Farewell – The Avenues

Farewell – The Avenues
Review/Photos by Dylan McArdle
If you’d asked me three or four years ago who my favourite local band was – I probably would have answered without hesitation “The Avenues”. While there’s been many strong pop/rock bands on the scene, The Avenues had something that made them stand out for me; perhaps it was Cain Turnley’s sweet vocals or Andy Lawson’s ability to let loose with the guitar on stage.

Having not played in some time, I’d kinda figured the band had gone the same way as Cain’s previous band Cartman and was in extended hiatus until I found out about Saturday’s CD launch.  Unfortunately, The Avenues weren’t ready to take on the world (as it said in the Amplifier newsletter) as this was also their farewell show. Given that, it was a show I had to make it down to.

Andy Lawson
Andy Lawson

Cain Turnley
Cain Turnley

Shaun Sibbes
Shaun Sibbes

Steve Parkin
Guest vocalist Steve Parkin

(click thumbnails for larger images)

Unlike previous CD launches, there were no support acts under obscure aliases, but instead we were treated by a great performance from a band I’d not seen before – The Preytells.  A combination of strong vocals and tidy guitar work means that this indie pop act is one I’ll definitely look out for in the future.

But as good as The Preytells were (for those inside to see them), the night belonged to The Avenues.  Some CD launches and farewells are all about getting guests up on stage to join in and this was no different, but it was the way it was well organised that made it special. On the older Avenues tracks, the “current” lineup made way for Tom Craig and Nic Jonsson and it felt like we’d gone back in time – especially hearing classics like “Company” for the first time in who knows how long.  The band members, new and old, were far from rusty too and I think the pre-launch practice sessions must have paid off.  It was like they’d never been apart.

For a band with a decent number of original tracks – a couple of familiar covers in “History Never Repeats” and “Taxman” were also highlights of the set.  The later featured another favourite of mine – ex Autopilot front man Steve Parkin on vocals.

It was fitting that after an hour or so on stage that the last song of the night was indeed strongest track – “Gold and Grey” and as I remembered from times before Andy Lawson cut loose on stage.  Sadly though, this would be the last time and despite the fact the band never really archived everything it could of done their career did end on a particular high and memorable note.

The Avenues Setlist

For the complete gallery of photos from the night, please visit:

Live Review: Rocket Science @ Norfolk Basement (2008-09-12)

Live Review: Rocket Science @ Norfolk Basement (2008-09-12)
Review/Photos by Dylan McArdle

Some bands come to down with a lot of hype, and other bands…well they make their noise on-stage. I’ve been a big fan or Melbourne rock band Rocket Science for a long time and as such I was eagerly awaiting last weekends shows, especially after hearing the new album.  And they didn’t disappoint.

It’s always nice to walk into the venue and instantly hear some you like and that was the case on Friday night at the Norfolk Basement when opening act The Shake Up had already taken the stage.  Sure, they are a no-frills punk/garage rock band, but they were very catchy and entertaining.  The boys looked like they were enjoying playing and didn’t care if the crowd was still kinda sparse.  It was nice to see some dancers in the crowd share the bands on-stage energy.  I would have bought their two track CD if they were selling it minus their T-shirt, but luckily for me their downloadable from their MySpace site.  Definitely a band I’ll look to check out again.

Tame Impala are one band making some noise over in the west and it was no surprise to see them on the bill now they are signed to Modular Records.  Once a side project of fellow up-and-comers Mink Mussel Creek, these guys are now a formidable act in their own right.  They not only have the retro look (almost to match the surrounding they were in), but the sound too and just that right amount of reverb coming through the speakers.  And they’ve been around long enough to sound polished and the building crowd appreciated this.  Singer Kevin Parker has a really great voice. As usual, they left their best track (Half Full Glass of Wine) ’till last and I know these boys have a bright future ahead of them (especially with a debut release coming up).

Kevin Parker - Tame Impala
Kevin Parker – Tame Impala

Roman Tucker - Rocket Science
Roman Tucker – Rocket Science

Now I’ve seen Rocket Science plenty of times before so I knew what to expect.  Crazy vocals and stage antics from lead singer Roman Tucker and powerful keyboards set them apart from other rock bands, not to mention the theremin as well.  But it’s been a while since they’ve last toured and to be honest Roman has stepped his performance up, a lot.  I don’t think I’d seem him leave his post behind the keyboard much, but this time when he wasn’t playing he was strutting his stuff at the front of the stage and off stage too.  I guess there’s nothing like a bit of crowd venturing and Roman did this during Six Foot Four early in the set and later on he let loose on Modern Life.  It was easy to see why he was sweating so much, and I’m actually quite surprised he didn’t hurt himself.  He did manage to tear a whole in the arse of his pants though!

With such a showman up front, the rest of the band kinda pales in comparison but it is important to note that there was a new guitarist on stage – Micky Heartbreaker. He may have only being playing in the band 3 or 4 weeks but he looked like an old hand and considering he’s been playing with Kit and Roman in side project The Ransome Brothers.

As with any good album tour show the band played the best of the new record and the best of what they previously had to offer – and there was no differing from the formula here.  It was a thoroughly good set, high on energy and intensity.  After the hour or so set there was an encore – short but sweet with a couple more songs that had some of the crowd asking where On Robot was.  For me – my ears hurt, my feet were sore and I’d sweated heaps more than I’d like but bloody hell I’d enjoyed myself.  This was one of the best live sets I’ve seen this year, not quite as good as Shihad @ Capitol a couple of weeks back but not far off.  It was a worthy performance from a band that’s earned their reputation as a mighty fine live band.

Photos/Set List: Gigantic

Photos/Set List: Gigantic @ Hyde Park Hotel (2008-02-01)
Photos by Dylan McArdle

On Friday night Gigantic rocked the Hydey along with Dan Bull, The Four Walls and Loud Howard…


Gigantic Setlist
(click thumbnails for larger 1438×960 & 960×1438 photos)

Perth Sounds wishes Gigantic all the best for their upcoming tour of the USA and Europe supporting The Chevelles. See http://www.thechevelles.com/ and http://www.myspace.com/giganticau for more info and tour dates.

On Tour: Machine Translations

Machine Translations/Bank Holidays/Autumn Isles
Amplifier Bar
Friday 30th September 2005
Review by Rohan Hewson

I went to see Machine Translations at the Amplifier Bar last night, and bloody hell, it was awesome. The best gig I’ve been to in a while; $13 for the ticket + $15 for beer = money well spent.

The set list:

Holiday In Spain
Love On The Vine
A Ghost Rides
A Most Peculiar Place
Miss China
Makers 1
The Real You
She Wears A Mask
Poor Circle
Walt Must Die
Venus Traps Fly

I got to the Amplifier at about 9pm, on a train full of people going from the Showgrounds to Northbridge. I waited around for a while, the the Autumn Isles came on. I didn’t know they were going to play, as the Bank Holidays were the only support advertised. I always love seeing them, they play great songs; especially ‘Drastic Change’, ‘Piece of Your Mind’ (if that’s its real name) and the mostly instrumental piece they did at the beginning. Unfortunately this was Erik the guitarist / keyboardist’s last gig with them… I hope they find someone else quick and come back soon.

Erik got a (hopefully) unintentional sendoff just after the set finished… the fire alarm went off and the automatic fire doors slid shut. The loud siren went on for a few minutes, but nothing else happened; with the intermittent rain through the night, I’d be surprised if there was a fire anywhere. After those fun and games, the Bank Holidays came on. I like the Banks, but tonight they seemed a bit flat. I was tired, very tired, and that might had something to do with it, but I don’t think they’re as much fun as they used to be. ‘Tread Easy’ is still a great song though. I watched them for a bar stool up the back; I was very tired all night, the bite back from too much caffeine inspired wakefulness during the week. The Autumn Isles had that special something that made me stand up there (or at least lean on a pillar), the Bank Holidays just didn’t tonight. It’s a pity, I quite like them.

After a bit of a wait, and no fire sirens, Machine Translations came on. The main singer and songwriter in the band is J Walker, but some of the other players were better or at least more interesting than him, especially the shit hot guitarist with the 70’s porno hairdo. The first song they played was ‘Holiday In Spain’, a bit of an oldie, but second up… ‘Love On The Vine’. If there’s a more beautiful song realeased in the last couple of years then I haven’t heard it; they could have played it all night for all I cared. I was mesmerised. After that was ‘A Ghost Rides’, one of the songs off their new EP ‘Wolf On A String’, and then an incredible 15 minute improv version of ‘A Most Peculiar Place’. The song sounded a lot different from on ‘Happy’, and wasn’t as delicate, but then there was 10 minutes of quite intense instrumental jamming that completely left the recorded version of the song behind. Incredible.

They played a couple more songs off their new EP, and also ‘Scretch’ off their last full-length album, ‘Venus Traps Fly’. Someone in the crowd yelled out, ‘Play Amnesia!’ J said no, they weren’t doing that one tonight, and they played another oldie off the ‘Holiday In Spain’ album, which faded into ‘She Wears A Mask’. On the album Happy, ‘Mask’ is a beautiful pop song; live, its effect is diluted somewhat, due to distortion and other fun stuff that happens when you play live. I was singing along anyway because I love the song but I’m not sure what somebody who was hearing the song for the first time.

J did the next song solo (complete with someone yelling out for ‘Tinsel Town’). He didn’t do that one, said something about the last time he played it being a disaster, but he played another song off ‘Bad Shapes’ instead – ‘Poor Circle’. The band came on again for the last two songs, ‘Walt Must Die’, another song off ‘Bad Shapes’ that’s not so unpleasant as the title might make you think, actually quite a nice song; and they finished the night with ‘Venus Traps Fly’.

Machine Translations played plenty of old stuff at this gig, off their last four albums. That’s the advantage of a tour to support an EP rather that a full-length album; there aren’t so many new songs to play and that makes room for the good old ones. Some of the songs sounded quite different than on record, but they still sounded pretty good, with flashes of absolute brilliance (‘Love On The Vine’ and ‘Walt Must Die’ particularly). And there weren’t so many people there that it was uncomfortable. Now that’s the advantage to liking music that doesn’t get played on commercial radio.

Now if only I had another $20. I’m betting the Norfolk show’ll be just as good, possibly a bit more intimate than the Amplifier. Ah well…