Live Reviews

Live Review: THE JEZABELS @ Manning Bar, Sydney (14/09/16)

Band: The Jezabels Venue: Manning Bar, Sydney Date: 14th September, 2016 Reviewer: Karl Grovenor On the 14th of September, 2016, a secret gig by former triple j poster children The Jezabels was announced. Returning to Sydney’s Manning Bar just shy of ten years after their first show on the very same stage, the band would perform an intimate eight-song set, breaking a brief hiatus with the same blend of finesse and energy that made them a phenomenon. It’s hard not to view the career arc of the local Sydney indie-pop darlings in the same light as that of a child actor. For all intents and purposes, the band was still in its infancy when songs like ‘Disco Biscuit Love’ and ‘Hurt Me’ began to dominate the airwaves on radio stations like JJJ and FBI. Indeed, with their first trilogy of EPs, the band found themselves sitting on an almost obscenely brilliant discography, capped off by their masterwork, 2010’s Dark Storm, without even having yet released a full-length album. For a few years, the former University of Sydney students were the soundtrack to every front-porch craft-beer tasting session in Surry Hills – and quite a few boozy nights at the Annandale as well. Like every child actor, however, their transition to adolescence was fraught with troubles. Though not as dramatic as Macaulay Culkin exclusively performing Velvet Underground songs with lyrics about pizza, the increasing focus on subtle songwriting and radio hooks displayed on the follow-up to their hailed 2011 debut album Prisoner, The Brink, left as many people swaying their hips to ‘Time To Dance’ as it did bewildered by...

Live Review: Miazma @ The New Globe, Fortitude Valley (21/04/16)

It was on the day of Thursday, the 21st of April in the year 2016, that the IPHYB gods from high atop Mt You’ll Coward handed down to two lowly reviewers, Dead Parrot and Noun The Plume, the task of reviewing death metal bands at The New Globe in Fortitude Valley. Such a trying task should never be attempted on an empty stomach, so our two intrepid reviewers met up beforehand at a sausage slinging house of ill repute to reinforce their guts with cured swine phalluses and tankards of ale laced in smoked swine hooves to discuss a strategy for the journey ahead. But more on that cured swine flesh later. Arriving at the venue, the usual scene of black-on-black attired metalheads were huddled in groups catching collective cancer in the clouds of their cigarette smoke. This was a breed of people that Dead Parrot was surprised still existed. There have been too many downgrades and offshoots from what these people would call “metaaaaal” (in that way they do when aggressively screaming it at a camera with the horns hand sign in every roving crowd shot on every band ever’s tour video … ever) for these people not to die out. Or, at least relegate their long black hair, torn up leather pants, and patch ridden denim jacket-vest to a shrine-o-glory-days in a small section of the garage and be staunched upon by the responsibility of life’s less broooooootal moments. Like nappy duties. Or paying a hooker to check your junk for the herpes because you’re too embarrassed to go to a doctor, even though she’s probably where...

Live Review: 2016 Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final

Eurovision is now over for the year and we have just witnessed the beginning of World War III. Ukraine triumphed over Russia and prevented Australia’s Dami Im from beating the Europeans at their own game with Jamala’s original song ‘1944’, a ballad about World War II which was accused of being too political by Russia. If you can remember the whole Crimea situation from last year (and it’s still happening right now), you’ll know that nobody should fuck around with Putin and Mother Russia. Fortunately for you guys, Ilija and I woke up at three in the morning to watch the action of the Eurovision Grand Final unfold and review all of the songs for you so you didn’t have to load up on sugar and caffeine. 26th Place: ‘Ghost’ by Jamie-Lee (Germany) – 11 points Khaleesi: I thought this was going to rank higher because Eurovision was all about multiculturalism. I guess cultural appropriation doesn’t count. I liked the song – the eerie, Alice in Wonderland staging was cool, and Jamie’s vocals were solid throughout the performance, but I just couldn’t get over the fact she was dressed like every single young girl in China, Japan, and Korea. All I was thinking was ‘Papa Franku! Save us!’ Khaleesi’s Rating: 4.5/10 Ilija: >A FUCKING WEEB HOLY SHIT HAHA Germany following onto Sweden’s tradition and showcasing bullshit. It’s really annoying because I actually like this song a lot but what the fuck is up with the whole ‘Senpai call me Obama’ image? What a cock-up. Ilija’s Rating: 4/10 25th Place: ‘I Stand’ by Gabriela Guncikova (Czech Republic) – 41 points...

Live Review: 2016 Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final 2 Non-Qualifiers

I have good news and bad news. The good news: we now know which 26 countries will be competing in the Grand Final. The bad news: I’m here to review those that didn’t qualify once again. If you didn’t catch my review of the countries which didn’t progress from the first semi-final, check out Part 1 of my Eurovision trilogy. Now, onto the losers of Semi-Final 2. Before I get started, I would like to address a little incident involving the second semi-final. Initially, there was supposed to be 19 countries competing, However, during the preparations and press tours Romania was disqualified from the competition. Romanian public broadcaster Televiziunea Romana failed to pay back the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) 16 million Swiss Francs before April 20 (blaze it), so the EBU went ahead and said Romania was ‘no longer entitled’ to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest and had other EBU member services taken away. If you’re like me and feel sorry for the artist for putting in so much work all for it to go to waste because of people in suits not getting their shit together, here is what you would have seen from Romania if they weren’t disqualified: this year’s obligatory power-ballad. ‘The Last of Our Kind’ by Rykka (Switzerland) It definitely seemed as though Switzerland wanted to recreate their win from 1988. They had a Canadian performer and the song had an 80’s pop ballad vibe to it, but it really didn’t work in their favour. Rykka’s vocals were quite cringeworthy, particularly in the final minute when she could hardly hit the high notes and...

Live Review: 2016 Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final 1 Non-Qualifiers

Well ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of the year again, where the world gets to witness the weird and wonderful contest that is Eurovision. If you don’t know what Eurovision is, it is a song contest dragged out over a week in order for Europe to hit pause on everything that is happening over there (Azerbaijan and Armenia still fighting over land, refugees taking over Europe, Greece’s economic crisis … the list goes on). Fortunately for us, however, the Eurovision Song Contest has provided us legendary acts such as ABBA, Celine Dion (yes, she is Canadian but she represented Switzerland in the 80s), Conchita Wurst (the world’s most famous drag queen aside from RuPaul), and Lordi (the Finnish version of Gwar). This is the first of a trilogy for I Probably Hate Your Band, and since I have a mixture of European blood in me and cheesy pop songs are my jam, I feel like I have some authority to represent IPHYB for Eurovision. I, Khaleesi, will be looking at the non-qualifiers of each semi-final before I team up with Ilija Stajic (yes, the kebab remover himself) to review the grand final performances. ‘Sing It Away’ by Sandhja (Finland) Being the first performance in the Eurovision Song Contest is never a good thing. Not only do you have to make sure you put on a damn good performance so people remember you, you also essentially have to set the tone for the night. Sandhja didn’t do a terrible job of getting the crowd somewhat pumped up with an upbeat song, moving around the stage and dancing with the...

Live Review: KAMASI WASHINGTON @ The Metro, Sydney 23/03/2016

Written by Karl When it comes to the place of jazz music in the 21st Century, nobody had anything more poignant or divisive to say than renowned spoken word artist and jazz alumnus Gil Scott-Heron. On his 2011 collaboration with electronic producer Jamie xx, We’re New Here – an album that, released mere months before Scott-Heron’s untimely death, paradoxically heralded the end of one great musical career alongside the start of another – Scott-Heron provides listeners with ample food for thought during the album’s penultimate track, spoken-word interlude ‘Jazz‘, where he states: “Jazz music is dance music…dance music from its earliest beginnings, to where it is now”. Taken at face value, the statement seems little more than vindication for the elder statesman’s oddball choice to collaborate with a relatively unknown, upstart electronic producer from the UK. In reality, however, Scott-Heron was speaking to something much deeper about the state of jazz as he saw it. Not only had the jazz of the last two decades been dominated by the undeniably talented, yet nevertheless esoteric extremes of dissonance and experimentation belonging to acts such as John Zorn and Zu. Jazz had become over-intellectualised, bloated, and self-important; driftwood utterly severed from its roots, dragged by the current down a tributary from which there seemed no return. In Scott-Heron’s eyes, the true successor to the jazz music of the 50s and 60s wasn’t this – it was hip-hop and EDM. It was music for the people to get down to. If ever mainstream jazz needed a saviour, then, thirty-five year old tenor saxophonist and bandleader Kamasi Washington is it. For two hours,...

Live Review: SAVIOUR w/ OCEAN GROVE & AMBLESIDE @ Arrow On Swanston

Written by Nick Dominko So, I’m sure you’ve all heard that Perth metalcore quintet Saviour have reformed after a long hiatus. Exactly how long is a ‘long’ hiatus, anyway? Well, apparently it seems to be around the 12 month mark. Either way, they’re back, and this tour was booked to showcase the band’s history before they move on to a (presumably) new sound, one which will incorporate the likes of long time collaborator, Shontay Snow. That’s all well and good, but was it a good gig? As I descended into the dark and phone signal-swallowing abyss that is Arrow On Swanston, I was immediately greeted with a guy asking me to take a photo of him with Saviour frontman, Bryant Best. After that pit stop, it was straight into the smaller room which backs onto the larger main room. Within minutes, local hardcore band Dregg began their set. Whilst you could call them an odd fit for the bill, they certainly got a couple of people moving, courtesy of their almost hip-hop influenced take on 90’s hardcore. Their bassist spent the entire set with his head covered in what looked like a white t-shirt, and before the last song, he stood staring at the crowd whilst the guitarists created feedback by messing around with their pedals. Ominous. But then they did it again, one song later, to close the set. I think you may need to trim down the ‘pedal feedback whilst the bassist looks at the audience ominously’ section to maybe only once a set, otherwise overall it was good. Speaking of obvious hip-hop influence in heavy music,...

Live Review: PLINI w/ HEAVY METAL NINJAS @ Northcote Social Club 20/02/16

Northcote – Melbourne’s capital of knot tops, satchels worn ironically, and op shops which cater to those with the fashion sense of Terrence the 87 year-old pensioner. The social club buzzes with excitement for tonight’s proceedings, which has been heralded as showcasing some of the country’s finest progressive metal, all of this coupled with a feeling electricity in the air from the moment you arrive at the venue to the pungent aroma of spliff and cheap beer. The crowd is awash with vintage band merch and guys with the flowing hair you’d expect to see in a Garnier commercial. Everyone looks forward to the creme de la creme headliner – Plini, whom many have regarded as evidence of the immense amount of mastery that can be accomplished with music behind closed doors. Based in Sydney, the guitarist has embarked on a very short tour indeed, with shows in just Sydney and Melbourne. With influences including Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci, Animals As Leaders, and TesseracT, it’s easy to see Plini has a taste for the experimental to say the least. Teramaze launched straight into their set, delivering a solid introduction with every member displaying proficiency in their respective crafts, and immediately showing off their strong points, especially through the delivery of their harmonies. I was to some degree at odds in how they utilised the intimate setting. They clearly chose not to rely on showmanship, but rather allow their music to grasp the crowd and let that be the driving force behind the atmosphere created within a setting. While this is a quality I respect, the entire band nevertheless stiffly...

Live Review: Laneway Festival – Brisbane, February 6, 2016

So, I pretty much only decided to go to Laneway 2016 in Brisbane because Chvrches was playing. Arriving pretty early at 2pm, I quickly realised that this was how all festivals should be: fuck all people, heaps of places to choose from when it comes to alcohol, and so many food options! There were plenty of chill-out areas, and friendly security guards made for a great start. The festival also didn’t incorporate the main arena like Soundwave did, probably because they restrict the numbers to keep it a ’boutique’ festival. Walking through the gates at the RNA Showgrounds has never been smoother. The more ‘punk/rock’ stage was situated right near the gate too, so as soon as I got through security I was blasted with the screams and wails of High Tension. As usual, they were putting on an in-your-face full-frontal assault. I was there in time to see Japanese Wallpaper play some great catchy tunes. They played their hit track ‘Forces’ (feat. Airling), who indeed made an appearance for this song. Her voice could make Slayer actually sound good for once. East India Youth was up next and, not knowing a lot about his tunes, I was pleasantly surprised. A one-man synth machine and guitar shredder, he made synth-pop seem effortless. Slum Sociable was up next with more of the same but once again, they really amazed me like East India Youth. I had a big gap between bands so I sat through uninspiring sets from Big Scary, checked out DIIV (one-dimensional weird pop indie rock), and Royal Headache, which gave me a headache. There was also a...
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