Items filtered by date: January 2013
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 13:46

Bullet For My Valentine: Breaking Point

Get the riot squad on standby, because Bullet for My Valentine are about to embark on another sold-out Australian tour, this time as part of the Soundwave Festival bill. The band are also gearing up to release their brand new album ‘Temper Temper’ on February 8, giving fans just enough time to get acquainted with the band's killer new tracks before Soundwave.

The first single, ‘Riot’, has been received very well by fans and critics, and having heard the full album already I can tell you that’s just a taste of what’s to come! I had the pleasure of catching up with Bullet vocalist Matt Tuck last week to talk about ‘Temper Temper’ and the band's return to Australia.

“Australia is always one of the highlights of our tour cycle,” Tuck reveals. “To be back once again as part of Soundwave is amazing, we’re super stoked. These are the first shows we’ll be playing off this album cycle, we can’t wait! Soundwave is one of those festivals where you actually do get to hang out, unlike the European festivals. It’s going to be amazing; we will be hanging out a lot!

“We’ve had some of our best ever shows and crowd responses from Australia. Some of my favourite video footage is from Brisbane actually, from the 2010 ‘Fever’ tour. It gives me goosebumps every time I watch it. That show was one of the highlights of our career so far! It was absolutely magical and doesn’t happen all that often. The crowds there in Australia are fantastic.”

Tuck doesn't say that lightly, considering the insane crowds Bullet For My Valentine have played to over the course of their career. “We’ve done a few shows where there’s been barrier collapses; you see a couple of thousand people starting to hit the deck after a barrier collapses and that’s never a nice thing to watch. That’s happen to us three times, unfortunately. I don’t know why. It seems to have happened to us more than any other band that I know.

“I’ve seen tons of fights and stupid shit. People get excited and adrenalised, aggressive, but if it gets too insane we stop the show and call them out! We’ve seen some super funny things like guys in wheelchairs crowd surfing, prosthetic legs getting thrown around; circle pits around sound booths... things you don’t get to see a lot, especially from our perspective.”

In that sort of environment, it'd be easy to lose touch with reality. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that's a theme that informs their new album, 'Temper Temper'. 

“‘Temper Temper’ is about losing touch with each other and losing touch with reality in the band,” Tuck confirms, “taking things for granted. There was a part of the last touring cycle where, for the first time in the 20 years that we’ve known each other, we started to dislike each other a little bit and weren’t hanging out together. That’s why the album is called ‘Temper Temper’. That’s why a lot of the songs are called what they are, and the lyrical content reflects those times. This album is the most personal album I’ve ever written. It was a weird time for us.”

As personal as the album is, there are some songs Tuck connects with more than others. “‘Breaking Point’ is an important one; it’s the first one we wrote for the album. I think the first song you write is the most important 'cause it really sets the tone for where the album is going. Lyrically I think ‘Living Life On The Edge Of A Knife’ and ‘Truth Hurts’ are the most personal. They are delving into the darker side of being in Bullet, the rough times... drinking too much, experimenting with drugs, being a bit too rock 'n' roll. It’s letting people know that it is an amazing lifestyle but at times it can be a dark, lonely place, especially if you’re not enjoying yourself. It’s a shitty place to be when things get tough.”

Bullet For My Valentine play Soundwave at RNA Showgrounds on Saturday February 23.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 13:40

Local Natives: Return To The Wild

There have been three and a half years since the release of Local Natives’ debut record, and three and a half years’ worth of changes.

The Los Angeles four-piece lost their bass player, Andy Hamm, while frontman Kelcey Ayer’s mother passed away in the summer of 2011. Beyond that, there was an almost endless series of tours, during which the band refined and evolved their craft. The result, finally, is sophomore LP, ‘Hummingbird’. Scene got on the phone to multi-instrumentalist Ryan Hahn to discuss the new album, recording in New York, the LA arts scene, and the band’s just announced May tour to Australia.

‘Hummingbird’ – released three and a half years after ‘Gorilla Manor’ in late 2009 – does it feel that long to you?
In some ways yes, in some ways no. We toured forever on that first record, and that has a weird way of warping time, you know (laughs). It flies by. And then we told ourselves that we weren’t going to release the next record until it’s ready. We just wanted to take our time with it and make sure whatever we were doing, we were really proud of. Now that we have it, now that it’s done, we just want to put it out immediately. I don’t know: I think we’re just ready to put it out there and get back on the road.

There seems to be a dichotomy developing, though. Albums are increasingly seen as ammunition for the live show, and yet there’s barely any time to stop these days and actually record an album. Fair call?

For us, the way we write and the kind of music we want to make, we really feel the need to get off the road, be still and focus. We love playing live, I think it’s our favourite part, but we put everything we learned over the last few years into this new record. So yeah – we wanted it to be something that could stand on its own and not, like you said, just be ammunition for touring.

Have you ever felt any pressure to write on the road?

Yeah. We do write as much as we can. But it’s just tough when you’re touring – the only moments you get where you don’t have to do anything, all you want to do is rest. It’s hard to write at soundcheck or write in the tour van. So it took us a while to get going once we got back and got our feet back on the ground. But once we got into the swing of things there was nine months of pure writing and demoing, and three months of recording.

The changes that came about with the new album – you have been through so much: you’ve done a truckload of touring, you lost Adam, and there’s been other personal stuff going on – how much of the change was premeditated, and how much just came out?

There was never any discussion: ‘This is what the record’s going to sound like’. We’d grown a lot and we didn’t want to repeat ourselves – I think that was maybe the only thing we discussed: ‘Let’s not just do ‘Gorilla Manor Version 2’. We just wanted to push ourselves and try new things and not be afraid to take some chances and branch out. It felt really good. It felt like we were where we needed to be.

What was the intention behind going across country to Brooklyn to record?

People talk about this album being a New York thing, but we actually wrote the whole thing in LA. We found ourselves a rehearsal spot and spent hours every day writing and demoing. Then, when it was time to record, I think that’s when we thought about trying to get away from all the distractions in the city and focus on the record – and we went to New York where there are plenty of distractions (laughs). But we almost wanted to go back to the first record when we were living together and just purely focussing on making music. That was the thought process.

I know you guys found the split with Andy hard. Writing and recording without Andy – did it change things much?

I think we’ve always been such a collaborative band, and me, Taylor [Rice, guitarist] and Kelcey have always been the songwriters. It is always super hard to lose a band member – we operate very much like a family – but we’d grown apart over the last few years together. There was the four of us going one way, the other not wanting to go, and it was just tough. But now, I feel like it’s been for the best and I really do honestly feel like we’re happier than ever and that we’re a stronger band than we’ve ever been.

Would you guys consider moving to Brooklyn permanently? It’s pretty much where every young Australian wants to go, as opposed to LA.

I don’t know. It’s pretty crazy: we’ve toured so much now, we’ve seen so much of the world, it’s been really amazing. But every time we come home we’re like, ‘Oh yeah, this is why we live here’. It’s just so awesome. We really feel like Los Angeles is home. Being in New York was cool, but I’ll always take LA over New York.

Talking about LA – it feels like there’s a rejuvenation going on there, though, where people are once again recognising its value to the arts. There was a time when it was painted as just film stars and fake breasts. Does it feel pretty vibrant there artistically at the moment?

It really does. It’s tough to pinpoint a scene or whatever. But I just think that you come out to LA and it just feels like there is a sense of people doing creative things. You walk around our neighbourhood and everyone’s working hard with their art: it might be music, or acting, or they’re making films. It does feel like there’s a creative atmosphere out here and it feels nice to be a part of that.

First the LP release, and now the tour. You’re in Australia in May – what do you remember about the last time you were here?

It was such a fun tour. Laneway was awesome – you’re just hanging out with friends in different bands, travelling with them – that was such a cool vibe. And we had a lot of days just to walk around and hang out in the cities. In a lot of ways it felt like California: sunshine and friendly people. We’re really looking forward to going back. I think we have it circled on the calendar. We’re looking forward to it.

And the rest of the year?

It just goes and goes and goes. We’ll be touring and doing festival season in the north and playing shows right up until December. Hopefully, just growing the live show and developing new things.

‘Hummingbird’ Is Out Now. Local Natives Play The Zoo May 19.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 16:30

Casablanca: A Radio Play

Brisbane Arts Theatre's 2013 season begins with a bang, bringing the classic love story 'Casablanca' to the stage in a way you've probably never seen before. Proving that of all the theatres in all the towns in all the world, you should probably walk into this one.

Luckily for purists out there, the Brisbane Arts Theatre’s new Artistic Director, Ron Kelly, has chosen burgeoning thespian Sandra Harman to direct the play. Sandra never shies away from a challenge, having directed stage productions of 'The Laramie Project', 'Columbo' and 'The Tell-Tale Heart'. However, recreating one of the greatest love stories of all time is never an easy task, especially with the striking beauty of Ingrid Bergman and the crooning delivery of Humphrey Bogart etched in our minds. “It is tricky,”

Sandra reveals. “Everybody wants Humphrey Bogart and Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. We've tried to have those elements of it without it just being a mimic. You have to stay true to the characters, and because those actors made the characters so iconic, you do have to have an element of that in the vocals. It's an homage to the film in that respect because it's what people remember about the movie and the story.”

'Casablanca - A Radio Play' is presented as it was originally broadcast to audiences in 1994 as part of the ‘Lux Presents Hollywood’ radio series. Radio plays performed live on stage are becoming more popular throughout Brisbane, with renditions of classics such as 'The Maltese Falcon' evoking positive reactions from audiences. The interactive nature of the largely sound-based performances encourages spectators to use their imagination, transporting them back to the golden days of Hollywood. “It's something that audiences seem to like. It's a nostalgia thing, plus it's that old-­Hollywood-glamour kind of thing. It's like they're a studio audience watching a radio broadcast, so they actually get to see all the sound effects done and we have live piano playing and the actors read in front of microphones — but it's still a theatre production. We're re-creating the old 1940s radio broadcast when they had studio audiences and audiences seem to get a kick out of it.”

Set during World War II, 'Casablanca' follows the cynical American exile Rick Blaine, a former freedom fighter haunted by the pain of his lost love, Isla Lund. When Isla arrives in town with her Czech resistance leader husband, Victor Laszlo, she explains to Rick why she left him and their love is reignited, culminating in Rick having to choose between his love for Isla and helping Laszlo escape from Casablanca to continue fighting against the Nazis. “It follows the story of the film very closely. It's not the whole film but it's a lot of the most important scenes and elements.”

What can audiences expect from this interesting take on the classic tale? Sandra explains the nostalgic regression to a simpler, more stripped-back mode of theatre. “[The audience can expect] enjoyment of a more traditional type of theatre or performance. With all the films we have today and all the tricks we can use with CGI, even in theatre you get a lot of equipment that you can do all these amazing things with. It's really going back to basics because you have a guy doing sound effects —opening and closing doors, doing the knocking, footsteps, gunshots and not necessarily with a gun. There are all these different things you can use to make sound, which is really interesting. It's going back to a basic form of theatre using vocal talent and imagination. So [the audience] comes out of it feeling like they've relived the film and got that same nostalgic enjoyment out of watching the movie.”

For all those bleeding hearts out there, if you're in want of a way to woo that special someone this Valentine's Day, the special February 14 performance is the perfect way inject passion into your love life. At only $37 per ticket, the night features supper, champagne and an atmosphere thick with romance, guaranteed to melt even the iciest heart.

'Casablanca - A Radio Play' runs from January 25-February 14 at the Brisbane Arts Theatre.
artstheatre.com.au.
Published in Theatre
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 16:27

The Gilt Trip: Film Preview

Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen. Directed by Anne Fletcher.

Tired of the endless nagging by his mother about his lacking love life, Andy decides to invite his widowed mother to join him on his business road trip, with the intention of pushing her to confront an old flame of her own. Meanwhile, the road trip serves to be a hilarious, heart-warming reconnection of a mother and her independent, grown-up son. Written by Dan Fogelman ('Crazy, Stupid Love') and starring Rogen and Streisand, 'The Guilt Trip' is fun and has an excellent premise but doesn't really take advantage of this talented twosome. With a voicemail message for every tedious question that all generous mothers ask their children, watching 'The Guilt Trip' is a great way to start the year (albeit a touch late) and makes you want to promise to be a better child to your parents.

3 stars

'The Guilt Trip' is in cinemas now.

Published in Film
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 16:23

Festival of Tibet: Festival in Preview

With the annual Tibetan Festival just around the corner, this is a busy time of year for Tibetan musician Tenzin Choegyal.

Now in its fifth year in Brisbane, Tenzin has long played a role in helping bring the event to this city. “It’s different every time,” he explains, “but the ‘Mystical Tibet’ performance is my favourite, because there are not a lot of times when Tibetan music can be played with an orchestra.”

Tenzin is referring to a concert in which he’ll play with Brisbane’s acclaimed Camerata of St John chamber orchestra. “This concept was definitely started with the leader of the orchestra Brendan Joyce,” he offers, by way of explaining the special arrangement that he and the orchestra put together. “Brendan heard me sing and asked me if I could be a guest artist of his orchestra, and I went in to do one song. We ended up doing a whole concert!” he laughs.

Tenzin’s happy and proud, and talkative — he’s keen to tell me everything there is to know about the festival. “When I tell people I’m playing Tibetan music with an orchestra, they ask me ‘how can Tibetan music be held together with an orchestra?’ They don’t understand until they actually hear it.

“‘Mystical Tibet’ has appeared three times,” he continues. “Katherine and Brendan are arranging some of my new tunes at the moment, so there will be a lot of new stuff too.”

Exiled from Tibet when his family suffered the same fate, making the public aware of the Tibetan culture and people is very important to Tenzin. “There is no freedom of expression in Tibet.  Monks and nuns are harming themselves to raise the issue for their freedom. When we’re doing the festival, what we try our best to do is to share the Tibetan culture with the wider Australian audience.

“It’s actually a world heritage culture,” he adds, “that should be preserved not only for the value of Tibetan culture, but for all of humankind.”

Sharing his culture is something Tenzin has become widely known for. Set to play a concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall soon after the festival in Brisbane, and with seven albums now under his belt, Tenzin explains “his music is basically rooted in the lineage of Tibetan nomads, but I love collaborating with different genres because it then becomes a global sound.

“In that process, I learn more about music, and how the language of music is so similar in all genres.”

Tenzin says he has been very lucky with his music. “It must be because of the Australian people appreciating what I do. It’s a great honour.”

The Festival Of Tibet Takes Place At The Brisbane Powerhouse Jan 30-Feb 3.
Published in Events Arts
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 16:11

The Mank: DIY Guys

The latest act to sprout from the home of The Big Pineapple packs more flavour than a bowl of fruit salad.

Meet the Sunshine Coast's The Mank: a five-piece hip hop group who also offer equal servings of reggae, down-tempo electronica and saxophone funk. And as the group's drummer Danny Crumbs explains, pushing musical boundaries is key to The Mank's originality.

“The Mank is a sound that is big, dirty, grimey and a mixture of all the nice bits of different styles of music,” Danny says. “We try to adapt quite a few genres into our tunes. Everyone brings their own style.

“We like to think we created the Manky sound – something that had not been created. We could be wrong but we just want to bring something new that people haven’t heard before – give people an eargasm which they never thought was possible.”
Adding to The Mank's arsenal is the variety of instruments at the quintet’s disposal. From live drums to bass heavy beats, and guitars to turntables, the stylistic combinations seem endless for the Sunny Coast lads.

“It’s never the same process in writing a song for us. It’s more like if a fellow Mankster has something with juice we will use that as a starting point. Then just have a few drinks and a smoke and see where we go from there. We like to keep it as open and free rolling as possible.”

And the approach to their craft seems to be striking the right chords. The Mank's self-titled debut EP was heralded by critics from 4ZZZ to Triple J.

“It was quite humbling in a sense; to know that peeps were enjoying the music that we liked creating was a good feeling. We always had faith in the juice we created but it was nice to know others were enjoying our different style.”

The successful release of their first EP also paved the way for the group's first national tour, but Danny reveals the onstage antics of the group aren't always left, well, onstage.

“[When we] played [at] The Beach Road Hotel in Sydney, [it was the] first time for us as a band playing in Sydney and I think we all went fairly wild. We got to meet some good people in the industry down there and capped the night off with a visit from the fire brigade at 5am. [Then we] had to get ourselves up and be on a plane at eight to be back in Byron for a show with the Tijuana Cartel boys. Well worth it.”

The Mank also boast some serious touring credentials, sharing the stage – and partying – with prolific names like Kora and Akil of Jurassic 5 fame. However, the experiences also introduced the collective to the growing pains of what it takes to remain successful on the road.

“It's quite inspiring to share the stage and get messy with music peeps whose music we blast and just to see how and why they keep doing what they’re doing,” he explains. “[It] just shows us that there is still a long way to go and grow as a band and we need to stop getting wasted so much.”

Now with their touring cycle over, The Mank are back in the studio, writing and recording their first full-length release.

“We are indeed back in The Electric Fruit Factory – our little studio up the coast. It started off a little slow but this time around everyone is getting a little more involved in the process which is helping to grow our sound fatter and fatter [with] each track.

“[We're] not so much trying something different as to keep evolving our sound. This time 'round, however, we have another singer, The Velvet Fox, and trumpeter, Rasta, on board to try and keep evolving our sound.”

And while we've all heard horror stories of record labels controlling creative freedom, that doesn’t concern them. Not only do they run their own recording studio, but also their own record label – The Mank Industries.

“Mank Industries is the baby of Jonny Boinkin and [myself], which is a little record label and recording studio. It just means that we have our own creative space that we can work on tunes at our own pace. That, and we save a few beans not having to worry about paying to record or mix our tunes.

“That was the whole reason behind setting up The Mank Industries record label. We wanted to make tunes at our own pace and the way we liked and all of us have bosses in our day job so we didn’t want another one controlling our music.”

The Mank play Earth Frequency Festival at Landcruiser Mountain Park, Sunshine Coast, February 15-18. earthfrequency.com.au
Published in Urban
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 16:08

Paprika: Top Five

Top Five Disco pant tearers

1. Esther Williams — ‘Last Night Changed It All’. This one is a kinda no-brainer. A song about getting down on the dancefloor and enjoying good music. Heavy dancefloor drum break intro, complete with whimsical phone call between a ghetto couple arguing about what they were doing last night. She tells him she went to the disco and got down to some good music played by the DJ.

2. The Sugarhill Gang — ‘8th Wonder’. Another no-brainer for a disco funk session. This cut is from 1980, and is aimed at the funky fresh B-boy crowd as it pulses to an electro break that was quite revolutionary back then.

3. Tim Maia (pic) — ‘Vou Com Gas’. A heavy disco/ boogie jam from Brazil's answer to James Brown. A legend in his own right, composing classics in various styles: soul, funk, Motown, disco, boogie — some say better than the Americans. As with most disco/ boogie arrangements, it's all about the bassline. Being a big fan (both as a DJ and musician) of Brazilian music this will be one of many tracks from this country that will get a spin on the night. 

4. Herbie Hancock — ‘Just Around The Corner’. A monster disco boogie track from one of Herbie's (The Head Hunters) lesser known solo albums! This one clocks in at close to eight minutes long and has all the desirables that make up a quality dancefloor boogie track, complete with vocoder voicing!

5. The Crusaders — ‘Feel It’. Closing this hard-to-choose list is an incredible jazz funk, boogie tune from one of my personal favourite and funkiest keys players of all time — Joe Sample. His orchestrations and arrangements are always top quality — and this one doesn't disappoint. Straight outta 1977, this one features the silky finger work of Larry Carlton on guitars, with Stix Hooper providing delicate light and shade with his two distinct drum break grooves used in the piece.

Paprika will play a vinyl-only set at Rumpus Room’s Sunday Night Fever Jan 27. There’ll be prizes for best ‘70s fancy dress.

Published in Electronic
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 16:05

633 Ann: I'm There

633 Ann, formerly known as The Mustang Bar, is currently undergoing a refurbishment to coincide with the club’s launch early next month.

“The name change decision is to give the club more of an identity than what it is, and where we are,” explains 633’s Marketing and Entertainment Manager, Rolando De Leon. “We are calling it the street address so that the broad range of entertainment that we'll be hosting is the key to knowing what we are all about.”

This new range of musical entertainment will be kicked off when the club launches February 2 with Diafrix performing live. But that's only the tip of what the night will have to offer punters.

“We will introduce the public to the stripped back internal refurbishment of 633 Ann. We will be introducing a new drinks list with feature cocktails. The pool tables will still be here but we've moved them into a more comfortable lounge area. And seeing Diafrix live is a freak show performance.”

One of 633’s major calling cards will be offering the local scene a venue for free music.

“633 Ann will be hosting a broad range of weekly entertainment like rock, hip hop, R&B, dance music, heavy metal nights too. We're not trying to give the place a new identity, just provide great free music. We're really strong on not changing the Saturday night vibe.”

And so they shouldn't. The Mustang Bar had a strong local scene that 633 Ann is trying to complement, not change.

“We're just opening it up a bit more. Everything needs a lift every now and then. Mustang has been strong in the last ten years and we want to see it continue to be strong for the next ten years. 633 Ann is not aiming for a different clientele, we're just trying to bring more [punters] in. We're trying to tell the rest of Brisbane that we do some cool things here so come check it out.”

633 Ann launch with Diafrix on Saturday Feb 2. Free entry.
Published in Events Music
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 15:36

Big Day Out Fashions 2013

Let's get this straight – it was HOT. Like really, really, ridiculously hot. But that is no excuse for some of the “fashion” seen on people at this BDO.

Fashion is a form of self-expression, a way of having fun, of changing your mood and also usually includes some practical elements (protection from cold/ sun/ rain etc). However it appears that most people followed the mass memo about the BDO uniform.

Denim shorts? Check. Swimwear worn as outerwear? Check. Oversized sunglasses? Check. Fake tan? Check, check and check!

But among the masses, there were some brave individuals, some people going their own way who were walking to the beat of their own fashion drum. And thank god for them as people-watching is a sport played best at music festivals. Spotted were a few retro-inspired frocks, a playful romper or two, flared jeans with a crop top (best left for Kate Hudson but can be rocked out by any regular person who has never grown hips) and even a summer shorts suit.

There were fewer hats than expected and more glitter (but surely it would be sweated off in seconds?). The boys presented a less united front with a diversity of looks ranging from the usual suspects (you know who I'm talking about) to the more dapper.

There were bow ties, skinny ties, oversized tees, crop tops, high tops, caps, tracks and even a three-piece suit (heat stroke anyone?). Although props should be given for his commitment to looking good. By the end, everyone looked a vague shade of orange and were kind of shiny (from the sweat and glitter no doubt).

HR-7986 HR-7990 HR-7991
HR-8055 HR-8060 HR-8067
 HR-8072 HR-8075
 
Published in Events Music
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 15:30

Ben Stewart: Top Five

Most influential albums

1. Wilco — ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’. Beautifully understated songs with brilliant production and almost structured like a concept album. While no particular song is a favourite, the album in itself changed my ideas on structuring songs. I literally created a flow chart based on my thoughts from this album, which I now use to compare my songs to and fill in the weak points based on the chart.

2. Tom Waits — ‘Rain Dogs’
. As someone with distinct left-of-centre music tastes, discovering Tom Waits made me realise how completely dissatisfied I was with mainstream music. I was very affected by the broad tonal pallet and instrumentation choices of this album, and have since stopped relying on traditional band sounds.

3. Radiohead — ‘OK Computer’.
This was, of course, hugely influential across the world and I was one of its converts. After hearing this album (late, not until 2005 really), I decided that it wasn't enough to just write a catchy ditty and I wanted to create more significant bodies of work.

4. Kate Bush — ‘Hounds Of Love’.
I was very influenced by the subtle complexity of this album and its distinctive quirkiness, despite which it still topped the pop charts. The songs are amazing pop songs but there is so much going on with the production.

5. Counting Crows — ‘August And Everything After’.
Perhaps not a groundbreaking album for the music scene at large, but it certainly sparked a teenage passion in me for music and songwriting. This was the first album I bought when I was a kid growing up on a farm in (very) rural Queensland, and basically the turning point at which as a teenager I started chasing my own musical and creative ideas outside of school and family influences.

Ben Stewart performs alongside Kingswood and Blonde On Blonde at The Exchange Hotel Sun Jan 27.

Published in Rock
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