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.

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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.

Yours & Owls 2nd birthday party lineup finalised

The final additions have been made to an already stellar lineup of talent for the Yours & Owls 2nd birthday party next weekend.

Let Me Down Jungleman will join the Town Hall lineup, while a bunch more have been added to the late night party at Fever/Blue Note; Hanye Fres, Klue, Mega-Shark and Storey will be playing until late at the Totally Unicorn-headlined party.

These acts join the previously announced Alotta Presha, Step-Panther, Walking Who, Fait Accompli and more on the multi-venue party on August 31. Tickets are on sale now – get them over the counter at Owls, or online at the Town Hall website. Tickets are available for each individual venue (Owls cafe, Town Hall and Blue Note/Fever), or an all-night all-venue pass.

For more info and full lineup details, including venues that each band will be playing, click here.

GIVEAWAY: Yours & Owls 2nd birthday tickets

Preparations are in full-swing for the massive Yours & Owls 2nd birthday celebrations on August 31, and Radar will be offering up a swag of tickets to the three-venue, all-night party!

Two years after starting up as a quiet little coffee shop, Yours & Owls has become THE place for live music in the Wollongong CBD. Locals of all shapes and sizes have played the tiny floor of Owls, and it has become a veritable breeding ground for new bands as well as established and popular locals and touring acts. The lineup for the party speaks for itself; local legends Totally Unicorn, Alotta Presha and The Walking Who, with established Sydney acts Fait Accompli and Step-Panther, and a sprinkling of up-and-comers such as My Little Underground (click here and here for more event info).

Today we’re bringing you the first of our ticket competitions, with two passes up for grabs. Over on our Facebook page, we’re asking the question “what gift would you give Yours & Owls for their birthday?”

Get creative, get funny, get thinking laterally! Creativity will be rewarded. Two winners will be named – the comment that gets the most “likes” on Facebook, and the best/funniest answer as selected by the crew at Yours & Owls.

So, get thinking! Once you’ve got an answer, let us know on the Radar Facebook page, then tell your friends to “like” your suggestion (as well as letting them know about the party, of course)!

We’ll be announcing winners next week, so you’ve got some time to think up a great present for Y&O. They’re celebrating two years of reinvigorating music in the Wollongong CBD and have been a breeding ground for some of the region’s finest new young talent, so we reckon they deserve a pretty special gift…

Hit the Radar Facebook page (and “like” us on FB too, if you haven’t already), think up an answer, and get your mates to support you!

Of course, you can check details of the massive birthday party here and here. Radar is a proud presenting partner of the multi-venue all-night celebrations, and we hope to see all of you there!

TOUR NEWS: Hunting Grounds, Gung Ho

Inaugural Triple J Unearthed High winners, Hunting Grounds, have taken quite a journey to their upcoming debut album. Changing their name from Howl, evolving from a dirty garage-punk into an epic new-wave-esque rock, and a protracted recording period have led to their first LP, ‘In Hindsight.’

To celebrate, the Ballarat six-piece will hit the road in August, pulling into Yours & Owls midway through the jaunt. Joined by Brisbane surf-pop dudes Gung Ho, Hunting Grounds will hit Wollongong on August 9th.

Hunting Grounds were last in town with Yacht Club DJs at the Unibar, so catching their intense performance in the intimate Owls will be pretty mindblowing. Check our photos & review from the YCDJs show.

Tickets from Oztix – don’t sleep, these will go fast!

Hunting Grounds, ‘In Hindsight’ tour
w/ Gung Ho
August 9, Yours & Owls
Facebook event

Yours & Owls announce more details of Town Hall launch gig

With the launch of the new music venue at Town Hall just days away, the crew at Yours & Owls have announced some final interesting details for the evening.

After confirming the music lineup – Graveyard Train, Mother & Son, The Jackals and Rocking Horse and The Baby Dolls – last month, Owls have confirmed that artists Matthew Loft (‘Hot Lobes’) and Mike Gardiner of Buzzy Republic will be providing “interactive & collaborative works via digital projections” on the evening.

In addition to editing and live mixing video of the performances, the artists will also be offering a smartphone-enabled performance. As Owls explain, “punters with smartphones will be asked to download a special app before the show & can use it to alter what is going with the light display. For example, the more chaotically the audience is interacting with new app, the more chaotic the display will be.”

Owls promise it to be an “evening of sensory overload using each stimuli to compliment one another and improve the overall atmosphere of the evening, like no other rock n roll show Wollongong has ever seen.”

Check out more info here.

RADAR PRESENTS: The Pretty Littles, Bec Sandridge and Vulpes Vulpes

RADAR PRESENTS: The Pretty Littles, Bec Sandridge, Vulpes Vulpes

The next Radar presents… gig is set to be the biggest yet, with two awesome locals and a brilliant headliner coming all the way up from Melbourne! April 29 will see Melbourne dudes The Pretty Littles headline Yours & Owls, with Bec Sandridge and Vulpes Vulpes in support.

The Pretty Littles are one of Melbourne’s most exciting up-and-coming rock’n’roll acts. A dirty, high-energy sound drawing from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Band of Skulls, they’ve recently scored support slots for Children Collide, The Vasco Era, The Rubens, Trial Kennedy and Faker. Their latest EP ‘Fairweather’ (recorded with Tom from Big Scary) is a banger, and they’ve just jumped into the studio with Rudie of The Delta Riggs for a second EP. Last time they were in Wollongong they packed out Owls, so they’ve definitely got some good form.

Folk-pop singer-songwriter Bec Sandridge released her latest EP, ‘Lyons and Bees,’ earlier this year, and has been pretty much killing it ever since. She’s got supports for Husky, headlined Goodgod Small Club, gets played on Triple J Unearthed all the damn time, and packed out Music Farmers just a few weeks back for the local EP launch.

Opening the night will be Vulpes Vulpes. A Radar favourite, their debut EP ‘Vol-pez Vol-pez’ has barely left my stereo since its release, and many people seem to feel the same way; their excellent rock’n’roll/post-punk tunes have seen them be hand-picked to play Noel Gallagher’s official Big Day Out after-party, played World Bar, owned the room at Stacked Music Festival, and been headhunted by influential Sydney agency the A&R Department.

Anyway; doors at 7pm, $5 entry, maximum party. Come down for a cheeky Sunday night beverage before facing up to work/uni/school/life on Monday morning.

RSVP to the Facebook event!

RADAR PRESENTS: The Pretty Littles
w/ Bec Sandridge, Vulpes Vulpes
Yours & Owls,
April 29, $5

REVIEW: Tim Hart (Boy & Bear) @ Yours & Owls

Words by Amelia Caddy

There are only a special few people in this world who can successfully couple the simplest of lyrics with an unassuming guitar riff and produce something worth listening to. Tim Hart, otherwise known as the drummer and backing vocalist for indie folk band Boy & Bear, is one of them.

While perhaps not the most obvious pick out of the five B&B boys to start a solo singer/songwriter career, Hart’s deep voice and surprising guitar skills are seeing him win a following for his folky ballads, reminiscent of Don McLean.

New Zealander and long time mate of Hart’s, Luke Thompson opened the show for the night, setting the mood with some acoustic guitar and a soothing voice. Sounding a bit like an early James Taylor (though not quite as catchy) Thompson played a solid set, sadly lost on an almost empty room at this early stage in the night.

Up next is 20 year-old Patrick James, one of the best young voices I’ve heard recently, and someone to keep an eye on. His smooth, rich voice, and easy stage-presence made him an instant win with the (now growing) crowd. Ironically, songs like ‘Carry On’ and ‘County Song’ suggest stripped down versions of a few of Boy & Bear’s songs, complete with banjo and all.

A short wait, and Hart takes the stage in front of a now packed room – clearly he already has some fans here from his previous show two months ago. Yet, despite having dabbled in solo work for a while, this, Architects, is his first solo tour.

“I have to admit to you right now, I am a chronic recycler of stage talk. So I apologize to those who’ve seen me before,” he starts off, before launching into his first songs.

His comically awkward stage banter is just enough to offset the overall sombre mood of his music. After having warmed up the crowd he warns us, “Yeahhhh, so, I’m just going to play some depressing stuff now…”

‘So come the rain’ is the story of typical Australian hardships. As Hart sings of devastating floods –‘so come the rains, to destroy the work of our hands’ – he shows for the first time in the night the extent of his skill; deftly picking away at his guitar with lightening speed, whilst travelling the full highs and lows of his impressive vocal range. This impression is intensified two songs later as Hart picks up his 12-string, handling it with ease for a tongue-in-cheek song about Thompson called ‘Outlaw’.

By this stage the awed crowd has been hushed into a contented silence, and Hart moves into his softer stuff. He finishes up the night with ‘Not mine for the asking’, a soft, minimalistic song offering surprisingly intimate lyrics. As he signs off with the hanging question – “I’m a church boy near 30, will I ever grow wise?” – the crowd breaks into rapturous applause. Hart, humble as ever, gives a grin and a genuine vote of thanks to the crowd for supporting live music.

Anytime, Mr Hart, anytime.

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