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Music News – August

While most of the world is currently obsessed with all things Olympic (Come on Australia!), a few items of music news have recently caught my attention.

I’m really pumped to hear that Brand New have announced that they’ll soon be working on a new album after they finish touring in September. Their last sublime release The Devil & The God Rage Inside Me is probably my favorite album of all time so I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table for their latest release.

Bloc Party have surprised everyone by announcing that an online version of their new album Intimacy would be available this Thursday. Despite the new age of digital downloads it still came as somewhat of a surprise that a high profile band like this would release their latest record with no fanfare or buildup. If you purchase it online, they’ll also send you the hard copy of the album (with some bonus tracks) when it’s released way later in October (27th). I’ve given a listen to some of the new songs on their myspace page which all seem to have the same industrial synthesiser sounds as Mercury did. While this isn’t a bad thing it does look like the new album is going to be a lot less commercial accessible than A Weekend In The City was.

Lagwagon have recently released their 7 song EP wittily titled I Think My Older Brother Used To Listen To Lagwagon. While my initial listen only left me wanting more (why not a full album?), it’s a short but sweet release that should appeal to anyone who likes the Lagwagon of old. In other Joey Cape related news, the man himself will soon be releasing his solo album titled Bridge. While Cape is no stranger to branching out into other areas (Bad Astronaut, Me First & Gimme Gimmes), this is his first solo attempt at a full acoustic album. Even though I’m generally not a fan of this style, his previous EP split with Tony Sly (No Use For A Name) and a quick listen to an early release track (No Little Pill) from Bridge both show that he’s got the chops to go it alone. Look out for it’s release on September 29th.

In October Rise Against will release their highly anticipated new album titled Appeal To Reason. The recent release of the cover art & 13 song track list, containing song titles like Collapse (Post Amerika) & Re-education (Through Labor) indicate that the album will be politically charged. The later song is currently streaming through their myspace site & should tide you over until the full album is release on October 6th. Everyone who orders the album on iTunes will receive this single and a live track now and an exclusive b-side after the album is released. I can’t wait to hear more heavy hitting punk metal goodness for this Chicago foursome and if the rest of the songs are as good as this one then we’re in for a treat.

Earlier in the week, The Academy Is… released their new record Fast Times At Barrington High which is currently being streaming online at While the band have always walking a tight line between pop punk & pure power pop, it sounds like they’ve finally crossed over into full blown commercial territory with their latest effort. I was actually pretty disappointing after my first listen as all the tracks sound like they’ve lost their rock edge and are filled with sappy romantic lyrics. However since their last album Santi took a lot of listens before it finally grew on me, I’ll hold my judgment until I’ve given it a few more spins.

I’ve also given an advanced listen to Anberline’s new album New Surrender, (set for release on September 30th) & am pleased to say that these Christian rockers have delivered the goods yet again. Apart from the baffling inclusion of a re-release of their old hit The Feel Good Drag, the rest of the album is chock full of great tracks and highlight the fact that the band is yet to release a bad (or even average) album. Stay tuned for my upcoming review.

One recent release that has really impressed me is The ’59 Sound from The Gaslight Anthem. The album was released a couple of days ago & I highly recommend that you rush out & buy this one. Their debut album Sink Or Swim was my favorite album of 07 and this New Jersey foursome just seem to go from strength to strength with another solid folk/rock/punk record. After recently seeing them play an awesome gig at the Arthouse it comes as no surprise that they’re now embarking on a massive tour supporting Rise Against, Thrice & Alkaline Trio (surely the best lineup ever!). I was lucky enough to have a quick chat with Brian Fallon after the show & was surprised to hear that the Australian crowd left such an impression that they had to come back for two encores. It was also great to hear that they’re a great bunch of genuine guys that love what they’re doing and have worked hard to get were they are. Even though they have a relentless touring schedule here’s hoping that they hit our shores again soon!

While tour announcements have been fairly scarce at the moment, I was excited to hear that Streetlight Manifesto will be heading to Australia again on November the 2nd. These guys blew me away with their energetic ska sets when they supported Less Than Jake/Reel Big Fish last year, so I’m expecting even bigger things when they headline their very own show at The Corner Hotel. Tickets only cost $37 (considering there’s seven band members that means they’ll only pocket ~$5 each) & can be picket up from the Corner box office.

Last night I was lucky enough to witness the phenomenal live show of Socal punk legends Unwritten Law at the Palace. If you missed a chance to see what was basically their ‘Best Of’ show, then keep an eye out for their first live CD/DVD combo titled Live & Lawless recorded at The Key Club in Los Angeles. The album is set for release on September 16th and contains 16 live tracks and a DVD featuring 22 songs, including a five-song acoustic set.

Next week (Saturday 30th) I’ll be continuing my trend of checking out at least 3 bands a month and can’t wait to see Thrice at The Corner Hotel. There’s also the Horsell Common gig at The Hi-fi bar on the 5th September and The Matches will be playing at The Corner Hotel (I love this place) on the 13th September. I’ve yet to book my ticket to the Gyroscope/Shihad show at The Ferntree Gully on Friday 12th September (woo, 2 gigs 2 nights) but this one promises to be HUGE.

Just a reminder to the Pennies crew to let me know if you plan on seeing any of these bands, as I’m getting pretty sick of being a lame o and having to see all these awesome bands by myself. Come on people get off your lazy arses!

Well that’s about all for the Crazyman music news wrap up, so till next time (when I can be bothered), keep on rocking!

Album Review: New Manic Art


I must admit that I hadn’t actually heard of Trial Kennedy until I read a great review for their upcoming album on Bombshellzine back in June. Despite a couple of EP releases (Present For a Day & Picture Frame), and frequent support tours with the likes of Gyroscope, Kisschasy & Fall Out Boy, its taken them about four years to finally release their first album. After receiving a record deal with Sony BMG, these four Melbournites headed over to Atlanta and worked with producer Nick DiDia (Stone Temple Pilots, Powderfinger, Incubus & Audioslave) to develop their debut album New Manic Art.

After an initial fade in Sunday Warning jumps straight into the fray with a self titled chorus that’s accompanied with catchy cries of “Hey! Hey!” and melodic vocals. After a deceptive fadeout at the 3 min mark the band hits back in the final minute to leave a lasting impression. This impressive sound is carried into the next track Neighbors which features a rise & fall structure supported by some crashing drum work from Shaun Gionis. This track is an obvious choice as their first single as it features one of those classic melodies that is liable to have you humming away at inopportune moments of the day. It’s understated chorus also alludes to the issue of global warming but thankfully it’s subtly inclusion doesn’t feel like the message is being crammed down your throat.

Colour Day Tours is another highlight (and their second single) from the album and features a fantastic buildup leading into a memorable rock chorus which is just begging to be played in the live arena. This song was actually written for fellow tour mate Mark Stewart (Horsell Common) to combat his homesickness while on tour. While the catchy “da di da da’s” are meant to remind him of his daughter, they actually end up sounding a little creepy when they’re sung by a four year old girl during the breakdown section. The track then belts back at the last minute with another fantastic guitar riff from Stacey Gray that just leaves you wanting more.

Hollowood is another rousing rock number that stands to attention with a tight pace & anger that comments on the nature of politics & justice. Sun Eyes also leaves an impression with an arpeggio style guitar intro, choral like vocals and a slow rolling beat that helps breaks up the pace of earlier tracks. Just when you think you’re getting comfortable with Trial Kennedy’s sound they diverge from their traditional rock roots with tracks like Mississippi Burn & Sweet Alley Rose. With haunting vocals, acoustic guitars & percussive and violin accompaniments these songs have slow yet dramatic build ups that may take a while to grow on you but effectively show that Trial Kennedy are capable of much more than the usual rock melodies. The strutting beat of The Great Escape,the jogging drum roll of War King and the synthesizer infused rock & roller Eldorado also help round out the track list with diverse & atmospheric melodies.

It’s obvious what an effect DiDia’s has had on the album as his engineering contribution really pushes everything to the forefront and lends everything a real epic sound that effectively showcases what the band is really capable of. The inclusion of numerous instrumental accompaniments such as lap steel guitar, piano, microsynth & mellotron also give the album an amazing level of depth, with every listen revealing even more layers that may have been missed the last time. The interesting and wacky addition of a tiny five key piano & the trippy Theremin (check it out on Wikipedia) also highlight the multi talented nature of the band.

The real strength of this album, however is Tim Morrison’s soaring lead vocals, which are perfectly showcased on the title track New Manic Art. His unique timbre gives everything a real powerful quality that brings to mind stadium filled arenas packed with thousands of fans singing to every word. Therefore to get the most from this album the songs really benefits from being cranked up loud in a good set of speakers or headphones. Speaking of which, the ‘podmix’ of tracks available from itunes are an Australian first and are said to offer a whole new spatial experience for headphone listeners by using left/right panning & high frequency effects.

While this itunes version is ridiculously cheap ($15), I would still suggest picking up the physical CD/DVD package currently available at JB-Hifi. The fold out cover art which was created by the Eye Candy Design company really looks fantastic & features personal pictures that revolve around the story of each song. This version also deserves a special mention as it’s undoubtedly one of the best valued packages I’ve ever seen and includes the 11 track album plus a great T-shirt and an interesting hour long documentary on the making of the album for only $18! After watching this DVD it was also good to see that Trial Kennedy are a great bunch of guys (maybe because in their downtime they love to play some 360) and hopefully after this album they’ll receive the recognition they rightfully deserve.

Final Verdict: If your a fan of stadium fueled rock anthems then I would strongly suggest giving the fantastic New Manic Art a listen. Along with Horsell Common this 4 piece band from Melbourne are really flying the flag for great locally produced music. The absence of any filler tracks & the perfect placing of a diverse set of memorable songs means this album comes a close runner up to Horsell’s The Rescue for my favorite Australian (if not internationl) release of the year.

88 / 100 Pennies

Highlight Tracks
(Pretty much all of them, but my personal favorites include

Color Day Tours
War King

Gig’ity’ Gig’ity’

Some really great music tours have been recently announced for Melbourne so I thought I would write a post to keep track of them all (the calender on this site seems to have disappeared).

Coming up this Friday is the Strung Out & No Use For A Name show at Billboards. Tickets are still on sale ($39) from Oztix and considering they’re over here for a whole month & playing plenty of shows there’s no excuse not to check out this sweet double header act. Check my previous post for further details

The Matches will be hitting our shores again and will be playing at The Corner Hotel on Saturday 13th September. Even though these guys are always ridiculously busy (playing an average of 200 shows p.a!), it’s good to see them come back to Australia twice in the same year.
Despite a slightly underwhelming release on their last album, after seeing their performance at the Soundwave Festival firsthand, this is one show that you don’t want to miss out on. Tickets are only $30 and can be brought from the Corner book office.

Californian punk pioneers Unwritten Law will be heading to Melbourne on Thursday 21st August & will be playing at The Palace (formerly know as The Metro, now known as the stupid place that confused everyone by changing its name).
While these guys have been relatively quite of late (a best of album doesn’t really count) they’ll soon be releasing a live DVD of their 2008 performance at The Key Club in Hollywood. Over its career this bands had more line up changes than a football club so it will be interesting to see whether they’re still going strong 17 years later. Tickets cost $55 + b.f and can be picked up from moshtix.

The Living End have recently announced a tour to support their upcoming album White Noise which will be released on July 21st. After hearing most of their new material live, this albums sure to be a ripper, so make sure you get along to their one & only Melbourne show at Queensbridge on 2nd October. Tickets go on sale 9th July from ticketek (presale) or the 10th from oztix for $39 + bf.

Because I only saw 1/2 of Gyroscopes last set at the Hi-fi bar (due to my dodgy brother), I didn’t get a chance to hear much of their new material from their #1 album Breed Obsession. Fortunately they’ve announced a 2nd tour to coincide with the release of their new single Australia. I’ll be checking them out at Ferntree Gully hotel on Friday 12th September & this time I’ll definitely make sure to get the full Gyro experience. CountKnuckles has been kind enough to post all the info for their other shows here.

Hopefully my previous Thrice posts have got you in the mood for their upcoming tour, but just a quick reminder that they’ll be playing the corner hotel on Saturday the 30th & Sunday the 31st of August. Further details can be found here.

Gyroscope – The Australia Tour

Gyroscope (one of HundredPennies favorite bands) are getting ready to tour Australia again (didn’t they just finish a tour…?) and as you can see above there should be at least one gig that you’ll be able to get to as they are pretty much covering every part of this big brown land of ours and are bringing NZ finest (besides Dave Dobbyn) Shihad with them.

Link –

Scream for Wilhelm

A wilhelm scream

While music festivals are currently winding up, the gigs announcements are still rolling with Goldfinger, Against Me & Gyroscope recently announcing tour dates.

Now it looks like A Wilhelm Scream will be heading over to OZ in June to promote the release of their latest album Career Suicide. AWS have recently found a new guitar player & will be headlining their very own show for the first time in Australia at the Arthouse in Melbourne on the 8th June. Supported them will be A Death In The Family, Lungs & MDK.

If you’ve checked out my review, then you should know that AWS’s latest release is an absolute ripper and is full of insanely fast guitar chords and smash you in the face vocals that will undoubtedly translate well into the live arena.

Tickets go on sale this Friday (11th April) and can be picked up from oztix, or missing link records for a ridiculously well priced $32.

They’ve also recently released their latest video I Wipe my Ass With Showbiz, so enjoy. I still haven’t figured out how to embed youtube videos into this site, so the link will have to do

Breed Obsession review

Get ready because Daniel Sanders (vocals/guitar), Zoran Trivic (guitar/piano), Brad Campbell (bass) and Rob Nassif (Drums) are about to hit the big time with their newest release Breed Obsession.

This is Gyroscope’s 3rd album and follows on from their 2005 sophomore release Are you involved, which was recorded in LA by producer/mixer Mark Trombino (The Living End, Blink 182 & Jimmy Eat World). While this album perfectly showcased the tight knit and energetic nature of the band, Zoran has recently admitted that Mark’s production was “very clinical, in that they recorded with the drums first, then we come to lay down guitar tracks for the drums, [with] the vocals sort of put on at the end”.

This inflexible method may explain why Gyroscope parted ways with Mark and decided to record the initial Breed Obsession tracks (Snakeskin) at the RnR studio in South Australia. When they sent this demo material to producer Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers), they receiving the thumbs up and headed over to the UK for the first time to record the remaining tracks at the Elevator studio in Liverpool.

The free form environment and recording process allowed each of the band members to jam in their own circle of power (basically a string of lights) and feed off each other’s rock vibes. This style lends the album an infectious enthusiasm and energy that captures the feeling of a live Gyroscope set. Dave summarises the new album as “A really eclectic record with heavier than Foo Fighters riffing at one end to beautiful Beatles‘y acoustic songs at the other taking in a Pink Floyd homage along the way”. I think this record really rocks!”

After hearing some of the new material at a recent gig I can also attest that Gyroscopes new material will seaminglessly blend into their future set lists. The heavy hitting Snakeskin, 1981 and Weapon, Enemy, Friend are instant rock classics while the diverse sounds of Her Design and Polyphones & multidors add further strength to an already impressive repertoire.

Track Rundown

Snakeskin: What a great start to the album. It probably needs little introduction, as it’s received plenty of radio play after its release back in November 2007. Since then it’s picked up a number of accolades including being voted to the # 16 spot on Triple J Hottest 100 and being the # 1 most requested song on Triple J’s Super request and JTV programs. Recently it also won two WAMi awards including most popular single and most popular music video. They recorded the later in a crop circle in Wiltshire, South London (the same field featured on the front of the Led zeppelin Remasters album).

This heavily layered track begins with a simple piano piece from Zoran and some soft vocals from Daniel. The subtle drumming then bridges into the epic chorus that’s belted out with typical Gyroscope passion. This fantastic track contains all the bands signature sounds that fans have come to love including breakdowns, catchy guitar hooks & a screaming chorus. The heavily layered sounds (a subtle bell ring in the background) and production quality also manage to showcase their progression and what to expect on the rest of the album.

All In On One: The resonating off key guitar chords and angst filled lyrics provide a darker tone than some of Gyro’s previous work while still retaining a catchy vibe. When the chorus comes around you’ll probably be singing along with the lines “Hey, hey I admit I messed you up, I truly thought you would learn by now!” With a running time of 3.20 this one shouts out more hey’s & woe’s than a horse rider (26 to be exact), which will undoubtedly make it a popular live choice.

These Days: A simply classic guitar riff from Zoran starts things off while a ticking drumbeat supplements Daniels “Un, Deux, Trois” count in. Memorable guitar chords and tight drumming perfectly complement what will surely become another Gyroscope classic. The sing along chorus “I’ll figured out your name come morning, but your scent is something I should know, ” has been stuck in my head for days.

Australia: This is essentially a romantic ballad about home which was obviously written while on tour overseas “Such a long, long way back home”. The subtle drumbeats and acoustic guitar supplement Daniel’s vocals and the string work (Violin & Cello), gives this song some extra depth. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it some more before next Australia day. While the passive beat and absence of a catchy chorus do slightly interrupt the albums momentum this song shows that the bands equal capable of creating melodic numbers as well as the harder hitting ones.

O.K: A creepy baseline starts with the words “You know that window in your basement, I used to sleep outside it. Now I’m inside hiding from you”. The reverberating vocals and thudding guitar chords work well at conveying the stalker motif but also hold it back from reaching it’s full potential. An accelerated rhythm or some classic Gyro screaming would have really made this track something special but in the end the title of the song sums it up best, just O.K.

Weapon. Enemy. Friend: A killer bass chord kicks things off before the drums throw you into the gritty beat. This is the most straight up rock track on the album with powerful lyrics “ I shot the shit, I fucked the fake” and plenty of thrash heavy guitar chords. Just like O.K, there are plenty of creepy vocals but they slide more into the background this time and let the instruments do the talking. When I first heard this song at their last gig, the distinct jam session at the end of the song really stood out and had the whole band feeding off each other. Now that I’m more familiar with this fantastic number I can’t wait to hear it again live.

Polyphones & Multidors: This one just oozes atmosphere and has a real unique style unlike anything the boys have tried before. The slight jazz melody and relaxed structure gives this song a laid back breezy vibe. As usual Daniels fantastic singing melds perfectly into the guitars, which provide an interesting droning accompaniment. This highly atmospheric song will undoubtedly become one of my favorites.

The River Between: The subdued tempo and lack of distinct guitar tune make this song initially difficult to absorb. It seems to be missing the spark of previous song and only grabs your attention in the final minute when the pace picks up and some yodeling like vocals appear. I’m still undecided on this one and may need a few more listens before I make up my mind.

Her Design: Another enjoyable acoustic track that starts off with some Tambourine. While the chorus is rather repetitive it’s to Daniel’ credit that he can pull off lines like “Girl you look so good in the evening light, when the moon is right and the stars are bright”, without sounding sappy or cliché. At its roots it’s obviously a love song but the country like melody and background siren sound give this one a slightly hypnotic ambiance.

1981: Their second single starts with an electronic drumbeat that quickly shifts into gear with some crashing symbols and some tight guitar work. Rob’s industrious drumming is the real highlight of this track and help complement the catchy as hell hooks and the chorus “Pain won’t go away, even when the drugs say, I won’t forget”. It took me a while to get my head around the synthesiser style beat but this song has now become my favorite from the album.

Silver Heart: A moody sounding track with twanging guitar and thudding drums that picks up some speed and screaming vocals along the way. Brad gets a chance to show off his excellent bass skills while the collective shout of “Roof top, shout it out” gives everyone’s vocals a good workout.

Time: This multi layered finale is a fitting end to the album and demonstrates that Gyroscope have truly evolved into a dynamic and mature quartet. The masterful piano work and ambient sound effects evoke an ethereal Pink Floyd feel and Daniels singing reaches all new heights. Every time I hear the lyrics “Like a candle in the window” I’m reminded of the Elton John song and I can already imagine the fans swaying with their lighters out at the next concert.

After giving Breed Obsession a number of solid listens I can undoubtedly say that Gyroscope have smashed my expectations. They’ve delivered a memorable and diverse rock album with a perfect mixture of light and heavy music that should appeal to a broad demographic of listeners. The high production values also push the band into some new and interesting areas while still delivering the distinct Gyro sounds that fans have come to love.

As of writing the Breed Obsession album has now hit the #1 spot in the ARIA charts after it’s first week of release. Well done guys!

Gyroscope: Number 1 with a Bullet

x229y229I want to give a huge shout out to our boys Gyroscope who’s newest album Breed Obsession debuted at number #1 on the Aria charts.

I would also like to take credit in shooting the guys to superstardom as I bought their album twice. You’re welcome guys!

Their album has been getting rave reviews and was also the feature album on Triple J. Also being featured on the AFL ads for Channel 10 Gyroscope have been getting maximum exposure and it’s paid off.

I won’t be doing an album review in this post but Breed Obsession is yet another quality release which following on from Are You Involved? showcases a mature Gyroscope experimenting with new sounds while still doing what they do best.

After recently knocking off the Pre-Obsession Tour Gyroscope aren’t stopping for a breath before hitting the road again for the Breed Obsession Tour.

Gyroscope Breed Obsession Tour

Fri May 02 – Bar 388, Brisbane QLD (18+)

Thu May 08 – Settler’s Tavern, Margaret River WA (18+)

Fri May 09 – The Prince of Wales, Bunbury WA (18+)

Sat May 10 – The Capitol, Perth WA (18+)

Wed May 14 – Governor Hindmarsh, Adelaide SA (Licensed All Ages)

Fri May 16 – The Metro, Sydney NSW (Licensed All Ages)

Sat May 17 – The Hi-Fi Bar and Ballroom, Melbourne VIC (18+)

Sun May 18 – The Hi-Fi Bar and Ballroom, Melbourne VIC (Under 18 only, doors 1pm)

Tickets are available through and the usual outlets.

Gyroscope, Ruby’s Lounge, Round 2.

I’ve noticed this sites been getting a little bit lowbrow lately with all the youtube vids (Sorry Count), so I’ve decided to put my review of Gyroscope’s gig up.

I last saw Gyroscope at Ruby’s Lounge back in 2006 and even though the crowd was relatively small we stood out enough to get a song dedicated to “Those poor guys that have to work tomorrow”. I also meet the band in Ruby’s back stage area (behind a secret bookcase) where Count Knuckles chatted to them about their last album ‘Are you involved?’.

Even though I’ve seen them plenty of times since then (4 and counting), that gig still remains my most memorable and I therefore had high expectations when I heard that Gyroscope would be traveling to Ruby’s again in 2008.

After finding out that they wouldn’t be hitting the stage till 11:15 (groan) I only arrived to catch a few songs from Melbourne band Trial Kennedy. While their overall set was full of impressive rock beats the highlight came during their last song when Gyroscope’s lead singer Daniel Sanders joined them on stage to provide some backup singing. A couple of audience members also deciding to jump in on the act and provided some surprisingly decent vocals before they were dragged off stage by the security guards.

Following a delayed start Rob (drums), Brad (bass), Zoran (guitar) and Daniel (lead vocals, guitar) finally made their way up to the stage via a quick bypass through the crowd. After giving them a congratulatory pat on the back they kicked things off with Fast Girl. From the start of the set, Daniel was determined to literally make his mark on the venue after he hung off the stage curtain and nearly tore it down. He then proceeded to suspend his guitar from the roof after smashing it into the same spot that he had last time he played at Ruby’s (it still had the Gaffa tape there to prove it).

While I was initially expected Gyroscope to fully demo their upcoming album Breed Obsession they instead opted to play a broad range of material including 22 of 3, Confidence in confidentiality, Take this for granted and Are you getting any better?

Specific highlights of the night included their energetic album opener Don’t look now but I think I’m sweating blood which lived up to its namesake by having everyone intensely sweating it out in the mosh pit. Audience participation has always been a strong point of Gyroscope gigs and they didn’t disappoint when they provided vocal support to Daniel’s distinct crooning chorus during songs like A Slow Dance. Their biggest hit of the night Save Forever also had 200 + people perfectly singing in unison with the anthem “I did it for you girl!”. Older material like Driving For the Storm and Hallow Like Cheyenne also which went down well with longterm fans who could be distinguished by their ability to cite every lyric verbatim.

Quite only descended upon the patrons when they were absorbed into the atmospheric tunes of Raindrops, Dream Vs Scream and Sexxxy. These heartfelt ballads captivated the audience and demonstrated that Gyroscope are equal capable of delivering slower melodic numbers as well as harder hitting ones. They also showcased Daniel’s superb vocal ability and distinct dictation singing style which is always a pleasure to hear live. It was also interesting to hear him experiment with some reverb and echo effects which helped add some extra depth to the songs.

The atmosphere was then cranked up another two notches when the epic single Snakeskin was performed. The signature guitar hooks, breakdowns and catchy lyrics had the whole crowd absorbed and everyone gave a fantastic cheer when Zoran thanked them for voting it to an impressive # 16 spot on this years Triple J Hottest 100 countdown.

While I wasn’t originally sold on the electronic driven sound of their latest single 1981, after a couple of live listens I’m now completely addicted. While the synthesiser sounding drum beat gave it a slow pop style start it wasn’t long before memorable guitar work and a catchy chorus took hold of the crowd and had them bouncing with exuberance.

This was contrasted with another new track which was aptly titled O.K. The general lack of speed and energy didn’t really make it stand out, but it will probably grow on me after a few more listens. Due to some poorly timed guitar static I couldn’t make out the title of I think the other new song of the night was titled Weapon. Enemy. Friend  and had the whole band feeding off each other with thundering guitar riffs and powerhouse drumming.

The hour long set with concluded with the ever popular heavy hitting screaming classic Doctor Doctor and a surprise rendition of Nirvana’s Territorial Pissing which brought back fond memories of the days when I also used to sing the lines “Just because they’re paranoid, doesn’t meen they’re not watching you”.

Gyroscope then proved that they’re a ‘band for the people’ after Daniel sauntered into the crowd and played a guitar solo while being swamped by rabid photographers.

Overall this leg of the appropriately titled Pre Obsession tour impressed both new and old fans alike and confirmed that 2008 will finally be the year that Gyroscope will hit the big time. It’s about bloody time because in Daniel’s words “I’m already obsessed”.

Dirty Day Out

Hi all,

On Monday I attended my second Big Day Out and despite my earlier laments with the late 2nd round announcements and ticket allocation the day ended up being a lot of fun.

While the previous 2 years have been held at Princes Park this year the venue was the Flemington Showgrounds. While the site was large enough to accommodate everyone there were still one or two issues with the new site.

Since everything was spaced so far apart, it took about 10 min to walk from the main stages (blue and orange) to the others at the back, which was rather annoying if you were planning on seeing two bands playing at similar times. The second problem with Flemington was the amount of dirt that was present. In front of the stages every time the crowd went nuts it would go flying up into the air and everyone would come out of the mosh pit looking like filthy hobos. There was even dirt where the food stalls were situated (mmmm gritty) and throughout most of the music sets you could commonly hear the crowd chanting “We want water”.
Apart from this two gripes, overall the venue wasn’t too bad as the sound carry over problem noted in previous years was eliminated.

Anyway ignoring these issues how was the actual music?

Something for Numbers kicked things off on the main stage with a number of poptastic energetic songs. Jake Grigg’s spastic dancing and their catchy hit Apple Of The Eye managed to get the relatively small crowd toe tapping away before the next act.

Operator Please continued the pop theme with their youthful and energetic renditions of the opening song Get What You Want followed by Zero Zero, Yes Yes, 6/8 and Ghost, off their debut album Yes Yes Vindictive.
Since most of the people were probably there to hear their major radio hit A Song About Ping Pong, it came as no surprise that this songs received the greatest crowd participation. My highlights included their new single Leave It Alone and a fantastic cover of Devo’s Whip It. Overall Operator Please had a strong set list that proved that they’re more than one hit wonders.

The next act was a major departure from the first two and was the only real punk band of the day as indicated by the number of Mohawks present. Before I knew it Anti-flag had rushed onto stage and had belted out a number of songs off their last album (For Blood And Empire) including ,War sucks lets party, I’d Tell You But…, Exodus, One Trillion Dollars and The Press Corpse. They also played a song off their upcoming album The Bright Lights Of America which went down well. My favorite song was an old classic called Turncoat which had everyone righteously singing “Turncoat,Liar, Thief!”.
Overall the sound quality of the rest of the set wasn’t very good and Justin Sane’s vocals were washed out, making it hard to tell which song he was singing. However it didn’t stop the crowd joining in with the choruses and moshing like crazy. Bassist Chris #2 united with the audience by crowd surfing before the security guards dragged him back on stage. It was obvious he was the real spokesmen of the group when he fired up the crowd with some political and peace messengers. While some of these were a bit lame (turn to the person next to you and say hi), he was meet with a rousing applause when he congratulated us on getting rid of John Howard. It was good to see them kick off the political tone of the day which was later followed by other acts including Billy Bragg, The Nightwatchman aka:Tom Morello and Rage Against The Machine (who they’ve been supported in Australia).
Anti-flag’s forceful political approach did came across as preaching at times, but in the end its hard to beat the amount of passion, energy and excitement they put into their show.
Their explosive set concluded when they played This Is The End and appropriately smashed their guitar in true rock fashion.

Following all this excitement I decided to head out of the D-zone and go for a bit of a stroll. While I was scoping out for some food I strolled past the Green stage and nearly fell asleep on my feet after accidentally hearing some Josh Pike.
Coming back to the stage 20 min later I was all set for Gyroscopes set, but was surprised at how many people had staked out their spot at the front of the stage 1/2 hr before they were scheduled to begin. After an agonising wait (the heat was getting pretty bad at this stage), the massive crowd was pumped and everyone was talking about how much they looking forward to see these perth based boys again. Someone even mentioned the small gig they would be doing at Ruby’s Lounge, so let that be a lesson to get your tickets as they’re bound to sell out quickly. When Gyro finally hit the stage they were greeted with a rousing reception and they kicked things off with the ever popular song Beware Wolf and continued with Dream Vs Scream and Fast Girl which were as fantastic as ever. After asking whether anyone had seen them play in Melbourne before (3 times & counting) they then played an old song Driving For The Storm. Even though they don’t play it very often anymore it got the crowd going even more nuts. It was amazing to see how pumped everyone was and it was also great seeing the massive smiles on everyones faces and to hear them shout out every lyric word for word. They also played a few songs off their upcoming album Breed Obsession which all went down well. Their latest single 1981 was very impressive live and it will surely become a stable addition to future set lists. They then played their biggest hit Save Forever which caused a massive snake pit to open up with people waited for the break down to bounce right on in. At one point during the song Daniel just gave up singing the chorus and let the crowd take over while he decided to join them in the mosh pit. They then followed on with Don’t Look Now I’m Sweating Blood, Doctor Doctor and Confidence In Confidentiality. The strong set was then finished with their newest hit single Snakeskin, which rocked as hard as any of their other songs. All in all I would say it was one of the best Gyroscope moshpits i’ve ever been in and was undoubtedly the best Australian gig of the day. It’s just a shame they couldn’t play on one of the major stages and Daniel even sarcastically said “Thanks for putting us on a stage so far away from everything else”. I can’t wait to see them at a more intimate venue at Ruby’s Lounge.

Following this fantastic show I strolled back to the main stages to check the end of The Regurgitators set. While old songs like Kung Fu Sing, Black Bugs and Want To Be A Nudist still sounded good their new material was lacking a rock vibe. They did start to play Welcome To The Jungle, but right before the main rock riff they abruptly stopped. I think the bands career was probably best summed up when Quan said something along the lines of “This is a song from the 80′s, back when people knew who we were”.
Since I couldn’t see much of the act from where I was, I decided to give a shot at getting back inside the D-barrier. After a shitty 20 min wait the green light finally came on and there was a massive push through the cattle like barriers. It was the worst crush I’ve ever been in and it came as no surprise when the announcers told everyone off for pushing later on.

By this stage I had missed the end of Regurgitator but caught the Hilltop Hoods bombastic set. While I’m not really a fan of their style of music, the crowd seemed to love jumping up and down and clapped their hands whenever told (Now it makes sense why they used cattle barriers earlier). It was also kinda of funny to hear the audience’s boo’s when he mentioned that we were the state responsible for party boy Corey. They also had the backing of a orchestral accompaniment which was kinda cool and all their major hits went down well (don’t ask me the name of the songs).

At this time of the day someone had decided to crank up the volume another 10 notches and the bass was pushed up so much you could feel your bones vibrate. The same problem occurred with the remaining bands of the day but luckily I had some earplugs otherwise my hearing would have been permanently damaged. In fact it was so loud that most people had their fingers blocking their ears or had tried to stuff paper into them to avoid the excessive noise.

Grinspoon started their set, with the rock heavy number Black Tattoo and then flew through a number of other great tracks including Secrets, More Than You Are, What You Got? and Sweet As Sugar. While Phil lacked spark at the beginning it wasn’t long before he warmed up and got the crowd moshing hard with perennial classics such as Lost Control and 1000 miles. Slower numbers like Chemical Heart and the Phil’s acoustic rendition of Minute By Minute had everyone singing along and their new song Business = pleasure showed that they’re still capable of writing some great tunes 10 years later. Overall it seemed like the set just flew by and before you know it they had finishing up with the old fan favorite Champion.

Next up was the Canadian band Arcade Fire, who played an energetic set that was amazing to watch. It’s hard to explain their style of music to someone who hasn’t heard them but it probably fits somewhere in between instrumental folk music and Indie rock. All up there was about 10 people in the band that would all jump from one musical instrument to the next including guitars, violins, a mandolin, xylophone, keyboard, accordion and a crazy wind up fiddle called a hurdy gurdy. There was also a drum set at the front made up of bike helmets and a couple of cymbals which band members would constantly go over to and hit. The only downside to the set was that it seemed to drag on a bit. Most songs were over 6 mins long and at one stage one of the singers mentioned that they better hurry up a bit as they only had 30 min to finish their remaining 3 or so songs.

When Silverchair hit the stage they received rather of a luck warm reception with their slow opening song Emotion Sickness. The set list mainly consisted of their newer wanky material which was a shame as it was often distorted with too much synthesizer and the backing vocals couldn’t be heard at all. Supposedly Silverchair don’t like to play as much older material live anymore which is a shame as the highlights of the set included Anna’s Fire, Freak and Israel’s Son. Throughout the show Daniel Johns kept commenting on how he couldn’t hear the crowd and his attempts to get them more involved only resulted in him being slandered and having things thrown at him. In between one of the songs someone behind me pelted a thong which managed to ricochet off his guitar with a perfect twang sound and resulted in Daniel calling him a cunt. This abuse continued when people questioning if he was gay since he was wearing a garter over his leggings to which he responded “I’m not gay, I recently got engaged” the offender was then singled out when he said “This next songs is dedicated to everyone but you”. While Silverchair’s music wasn’t too bad it did highlight that their best days are behind them and that Daniel Johns is a tosser.

At this point I would have loved to leave the D-zone and check out some Brand New on the green stage. However considering it would be impossible to get back in to see Rage Against The Machine I opted to sit through Bjorks set. She received a rather energetic greeting from the relatively small crowd, when she marched out in what looked like a clown costume and she later proceded to shoot some streamers out of her sleeves . However after a couple of long and boring songs I’d had enough of her eccentric crazy music and decided to sit down and rest my weary legs (at this stage I had been standing for about 9 hrs). Things did pick up a little at the end with a couple of tribal techno infused songs and a laser light which had the hippy fans dancing like crazy. The hour long set was concluded by two massive jets of confetti shooting out into the crowd.

Thankfully struggling through Bjorks noisy set was well worth the wait as I was rewarded with a prime position to see headlining act Rage Against The Machine. Situated 4 people from the front left of the stage I had a perfect vantage point of the whole stage. The air was electric with anticipation for a band that hadn’t played together for over 7 years. After a short wait Rage started in style with their massive hit Testify. Straight away the crowd was energised into the most receptive mosh pit that I’ve ever been in. Everyone in sight was bouncing up and down and shouted every chorus with as much passion as Zach de la Rocha. It was great to see him enjoying himself so much and for every song he was either jumping around or had a giant grin on his face. Luckily the excessive bass volume heard in previous acts of the day was non existent and the whole band was in top form. Drummer Brad Wilk belted with power and conviction, Tim Commerford complemented with tasty bass licks and Tom Morello confirmed his guitar hero status with his patented and unique guitar riffs. They then followed on with all their classics including Bulls On Parade, People Of The Sun, Bomb Track, Down Rodeo, Bullet In The Head, Know your enemy, Tire Me, Guerrilla Radio, Calm Like A Bomb, Sleep Now In The Fire and Wake Up. The tireless energy and enthusiasm from the band and crowd didn’t let up for the hour long set which was only stopped when one of the organisers came onto the stage before the encore. I couldn’t see most of it where I was but supposedly during the show people had climbed scaffolding, marquee and trees to get a better vantage point. A couple of dudes ended up falling off the beer marquee with one suffering a dislocated shoulder and another with spinal shock. While the police and security guards dragged away most of the offenders, there was still one guy in a tree that wouldn’t get down. I saw everyone threw bottles, shoes and rubbish at him, but the best moment was when someone shot a flare at him (so much for security checks). I will forever remember this moment as the whole 46,000 strong crowd went woooh! Even though it missed him, he eventually got down and Rage Against The Machine quickly came back for their encore. Just when I thought they couldn’t top their previous performance they smashed my expectations with Freedom and the closing song Killing In The Name Of. Zach needn’t to have bothered singing the chorus as when the lights lite up everyone was jumping up down, flipping the bird and shouting “Fuck you I won’t do what you told me!”. That moment would have to go down as my most favorite live event of all time and I would have payed $130 just for that song.

Despite the dirt, overall this years Big Day Out shat over the 2004 one I attended in Adelaide and I’m already looking forward to the next one.

Woo! My Biggest Post Ever (2,800 words)

Gyroscope play at Rubies Lounge

Gyroscope play at Rubies Lounge