Best gigs of 2011

Here’s a totally subjective list of the top five gigs I went to in 2011. Enjoy

5. Ball Park Music @ The Gaelic Club

In July I went to Sydney for two weeks of PR work experience, Thai food and gigs. I spent most of my trip realising just how much of a stereotypical Melburnian I am (wearing black, eating from lane ways and being obsessed with decent coffee don’t bode so well in Sydney) and sizing up our rival city’s live music scene.

Towards the end of my trip I got sick, but luckily one of the friends I made convinced me to see Ball Park Music launch It’s Nice to be Alive. Having written them off as just another sunny Brisbane band, I was completely blown away by their shambolic and fun live show. I’ve seen them since and  was not disappointed.

4. Harvest Festival @ Werribee Mansion 

Life Music Media

With the cancellation of Soundwave Counter Revolution many were expecting Harvest The Gathering to fail. However with a killer line-up and a relaxed atmosphere it showed how one day festivals should be done. Unless you wanted to eat, drink or use the bathrooms that is.

Much has been said about the queuing situation and the lack of beer and it did put a dampener on what would have been an amazing festival. But with bands like The National, The Flaming Lips, Mogwai and Portishead on the bill, the music made up for the terrible organisation.

3. Will Sheff @ The Toff

It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of both Okkervil River and The Toff and Will Sheff’s solo show totally exceeded my expectations. With excellent support from Mike Noga and Jimmy Stewart there wasn’t a fault the entire night. Except for perhaps Mike Noga’s hangover.

The songs from I Am Very Far really shone without the layered instrumentation that bogs down the entire album, revealing the great tracks that lie underneath. We were also treated to some older tracks such as Happy Hearts and The President’s Dead, which has seem largely forgotton since its muse left the White House.

2. Pulp @ Festival Hall

The Vine

Reunion shows are often quick cash-grabs that leave the audience unsatisfied. But there was none of this to be had when Pulp played Festival Hall after almost fifteen years since their last Australia visit.

Their intelligent brand of britpop is just as relevant as ever and despite the lack of new material, the band played as though they still had something to prove.The set was largely made of their greatest hits with surprises such as Like a Friend and Party Hard thrown in for good measure and it was perfect. In fact this would have been the best gig of the year if it wasn’t for a certain festival in country Victoria.

1.Meredith Music Festival

Meredith Music Festival combines all the things a festival should have: no clashes, acts that play in a mixtape-esque order and a very, very relaxed BYO policy.

With bands ranging from the hilarious Viking hair metal of Barbarion to the 1920’s stylings of Frank Fairfield there was literally something for everyone provided their tastes extended beyond the top 40. The lack of clashes meant that there were no difficult decisions in picking bands to see and most importantly we got to see Grinderman go out on a high. While the secret act turned out to be DJs it was the only downer in an otherwise perfect weekend.

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Music News Round-Up

Did everyone have a good long weekend? I spent mine camping with my family in the rain. Next to a tent that almost exclusively played dubstep and another who had a baby. Never again.

Anyway, here’s some music news to accompany your hangover.

 

After one album and countless drummers, Philadelphia Grand Jury have called it quits for good. The band announced a hiatus is March, but today they revealed on Twitter that the band has broken up:

“After years of touring together, recording together, working together and living together, we’ve decided we need our own space. Big, big thanks to everyone who has supported us and given us the opportunity to have what is pretty much a dream existence. Most of all, thanks to all the drummers that have put up with us both.”

The band were incredibly fun live and Hope is for Hopers, although cheesy in places, still holds up well. It’s a real shame to see them go.

 

This is the first result for the BDO on google images. Yup.

Viven Lees and Ken West, the promoters behind The Big Day Out parted ways after 20 years. Lees has pulled out of the partnership, stating that he wants to spend more time with his family. Ken West will become the festivals sole promoter.

AJ Maddah is continuing his run of being the most frustrating promoter in Australia.

Hole have pulled out of Soundwave 2012, which of course resulted in a spate of hilarious tweets.

As far as Harvest news goes, Kevin Devine’s sideshows were cancelled with no proper announcement (I’m still mad) and festival attendees in Brisbane and Sydney can only bring one sandwich (no word on baguette or rolls).

The full details for travel announcements, etc can be found here.

 

Festival News

The 2011 Raggamuffin Festival has been cancelled in Australia after five years. The reggae festival’s acts included UB40, Billy Ocean and Marvin Priest. The organisers will refund ticket and will be focusing on New Zealand’s leg of the festival instead.

More acts have been announced for Harvest, with many of them already rumoured for sometime. They are Mogwai, Tv on the Radio, Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah and Seekae. Kevin Devine has also joined the line-up after the Soundwave Revolution disaster.

The clashes can and will make you cry.

It’s Big Day Out rumour time again. We’ve already had a bunch of rumours that proved to be false (Eminem, Blink 182) as well as the usual culprits (Radiohead, David Bowie, Elvis) but now a new source has emerged.

@BigDayOutSpy has been posting clues on twitter about who will be playing the festival. So far five acts have been “announced.” Best to take these with the biggest grain of salt you can find:

The Vaccines

Josh Pyke

Boy & Bear

Florence and the Machine

The Decemberists