The Rubens have had a year for the ages. They released their third album LO LA RU, been on a headline tour twice as well as toured packed stadiums across the nation with American pop icon P!nk. They’ve expressed their thoughts on the whirlwind times playing to thousands of people in Australia’s biggest venues, however they seemed more then excited to be back on tour in support of their latest album. On Thursday night The Rubens took the stage at Gold Coast’s Miami Marketta with support acts RIVAH and Little May.
American outfit Twin Peaks have recently been touring Australia playing a number of shows with Byron Bay ratbags Skeggs, and judging by photos, the shows have been epic. For the more die hard Twin Peaks fans, it was great to see them back in the country and an added bonus to see that they had tacked on a few of their own headline shows, including a sold out show last Wednesday at the Northcote Social Club. Rabbit reviewer Jack Davison was lucky enough to get there and catch Twin Peaks tear it up.
Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, the musical epicentre that brought us legends such as Nat King Cole, Muddy Waters and more recently Wilco, Twin Peaks are a sight for sore eyes in today's over-complicated, over-thought, over-sold, and over-produced musical landscape. They are a straight up and down, what you see is what you get outfit that sound and perform like they grew up with the Rolling Stones, went through puberty with The Stooges, and had a fling somewhere along the lines with The Beatles. Huge calls I know, but seriously, the similarity between Twin Peaks and the 60’s Rock and Roll scene is obvious and one that the band don't seem to shy away from.
On Wednesday night at The Northcote Social Club, they came out swinging, sipping on Furphy’s and performing as though it was their first gig in years. Initially a four-piece, but now a five piece with the excellent addition of keys, Twin Peaks are a proper bands band, in the sense that there is no main man. Instead they move, sing and play like one drunken, musically gifted, American accented organism. It was a welcome sensory overload that kept me on my toes throughout their set. I never knew where or who to look at and I never knew which member was about to start singing, but I knew I was watching something special. Twin Peaks ran through a number of old favourites including 'Making Breakfast', and 'Wanted You' but they also dabbled with a few newbies such as 'Tossing Tears'. The energy on stage was palpable, and it was clear that they were having the time of their lives, laughing at/with each other, bouncing off each other and playing great music that they had written together. The energy in the crowd was also through the roof, with stage dives and the raucous behaviour that goes hand in hand with driving Rock and Roll.
Twin Peaks seem to be on a non-stop rollercoaster of travelling, gigging, writing and recording. It almost seems as though they are worried that the musical circus they bought tickets for many moons ago when they first formed is about to shut down. However, if last weeks sold out show at the Northcote Social Club is anything to go by, then Twin Peaks need not worry. They are strong shareholders of the circus, and they could soon be running the show.
In an age where uncertainty reins, and bigotry and harsh rhetoric spill out of the United States on a daily basis, it was beyond refreshing to see five young American musicians pushing on despite it all. Creativity and the very idea of being different seems to be under-attack where Twin Peaks are from. Does that seem to worry or hinder the band? Listen to their tunes or catch them live and you’ll know the answer.
Upon entering Miami Marketta for the sold out Gold Coast leg of the Ocean Alley tour, I was hit by a furious wave of lace flares and Brixton hats worn by a huge crowd of all ages ready to dance. It was a stormy Sunday afternoon, and despite the patrons being drenched by the rain, the atmosphere was full of cheer. Before this night, I’d always referred to Ocean Alley as “Ohhh, sounds like Sticky Fingers minus the racism and misogyny”, but hearing them play I was immediately knocked off my high-horse and pleasantly surprised by their ability to connect with the crowd and the tightness of the performance.
One of the supporting bands of the night was CLEWS. These two ladies from South Coast NSW warmed up the crowd for Ocean Alley in typical indie-rock fashion. The sisters, Lily and Grace, had a natural and delightful stage presence that oozed the confidence of seasoned performers. Their coordinated outfits were almost as cohesive as their soaring harmonies and catchy choruses. This was unfortunately let down by the sound at Miami Marketta on this day. The vocal levels were way too muddy for a room where the sound just bounced off the foil roof, not to mention the amount of feedback throughout the set was excessive. However, the girls pushed through and delivered an energetic performance, even keeping the energy up throughout the acoustic ballad that they gave us in the middle of the set. This band radiates potential.
Much to the delight of the dedicated crowd itching with anticipation, Ocean Alley finally hit the stage. At first, I thought the sound had improved since CLEWS set, but I spoke too soon and we were hit with another long string of feedback and crunchy guitars through the first few songs, which would be totally fitting for a punk band. Unfortunately, this just doesn’t roll well with a reggae-fusion surf-rock band. The sound improved as the set went on, and was soon barely noticeable behind the smooth guitar tones of the boys on stage. The energy was high throughout the whole set from the front man Baden Donegal, and they were all presented as very humble performers. Musically, each member fit their role well, especially during the guitar solos where they allowed for more space so that the instrument and tone could be appreciated. The effortless harmonies weaved around the heavy use of silky and spacey guitar tones and the boys were engaging. The crowd’s energy was a match for this, as they lost their mind’s over crowd favourites such as ‘Confidence’, ‘Yellow Mellow’ and even some new tracks.
Overall, the band delivered a captivating set that went for over an hour, including the encores. This, supported by the amazing light show by Miami Marketta, made for a fun Sunday afternoon despite the complications with the sound. If you get the chance to catch these surf-rockers sometime soon, I highly recommend jumping on board the ‘Holiday’ ship.
The Surfers Paradise Beer Garden was heralding a free show for those interested in some pure unadulterated rock music. I came along with the intention of getting by ears fried by the finest young sounds this city has to offer.
Starting the night off with a relatively new young guitar band, Love Banana. A twee/psych influenced garage pop group, start the night off with a high energy set which consists of flashes of breakneck punk beats and rose coloured, sunshine lyrics about the “World being a hot thick milkshake’ and the strong presence of dreams. A strong set from a local band making a new fan in the process.
Next Echowaves brought the continuing psych influence however shaded with strong 60’s pop influences. Smart harmonies and sunshine pop melodies flowed through their song ‘Do you still think of me?’. They concluded their fuzzy set with a cover of The Easybeats, classic ‘Sorry’ and an ultra jammed out version of Tame Impala’s, ‘Half Full Glass of Wine’ with synth/guitar lines skittering all over the heavy psych jam to conclude a highly entertaining mesh of 60’s genre flavours and modern day jangle pop.
Electric Zebra tore on into the night with a heavier sense of alternative rock and punk influences. Playing tracks of their New EP ‘You’re Sinking’, divulging into the philosophical questions of what to do when you are 20-something, over thinking and asking questions of this insane life. “I found myself thinking, I can’t be the only one’ resonating through the crowd, as the surging of guitar waves, bursts of noise between quiet reflectivity and loud answers. A truly tip top performance from a tip top rock band in full flight ahead of what’s to come.
It was then time for Peach Fur to take centre stage and offer the psych rock sermon on which we had all been waiting for. The beer infused sling of Denny’s voice guides much of Peach Fur’s music. Between the hollers, shouts and screams the band backs him in every vocal endeavour he takes. Full blown energy and the constant Cheshire smiles from the bassist reinforce the great vibes reflecting from the band to the audience. Each song presented new ideas between reggae and psych rock gems with the highpoint being ‘War Dogs and Filthy Pigs’ sounding like Fidlar and Tame Impala had a child and raised it with Bob Marley as the cool uncle, just to give you an idea on how this track may sound to you. I was physically exhausted after this set, as Peach Fur had lead with their hearts on their sleeves and sweat on their guitars. A dutiful combo to say the least.
It may have been freezing and cold outside, but inside the Beergarden it felt like summer had come early and that there was not such a thing as bad weather, only great music flying from the speakers into the souls of everyone lucky enough to be in that room.
Words by Ryan Stegman
How I Nearly Missed But Actually Saw Alex Cameron In New York City
You’ve heard Forced Witness, right? I love albums too, but Alex Cameron is one of those artists you really need to take in live.
Miami Marketta held one of Australia’s finest rock bands, kicking off the weekend with homegrown heroes The Delta Riggs. The national ‘Fake That’ tour was in support of their latest single and to test out some new material they have in store for the next album. As expected the Gold Coasters showcased their excellent ability to rock a crowd with a mixture of new and old material.
After catching a 6am flight, then making the drive down to beloved Wollongong, we couldn't have been more excited to sink our teeth into Yours & Owls Festival. I had heard wondrous things about this festival, and although Rabbit has been a few times, this was a first for me.
Walking into the festival, i felt an immediate sense of comradery. This festival was going to be special. As it continues to expand every year ceases to be bigger and better, finding the perfect balance between heavy music, indie, etc and always showing an immense amount of support for locals and Australians alike.
As the 'Water Angels' continued to keep people hydrated, the festival promoted a plastic free Wollongong, The bars also used reusable cups. Big tick from us on this one!
Day 1, saw us in awe of Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, at the And The Restless Stage before quickly making our way to the Jung Stage for Middle Kids, and continuing back and forth to catch Tiny Little Houses, Ocean Alley and Press Club at the Rad Stage, so many acts.... so little time!
No matter how many times we see Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, every time is just as good as the first, this band is electrifying. The real treat for the night was the amassed crowd of over 8000 people to see Ocean Alley, bellowing along to 'Confidence', and pretty much their entire setlist. This band has worked immensely hard for their success and its great to see them getting the love that they deserve.
Day 2 saw us fall even more in love with, Jack River, as the whole band dressed in silky silver outfits. Then onward to Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, who kicked off their set to a packed out restless stage, with the punters singing along to favourites 'Mainland' and 'Talking Straight'. RBCF are always impressive.
As the game of back and forth began again, Hockey Dad kicked off their set with ‘My Stride‘, from their new record Blend Inn, as the area began to fill the crowd began to form into an endless sea of fans. Hockey Dad as per usual dominated the stage with confidence, and looked absolutely stoked finishing off with their hit single ‘Homely Feeling‘.
In their perfectly white sheer outfits and angelic fluorescent lights, coupled to create a dreamy vibe, matched with their dreamy synths, Cub Sport's live set was another highlight for us. As lead singer Tim Nelson announced his recent wedding with Sam "Bolan" Netterfield, the crowd felt like it exploded with love. Closing with a cover Kanye West's ‘Ultralight Beam‘ and 'Come On Mess Me Up', it was a beautiful sight!
As the sun set we caught, Methyl Ethyl, Liars, Tropical Fuckstorm, then back for Angus & Julia Stone - There was no time to mess around.
All in all, Yours & Owls is up there for one of the best festivals we have been to. A whole lot of great acts, great people, packed into a great small town!
We love you Yours & Owls!
BIGSOUND is Brisbane’s biggest festival for new music. I had the absolute pleasure of attending the week-long festival. Here I got the chance to see a range of new genres and artists, and experience Brisbane music while revisiting some bands that I hadn’t heard from in a while, as well as being inspired by the incredible artistic people around me. Through attending BIGSOUND, I discovered some cool venues and was swallowed by the diverse and incredible Australian music scene.
Conferences during the daytimes were inspiring to say the least. The festival began on the Tuesday morning with Women in Music, a fantastic event to socialise with other likeminded women in the industry while sipping on a complimentary mimosa provided the venue, X Cargo (thank you). A beautiful location to meet some determined industry people and artists alike, BIGSOUND was off to a fantastic start. With excitement in my veins, I went off to the next event, the BIGSOUND Welcome Party to catch a bit of Alice Skye’s set. She began by paying her respects to the original custodians of the land and expressing how grateful she was for her band, the crowd and the festival. Her stage banter, although she came off a little shy, was quite endearing, coming off like a friend, rather than a performer.
After a quick stop into the Lucky Egg for a bit of lunch and shelter from the unfortunate amount of rain, I was off to Ric’s Backyard where Guardian Australia teamed up with BIGSOUND to bring us the Songs of Brisbane. After hearing a lot about Emily Wurramara, it was a pleasure to finally see her live. A simple set up with just her, her guitar and a bandmate on a cajón, it was inspiring to see such a simple setup mesmerise a crowd. She was followed next by Total Pace, completely juxtaposing Wurramara’s sound, brought the vibe up, combining the artistic direction of well-known local bands Violent Soho and DZ Deathrays. Although they are definitely the type of band I would love to groove to after a long work week, I felt although I enjoyed their set, it wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before. Next was the mesmerising Austen. Dressed to impress, Austen blew the crowds away with new track ‘Too High to Cry’ and oldie ‘Faded’. Although her stage presence, vocal performance and general set was incredible, she was unfortunately let down by the sound guy that night, with constant feedback presumably from the synth as well as it difficult to her vocals as much as I would have liked. I decided to call it quits on day 1 of BIGSOUND, heading home to rest easy for a massive day two.
Day two began early with The New Music Business conference, lead by Stem President and Co-founder Tim Luckow and Facilitator Tim Kelly, owner of Open Collar. Although the discussions were interesting, I felt there was nothing really new discussed, bringing the conference down. Next was the Managing the CEO of the Year: The Artist conference. This was an in depth, interesting conference discussing the new music business and how it is predominately run by the artist rather than the company, with representatives from Father/Daughter Records, Unified Music Group, Future Classic, MTheory and Friendly Announcer. It was really refreshing to hear from a range of different managers their experiences with working with a diverse range of different artists as well as what works, what doesn’t and when artists should consider management. After a break from conferences, we were off to hear some music.
The first band we saw on the Wednesday night was Pink Matter. This is a neo-soul band comprised of all females – Kerry, Izzy, Megan and Lizzy. The girls were donned in colourful clothing and had an innocent energy about them. The lead singer held a relaxed demeanour, making it easy to either sit back and enjoy the show, or dance along with her. The keyboardist was engaging and every woman on stage appeared to be having a ball. One thing that let the show down was the sound at The Brightside. The bass was loud in the mix and it was hard to hear the separate instrumental parts clearly, besides the vocals which were peaking and hard to listen to for this reason. The crowd favourite was new track ‘Cleo’, which was released on July 6th with a music video. The audience was familiar with the tune and grooved along to the sweet synth sounds and pretty chords.
Next up for the evening was Eliza and the Delusionals. This band has exceptional chemistry and the tone of Eliza’s voice gave a flare to the otherwise classic indie-rock sound. It was refreshing to watch the members of Eliza and the Delusionals truly enjoy their time on stage.
I was off to Crowbar to hear Totty next, and although the 3-piece are clearly new to performing (and the sound at Crowbar was sub-par), it was hard to keep my eyes off the lead singer, Kelly, whose excitement and character was endearing to say the least.
The final act for the night was PoolShop - dream-pop shoe-gaze band lead by Jaimee Fryer from Major Leagues which was the cleanest performance of the night. Their pretty harmonies, smooth melody lines and guitar tones were familiar, and reminded me strongly of USA artists such as Alvvays and Beach House. Their set was hosted at Blackbear Lodge which is a moody, intimate space and provided some quality sound besides feedback from the guitar at the beginning of the set.
The last morning I attended conferences was the Thursday, starting off with the most informative and inclusive conversation I attended for the whole week; Changing Music Industry Behaviour: The Science of Change. Beginning by using examples of how behavioural societal change has been achieved through gradual change ie with smoking, guests were then invited to choose a topic to discuss and present ideas of how to make those changes. Keeping up with the theme of inclusivity in the industry as well as many conversations going on right now, the panel chose Men Behaving Badly. It was refreshing to see the men in the room positively contributing to the discussion and helping to find solutions. Topics discussed included women not being introduced in crowds of men, festival line up quotas and if they’re effective (which BIGSOUND did a fantastic job of), inappropriate groping in crowd and the assumption that women in music are “pretty good for a girl”. This refreshing, hands-on conversation was definitely a positive start to the third day of the fantastic festival.
Moving on from one discussion about strong women to a room lead by a very accomplished one, I found myself in a room with Virginia Grohl, Dave Grohl’s mother. She was fantastically well spoken, including photos from meeting other mothers of successful artists such as Dr. Dre, telling not only her own inspiring story but the inspiring stories of others. It was funny to hear her call her son ‘David’, much more formally spoken about than the rock star we know and love, humanising him in a super refreshing light.
The next night of BIGSOUND Festival proved better than the last. With no expectations (and a few rum and cokes from favourite bar at BIGSOUND - Netherworld), I stepped out of my comfort zone and into some venues I’d never even heard of. First up was Sweater Curse. I rocked up to The Valley Drive-In to stand amongst a captivated audience. Sweater Curse performed some solid post-punk tunes switching between male and female lead vocals. The only thing that let them down was their lack of crowd interaction, they chose to stand idly and play which was a bit of a let-down for such a lively genre.
I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at Family in Fortitude Valley for I Know Leopard. This band produced some popular tracks in 2014 and delivered these in a polished and crisp performance. The fact that I Know Leopard has been around and playing together for a while was very evident. They have a flawless idea of their image and sound, all wearing black turtlenecks and sparkling diamond chokers. I Know Leopard played every hit such as ‘Perfect Picture’ and ‘Rather Be Lonely’, adding some new ones too. It’s hard to stand out with this genre of music since the industry is saturated with 70's inspired indie-pop, but if anyone can stand out, it’s I Know Leopard whose catchy melodies and soaring synth solos got the whole crowd dancing and singing along.
I had been waiting all day to see one of my favourite Australian artists, Gabriella Cohen, and she never disappoints. Gabriella has a charming and sophisticated demeanour which projects through her music. She is renowned for an alluring stage presence, irregular time signatures and her ability to be emotionally vulnerable through the delivery of unapologetic, almost sinister lyrics. The ladies from Nice Biscuit joined her on stage for percussion and backing vocals halfway through the set and it was like two worlds colliding in the most magnificent way. The stage presence of Gabriella’s band and everyone combined was one of a kind. Set for a USA tour in the coming months, this band is a force to be reckoned with.
Before saying goodbye to BIGSOUND, I made a quick stop at Family for a second time to see Olympia. Having only vaguely heard of this act, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was blown away by her skilful and elegant style of performing. The singer was wearing a bright yellow dress with a big pink frill, which contrasted her sophisticated, refined playing and soaring vocals.
The seventeenth year of BIGSOUND proved that not only does Australia produce some amazing bands and musicians, it is so diverse in every way possible. Thanks to the inclusivity of genres and artists of all kind, there was something new around every corner, and a different venue to accommodate for each. If you want to immerse yourself amongst the industry or simply enjoy what Australia has to offer in terms of up-and-coming musicians, BIGSOUND is the place to do so.
Words by Anna Leathem and Emily Hollitt
On Friday the 24th of August Sydney’s Enmore theatre was packed with people of all ages, all uniting to party along with the famous Hugo Gruzman and James Lyell, also known as Flight Facilities. The talented girl trio Haiku Hands warmed up the audience with their catchy dance music and had everyone bopping up and down all anxiously awaiting the arrival of Flight Facilities.
The boys opened the night with a little light show synced to the music to signal take-off. Through the smoky stage the shadows of the two boys in their pilot outfits arose from behind the Dj station and they hit it off with one of their newest top songs ‘Need You’. From the get go as soon as the keyboard chimed in everyone was immediately airborne. The hypnotising lights had everyone transported, swaying along in their own world totally taken control of by the music. The talented Owl Eyes from Melbourne took the vocals for the first few songs and alternated with Sydney singer Ric Rufio. Both these two captivated the crowd with their incredible vocals and got everyone singing along.
The boys then went on to perform ‘Stand Still’ released in 2014 from their album Down to Earth. The blue lights had the boys shadows peaking as we saw the figures busily moving across the Dj station and whipping out a few instruments here and there. Their songs all tended to seamlessly merge together, adding a few covers now and again to keep the crowd on their toes.
Heading back to their more disco roots, ‘Foreign Language’ and ‘Sunshine’ were a few of the crowds stand out faves. Owl Eyes tackled ‘Foreign Language’, the funky rhythms of the electric guitar had everyone charmed. Ric Rufio took on ‘Sunshine’ and its central groove had everyone having a bit of a boogie under the orange lights. They then transitioned to ‘Clair De Lune’. This slow dreamy song captured everyone swaying, Flight Facilities got us all to shine the lights on our phones to light up the whole theatre. The boys didn't say much throughout the night but they captivated everyone with their mysteriousness.
As the concert came close to the end they made sure to end the night on a high by saving their most popular songs till last. Their top song ‘Crave You’ was a huge hit and had heaps of people up on shoulders so they could get a better look at the talent on the stage. They surprised the audience by paying their respects with a cover of 'Respect'- a tribute to the so-very-great Aretha Franklin. Haiku Hands, Owl Eyes and Ric Rufio all joined in for this one and created a massive party on the stage, everyone dancing freely in their own unique style. The rainbow lights spread some excellent feel good vibes throughout the theatre. Ending the night on a massive high the boys said farewell and everyone was sombre as we all landed back in reality.
Words by Eliza Colley