Tag Archives: live music

Live Review: Rare Finds #1 Feat. Jenny Broke The Window, Food Court, Hedge Fund + Winstorn Surfshirt @ Sly Fox, Enmore (24.04.15)

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

It’s no secret. Sydney has been extremely good to indie bands and fans of the genre in the past few years. I have no idea where it came from, but acts like Hungry Kids Of Hungary, The Griswolds and Jinja Safari are just a few of the names that come to mind when I think about the huge ground-swell that surfaced, and has shown no signs of stopping. That’s what brings us to Rare Finds #1, a new indie club that launched last Friday at Enmore’s Sly Fox. Seems like a simple concept, right? Sydney loves indie, Sydney should have a dedicated indie night.

As the first band began setting up, the flaming red neon foxes behind the stage glared eagerly at the crowd, lighting the floral decor spanning the roof. Sounds like a wanky way to describe the interiors of the Sly Fox, but I feel it’s necessary to set the scene for this one. This is no dingy cavern where the bands and fans are stashed away in the back room like the IT department. It’s a pretty stylish dig for this part of town.

The night kicked off with a laid back set delivered confidently from seasoned support act Winston Surfshirt. Their unique take on the genre is hard to peg, but brilliant to watch. Zoning in on the deep, grumbling trombone like most punters would, you’d maybe say it’s like if a brass band decided to do wicked covers of funk or hip hop. Their smooth licks set a surefire “cool guy” tone for the night, bouncing off silky falsetto vocals here and there while somehow coming across a little sinister. I’d say the best thing to do when you check out Winston Surfshirt is not analyse it too much and just enjoy, as it’s essentially fun as fuck.
Hedge Fund were up next, showcasing as the only one of the four acts actually on the Rare Finds roster. I’ll tell you what though, the agents sure know how to pick ‘em. Busting out in a fury of gritty, kind of 80’s style new-wave; they were able to pump things up a bit and get the Friday night crowd ready for a big night ahead. The boys wailed from screaming highs to brooding lows throughout their set, always giving off a sort of suburban vibe in everything they did. The single “Look Who’s Back”, similar to a lot of the set, comes off almost physically confronting in a way. Not in a bad way, it’s actually quite special. You really feel these guys when they play.

Yet another group of Sydney locals, Food Court appeared up next with their backyard punk, spraying the crowd with dirty rock anthems. These Sydney natives exhude the inner-city suburbs with everything they do on stage. I think they were even wearing the same clothes from the last time I saw them play in January. All in all, it’s the epitome of punk in Australia.

The set glided on without a hitch, some of it sounding like the glory days of Greenday, but all of it lighting the way for a good thrash about, if only space permitted on the dance floor. Food Court have built up quite a loyal and enthusiastic following in Sydney, and it’s no wonder why. Judging by the crowd reactions, there would be no volume that was loud enough, and they were rewarded with top notch singles blasting until the end.

To cap off what had been a grand night at that point, Jenny Broke The Window hit the stage in a blaze of fury, knocking down my personal favourite two tracks as the first songs in the set. “Rum N’ Cola” and “See You At The War”, although spurted out a bit prematurely in my opinion, bounced about seductively as a service to the crowd. Not a second was wasted and their smooth presence was noticeable as they played catchy as fuck tracks the entire time they were on stage. Mid-set, Jenny Broke The Window slowed it down with the latest single “We Could’ve Done This Grant”, a chirpy and plucky tune that saw a bit of diversity hit the program and certainly boosted their musical creds. The recorded version is pretty sweet, but it takes a lot of talent to pull off such an awesome rendition live of such a well put together track and these guys nailed it.

By the later parts of the set, the dance floor is packed with people sharing that same euphoric state and not a single person looks ready to leave. They all know the same thing, we’ve found it. That indie night Sydney was screaming for. The one we all knew should have come so much sooner. It’s here. By the looks of the line up of the Rare Finds #2 showcase, happening on 29th May at the same place, this was no fluke. If you’re a band based in Sydney, this will be where you want to get a foot in the door.

Rare Finds #2 will feature Hey Geronimo, Sea Legs and Polish Club at the Sly Fox Hotel in Enmore on Friday, May 29th at absolutely no cost.

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LIVE REVIEW: St. Lucia & The Griswolds @ Oxford Arts Factory

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In the week leading up to it, I had listened to countless amounts of jungle-pop and ironed my flamingo shirt ready for the celebrations. Brooklyn based St. Lucia were in town with locals The Griswolds and already you could feel the tropics taking over Sydney. Flashy-coloured Hawaiian shirts draped the crowds lining the streets outside Oxford Art Factory in Sydney’s centre. The sign above the door humbly beckoned punters inside, reading “SUN: St. Lucia + Special Guests”. However, to those who knew what was in store for them, it was the calling card of something pretty special. The mouth of the musical paradise inside.

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At 9pm, locals The Griswolds took the stage in Sydney for the first time in six months, returning from a thunderous raid of the US and SXSW festival where they played an impressive nine shows in four days. There’s something exciting about the live show of a band whose catalogue has yet to be released. It’s like bearing witness to an entire show of teasers, and teased they did. From start to finish, The Griswolds grooved and swayed to their unique brand of indie, building massive amounts of hype for the upcoming album among crowd members that hadn’t yet heard of the quintet. The highlight of the set was only described as “the single from the upcoming album”, and was filled with scuttling guitars, powerful synth and the all-purpose tribal drums you find in most popular songs these days; all the while running alongside that pop undertone that made it so enjoyable. People coming for St Lucia a little early really got their moneys worth in this support as they closed with Heart Of A Lion, bringing the house down with it.

Strangely, the first thing I noticed about St Lucia was the wind machine directed straight at the lead singer’s hair. It was like something out of an 80’s glam rock show. It made it hard to focus on the opening track, The Night Comes Again, but that was short lived by the time they made it into the early days of the set with oldies like Before The Dive, blasting to life with sharp pianos and swaying limbs.

Halfway through is where the band really hit their stride, serving up the jungle jive, Wait For Lovewhich I had previously not paid much attention to on the record. But live, oh how different the situation can be. This was one of my highlights as they brought the Caribbean straight to Sydney city with layers and layers of percussion, tropical synth and choruses filled with love and positive vibes. The crowd met them there with beaming smiles – singing, dancing and jumping about the Oxford Art Factory floor like they were around an open fire in loin cloth.

It didn’t stop there. The band made it to their hit single Elevate, asking the locals to beat their Brisbane counterparts, jumping in the bridge. The whole of the floor bounced in unison as the song concluded and morphed into a cover of Ain’t Nobody by Chaka Khan. This was, without a shadow of a doubt, the best part of the whole night. By god it was a glorious cover. I mean, honestly, I would have paid $45 to see them perform that cover.

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As they finished up it was quite clear a few songs were missing, they would be back in a few seconds. But just as everyone was ready for the members to slink back into an easier groove, they exploded on stage with the first single to effectively reach our Aussie radio stations with success, September. Suddenly, the tropical cyclone of palm-tree like tunes turned into an all out dance party and they finished the night exactly that way.

St Lucia delivered in every way possible. They were fun, musically tight, stylish and just made for a great night out, which is really the point at the end of the day. They play in Melbourne tomorrow night at the Corner Hotel and if you’re close by, I highly recommend you get into those tickets as soon as possible. I wasn’t able to take any decent video last night as usual so here’s a live acoustic version of my favourite song from the night, Wait For Love, performed on a sidewalk.

 

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