Band sketches at Rics Bar, 16-7-11.
Jhonny Russell And The Mystery School
Pow Pow Wow
Band sketches at Rics Bar, 16-7-11.
Jhonny Russell And The Mystery School
Pow Pow Wow
Author: Keith Richards with James Fox
By: Melanie Dinjaski
Keith Richards’ biography is an enthralling read. Front to back, there is not a dull moment. It tells of how a blues loving, rebel scout leader from the Dartford housing projects, grew out of dismal shadows of post-war England, into an obsessed guitarist who became the backbone of arguably the greatest rock’n’roll band of all time.
Straight off the bat, the reader is welcomed into Richards’ Life with a quintessential Rolling Stones anecdote, about a drug bust in America’s bible belt at the height of the band’s fame. From there on in, you’ll be hooked. In his (surprisingly) vivid memories of the Rolling Stones, the reader quickly feels part of the band; of the inner sanctum. Or even more personal than that. With his characteristically soft-spoken cockney twang so distinguishable throughout the tome, this biography is not just a rehashing of events. Or a timeline of music history. It is not limited to ink on a page. The narration is so understatedly powerful, that it feels as if Keef himself is intimately sharing his story to you, and you alone.
Recalling the cultural battleground of London circa 1960, Richards gives the background to what shaped the founding of the Rolling Stones. Beatniks, trad jazzers, bikies, mods and rock’n’rollers, with Keith and Mick in the middle of it all, refusing to play anything but the blues. We learn about the family, the people, the bands, the trends, the travel, the lifestyle, the fame, the law, the drugs and the girls.
But what becomes most clear in this impressive volume, above everything else, is the love Richards has for music. It is infectious. In a world where such love of music is somewhat lost in the commercial environment of today’s music scene, it’s that honest, undying love and sheer lust for music that is so inspiring. But I’ll leave you to decide. In Keef’s words:
“There’s a certain moment when you realize that you’ve actually just left the planet for a bit and that nobody can touch you. You’re elevated because you’re with a bunch of guys that want to do the same thing as you. And when it works, baby, you’ve got wings. You know you’ve been somewhere most people will never get; you’ve been to a special place. And then you want to keep going back and keep landing again, and when you land you get busted. But you always want to go back there. It’s flying without a license.”
Life will take its place among the other legendary music biographies. A must-read for any self-respecting music lover.
Husky, Montpelier, The Trouble with Templeton
The Beetle Bar: 12.06.11
By Rachel Tinney
It’s not often I head out on a Sunday expecting a big night of music, friends and drinking but with Monday being the Queen’s birthday, I think ”what the hell”. It’s the first night I’ve set foot in the Beetle Bar and am pleasantly surprised. The drinks are cheap, the people are happy and the room is warm and inviting, making it very welcoming after a long day at work. It’s a place where you can watch a band from the side (or even from behind if you head upstairs to the balcony), which brings back fond memories of The Troubadour. In fact, this place could very well be its replacement.
First up is local act The Trouble with Templeton, who is in fact just one man, Thomas Calder. Playing a bunch of acoustic songs backed by a red headed girl called Lizzie with an amazingly ethereal voice, Calder warms up the already inviting room with his honest approach to songwriting. Singles I Wrote a Novel, which incidentally isn’t about writing a novel at all, and Bleeders are both highlights of the set, sparking nuances of happy recognition among the smiling crowd. He’s a delight on his own, but I can’t help but wonder what the backing of a full band would do to his live set.
Next up are fellow local lads Montpelier and these boys never fail to leave a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart. It’s cheesy I know, but they are always so filled with energy, happiness and humbleness that it’s hard not to join them when they share a not-so-secret smile after a particularly good bit. One of the definite highlights of tonight is Harder Times – it’s a bit different from their usual style but it’s one where vocalist Greg Chiapello really lets loose. And the provision of backup vocals from the talented Hannah Shepherd (of Charlie Mayfair) really takes the song to the next level. Following this, keys man Andrew Stone busts out an accordion for a new Irish ditty that also shows them branching out and gives a glimpse of what their next record may contain. It’s a shame we’re going to have to wait three months to hear from them again.
Finally Husky, the Melbourne band most are here to see, take to the stage warmed by the two great bands before them. Fronted by Husky Gawenda, these guys have much hype surrounding them, and it’s easy to see why. The band’s dynamics are spot on and everyone is a singer, providing some bang on harmonies. Slipping in a cover of Sandman by America (“Yeah America! Woo!” can be heard from one gentleman in the crowd) is possibly not the best idea as it shows there are still some weaknesses in their set. History’s Door, however, is brilliantly done, with not a weakness in sight. Closing out the night, the boys unplug, step into the crowd (and in Gawenda’s case onto a milk crate) to serenade the swooning girls with What Goes On by The Beatles. It’s a testament to the holding power they have over the audience as even though they are unplugged and the acoustics of the room aren’t brilliant, their sweet harmonies still rise above the gentle hum of a hundred girls and boys slowly falling in love with them.
Movie: Super 8
By Jamus Treanor
Director: J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg
Stars: Joel Courtney, Jessica Tuck, Elle Fanning
Super 8 is a rare phenomenon in the movie world. It is a movie that stands up to its hype and still manages to impress. It is a movie that could herald the resurrection of a classic movie genre. With a style throwing back to E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind Spielberg and Abrams manage to rekindle an 80s style sci-fi thriller and create a family drama all in one. It’s ironic that a success in modern cinema finds its strength in cinematic styles and ideas of a few decades prior.
The plot follows the story of Joe (Joel Courtney), a young boy who loses his mother in a tragic accident. His emotionally crippled father, Sherriff Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler) is left to look after Joe, a job which it is immediately apparent he is not fit for. Joe occupies himself by helping his best friend Charles (Riley Griffiths) make a Zombie film along with Alice (Elle Fanning), young actress and both Joe and Riley’s object of affection, and their other friends.
The kids sneak out late at night to head to an old train station and film a scene for their movie. It is here they witness a horrific train crash, which the military promptly arrive to clean up and cover up. This coupled with many unexplained disappearances, alerts the kids that something is wrong. Realizing they may have footage of the crash they rush to develop the film and find more than they could have ever imagined.
A big gamble from two huge names has paid off in what is sure to be a poignant film in this year’s line up. While the storyline could be described as slightly two-dimensional at times, in this style it works perfectly to create a thrilling and altogether very entertaining movie. This is a movie I’m sure I’ll see again, definitely worth the trip to the cinema.
By Kate Herrington
It is a lazy Sunday afternoon and a small crowd is gathered outside the debut of the Activist Film Festival. Walking into the Tribal Theatre foyer there is a beautiful, relaxed atmosphere as groups of patrons lounge and digest the Australian premiere of “The Green Wave” which just finished screening.
It soon becomes obvious that the heartbeat of this event is not only a hand picked selection of highly acclaimed films, but art and music too. On a small stage Jason Lowe strums his acoustic guitar as graffiti proudly displays striking images of Gandhi, John Lennon and Martin Luther King. Festival director Coleman explains that these images were created and donated by Billabong designer, intended to promote “activism” with messages of peace.
The festival has run 100% off donations and volunteers, and as I wait to watch the unbelievable story of “If A Tree Falls”, I am excited to see that the theatre looks sold out. Before the screening, Coleman talks about his passion to see the word “activism” up in lights, and expresses his shock and excitement that this event is the first of its kind, but I find this hard to swallow.
Brisbane has a strong collection of activist groups who provide the community with inspiring film, music and art events. Perhaps then, the festival is the first to show work under the diverse umbrella “activism” in such a mainstream, accessible way.
As I leave the cinema, it is inspiring to hear people from all over Australia passionately talking and networking together. One can only hope they are plotting the next event which will continue to put “activism” in such a positive light before the Activist Film Festival returns next year.
After popular demand, a $10 re-screening of “If a Tree Falls” and “The Green Wave” will be held on 25th June. These films have to be seen, and they cannot be downloaded… see you there!
Review by Melanie Dinjaski
Director: Justin Kurzel
Stars: Daniel Henshall, Lucas Pittaway, Craig Coyne
Snowtown is one of those films you love to hate. As fascinating, intense and remarkable as it is, the story of murderers Jamie Vlassakis and John Bunting, is also horrific, brutal and painfully sad.
Set in the depressing housing projects in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, the film is based on the murders which occurred there between 1992-1999 (the bodies of which were later moved to the sleepy regional community of Snowtown).
The ‘Bodies in the Barrels murders’ were a gruesome chapter in South Australian history. But director Justin Kurzel has looked past the story’s horror flick potential (of which it has been exploited for in the past) and produced an emotional, psychological thriller. Through the eyes of fragile protagonist Jamie, the film explores the challenging circumstances which generations of residents in the area have had to endure. The impact of their experience goes some way in explaining how such cruel and vicious murders could have ever taken place.
Snowtown is not a kill count murder film. In Kurzel’s words it is also not just a story about “murderous, freaky bogans”. It is so much more than that. It is a powerful and moving film. One moment you’ll be yelling “Nooooo!” and covering your eyes, before finding yourself transfixed in jaw-dropping awe. It makes you angry at the struggle Jamie and his family must endure, and the cycle of violence that becomes exacerbated within the bored, poverty-stricken, naive and disengaged community Jamie and his family cannot escape from.
But most of all Snowtown shows the desire for belonging and family, and how humanity can emerge in a number of guises – though pain, through desperation, through fear, through frustration.
This is a stand-out, truly gripping Australian film.
Passenger, Inland Sea, Jackson McLaren
The Zoo: 06.05.11
By Rachel Tinney
First to grace the stage on this folk-fuelled night at the Zoo is Melbourne lad Jackson McLaren. At only 20 years of age, the baby-faced McLaren is quick to capture the attention of the early arrivals with his raw and emotive outlook on life. Armed with only his guitar and surrounded by what looks like a graveyard of mic stands (I’m guessing this has something to do with the large number of Inland Sea-ians who are up next) he stands alone on the stage but voice easily fills the room. Halfway through his endearing set, McLaren breaks a string. Faced with the dilemma of being a left-handed guitarist, he borrows a guitar, flips it upside-down, apologises for what could be a potential disaster and continues to play. To the untrained ear, there is barely a fault, proving this boy has talent well beyond his years.
After a brief break, the empty stage is filled, and then some. The ten members of Inland Sea make the large Zoo stage seem tiny as they cram themselves together and invade each other’s personal space just a bit. Performing together as a whole for the first time in a while, they seem delighted to be on stage and eager to perform. However, the crowd doesn’t seem to share that same sentiment. With loud chatter from the bar at the back of the room washing forward, their sweet harmonies are easily lost amongst the noise. This is insanely obvious on Lord I Am Waiting, a ten part a capella piece that would generally have the room so quiet you could hear a pin drop, but not tonight. All Fall Down distracts the punters from their conversations for a moment but, through no fault of their own, tonight just doesn’t seem to be the night for Inland Sea – which is odd, considering the overall folk theme of the night.
Soon the boy we have all been waiting for steps onto the stage, flanked by a full backing band including the wonderfully talented Stu Larsen on guitar. After only two songs though, Passenger (aka Mike Rosenberg) kicks the rest of the band off to bring things down a notch for his signature style of rather depressing songs, including one about “really rubbish break up sex”. To lighten the mood, he throws in a song about the constant rain in London which turns out to be quite funny. He’d easily have a good run as a comedian if all the gloomy heartbreak ever starts to wear him out. It’s soon back to the favourite Passenger tracks but a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence is slipped in much to the delight of both the crowd and Passenger himself. Too soon he is announcing his final song, Flight of the Crow, and before announcing he doesn’t want to go back to the UK, “I only play to 14 people there”, he disappears only to return quite quickly for a much-wanted encore. Inciting a sing-a-long about all the things he hates which includes the line: “I hate ignorant folks who pay for a gig then talk through every fucking song” (you can almost hear a “fuck yeah!” coming from the Inland Sea camp), he then admits he must sadly go and leaves the stage for good.
By James Cobb
After an award-winning debut at the Melbourne Fringe Festival in 2008, Sarah Collins has brought her one-woman show to the Brisbane Powerhouse for what promises to be a very successful season. Nothing Extraordinary Ever Happens In Toowoomba (Ever) is an engaging and interactive comedy about dysfunctional relationships, overcoming adversity, and rediscovering what it means to be a kid.
The performance is told through the eyes of Kevin John and his quest to overcome the monotonous boredom he feels with being ‘just an ordinary kid’. Collins takes the audience on a heart-warming journey that is filled with anecdotes and fantastic characters that are incredibly sincere and quite often, all-too-familiar. Her ability to capture the essence and naturalness of twenty different characters with a simple change of costume or expression is a tribute to her ability as a performer.
When you enter the space, you are greeted with a small stage, very basic props and a minimal lighting rig. I was amazed at the number of different ways she used these materials. It is fair to say that Collins is a genius when it comes to creating entire worlds with the most basic materials. She relies as much on the audience’s imagination as she does on her own. Instead of spoon-feeding you every detail, she sets your imagination free.
Nothing Extraordinary Ever Happens In Toowoomba (Ever) is running at the Brisbane Powerhouse until Saturday 15th May (excluding Mondays). All ticketing information and performance times can be found at the Brisbane Powerhouse Website:
BRITISH INDIA, BOY IN A BOX, CITY RIOTS
The Zoo: 14.04.11
By Rachel Tinney
First up are Adelaide up-and-comers City Riots. It’s clear as to why they’ve been chosen to support as they sound like a more commercial and clean-cut British India. Their pop-rock does get the crowd moving though, especially with single Tell Me How You Want Me To Dance. But singer Ricky Kradolfer’s (light-hearted) desperation at wanting the crowd to dance more in an attempt to impress British India makes them seem like the little brothers of the tour: cute, but annoying. For their final song, the lads from Boy in a Box are invited to the stage to help with a cover of The Boss’s Dancing in the Dark.
After a quick changeover (maybe due to the annoyingly drawn out late start) Boy in a Box emerge wearing either their own or British India’s merch proclaiming they are here to “fuck shit up”. Two things, if you’re wearing the shirt of the main act you are highly unlikely to want to annoy them by fucking shit up before them; and if the rest of the band is wearing their own merch, they are definitely not cool enough to fuck shit up. Despite the fashion faux pas, vocalist Tobias Priddle tries to win over the crowd with his love of Brisbane, raving about his favourite Brisbane bar, RGs. Bad move Priddle, bad move. If the indie-looking crowd didn’t dislike you for your choice of attire, they’re definitely going to with your love of that watering hole.
Character analysis aside, Boy in a Box are an ambitious and highly energetic band but tend to fall short on the “fuck shit up” side of things. They’re more suited to family-friendly gatherings if the polite reception of Moon Comes Up, Glitter, Gold, Ruin and The Warriors is anything to go by. The boys round out the set with City Riots back onstage for The Clash’s I Fought the Law before finishing up with The Killing Machine. A good set, but one that seems to have undone the excitement that was built by City Riots.
With barely any time to breathe between sets, British India take to the stage in an attempt to stick to the Zoo’s strict curfew. Launching straight into the obligatory new single that is March Into The Ocean, the boys then delve into their back catalogue and pull out beauties like Run the Red Light and Teenage Mother. Declan Melia quickly has the room in a frenzy, as he yells, sings and screams his way through a set that barely has room for any breaks.
As the room heats up and the stage gets hotter, Melia produces a towel to wipe away the sweat and continues to sing with it over his head for God Is Dead, Meet the Kids. It’s a night of odd fashion choices, with Melia also rocking some bright red heart-shaped sunglasses. New song She Prefers Older Women is thrown in with the hint that it may be on the next album, but just quietly I’d prefer a song that isn’t so damn repetitive. The slightly down-tempo Vanilla and I Said I’m Sorry are small reprieves for the crowd (and drummer Matt O’Gorman whose arms have been almost invisible until now) but it’s their cover of The Offspring’s Self Esteem that quickly gets the crowd riled up again. Black and White Radio closes out the exhaustive set and with the exclamation there will be no encore, British India depart the stage, leaving the crowd gasping for air in a room dripping of sweat.
DZ Deathrays, Dune Rats
- by Rachel Tinney
Woodland just doesn’t seem to be the right setting for what we are about to hear tonight. To me, Woodland is too pretty, too CWA hall-y to host some garage rock (and self-proclaimed ‘party’) bands. They’d seem more appropriate in well, a garage. But nevertheless here we are, at Woodland, about to witness the brutality of DZ Deathrays’ Brutal Tapes EP launch.
First up, and kicking off almost two hours after the venue opened (making me think my late-ish arrival made me miss most of the action) are Dune Rats. Following the current garage revival and filled with all the clichés of an American counterpart – think US sports apparel; yelled vocals; sweaty, sloppy, I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitudes – Dune Rats are the perfect warm up for the onslaught we are about to witness. For their final song, the boys from DZ Deathrays join them onstage, with Campbell Smith relinquishing his bass duties and joining BC Michaels and Simon Ridley on the drums for a killer party song.
It’s not too long before the smoke begins to fill the room and distortion fills our minds. All of a sudden the d-floor is littered with people keen to get their party on. From the first notes, DZ Deathrays’ well known brightly coloured, strobing lightshow incites seizures among the crowd – no wait, that’s just how they dance. The disco punk duo’s lightshow isn’t the only thing kicking things into party mode though as Simon’s thunderous beats make him look like The Muppet’s Animal on speed. These boys are fast, and they are TIGHT. Powering through song after song, playing mostly tracks from their Brutal Tapes EP, the energy in the room continues to build through favourites like Gebbie Street, Blue Blood, The Mess Up and new single Rad Solar. Shane Parson’s yelps and screams only incite the crowd more when the hear the opening “WAAAHHHH” that is Teeth. Turns out this is their last song of the night and before you can say, “Huh? Already?!” DZ Deathrays have left the stage, no doubt to get in amongst the partying themselves.