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.


Review: Radar Presents “Under The Radar” @ Yours and Owls

Wednesday night saw the new line of Radar gigs, titled ‘Under The Radar’ – a chance to showcase new and upcoming bands that may have otherwise slipped under your radar. The free gig saw a decent sized crowd migrate to Yours and Owls, to catch local bands Sherekhan, Without Parachutes, The Omissions and This Mess showcase their talents. (Note: Unfortunately this reviewer had to miss the last band of the night This Mess.)

The night kicked off with Sherekhan – a newly formed group made up of previous members from the popular ‘Young Braves’ and some new talent. After impressing with their unibar ‘Battle of The Bands’ gig, and with a steadily growing fan base, Sherekhan are probably one of the better new and upcoming local bands that have come out this year. Fronted by ‘Rivers’ Scott, the young group displayed a dynamic and original sound. Instrumentally the band was tight and didn’t hit a sour note. Lead guitarist Shaun Baxter played with a great energy that isn’t normally easy to convey on a stage with limited movement such as the one at Owls, and Scott’s vocals were spot on all night. Original songs such as ‘Atlas’ impressed the growing crowd, as did the Kings of Leon cover of ‘Mollys Chambers.’ The highest accolades that can be given to Sherekhan is the originality and prowess of their music – it’s hard to believe that they really only formed this year. Watch out for these guys – with a few more gigs up their sleeve, they’ll be ready to take on the Illawarra music scene by storm.

After the raw energy of Sherekhan, the mood was slowed down when Without Parachutes took the stage, with frontman William Cruger flying solo for the night. Having not heard this band before, I was extremely impressed with everything about the chilled set. Cruger was a captivating frontman and had an amazing vocal range. His original songs were impressive and he also threw in some covers for the crowd, which also didn’t fall short. To be able to take on a song like Matt Corby’s ‘Brother’ and cover it extremely well is a feat all in itself (even with the adaption of some of the lyrics to make fun of his friend who was introduced to the crowd as ‘Coop.’) Original song ‘Distance’ was also amazing to hear live, with Cruger being able to showcase his impressive vocals. Without Parchutes/Cruger played an entertaining set – made even more entertaining by the friend mentioned above who demonstrated some interesting dance-moves and also wanted to make an adamant point that Cruger is apparently single. There you go ladies.

The Omissions have been making a name for themselves, with their mix of rock and funk music. As soon as the band took the stage, the energy of the crowd changed. The opening song already had people bopping away and pulling out some dance moves. While vocally they weren’t the strongest band of the night, they were definitely the most energetic and proved to be a popular hit, and thoroughly entertaining to watch. Songs such as ‘You Ain’t Ever’ demonstrated their tongue in cheek nature, and the new songs were also impressive. Another local band you definitely don’t want to miss catching live.

Keep an eye on Radar for the next Radar Presents gig. With many new up and coming bands, there has never been a better time to celebrate live music in the Illawarra.

REVIEW: Lovers Jump Creek, Atticus @ Dicey Riley’s

Lovers Jump Creek continued their love affair with Wollongong last Friday, kindly paying Dicey Riley’s a visit. Riding high on the success of their critically acclaimed EP ‘Bless This Mess’ in 2011, and with a new video for ‘Ditty’ on the way, the Sydney boys are well known for their excellent and energetic live shows.

Unfortunately due to running extremely on the late side, this reviewer missed the first act of the night, and made it just in time to catch most of Wollongong band Atticus. This being the first time I had seen them, or more honestly, even heard of them, I was thoroughly impressed with their live show and sound. The cover of Arctic Monkeys ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ was definitely a highlight, as well as the song about the lead singer’s ex girlfriend basically being a tramp. Would suck to be her.  I would highly recommend catching these dudes live sometime however – they played a great set, the vocals were spot on and their blend of alternative/synth-based rock and roll was definitely a pleasure to watch.

 Lovers Jump Creek have been building quite the name for themselves particularly over the past year, and with Triple J Unearthed recently adding the boys to their rotation, I have no doubt the band will continue to grow steadily in popularity. To put it simply the live show by the boys can be described simply as pretty damn incredible.  They play with an amazing and ferocious energy, and for a young band, play much more like seasoned performers. They’re constantly engaging to watch and have got to be one of the more original sounding rock bands I have seen lately. Special props to front man Mark, who’s edgy vocals were spot on and bassist Ferg, who is literally one of the most energetic bass players I have probably ever seen. Highlight songs included the fast-paced and aggressive sounding ‘Half Chubbed,’ and the latest single to come from the EP, ‘Ditty’ which slowed things down slightly, but not enough for the audience to lose interest. Even the oldies that were lurking around Dicey Riley’s loved them, and got their dancing shoes on throughout the set.

 Lovers Jump Creek have perfected a chaotic and highly addictive sound, and are definite contenders to watch on the Australian music scene. Generally I try to refrain from raving constantly about a band, but I can safely say these guys are destined for bigger and greater things, and if you’re yet to see them, you’re basically an idiot. Go see them. Do it.

REVIEW: Ball Park Music, Nantes, Cub Scouts @ Unibar

If you haven’t heard of Ball Park Music or seen how they have taken Australia by storm in the last 12 months, it’s probably time to crawl out from under that rock you’ve been hiding under.  After enchanting Wollongong last year while supporting Boy and Bear, the Brisbane band brought their 180° degree to Wollongong Unibar on Thursday night, and proved exactly why they have been selling out venues all across Australia.

Up first were Cub Scouts, who captivated the audience with their charming, melodic indie-pop. Clean vocals, catchy tunes and the interesting but highly effective choice of having two keyboardists, this is definitely a band to watch out for.

Next to grace the stage was Sydney four-piece Nantes. After the sweet tunes of Cub Scouts, Nantes’ grunge-tinged rock sounded almost odd to the ears, but as the band warmed up, their sound became more appealing. Vocally they may not be the most amazing band, but the addition of backing chants and tight, unique instrumentals were enough to draw a bigger crowd. As the set progressed and the familiar opening drumbeats of ‘Fly’ echoed throughout Unibar, I was a converted fan.

The band of the moment, Ball Park Music, opened their set with a bang on ‘Literally Baby’ and the momentum and excitement was on an all time high from there. Lead singer Sam Cromack is ridiculously charismatic and one of the better front-mans I have seen this year, getting the crowd as involved as possible. The harmonies with bassist Jennifer Boyce were pitch perfect as they launched into more songs. A huge kudos to Miss Boyce too, who bravely shaved off her lustrous locks to raise money for the Leukemia Foundation.

Ball Park Music are known for their infectious and catchy tunes, with epic choruses and great and hilarious lyrics (seriously what other band can get a crowd of young adults singing the line ‘I haven’t had a friend in years, I only have sex with myself!’ so enthusiastically?) The band also look like they are just having the time of their life on stage, with this vibe being reflected on the crowd, with loud cheers and the sporadic attempt at crowd-surfing thrown in. The band also previewed two new songs for happy fans, with ‘Pot of Gold’ starting slow and building up to the explosive type choruses Ball Park are so good at delivering to us.

Personally, a highlight was hearing ‘Happy Healthy Citizen of the Developed World Blues’ live – simply, it was just an amazing experience and the build up to the song was incredible. Hit songs ‘It’s Nice To Be Alive,’ ‘All I want Is You,’ and ‘iFly’ went off as expected, and before we knew it, the night was unfortunately drawing to a close. Coming back for an encore performance of The Kinks’ ‘All Day and All Of The Night’ Ball Park Music enthralled the audience for one last time, before leaving to thunderous cheers and applause. All in all, the quality of live music on display really did prove it’s nice to be alive.

(click here to see our photo gallery from the show)

REVIEW: The Getaway Plan, Gatherer @ Unibar

Thursday night saw the long awaited return of Melbourne alternative rockers The Getaway Plan to the Wollongong Unibar. Touring off the back of new album Requiem, excited punters arrived early, eager to catch the band in their first Wollongong show in years.

New Zealand band Gatherer warmed up the stage with a solid set. Their sound, traces of indie interweaved with a grunge type vibe made for a different approach but the unique sound is something that works in their favour. The band played well, but a slightly unresponsive audience was definitely saving their excitement for the headliners.

Opening with electric hit single ‘The Reckoning,’ The Getaway Plan were off to an explosive start.  Being quite a seasoned viewer of these guys and their live show, (8 times, but who’s counting?) they are easily one of the best Australian rock bands to catch live, frontman Matthew Wright displaying an incredible set of lungs with his high octave vocal range.

‘Phantoms’ and ‘Streetlight’ followed in quick succession, with the band then slowing things down to showcase new single ‘Move Along.’ One of the first songs previewed after the announcement of the band reuniting, the audience sang along happily word for word.

The highlight of the night was definitely the re-addition of ‘The New Year’ to the setlist. Notably on their last tour and Big Day Out shows, the band refrained from playing the popular track from their 2006 Hold Conversation EP and have been heavily criticised for this.  Opening and ending on guttural screaming vocals, this song was definitely a crowd pleaser – to put it basically, everyone lost their shit.

The only criticism from the night of great live music was The Getaway Plan seemingly had a lack of energy – understandable due to the relentless touring they have been doing since their reunion. However with crowd numbers lower than expected, the band’s lack of banter with the crowd didn’t do much to keep energy levels high and during some songs it seemed they were going through the paces rather than really enjoying the moment. The smaller crowd in itself was disappointing, considering the band hasn’t played a Wollongong show since before their demise in 2009.

Nevertheless, The Getaway Plan still put on a great show. Lead guitarist Clint is always entertaining to watch with his rhythmic jumping and bouncing around the stage and Matthew’s vocals are generally always pitch perfect. Ending on hit single ‘Where The City Meets The Sea,’ the band exited to applause and cheers from a satisfied Wollongong community.

(Click here to see our gallery of pics from the show)

REVIEW: Boy & Bear, Ball Park Music @ Unibar, 4/11/11

Thursday night saw ARIA nominees Boy and Bear and up and comers Ball Park Music grace the Wollongong Unibar for a night of great live tunes, dancing fun and flowing beer.

Unfortunately this reviewer was a tad on the late side, and made it just in time to see Ball Park Music take the stage. If you haven’t heard of this Brisbane band, no doubt you will soon; the band are taking Australia by storm with their incredibly fun live shows, quirky songs and mannerisms. “Hi, we’re The Jezabels” is how we were introduced to the band, with laughter from the audience and a couple of facepalm-worthy ‘They’re not The Jezabels….are they?’ comments overheard. Lead singer Sam Cromack proved to be a flamboyant and charismatic front-man, with impressive live vocal harmonies from guitarist Jennifer Boyce adding to the overall appeal. Opening with the ever catchy ‘iFly,’ the Wollongong crowd was putty in Ball Park’s hands, as they showed off out an extremely well received set; ‘Sad Rude Future Dude’ ‘Alligator’ and of course their latest single ‘All I Want Is You.’ Special mention must also go to Sam’s interesting but nonetheless entertaining dance moves. With enthusiastic crowd participation, and Sam announcing for us to ‘find us at McDonalds’ later, Ball Park exited to thunderous applause, cheers and big smiles. Ball Park Music is definitely a band to keep an eye on, and with their extremely fun stage presence and their live show sounding just as good, if not better than record, you’d be a fool to miss out on catching them live next time they’re in town.

To say that the past year has been a complete whirlwind for Boy & Bear, is an understatement. On the back of relentless touring, they’ve managed to release their critically acclaimed album ‘Moonfire’ as well as be nominated for an outstanding seven ARIA awards. Again, it is an understatement to say they proved exactly why they are so deserving of the recognition. From the get-go, Boy & Bear had the audience spellbound with their blend of folk-rock music. Vocally flawless, with powerful harmonies enchanting the crowd, ‘Mexican Mavis,’ ‘Rabbit Song’ and ‘Feeding Line’ were definite crowd favourites as was the obvious Crowded House pleaser ‘Fall At Your Feet.’ With solid drum beats, the combination of acoustic guitar with the electric lead and poignant lyrics, Boy & Bear’s music leaves a long-lasting impression and their live show demonstrates just why Australia is raving about them.

With summer just around the corner, there isn’t a better time to be acquainted to the chilled magic that is Boy & Bear and the quirky beats of Ball Park Music. Overall the night was a demonstration of some of Australia’s music at its absolute finest.

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