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!

Cheers

Josh

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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

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.

WEDNESDAY
Wollongong
Alpine, Clubfeet @ The Patch

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

Northern Suburbs
Gin Wigmore @ Heritage Hotel, Bulli

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

FRIDAY
Wollongong
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

SATURDAY
Wollongong
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.

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.

NEW MUSIC: Graves, Crash Tragic, Abstract Classic, Laugh Riot

* Metalcore dudes Graves have posted a new track titled ‘Extinction.’ Give it a spin at their Soundcloud page, and head along to see them play alongside House vs Hurricane, Confession and loads more at Unanderra Community Centre this weekend (more info here).

* Crash Tragic‘s new single, ‘The City,’ can be heard and purchased on iTunes now.

* Abstract Classic have released a new track titled ‘Yes, We’re Pirates.’ You can stream it free, or download it through the band’s Bandcamp page.

* Laugh Riot‘s new track, ‘Your Fear,’ is up online now. Hear it on Facebook (along with three other new tracks from the band), then check them out when they support Die! Die! Die! at Yours & Owls on Friday night.

* ‘Hold Me Like A Stone’ is the new track from Gravity Takes Over. Take a listen on GTO’s ReverbNation page.

Moonbase Commander announces EP launch, remix

It’s been a busy week for Moonbase Commander, with the beats producer announcing a new EP and launch party, announcing a live set on FBI Radio, releasing a new remix of Gucci Mane, and more.

Moonbase Commander (AKA Nick Luke) will release his debut EP ‘Flare Gun’ next month, and will officially launch the release with a special Huchi Muchi-presented party at Yours & Owls on September 29. MBC will be co-headlining the night with Sydney punks Chicks Who Love Guns, with the lineup rounded out by The Nuclear Family and Kochanski. Tickets are just $10, with doors from 8pm on the night; click here for more info. You can check out the first track from the EP, ‘POW Block,’ right here.

In addition to his own EP launch, Moonbase has also been selected to play FBI Radio’s 9th birthday party in Sydney on August 31. With a massive lineup of talent including Catcall, Sures, Fishing, Bon Chat Bon Rat, MBC is certainly in good company. It’s all going down at FBI Social at the King’s Cross Hotel; click here for more info. Moonbase will also play a special live set on FBI Radio (94.5FM) at 12 midday on the 31st.

Moonbase has also just posted a new remix of the Gucci Mane track ‘Pillz.’ The video for the track is below. It goes along with his recent remix of Kanye West and Jay-Z’s track ‘Gotta Have It,’ which you can hear here.

Phew! Busy times for the local producer.

Review: The Broderick, Thorns, Outsiders Code, Colossus, Graves

By Sally McMullen

The Patch welcomed some of Melbourne hardcore’s finest on Sunday night. With The Broderick, Thorns, Outsiders Code, Colossus and Wollongong’s own Graves performing, a good night was bound to be on the cards.

Local favourites Graves kicked off the night and as always, nailed it. Once they fired up their set, the Patch was filled with raw and aggressive noise. Accompanied by heavy guitar riffs and clean bass work, Rhys Benn’s growl echoed through the mic as he stomped around the floor. Topped off with rapid drum beats and plunging bass drops, Graves had a developed sound and bounced well off of one another. Pulling off yet another impressive set, Graves definitely made locals proud in the otherwise Melbourne-infested waters.

Next up were Colossus. Diving straight into a lightning-fast guitar riff, Colossus had no trouble getting the crowd on board. Under a mass of long hair, the vocalist’s roughened voice worked well with the thrashing guitar as he spat lyrics into the front row of the crowd. Belting out heavy jungle drums that crescendoed into an explosion of noise, the drummer acted as the back bone of the instrumentals throughout much of their performance. By the time they rounded off their unfortunately short set, Colossus definitely left the audience wanting more.

With hardcore heavy-hitter Baina (of Her Nightmare, 50 Lions and Samsara) fronting Outsiders Code, there was no doubt that this would be an impressive set. The four-piece wasted no time, immediately descending into a set of power violence infused sounds, polished off with heavy breakdowns and rapid guitars. During tracks like “The Pain of Choices”, Baina barked into the mic, his voice bounding over the top of raging guitars and thumping drum beats. Due to the members’ long history with hardcore, it was no surprise that Outsiders Code were one of the stand out acts on the night.

As soon as Thorns appeared, so did a circle filled with the flailing limbs of many hardcore dancers. The set jump-started with a heavy guitar intro and the raspy growl of the frontman as he prowled around the floor, a permanent scowl fixed onto his face. Unlike the other bands who thanked the crowd for coming out on a Sunday night, Thorns showed no mercy. The lead singer told the crowd to quit being “pussies” because a good hardcore show could be had any night of the week. Thorns’ aggressive sound mixed in well with the energy of the gig and had the crowd head banging in unison throughout the entire set.

Last, but most certainly not least were The Broderick. Frontman Logan Fewster beckoned everyone in to create a tight circle and like their predecessors, had conjured up some hardcore dancers in no time. Soon enough, the whole audience was moving along to The Broderick’s progressive hardcore sound. During tracks such as “Savages”, the guys demonstrated their versatility, beginning with a melodic guitar intro before building up to a heavy breakdown. On drums, Ash Denman moved his arms with such speed that they appeared to be a blur as he churned out thundering beats. Although the whole band had great chemistry, Logan had a particularly strong stage presence, arms outstretched and veins popping out of his neck as he screamed out each lyric with all his might. The crowd were transfixed the entire set and I think it is safe to say that The Broderick were definitely worth the wait.

Sunday night brought a refreshing dose of Melbourne hardcore to Wollongong. From The Broderick to Graves, the lineup consisted of a truly talented bunch of dudes. In addition the impressive performances, it was also great to see a strong crowd supporting these guys and we can only hope to see similar shows in the future. And this was all before 9.30pm, not bad for a Sunday night at The Patch.

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