Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

SLAM Rally

the crowd holding placards and musical instrument

So, yesterday I went to the SLAM (Save Live Australian Music) Rally, and it was FREAKIN AWESOME. It was so heartening to see the huge response people were willing to give to something the government probably thought they could get away with without much of a fuss. The energy was amazing, a friend said it made her ‘like people again’. In case you didn’t know, the rally was organised in response to Liquor licencing Victoria deciding that any venue which plays amplified live music is ‘high risk’, even if that’s a duo in their seventies playing Greek music in a restaurant at 2 in the afternoon. Being deemed a ‘high risk’, means a venue has to satisfy a number of extra conditions, including employing 2 security guards for ‘crowd control’.  This has meant that a number of venues have had to stop playing live music, or even close down if, like The Tote, a large amount of their revenue is due to live music. As one of the speakers at the rally said, the only high risk these venues pose is “a high risk of enlightenment”.

Estimates of the number of people attending the rally sit around 15,000, making it the largest gathering ever for in support of live music in Melbourne. It was amazing walking through the city streets with thousands of people, accompanied by the backing of AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top”, all in it for the same thing. People held aloft their musical instruments when called upon by MC Brian Nankervis to do so. (That was when one of my friends spotted what she claimed were Amanda Palmer’s hands holding a Uke Box, I doubted her Amanda-spotting ability, but she was later proved right.) As we marched the MC led us in a call and response rendition of a modified “It’s a Long Way to the Top”:

“Ridin’ Down the Highway (Ridin’ down the highway)

Goin’ to a show (Goin’ to a show)

Music ain’t high risk (Music ain’t high risk)

These laws have got to go (These laws have got to go)”

When the march arrived at the steps of the Old Treasury, they were a number of speeches, which I was lucky enough to be right up the front for. They were amazing, emphasizing the value and importance of live music, as well as the ridiculousness of calling it a cause of violence.   Also on the steps, back behind the speakers, was the almost embarrassingly feeble sight of members of the Victorian Liberal party holding professionally designed and printed signs with the slogans “Liberals love live music” and “Brumby’s Liquor Laws killing live music” One speaker remarked “I’ve never seen them at a gig”, another “they probably payed more for those signs than most of us payed for our guitars”, another “Where were you when the Tote was closing?”, while we in the crowd provided plenty of booing.

Placards amongst the crowd, while not as slickly formatted as those of the politicians, did better on the content side. Among them:

“It’s a long way to the top…if you ain’t got nowhere to play”

“Don’t make bands sad”

“Hey Mr. Brumby, It’s a long way from the top if you bury rock n roll”

When the march arrived at the steps, a number of local singers, including Dan Sultan and Paris Wells, sung through ‘A Long Way to the Top”, finishing off the non-stop repetition of the chords which had been carried on from the beginning of the march. Amanda Palmer, former frontwoman of the Dresden Dolls, is currently in town and had turned up to support the rally. She seemed a bit awkward to me, as she was up on the steps with the other celebrities but obviously hadn’t been given any official role in proceedings. But she strummed away at her uke and after a number of glances at a strangely (more…)


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Trucks Are Sheep – Seagull

Seagull is from Melbourne, on the artist-run label Two Bright Lakes, which you may have noticed I have rather a liking for. The band centres on the songwriting, guitar and vocals of Chris Bolton. The rest of the band includes Ed Bolton on bass, Kishore Ryan (of Kid Sam) on drums and Michael Zulicki on percussion and melodica. I’ve liked them for a while and had heard this track a few times, but listening to it this morning for some reason I was absolutely transfixed. So much so that I was late for the first part of my day.

The Kramer – Wale

Seinfeld and hip-hop. Two things which might not seem to go together, but both of which I love. Add a heavy dose of refreshing intellegence and insight and you’ve got ‘The Kramer’. It’s one of the better tracks from Wale’s The Mixtape About Nothing. The name is a reference to Seinfeld, ‘the show about nothing’, and the whole mixtape is based around Seinfeld, with lots of samples from the show etc. This particular track is inspired by the famous racist outburst of Michael Richards, who plays Kramer. I have a feeling that in a little while this Washington D.C. rapper will be very well known indeed. I’ve been a fan since  a friend introduced me to his stuff about a year and a half ago, and since then I’ve noticed a couple of top 40 artists use him as their ‘Ft.’ rapper. Surely a sign of (well-deserved) bigger things to come.

When You Say That I Don’t Care About You – Tara Simmons

The delightfully light-hearted music carries a subtly troubled set of lyrics as together they weave their way into your soul. Tara Simmons is from Brisbane and manages to mix instruments such as the cello in this track with electronic and electronically manipulated sounds without it sounding self-conscious or contrived. The first impression of sugary pop gradually slides into something more aching with a near epic sense of rising power even as the texture of dots and details continues.

Addendum: Me and a friend have started up a photoblog, have a look: http://www.sylvesterandjackson.wordpress.com

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Otouto: (l-r) Kishore Ryan, Martha Brown and Hazel Brown

Otouto: (l-r) Kishore Ryan, Martha Brown and Hazel Brown

Sorry for the ages that have passed since my last post, I’ve been rather busy with other matters (year 12’ll do that to you), but I’m back! It’s been even longer since I’ve done a theatre review, and those seem to be by far the most popular. It’s mainly a result of not seeing any plays (that’ll do it) but I’m seeing one tonight, The Hamlet Apocalypse, and I’ll try to get a review up by Monday night. Yay! Moving on from myself-

Two Bright Lakes is a Melbourne-based artist-run record label. Tonight they’re having a little do at Ya-Ya’s as part of the Fringe Festival, showcasing the talent of a few of their bands. Namely Otouto, Kid Sam, Psuche and Nick Huggins. Otouto’s frontwoman, Hazel Brown, kindly took the time to answer some questions for us:

How’s things?
You supported Sarah Blasko on Thursday, that’s pretty exciting. How did that come about?
We have a new manager for Otouto, Adam Yee. He also happens to be a wonderful booking agent.
How’s the new album going?
It’s pretty much finished, but it won’t be out til March 2010. Our first single will be Sushi which we’ll just sell at shows and maybe through Polyester Records.
Your new stuff is very different from your first album, and along with that you’re now Otouto instead of Hazel Brown. What prompted the shift, musically and nominally?
It was a natural shift. Playing with Martha and great friend Kishore, we wanted to have an all encompassing name that gave us all credit and allowed us to be more collaborative.
Personally, what bands/artists do you listen to the most?
At the moment I am listening to Lake, The Dirty Projectors, (soundtrack) Where the Wild Things Are, No Kids and I’ve been listening to Arthur Russell and his many different styles for the past year or two, can’t get enough.
How did you first get into playing and writing music, and how did Otouto (then Hazel Brown, and with a trumpet in there) get together?
I started playing music at school: recorder, singing, violin then guitar. I started writing songs when I started playing guitar and had lessons with Mark Elliott who was very encouraging and inspiring. I recorded Rivers and Veins when I was 19 with the help of my sister Martha, and when we finished it we needed a band. Dave (trumpet) and Kishore (drums) were friends of friends and we started rehearsing.
What’s the process for you guys of creating a song, do you consciously aim for anything in particular musically?
Most of the time there are a few ideas already formed, and we discuss where we want it to end up. But most of the time during the writing process the song changes and doesn’t end up the way we imagined.
Where did the name ‘Otouto’ come from?
A book called (more…)

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This post sort of violates this blog’s description, seeing as it’s about a band. But I think  I’m going to expand the blog to cover all the arts, focused on what’s going on in melbourne. A kind of ‘what’s going on in the melbourne music/theatre/film/miscellanious world. But for now- Me and the Grownups.


Me and the Grownups are the most original band you’ll hear this year.
Paul Shields
Scene Magazine

They’re a Melbourne band who are playing at the Astor cinema tonight (as in Thursday). Most bands claim to have a ‘completely original sound’ or to be ‘genre-defying’, but Me and the Grownups really are. They’ve got Violin/Viola (Jonathan Drefus), guitar (Adrian Sergovich) and vocals (Anita Lester) and their genre would have to be described as folk-pop-jazz-classical. The instuments and Anita’s voice weave around each other, on much more equal status than the usual ‘vocals with backing’. Anita’s lyrics read like poetry, whipping up beautifully unusual imagery. There’s not really any need for me to go on describing their music, you can have a listen here.
As I said, they started up in 2006, and since then they’ve released two albums, Battling the Mountains the Sky and the Sea and Knowing Lovers, Naive Lovers. Staunchly percussion free throughout both albums, they let a hint of drums onto the title track of their recent EP My Perfect Storm. Tonight they’ll be backed up by a woodwind quartet, something they have rather a penchant for, and Timothy Nelson’s from Perth is also playing. Anita animates, along with doing all the bands artwork, and some of her animations will be on view. Sometimes I find their music lacks a gut-punching emotional core, especially in recording, but at the one other night-time gig of theirs I’ve been to it was most definitely present. With no ready-made market for their music (too classical to be pop and too pop to be classical), they’re slowly but surely winning people over. Have a listen, and if you like what you hear, I’ll see you there!

DISCLAIMER: I have been known to know this particular band’s frontwoman.

Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=114632393234&index=1

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/meandthegrownups

Me and the Grownups (w Timothy Nelson). Vocals– Anita Lester. Violin, Viola– Jonathan Dreyfus. Guitar– Adrian Sergovich. 17 September, 8.00pm-10.30pm (Timothy Nelson at 8.00, Grownups at 9.00). Astor Theatre, corner Chapel Street and Dandenong Road, St. Kilda. $17/$13.

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