Glenn Richards @ The Toff 25/08/2011

There is little doubt Glenn Richards is one of this country’s best songwriters. While commercial success may have eluded him (aside from that song) a large crowd gathered at the Toff to watch him play a set of old and new favourites with some help from Drones members Mike Noga and Dan Luscombe.

As someone who is used to seeing Mike Noga behind a drum kit, it was a pleasant surprise to see how competent he is as a solo performer. Walking on with a bourbon and coke in a red wine glass, he dived right into a set of no-nonsense folk. He has the kind of weathered, gravely voice that makes you hang on to his every word and it appeared the mostly silent crowd did just that.

Piss On A Butterfly resulted in a wager with the crowd to guess the musical heroes mentioned in the song but ended up with a few people shouting wildly incorrect guesses, while album opener M’Belle went down a treat.

His set was the first sign of things to come tonight with technical difficulties making their way into the set. Mike’s harmonica rack was all but useless and after fixing it in between songs, he ended up ripping it in half. Luckily Augie March guitarist Adam Donovan stepped in to become a human- harmonica holder.

Glenn Richards and Dan Luscombe looked nervous as they started the set, with Richards commenting on how he was unnerved by the size Melbourne after moving to Hobart. However once they started playing, they seemed more at ease, beginning with Glimjack highlights Apple of My Eye and Paint By Numbers. Glenn Richards was in top vocal form and the crowd were lapping up every minute of the their performance. While he often claimed that they lied about the quality banter in the press release, he did admit to watching Augie March videos on YouTube when he was drunk, leading into a fine rendition of The Cold Acre.

The second half of the set was plagued by technical difficulties. Richards was having trouble tuning which resulted in the crowd losing interest and an awkward impromptu cover of Whitney Huston’s The Greatest Love of All. Luckily things got back on track when the sound teach managed to source a new battery and cable for Richards’ guitar, leading into a run of some of Augie March’s best tracks.Dan Luscombe showed off his ability to play by ear on Lupus which he hadn’t practiced and One Crowded Hour’s appearance in the set was more than welcome. The set finished off with the much requested Sunstroke House and This Train Will Be Taking No Passengers, complete with an appearance from Mike Noga.

While it was let-down by technical issues, the night was a great showcase of some of Australia’s best musicians and song-writers.


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A Couple of Covers

Pulp frontman and total DILF Jarvis Cocker has recorded a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Avalanche with Boyz Noize and Erol Alkan. The lyrics are taken straight from Cohen’s song and no one does spoken word quite like Jarvis, however the electronic beats get a bit repetitive. I can see die-hard Leonard Cohen fans hating this one with a passion.

Although I was born in the 90s, I missed out on most of the great music. So instead Pavement and Nirvana, I got Hanson and the Spice Girls. On of the other tracks I was heavily into was Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65. Please tell me I wasn’t the only one who aruged about whether the lyrics were “If I was green I  would die.”

Yellow Ostrich have done an excellent cover of this song and have turned the trashy Europop into Animal Collective style indie. A bit of a novelty cover, sure, but it’s very well executed.

Tuesday Covers 14/06/2011

 

To say it’s been awhile since my last covers post is something of an understatement. But I’ll make it up to you. I promise.

The only Splendor Sideshow I’m going to this year will be Pulp. And there’s a 99% chance I’ll turn into a screaming fangirl at the mere sight of Jarvis Cocker. Seeing it’s the first time the band have come to Australia is almost 15 years, I thought I’d share a Nick Cave cover. It’s a little bit sleazy and a whole lot of amazing.

Nick Cave- Disco 2000 (Pulp cover).mp3

How good is the new Bon Iver album? Not that you need to me to tell you, because no doubt you’ve already heard it and swooned to your heart’s content. He’s also released some damn good covers over the years, including a version of Vashti Bunyan’s Train Song, which Feist and Ben Gibbard covered for Dark Was The Night. but really, I just have a soft spot for indie musicians who like cats.

Bon Iver-Train Song (Vashti Bunyan Cover).mp3

Tuesday Covers 7/12/10

It’s about time I started this covers thing again.

The Antlers recorded a cover of The Xx’s VCR quite a while ago, and like everything else they’ve recorded, it’s a tad depressing, but strangely addictive. Sometimes I seriously wonder about Peter Silberman’s mental health.

The Antlers- VCR (The Xx Cover).mp3

A few years ago a Finn Brothers tribute album She Will Have Her Way featured cover songs from female artists. Now a follow-up compilation, He Will Have His Way gives the blokes a go at covering New Zealand’s finest exports. While most of the album is a bit hit and miss, which is to be expected from this kind of thing, Boy and Bear’s cover of Fall At Your Feet is everything a cover should be. It retains the spirit of the original while distinctly being a Boy and Bear Song. If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s a must listen.

Boy and Bear Fall At Your Feet (Crowded House Cover).mp3

 

Scott Spark Covers New Buffalo

Scott Spark is one of my favourite artists at the moment. Despite the glut of male singer-songwriters in this country, he manages to stand out and his debut album Fail Like you Mean It is quirky, honest and rediculously catchy.

He has finally recorded his version of New Buffalo’s I’m The Drunk and You’re the Star, which he has been playing live for the last little while. Although it isn’t drastically different from the orginal, it’s still a fanstastic listen and if you’re yet to hear any of Scott Spark’s music, I recommend you give a listen and then quickly rush out and buy his album.

Scott Spark- I’m the Drunk and You’re the Star.mp3

Matt Corby @ The Toff 08/07/10

Matt Corby was only 16 when he was the runner-up on the 2007 series of Australia Idol. A lot has changed since then. He’s grown a beard, released an EP and has proved that it is possible for decent music to come out of a reality TV show. Tonight a sold-out, mostly female crowd braved Melbourne’s weather to watch him launch the debut single from his upcoming album.

Thanks to Melbourne’s wonderful public transport system, I managed to miss most of Ben Abraham’s set. What I did see was great. Joined by a guitarist, he played the kind of laid back folk music that would make Jack Johnson feel slightly inferior. He performed a great acoustic cover of Gotye’s Heart’s a Mess, complete with an enthusiastic crowd sing-a-long. If there’s one thing that has to be said about Ben Abraham’s set, it’s his brilliant knack at crowd interaction. And after telling us that we works with the Starlight Foundation, there wasn’t a woman in the audience who didn’t want to take him home to meet their mum. He finished with his track Going Crazy, which also featured a crowd-sing-a-long, with two sides of the room trying to out sing each other. There’s no doubt that the mostly seated crowd loved every minute of it.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for Tara Simmons. Emerging on stage in an impressive reflective outfit, she spent the set behind her keyboard playing a mixture of offbeat pop songs that varied between the sounds of Regina Spektor and La Roux. While here songs were good, she didn’t engage the audience and it was clear that many lost interest during her set. That said there were still some great moments. She introduced each song, and the story behind it, which worked effectively with the tracks Everybody Loves You, about her brother when he was sick and my personal favourite Rosemary a track a dedicated to a particularly unpleasant customer at work. Part of the crowd disinterest was probably due to her playing before Matt Corby and there’s no doubt she would be a million times better in a headline show.

After a bit of a wait and the heater being turned up to uncomfortable levels, Matt Corby and his band took to the stage and were greeted by a cheering crowd. As soon as he opens his mouth to sing it becomes instantly clear why he did so well on Australian Idol. His voice is amazing and manages to silence an entire room full of eager female fans, which is no easy feat. He sings over loops of his voice, much like an Australian Bon Iver and adds layers that make him stand out from the rest of the singer-songwriter pack. He launches straight into My False, a Mumford and Sons style folk song with a whistling solo that has the potential to get stuck in your head for days.

While the tempo did slow down from there, it was by no means boring. He told the crowd about getting lost on the way to Melbourne and having a pay for a parking ticket before launching into some more tracks. While most of the songs he played were not on his Songs For… EP, the crowd didn’t lose interest and he was met with thunderous applause at each song’s finish. One of the definite highlights of the night was Letters, a sweet acoustic song that was the public’s first glimpse into the kind of music that he could create. Switching to keys for the last two songs, he played a jazz inspired number that fit in well with the rest of the set.

As soon as he left the stage the chants for an encore began. He introduced the final track of the night as the song he wished he’d written before putting on a deep voice and launching into a cover of Amazing Grace, which understandably, had a mixed reaction from the crowd.

Matt Corby is one of those rare artists who have escaped the reality TV mould to create moving and interesting music and if tonight was anything to go by, we’ll be hearing a lot more from him.

You can hear some of his tracks on his Triple J Unearthed page.

Tuesday Covers 11/05/10

There are very few bands that can cover The Smiths successfully. They are one of those bands that almost everyone over the age of 14 has loved at some point or another and I have a feeling that in 50 years time miserable teenagers will still be scribbling their lyrics on their school diaries (although Generation Z has Bieber fever so maybe not). It is because of this attachment that very few bands can cover them without failing miserably. Hell, even Radiohead seemed to struggle a little when they covered The Headmaster Ritual. And don’t even get me started on Death Cab For Cutie butchering the lyrics to This Charming Man.

There is one Smiths cover that I actually like. It’s the Lucksmith’s version of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. Instead of imitation Morissey they turn the song into quite a sweet duet.

The Lucksmiths-There is a Light That Never Goes Out.mp3

As far as most people are concerned Iceland has two things: a unpronouncable, angry volcano and Sigur Ros. Which is more than enough for me to want to go there for my next holiday.

As most of you probably know Sigur Ros’s frontman Jonsi has released a solo album called Go. While it’s a good album hearing him sing in English takes some getting used to and takes away some of the mystery of Sigur Ros, not that they’re a lyrics band by any means.

He’s done a cover of MGMT’s Time To Pretend and it’s pretty good. It’s worth listening to just for his pronunciation of the word “vomit.”

Jonsi- Time to Pretend.mp3