Mary Jane Kelly announce comeback show

Local hardcore stalwarts, Mary Jane Kelly, have been pretty quiet this year. After establishing themselves as one of Wollongong’s finest acts, and seemingly having the Aussie punk world at their feet in 2009 and 2010, the guys have played very few shows this year (including, of course, the outrageously nuts show at the Harp with The Chariot and Oh Sleeper). Fans have been wondering where the band had disappeared to; but they need wait no longer.

MJK have just been announced to play on the previously announced Lo! and Safe Hands show at Yours and Owls on October 16th. Also added to the show are local melodic hardcore outfit, Never Content, who most recently have supported Man Overboard and Resist The Thought.

It’s safe to say that this show will be nuts (anyone who was at the Totally Unicorn show last week can attest to how crazy a hardcore show in Owls can get), and with this being MJK’s first show in months, it’s going to be a full house.

LO!
w/ MARY JANE KELLY, SAFE HANDS, NEVER CONTENT
YOURS & OWLS
OCTOBER 16

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Pour Habit / Smoke Or Fire supports announced

Punk legends Pour Habit and Smoke Or Fire are set to destroy Waves Nightclub on October 5th, as part of their big national tour through that month. The local supports for the tour have just been announced, and once again, they’re crackers.

Both The Conspiracy Plan and Totally Unicorn will add to their already impressive list of support slots, when they warm up the stage for the Fat Wreck Chords double-bill. The Conspiracy Plan have already supported Tonight Alive, and will open for Man Overboard at the end of this month; while only yesterday we brought you news that Totally Unicorn would play alongside Frenzal Rhomb at their Sydney and Newcastle shows in September, adding to a big year in which they’ve supported Oh Sleeper, The Chariot, La Dispute and Comadre.

Tickets for the show are on sale right now! Click here for all the details.

SMOKE OR FIRE, POUR HABIT
w/ THE CONSPIRACY PLAN, TOTALLY UNICORN
OCTOBER 5th 
WAVES NIGHTCLUB 

GIG GUIDE: August 2nd – 7th

GIG OF THE WEEK:

WEDNESDAY: Comadre, Totally Unicorn, Quiet Steps, Let Me Down Jungleman, Idylls @ The Patch
8pm, $15, 18+

We love Totally Unicorn. The fact that the dudes are playing a hometown show again, just a matter of weeks after they decimated a near-sold-out Patch on their headlining tour with Ironhide, is cause enough for a mad celebration. This time, they’ll be hitting the stage before Californian punks Comadre, who, by all accounts, are absolutely awesome. Just to put some extra-delicious icing on an already sexy punk rock cake, Let Me Down Jungleman join Quiet Steps and Idylls on the lineup’s undercard.

If you saw Unicorn’s last hometown show, you know they’ve developed into probably the Illawarra’s best, tightest and most entertaining live act, reinforced by a consistent touring mentality and rewarded through support slots for the likes of Frenzal Rhomb, The Chariot and La Dispute. Their live shows are becoming the stuff of local legend, and this one is sure to be no different. Get along, get to the front, get a party hat, and bet amongst your mates at how long it will take for Drew to tear his kit off (usually takes around 12 seconds after he walks on stage). Gig of the week.

ALSO THIS WEEK:

THURSDAY: Jack R Reilly, Obscura Hail, Siprioca, Yetis @ Yours and Owls
8.30pm, free, 18+

THURSDAY: Beatmeisters, Damion Stirling @ Sol Studios
8pm, all ages

THURSDAY: Bloodshed Of The Innocent, Ventures @ Wollongong Youth Centre
6pm, free, all ages

FRIDAY: Crash Tragic, Lower Coast Skies, From This Day Forward @ Dicey Riley’s
9pm, free, 18+

FRIDAY: Daemon Fetal Harvest, Rampage, Troldhaugen @ The Patch
8pm, $10, 18+

FRIDAY: Joelistics, Ishu, Sietta @ Waves Nightclub, Towradgi
8pm, $12 + bf (tickets available through Moshtix), 18+

SATURDAY: Single Twin, Kikuyu @ Yours and Owls
8pm, 18+

SATURDAY: Achtung Baby @ Dicey Riley’s
8pm, $10, 18+

TOUR NEWS: Man Overboard

In news that Radar Illawarra is especially excited about, U.S pop-punk band Man Overboard have announced that they will head out on their maiden Australian tour in August; and have included Wollongong on the tour itinerary.

A leading light of the so-called “new wave of pop-punk” emerging from the United States in recent years, the New Jersey band have amassed a cult underground following across the US and UK after countless tours criss-crossing both continents. Their debut album, 2010’s “Real Talk,” is already being considered one of the greatest ever examples of the genre, and many critics and fans say that it will come to be seen on par with classic efforts by New Found Glory, Say Anything and Taking Back Sunday. And finally, after years of fans calling for the band to make it to our shores, Soundwave Touring – the company behind the mammoth Soundwave festival – yesterday announced the news fans had been waiting for.

Man Overboard will play Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane on the September jaunt, as well as two regional dates in Gosford and Wollongong. This may well be the very first Soundwave tour to ever include Wollongong, with the regional dates and smaller, intimate venues marking a possible change in ideology for the touring giant; Soundwave have in the past been criticised for booking small-scale punk and hardcore acts into big venues, and it seems that they have listened to fans concerns by booking this intimate run of dates.

Brisbane act I Am Villain – who were last in Wollongong to support The Chariot and Oh, Sleeper – will join the tour as national supports, with local acts presumably to fill the lineup as well.

Man Overboard will play The Patch on August 31. Tickets go on sale July 22nd, through OzTix and usual outlets.

We’re unashamedly excited about this, and you should be too. It’s rare that a band like this comes through Wollongong, and even rarer that a big agency like Soundwave Touring puts on a show down this way. So come on out, show your support – there’s sure to be a bunch of locals on the lineup – and make sure Soundwave keep bringing shows our way!

MAN OVERBOARD
I AM VILLAIN
THE PATCH
AUGUST 31

TOTALLY RIPPED OFF

Local hardcore favourites Totally Unicorn have been enjoying a big 2011 so far, supporting The Chariot, Oh Sleeper and Frenzal Rhomb among others, and are about to head out on the excellently-titled “Get Chilled or Tie Dying” tour with Ironhide; however, the band have suffered a setback due to an allegedly unscrupulous label operator.

Totally Unicorn had arranged for Six Nightmares Productions to organise the vinyl pressing of their EP, ‘Horse Hugger.’  Coincidentally, tour-mates Ironhide also had contracted Six Nightmares to press their ‘Create/Collapse/Repeat’ 12″ release. According to a blog post from Totally Unicorn, the manager of Six Nightmares never even placed orders with pressing plants, and – allegedly – has essentially stolen the money from both bands, and from pre-orders placed by fans of the bands.

From Totally Unicorn:

“After months of continual lies from Iain Gilbert, it has become apparent that Six Nightmares Productions will never come good on their promise of both the Ironhide Create/Collapse/Repeat 12” and Totally Unicorn Horse Hugger 10”. The Ironhide release wasn’t ready for the launch shows, and despite the huge pile of lies we had to wade through to get an answer on why, we decided to give them another chance, given that the Unicorn release tour was coming up, they were already locked into it… Since then we have heard and seen the most intense deceit and lies most of us have ever experienced in our lives. There has been fake email chains, fake invoices, fake tracking numbers, pressing plants that had never heard of our releases, real flight numbers that were never boarded, as well as numerous sob stories revolving around schizophrenia, hospitalisation, dead fathers and ex-girlfriends.

Some investigation was done and it was discovered that Iain has gladly gone and spent all your money on orders from international record and comic book online stores…”

For fans that have ordered either release, the bands have advised you lodge a complaint with Paypal, in hopes of getting your money back.

If you ordered a record, you need to lodge a complaint with PayPal, citing that you have not received your goods. When Iain is unable to produce a proof of postage for each item within 30 days from the date you lodge the dispute, the money will be refunded back into your account. As the account is linked directly to his bank, he will live with this debt until he pays it off. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss things further. We are extremely sorry to have allowed you all to get sucked into this just as much as we have”

When contacted for a comment, Alex Bailey from Six Nightmares issued this statement:

“It saddens me to say that some people aren’t always as genuine as they make out to be. It appears that my “business partner”, Iain Gilbert… has not made any attempts to go forth with these orders. I have tried to contact him many times over the last few days, and as of today his phone is disconnected and his Facebook account deleted.

I wish there was something I could say but I am truly lost for words. I presumed he was a genuine friend and that this was something he was
passionate about pursuing. Clearly, I was wrong. Although these presses were “organised” by Iain, I want to let everyone know that if they have any questions or queries regarding anything then they are more than welcome to send me a message to my personal account and I will do my best to help where I can.

As for now, all I can suggest is that everyone who has pre-ordered a record get in touch with Paypal and lodge a complaint against the order for user
iain@sixnightmaresproductions.com

As of today, Six Nightmares is no more (even though it feels like it never really was now). 
I would like to send my sincerest apologies to the bands. This was something that we were all very passionate about and I’m still coming to terms with what’s happened. A massive apology also to those who have pre-ordered the records. Be sure to demand your money back.

A bad turn of events, especially on the eve of the tour. On a lighter note, the “Get Chilled or Tie Dying” tour kicks off on Friday in Yamba, and will hit Wollongong on July 16th. In related news, due to the closure of Headlands Hotel, the Wollongong date has now moved to The Patch in Fairy Meadow. All details and dates remain the same.

Here’s hoping that both bands can quickly put this mess behind them, and get on with what is sure to be an awesome tour!

HARP HOTEL CANCELS FUTURE GIGS?

Despite carving out a reputation for itself as Wollongong’s live music hub over the last 18 months, we’re hearing reports that the Harp Hotel seems to have changed focus and will no longer host live music.

This Wednesday would have seen a trio of up-and-coming locals – Young Braves, The Good God Damned and A Cat Named Kesey – take to the Harp stage for another in the Harp’s regular local music evenings. However, the gig has been cancelled, with little explanation as to the reasons. The cancellation of this show was, incidentally, the catalyst for the Starlight Foundation fundraising show at CBD Bar, as announced by Radar yesterday.

Kuz, drummer for The Good God Damned and organiser of Soundbreak Live, explained what he had been told as to the reasons for Wednesday’s cancellation, saying that a recent change in ownership had been followed by a change in priorities for the Harp.

“Jeb [Taylor, of Music Farmers] said that whatever show was on the other night was going to be the last and that the new owners were going in a karaoke bar direction.”

To lose the Harp, which had largely been filling the hole left by the Oxford in terms of hosting mid-level Australian independent acts, and which had recently started hosting all-local shows, would be another big blow to the local music community. In recent months, the Harp had hosted Parades, Oh Sleeper, The Chariot, The Bedroom Philosopher, Citizen of the Sea, Mary Jane Kelly, Totally Unicorn, Bec Sandridge, Places People and Bennie James.

What this means for the shows already scheduled to be held at the Harp – including the upcoming Tonight Alive/Skyway and Ghostwood/Chicks Who Love Guns gigs – is yet to be seen. Stay tuned for more news as it comes.

COMADRE SUPPORTS ANNOUNCED: TOTALLY UNICORN, LET ME DOWN JUNGLEMAN

In some other tour-related developments, Californian punk group Comadre will be joined by Totally Unicorn and Sydney’s Let Me Down Jungleman at their Headlands Hotel show on August 3.

Totally Unicorn alone are literally worth the price of entry, as anyone who saw their performance when supporting The Chariot and Oh Sleeper at the Harp last month could attest. Throw in the fact that they will be joined by an international in Comadre, an interstate favourite in Quiet Steps, and truly exciting Sydney indie-punk group Let Me Down Jungleman, and you’ve got a formula for a potentially kick-ass show.

In addition, this is likely to be one of the last shows to be held at the soon-to-be-demolished Headlands Hotel; so get to the show, down a beer while looking out at the ocean, have a pub feed, then lose your mind in that shabby, white-washed warehouse-style bandroom.

Tickets are $15.

COMADRE (USA), TOTALLY UNICORN, QUIET STEPS (Brisbane), LET ME DOWN JUNGLEMAN
Headlands Hotel
August 3
$15 

LIVE REVIEW: Oh Sleeper, The Chariot, I Am Villain, Mary Jane Kelly, Totally Unicorn @ Harp Hotel

For Totally Unicorn frontman Drew, it seemed not a matter of if he would be kicked out of his own gig, but when. Despite being the opening act of a huge five-band bill at the Harp Hotel, headlined by U.S. metalcore double-act The Chariot and Oh Sleeper, Austinmer’s bearded bruisers enjoyed a surprisingly large crowd. Drew gave out multi-coloured party hats to the audience, stripped to his underwear, cartwheeled off stage and belly-flopped onto a table… all before the first song ended. He commanded the audience’s entire focus; spasming on the floor, leaping on random audience members, jumping on the bar and climbing walls, as the rest of the band churned out a breakneck, blistering set of thrashy hardcore behind him. Totally Unicorn are one of the most unrelenting, technically proficient bands in the country right now, and combined with their outrageous frontman, they are a sight to behold. Utterly insane, and impossible to look away.

Another talented local was next up, Mary Jane Kelly. The foursome have been out of action for a while, and a lack of practise showed on early songs, with instrumentation seeming a little out of sync; however, once they found their natural rhythm, Mary Jane Kelly’s precision and skill are really something special. More melodic and accessible than Totally Unicorn, with a groovy yet technical hardcore underpinning their metal-influenced sound, they successfully tread the fine line between ‘catchy’ and ‘heavy.’ Showcasing a setlist drawn mostly from their 2010-released album ‘Like There’s No Tomorrow,’ the band also bolstered their performance with old favourite ‘Sinking Ships To Burning Cars’ and a fast, heavy, powerful new track ‘I Thought I Knew How It Felt’; a poor sound mix saw vocals buried deep under guitars and drums at times, but this was one of few flaws in tonight’s set. Incredibly well-rehearsed, these guys rarely play a bad show and tonight was no exception; an encouragingly solid ‘comeback’ for Mary Jane Kelly.

Next up were Brisbane’s I Am Villain. Part of a wave of groups mashing up pop-punk and hardcore – a genre cringingly titled ‘pop-core’ or ‘pop-mosh’ – they were a strange selection for this outrageously heavy bill. While I’m all for diversity on a lineup, this five-piece seemed wildly out of place, sandwiched between four far more intense bands. An occasional catchy guitar hook or pop-punk breakdown elicited a nodded heads from the audience, but this set was poorly received from the majority of the audience.

People moved up front early for Georgia, USA act The Chariot, the five-piece taking the stage to an near-capacity Harp crowd. Fans had heard stories and seen video of their unbelievable stage show from previous Perth and Brisbane gigs – crowd surfing guitarists, stage invasions, instruments thrown into the crowd – so, in their first visit to Australia, expectations were high for The Chariot.
They didn’t disappoint.
Bassist Jon Kindler threw down his instrument and dived head-first into the crowd before the first song had even started, with frontman Josh Scogin (formerly of Norma Jean) screaming “this stage is your stage! This microphone is your microphone!” as a never-ending stream of fans flooded the small Harp stage. The Chariot’s complex, math-influenced hardcore, intermittently peppered with breakdowns and time changes, provided the perfect soundtrack for the suicidal stage dives and throbbing circle pits that made up the most chaotic, insane crowd scenes that Wollongong has seen in a long time. Bassist Jon spent most of his time in the crowd or throwing his instrument around – at one point, tossing it into the front row for the audience to play – while Josh crowdsurfed, spewed out gut-wrenchingly brutal screams, and called fans forward to contribute vocals. Despite the violent nature of the music, the mood during The Chariot’s set was overwhelmingly positive; people were here for a good time, not to hurt others. It’s a sentiment that is often lost in mainstream commentary on heavy music gigs; but when you see someone get knocked to the floor in a moshpit, more often than not you’ll see ten people around them lean over to help them up. The Chariot produced one of the most amazing, intense, brutal shows ever seen inWollongong, but at the end of it, every single person in the venue was left with a smile on their face.

After the chaos of The Chariot, it was always going to be hard for Oh Sleeper to measure up. The Texans started their set to a considerable thinner crowd than had seen The Chariot (seemingly, most were nursing their wounds or taking a quick break outside), serving up a slow, crushing brand of metalcore. Less frenetic than The Chariot or Totally Unicorn, but heavier than Mary Jane Kelly, the night’s headliners were probably the most accessible band on the bill. Showing off loud/soft dynamic changes, akin to I Killed The Prom Queen or The Amity Affliction, vocalist Micah Kinard’s powerful, guttural shouts were occasionally supplanted with clean vocals. Kinard’s vocals shone through their set filled with heavy, thick breakdowns. An enjoyable and solid set, yet Oh Sleeper seemed unable to step up their performance to a headlining level following the carnage wrought by The Chariot.

Tonight’s gig will likely go down in local folklore as one of the most chaotic, outrageous and – yes – violent shows to ever hit Wollongong. Tonight, two ‘local’ bands stood up and showed that they can challenge world-renowned international acts in terms of skill and showmanship; that’s how I’ll remember this show.

Check out some footage of The Chariot’s opening song ‘Back To Back’ below; note a special cameo by Dan from Parades at 2.05!

The Chariot Live at Wollongong from janakin on Vimeo.

Local Legends: THE HARP HOTEL

In terms of consistent pulling power, the Harp is probably the top venue in town.

The Corrimal St venue has arguably been the performance space that has ‘benefited’ most from the closure of other mid-sized venues in town, picking up acts that would have previously been hosted by the Oxford or Night Eats Day at Cooneys; the Harp has hosted the likes of Boy & Bear, The Jezabels, Ash Grunwald, Bodyjar, Parades, The Mission In Motion, Die! Die! Die!, and Howl in recent months, and the list of upcoming shows includes Oh Sleeper, The Chariot, Strange Talk, Pez and Maya Jupiter.

Largely dealing with tours from upcoming Australian talent – i.e. whatever you’re hearing on Triple J this week – its relationship with the team at Various Industries mean that the Harp is also usually a good place to check out local talent; Various seem to strive to put a local band or two on every gig that they can, helping local bands gain experience alongside more established acts.

A fairly classic representation of the ‘pub venue’ prevalent – but sadly in decline – in Sydney and Melbourne, it doesn’t try to be something it isn’t; a bar along one wall, a stage along the opposite wall, chairs and tables and a dancefloor between (and Buck Hunter and a pinball machine over in one corner). It’s a simple venue, but that is what makes it an effective venue. It’s a good venue for bands to play, it’s a good venue to see bands play. The sound system is great, you can see from wherever you are, you can sit down or stand up or dance, and – for some reason – it is never crowded.

Its proximity to the centre of town, to public transport and to essential amenities (i.e. McDonalds and Oporto) just helps to make the Harp one of the best venues in the area. A good lineup of bands, great facilities and an effective set-up; the Harp is a venue that you should become a little more acquainted with.

CONTACT:
The Harp Hotel, Wollongong
124 Corrimal Street, Wollongong
See Various Industries website for info on upcoming gigs.

WEEKLY PREVIEW: 25 March – 1 May

GIG OF THE WEEK:
FRIDAY: Pom Pom, Vanguard Party + special guest @ Dicey Rileys
8pm, FREE, 18+

Despite an amazing lineup of talent – local, national and even international – making this week a very exciting one for Wollongong music fans, a relatively small gig in a pub on Crown Street is the one that Radar is encouraging you support.

Dicey Rileys, possibly known to you as “that Irish pub near the train station,” will host the first of its ‘Live and Local’ gigs this Friday; a weekly, FREE band night focusing on local talent. The venture will be launched by ex-Wollongong (now Melbourne-based) electro artist Pom Pom, alongside Vanguard Party and Tommy M & The Mastersounds.

Although the prospect of seeing two leading local acts playing for free should be more than enough to get you through the door, this gig is also important in the scope of the wider music scene and community. With similar ventures like Night Eats Day, Soundbreak Thursdays and Midnight Kamikaze closing down in recent months – and, of course, the closure of the Oxford Tavern – there is little live music activity in the Wollongong CBD. Without looking to discount the great work done by the awesome Otis Bar, or the great gigs put on at the Harp lately, there is really nowhere for louder acts to regularly play in the centre of town; one has to trek out to Fairy Meadow to The Patch to see loud rock acts.
The establishment of this venue at Dicey Rileys is a chance for music to be regularly available in the middle of town, so don’t let it go to waste by not supporting it; so get out to the opening night, and show the organisers and owners of Diceys that live music CAN be a viable and profitable idea for local venues!

As well, make sure to check out Radar’s interview with pom pom from earlier this week.

ALSO THIS WEEK:

TUESDAY: Oh Sleeper, The Chariot, Mary Jane Kelly, Totally Unicorn @ Harp Hotel
8pm, $28 presale (Tickets through OzTix), 18+

WEDNESDAY: Strange Talk, Pom Pom, Tainted Fist @ Harp Hotel
8pm, $10 presale (Tickets through Bigtix), 18+

THURSDAY: Steel City All Stars, The Kujo Kings, Rocksteady Dub Militia @ The Patch
8pm, $7, 18+

THURSDAY: King Tide, Tainted Fist @ Wollongong Unibar (Superheroes & Villains Party)
8pm, FREE for UOW students, (general admission $10), 18+

THURSDAY: Heart Set To Fail, Stay Down @ Wollongong Youth Centre
6pm, free, all ages

FRIDAY: Yellow Fever, Love Connection, Jack Reilly, Bec Sandridge @ Otis Bar
8pm, $10, 18+

FRIDAY: Mind At Large (EP Launch), The Watt Riot, Ye Luddites @ The Patch
8pm, $10, 18+

SATURDAY: Frenzal Rhomb, The Optionals, Totally Unicorn @ Wollongong Unibar
8pm, $22.50 presale, 18+

SATURDAY: Monstrocity @ City Diggers
Feat: Floating Me, Sleep Parade, As Silence Breaks, Elite Element, Earth Mechanics, Recoil, Arc Icarus, Kaleidoscope, Distract, The Wu’s and Won’ts
3pm-12am, $15, 18+

SATURDAY: Traces of Nut, Lost In Verona, Dr Johnson, Seek The Silence @ Nowra Youth Centre
6pm, FREE, all ages

We’re always happy to help out! If you would like to include an event in Radar’s weekly gig guide, please contact radar.illawarra@gmail.com

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