Archive for March, 2011

The Belligerents EP Launch Review

March 30, 2011

The Belligerents

The Belligerents / Young Men Dead / Millions

Woodland: 26.03.11

by Rachel Tinney

Even though there was a LOT going on on Saturday night (Dan Kelly and Gareth Liddiard were at the Zoo and then there was the monster that was Ric’s Big Backyard Festival with the likes of You Am I, Pangaea and Die! Die! Die!) The Belligerents’ Less Arty, More Party EP launch managed to sell out fairly early, ensuring that Brisbane’s appreciation for local music is still alive and kicking.


First to hit the party-ready stage covered in streamers and balloons are relatively new band Millions. For only their second show, they quite easily manage to lure people from their faraway seats and get them shuffling their feet on the dance floor. The only thing is, the movements on stage don’t seem to match the enthusiasm from the crowd. But hey, like I said, it was their second show. Surely with some more under their belt they’ll develop that onstage chemistry and charisma I’m sure is there.

Young Men Dead

Next up on the bill are Young Men Dead. Renown for their energetic live performances the indie/electronica band do not disappoint. James Wright, proves his worth on the night by once again taking to the stage (earlier him and his curly mop of hair were drumming for Millions) to provide some fast-paced beats to get those dancing feet moving. Lead singer Beaver (aka David Thomas) gets in on the groove, skillfully moving around the stage, picking up a saxophone at times and climbing onto Wright’s bass drum to finish the set on a high, quite literally.

The Belligerents

After the final notes from Young Men Dead fade away and the DJ starts spinning some tunes, people begin to really get their party shoes on, anticipating a sweaty and fun-filled set from The Belligerents. Stepping up onto the stage to launch their EP there is a definite lack of art from the boys who I’ve seen before in some quirky costumes. Tonight it’s just the generic skinnies and tee combo with a beaded hat here, some oversized glasses there and a crash helmet on drummer Sam Sargent (for safety reasons, obviously…). But nevertheless the party is most definitely there.

The Belligerents

All members of the band are equal both in their talent and stage presence, working together as one and building on the electrifying energy already abuzz throughout the room. It is easy to see why the night sold out so quickly. Every track goes down a treat with the audience, with new single Such A Crime garnering a pretty raucous response. The party energy builds well and truly through their set, with three out of the five boys jumping into the crowd to indulge in a bit of crowd surfing. Regrettably the set comes to an end, but not before they bow to the crowd’s demands and return to the stage for a quick encore – sweaty, shirtless and armed with a fuckload of confetti. An incredible end to the set that definitely lives up to the Less Arty, More Party theme.


Justin Townes Earle Live Review

March 16, 2011

STEP INN (10.03.11)

by Benny Doyle

Justin Townes Earle. Photo: Benny Doyle

Rattlehand start the evening with a traditional sound awash with a slight modern edge. Adopting a high riding guitar style akin to a bearded Johnny Cash, Josh Shelton engages and entertains while his melting vocals seep into those of harmonica player Steve Wallis with pure cohesion. The mandolin work of Glen Jarvis is also critical to the band’s sound and drives Rattlehand with tight, structured string play. It’s everyman, but never workman, -like which essentially is the essence of connecting with the people.

If Betty Page grabbed a guitar off Muddy Waters and a vocal lesson from Amy Winehouse, there is no doubt Lanie Lane would be the end result. Lane battles against a crowd seemingly at odds with showing any emotion, but by the time ‘Jungleman’ has whisked you to the days of prohibition, and subtle elements of flaminco have met head on with the Deep South on ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, the room is finally feeling a vibe in unison. Closing with ‘What Do I Do’, Lane shows herself to be a complete oddity domestically, in the best possible way.

The gangly form of Justin Townes Earle lumbers on stage and with an early dedication to his late granddaddy in ‘They Killed John Henry’, the storytelling begins and becomes as much part of the performance as his bold voice, creative finger picking and the tight-as-hell shadow work that Josh Hedley provides on violin and backing vocals. ‘I Don’t Care’ sends the faithful into raptures while his verbal ponderings regarding fried chicken and women highlight the subtle charisma that commands the room. Bluegrass, delta, folk, it does not matter, tonight Earle is holding all the aces. Shirt off, steaming, the current New Yorker calls final rounds with The Replacements cover ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ and leaves the stage with all present yearning for more.

Future Music Review

March 9, 2011

by Melanie Dinjaski

With Brisbane experiencing its wettest summer in nearly forty years, Future Music Festival 2011 should be one hell of a mudfest – and it doesn’t disappoint. After just one hour I’d collected mud on my clothes, in my shoes, and in my eyes. This is gonna be a looong day.

First up, I check out what looks like an inflatable jumping castle, the V Energy Green Room. Here fluorescent UV paint must first be liberally applied before entering the glowing rave where I found Stretch on the decks warming up the Future Music faithful, who were dancing up a storm. Oh crap, they really did. It’s raining when I emerge.

On the Mazda2 Stage, Melbourne group Gypsy & The Cat are about to start their set. Kicking off with ‘Time to Wander’ the crowd are revelling in the rock/dance fusion, featuring many hits from debut album, Gilgamesh. It’s a surprise their angelic vocals don’t get lost in the festival setting, but instead absolutely boom from the stage. These guys are flawless live. Strong from start to finish. Come album number two, they will be huge. Stay tuned.

Off to the Main Stage and DJ Hook’n’Sling is busy keeping those awaiting Ke$ha entertained. The place is filling with people; I really can’t believe how far she’s gotten by ripping off Lady Gaga. From a distance I can see a figure emerge on the stage. The lack of pants can mean only one thing – Ke$ha is here. And so are her fans. They are loud and loving the opportunity of seeing her perform songs with lyrics such as, “Rat-a-tat-tat on your dum-dum drum, the beat’s so fat, gonna make me come.” Me? Err, not so much. ‘Nuff said.

Tame Impala are more my thing. The psychedelic bohemian rockers have become a summer festival staple and it’s not hard to see why. Crowd pleasers. No-one can say that they fall short live. They go through the motions, playing fan favourites including ‘Half Full Glass of Wine’ and ‘Solitude is Bliss’ and before long it’s over. Too soon if you ask me.

After a walk around the Doomben site, I’m just amazed at how much talent is on offer here. So many DJs, so much dancing, SO. MUCH. FUN.

I head back over to the Mazda2 Stage, where the one and only, Mark Ronson and The Business International are due. A musician/producer extraordinaire, is there anyone Mark Ronson hasn’t collaborated with? And all at the age of just 35 too. Astounding. Ronson and friends take the stage in matching stripe shirt/blue jacket combos, starting off with a longish instrumental piece, before jumping into ‘The Bike Song’ with Alex Greenwald and Spank Rock killing it on stage. A surprise is seeing the band perform the song Greenwald is most famous for writing, with his old band Phantom Planet – The OC theme song, ‘California’, to which the audience willingly sing along to. Ronson praises the crowd and after giving us a taste of his impressive DJ skills, they finish with the uber-hit ‘Bang, Bang, Bang’ featuring Amanda Warner rocking out in front. Just awesome.

The mob are now closing in on drawcard act, MGMT. Wearing a black cape and baseball cap (a strange combination if ever there was) lead singer Andrew VanWyngarden launches into ‘Brian Eno’. Watching from the grandstand, it’s clear that fans still haven’t embraced their newest album. Musically they play it right. But the favourites will always be ‘Time to Pretend’ and ‘Electric Feel’ and you get the feeling they will always suffer for their remarkable early success. When these older songs are heard, the audience instantly come to life. Which is more than can be said for the band. VanWyngarden and co. are near motionless with exception to guitar strumming and piano tinkling. For the old album, I suppose this is ok, but for newer, rockier tracks like ‘Song for Dan Treacy’ and ‘Flash Delirium’, the lack of passion from the band instantly put a dampener on each track. They peak early with old favourites, but fizzle out into an uneventful finish. In one word – disappointing.

Over at the Main Stage, the ground is slowly but surely sinking into a muddy abyss. I go in as far as I think humanly possible, to witness Dizzee Rascal in the process of getting the crowd ‘Bonkers’. As if he needed help. We’re all a little crazy for coming out in weather like this for ten hours! Jumping about on stage he works the crowd like no other. A fine performer.

Pendulum are pretty much renowned for their live set, and it’s not hard to see why. They’re like Australia’s answer to The Prodigy. Full of energy and gusto this band know how to put on a show. EVERYONE at Doomben was as the Mazda2 Stage when they stormed on. It feels like there is no standing room left! Their ABC News theme remix is met with huge screams of excitement – never has news been so cool. But without a doubt, the song that sets everyone off is ‘Slam’, and even those who are not necessarily fans, cannot help but get into that infectious synth and drum chorus.

I was heading back over to the Main Stage, when it became evident that sloppy Doomben Racecourse was just too much for this reviewer, finally calling it a night when a little airborne mud made it to my mouth. It’d be safe to assume that The Chemical Brothers were kickass anyway…

Plutonic Interview

March 7, 2011

Head over to the 4ZzZ interviews podcasting page to check out our chat with talented Aussie hip-hop producer Plutonic in the wake of his latest collaboration with G Love.

Mogwai: Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

March 2, 2011
– by Jeremy Hunter
Mogwai’s latest album churns out another 50 or so minutes of spaced out slow crescendos. We’re lucky they do it so well.

My relationship to Mogwai is as more of an acquaintance than a friend, that is to say, I know people who Truly Love them whereas I have somewhat of a disconnected respect. So forgive me if I can’t reference this album too much in relationship to their past work. What I can do however, is tell you that this album is a good listen on its own, and has more than enough sonic gems buried in it to satisfy repeat listens for any acquaintance of melodic post-rock.

The songs are all colourful landscapes, each with a unique instrumentation and tone. Opening track White Noise is reminiscent of a slowed-down Foals with overlapping math-rock melodic lines weaving in and out of eachother. Death Rays gives off a vibe of vastness; if it featured a high soaring vocal, you would swear it to be a Sigur Ros track. And here is where, perhaps, the album falters; even with my limited experience, I recall a Mogwai of a few years back being heavier, grittier, and… well… stronger than what this album offers. The second track, Mexican Grand Prix, seems so full of energy with its relentless, driving drumbeat and synth line, yet the song never seems to really go anywhere. I recall seeing Mogwai at Splendour a few years back, turning the audience at the GW McLennan tent into a weak-kneed, ear-bleeding cult of True Believers who, at the close of an epic set, were still howling for more (well, at least I was). Does this album fill those shoes? Perhaps not.

But looked at from a different angle, this album is really quite beautiful, if not as intense and immediate as some of their other work. Letters To The Metro allows the listener to drift along on a slow-flowing stream of piano with a background wash of hihats for accompaniment. How To Be A Werewolf is a lazy track that cruises along like your first car around your hometown. And this may be where my lack of experience is useful: there is real musical gold in this album, but the emotions are of a different flavour than some of their previous work. Some might call it inoffensive and pleasant, whereas others might think it radiant and lush. I personally lean towards the latter, as this album conveys something subtle yet majestic, if only you let it work its magic on you.