Kasabian + Little Red @ The Riverstage 25-07-10


The chance to see and photograph a band that has won Best Live Act awards seems like an interesting prospect on paper.  When it comes to reality it’s a whole different ball game: In fact, based on this, how Kasabian have managed to be nominated for, let alone win awards for their live show, defies belief.

You can channel the spirit of Mick Jagger, Ian Brown and Liam Gallagher as much as you want, as singer Tom Meighan spends most of tonight doing, but, when there’s little of substance to back up the swagger, it’s just empty posturing.  The three songs in the photo pit go on forever and they only manage 6 or 7 in the first 45 minutes.

It’s not just that it’s dull, it’s that it’s depressingly dull, achingly dull.  It’s so dull that I end up doing something I’ve hardly ever done in 23 years of going to gigs and leave well before the end, for no good reason other than I’ve had enough; I don’t even get anywhere near the encore.  I can count the number of times that has happened on the fingers on one hand (one memorable occasion involved The Spin Doctors at The Riverside in Newcastle if that’s any indication of either my tolerance or how bad tonight was).  If the weather had been better I probably would have stayed but the english autumnal drizzle is a perfect match for what’s on stage.

It’s rock music for people that don’t like rock music, it’s dance music for people who don’t like dance music.

It’s Oasis without the tunes, Lo Fidelity Allstars without the beats.

It’s ‘edgy’ music for readers of Q magazine, listeners to Nova FM and watchers of Video Hits.

Little Red look like a band that’s way out of its depth.  Whilst they’re not helped by a muddy sound for most of their set, and to be fair to them they sound a lot better during the last few songs, they’ve got an air and a look of a school band playing a battle of the bands competition.  All the talk about them being such a good live bands is, based on tonight’s performance, just that; talk.  How they’ve managed to play Splendour In The Grass three years in a row, something you would think would be based on being one of Australia’s best bands, or at least best live bands, is a complete mystery.

Worst gig of the year and by a country mile.

Little Red’s announcement to the bill, as were all of the support acts for the Kasabian shows around the country, was a very last-minute affair, only being announced on the Thursday, with the tour starting in Melbourne on the Friday.  Melbourne got a Melbourne band to support (Wagons), Perth got a Perth band (Scotch Of Saint James), surprisingly Adelaide a Perth band (Will Stoker and the Embers) and Sydney and Brisbane a Melbourne band in Little Red.  This did make me think about the support acts for international acts playing in Brisbane: is it my imagination or is it a rarity for a Brisbane band to get a support slot?  This also followed on from something I posted in the ‘True’s Thin Kids Land Kate Nash Supports‘ news story on Mess+Noise about Brisbane bands supporting international touring acts, namely:

Am also in a slight state of disbelief. Disbelief at a band that’s not from Sydney or Melbourne getting the national support slot for an international touring act. That’s just about unheard of.

Brisbane bands find it hard enough to get a support billing in their own city for an overseas act, with promoters seeming to prefer flying someone up from Sydney/Melbourne, let alone getting to do it anywhere else.

So is this true?

Well, I’ve had a look at the international bands (and also Australian bands playing a venue larger than The Hi-Fi) that I’ve seen/photographed in Brisbane since the start of 2008, along with the supports and where they came from.

Here, thanks to the wonders of spreadsheets and pivot tables, are the results:

I’ve been to 67 shows headlined by an international act or an Australian act playing a venue larger than The Hi-Fi (i.e. The Tivoli) where there was a support act.  From those 67 shows there was a total of 94 support acts.

  • 35 were from Brisbane (37%);
  • 20 were from Sydney (21%);
  • 11 were from Melbourne (12%);
  • 2 were from Perth (2%); and
  • 26 were from overseas (including NZ) (28%)
Venue Brisbane Sydney Melbourne Perth Overseas TOTAL Brisbane by Venue
BCC 3 1 1 5 0%
BEC 1 1 2 6 10 10%
Powerhouse 2 2 0%
Step Inn 8 1 9 89%
Suncorp Stadium 2 2 0%
The Arena 2 3 5 0%
The Globe 1 1 0%
The Hi-Fi 1 1 1 3 6 17%
The Riverstage 1 1 2 0%
The Tivoli 5 2 6 2 5 20 25%
The Troubadour 5 5 100%
The Zoo 15 10 2 27 56%
Grand Total 35 20 11 2 26 94 37%

What’s interesting is the competition isn’t from Melbourne, which rightly or wrongly considers itself Australia’s music capital, but from bands from Sydney, a city with a less than impressive music scene when judged over the last few years.  That 37% of support acts were from Brisbane sounds like a pretty good return, until you look at it by venue and realise that Brisbane bands getting to play a support slot in their own city greatly diminishes the bigger the venue gets.

When you look at the 7 biggest venues (Suncorp Stadium, BEC, Riverstage, BCC, The Tivoli, The Arena, The Hi-Fi) in isolation:

  • 7 were from Brisbane (14%);
  • 9 were from Sydney (18%);
  • 11 were from Melbourne (22%);
  • 2 were from Perth (4%); and
  • 21 were from overseas (including NZ) (42%)
Venue Brisbane Sydney Melbourne Perth Overseas TOTAL Brisbane by Venue
BCC 3 1 1 5 0%
BEC 1 1 2 6 10 10 %
Suncorp Stadium 2 2 0%
The Arena 2 3 5 0%
The Hi-Fi 1 1 1 3 6 17%
The Riverstage 1 1 2 0%
The Tivoli 5 2 6 2 5 20 25%
Grand Total 7 9 11 2 21 50 14%

Although it’s only a small sample, based on the shows I’ve been to in Brisbane over the last 2½ years, obviously skewed towards the types of music that I like and go to see, and although the list is actually dominated by overseas support acts, more Sydney and/or Melbourne bands have played the bigger shows at venues like the BEC, The Riverstage, BCC and The Tivoli than bands from Brisbane itself: In fact, whereas the first table indicated that Sydney was the main competition for Brisbane acts, all 11 support bands from Melbourne I’ve seen have played their supports at the larger venues.

Is it any wonder that so many casual music fans in Brisbane, the ones that will only go to the big shows, are completely oblivious to Brisbane having a music scene of its own?

More photos on Flickr.




Kasabian crowd

Little Red
Little Red

Little Red

4 Responses to “Kasabian + Little Red @ The Riverstage 25-07-10”

  1. Mr. Ed says:

    I’ve read a few of your reviews. You’re obviously a very frustrated person. How about a little patience when listening to music? I find writing a song to be most effective for relieving any day to day bitterness that I might experience, you should try doing that yourself. Otherwise you could try having an actual wank rather than intellectually masturbating your way through a gig blog.

  2. Justin says:

    Thanks for your concern but I’m just fine. Life is pretty sweet.

    Would you prefer I just took the street press approach and just listed a few songs, dropped in the singers name and added a few words to link it all together? Do the whole Australian media thing of celebrating mediocrity? Make sure everything gets at least a 3 star review? If I like something I’ll say so. Same if I don’t like something (and this was easily the worst gig I’ve seen all year). It’s pretty simple really and there’s lots to like, especially in Brisbane.

  3. Dane says:

    This really is an amazing blog, good sir. Very refreshing writing, and the photos are awesome.

  4. bebopalula says:

    Strongly disagree with your review. this band have too many wonderful tunes to play in one set and are absolutely magical live. Your photos are better than most photographers who took photos of this tour though.

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