Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fan Made Recordings...

Hey all, I'm not really sure how many people actually read this thing on a regular basis, I suspect that most of you only just click on whenever I alert you to a post via Facebook, but anyway. Just a short note to say that I've just joined the Fan Made Recordings team, a great little blog put together by a small bunch of people that record the gigs they go to and share them online for public enjoyment. I've been following the blog for quite some time now, first finding out about it through the Mammal forum, where Chris (seancemascara) was a mod - at the time, he was the only contributor to FMR. Anyway, I see Chris out and about at quite a few shows, and he knows that I've been very keen to start recording shows for myself! Well, a few months ago he told me he was buying new gear to record with and that he would give his old stuff to me - I cannot stress how grateful I am for this, this is extremely generous of him as he knows how keen I am to get involved with this. Hopefully I'll have the gear in a few days, in time to record My Disco's album launch on Friday night which I'm very excited for. So in the meantime, check out, there's a great little collection of shows there already, and in a few days you'll get to see me posting! Once again, thank you SO MUCH to Chris, this is very very exciting for me!

NOW PLAYING: The Butterfly Effect - Final Conversation of Kings. I thought I might add this little section to the end of my blogs, after all, this is all about music so why not share with you what I'm listening to hey?

Monday, November 1, 2010

A great night of local rock 'n' roll... with added costume craziness - Creepshow Festival, Esplanade Hotel, 30-10-10

St Kilda's iconic Esplanade Hotel has three separate stages capable of holding bands, and recently some clever promoters have taken on board the idea of using the multi-stage setup to hold small festivals in the venue. Following on from the success of their Rock the Bay event earlier this year, the Saltar Hype crew decided to hold a somewhat smaller but no less exciting mini-rock-fest on the last weekend of October. Falling on the night before Halloween, the event was appropriately dubbed Creepshow, with punters and players alike dressing up in all sorts of weird and wonderful costumes for the evening. Even the venue was given a suitably "creepy" makeover!

A late withdrawal from one band saw the event's starting time pushed back an hour, but it was worth the wait, because at 7:30 it was one of Melbourne's most promising young bands in Anna Salen, who took to the Front Bar stage - which had been renamed "Field of the Living Dead" for the evening. This would be the first of many inspired costume choices from the bands on the night, as Daiv Morgan (guitar/keys), Shaun Scott (drums) and Paul Risso (bass/keys) took to the stage dressed as Nintendo heroes Mario, Wario and Luigi respectively. However, the theme didn't stop at the costumes - the stage was also decorated with some homemade replicas of the iconic "question mark" boxes from the game, and the band's prog/math-rock numbers were augmented by plenty of triggered sound effects from the game. Punters couldn't help but smile whenever the very familiar coin or pipe sound effects popped up in the middle of the band's groovy instrumental rock riffs. The familiar music from the game was also replicated very faithfully by the band in between their own songs. The front bar was actually quite packed for such an early timeslot, and the crowd was very receptive to the band's sound, seemingly not fazed by the lack of vocals in the songs. "WHAT'S IN THE BOX!?" shouted out one eager punter at one point, to which Daiv responded, "You'll find out later!" And indeed, toward the end of the set, Daiv picked up one of the boxes and began throwing its contents into the audience - which turned out to be, appropriately, chocolate coins! Packing plenty of awesome riffs and clever musical ideas into their short set, it was another good performance from a band that just keeps getting better with every show. Keep an eye out for these guys :)

Up next on the Field stage was a typically hilarious performance from I Am Duckeye; for the uninitiated, they are a side project of sorts for Sam Haycroft and Sean Bailey, the guitarist and drummer of Sydonia (incidentally the evening's headliners). Haycroft takes the frontman duties in the band which also includes his brother Matt on guitar, and Julian Medor on bass guitar. One might think from Medor's pirate attire and Sam's goggles that they too were getting into the spirit of dressing up, but of course, fans of the band knew that this was the usual performance get-up for the group. Their set featured humourous groovy riff-driven numbers such as Time Worms and Ride the Clutch, interspersed with typically hilarious banter between songs, and also featuring some amusing choreography! Do these guys have an album? If so, I want it!

I then wandered down into the basement - or The Furnace - to catch a little of Nine of Swords, who had also done quite well in the costume department - Sesame Street was their theme, with Trav, Al, Oz and Nubs dressed as Oscar, the Count, Elmo and Cookie Monster. Not having heard them before this I wasn't sure what to expect; the band ended up delivering a pretty good set of heavy rock that fit in well with the rest of the line-up. I'll give these guys a proper review next time; I can never really think what to say of a band I'm seeing for the first time when I haven't heard their stuff before.

A little while later, it was time for Engine Three Seven to take to the Field stage, and there was definitely a lot of anticipation in the room for their set. They launched their quality second EP Atmosphere in the venue's Gershwin Room last month, and really put on a good show then, so there was a high expectation of them this time around. The band - who had also got into the Halloween spirit with some face and body paint - did not disappoint, opening their set with a fantastic rendition of Hysterical Hysteria, which saw vocalist Casey Dean get the majority of the front bar to sit down on the floor during a slow part in the song, before jumping up and pogoing their way to the conclusion. Perhaps it's not a very original move these days, but it was still enjoyed by the crowd! The set certainly lived up to expectations, as the band ripped through a slew of tracks from Atmosphere and a handful of favourites from their self-titled debut EP. The crowd was only too happy to lend their voices to the band's great rock anthems, especially the older favourites. As the set closed with a rousing rendition of Easy Graceful Descent, I found myself wondering, "Why the hell aren't these guys more well known?" They really deserve something more with the amazing talents they keep showing at shows like this.
Hysterical Hysteria
Have it All
Adults Only
Automatic Everything
Win 4 Me
Easy Graceful Descent

Up next was the increasingly-popular Twelve Foot Ninja, using the night as a platform to launch their fantastic new EP Smoke Bomb which hit the stores a few weeks prior. The Melbourne quartet came from nowhere in late 2008 with the release of the New Dawn EP, impressing many with their daring fusion of metal, reggae, dub and hints of electronica. Touring relentlessly throughout the past two years has really paid off, as they now appear extremely comfortable onstage, and have a pretty impressive lot of tunes under their belt. Not surprisingly, Smoke Bomb got a good airing on the night, in fact, they played every track off it, as well as a handful of New Dawn favourites and even some other new tunes that vocalist Kin declared would appear on the band's forthcoming debut album, planned for release next year. The band's usual ninja attire was of course present, but for the occasion they'd gone a bit extra, with some convincing looking wounds! All in all, it was another fantastic performance from these local favourites, and the enthusiastic crowd really showed their appreciation of the group - the mosh pit got VERY intense! A guest vocalist joined in for a few songs, as did the group's friend Monty to play the saxophone parts during Manufacture of Consent. The set concluded with the storming Clarion, which saw the crowd absolutely losing their sense of self-control!
SETLIST (quite possibly inaccurate, this is a bit of a stretch of the memory):
Beneath the Smiles
Molotov Brother
Manufacture of Consent

Finally, at the very late time of 1:20, which had luckily resulted in the crowd calming down, Melbourne experimental metal quartet Sydonia took to the stage. I've genuinely developed a major obsession with this band just in the past few months and despite the late timeslot, I was more than awake for another great performance from this band. The costumes came out again, with bass player Adam Murray looking particularly snappy dressed as Vince Noir from The Mighty Boosh. The band did as much as they could in their hour set, mixing up old favourites from Given to Destroyers such as Adornment and No Woman's Land with some of their brilliant newer tunes such as Ocean of Storms and Sinner, all of which the crowd sang with great enthusiasm. And even if you've seen them live numerous times before (as I have), there's still something awesome about those incredible percussion jams, where guitarist Sam Haycroft and bassist Murray put down their instruments and bang away at the various custom percussion pieces laid out around the stage. The all-drumming spectacular Bateria saw them joined by yet another stick-wielder; this evening it was Murray's brother Zack. But the highlight of the set came toward the very end, when the band introduced a masked special guest onto the stage - and when the mask came off, there was gasps and cheers of appreciation as it became apparent that it was none other than Randy Blythe of American modern metal heroes Lamb of God! Somewhat surprisingly for Sydonia, the song they chose to do together was none other than a cover of the Sex Pistols' classic Pretty Vacant. And after that, the crowd was more than happy to oblige Haycroft's request that they help introduce the thrashing madness of Incoming, always a favourite to conclude the Sydonia set. Blythe helped out on this too, and then finally, at 2:20am, it was all over! Saltar Hype had really delivered the goods on this, an extremely fun evening of local rock talent.
SETLIST (again, questionable accuracy):
3 Tongues
Ocean of Storms
No Woman's Land
Drag You Out
Bateria (with Zack Murray)
Pretty Vacant (Sex Pistols cover, with Randy Blythe of Lamb of God)
Incoming (with Randy Blythe)