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.