All posts filed under: Reviews

Paul Kelly takes on Shakespeare | Byron Writers Festival 2016

Paul Kelly has a new album out, Seven Sonnets and a Song, a collection of William Shakespeare’s works set to music. Coincidentally, or maybe not, this year also marks 400 years since Shakespeare’s death in 1616, and we can’t stop talking about him. Paul Kelly, himself an author as well as a musician, was recently at the Byron Writers Festival to discuss the way that art can outlive the artist, and you’d hardly find a more fitting example of artistic longevity than the great playwright himself. Kelly’s love affair with Shakespeare began in 1976 when he put down a $5 deposit on a collection of the bard’s comedies and tragedies at a bookstore in Melbourne. It would eventually cost him $34, a hefty sum in those days, equivalent to around 20 percent of the average weekly wage. Kelly has made a career of collecting words and stories, including poetry, and he encourages the audience to get into reading poems, saying it doesn’t have to be difficult. “You only need one from a poet and you put it in your …

Dave Rawlings Machine, East Coast Tour @ Bangalow A & I Hall

Dave Rawlings sings sweet and country. His hat’s not as high as some but it’s perfectly clean and cream. He plays that 80-year-old guitar like it’s gonna take him away to another planet.  At once caressing it, then tugging and working it round a solo to within an inch of its life. When Gillian Welch sings, her straight, wide mouth hides the smooth and effortless sound that escapes it. There’s no confusing whose voice that is. She smiles frequently, at us, at Dave, enjoying herself and the music they’re making. It’s Dave’s name on the bill, but on stage the two are equals. One wouldn’t be without the other. Gillian jokes that it’s going to get hot and sweaty, which is just as well because that’s how they like it. For sure, the night is still and the old hall is an oven full of bodies. The guitars are pretty high, the jeans straight and not-too-narrow, and the denim double. Americana for the clothes as well as the tunes. Long dresses brush ankles, all checks …

The Axis of Awesome – Melbourne Comedy Festival

So, I got to interview my first comedy act last week, The Axis of Awesome. Luckily, they were awesome, so they’re not liars. And, even more luckily, they are playing soon at a comedy festival near you! Which would be true if you live near Adelaide or Melbourne. Get along to see them if you can, and if you can’t just google them or hit them up on YouTube. You’ll thank me later. Read the funny stuff they had to say over at Aphra Magazine here.

Soundtrack To a Road Trip

Since I’ve moved towns, my summer road trips have become down right familiar. They take me back to where I grew up, along a road I’ve travelled a hundred times before. Each year we optimistically pile our kids, Christmas presents, pet, beach gear, party outfits and active wear into the car and set off for our little 3-hour journey down the Pacific Highway. I’m not getting to many festivals these days, or going off on spontaneous camping weekends with my mates, so this annual drive is one of my only chances to feel the carefree vibes of taking to the road, air-con in my hair and porta-cot jammed in behind my seat. This time, we had so much gear we decided to take two cars, and on the return trip I get the kids while Tim has the dog. Luckily, I also get the CD stacker. Since we’re constantly trying to educate our 4.5 year old how to appreciate modern rock music, and since kids are such good learners, he now complains whenever we play …

The Waifs @ Bangalow A & I Hall

It had been a long time between drinks for me, since the last time I saw The Waifs was in 2009. That night they played at the beautiful Bangalow A & I Hall, with its walls and ceilings covered in pressed tin reliefs, and its flat, open floor worn smooth from a century of gathering. Last night, the same band in the same venue brought back memories of that first magical night, the relaxed crowd milling around, finding their spot, chatting as they carry their eskys and wine bottles, waiting for the first act to come on stage. This time Mia Dyson is the opener, brandishing her vanilla icecream-coloured Tone Deluxe Standard, a guitar built by her father. She takes to the stage and a few people mutter, asking who she is. The rest of us are tuning our ears to her soulful, heavy vocals and emotional electric blues, instantly recognisable if you’ve ever heard any of her music In the hot hall, though, without her band backing her as she revs up for each …

Young Minds, Old News

Noah Rosenberg, Marc Fennell, Erik Jensen. These guys are the smooth forehead on the fresh face of journalism in the digital age. Not yet creased by wrinkles, leaning forward in their chairs, they chatter like excited schoolboys as they discuss how they’re writing their own rules and forging ahead in the post-print era. With newsrooms short on time and traditional media outlets cutting budgets, these three storytellers have found ways to report what they think is important in ways that consumers think are engaging. Rosenberg, Fennell and Jensen were among the speakers at the recent Byron Bay Writers Festival examining the tension between old media formats like newspaper and radio, and the new platforms of social media, websites and podcasting. Can they all co-exist? Should they? In the bright, Byron Bay morning light, New York City resident, Noah Rosenberg, is in conversation with Jacqui Park, Chief Executive of the Walkley Foundation. Rosenberg is the founder of Narrative.ly, a website dedicated to telling human stories, mostly in the shape of long-form articles, but also video and …

Bluejuice & The Philly Jays @ the Hoey Moey

It’s already about 90% humidity inside the small Hoey Moey gig room when the openers, Philadelphia Grand Jury take to the stage. The two-man garage rock combo (with new drummer Susie Dreamboat of Brisbane band I Heart Hiroshima) don’t need long before the crowd is wrapped around their little fingers, with their twangy guitar riffs and thumping beats. As much theatre performance as a music gig, we’re entertained by MC Bad Genius (the bearded one – bass player) striking a statue-pose for minutes on end during the middle of their recent hit “Save Our Town”, while Berkfinger (the blonde one – vocals/guitar) jumps into the mosh pit, guitar in hand, getting down and dirty with the crowd. The Philly Jays, as they are also known, put on a great live show, with all the energy and rawness of your older brother’s band playing at a 21st birthday party. Their brand of lovable geek rock won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re open to new experiences and a good time they’re the men for the job. …