Archive for June, 2011

Life by Keith Richards Book Review

June 15, 2011

Book: Life

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 Live Review

June 15, 2011

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.

Super 8 Movie Review

June 15, 2011

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.


Activist Film Festival

June 11, 2011

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!

Battles – Gloss Drop

June 5, 2011

Review by Kate Herrington

Thanks to the Skins Season 2 soundtrack, I fell in love with the New York rock band “Battles” earlier this year. Considering their debut album “mirrored” was released four years ago, some might call me a late bloomer, however I am now an obsessive fan driving home from the 4zzz studios to listen to their latest release – Gloss Drop.

This album flows beautifully through 12 sophisticated equations of diverse texture and speed. It sounds like these experimental boys have become quirkier since we last heard from them, taking us into a world where steel drums don’t sound cliché and hand claps are not indie.

This is the bands first release without the charismatic fourth member and vocalist Tyondai Braxton. Although there are numerous guest vocalist appearances, they do not compare, and I feel Battles work could be just as powerful if the album remained a voiceless abyss. Gloss Drop is wonderfully engaging, but as the CD spins I can’t help listening for a track to match the success of their most known song “Atlas”, it never comes.

For me, the music of Battles has an intensity that requires solo listening, and this release is no exception. Gloss Drop is quite an intense, enjoyable collection of tracks which will be on high rotation for those in the know.