Monday, 7 December 2015

Top 5 new musical discoveries of 2015

This will be my last end of year list I promise! This one is of artists that either didn't release new music in 2015 so do not appear in my Top 10 full length releases of 2015 list or maybe they did but it wasn't a "full length" release. They may be quite new or have been around for a while but somehow escaped my notice until this year.


I caught John McNamara playing earlier this year when I got to ride The Blues Train (review available here) and all I can say is hot damn this dude is awesome! If you are going to get up on a stage with just an acoustic guitar and nothing else you better be damn good otherwise you will lose me very quickly. Well I can tell you he was DAMN good and that I've been itching to catch him playing again ever since but haven't had the chance just yet.
His album Alone With The Blues released in mid 2014 is an absolute must have not just for blues fans but for fans of good music in general.

Well hot diggity (again) chanced upon this band playing at The Catfish sometime in 2015 and just had to grab myself a copy of their debut EP Shake It Up. A perfect mix of Blues and Soulful Funkiness and with a voice that will give you whiplash if you have your back turned to the stage when you hear it.

Big thanks to everyone's favourite PBS Scotsman Chris Pearson host of Pojama People for putting me onto these guys. Child provide us more heavy stoner rock riffage the way it's meant to be done. From start to finish this album is all killer no filler and the artwork from Nick Keller (especially when seen on a Vinyl LP size) is nothing short of stunning!
Now that they have finally released the Vinyl version of the album after selling out of CD's it's time to bring us some new music

Banda Magda is a band I found out about very recently when planning the Snarky Puppy episode of the Connections show. Magda Giannikou sang on the Family Dinner album from 2013 which featured a different Vocalist on each song. The Banda Magda project oozes sparkly tongue in cheek fun. Sung primarily in French the music ranges from Latin, to Swing Jazz, to Chanson and some things in between. This music sounds like it could have been lifted from the soundtrack to any of the "Golden Era of Hollywood" movies which is just one more reason to love it.
Very much looking forward to album no. 3 due out in 109 days (and counting) time according to the pledge music campaign.

So I had turned up to Huey Long's Bar on Smith St. Collingwood to catch Adam Rudegeair doing his New Orleans piano thing only to find it was instead someone by the name of Jules Boult who was there instead which was slightly disappointing as Adam is really good. After the initial disappointment  I quickly realised that Jules was just as good, I left the venue slightly poorer (money wise anyway) after purchasing the 3 CD's Jules had to offer but much richer in the soul and with a big grin on my face. Listen to his music here

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Top 10 full length releases of 2015

Okay so there's still some weeks left in the year but why wait? Here's my (Chris) Top 10 releases of 2015.
These are releases that will not be appearing on the PBS end of year Top 10 list as they were not featured albums but which I believe deserve to be shown some love.

Well this was an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. Melody Gardot decided to explore some new territory on this release going down the Blues and Gospel path and oh boy are the results jaw dropingly awesome!

My favourite Swing band from Europe The Speakeasies Swing Band release their 1st full length album & it is everything I was hoping it would be. Full review here

Snarky Puppy performing with a full orchestra...? What were the chances of this not being brilliant. Funk, Cinematic, Jazzy and... well... a whole lot of awesome.
Highlight would definitely have to be the 20 minute closing track The Clearing. They were our feature artist just last episode

Why settle for one genre when you can cover many at once & yet still make it sound consistent?
These sister albums from Glasfrosch should be considered to be the measuring stick for any other Artists attempting to do the same thing (i'd like to see them try).
Full review here

Warren Haynes of the mighty Gov't Mule can do no wrong. Going down a slightly more folk path which usually I would not be a fan of, the songwriting here is absolutely top notch & each song really paints a picture.
I'm even finding myself listening to the sounds of banjo and finding that *gasp* I'm actually enjoying it!

It's Samantha Fish doing what she does so very very well.
Review available here

So Beth Hart appeared on my 2014 Top 10 list also & if she releases something in 2016 odds are her name will appear in my 2016 Top 10 as well.
She has said that she was asked to write from a more positive point of view for this album which is interesting seeing as I personally find this album to be a much more melancholy sounding album. Am I the only one who found this?

Get it from
and don't you dare type in €0 when you are naming your price!

Suze DeMarchi of The Baby Animals doing a covers album produced by Shane Nicholson... Couldn't possibly work out right? Wrong! Worth the asking price for the track "Homeless" alone which was written by Mick Skelton

Joe Bonamassa seems to bring out the best in his collaborators & Mahalia Barnes is no different. Another covers album this time featuring the songs of Mahalia's "muse" Betty Davis. Oozing sassyness & attitude I would say Mahalia really found her footing with this release. Now if only the footage from the Melbourne & Sydney Launch shows would be be released as either DVD or Blu Ray then you'd have a very happy radio host

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Album Review: The Ivory Elephant - Time Here is Up

The Ivory Elephant - Time Here Is Up
Well once again those doomsayers talking about rock music's demise will be eating their words after hearing this EP by Melbourne power trio The Ivory Elephant. Foot stomping, thigh slapping, head bobbing, beer swilling heavy riffage abounds on this corker of an EP. While this release has been out for a little while now I only recently found out about this band when they were playing on the same bill with another great local act Wichita (better late than never right?). The blistering guitar work from frontman Trent Sterling (who is also a member of the afrobeat band The Seven Ups) will have you dusting off your air guitar and jumping around the house imagining you are on the Woodstock stage playing in front of a half a million strong audience, while the rhythm section of Arthur Witherby & Donald Sargoog on Bass & Drums respectively provide a rock solid foundation which hits you right in the chest and leaves you gasping for breath like you have just been sucker punched. Further adding to the kaleidoscopic/tie-dyed feel is some tasty uncredited keys/organ playing which sits perfectly and unobtrusively in the background allowing the power trio sound to be the main focus.
While the sound on the 5 tracks of this EP unashamedly hearkens back to the classic rock era of the 60's & 70's and you could quite rightfully pin many "they kinda sound like..." tags to this band there is still something very much their own in the psych/rock/blues songs and sounds they are producing.
If you are a fan of rock music or just a fan of good songs grab yourself a copy of this latest EP and their previous self titled release and be sure to check them out when they are next playing live.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Live Review: KISS with The Dead Daisies 9th Oct 2015

It had been a mighty long time since I had gone to see a major rock show and when I heard that KISS were coming to town again I was more than a little bit tempted especially seeing as I have been a fan of the band since I was a kid. Some of my earliest memories are of watching the 1980 Melbourne show at VFL park on the TV and collecting KISS cards and buying KISS ice cream from my local milk bar/corner store. That being said, I have seen that band numerous times in the past and having heard countless people mention how Paul Stanley's voice has deteriorated I was also somewhat hesitant as I didn't want to be disappointed by seeing a band past their prime struggling to keep it together. In the end 2 days before the show I bought my tickets and headed to Rod Laver Arena the night of the show prepared for the worst but still hoping for the best.
Well, to say I was not let down would be the understatement of the year. While the accounts of Paul Stanley's voice having deteriorated are accurate the band still delivered the goods in spades. Tearing though a setlist of classic tunes which kicked off with the brilliant opener Detroit Rock City, the band pulled out all the stops for this show and from beginning to end it was a non-stop over the top rock show which allowed you to forget about your job/mortgage/whatever for a couple of hours and enjoy the spectacle.
At one point in the show Paul Stanley asked the crowd "How many of you have never seen us before?" after which he commented that the show will be "a night you will never forget" which is quite a statement of confidence but if there's anyone that can live up to such a statement and deliver on said promise it's KISS!
Obligatory end of the night pyro show Drum Riser and Paul Stanley smashing his Guitar

KISS seem to be a band that people love to hate and which fans of the band will go to any length to defend. No matter which category you fall into one thing that can't be denied is the fact that 40+ years on the band still delivers a show that very few other bands/artists can match. See them while you still can as I'm uncertain how long anyone of their vintage can continue doing what they do.

Marco Mendoza & John Corabi of The Dead Daisies
Mention should also be made of the opening act The Dead Daisies who are a great band in their own right and whose two records to date are probably some of the best rock releases in the past 2 or 3 years. Made up of an all star line up featuring players from bands such as Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Baby Animals and others these guys know how to deliver great rocking tunes. Despite the slightly apathetic crowd (which caused singer John Corabi to quip "There was more noise at my Grandmothers funeral") they managed to deliver 45 minutes of great rocking tunes which I'm certain would have won them a number of new fans on the night. From the opening notes of Midnight Moses to the final notes of the closing number (a rocking rendition of) Helter Skelter they know how to put on a great show. These guys may just be the saviours of Rock and given the connection they have to Australia I'm sure we'll be seeing them visit our shores again in the not too distant future which is certainly not a bad thing at all.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Album Review: The Speakeasies Swing Band - Starved To Death In A Land Of Plenty

For those you are not already aware there seems to be a Swing Jazz revival going on at the moment (especially in Europe) and I'm absolutely loving it!
One band who I discovered a couple of years ago and who are getting noticed for all the right reasons are The Speakeasies Swing Band from Greece. I have been waiting for a full length release since hearing their debut EP Bathtub Gin and it is everything I hoped it would be.
Starved To Death In a Land Of Plenty is the bands debut full length album, and while the title may be a dig at the financial/political crisis going on at the moment in Greece this album is all about feel good music and danceable tunes. An absolute stellar effort by a band who have captured the sound of a bygone era perfectly. If you have ever watched a movie starring Fred Astaire and wanted to get up and start dancing yourself then this album is for you.
Recorded live in one day you can hear just how much fun the band is having playing these tunes. The Album features 10 songs in total 2 of which are sung in Greek and one in French (which is actually a cover of The Godfather Love Theme "Parla Piu Piano") and while it certainly helps to understand the lyrics of these particular tunes that's not to say the songs cannot be enjoyed even if you don't.
Having played all over Greece and Europe these guys (and gal) are a class act and are set for world domination.
Hopefully this release is the first of many more to come. On a side note... err no pun intended... If you like the sound of these guys you may also be interested in checking out The Swing Shoes, Crime Swing Investigation, Gadjo Dilo and others.
In the meantime here's my favourite tune from Starved To Death In a Land Of Plenty:

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Album Review: Samantha Fish - Wild Heart

Samantha Fish has released a new album called Wild Heart and it is everything I was hoping it would be. I 1st heard of Samantha Fish on the awesome Blues Rock album Girls With Guitars which has a great uptempo feel good vibe to it. The album was on repeat for weeks after I got my hands on it.
Released through Ruf Records who have been doing some great work with their releases in recent years.
I see this album as a return to form for Samantha as I was not overly sold on her sophomore album Black Wind Howlin'.
This album features everything we have come to expect from Samantha, the blistering fretwork, great footstomping anthemic blues rock tunes and that unmistakable southern drawl. Her slide work once again features prominently throughout the album as it has on previous releases. And while you can expect to find all the usual things that Samantha has delivered on previous releases there are some slight signs of perhaps a maturing artist with the acoustic ballads on the album.
The songs Go Home, Lost Myself and I'm In Love With You are strategically placed to break up the pace of the album and show Samantha exploring themes such as domestic abuse, alcoholism, homelessness and of course failed relationships. Yet again I imagine my neighbours will be well and truly sick of hearing this album being played at maximum volume over the coming weeks. Look like the future of the blues is in good hands.
The only thing left now is for her to announce an Australian Tour.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Album Review: Glasfrosch - Aubades & Nocturnes

I love when I discover new music that challenges my listening habits. I love it even more when that music refuses to fit nicely into any one style of music but straddles multiple genres simultaneously.
The two albums in question here are really one album divided up into two parts. The music is cinematic in scope and will transport you through space and time if you just close your eyes and let it. Glasfrosch is essentially the brainchild of Justin Ashworth however full credit needs to be given to everyone playing on these albums without who I'm not sure this album would have been able to come to life. There's elements of Jazz, Rock, Electronic (eek!), Ambient even Classical at times (to these ears anyway). If you are after an album of three minute pop tunes then look somewhere else, but if you want to hear music that is so much more than this then look no further than these two sister albums produced by this group of stellar musicians.
There are so many various moving parts to this music that I would recommend you make listening to it an event. Set aside time in your day, remove all distractions and really listen to what is on offer here. While essentially trying to create a mood this is no mere background music to be played in a local cafe while you sit sipping your coffee on a Sunday morning. This music commands and deserves your undivided attention. The production on here is also worth mentioning, with so many parts it would be easy for the various elements to become muddled and indiscernible but everything you need to hear is clearly audible and sits perfectly next to/underneath/on top of (and every other dimension also) one another. This music is a living breathing entity.
I think perhaps the best way to describe how one should listen to these two albums is with the quote by Timothy Leary who said "turn on, tune in, drop out"

P.S. If you like what this guys hear I would recommend checking out the album by Ghost Note Project which is available for free download here

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Song review: Joanne Shaw Taylor - Wicked Soul


For those of you who might have missed it, Joanne Shaw Taylor released a new album called The Dirty Truth late in 2014. When it was released I was super excited as I had thoroughly enjoyed her previous full length releases and couldn't wait to listen to it. Somehow though I just never got around to it (more fool me!) until last night when I heard her new single Wicked Soul.
Let me start this review with the awesome new single Wicked Soul which tells the story of a relationship gone wrong (isn't that what all memorable songs are all about?). A bluesy ballad with some blistering guitar work where she channels the great Stevie Ray Vaughan I was left stunned at the end of the roughly 4 1/2 minutes that the song goes for. 
While the guitar work shines on this song it also clearly obvious that Joanne knows how to play for the song and while you can hear that she can shred with the best of them, there is not a moment where the guitar work is overdone. As has been said by numerous people in the past the notes you don't play are just as important as the ones you do and this is a lesson Joanne has clearly learned and taken to heart. Add to all of this some soulful organ playing which sits in the background throughout and which fills in the gaps purposefully left open and you have yourself one hell of a tune that holds up just as well the 10th time you listen to it as it does the 1st. 
Lastly the lyrics of the song and the Vocal delivery really paint a great picture also and leave you feeling like the like the person singing them has really lived them which is the sign of a truly great singer.
As for the rest of the album you have touches of country, Texas blues and Chicago blues style shuffles. Other highlights include Feels Like Home and the title track The Dirty Truth where the guitar work shines just that little bit more than the rest of the album. 
Yet another quality release by perhaps the first of the new breed of female blues artists let's hope she continues to release music of this calibre long into the future.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Live Review: The Queenscliff Blues Train 16 May 2015

The Blues Train Engine
I've been meaning to get to the Queenscliff Blues Train for a little while now and yesterday I finally got around to taking the 2 hour drive from Melbourne to check it out.
I had seen/heard 2 out of the 4 Artists on the line up (Jimi Hocking and Andrea Marr) so I knew I was going to enjoy at least half of the acts that were playing, but I was hoping that I would learn some new names that I could also look out for around town.

Once again I needn't have worried as my (high) expectations were met in spades. I started off in carriage D which is known as the dancing carriage seeing as there is no seating. As the train took off for the journey Andrea Marr and her band kicked things off with their brand of funky soulful blues sou
nds which had the small Carriage D crowd shaking their booty's to the tunes. A pocket rocket who's sassy vocal stylings were are perfectly suited to what is expected of Carriage D riders. Special mention has to be made of the guitarist in the band (who's name I can't remember) who despite his amplifier playing up and cutting out halfway through a guitar solo managed to keep his cool get it sorted and then continue playing.
Andrea Marr

After the 1st stop and the opportunity to top up my drinks bucket it was onto carriage A where Brian Fraser and Wayne Jury were playing. After the boogie worthy performance that Andrea Marr delivered on Carriage D it was good to have the opportunity to just sit back and enjoy the music. Performing a mix of well known Blues classics as well as some slightly lesser known numbers intermingled with some originals it was an absolute treat to see these guys up close in such an intimate setting. Being a big fan of the slide and resonator guitar sounds I was on cloud 9 watching these guys do their thing. The interplay between them was just brilliant and Wayne's singing was perfectly suited to the what they were delivering. As the train came to it's 2nd stop for the night I heard someone comment that it would have been worth the price of the ticket for Brian and Wanyne's performance alone and I couldn't agree more.

John McNamara
Onto carriage B to catch John McNamara another name I had not heard of before. John was the 2nd of the 4 performers on the night that I had not heard of before and once again I was keen to find out what he was all about. Performing solo with one acoustic guitar and a couple of effects pedals I was completely blown away by John's playing and singing. As everyone was boarding and taking their seats I was watching John noodling away and thought to my
self "this is definitely going to be good."
Just before the train took off again we were advised that for this part of the journey it was recommended we all remain seated as it's mostly a downhill ride and the train picks up quite a bit speed as it's travelling. Unfortunately not everyone heeded this advice and one woman who decided to stand up in the tiny empty space in front of John ended up losing her balance and falling on him and almost knocking him off his feet also. After picking herself up with a little assistance from security John managed to carry on unfazed (how's that for professionalism?). Highlights of this performance would have to have been his version of the Etta James classic Damn Your Eyes. I couldn't help but grab a copy of his CD as the train once again came to it's final stop for the night before the end of the ride.

Onto carriage C to catch the inimitable Jimi Hocking and his Blues Machine...
Jimi Hocking
Well what can I possibly say about Jimi that has not been said before? A veteran of the Australian music scene sinc
e the 80's a Jimi Hocking performance is something that is guaranteed to be entertaining. With a sense of humour to match the best stand up comedian and nimble fingers that are enough to make any budding guitarist seriously think twice about pursuing their chosen profession, Jimi is the ultimate rock 'n' roll nice guy. Quite simply if you are a fan of rock music and a fan of the blues and you have never caught a Jimi Hocking show then you are doing yourself a disservice and should waste no time in catching one of his gigs around town.
Overall the night has got to go down as one the highlights of my 2015 gig going experiences and there have been many already!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Thank You's

Of course each and every person on staff at PBS has been great to deal with and have helped me in some way shape or form. However some of those people I deal much more regularly with so... in no particular order these are the people I have had the most frequent interaction with and who have helped me get a regular slot on the grid, helped me keep it for the last 6 months, helped in the production of the show and just been generally available to answer questions etc

• Owen McKern and Steve Passiouras for championing the Connections show idea

• Chelsea Wilson, Amy Chapman and Bethany Atkinson-Quinton for many and various things including but not limited to: allocating music for the show, booking interviews, helping with general music library stuff

• Mara Williams for helping out with studio bookings to record interviews and many and varied other things also

• Kylie Auldist (yet again) for keeping true to her word and signing up as a performer member

• My Co-Host/partner in crime Sasha Brookes who once told me he had no intention of ever hosting a radio show. Thanks for all your hard work in promoting the show, producing the show, for your tolerance (I probably would have snapped me out by now) and too many other things to mention.

I could probably go on and on with plenty more names but I won’t and will leave it at that. Feel free to get in contact via or tune in on alternate Mondays @ 2am to listen to the show and get in contact with us then.

There might or might not be future blog posts, only time will tell. So in the immortal words of Bugs Bunny...

Highlights and Footlights

The last 6 months or so have been a wild ride and a hell of a lot of fun. It’s been a lot of work and a lot of hours have gone into producing the 13 episodes of the show so far (and the making of this blog also!) but it’s been worth it. Being involved with PBS has afforded me the opportunity to meet and work with some great people. It’s also opened up doors to other opportunities with much greater ease than otherwise would have been possible.
Of course as with anything there’s ups and downs. Admittedly the downs really have not been very down and the ups have been fantastically up. There’s been laugh out loud moments, whoopsy moments, OH SHIT! moments and downright strange moments some of which I’ll try to now tell you about.


• Getting to interview Chris Robinson, Michael Franti & Jeff Martin.

• Chris Robinson was the 1st interview I did with a well known international artist. Add to that the fact that the debut album from The Black Crowes is still one of my most favouritest Blues Rock albums and you can understand why this experience rates as such a highlight. Picking up the telephone and hearing a voice on the other end that I had previously only heard coming through the speakers of my Hi-Fi system was surreal to say the least.

• Receiving a phone call from someone 5 minutes into the 1st episode to say "congratulations on getting your own show" was pretty cool for a multitude of reasons.

• We've all heard the term "They only come out at night" but it wasn't until I started doing an insomnia shift show that I fully came to realise why this saying exists. In the wee small hours of the morning you have all types of people calling up. One of my personal favourite calls was from somebody asking me to track down a particular album for him so that I could play it on air. In and of itself this is not necessarily a strange request. The strange part was that this person wanted me to email or call him to let him know once i've tracked it down and when I would be playing it so that he could record it!

• Just before starting up the regular fortnightly show that is Connections I did a fill in for Wendy on the Metal Genesis show & received the following SMS

• In the same week that i filled in on the Metal Genesis show I also filled in for Matt Frederick on a Sunday afternoon for The Juke Joint. Now this show has a large number of regular listeners and when I was planning the show I thought rather than clone what the show is usually like I'd try something different. Well there were quite a number of people that liked it but there were also quite a number that were not happy that I would be so bold as to try to do anything different to what they are used to hearing on their beloved Juke Joint radio show and were not afraid to let me know. In the space of roughly 10 minutes during the show I received 4 text messages and 2 phone calls. Each call and SMS alternated between telling me how they were enjoying hearing something different and telling me in no uncertain terms that I should never fill in for the show again. Oh well, you can't please everyone!

• Getting the opportunity to DJ at the Sunday Soul Sessions at the Retreat hotel in Brunswick


• The one "oh shit!" moment came the day that Sasha and I had planned to show our performer member Kylie Auldist some love by playing some of her tunes. As always I thought I'd get some shut eye before heading into the station to do the show. I set my alarm and turned off my phone and off to bed I went. When I woke up and saw the sun shining outside I knew something was up. The clock said 6:15am (15 minutes past the show finish time). After freaking out somewhat and realising I had set my alarm to 1pm as opposed to 1am I managed to get in contact with my good mate and co-host Sasha who assured me everything went well and not to worry. Lesson learned!!

• Forgetting to hit record until halfway through the Chris Robinson interview and only recording the
less interesting portion of the interview

• Leaving the studio to make a cup of tea and not realising we had not set the CD player to play continuously until after roughly 10 minutes of silence. eek!

Live Review: Women Of Soul Album Launch

                                                Women Of Soul @ Shadow Electric
                                                          Saturday 11 Apr 2015

Wowzers! Just... Wowzers! What can I possibly say about this night? I knew this was gonna be a good show but... goddam this was a GOOD show. This is not the 1st time I have been to a Women of Soul gig (and it will most certainly not be the last) . Each one I have attended has been no less than great but they really outdid themselves this time around.

For the uninitiated a Women Of Soul show is a revue style performance whereby each vocalist sings 2 or 3 songs backed by the same group of musicians. Christina Perfection of the Perfections kicked off proceedings and practically tore the roof off the venue with her banshee like vocal stylings. Once everyone was whipped into a frenzy after Christina’s performance you could be forgiven for thinking “how the hell is anyone else going to follow THAT?!” Well the great thing about a W.O.S. show is that each singer has their own distinct style which all tie in perfectly with each other so there’s no need for anyone to try to top or compete with the previous performer.

As with the Women Of Soul album the show was the perfect balance between funky and danceable numbers and heartbreaking ballads and it was great to see/hear these songs come to life in a live setting. Any attempt at pointing out highlights from the show would be an exercise in futility seeing as, with a production of this caliber, the whole show is a highlight. Each and every one of these singers is a great talent in their own right which is proven by the fact that they each lead their own bands.

It should also be mentioned that the band backing the singers on the night were seriously smoking. Made up of some of Melbourne’s finest they were one finely tuned machine playing the songs as if they had been playing them for years. 5 years on and things are only just getting started for Women Of Soul. Big things are afoot for these ladies catch them now while you can and before they start selling out major venues around town.

Live Review: Nyawlins Piano @ Huey Long’s

Performed by: Adam Rudegeair (Piano) & Daimon Brunton (Trumpet)

Ever wanted to know what the music would have sounded like in prohibition era New Orleans but don’t have a Delorian automobile with a flux capacitor? Well wonder no more, all you have to do is catch a gig by Adam & Daimon & you will very quickly be transported to back to this very era. 

The highest compliment I can pay these guys is that seeing them play once was not enough I had to catch multiple performances (3 in total from memory). From the very first tinkling of the ivories to the last note of the muted trumpet you can see that these guys have lived & breathed & studied this music & understand it as very few can. Throughout the two 45-ish minute sets performed you could almost imagine what it would have been like in the Storyville red light district saloons of the crescent city. Adam plays stride style piano (amongst other styles) on the resident upright piano like he was born to do it. 

The honky sound of this piano, it has to be said, lends itself perfectly to this style of music also. It would be difficult if not impossible to imagine Mozart/Beethoven/Chopin etc being played on this instrument. Further adding to the whole New Orleans feel & atmosphere was Daimon’s whooping, stomping, hollaring & thumping on the Bass drum sitting on top of the piano (which was later wrestled to the ground). Throughout the performance the small crowd in attendance were loving the performance. 

If you’re a fan of New Orleans style jazz check these guys out & while you’re there order yourself a Catfish Po’ Boy. I can assure you, you wont regret it.

Live Review: Roy Ayers @ Bennetts Lane

 Roy Ayers @ Bennetts Lane (3rd show) Monday 23 February

It had been a mighty long time since I last attended a gig at what is probably the best known Jazz venue in Melbourne, Bennetts Lane. I have always been a fan of Jazz even though I have never really actively sought out Jazz recordings or listened to Jazz on the radio. That has all changed recently and the more I hear of the genre the more I want to hear. So when the opportunity presented itself to see one of the modern Jazz greats in an intimate setting I jumped at the chance.

The crowd was lining up early to get prime position in the small club. Once inside and the band took the stage it did not take long to realise that we were going to be in for one hell of a show. To quote one Steve Wonder "Just because a record has a groove. Don't make it in the groove. But you can tell right away at letter A When the people start to move." And move they did!

The band were seriously in the pocket, to say they were tight would be a serious understatement. They played with the type of feel that only comes from years of playing and learning your instrument inside out. It was also vividly obvious just how much they were enjoying themselves which in turn seemed to infect the whole crowd. The music ranged from the smoothly sublime to the downright funky and even though my personal taste is more towards the funky scale I loved every second of this show. There was a strange “Danoz Direct” type segment during the middle of the show which was somewhat cringeworthy but thankfully that did not last long and the band were soon back to playing at their white hot best.

Special mention has to be made of the rhythm section who I feel stole the show. The drumming especially was just crazy good. At the end of the night I left the venue smiling from ear to ear as I'm sure just about everybody else did also. The only thing left to say is if you are a jazz music fan you don't know the name Roy Ayers then learn it!! In the meantime I'm off to track down his back catalog.

Live Review: Zevon and The Werewolves of Melbourne

Zevon & The Werewolves Of Melbourne live @ Yah Yah's

2nd January 2015 

I had been looking forward to catching a show from this band for a short while now and even more so after catching a live set from them on the radio (which can be heard here.)

Once Zevon & his Werewolves took to the stage the energy in the room lifted to a whole other level. Each and every one of the players in the band are seasoned veterans of the Melbourne music scene so I was expecting alot from their set. Needless to say

Zevon & The Werewolves of Melbourne
they did not let me down. Kicking proceedings off with the Freddie King classic Big Legged Woman. Zevon's guitar work blew me away, he knows how to strike the perfect balance between flair and playing for the song which is not an easy thing to do. Also showing that he's not only a great player but a great showman as well his command of the stage was fantastic cracking jokes throughout the set while encouraging the crowd to get into the tunes. Perhaps my favourite "stage move" of the night (which although is nothing new still works perfectly) was the use of a beer glass as a slide towards the end of the show. Their high octane brand of Bluesy Rock 'n' Roll is right up my alley and something that I will be looking forward to seeing again. Once again my faith in the Blues has been restored and I can't wait for the next show.

Album Review: Flame - Queen Of The Neighbourhood

Artist: Flame

Release: Queen Of The Neighbourhood

Style: Blues Rock

Well hot diggity damn! how did this one escape my notice until now? This is about as Rock n Roll as Rock n Roll music gets, it's 70's Rock n Roll the way it should be played. If you like your music loud and guitar driven with a definite blues flavour (which I most definitely do) then this release will be right up your alley.
Flame is a band that could've, would've, should've been the successors to the 70's Rock throne held by bands like Aerosmith, Alice Cooper and Kiss before them. Unfortunately it was not to be for whatever reason and the band broke up after only 2 albums (Singer Marge Raymond says "Flame would have been a huge band if not for all the BS behind the scenes that had nothing to do with the band"). Time seems to have forgotten all about these guys which is a downright shame because the 2 albums that they did release in the late 70's are nothing short of brilliant. Produced by Jack Douglas who worked extensively with Aerosmith in the 70's and featuring Jimmy Crespo on Guitar (who would later go on to join Aerosmith) their debut album is a statement that this band can stand toe to toe with any other headline act of their time and easily hold their own. In fact given the state of the
aforementioned bands in the late 70's I'm sure Flame would have blown them off the stage.
Jumping out of the starting gates with the galloping shuffle that is Beg Me this is an album that immediately grabs you by the scruff of the neck and demands you pay attention. Marge Raymond with her husky, gravelly, whisky soaked voice and an attitude reminiscent of Suzi Quatro and Janis Joplin delivers these songs in a manner that shows she knows what Rock n Roll is all about. She is certainly no amateur and in fact is quite possibly the quintessential female Rock n Roll vocalist. Never reissued in any form these albums are just screaming for the deluxe reissue treatment, preferably with an extra disc consisting of the recordings Marge did post the break up of Flame with Jimmy Crespo and Joey Kramer of Aerosmith, if someone knows how to make this happen then you
would have one very happy radio show host.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Album Review: Women Of Soul

Artist: Women Of Soul (Various)

Release: Women Of Soul

Style: Soul

OK so this is by no means a new discovery and it’s been reviewed by others before me but this album will almost certainly be in my top 5 2015 releases at the end of the year so…
I had been eagerly awaiting this release since I heard about the project in late 2014. I have heard each of these singers previously doing their own thing and so I knew roughly what to expect but hot damn these tunes are catchy! The album starts off with the Candice Monique tear jerker “Beautifully Broken Heart” who up until very recently I was not overly sold on. I’ll now say I am not only sold but am left wondering how I could have previously thought she was anything other than awesome.  The 1st half of the album continues along the same lines with mellow tunes delivered with some serious soul that will have you swaying to the groove the deliver. Sassiness is the name of the game for the 2nd half of the album delivered in inimitable style by Christina Perfection, May Johnston & Rita Satch that will get you up out of your chair and dancing around the house while singing into a hair brush (or whatever else is at at hand). This is a great collection of tunes from some of Melbourne’s finest female singers and hopefully this is just the 1st of many more to come. Credit also has to be given to the band backing the singers who are top notch and without who this album would most definitely not have been of the calibre it is. Once again what I am essentially getting at is that if you don’t have this album in your collection already then you should waste no time in getting it. 

Preview 2 songs from the album and purchase it from: