The Top 50 Gigs of 2014, Part One: 50 – 26

1524988_10152149447605730_400300992_n[1]

And so this is list season – and what have you done? At the start of 2014,  I vowed to see more shows than I did in 2013. How’d I go? Well, 2013’s final count was 193. This year? 206! Suck shit, 2013!

A huge thanks to everyone who I rocked a show with, everyone who provided a couch or a floor when needed, all the great bands and artists, all the awesome venues, staff, crew… everyone that makes my escapades possible. I really fucking appreciate it. Let’s see how we go in 2015! Here are the best things I saw in 2014. Were you there? 

– DJY, January 2015

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: The Living End, Anberlin, Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt, Jimmy Eat World, High Tension, Full of Hell, Cakes Da Killa, Bob Log III, Inner Fest, John Mayer, The Julie Ruin, Frightened Rabbit, Basement, Soundwave, Ty Segall, Savages, Fishing.

10849785_935237056489198_356366495619749615_n[1]

50. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard @ Oxford Art Factory, 11/12

Two albums, endless touring, more jams kicked out than an army of MC5s… 2014 was yet another wonderful time in the wild, weird world of Australia’s most psyched-out septet. It ended not with a whimper, but with a bong – sorry, bang – and we were better people for it.

Miley+Cyrus+Miley+Cyrus+Performs+Sydney+AgAzJj149cbl[1]

49. Miley Cyrus @ Allphones Arena, 17/10

You know that scene in Shrek where they’re at the information booth and they see the weird puppet show and Donkey says, after a confused beat, “Wow… let’s do that again!”? That was this show. The year’s most bizarre pop gig, as well as its guiltiest pleasure.

18398.b5ed3f71707cc1521a6288a13c2be880[1]

48. Donny Benet @ Brighton Up Bar, 10/10

Suits, synthesizers and the sharpest pop this side of Sydney – that’s Donny Benet. He and his all-star band lead a packed, sweaty room through a guided tour of his latest, Weekend at Donny’s. Besides all that, it was worth the ticket price just to watch Jack Ladder play cowbell.

hard-ons_manning_bar_0614_jodie_mathews_5.72a439dbd918507f45fe128739866768[1]

47. Hard-Ons @ Manning Bar, 7/6

30 years ago, some brats from Western Sydney made their punk-rock dreams come true. 30 years later, they’re keeping the dream alive – and we, the crusty, screaming masses, are still along for the ride. Bonus points for a scorching set from Cosmic Psychos as a Sydney treat. Fuck yeah.

16864.a164f72853871d544aec2d4c198606f7[1]

46. Wil Wagner @ Newtown Social Club, 29/8

Months before Throw Me in the River was out in the world, the Smithies’ fearless leader lead a sold-out room through some of its highlights; as well as enough old favourites to sing the night away to. A relatively-quiet moment from an artist who made lots of noise in 2014.

violent_femmes_sydney_opera_house_1214_diabolique_photography_01.14a0f09f74bcacb4a52657081b90885e[1]

45. Violent Femmes @ Sydney Opera House, 29/12

Do you like American music? We like American music – especially when it’s from a legendary cult folk-rock band making their debut at one of the most iconic venues in the world. A self-titled LP run-through, a two-hour setlist, a bitchin’ drum solo… we like American music best, baby.

Bruno%20Mars%20Sydney%20Concert%201[1]

44. Bruno Mars @ Qantas Credit Union Arena, 8/3

Make what you will of his various recorded endeavours. Live, this motherfucker is untouchable. A spotless live band and blistering choreography guaranteed a venue full of arses out of their seats; wiggling until they could wiggle no more. Remember: This is Bruno’s world – y’all are just living in it.

12904891954_376220de18_z

43. Neko Case @ Sydney Opera House, 3/3

Before she returned to the world of The New Pornographers, Case wrapped touring on the back of her excellent The Worse Things Get LP with a run of dates down under. We laughed (Case and Kelly Hogan’s banter), we cried (a pin-drop “Nearly Midnight”) and we sang (“Man”). Joyous.

6637d1_4c7cc1d95ba447eaa0515f92805a6a52[1]

42. La Dispute @ Metro Theatre, 18/6

As long as La Dispute keep coming back to Australia, they’ll continue to serve as a highlight of the year in touring. Not only do they continue to bring exceptional supports – in this instance, Balance and Composure – but they’ve completely justified their progression from basement shows to theatres.

IMG_4429[1]

41. James Vincent McMorrow @ Sydney Opera House, 29/5

He began the year with the release of an out-of-nowhere LP and sold-out Australian shows to back it. His return some months later felt like a victory lap; and despite some clear nerves, the charming Irishman was quick to make the lush surrounds of the concert hall his very own.

Future%20of%20the%20Left-9[1]

40. Future of the Left @ Factory Theatre, 3/1

The demise of the Annandale could have ruined their return plans, but Falco and his Futuristic friends pressed on in new surrounds and carried on business as usual. For those that don’t know, hilarious banter and wild breakneck post-punk is business – and business is good. Fuck the Annandale, man.

3685c_1302585[1]

39. Laneway Festival @ RNA Showgrounds, 31/1

Turns out Brisbane does more than just bitch about the tours they don’t get – they do a pretty decent festival when they put their mind to it. Highlights included the intense Savages and a hip-hop triple-threat to see the night out: Danny Brown, Run the Jewels and Earl Sweatshirt.

1r[1]

38. Courtney Barnett @ Goodgod Small Club, 18/1

Before Fallon, Glastonbury and whatever other fortunes came her way in 2014, everyone’s mate Courtney Barnett turned the club surrounds of Goodgod into a boot-scooting indie-kid haven. Expect her to play rooms ten times the size in the year to come. Don’t say you weren’t warned, now. She’s earned it.

P_jeHC6JKUgLX8fQW7QqikgxuOm4jtBY2nMpYdufdPc[1]

37. The Smith Street Band @ Factory Theatre, 24/11

As great, extremely loud and incredibly close those early Smith Street shows were, we’re on a bigger – and, arguably, better – scale. As they edge ever closer to being our best live act, the voices singing back are getting louder. Shows like this prove why that’s a good thing.

dsc1795[1]

36. Kimbra @ Metro Theatre, 20/11

The Golden Echo wasn’t for everyone, and that’s totally fine. It was never going to be. Her live show, however, remains as flashy and exciting as it did when you first saw it. Not all that glitters is gold – but some of it is. That’s why Kimbra still rules.

IMG_5878[1]

35. Yes I’m Leaving @ Beatdisc Records, 8/11

Broken strings, dodgy amps, awkward pauses – potentially a recipe for disaster. Instead, we got the little rock show that could – shit got loud and shit got wild. It ended with the band piling both their instruments and themselves on top of the drum-kit. Because of course it did.

10640991_785002991545826_1402373999269989177_n[1]

34. Outright @ Jura Books, 11/10

The most important band in Australian hardcore right now assembled an A-team of supports – Palmar Grasp, Canine, Family Values – and raised nearly $1500 for victims of rape and domestic violence. To every other band on the scene: THAT’S how you make a difference. Outright, again, lead by example.

15624788289_511d576609_z[1]

33. Kevin Devine @ Newtown Social Club, 16/11

In the haze of the early Sunday evening, a waif-thin and unassuming figure was singing and playing guitar in Sydney’s inner-west. The only difference was the figure in question was a folk hero of sorts, surrounded by adoring admirers that knew every word to every song. Please be back soon.

Bluejuice @ The Metro Theatre, Sydney

32. Bluejuice @ Metro Theatre, 26/10

It’s so hard to say goodbye sometimes – especially when you’re dancing, screaming, shouting and getting a cheeky crowdsurf in edgeways. Less a funeral and more a celebratory memorial service, Bluejuice ended in style. Special mention to Jake Stone for the ballsiest dive the Metro may have ever seen. God-damn.

img_2830[1]

31. Bob Dylan @ State Theatre, 4/9

It ain’t the 60s anymore, kids. As soon as you comprehend that, then and only then will you be able to properly enjoy a modern-day Dylan show. It’s still grand in scale and as entertaining as before, just in a different context. So, how does it feel? Pretty good, actually.

16148.e160cfac75adfa7eefe572e553723cc6[1]

30. tUnE-yArDs @ Oxford Art Factory, 28/7

The dust had barely settled from Splendour in the Grass when Merrill Garbus and her amazing technicolour band rolled into town for some sideshow action. Nikki Nack was pristinely brought to life, while old favourites still had all the stomp from their original runs. You are doing God’s work, Merrill.

maxresdefault[1]

29. RVIVR @ Monster Mouse Studios, 7/4

There used to be graffiti in the toilets at Black Wire that read “Queer punx rule this town.” Shows like this prove why – in an awesome space, Erica Freas and co. had fists and voices raised as high as the collective spirit in the room. DIY or GTFO.

queens_of_the_stone_age_live_sydney_12_070314_608x456[1]

28. QOTSA/NIN @ Qantas Credit Union Arena, 6/3

A tour that was quite literally the envy of the rest of the world – two of the biggest names in the last twenty years of rock head-to-head in a co-headlining battle for arena-rock glory. There was blood, sweat, tears and hits for days. Who won? We all fucking did.

clowns-creditianlaidlaw[1]

27. The Weekender @ Various Venues, 21-24/8

It’s never not going to be a highlight of the calendar. You come for impeccable company, you stay for the dozens of exceptional bands and then life goes on as normal; while everyone not-so-secretly counts down until we get to do it all over again. Poison City for life, baby!

something_for_kate_enmore_theatre_0714_clare_hawley_11.54a1e1dff696c8106b1cd1b8813af0a6[1]

26. Something for Kate @ Enmore Theatre, 12/7

Whether you were down from day one or day one thousand, Something for Kate have made an impact on countless music fans in 20 years. This blockbuster set – the biggest show the band have ever headlined in Sydney – was presented as a thank-you. The pleasure was all ours.

***

Check back soon for part two!

PHOTO CREDITS:
50. Provided by the band via Facebook.
49. Mark Metcalfe, Getty Images AsiaPac.
48. Munya Chaora, TheMusic
47. Kristy Wandle, TheMusic
46. Angela Padovan, TheMusic
45. Diabolique Photography, TheMusic
44. Glenn Pokorny, PK Productions/the AU review
43. Wayne Massingham via Flickr
42. Fletcher Crebert, All Ages Concerts
41. Megan Carew, FBi Radio
40. Dan Turner, the AU review
39. Rickford, FasterLouder
38. Sabina Rysnik, the AU review
37. Hayden Nixon, wickeddchildd
36. Ashley Mar, The BRAG
35. ZK Photo
34. Provided by the band via Facebook.
33. Annette Geneva via Flickr
32. Maria de Vera, Life Music Media
31. Erin Rooney, Vinyl Garden
30. Angela Padovan, TheMusic
29. “le maroufle” via YouTube (photo not from show)
28. Jakob de Zwart, Take 40
27. Ian Laidlaw, Beat Magazine
26. Clare Hawley, TheMusic

Advertisements

INTERVIEW: Future of the Left (UK), November 2010

I count this as one of the most difficult interviews I’ve ever had to transcribe. Keep in mind that’s purely on the basis of Falko being one of the funniest people I’ve ever interviewed. The guy is just wildly funny and a true eccentric character. I’ll let him do the talking.

– DJY, October 2014
***

Meet Andrew Falkous. His friends call him Andy, he was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne and he’s the frontman of shouty alternative rockers Future of the Left… but you already knew all of that, didn’t you? How about we get to the things you don’t know about Falkous – for example, he finds his local gym hilarious.

“It makes me laugh that people actually go to the gym to date,” says Falkous in what’s to be one of his many unprovoked, extended and remarkably hilarious tangents during the interview. “I mean, by the end of me being at the gym I’m a bloody mess! I’m pushing myself through all different stage of sweat – in fact, I’m actually inventing new ways to sweat. The thing that always gets me with these big, muscular guys, right – if they’re doing weights so much, how come they need to flex so much when they pick up something really small? I mean, you have to flex that much to pick up that bottle of water in front of that attractive woman? You must be weak!”

Keep in mind that you can get all of that out of Falkous simply by asking “How are you?” He’s a madman with a mile-a-minute creative flow and the kind of energy you’d struggle to get out of a child who’s had red cordial injected into their veins. In fact, the man is so energetic that it’s lead to challenges within the new line-up of the band, which features former Million Dead bassist Julia Ruzicka and guitarist Jimmy Watkins.

“I remember when I first met Julia,” recalls Falkous. “She was playing in a band, and she says to me ‘I bet I sweat on-stage more than you,’ and I say ‘I bet you fucking don’t!’ At the end of the show, she just looked at me and said ‘…yeah, you definitely sweat more than me. You definitely sweat more than any other human being on-stage.’” Must have been true love from there, right? “The truest of love. Like the love based on the physics of a mountain mudslide.”

This mountainous love affair between the newly-expanded quartet will be making their debut appearance in Australia this coming New Year’s Eve for the Pyramid Rock festival, marking almost exactly twelve months between visits for the band; who were last here as a trio with former bassist Kelson Mathias. “I just like coming over in your summer,” reasons Falkous. “I like a bit of heat to escape our miserable fucking weather. That, and Melbourne and Sydney are amongst the best places to play – actually, that’s pretty unfair to Brisbane, which is actually really, really good. But Sydney and Melbourne thus far have been magical.”

Of course, it can’t all be about the music – as Falkous confesses: “I also want to catch a few days of The Ashes. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was twelve years old – but I never had the money because first I was a child, then I was a student, and then I was a musician. As a musician, you don’t normally get to be blessed with what’s known as disposable income. Even if it’s just for a couple of days at the MCG, I’m really excited about it. I’m sure it’ll be rained out, but I’ll be sitting there and fucking drinking anyway.”