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Pulled Apart By Horses + YELLOWCATREDCAT + Release The Hounds @ Crowbar, 29.10.2015

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When I saw Pulled Apart By Horses at Soundwave a few years back, they were one of the standout bands of the day. I thought there was something Zeppelin-esque in the riffs even though listening to them on Spotify the following day while editing the photos, they sounded nothing like them.

It’s one of those weirdly uncomfortable shows where at the start there’s more photographers, all lined up in a row at the front, than there are punters. Even by the time the headliners play there’s probably only 50 or 60 people there, this despite the reduced price in the lead up to the show, with the price coming down from somewhere around $50 to a very reasonable $30.

Still a great live band but obviously would have been better if it hadn’t have been at Crowbar. It’s another night or wearing earplugs the whole night and coming away with ringing ears. I hate to think what it’s like for the people who work there.

Still a great live band, although would have helped if had not been at Crowbar. Another night or wearing earplugs the whole night and coming away with ringing ears. Hate to think what it’s like for the people who work there.

E^ST + Golden Vessel, Mid Ayr @ Black Bear Lodge, 01.10.2015

E^ST @ Black Bear Lodge, Thursday 1 October 2015

On the Wednesday night I stayed in the Valley after work as Kirin J Callinan was playing a random Brisbane show at Brightside. After having some food (burrito), I headed to the venue at around 8:30pm only to find that the headliner was playing a 10:40 to 11:30pm set. On a Wednesday. So I just went home.

The following evening I’m back in the Valley to see E^ST at Black Bear Lodge. As someone who tries to listen to everything in my inbox, usually between 30 and 50 emails a day (although to be honest I pass on all the death metal I get), I really liked the E^ST promo for ‘The Alley’ I got sent by the PR person. Apart from all that death metal, so much of the rest of what I get sent falls into two camps; male singers who want to be Bon Iver and female singers who want to be the new Lorde. With respect to the former of those two categories, someone should develop an app that interrogates the contents of my inbox and automatically deletes anyone sounding like Bon Iver. Most of the second category is just very boring, just all the same sounds, the same drum loops, the song structures and vocals so indistinguishable from each other that sometimes you’d swear it’s the same person and the same song as the last promo single you heard, despite the subject of the email telling you it’s a different song by a different act. But E^ST, much like Lorde, works and stands above all the competition because of the voice.

Being a new act, it’s one of those shows when you wonder in advance if there’s going to be much of a crowd. Of course then she does triple j’s Like A Version the Friday before show and the venue is packed with everyone wanting to hear her do her Bitter Sweet Symphony/Teardrop mash-up. It’s a good, if short, show, one that really marks her out as an act to watch. Even better is that the show is all over by the time Kirin J Callinan was due to start the night before.

Sixfthick + HITS + Deafcult @ Crowbar, 26.09.2015

Sixfthick @ Crowbar, Saturday, 26 September 2015

The only note I made for this show was that my ears were still ringing on the Monday.  And that was with wearing earplugs.  Every time a band I like and/or want to see announces a tour and the Brisbane date is at Crowbar, I die a bit inside.  I’m sure they’re lovely people, it’s just a shame that they’ve got an awful space for seeing bands.  The photos didn’t turn out too badly though.

BIGSOUND 2015, 10.09.2015 – Part 2

Totally Mild @ BigSound 2015, Thursday 10 September 2015

The final set of photos from BigSound 2015. Highlights were Jonny Telephone at Ric’s, one of the pleasant surprises of the whole thing, and, as yesterday, Major Leagues and Totally Mild. I’d never seen Waax before and they were fun to photograph as was Milwaukee Banks. I’m not a fan of the music but really liked the photos that came out of it, despite having to battle the poor lighting at Woolly Mammoth.

Even if most of the line-up is your average triple j fare, it’s good to see BigSound getting its act together this year, or at least doing a much better job of trying to put its house in order. In previous years, under its old regime, the conflicts of interest between the people putting on the event and the bands being awarded showcases was embarrassing to the point of disgraceful. They’re probably lucky that that Brisbane Musicians United lot didn’t get their act together, despite all the evidence that was readily available, as you would have to question whether any funding bodies would have been willing to stump up the cash for the event to run if they had put together the argument that was there to be made. It’s still far from perfect, as the awarding of a much coveted showcase to The Rumjacks shows. But that’s another story for another time.

BIGSOUND 2015, 10.09.2015 – Part 1

Darts @ BigSound 2015, Thursday 10 September 2015

As for Parts 1 and 2 from the first night of showcases, these photos are presented alphabetically rather than in chronological order from the night. Looking through them now it’s hard to remember anything or anyone that really stood out from this selection of bands. Maybe Darts, maybe Sui Zhen? That’s the trouble with cramming so much into each night, it all becomes a blur, even more so by BigSound’s second night, when the novelty has worn off somewhat and the approaching end of the night becomes ever more attractive.

BIGSOUND 2015, 09.09.2015 – Part 2

Totally Mild @ BigSound 2015, Wednesday, 9 September 2015

I’ve been too lazy to sort out the Bigsound photos by the time the acts played, instead you get them by alphabetical order, with Part 2 of the first night being the bands starting with a letter between L – W.

Highlights from this set of photos from the first night of showcases are Major Leagues and Totally Mild. Major Leagues are one of Brisbane’s best current crop of bands, while the Totally Mild album is one of the best Australian releases during 2015.

I struggle to see the attraction of Methyl Ethyl, who continue to garner rave reviews and press inches, but who are yet another dreary Australian psych band. To be fair, the sound at The Elephant doesn’t do them any favours. I can see the attraction of the terribly-named Polish Club because the guy has got a good sounding voice, but at the same time, it’s another one of those Black Keys two pieces that was the “in” thing about a decade ago.

I would have stayed out longer on the first night but Queensland Rail, in all their wisdom, have scheduled track works and an early departure from the Valley is unfortunately needed to get the rail bus replacement back home.

BIGSOUND 2015, 09.09.2015 – Part 1

High Tension @ BigSound 2016, Wednesday, 9 September 2015

I went to BigSound and photographed a lot of bands across the two nights of live showcases.  It’s one of those occasions where photo opportunities are maximised at the expense of spending time with any of the acts.

Highlights from this first set of photos were the musically-worlds-apart Aldous Harding and High Tension.  The Aldous Harding album is wonderful and I’ve managed to miss her the few times she’s played in Brisbane before.  I was hoping they might have a merch desk selling it on vinyl but oddly, there’s very little merch on show at most of the venues participating.  The biggest display is at The Globe, where High Tension are playing before Cosmic Pychos, a band that don’t exactly need a Bigsound showcase.  High Tension are fun to photograph, especially with the luxury of a photo pit.

I also checked out the much hyped Gold Class at a very full Ric’s.  That doesn’t say a lot as 50 people trying to see a band in Ric’s packs the place out.  I think I also tried to go and see Goon Sax on the first night but you couldn’t get anywhere near getting into the venue, with even the outside area being packed.  It must be depressing to be awarded one of the very coveted BigSound showcases and then find yourself playing somewhere like Ric’s or the Press Club, even more so if you’re from Brisbane and already know the venues.

Blank Realm + Nite Fields + 100%, 05.09.2015

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Nine months and more on, I realised that I’d completely missed to log this show or write any notes about it. It was the launch party for Blank Realm’s latest album and a good show from what I remember, with good supports too, although also the usual frustration of photographing Blank Realm in poorly lit venues.