bit of their conversation on the recording, although you might find listening to it irretrievably loses you a couple of points of IQ (you can hear their views on peanut butter, Will Douglas (“he’s so tall and muscley”) and appropriate cars for a mid-life crisis (a manual convertible, but not automatic). On the other hand, their drone is pretty constant, so it’s mostly easy to filter out.

Skin Graph
The Royal We
Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)
Busy Bees
Little Lover’s So Polite
Mean Spirits
The Pit
Panic Switch
Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)
Lazy Eye

This ended up being Beirut’s final show of the tour, after the remaining performances were cancelled. Listening to this, and thinking back, Zach Condon looked tired, and complained of jetlag a bit. But this was easy to overlook at the time, because, despite what subsequent events might lead you to suspect, they played a really great crowd-pleasing festival set. As has been the case for all of these recordings, there’s a bit of crowd noise, although not as much as Silversun Pickups, or even the Beirut show at the start of the year.

Santa Fe
Scenic World
The Shrew
Elephant Gun
Postcards from Italy
East Harlem
Serbian Cocek
The Rip Tide
A Sunday Smile
After the Curtain
My Night with the Prostitute from Marseille
The Gulag Orkestar

Lots of people were really excited to see Beck, but I wasn’t one of them. I never really got into him when he was big in the 90’s (I didn’t hate him, the stuff I heard was fine, some of it good, but not good enough to make me want to go out and find more), and nothing has really changed since. Which in some ways makes him a perfect festival act for me – get to hear the hits, and if its no good there are lots of other things to go see.

But it was good. The hits generally got played (although, to his obvious annoyance, he wasn’t allowed to play E-Pro at the end of the set because of hit time limit), and a bunch of others made an appearance. It was fun, but I don’t know if it was enough to convince me to go to a headlining show.

I’ve done a reasonable bit of messing round with this to limit the amount of talking you can hear. There is still quite a bit, but lots less than there was. There’s also some weird interference that I’ve never had before. I don’t know what caused it, and hopefully it won’t happen again. Having said all that, the sound is good overall, just a couple of occasional annoyances.

Devil’s Haircut
One Foot in the Grave
Soul of a Man
The New Pollution
Think I’m In Love
Modern Guilt
Qué Onda Güero
Strange Addiction
The Golden Age
Lost Cause
Soldier Jane
Gamma Ray
Where It’s At

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Harry Hookey - 27 October 2012, Regent Theatre

I don’t usually bother with opening acts unless they’re someone I know or have heard good things about. That’s undoubtedly a bad thing since it means I miss out on discovering great new bands (I stumbled on Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! by turning up early for a St Vincent show). Similarly, I turned up early for Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson, solely because there wasn’t a start time listed. Also fortunate – because I wasn’t sure if they were coming on early or it was an opener – I started recording when the lights went down. The good fortune was that Harry Hookey, who opened the set, is an amazing singer-songwriter. Quite how he’s managed to escape serious attention so far can only be due to the fact he’s still young and hasn’t yet released an album (just an EP). Despite that, he has the full package, a great voice, great songs, and a budding stage presence (at times he was clearly a bit in awe of the fact he was playing such a large venue, but I hope it’s something he has to get used to).

The sound for this is good. There is a tiny bit of chatter at times, but he generally managed to keep the crowd sufficiently interested that this was minimal. I’ve done my best to figure out the song titles, but wasn’t able to get everything. Anything in quotation marks is my best guess, mainly to prevent there being blank song titles. I’ll update this if anyone knows the official titles, or if they get revealed when he next releases something. This is a guy to watch out for.

‘Lovin’ Touch’
Rolling Wheel
Audrey’s Song
Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright
‘Let Me Die in My Own Bed’
Salvation Jane

Monday, 12 November 2012

Billy Bragg - 30 October 2012, Prince Bandroom

...and the second Billy Bragg show mentioned earlier. This was a late addition to the tour, given the demand in Melbourne. I had assumed that this would be like his other shows (acoustic and focussed on Woody Guthrie), but this was more like a 'normal' Billy Bragg set, which was fine with me. The only problem was that I'd set the volume levels for an acoustic gig, and he played the entire set electric. While that didn't compeletely ruin the recording, there are a number of spots (usually audience applause) where the mics max out.  Annoying, but the show is really good so hopefully you can deal.

Given this is the third  Billy Bragg show I've put up in the last few weeks I don't have too much more to say. I still don't like Yarra Song or Waiting for the Great Leap Forward, but this set included a broader range of his songs, and really benefited from it. I don't know if there are any hardcore Billy Bragg fans downloading these, but if there are there are a couple of treats here. After a talk about traditions he states that he's going to start a tradition of every tour playing a once and then never playing it again. Having had a listen to a recording on his phone he plays 'I Saw a Big One Last Night' (quotation marks because he says it doesn't have a title). The song isn't going to be one of the greats of his catalogue, but with a band it could be good little punk song. The second treat is a cover of Gram Parsons' Sin City with Jordie Lane (the opener who had recently appeared in a theatre production as Gram Parsons).

Other than that, the set includes lots of the hits, and an enthusiastic crowd. It was a very good show, but the sound problems bring the rating down a bit.

The World Turned Upside Down
To Have and to Have Not
The Price I Pay
'I Saw a Big One Last Night'
Ingrid Bergman
Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key
Tomorrow is Going to Be a Better Day
Greetings to the New Brunette
Must I Paint You a Picture
Never Buy the Sun
Sin City (with Jordie Lane)
The Saturday Boy (with Seven Nation Army/Smoke on the Water riffs)
The Milkman of Human Kindness
Levi Stubbs' Tears
I Keep Faith
There is Power in a Union

Tank Park Salute
Yarra Song
Waiting for the Great Leap Forward
A New England

Friday, 9 November 2012

Gomez - 22 October 2012, Corner Hotel

[A little note: there is a ton of stuff coming up, so shows might either start coming thick and fast or I might have no time to do anything, hopefully the former]

Most of the best gigs I’ve been to this year have been when I couldn’t be bothered, but had already got a ticket. And what better reason to not bother than a Monday night show from a band I’m not a huge fan of, but wanted to see once (or at least I did before this show). Sure enough, really not wanting to bother, and got a stunning show.

The band’s Quinceañera tour (literally ‘one who is fifteen’, thanks Wikipedia) includes a bit of fan participation even before the shows, with the ability to request songs. I’d read an interview where they said it was a waste of time to request the hits, since they play those every night, so I requested songs I thought should be hits, but don’t seem to get played much. I’m not sure how many other people bothered, but three of the five songs I requested got played.

Although I heard someone complaining about the crowd, I didn’t they were bad, particularly for a Monday night (who plays a Sunday/Monday double header?!?). There was a bit of a lull through the middle of the set, where they seemed to lose the crowd a bit (you can tell on the recording because there’s a bit of talk for a while, whereas early on there isn’t any). Given they were including a few rarities, I thought they managed to pace the set nicely. As a casual fan I managed to enjoy the show a lot. Enough that I’m now a bit of a convert, and will definitely go see them next time they tour (which, admittedly, isn’t likely to be anytime soon).

The sound for this is mostly outstanding. That mid-set lull brings it down slightly, but for the most this could almost be an official recording (big call I know, but check it out, I’m very pleased with myself). This is one of a small handful of shows I can recommend for download regardless of whether you were there or not.

Bring It On
Shot Shot
I Will Take You There
Rhythm and Blues Alibi
Meet Me in the City
Get Myself Arrested
The Place and the People
We Haven’t Turned Around
Revolutionary Kind
Bring Your Lovin’ Back
Ruff Stuff
Whippin’ Picadilly

Tijuana Lady
Devil Will Ride
How We Operate

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Billy Bragg - 19 October 2012, Hamer Hall

Urgh, two Billy Bragg gigs to put up and they suffer from opposite problems – one’s too quiet and the others too loud. This is the quiet one and as regular flyers will have heard me complain the killer is the dynamic range. Having said that, while this could probably be a bit better, it’s a lot better than the other quiet show, like Ryan Adams.

As far as I’m aware this is the only Woody 100 show outside of the UK. The Woody 100 shows are celebrations of the fact that this is the hundredth anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s birth, so the set is exclusively Woody Guthrie material (not all from the Mermaid Avenue albums). The gem from the non-Mermaid Avenue albums was Slipknot, a song about lynchings Guthrie witnessed growing up in Oklahoma. It was also interesting to hear Bragg speak extensively about each of the songs, providing detail about why they’d been chosen for the albums, or what they revealed about Guthrie.

The three encore songs were a bit of a letdown. Never Buy the Sun is a new song and Waiting for the Great Leap forward is a rewriting of an old song, both are fairly hamfisted jabs at the current state of affairs in England. Yarra Song is an outtake (released on the Australian version of England, Half English), that, while being a bit of a crowd pleaser given the local subject matter, isn’t really a great song. Putting that aside, the Guthrie portion of the show was both interesting and entertaining, which is a bit of feat really.

As I mentioned, the sound had to be cranked up to make everything audible, which results in a very faint bit of static. Hopefully nothing to worry most people. However, there was also a buzz throughout the show. I’ve got no idea why no one fixed it, but they didn’t. It’s drowned out during the songs, but can be pretty annoying during the discussions. Nothing I can do about that one unfortunately.

Against the Law
She Came Along to Me
The Unwelcome Guest
Ingrid Bergman
Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key
Black Wind Blowing
Don't You Marry
Dry Bed

I Guess I Planted
I Ain't Got No Home
I Was Born
My Flying Saucer
Pretty Boy Floyd
Go Down to the Water
Another Man's Done Gone
All You Fascists

Never Buy the Sun
Yarra Song
Waiting for the Great Leap Forward

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Black Keys - 1 November 2012, Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Having cancelled their last Australian tour with just a few days notice, the Black Keys finally made it back to Australia. They've managed to slowly work their way up from pretty small venues to now playing Sidney Myer Music Bowl. And while it's hard to begrudge them their success, I was a bit worried that their new fans would be the type who go nuts when the singles get played, and are then obnoxious for the rest of the show. Going in with low expectations seems to be a surefire way of guaranteeing a great show, and this was no different.

The band focussed on their latest two albums, throwing in three tracks from Attack and Release, and just two from their earlier albums. While I would have liked a more varied setlist, the new stuff is good enough to be able to sustain a concert (talking about a varied setlist, whats up with playing the same setlist every single night?).

The addition of two more musicians didn't seem to add much, and (surprisingly) the half of the show featuring just the two of them sounded more powerful.

Soundwise, I'm slowly getting better at recording very loud and very quiet shows, but its hard and I've not got it down yet. The sound for this is generally good, but at the opening of the set when the crowd is going nuts and the announcer is yelling theres some distortion. And likewise as things get loud towards the end. This is still a good show, but be warned that the sound isn't perfect.

Howlin’ for You
Next Girl
Run Right Back
Same Old Thing
Dead and Gone
Gold on the Ceiling
Girl is on my Mind
Your Touch
Little Black Submarines
Money Maker
Strange Times
Sinister Kid
Nova Baby
Ten Cent Pistol
She’s Long Gone
Tighten Up
Lonely Boy

Everlasting Light
I Got Mine

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Regurgitator - 12 October 2012, The HiFi

I have to make a shameful and most un-Australian confession – I am an immigrant. This means I didn’t grow up listening to Regurgitator, although I was aware of them growing up. That little fact made this show one of the strangest that I’ve been to, because the whole thing was built on a massive wave of 90’s nostalgia, rather than anything to do with the music. It’s the feeling of having to listen to the hokey bands your Dad listened to in the 70’s. It fact that music I listened to growing up is now the subject of such a blatant nostalgia trip.

This was all highlighted by the fact that Tu Plang, the first of two albums to be played in their entirety, might have sounded like the future of music in the 90’s, but is now pretty clearly a dead end that never lead anywhere. The crowd loved it, but there wasn’t much of musical value. Things picked up with Unit, the second full album, which had a core of songs that have managed to age well. The band ended the show with a handful of new songs, and a cover of Devo’s Girl U Want.

I’ve got to admit that the sound for this isn’t great. The crowd, and in particular some people next to me, were pretty loud. Unfortunately for them their conversations come through pretty clearly, and are sometimes quite funny, in a mindless kind of way (they’re probably no worse than anyone else’s concert conversations, they were just unlucky enough to get recorded). I thought about not putting this up, but its nowhere near as bad as the other recordings I haven’t put up, and there might be some interest in this from Australians looking to relive their youth.

I Sucked a Lot of Cock to Get Where I Am
Kong Foo Sing
G7 Dick Does the Electro Boogie
Couldn't Do It
Miffy's Simplicity
Social Disaster
Music is Sport
Pop Porn
Young Bodies Heal Quickly
Blubber Boy

I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff
Everyday Formula
! (The Song Formerly Known As)
Black Bugs
The World of Sleaze
I Piss Alone
I Will Lick Your Arsehole
Modern Life
Polyester Girl
Mr T
Just Another Beautiful Story

Game Over Dude
All Fake Everything
Bong in my Eye
Nothing to Say (with Senyana)
Girl U Want