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: 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.

Redback Music to close next month

Wollongong will soon lose another independent music outlet, with news that Redback Music will shut up shop next month.

The Illawarra Mercury reports that the retailer, a fixture in the Crown St Mall for over 20 years, will close up on July 13, citing rising costs and slowing business as factors.

“We’ve had to expand in other areas and sell books, guitars and sheet music and lots of different things but unfortunately it’s not worth it [financially] any more,” said manager Melissa Letham.

Since opening in 1988, Redback established itself as one of Wollongong’s best independent music retailers. Its impending closure signals the death of yet another of the region’s few independent music stores.

TOUR NEWS: Children Collide

Stacks of news out of the Children Collide camp this morning, with the Aussie trio confirming a new tour, new drummer, and a new video.

The band have offered up details of an extensive tour through August to properly launch latest album ‘Monument.’ Hitting all major capitals as well as a stack of regional centres, the band will play the Wollongong Unibar on September 1st. Presumably, we’ll see a couple of locals on this show too, with the band not announcing any support acts for the tour. See all the details via Facebook.

After the much-publicised departure of previous drummer Ryan after the ‘Sword To A Gunfight’ single tour earlier this year, the band have announced that Dardanelles man Mitch McGregor will join the band and be manning the skins for them into the future. Children Collide have also confirmed that frontman Johnny will move to New York, “where he will set up home base, begin writing new material and indulge in the NYC lifestyle for the foreseeable future.” They have also been quick to assure fans that the band will indeed continue.

Finally, they’ve dropped the below video for ‘Cherries.’ It has been “compiled from LIVE photos taken but fans on the 2012 Sword to a Gunfight tour.” Check it out below!

CHILDREN COLLIDE, ‘Monument’ launch tour
September 1,

WIN: tickets to Eskimo Joe, The Panics, Funkoars

The Unibar have an awesome lineup of music this week; Eskimo Joe on Wednesday, The Panics on Thursday, and Funkoars on Friday.

To celebrate the three-night-stand of music, Unicentre have given Radar a double pass to every show – and we want to pass them on to YOU!

To win, just ‘like’ Radar Illawarra on Facebook, then tag Radar in a status; once you’ve done that, just comment us and tell us which tickets you want. Easy peasy lemon squeezey!

So, that’s tickets to Eskimo Joe, The Panics or Funkoars – and all you have to do is spend a little longer on Facebook than you normally would. Too easy!

Entries close the day before each gig; so Eskimo Joe closes Tuesday night, The Panics on Wednesday night, and Funkoars on Thursday night. So get moving!

Wednesday, Unihall
Buy tickets

Thursday, Unibar
Buy tickets

Friday, Unibar
Buy tickets

“Thursdays @ Sol” to shift to Phoenix Theatre, Coniston

Sad news emerging late last week, with Sol Studios being forced to cancel their popular, all-ages gigs due to rising rents and compliance issues. The studio space – located on Crown Street, Wollongong – opened as a venue for local musicians earlier this year, and established itself as one of very few places in the area to host all-ages performances.

However, the organisers behind Sol have announced that they will be moving operations – as well as all scheduled gigs – to the Phoenix Theatre in Coniston. Located next to the Coniston train station, Sol posted on their Facebook group that “Our gigs will be kicking off again on September 22 with the South Coast Blues Revue followed on Thursday the 29th with with Sticky Fingers,” as well as assuring bands that “all the gigs we have locked in for Sol are shifting to the Phoenix.”

This would probably be the bit where we talk about “Sol rising from the ashes as the Phoenix,” but that’d just be lame, right?

So, in summary; Thursdays @ Sol, moving to Phoenix, starting September 22, all gigs moved to Coniston. Easy? Easy.

Keep an eye on the Thursday @ Sol Facebook group for more info.

WATCH: Pom Pom, ‘Your Little Flower’

Wollongong-bred (but now Melbourne-based) electro chick, Pom Pom, has finally released her long-awaited film clip for ‘Your Little Flower’!

The debut film clip from Pom Pom, it’s been a while in the making; watch Pom get chased down a back alley in a glittery catsuit, rock out in a neon-lit basement, and show off some proper Lady Gaga-type attire.

Also step back a few months, and check out Radar’s interview with Pom Pom herself, by clicking right here.

Next music scene forum announced

Following on from the success of the state of the music scene forum in April, Music Farmers will again host a local scene forum next Monday.

Titled “Council, Culture and Community,” this forum will focus on issues important to the community in the lead up to the local Council elections in September, and will centre around several questions including:

  • What can be done to support music venues and the arts?
  • How should funding be allocated?
  • How can council decisions better reflect the views and needs of communities?
  • What kind of Wollongong do we want to see in the future?

A range of local identities will speak at the forum, including Michael Organ (Lord Mayoral candidate and former MP), Adam Jordan (Main St Studios), Rob Carr, (State of the Music Scene Forum Organiser) as well as researchers and advocates for youth issues.

To be held on Monday August 22 at Music Farmers (5 Crown Lane), the event will kick off at 7pm.

For more information, see the Facebook event profile.


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