Monday, January 19, 2009

Afrirampo, Dead Meadow and Fuck Buttons @ All Tomorrow's Parties, Brisbane

Afrirampo @ Brisbane Powerhouse, All Tomorrow's Parties

It was back to the Powerhouse for the final night of Brisbane’s disjointed version of the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival and as a whole, this was to be my favourite evening.

I was lucky enough to be at the very front and centre for most of the performances, except when a very rude and insisted Fuck Buttons fan kept squeezing in before their set started, after which she stood transfixed, seemingly unmoved by the power of their music – surely it should be about the music, not some idol-esque, blind adulation?

Afrirampo started off the proceedings with a quick jog through the sparse crowd and then up to the stage where they unleashed their noise rock ‘n’ roll to the slowly growing audience.

Afrirampo formed in 2002, evolving from the avante-garde music scene in Osaka, and consist of two young Japanese women playing guitar and drums and sharing vocal and between song banter duties. They are cute and noisy in equal parts and managed to convey both during their very energetic and joyous set of psychedelic noise rock at the Powerhouse.

They ended the show carried through the now much larger audience on the shoulders of two guys from the crowd, encouraging the audience to participate in the chorus of their final song.

Mayhem and mischief abounded throughout this fun set but they left too early for me to buy their home made CD (maybe next time?).

Afrirampo - Nakimushikemushi Goodbye!

Dead Meadow @ Brisbane Powerhouse, All Tomorrow's Parties

Next up were Dead Meadow who played a very strong set of seventies rock with a few long, very groovy jams and some relatively short rockers. My head was shaking and my body swaying for the entire set of tunes which took me back to the music of my youth. Rockin' fun indeed!

Dead Meadow formed in Washington in 1998 and have experienced a few minor line up changes in their time. Their sound has also alternated between heavy seventies rock and psychedelic stoner rock.

But tonight it was the heavy end of the rock spectrum the audience was entertained with and the band received a very good reception, including a few gifts bestowed upon them (a bottle of soju and a hippy pouch which, if all is right in the world, contained some wicked pot).

Dead Meadow were my find of the festival, thanks guys! (but why no CDs on sale?)

Dead Meadow - Indian Bones

Fuck Buttons get the party started @ Brisbane Powerhouse, All Tomorrow's Parties

Finally ATP favourites Fuck Buttons dragged their suitcase of electronic goodies on to the stage and set to destroy the hearing of all within earshot with their experimental noise (although there is melody hidden beneath) tracks.

Fuck Buttons formed in late 2004 and in 2008 released their debut, and my album of the year for last year, Street Horrrsing. Hearing this played live was a most amazing experience.

The band were very well received by the enthusiastic audience, especially a small group of lads a few rows back who were jumping around and hollering in support.

Fuck Buttons in full swing @ Brisbane Powerhouse, All Tomorrow's Parties

They ended with a track I didn’t recognise and which bodes well for future quality output from Fuck Buttons. I for one can't wait! I had so much fun I bought the t-shirt.

Fuck Buttons – Sweet Love For Planet Earth

Huge thanks go out to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds for curating such a great fun festival and to all of the bands (with one obvious, local exception) for putting on such quality performances. All Tomorrow's Parties is now my favourite oz music festival and next year I may have to travel to Sydney or Melbourne to enjoy the full festival experience.

Do you like these tunes? Then why not support the artists (and my blogging habit) by buying some music. Check out these links:-

Sunday, January 18, 2009

All Tomorrow's Parties, Brisbane Riverstage

All Tomorrow's Parties

The All Tomorrow’s Parties full day festival in Brisbane was held at the Riverstage, surrounded by the Brisbane River on one side and nudged up against the Botanical Gardens, a lovely location for this music festival generally aimed at, and certainly attended by, a more mature audience.

James Blood Ulmer @ Brisbane Riverstage, All Tomorrow's Parties

We arrived on a hot summer’s afternoon to a venue with little shade to catch most of soul / jazz / guitar legend James Blood Ulmer’s performance, who played a very personable and enjoyable bluesy set.

It must have been disconcerting for the artists performing early in the afternoon, as the majority of the audience directly in front of the stage were standing in the limited available shade. This meant most were gathered primarily to one side of the stage, as the sun moved across the sky.

The Necks @ Brisbane Riverstage, All Tomorrow's Parties

The heat was still evident when the avante-jazz trio The Necks took to the stage to play an interesting set-long jam, as is their want. I have seen these guys a few times now and they never disappoint. With only upright bass, piano and drums The Necks create a myriad of sounds and textures. My second favourite set of the day.

Robert Forster @ Brisbane Riverstage, All Tomorrow's Parties

After The Necks we retreated to the shade of the hill amongst the smokers to catch Robert Forster and his band play a collection of songs from his solo career and a few old Go-Betweens favourites. A very nice set of lovely songs it was too, with Robert in fine form, and slowly the crowd in front of the stage, and in the venue, continued to grow.

Spiritualized @ Brisbane Riverstage, All Tomorrow's Parties

Spiritualized were on next and as the sun finally started to provide sufficient shade for the audience to fill out the ampitheatre the band launched into a selection of their psychedelic guitar tunes, with a few minor hits thrown in for good measure. With a seven piece band, including a two girl “choir” the band put out quite a sound.

Then it was back into the fray (to some extent, at least) to catch the set I had been waiting for.

The Saints @ Brisbane Riverstage, All Tomorrow's Parties, Chris Bailey gives Ed Kuepper the finger, again

The Saints were to play their debut album I’m Stranded in its entirety. Surely this album (and most certainly the single, widely accepted as the first punk single released) are part of the backbone of Australia’s alternative music scene.

The sun was setting, the bats were flying above our heads and there was anticipation in the air. I wasn’t too concerned when The Saints didn’t open with this signature tune, but it was soon evident that, in typical “fuck you” punk attitude, they were just playing a set of their choosing, which included a few tracks from their debut.

To my ears and heart it was a bit of a lacklustre performance, although it seems fair enough that the band wouldn’t maintain the aggression and attitude after over 30 years. Chris Bailey’s delivery missed the sneer-ey attitude of yore. Ed Kuepper thrashed at his guitar, but from my standing position his sound was criminally way too low in the mix.

There was no interaction between these two famously antagonistic personalities, and as the set progressed, during many of the moments when he wasn’t singing, Chris Bailey was repeatedly and over-dramatically gesturing towards Ed Kuepper in a weird deferential way. I couldn’t get my head around it.

The Saints set had a few highlights, but it didn’t meet my admittedly rather high expectations, especially after hearing the excellent reports from their Pig City show last year. They didn’t even play the song I’m Stranded? To their home town?? But they did choose to play the cover version track Kissin’ Cousins??? Go figure … and maybe go see The Laughing Clowns.

But don’t take my word for it, Bob over at That Striped Sunlight Sound was closer to the stage and has some great photos of many of the bands from the latter half of the day, and he loved the Saints show …. Check out Bob’s blog entry here

And then it was time for the headline band, and the curators of the festival.

The Saints @ Brisbane Riverstage, All Tomorrow's Parties

The impeccably dressed Bad Seeds graced the stage to a roar only outdone when a very dapper looking Nick Cave also emerged. Undoubtedly the king of alternative music in Australia with a backing band containing members with successful solo careers of their own or members of many of the most famous bands this country has produced including The Triffids and The Dirty Three, many of the band still have successful international careers, a testament to their devotion to both Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds legacy.

The passage of 30 years hasn’t dampened Nick Cave or his band, in fact if anything he just keeps getting better as an entertainer.

They played tracks ranging from the new album Dig, Lazarus, Dig and even stretched back to the second album, From Her To Eternity, with the inclusion of my favourite track, Tupelo and a huge collection of hits from between these periods.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds @ Brisbane Riverstage, All Tomorrow's Parties

With the sonic mayhem of Warren Ellis (of The Dirty Three) and the strong foundation provided by career-long musical partner in crime, Mick Harvey, the Bad Seeds were brutal and beautiful.

The hour and a half long set was barely long enough. Long live the king!

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Tupelo

Do you like these tunes? Then why not support the artists (and my blogging habit) by buying some music. Check out these links:-

Friday, January 16, 2009

Harmonia @ All Tomorrow's Parties, Brisbane

The All Tomorrow's Parties festival has finally made it to the (east coast of) Australia, so I just had to go east. It is being presented in Brisbane over 4 separate days, but what a wonderful (disjointed version of this amazing) festival it has been so far.

Harmonia opened the proceedings at the Powerhouse on Tuesday night with a set not too removed from many of the laptop performances of today.

Harmonia were a Krautrock supergroup consisting of members of Neu!, Kraftwerk and Cluster and also boasted one Brian Eno for short a period of time.

Although they only lasted from 1973-76, and played very few live shows at the time, Harmonia are considered to be one of the important forerunners of the experimental / electronic music scene.

The Powerhouse show saw the trio perched before a packed house and behind their laptops with a backdrop including images from their youth and the set included an interesting mix of ambient and electronic soundscapes. Many of the samples were pre-recorded and tweaked, although the inclusion of live (then looped and modified) electric guitar provided some semblance of cause and effect (one of my oft-stated problems with laptop performances).

It was interesting to see a photograph of the band playing live in 1974 projected onto the large screen behind them in comparison with the band performing today. In 1974 they had quite an arsenal of musical equipment, but today they were armed with only their small array of computers, effects and electronic bric-a-brac. The wonders of modern technology. See the posted photograph to get my meaning.

The set was played with typical German precision but a sense of humour also pervaded the performance, there was even a joke and laughter between the band and the amazing and at times mesmerising performance was reverently received by the appreciative crowd.

Brisbane (thanks largely to Lawrence English of Room 40 fame) has a vibrant experimental music scene and what better way to start the All Tomorrow's Parties celebration than Harmonia.

Stay tuned for more Something Old, Something New ramblings and opinions on the ATP festival over the coming days and weeks.

But in real time for me, as compared to whenever you may be reading this post, tonight is the noise component featuring Afrirampo, Dead Meadow and the amazing Fuck Buttons. Woo Hoo indeed!!

Harmonia - Dino

Do you like these tunes? Then why not support the artists (and my blogging habit) by buying some music. Check out these links:-