Category Archives: Music

My Hottest Australian Album Short-list

Here’s the ‘Short’-list

How am I supposed to break this down to just 10?

12th Man, The – Wired World of Sports
AC/DC – Back in Black
Cog – The New Normal
Crowded House – Woodface
Cruel Sea, The – The Honeymoon Is Over
Grinspoon – Guide to Better Living
Herd, The – An Elefant Never Forgets
Hoodoo Gurus – Kinky
Icehouse – Man of Colours
Josh Pyke – Memories & Dust
Living End, The – The Living End
Midnight Oil – 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
Midnight Oil – Diesel and Dust
Powderfinger – Double Allergic
Presets, The – Apocalypso
Ratcat – Blind Love
Regurgitator – Tu-Plang
Regurgitator – Unit
Screaming Jets, The – Tear of Thought
Skunkhour – Feed
Whitlams, The – Eternal Nightcap
Wolfmother – Wolfmother
You Am I – Hourly, Daily


Metallica, Muse and U2. A review.

So, following on from my rants about the year in music, I went to a heap of big concerts this year.

Faith No More, Metallica (twice), Muse, U2

Add to that; Children Collide, Regurgitator, Big Day Out, Illy, Little Red/Sparkadia, Grinspoon, and you have a pretty good year of music!

But over the last month or so I went to 3 of the big ones.

Metallica

I have never seen them live before. I always wanted to be in the Snake Pit back in 1993 but couldn’t afford it. So I made up for it in 2010 by seeing the Kings of Metal, twice. The first time was standing up on the floor about 5 metres away from James Hetfield. What can I say? AMAZING. They are the ultimate professionals. Their stage setup is great, with the audience surrounding them as they pelt around the stage non-stop giving every angle of the arena a piece of the ‘talica. Their music was the biggest highlight. They varied their setlist for both of the gigs I went to, playing old and new stuff and only ONE ballad. (you know the one)

The 2nd time I saw them I was up in the upper level of Acer Arena, but having the front row was great as I got an excellent view of their on-stage shenanigans and the sound was probably better than the first gig. They even played Last Caress and Leper Messiah which went OFF.

It’s bloody awesome to be able to see a band that you have been idolising for 20 years finally in the flesh and soak in your favourite songs being played RIGHT THERE. That’s the key to seeing live music. It’s LIVE. It’s happening. Awesome shows

Muse

Having seen Muse twice already at the Big Day Out’s of 2007 and 2010 I thought I’d know what to expect from these giants of UK rock. I had tickets to see their headline show in 2007 as well, but couldn’t make it, so I was dead keen to finally see them do their own thing on stage.

First, their stage set-up was great. We had seated tickets (that’s what I get for letting old fart mates get tickets!) and were seated almost side of stage. 3 big skyscrapers were positioned on stage and I wondered whether we’d be able to see anything at all.

Yeah, I shouldn’t have worried. The sounds of ‘Uprising’ began and huge cloths dropped off the towers revealing the guys lifted up off the stage on individual platforms. AWESOME.

Matt Bellamy is a real showman, which is funny because he hardly spoke for the whole gig. Dom (drummer) said a few things on the mic, but that was about it. Matt had the clothes (think mirror-ball jacket), the moves (spinning around during Plug in Baby or  shining light over the crowd) and the attitude.

Overall the show was good, but not as great as I’d expected actually. They played most of the hits. Their stage show was great, but I was a little disappointed with the constant filler music between songs, including the symphonic songs from Resistance . Too many extended intros and pissing around between songs. They didn’t play Bliss or MK Ultra, 2 of my favourites and they could have easily fit them in if it weren’t for the theatrics. I’m all for a stage-show and some theatrics are good, but not at the expense of more songs. 15 songs in an almost 2 hour set? Not enough when you have 5 albums worth of material. I think they probably almost played the same amount of songs in their Big Day Out sets.

EDIT: In fact, I confirmed this. They played 15 songs at the Sydney Big Day out 2010 as well!

Of course there were massive highlights. Starlight absolutely went off and Knights of Cydonia to finish was massive. They are a tops band, but in retrospect I actually think I enjoyed their Big Day Out shows more than their headline.

U2

Is there a bigger band in the world than U2? I mean, I know The Rolling Stones are still kicking around, but they’re too crusty to count any more. LaLa had seen U2 3 times previously and made sure that I came along to the 360 degrees tour outside at ANZ Stadium.

Firstly, I was stoked to be at grass level in ANZ Stadium. I have seen many a footy match in there, including the great Socceroos vs Uruguay game of 2005 and to actually be in the centre of that massive stadium was a big thrill. Then I saw the stage. Holy crap! It was the biggest stage I’d ever seen, and I remember the Guns n’ Roses stage from Eastern Creek!

We made our way up closer, around 25 metres or so from the stage and settled in for Jay-Z, who was the support for the Australian leg of their world tour (Muse did their US leg!). Jay-Z had an impressive setup. I counted 12 people on stage including a sweet looking bari-sax and other horns. The drummer was elevated and it looked very cool. We caught half of their set including ’99 Problems’, ‘H to the Izzo’ and ‘Empire State of Mind’. He was ok. I am not much of a fan, but it was good to see him live for a little.

At 9pm U2 made their way, slowly, walking up to the stage. The tension and atmosphere were great as they made their way up. No theatrics to their entrance! I felt myself getting quite excitement at seeing Bono and the boys in the flesh after all these years. Beautiful Day was their 2nd song and it set the tone for an extremely fun and entertaining set. Bono didn’t do his expected preaching at all other than to comment on the release of Aung San Suu Kyi which was commendable. He also noted that more than 2000 Burmese are still detained for their political beliefs which is a good point.

They played ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and ‘Pride’, my 2 favourites and rolled out 24 songs in their 2 hour set. They just played hit after hit and for the old blokes that they are, it was great to see!

Vertigo was a highlight of the night as the ever-evolving stage move the big screens from the top right down to just above the band’s heads and rotated lights all the way around (hence 360 degrees!).

The massive tower that rose up from the middle of the stage had a disco ball on it and both this and a lower ball spun during the encore to an amazing effect over the packed out stadium. It really looked spectaular.

Clearly, this was the best and most elaborate stage I had ever seen. The music was very solid and you really couldn’t fault anything from the night. They did play a number of songs that I had never heard of, but then again I am not a huge fan so I wouldn’t expect to know them all.

Needless to say, U2 fans were happy and they’ll surely return to the next show in 4 years!

I might as well…

….and just for the hell of it, here’s a pic from when the Gurge hit the Maram Bar in Canberra in August.

Quan, Ben, Pete. They rocked it. They always do.


The 2010 Music Round-Up

Hi kiddies!

It’s that time of the year again. Time to round up the last 12 months of music and collate some sort of obligatory list that gives you all my musical impressions.

It’ll either make me come off as a music-snob, a music-nerd or a music-wannabe-nerd-snob. Take your pick 🙂

As any avid reader of my blog would know (Hi LaLa), I delight in making the end of year Top 10 Album list. I also delight in ranting about the music that I love. Note that the music I love generally gets played on the one and only Triple J and usually blasted through my car radio (thanks LaLa) or through my speakers at work.

I also like to play whole albums when I can, either at work, at home on the weekends or in the car on the way to Sydney.

Although playing whole albums gets to be a harder and harder task nowadays. Firstly. They’re too freaking long! Who has 45+ minutes to listen to an album from start to finish. Who listens to an album from Song 1 to song 10 in one sitting?

We all know that if you like the first 4 or 5 songs on the album you’re going to play them at a ratio of 4:1 over the rest of the album.

Regurgitator have taken the right approach. Screw ‘The Album’. There is no place for 10 track albums in todays society. Flick out a few songs as you write them here and there and let the public digest them regularly rather than waiting 3 years for 3 great songs, 3 decent ones, 2 ok ones and 3 fillers.

Having said all that, I love albums. Actually, let me rephrase that… I love GOOD albums. The albums that you CAN listen to from start to finish and not want to change to some schlock 90’s grunge. That is the all important criteria here (thanks to Triple J’s Zan for the inspiration).

So here we go. The List, in no particular order because it changes in my head every 15 minutes.

Children Collide – The Theory of Everything

This 3 piece Melbournian band takes me back. Yes, all the way back to 1991, reminding me of a little band known as Nirvana. The talented blonde erratic guitarist lead singer. The long haired tall bassist with strange moves. The hard-hitting drummer. It’s all there and these guys aren’t a one album wonder. Their sophmore album is every bit as good as their debut, if not better. They play a mean live set and they consume everyone in their path. These guys should be huge, but ironically their path to hugedom entails appealing to the commercialist public which probably means losing their edge. I’m happy for them to stay on the edge. It’s where they sound best

Tame Impala – Innerspeaker

What can be said about this band that hasn’t been said by everyone else that has picked them in their Top 10 list? Tame Impala have taken a direct path to stardom.

Sign an international deal with Modular before you even release anything. Check.
Release a debut self-titled EP to critical acclaim. Check.
Cover a corny 90’s pop song (Remember Me) and land in the Hottest 100. Check.
Support the hottest new US act’s tour around America (MGMT). Check.
Release debut album and win The J Award. Check.

This year has been their year with a psychodelic, 70’s-esque wah-fest album that somehow feels right at home in 2010. I love the way this album feels when I listen to it. It surrounds you with warm colourful sounds that make you wish you were old enough to appreciate the first time this sort of music came out. Listen if you haven’t..

Angus & Julia Stone – Down The Way

This one is too easy to pick. Yet another Australian band that is making it massive overseas and at the same time making us proud to own them. Haunting alternate vocals from the sibling duo give this album a dual layer of listenability with each one’s vocals adding something different to their song.

The words, the melodies and those damn fine voices make this an unforgettable album which somehow eclipsed their debut. Getting to see them live at a festival in London was also pretty damn special.

Sia – We Are Born

Oh Sia, your album title is poignant as it is like you have been born again. Your time with Zero 7 and your more soulful jazzy days have passed and you are re-born as a pop queen with amazingly catchy melodies, pulsing beats and very cutesy video clips. You’ve reshaped yourself and I defy anyone to be upset by that. I admire your will to turn against your record company and make the album you wanted. Surely they would be regretting their decisions now.

I love the fact that Sia does what she wants, says what she wants but still comes out smelling like roses.  Highlights of this album have to be ‘Bring  Night’ and ‘Clap Your Hands’ (both favourites for my kids), but the whole album has a happy feel to it.

Yeasayer – Odd Blood

This band came out of nowhere for me. I heard snippets of  ‘Ambling Alp’ near the start of the year and thought it sounded cool. Sort of an MGMT-esque, electronic/rocky pop sound. And then ONE came out and we all blew our collective loads. 4 months later I would be front row at the Latitude festival in London watching their amazing set. One of the real highlights of the year for me and a fantastic album to boot with enough good vibey catchy tunes to keep you coming back

Mark Ronson & the Business International
– Record Collection

I was a minor fan of Mark Ronson from his previous album but I was never convinced that he could pull off an album of music that I would listen to. I was wrong!

This album pulls amazing melodies, marching band drums and smooth lyrics together to make a completely addictive album. ‘Bang Bang Bang’ and  ‘Lose It (In the End) are standouts on this album that makes you feel good when you listen to it. He collaborates with some random artists on this album as well.  Ghostface Killa, Simon Le Bon, The Drums, Boy George. He doesn’t hold back. Somehow this mish-mash of songs just works.

Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Rush to Relax

I discovered this band about a century after everyone else. A small stage at Homebake in 2009 whilst Powderfinger drew the majority of the audience in the main arena.  There we were, my mate and I, about 3 rows back watching a front man(with a glove) singing in fits and starts while jumping about the stage in some sort of spasmodic fashion. A guitarist with an intense love of speed riffs and a non-plussed bassist banging out fast rocky punkish 3 minute songs.

I was blown away! 2010 saw a new album from this Melbourne 3 piece and it picks up from their previous work. Edgy, raw and ready rock that has to be seen to be believed. Anxiety ranks as one of my favs of the year, but you can listen to this whole album again and again and feel like you are there…without the glove.

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Now, I know that’s only 7 albums, but I have a confession to make. I didn’t listen to a whole lot of albums that blew me away this year. I listen to the radio predominantly. If I hear a couple of songs from the same artist that I like, I source the album. These are the 7 that I really enjoyed from this year.

I also enjoyed Koolism, Two Door Cinema Club, Surfer Blood, Little Red, LCD Soundsystem, Illy, Gorillaz and Vampire Weekend, but couldn’t say that I listened to their albums enough ALL THE WAY THROUGH to include them in the list.

So should I be making more of an effort to listen to full albums, or should I just keep listening to Triple J, letting them create a compilation album for my listening pleasure?

A lot of Top 10 Album lists have included albums from The National, Arcade Fire, Kanye, Deerhunter, Sleigh Bells and Parades to name a few, but a lot of it just isn’t my bag…. ESPECIALLY Arcade Fire, which was ironically selected as the No. 1 album by Triple J listeners.

I just don’t get them at all. I sat through their set whilst waiting for RATM at the 2008 Big Day Out and I was less than inspired. Is something wrong with me or do others share in my ‘meh’ feeling for them?

Almost time to think about my voting for the Hottest 100 as well. I think that will be an easier list to collate….


Music conquers all

One of the main reasons I want to get this blog going again is to bang on about my love of music, concerts and Triple J.

If you know me, you know that I am a vocal supporter of music I love and I try to get to as many concerts as I can.

Having said that, the first half of this year was quite slack for concerts.

The second half of this year includes: Metallica, Regurgitator, The Tongue, Powderfinger, Metallica (again), Muse, U2.

Another reason I wanted to post is because the ARIA Award Nominations are up again.

I have enjoyed commenting on previous awards and nominations as you can tell…

So, it’s time to comment on this years nominations, and I must say I am pleasantly surprised.

Gone are the days that new Australian music was dominated by Neighbours stars, dodgy guitar bands or Farnsy coming back (oh wait, he’s got a new album. WTF!?)

It seems that new music is being dictated by hard working indie (sometimes) bands and artists rather than the major label pushed carbon copies that we’ve seen in the past. This is great news for artists like Angus & Julia Stone, Tame Impala, Washington and Lisa Mitchell.

Just check out the noms for Best Album!

Album of the Year

Angus & Julia Stone – Down The Way – These guys have been so damn impressive since I first heard their EP about 4 years ago. I finally saw them live on a big stage at a festival in England and they were one of the highlights of the whole 3 days. Not just for me, but many others. Beautiful voices and very VERY talented.

Birds of Tokyo – Birds Of Tokyo – I have been torn on these guys. Their first album came out when I was in the US, so I didn’t hear it till the hype and died down and I thought they were just a little bit commericial and had that dreaded ‘Pop Rock’ vibe. A’la Nickelback, Creed etc.. Then I find out that the lead singer is Ian Kenny, of Karnivool fame. What the hell is he doing fronting this ‘soft’ rock band? This made me listen to them a little more, but still, I find it hard to get into them. They sound like a mix of Silverchair and INXS. Obviously the commercial tilt of their music helps get gigs on Sunrise and The Footy Show, so I can’t begrudge them the success, but still, not really my cup of tea.

Sia – We Are Born – What can be said about this woman. She’s done a lap of the world and now comes back to Australia to conquer with this amazing new sound. This album almost never happened as her record company wanted her to continue to release the slow, croony atmospheric music that she’s been known for. Instead she gets out of her contract, releases her poppiest album ever and blows us all away. Love the new stuff. Love the old stuff. Love Sia.

Tame Impala – Innerspeaker – If you are happy to be transported to the decade of the 1970’s, the era of wah-wah guitars, bong smoke and reverberating vocals, then you will love Tame Impala. They have been a slow burner with me. I heard their early stuff and was only slightly impressed, but after witnessing them on-stage at this years Big Day Out and then hearing their new album my eyes have opened wider to them. Not only for their new take on an old genre, but the epicness of their sound. I am happy to see them nommed here. They could have very easily been wisped away in clouds of hemp…

Washington – I Believe You Liar – Anyone that saw Megan Washington on Spicks and Specks earlier in the year would have immediately understood that this woman is going to go far. She has the charisma, personality but most importantly THE VOICE to take the world by storm. For a band to come from being unearthed by Triple J in November 2008 to being nommed for Best Album within 2 years is impressive to say the least! Admittedly I haven’t listened to this album enough to really appreciate it, but great to see them nominated.

I wonder if there are people out there that have not heard of any of these artists. I could understand if Tame Impala and Washington may not be widely played on commercial radio across the country, but I would be very disappointed if people had not heard of Sia, Birds of Tokyo and the Stone siblings.

The fact that all 5 bands are heavily rotated on Triple J is not a fluke. They are the biggets supporters of Australian music in the country. It’s almost become a machine in itself, the Triple J unearthed machine. It’s so massive that I guess you can never give exposure to every talented artist in the country, but at least, bit by bit, they get airplay, exposure and the chance to show their stuff.

The rest of the noms: (my tip to win has a ✓)

Single of the Year

Angus & Julia Stone – Big Jet Plane (Original Matters/EMI)

Birds of Tokyo – Plans (EMI)

Sia – Clap Your Hands (Monkey Puzzle/Inertia)

The Temper Trap – Love Lost (Liberation Music)

✓ Washington – How To Tame Lions (Mercury/UMA)

So hard to pick a winner in this category. They are seriously all excellent songs. I went for Washington simply because I think it’s a little bit above Big Jet Plane and Clap Your Hands in my mind. Would really be happy for any of them to win though..

Best Female Artist

Clare Bowditch – Modern Day Addiction (Island/UMA)

Kylie Minogue – Aphrodite (Mushroom Records/Warner Music)

Lisa Mitchell – Oh! Hark! (Warner Music Australia)

✓ Sia – We Are Born (Monkey Puzzle/Inertia)

Washington – I Believe You Liar (Mercury/UMA)

Have we had a stronger bunch of women nominees in recent history? I don’t think so! Great to see Clare Bowditch get a nom, as well as Kylie even. I would love and am going for Sia to claim this award, but I reckon Washington will get it.

Best Male Artist

Dan Kelly – Dan Kelly’s Dream (Shock)

✓ Dan Sultan – Get Out While You Can (MGM)

Guy Sebastian – Like It Like That (Sony Music)

John Butler – April Uprising (Jarrah Records/MGM)

Paul Dempsey – Fast Friends (EMI)

Have you heard of Dan Sultan? He sounds like Frank Sinatra Elvis Presley (oops) and looks like Adonis. Seriously, he’s got ALL that. The moves, the voice, the poses and the charisma. A deadset legend and I hope he gets this award although If Paul Dempsey got it, I would not be disappointed.

Best Group

Angus & Julia Stone – Down The Way (Original Matters/EMI)

Birds of Tokyo – Birds Of Tokyo (EMI)

Powderfinger – Golden Rule (UMA)

Tame Impala – Innerspeaker (Modular Recordings)

✓ The Temper Trap – Love Lost (Liberation Music)

Again, I would not be upset if any of these bands won, even Powderfinger, even though their last album doesn’t cut the mustard, would be worthy winners of their 16th ARIA (thanks LaLa). I am picking Temper Trap to take this one though because they have really taken the world by storm in the last year or so and it would be worthy recognition for all their hard-work. I would love Angus & Julia Stone to get it as well, but they will get their chance..

Best Independent Release

✓ Art vs Science – Magic Fountain (Green/MGM)

Dan Sultan – Get Out While You Can (MGM)

Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Rush to Relax (Suppression Records/Shock)

John Butler Trio – April Uprising (Jarrah Records/MGM)

Sia – We Are Born (Monkey Puzzle/Inertia)

Eddy Cuz get a nomination for their kick-arse album. I would love to see them get up, but I think Art vs Science will get it for their seriously awesome song, Magic Fountain. Listen to it once and it’ll be stuck in your head all day…

Best Adult Alternative Album

Angus & Julia Stone – Down The Way (Original Matters/EMI)

Basement Birds – Basement Birds (Basement Birds)

✓ Clare Bowditch – Modern Day Addiction (Island/UMA)

The Cat Empire – Cinema (EMI)

Washington – I Believe You Liar (Mercury/UMA)

Whitley – Go Forth, Find Mammoth (Dew Process/Universal Music)

Adult Alternative? What the hell is that? Is that for all us oldies that remember when Alternative music was Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam? In any case, I hope  Clare Bowditch picks this up. Not only is it a great album, but she’s a great bird and I believe in sharing the awards around 🙂

Best Dance Release

Art vs Science – Magic Fountain (Green/MGM)

✓ Miami Horror Sometimes (EMI)

Midnight Juggernauts – The Crystal Axis (Siberia/Inertia)

Pendulum – Immersion (Warner Bros UK)

Yolanda Be Cool and Dcup – We No Speak Americano (Sweat it Out/Central Station Records)

Miami Horror should win this hands-down. They’ve had a massive year and have really exploded onto the local and international scene with this album. If Pendulum or Art vs Science win, I’d accept it..

Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album

Airbourne – No Guts, No Glory (EMI)

✓ Dead Letter Circus – This is the Warning (Warner Music Australia)

Parkway Drive – Deep Blue (Resist Records/Shock)

The Amity Affliction – Youngbloods (Boomtown/Shock)

Violent Soho – Violent Soho (Liberation Music)

Airbourne? I haven’t ever heard these guys. Are they any good? What do they play? I didn’t even realise they were Australian. Some solid competition in this category. Parkway Drive could win for pure Metal brilliance, but I would love to see Dead Letter Circus win to recognise their tireless touring and quality album.

Best Pop Release

✓ Bluejuice – Head of the Hawk (Dew Process/Universal Music)

Empire of the Sun – Half Mast (EMI)

Guy Sebastian – Like It Like That (Sony Music)

Kylie Minogue – Aphrodite (Warner Music Australia)

Sia – We Are Born (Monkey Puzzle/Inertia)

Bluejuice, muthafuckas! So awesome that they have a nomination for their fantastic Head of the Hawk. I hope they win just for the simple fact that their acceptance speech will be awesome.

Best Rock Album

Birds of Tokyo – Birds Of Tokyo (EMI)

Cloud Control – Bliss Release (Ivy League Records/Universal)

Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Rush to Relax (Suppression Records/Shock)

Powderfinger – Golden Rule (UMA)

✓ Tame Impala – Innerspeaker (Modular Recordings)

At least they’ve separated Rock and Hard Rock now. Not sure how Cloud Control are Rock though. Throw this in the air and see who wants it the most. If it knocks out Bernard Fanning, he’s too old and then hand it to Tame Impala.

Best Urban Album

Bliss N Eso – Running on Air (Illusive Sounds)

Lowrider – Round the World (Illusive Sounds)

M-Phazes – Good Gracious (Obese Records)

Space Invadas – Soul-Fi (Invada/Inertia)

✓ Urthboy – Spitshine (Elefant Traks/Inertia)

My man Urthboy HAS to get this award or I will track down the voters and slap them. Legend album and legend dude.

Breakthrough Artist

Amy Meredith – Restless (Sony Music)

Cloud Control – Bliss Release (Ivy League Records/Universal)

✓ Philadelphia Grand Jury – Hope is for Hopers (Normal People Making Music/Boomtown/Shock)

Tame Impala – Innerspeaker (Modular Recordings)

Washington – I Believe You Liar (Mercury/UMA)

Hey, how did the Philly Jays get in here? I thought they’d been forgotten! I think they deserve to pick up this award. Sure, Washington will probably get it for their breakthrough stuff, but the Philly Jays have had a massive year and deserve some recognition.

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There we go. My yearly wrap-up of the nominees. If you made it to the end, I commend you!

Give me your take on the nominees and who you think should win. After-all I am just speaking out of my butt most of the time..


Mick’s Monthly Pick for March

New regular post alert! (that’s almost laughable!)

Every month I am going to try and pick a song that I suggest you check out.

This month it is from the band Surfer Blood

They have a distinctive style with echoey vocals reminiscent of old surfer tunes from the Beach Boys, but with indie guitars and rocking drums.

I reckon these kids are going to go far!

Take a listen to some of their tracks on their myspace and tell me what you think!

This is their break-through song, Swim. Enjoy!


CorinBAM!

It has been one hell of a weekend.

I spent it out at Corinbank. A music festival unlike any other.

Not only was I an avid punter keen to see You Am I, Urthboy and Clare Bowditch, I was also a ‘Corinteer’. I put my name down to volunteer at the event late last year assuming that I would have little chance of actually doing it. Not only did I get a chance to volunteer, I was assigned to the Rangers & Communication team which involves roaming the site, checking everything is churning along okr and generally being the eyes and ears on the ground for the organisers and comms team.

Disappointingly I have not been to that many festivals, and never a multi-day camp-out festival. Splendour, Falls, Woodford.. I haven’t been to any of them. I realise that is a major failing on my part. So with the chance to go to a 3 day festival in my own backyard, how could I not go?

I pitched my tent on Friday and we were shown around the site by the managing director of the festival. With very few people around I was finding it hard to imagine what it’d be like with thousands of people arriving over the next day or so. There are 2 main stages at either end of the large Corin Forest site with a snake like trail of creative campsites, stalls, workshops and small stages along the way.

Creative campsites is an initiative to let the public contribute their own ideas to the festival. People could create their own little site or stall in exchange for discounted tickets. There was an advice tent, a hacky sack site, artistic stalls, a letter writing area (I haven’t heard a typewriter in years!), twister, solar powered ovens and shitloads more. This area was pumping during the days on Saturday and Sunday. Always something going on.

At the far end of the snake lies the Gibraltar Grove stage. Nestled in amongst the forest is a wooden stage that almost feels like it grew there. This stage is where I would go on to discover such musical gems as Alice Cottee, Anarchist Duck, Space Party and the Ellis Collective. The natural ampitheatre surrounded by giant gums was the perfect backdrop to beautiful music.

I was also informed that the angle of the stage is perfectly aligned with the Mt. Ainslie to Parliament House axis. Google Maps seems to back this up:

Very cool!

The main action of the weekend occurs down at the main ‘Billy Billy’ stage. Food, clothing, art, ‘happy herb’ and massage stalls dot the area. This whole area is shadowed by spectacularly angled gum trees. You can’t look anywhere over the weekend without seeing nature which is what makes this festival feel so special.

The festival is very focussed on the creed of ‘leave no waste’. To support this there are bins located everywhere with the standard recycling and general waste bins but also with compost bins into which all plates, cutlery and even plastic bio-degradable beer cups can be tossed. The message obviously works as I saw barely any trash on the ground throughout the weekend. People are obviously conscious of the fact that they are responsible for their own waste. It’s great to see.

During a couple of my shifts I worked with the ‘Rat Patrol’ who are in charge of  waste for the festival. Filled bins are swapped with empty ones and dumped into 1 of 2 skip bins, or a compost pile. Proof of the compost option are evident with a compost garden grown from the previous years pile. I hope my home compost will actually become useful one of these days.

This team does an amazing job at keeping the site clean. No overflowing bins at all and with the sheer number of bins this is not an easy feat. I am hugely impressed with the effort these guys put in. I did a 3 hr shift on the Rat Patrol and I was absolutely buggered. Some sort of wheelie-bin-towing-bike will definitely have to be invented!

At the core of this festival is a team of passionate people that invest a massive amount of time, effort, sweat and love into making it happen. I was glad to be able to contribute a tiny amount of my time to helping it happen this year, but these guys live and breathe the festival for most of the year. The positive vibe and smiling faces of people are the payback for all the hard work. More than one artist commented on the positivity of the crowd and Tim Rogers (of You Am I) made mention that usually he deals with objects being thrown at him as well as aggro’d up bone-heads in the crowd rather than smiling faces.

Overall the pace of the weekend is languid at best, possibly contributed by the distinct smell in the air. I think the fastest I saw anyone move was when a short sharp thunder storm hit during Clare Bowditch’s set. Whilst hundreds huddled under the beer tent, dozens more danced away in the rain. Bowditch made a comment that watching people dancing in the rain like that will stay in her memory for a long time.

Her set was fanastic. She showed off a new single from the upcoming album, and pulled out some oldies which had the crowd singing along.

You Am I seemed to play a fairly diverse set. Whilst they inevitably rolled out the obvious  favourites ‘Rumble’, ‘Berlin Chair’ and ‘Cathy’s Clown’, they played a bunch of tracks that I don’t think the crowd recognised including a few off their 2008 album that received very little airplay.

The musical highlight of the weekend for me was Urthboy’s performance on the Saturday night. Being a long time ‘Herd’ fan I was keen to see both Urthboy and Ozi Batla (Astronomy Class) doing their things separately. As a bonus we got Hermitude on the decks as well, often jumping on stage with Urthboy and Jane Tyrrell. Man, did they look like they were having fun. He was just non-stop for the whole hour and belted out his hits and heaps of other top stuff from his 3 albums. I was front row for the set and looking back, I could see how pumped the crowd were. Urthboy obviously noticed as well as he jumped (well, stepped off the stage and walked) into the crowd for the last song. The vibe was awesome!


Whilst the music was a major reason people were there, I think it’s the festival as a whole that pulls people out to the bush for a few days. There’s a definite community feel to the place. You see familiar faces all weekend and by the Sunday night you feel like everyone’s your friend.

For me personally I went to the festival by myself and only knew about 3 or 4 other people going. I pitched a tent by myself. I usually ate by myself and I generally walked around by myself, but everytime I sat down at a performance or a table to eat I managed to strike up a convo with someone and got to hear some great stories and chat about the festival.

Being a ‘Corinteer’ I met some really great fellow volunteers as well as getting to hang with some of the organisers on the Sunday night. For me this was a huge highlight as I got to see some of what makes a festival like this tick and to share in the passion of creating something that thousands of people enjoy.

I think it’s awesome that someone could sit down and go, “I’m going to start a festival”. You’ve gotta have guts and a buttload of talent and help to pull it off successfully. Dan and his team have pulled off 3 years of Corinbank and it doesn’t look like stopping in a hurry. This make me damn happy cause it means I’ll get to do it all again next year!


Hottest 100 – My 2009 Votes

It’s that time of year again!

Triple J throws all of the songs from 2009 into the air and then plays them back wherever they land.

As we know, it’s the largst music poll in the WORLD. Yes. Yes it is.

So, it’s been a strange year of music. I don’t think there were any real massive standouts for me. Lots of good songs mind you, but hard to find anything that just stood out and went BAM, I AM THE BEST SONG MOFO!

Having said that, the musical highlights for 2009?

  • Seeing Lily Allen live in an intimate acoustic performance at Triple J Studios. You can see my shoulder in the video. (and LaLa’s knee)
  • Seeing Eddy Current Suppression Ring live for the first time at Homebake. My eyes (and ears) were wide open in awe. Just amazing.
  • Muse‘s new album. Along with 5 pumping rock anthems, there’s also a 3 part symphonic composition. Wanky? No. It’s Muse! It’s awesome.
  • Discovering bands like Grizzly Bear, Future of the Left, Whitest Boy Alive, Passion Pit, Mumford & Sons, Temper Trap, Yuksek and Numbers Radio.
  • Sweet Disposition by the Temper Trap would definitely have been in my list, but it was released in 2008 😦 (doesn’t stop it from being in the Aria charts in 2010 though!)
  • Hearing Eskimo Joe change from a cool, interesting indie Aussie band into a cliched, boring imitation of old Aussie rock bands. Sad. Maybe a lowlight actually.
  • Them Crooked Vultures. Best Supergroup since Audioslave. (probably better actually)
  • This:

Onto the votes!

In no particular order

Bluejuice Broken Leg – The catchiest song of the year. Funniest film clip too.
Eddy Current Suppression RingAnxiety – A frantic frenzy of distortion, riffs and yelling. Perfect.
Flight Of The ConchordsCarol Brown – Best of their disappointing second season album. Especially the “I thought I told you to shut up..” line. Love the home made ‘key-tars’ in the video too.
Gossip, TheHeavy Cross – Such a great rocky song with powerful pumping vocals. Surprise highlight!
Lily AllenBack To The Start – It’s a great album, and this song shows how Lily has evolved. I just hope she decides to record more..
Muse Uprising – Powerful opening to an epic album. Can’t wait to see them live in 2 weeks!
Phoenix Lisztomania – My musical highlight of the year. Great song. Fun lyrics and goes well with the Breakfast Club dancing!
Silversun PickupsIt’s Nice To Know You Work Alone – Only just discovered these guys this year and although they sound a lot like The Smashing Pumpkins circa Siamese Dream, they have a cleaner wall of sound and catchy lyrics.
Them Crooked VulturesElephants – Hard to pick just one of this amazing debut from Homme, Grohl and JPJ, but this songs start is enough to give it the win. Have a listen. You won’t regret it. (plus you get to see Grohl rock the fuck out)
Whitest Boy Alive , The1517 – This song will take your mood to ‘chillaxed’ within the first 10 seconds. A great relaxing album with cool vocals and groove.

My plan for 2010? As soon as I hear a song that I like I am going to write it down. Either on here, or on a spreadsheet or something. That way I won’t forget those songs that I like. I always struggle to remember the songs that are a little more obscure and happened at the beginning of the year.

What are your votes?