Radar – news

Hi readers

For some reason there’s been a stack of recent views, comments and activity on Radar – for those still reading, hello!

Radar Illawarra, in this form as a blog, is long finished. However, Radar Illawarra as a resource for local music and musicians in Wollongong is still alive in the Illawarra Mercury newspaper. I write a column each week which goes into the Good Life lifestyle section on Fridays, as well as being published on our website.

You can contact me about Radar v2.0 on joshua.butler@fairfaxmedia.com.au, to submit any news about gigs, new songs/albums/EPs, tours, or anything else related to music in Wollongong.

I’m also still blogging over on my new blog, Bleached – so if you liked Radar, mosey on over to Bleached and give it a like!



Radar is going on a hiatus

Dear readers, fans and supporters of Radar.

Effective immediately, Radar Illawarra will be taking an indefinite hiatus. I have recently relocated to the USA for six months university study exchange, and as such it has become unsustainable and unfeasible for the site to continue at this time. I have been running this site for 18 months with literally zero financial income to support, and it has finally come to a point where – due to a combination of many factors including distance, organisational difficulties, time differences, and workload – I no longer have the time or ability to keep Radar operating at the level it deserves to be run at.

At this stage, I’m not sure whether Radar will come back at all. To that end, I’d like to thank a certain number of people who have actually provided support to Radar, and not just leeched off its services; Ben Tillman and Yours & Owls, Jeb Taylor and Music Farmers/The Patch, Dioni and Good Jelly, Scott Blissett and Otis Bar (R.I.P), Glen at Haworths, Kuz at Soundbreak, Jack at Huchi Muchi, Dave and Stacked Music Festival, Rob Carr.

I’d also like to thank anyone who has contributed to Radar over its 18 months of operation; anyone who has written a review, taken photos, interviewed bands or tried to help the site in any way. Radar has amassed a great team of volunteer contributors who have helped the site flourish and become the informative, useful and well-rounded tool it has (or had) become, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have contributed to the site.

Also due for thanks are all the bands who have supported Radar in the past, as well as you – the readers. I have been continually amazed at how much Radar has grown since I began it last March as a university assignment project, and never did I expect it to expand to the stage it has now. To everybody who has read an article, entered a competition, told a friend about us, followed us on Facebook, or supported us in any way, shape or form – thank you.

At this stage, this is just a “hiatus,” meaning Radar might come back, or it might not. But at this point in time, due to financial and time constraints, the operation of Radar has become unsustainable.

In saying that, I would encourage any and all readers to start their own blog, site or other resource. If you’ve been following even 10% of the things we’ve been covering for the last year and a half, you’d know well that there’s so much great stuff happening right now in Wollongong. All I can hope is that Radar has helped and contributed to that in some way, and I hope that the site has set an example for those who are interested in kick-starting their own similar venture. There is so much room for this kind of venture in Wollongong, if done properly, so please – go out and do something!

So long, and thanks for all the fish,

Josh Butler
editor, Radar Illawarra

House Vs Hurricane @ Unanderra Community Centre

REVIEW: Alpine, Clubfeet, Georgi Kay @ The Patch.

High off the success of their debut album A is for Alpine, six-piece Melbourne indie-pop ensemble Alpine entranced an enthusiastic and expectant crowd at the Patch on Wednesday night. With their distinctive fusion of breathy vocals, catchy melodies and knee-jerking energy, Alpine cemented their place as inventive and innovative newcomers at the forefront of the Australian music scene.

Opening crooner Georgi Kay greeted a thriving Patch with relaxed, mellow and minor tunes. With a voice that mixes a little bit of Angus and Julia Stone with a little bit of Sarah Blasko, Kay has harnessed an unusually strong and defined voice for someone of only 18 years. Despite her reserved stage presence, Kay’s commanding sound and quirky lyrics generated an affectionate we’re-all-friends-here vibe among the crowd that continued for the remainder of the night.

Next up, electro-pop (or “blow wave”) five-piece Clubfeet stole the stage with light guitar riffs, synth-dominated loops and a frequently featured tambourine. As a few casual boppers took to the floor, the boys from Melbourne harmonised through charismatic dance songs, often laced with an underlying ’80s sound. After sharing a drink with a generous young lass in the front row, lead singer Sebastian Cohen shared a few dance moves of his own to Teenage Suicide (Don’t do it) and set closer Last words; providing entertainment to all the late-comers who had just strolled in.

Finally, the lights dimmed and the much anticipated set of Alpine opened with trance-like melodies and husky vocals. Decorated in glittery eye make-up that reflected the cosmic undertones of their voices, front-women Lou James and Phoebe Baker descended with an energetic stage presence that showcased flawless pitch, while Ryan, Tim, Christian and Phil plucked out melodic riffs and thumped out inventive beats.

Filled with impeccably-timed syncopation and dynamics, the band flew through a mix of EP favourites such as Heartlove, while also introducing newbies Seeing Red and Hands.  The Patch was promptly transformed into a gathering of swaying individuals that gave the impression of floating, but in the middle of crowded, sweaty dance-floor sort of way.

As a few ill-timed jivers enthusiastically raved through the crowd, some spirit fingers made an appearance on stage as James declared “Let’s get noisy, in a nice way.”

And that is precisely what we did. In a perfectly well-behaved manner, the audience hummed and warbled out the opening lines of Gasoline while the two female leads encouraged some dramatic head-bopping. It’s safe to say that the song sounds even better live than it does on CD- an impressive feat- although it remains unclear as to whether this is because of the bands quirky onstage character, or just a result of their outstanding musical talent.

(As a side note, for all current residents of the Gong, it seems that Lou, in particular, is a big fan of our cities name, joyously exclaiming: “I love the name Wollongong. Woooooollongong.  I’m going to call my kid Wollongong.” Fact.)

Finishing on Villages, with some chronic hand-clapping and a few sensual dancers making their way towards the bar, it was evident that Alpine had come and conquered, no doubt winning over all ears in the venue (but perhaps not those of the surrounding sites, who issued a few cheeky noise complaints).

For further tour information, get click-happy right here:  http://www.facebook.com/alpineband/app_308540029359

Yours & Owls memories: Totally Unicorn

In the lead-up to Yours & Owls’ 2nd birthday party this weekend, we asked some of the bands playing the three-venue celebration to reflect on their memories of Owls; both as performers, and as regular gig-goers. Next up is Totally Unicorn, as drummer Mike ponders egg/bird metaphors, getting laid, and dancing like Michael Jackson. TU will be playing the “after-party” at Blue Note/Fever nightclub, so make sure you’re still conscious enough to get in to see them (disclaimer: Mike says the Totally Unicorn boys will make no such guarantees as to their sober-ness)

What was your first gig at Yours & Owls?
We’d been friends with the boys from Owls since well before the egg hatched 2 years ago, and had been keen on playing there when they were still fertilising their ideas and spraying the white undercoat on the walls, but held off until September last year on a tour to promote the ‘Cool Dads’ film clip. There were streamers, piñatas, nudity, and the booze was flowing through the party hats. They probably don’t agree but that was their FIRST birthday celebration, so it’s an honour to be playing for them again at their second.

What has been the favourite show you’ve played there?
The first one was hard to top and there was a lot of hype around that show, but the last time we played there with Rosetta, City of Ships and Nuclear Summer was incredible for a whole different set of reasons. All the bands played so tight that night and the crowd was super-intimate – it was a completely different vibe… almost grown up! It may have also been the last show Drew played in his tie-dye morph-suit too, so it holds a pretty special place in our hearts.

What’s your best memory of the place?
I think any night that we’ve been there and one of us have gotten laid during our afterwards would have to be a highlight. There’s been a few of those (thank you Owls). As for the best memory?… let’s just say it involves 8 men, the Weeknd, some party lights, and a huge sack.

What are some of the highlights of shows you’ve seen at Owls?
The Rosetta show was great, so was The Flatliners with Joe Knott, Pear & The Awkward Orchestra, and some folky type 5-piece band that played a handsaw, a washboard, and a whiskey bottle amongst other things – they were amazing.

How much of a role do you think Owls plays in the Wollongong music scene today?
They definitely take a more purist approach to music and arts from what I’ve seen. The guys always support the people that play there, are generous, flexible and happy to work with anyone with a splooge of talent or creativity. To be so eclectic and tuned in to what’s happening in Australia, and to be a 60-cap room and not have gone broke yet is a tribute to them as well as to all of the locals that support them each week. Without them I think it would definitely be a considerably more barren town artistically. Not to say that other venues in the Illawarra aren’t contributing by any means – but this is a significant place in our eyes.

Why do you think they’ve been so successful so far?
Because unlike the glasshouse you don’t have to be a cunt to go there.

What are you expecting for the 2nd birthday party?
Look, our main goal at this stage is to somehow stay sober enough to be physically able to play the after party at Blue Note or Fever or whatever it’s called (I’ve never been there before but I’ve heard the floor lights up like a Michael Jackson film clip, so I’m stoked). Apart from that I’m going to try to pick up any bi-drummers that may or may not be playing and check out Step – Panther, Fait Accompli, Let Me Down Jungleman, and Mega-Shark – anyone with a band name that good should be checked out!

What band are you most looking forward to watching on the night?
Oh fuck, did I just fuck this interview? Uhhhh… Let’s say Alotta Pressure & Doc Holliday Takes The Shotgun.

If you could buy Yours & Owls a birthday present, what would it be?
I already got them this Owlet (below) – they can fuck off.

TU play the Yours & Owls 2nd birthday party on August 31. The three-venue party will take over Owls, the Town Hall and Fever/Blue Note nightclub, with The Walking Who Step-Panther, Alotta Presha, Let Me Down Jungleman and a dozen more playing throughout the night. For all the details, click here.

GIG GUIDE: August 27 – September 2

Last week was a big one for local gigs, and the goodness keeps on coming this week with another huge lineup of live music to sink your teeth into. Heading up the list on a crowded weekend of shows is the Yours & Owls 2nd birthday party. Featuring Totally Unicorn, Alotta Presha, The Walking Who and a dozen more across three venues, it’s set to be one of the biggest nights of the year for music fans.

The same night we’ve got Sleepmakeswaves at The Patch, before a huge Saturday brings us a free all-ages acoustic show at Music Farmers; HY-FEST at Dicey Riley’s; Children Collide at the Unibar; and Mother & Son at Owls.

Alpine, Clubfeet @ The Patch

Dead, Thomas Covenant, Basil’s Kite, Nuclear Family @ Yours & Owls

Northern Suburbs
Gin Wigmore @ Heritage Hotel, Bulli

Art Of Sleeping, Tiger Town, Maples @ Yours & Owls

RADAR PRESENTS: Yours & Owls 2nd birthday (w/ Alotta Presha, Step-Panther, Totally Unicorn and more) @ Yours & Owls/Town Hall/Fever nightclub

Sleepmakeswaves, The Koranic @ The Patch

Rampage @ Dicey Riley’s

Children Collide, Dune Rats, Bad Dreems @ Unibar

HY-FEST (w/ Hy-Test, Bruce, Don Fernando, Chainsaw Mascara) @ Dicey Riley’s

Ian Laidlaw photographic exhibition (with performance from Mother & Son) @ Yours & Owls

Jack Reilly, Bec Sandridge, Obscura Hail (and more) @ Music Farmers, 12pm

Nekrofeist, Tensions Arise, Red Bee, Shadow In Ruin @ The Patch

Yours & Owls memories: My Little Underground

In the lead-up to Yours & Owls’ 2nd birthday party this weekend, we asked some of the bands playing the three-venue celebration to reflect on their memories of Owls; both as performers, and as regular gig-goers. The first off the rank is My Little Underground, who recently placed third in the UOW band comp and will be playing the Owls venue on Friday night. Guitarist Jonathan Tooke spoke to us about his memories of shows there:

What was your first gig at Yours & Owls?
The Huchi Muchi launch party, 29th of September 2011. Crazy to think that that was under a year ago. Kind of a game changer for us really, in the last year we’ve done a ridiculous number of Owls slots.

What has been the favourite show you’ve played there?
Either that Huchi Muchi launch party or the Thomas Covenant EP launch a couple of weeks ago. Both were fantastic nights, seeing an almost packed crowd each time really get into it was fucking cool and really fun.

Best memory of Owls?
The best memory I have would be a tie between seeing people really get into it at the Huchi Muchi launch and meeting new people there. That Huchi Muchi launch really was the first time we’d had people really react at a gig like that. Meeting new people has been great too, so many people I talk to very regularly I wouldn’t have met without Owls being there. So many bands as well that I’d have no clue about.

What are some highlights of your experience as a gig-goer at Owls?
Either Thomas Covenant at their launch night or Alkan Zeybek and the Lessermen. Two very different gigs, but both great in their own right. Thom Cov was a messy party vibe where everyone was crowd surfing and stuff – so fun. It was a pretty long lineup of bands and everything just kept building until Thom Cov started playing at it was fucking cool. Them ending with ‘You Got A Friend In Me’ too was actually a really great moment. The Alkan Zeybek gig was quite a strange one. It was a long lineup of touring bands, most of which I’d never heard before. We’re on 2nd and Alkan Zeybek and the Lessermen were on first. Playing to roughly 10 people, they fucking ruled. By the 2nd song Alkan, the frontman, had jumped from the top of the Owls stairs and was wiping blood onto the setlist. Also – their EP rules so hard, a CD I actually played into not working anymore.

How do you see Owls’ role in the local music scene?
They are the best live venue to see bands in the area. Without them, I can’t really see the local music scene being anywhere near as strong as it is today. I can’t really overstate it’s importance to local music.

Why do you think they’ve been to successful so far?
The high level of good vibes. Much of what I had heard about the heyday of the Oxford Tavern, the regular band nights and good vibes, has been definitely surpassed by my own experiences at Owls. I haven’t had a bad night there, and it’s the only venue around I can really say that about. Even a night which doesn’t go the best for us will still be a good night because of the people there and the other bands.

What expectations do you have for the birthday party?
I’m just hoping it’s a real big party. For it to be one of those really great Owls nights where everyone is just having the best time. Also, I’m fucking keen for This Mess, I’ve only seen them once before and I was really digging what they’re up to.

What band are you most looking forward to?
A toss up between Let Me Down Jungleman, This Mess and Totally Unicorn. The Jungleman dudes are great guys we get along with really well and they play in a damn cool band so we’re keen to see ‘em. This Mess, as I mentioned before I’ve only seen once before but I’m so keen to hear them again, just the depth at which their songs are written I really like. And Totally Unicorn – one of the best bands in the region and one of the few I haven’t actually seen before. Every night they’re on I had some unavoidable reason I couldn’t go so I’m really really keen for that

If you could buy Owls a birthday present, what would it be?
Real: An owl costume for each of the dudes. Imaginary: A ‘no-fine’ card, preventing the po-po from fining them again.

MLU play the Yours & Owls 2nd birthday party on August 31. The three-venue party will take over Owls, the Town Hall and Fever/Blue Note nightclub, with Totally Unicorn, The Walking Who Step-Panther, Alotta Presha, Let Me Down Jungleman and a dozen more playing throughout the night. For all the details, click here.

Yours & Owls – a video retrospective

When the quiet little coffee shop opened two years ago, nobody could have ever predicted how much Yours & Owls would shake up the local music and culture scene. Two years on, Owls has become the hub for live music in the Wollongong CBD, and has inarguably become the nucleus around which the new local music scene has been built. Playing host to virtually every local band, as well as nationally touring stars and even a smattering of well-respected internationals, Yours & Owls has provided a space (albeit a cosy one) for music to flourish and live in the centre of Wollongong.

Two years down the track from their unassuming opening on Crown Street, Owls has hosted many shows that will likely be forever etched into the memories of local music fans, young and old. From acoustic sets by The Flatliners, to secret Totally Unicorn gigs, to epic Budha Nights where music lovers are introduced to their new favourite bands, Owls has something for everyone. Basement, Bomb The Music Industry, Tim Hart (of Boy & Bear), The Rubens, Hunting Grounds,  Fait Accompli, Millions – Yours & Owls has played host to many of the most memorable local shows in recent memory. Luckily, thanks to Owls’ policy of video recording most of their shows, we can look back and remember the epic gigs that we’ve been to, or check out the ones that we missed. With the Yours & Owls 2nd birthday party fast approaching (this Friday, August 31!), here’s our look back at some of the more memorable shows that have gone down within the walls of Yours & Owls:

Sticky Fingers
On their most recent tour, Sydney funk-rock outfit Sticky Fingers played a two-night-stand at Owls. They blow us away whenever we see them, and seeing them in the cosy surrounds of Y&O was pretty special.

Tommy M & The Mastersounds
Tommy M seem to play Owls every single week, but that never seems to diminish the crowds they bring. Surely holding the record for most consistently packed-out shows (we hear that their Budha Nights gig with Rocking Horse a few months back was the fastest pack-out of the venue ever), the eight-piece quickly became an Owls favourite.

The Walking Who
These guys, too, have become something of a regular fixture on the Owls calendar. Their brand of fuzzy psych-rock has won The Walking Who a lot of fans recently, including Sydney institutions Select Music and FBI Radio.

The Rubens
Back before they blew up on JJJ, The Rubens were playing places like Owls. Check their performance from 2011 right here.

Totally Unicorn
Arguably the most memorable gig in Owls history was the Totally Unicorn show of September 2011. The final show on a quick east coast tour, the Totally Unicorn guys destroyed the tiny venue in a show that saw punters flying off the stairs onto the crowd below, Drew crowd-surfing the length of the venue, and a greater concentration of tie-dye than any other location in history. Check out the chaos below.

Of course, Totally Unicorn and The Walking Who will be some of the star attractions at Yours & Owls’ 2nd birthday celebrations on August 31. The three-venue party will take over Owls, the Town Hall and Fever/Blue Note nightclub, with Step-Panther, Alotta Presha, Let Me Down Jungleman and a dozen more playing throughout the night. For all the details, click here.

TOUR NEWS: The Rubens, British India, The Cairos.

A few exciting announcements this week in upcoming shows for Spring:

Sydney band The Rubens are releasing their hotly anticipated debut in September, so what better time to go see them? The Rubens are headlining at gig at UOW Unibar on Thursday the 20th of September, supported by Bertie Blackman and New Gods. Click here for more details!  The band also released the video for new song ‘My Gun’ last week. Check it out here! 

Melbourne rockers British India are back! With the release of their latest song ‘I Can Make You Love Me’ the band are hitting the road again this spring, and have added a Wollongong show at The Patch, for Friday the 26th of October. Bright Yellow and The Owls will also be playing.

Tickets on sale now! 

You’ve probably heard their ever catchy tune ‘Shame’ being blasted all over Triple J this year. The Cairos are passing through Wollongong on Wednesday the 10th of October, and will be playing at UOW Unibar.  Tickets on sale now through the usual outlets.

NEW MUSIC: The Pennys, The City Summer, Flatliner

* The Pennys have shared two new songs from their recently released EP. Check out ‘Around The Light’ and ‘In Your Head’ on their Facebook page. The next gig for The Pennys is September 7 at Dicey Riley’s, where they join the lineup for the launch of A Cat Named Kesey’s new EP, ‘Smoother Than Your Grandma.’

* The City Summer (formerly Avaine) will soon release their debut EP ‘Close To Home.’ The first track is titled ‘When I’m Gone,’ and can be heard over on Facebook. The band are also looking for a new rhythm guitarist, so if you’re interested, get in touch with the guys.

* Two new tunes from Flatliner have been released online. Go check out ‘BTD’ and ‘Closed Eyelids’ on the band’s Soundcloud page.

* Illawarra singer-songwriter Mitchell Dimech has a new song titled ‘Letters To You.’ It is taken from his EP ‘Broken Dreams,’ and you can hear his acoustic stylings on Youtube.

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