Live Reivew: Next Big Thing 2007 – Metro Semi Final 1

Next Big Thing Competition – Metro Semi 1
Amplifier Bar
Friday 20th July 2007
Review by Rohan Hewson

Firstly… I didn’t see The Bullet Holes, and they didn’t place, and I barely saw The Wilderness and neither did they. I’ll be diplomatic and say I heard good things about them, though.

Druid Lee Roth were hopefully the joke band of the competition… I have to hope. Five-sixths of the band were bringing back 80’s new wave / post-punk… ahh, whatever it is, and they were fairly good. Unfortunately, the singer (who did nothing but sing, dance and dodgy audience participation) seemed to be bringing back Madchester. Anyone with eyes could see there’s a crowd, there are girls in it and some of them are dancing – we don’t need it pointed out. Maybe it’s a kind of art that’s too subtle for me to grasp, but I just thought… is he on E?

The Disguise impressed me a whole lot more than in their heat, maybe because I was paying attention this time. They played… well, guitar rock, with less keyboards than some of the other bands. Simple explanations are good sometimes. They were good, too. At this point the cheap beer started to kick in, so the Disguise, the Remedials and the Chemist kinda drifted into each other. The Chemist were only a three piece, but still managed to have quite a full sound, which is probably how they came second. Those three bands were an hour of ultimately inoffensive music… nothing bad, some quite good, but then I didn’t remember much an hour later.

And then, the Harlequin League played last and won the night. As in their heat, they were never really in doubt – a cut above any other band in the comp so far. That said, they possibly don’t need to win, as they’re going to get big with or without the NBT. They’ll be deserving winners, though.

CD Review – Streetlight Mini Album

Streetlight Mini Album
Review by Dylan McArdle

Ever since winning the Next Big Thing competition last year, Streetlight must be one of the most talked about bands on the local Perth music scene. Having released a three track single last December, the band have followed that up with a “mini album” that is in stores now.

When I first picked up my copy (at the sold-out CD launch) I was a little disappointed to see that three of the eight tracks on the CD were also on the single. But we must remember that this CD is designed with a wider audience than mind and also that it contains the full length (not radio edit) version of “Attack That Gentleman”. Any disappointments I had disappeared soon after I put the CD in my CD player

From the first beats of the opening track “I Borrowed The Light” you know you’re in for a musical treat. There’s a certain energy in the music that grabs you and makes you take notice and at times it’s hard to believe this release is from a band who have only been together three years. It’s hard to find another band to compare Streetlight to as they’re quite unique. You could say they’re like At The Drive In or the Mars Volta, some have said a rip-off of, but they’re more musically “rich” and definitely more “listenable”. “The Departure: Part One” is a pretty good example of this – the bands power has been well harnessed and it won’t leave you with sore ears.

The CD ebbs and flows almost flawlessly, from the gentle build up at start of “The Poet’s Paper Boat” to the almost violent nature of “Sunshine Apartments”. This is no band of angry teens just screaming their lungs out without any direction. Le Craft’s flexible vocals lead the way and he doesn’t put a foot wrong through the seven tracks (the last is instrumental). Not that the rest of the band do any wrong either. The big x-factor to this line up though is Rachael Aquilina; her, at times haunting, violin is like the icing on the cake and actually enhances the bands sound more that you’d think.

Despite being released before (though this time in its longer form) “Attack That Gentleman” is the standout track on the CD, with “The Poet’s Paper Boat” not far behind. Both capture all the elements that make the Streetlight sound what it is.

There are a number of up-and-coming bands on the Perth scene and Streetlight is probably the pick of the bunch. This CD proves that they have the tools (and the musical maturity) to go far. It’s well worth taking the time to see what the fuss is about.

Live Review: Next Big Thing Heat 6

Next Big Thing Competition Heat 6
The Bakery
Friday 29th June 2007
Review By Rohan Hewson

Generals And Majors got the difficult first slot on this NBT heat, on a cold and wet night, which meant they played to the judges and about 10 other people. I didn’t see them, but I guess they must have been OK – they came second, and any band named after an XTC song is all right by me. So I’ll see them at the semi.

Bottle Rockets were next. They were all right, but obviously very new, with a few awkward patches in their songs here and there. When the acoustic guitar player picked up a second electric one instead for a song, it became obvious they could use a bass player. The mix of two electric guitars and some very basic drumming needed a whole lot more low end than what it had.

Upton Pilots continued the aeronautical theme, and also the really new band theme. They were more of a full band than Bottle Rockets, but suffered from the same problem: songs that sound like they’ve been written a week ago and played four times. Fortunately, that’s an easier problem to fix than rubbish songs. Once these bands have been playing for a while and figure out their sound, they should be pretty good – I think they call that ‘potential’. I’d pick both these bands to do well in next year’s NBT, if they’re still together then.

Natasha Bouchard played the kind of music you hear on Channel 31 at 2am, Chelsea Lights played the kind of music you hear at the Amplifier Bar at 2am. They were fairly boring, so enough about them.

They played either side of Will Stoker and the Embers, who deservedly won the night. They started out with two keyboards, with their players sitting down. I was thinking ‘some kind of Whitlams band?’. The Whitlams comparison lasted about half a song, and by the end of the set Will had played keyboard, clarinet, harmonica, guitar and sung. Trying to put a genre on what they played would be pointless, so I’ll just say: go and see them. They’re manic, and very good, too.

The Roast were a whole pile of fun. God knows what an eight piece funk band was doing in this comp, but it got people dancing. Not indie-dancing, either – but real shimmying on the floor. I think it’s safe to say that they provided the only trombone solo of the whole NBT competition. We could use more bands with three-piece horn sections.

Anyway… Will Stoker and the Embers go through to the semis along with Generals and Majors, and a heap of other bands from the other heats. See ya there.

News: Live Music Stays at Hydey

10th July 2007
Live Music Stays at Hydey

ALH State Manager Colin Gourdis is pleased to announce today that live music will continue at the Hyde Park Hotel.

“Our decision to retain live music at the hotel comes after our consult with a number of stakeholders, he said

“The Hyde Park Hotel has a long and proud tradition as one of the states leading live music venues. The support we have received recently to retain live music has been overwhelming”.

“In particular, support has come from the State Government and the Minister for Culture and Arts Sheila McHale, Department of Racing Gaming and Liquor, the Town of Vincent, and local music organisations.

“This invaluable support has strengthened our resolve to maintain live music at the venue as part of the ongoing refurbishment to the hotel.”

Mr Gourdis said he looks forward to seeing the Hyde Park Hotel continue its important role in the community as a major live music venue in WA.

Tour Diary: Love You Not / The Reserves / The Colors

‘Pack Up The Bus Tour’ 07:
The Reserves, Love You Not and Colors Tour Diary
by Justin Cox (Love You Not).

Thursday: We left Perth at 12:30 in the afternoon and arrived down in Bunbury at about 3. We were the first band (Love You Not) to arrive and The Reserves not long after. We loaded in to the Rat and Parrot which is located in the Lord Forrest Hotel. The sound guy was rather large and quite lazy but at the end of the day he was ok, considering the sound guy we would have to deal with the next night.

So The Resies did their sound check and the Colors arrived not long after. Gave us a couple of hours to cruise the town and check into our “rooms”. Originally they only gave us one room key between all bands. That’s 11 dudes in a room with 4 beds. After a talk with reception they gave us another room, thank fuck. Would have been quite a large bathroom queue in the morning, if we had to all share one room.

After dinner, we headed down to the Rat & Parrot where The Reserves kicked off proceedings. All bands had come to agreement before the tour that the lineup will be rotated each night. Although there wasn’t much of a crowd, the lads didn’t hold up and showed us that they were really going to give it their all this tour. The sound of the venue was not bad considering what we had to work with. Kinda reminded me of the Hydey.

Love You Not was up next. I thought we played very well. Just gotta say cheers to the big guy who was getting into it all the bands up the front. The Colors headlined this show. I have to admit although one of my favourite Perth bands I hadn’t seen them since we played with them at the WAMIs in Feb. Colors to me were quite exciting to watch. There new songs are gold and I cant wait to have a listen to their EP.

After a great performance by all bands it was time hit the piss and party. We headed up to the room. Already a bit rowdy. Our room was pounced on by 5 security guys who threatened us with the old “keep it down or you’re all out”. Then they went off and ate a dick. Slowly one by one people were passing out but Roo(Colors) and I managed to have a wasted jam leaving us the last two up. It was time for me to head back to my room only to realise everyone had
passed out. Knocked. No answer. Called phones. Thank god, the last person I called, Adam heard his phone and was able to let me in.

Friday: My eyes open. Feeling pretty good considering. Adam and I decide to make the most of the Pool/Spa facilities before we have to check out. We are out of the Lord Forrest by 10am. Headed to Macca’s for breaky in what seemed to be a competition of who could eat the most. Little Benny from The Resies was the early leader, until Johny went one step further and bought a cheeseburger after spending about $12 on food already. How the fuck do you spend $12+ at Macca’s?

So the short drive up to Mandurah was pleasant. Gave us a bit of time to relax at the Beach house we where sharing with the Resies. The Colors stayed at a house not too far from us. The LYN boys went for a trip down to Mandurah Forum. That place has had a bit of a face lift since I was there last. There was also some really hot women around the place, which is always a lifter on a road trip.

We got to the venue about 7. Players Bar had all the things that a venue in Perth would thrive off. Great size room, size stage, lights and a smokers balcony just side of stage but it has a fucking grumpy old prick of a sound guy. What an walking corpse. Never had someone so miserable do our sound before and by the end of the night he pretty much made enemies with every band. We opened the night and I’d have to say this was probably our worst show of the run. It wasn’t that bad, its just wasn’t as good as all the rest. The sound guy was pissing me off and I think the lack of crowd early sort of didn’t help. Cheers though to Duke St crew and Ash Miller for driving down from Perth just to see us.

Colors played second and once again played a tight set. The crowd picked up by the time The Reserves hit the stage. They were to me the best band to watch tonight. You could see they were eating up the extra numbers that strolled in. Roo from Colors had problems early on with a security girl/guys telling him he had to leave because he was wearing a hat inside. Also the sound guy ripped into him cause he had some effects that the sound guy didn’t like. EAT A DICK sound guy! Also lot of Bogans. Some bogan woman was off her head and said to me:

“you wouldn’t have a clue what I been on tonight?”
“Crystal Meth? Cocaine?” I said
She went nuts and said “fuck you” and ran off.
Didn’t
get it. Try to be all cool and brag about what she’s had but then got offended.

Things got better for Roo as the night went on. We all headed back to their holiday home. This place was gold. Basketball Ring, Table Tennis, Chess. Yep that’s right Chess. Simon Colors and Yuro Reserves played a long game of chess while the rest of us got out the Reefer’s and played Basketball and Ping Pong. After a couple of hours we went back to our beach house and talked shit for a couple of hours.

Saturday: LYN and Reserves went for a stroll down the beach. It was nice to get out in the fresh air after another night of boozing. Headed back to the house for couple of hours. Johnny (LYN) and Purga, Benny and Yuro (Reserves) played soccer hackysack for an hour which was a bit of fun and much needed exercise for us.

Today we had a bit of a longer drive which was good for me because I was able to get a little nap in on the way down. 3 Bears is always fun and tonight was brewing to always be the biggest night of the run. We got a free feed from the pub which was great and also each band got 6 jugs of beer so I must say high five to 3 Bears for treating us with respect and looking after us all night.

Colors opened tonight and played to a fairly descent early crowd. Although they didn’t play bad, I thought this was probably their weakest show of the run. I think it was something to do with opening slot. It seems that the later you play,the bigger the crowd,the drunker the crowd,the more receptive. Which the Reserves found out as they once again played a “who gives a fuck lets just have fun show”. Must say all bands’ sound and lighting tonight was fantastic, thanks to the pro sound guy at 3 Bears. This is 5 star setup for bands and no wonder bands like Grinspoon and Wolfmother play there. We ended the night and it was our time to shine.

Tonight was easily the biggest night crowd wise and I feel we easily played one of our best shows ever. There was a good vibe in the air that night. People were up dancing and drinking. It helps when you have two great bands playing before you getting you pumped. I think the 3 Bears setup definitely helped us.

The show was over but the beer garden was the next stop. People were drunk every where. A fight broke out. We were having a laugh with the locals. At 1 we all had to leave. So Dave”Reefer”Colors said
“lets go back to the rooms and party on.”

After a bit of smoke and booze once again there was noise complaints so went over the park with the soccer ball and played ‘Smashed Soccer’. It was so fun. There was about 10 of us all of our trees. The rest is a blur.

Sunday: Checked out of 3 Bears and headed straight to the Dunsborough bakery. Dave Colors today one the unofficial contest of who could eat the most. The Pepper Steak Pie from there was the best pie I’ve ever had from a bakery. All bands where quick to hit the road knowing that this would be the longest stint. The weather didn’t help. Especially the Reserves who had the trailer with all the backline. All bands made it back to Perth safe and sound thankfully. 5pm we roll up to the Hyde Park for the last show. You could tell three days of little sleep and partying was starting to show!

How did we deal with it? The same as every other day: Have a beer. Paul Wood from Red Jezebel opened the show. This is one guy that I’ve have been looking up to for years. He didn’t let anybody down and played a set full of strong songs. ‘Demons’ was a highlight for me. The guy is quality. Colors played an awesome set. They had the crowd on there toes. They certainly lifted everybody out of their Sunday blues and into party mode. We were up next and I must say once again, I was pleased with the way we played. That’s all I’m going to say.

The Reserves finished the Pack Up The Bus Tour 07 with a tight set, that was highlighted with Johny LYN, Dave Colors and Myself getting up to join them for a song.

So the Pack Up The Bus Tour 07 ends. Id have to say it has been absolute mayhem. So much fun. All three bands deserve a pat on the back for this. Independently organized, promoted, self
managed, we showed all that we are as good as anyone. Most of all we had a blast!

Well done lads. Thanks also to all that came to the shows and made our
nights even more enjoyable.

Cheers!

Coxy.