Songbirds

No doubt the Barossa is a prime spot for scenic views, fine wine and gourmet food – tourists from all over Australia and the world visit for just that reason – and us South Australians are proud of it, rightfully so. Adding the Fringe into the mix not only colours the area and makes it more vibrant for us all, but the locals come out in a display of support and it’s something city-folk need to see. The Barossa isn’t all about commerce; it doesn’t have to be so high-end. The Barossa is about community and its art, and Songbirds proved it.

Last night, in a massive shed of a primary school gymnasium in Tanunda, five singer / songwriters from the Barossa got together to celebrate the women who came before them. Promising something rustic and refined, something authentically local, the venue was decorated with flowing white curtains above a stage full of instruments (mostly acoustic guitars) and white candles enclosed in twigs and gum leaves centred on long, shared tables. There was a collective feeling in the air of laid-back class. After Sue Baker, Victoria Blechynden, Cara Boehm, Cloudy Davey, and Megan Isaacson performed their first song, which they sang as a group, the women took off their shoes and got comfortable. They joked with one another and with their audience, and then got down to story-telling.

Storytelling can take many forms, and the packed house of 250 people heard two: an introduction to what the notable singer and their songs meant to each artist, and the songs themselves. Supported by an all-male band playing guitars, double bass, drums, sax, dobro and mandolin (with the ever-versatile Jamie Blechynden playing most of them) the women covered the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Ricky Lee Jones, Eva Cassidy, Joni Mitchell and many beloved, iconic more, proving they weren’t one-trick ponies by switching and swapping instruments throughout the night. Sometimes folk, sometimes soul, sometimes political, sometimes feel-good, the women were always professional, which is a big call for a Fringe show as the concept behind the festival can mean productions might be very grass-roots with a high hit-or-miss rate. But these women are serious artists, and the audience got just what they came for (the wine, platters and desserts cost extra and were also worth the price, surprisingly modest at that). The individual personalities came out not only in how each woman communicated their passion for music, their chosen musicians and the women they shared the stage with, but also in their original songs, because what would a night of singer / songwriters be without originals? And with those originals a theme emerged within the group: finding yourself then letting yourself go.

As our emcee told us, Tanunda means ‘many water birds’ making Songbirds a perfect coming-together.

4.5/ 5 stars


Words by Heather Taylor Johnson

This was a one-off event for the Barossa Fringe but you can view it live-streamed here:  https://www.facebook.com/Songbirds2020/

Welcome to the Nightmare – A tribute to Alice Cooper

When the evening began with a clown dragging a shackled nun to the stage it soon became evident that Alice Cooper was not being covered – he was being embodied. Retro Production’s Welcome to the Nightmare – A tribute to Alice Cooper is a wickedly diverse two-act show spanning across the greatest hits of this 70’s icon. Expect costume changes, theatrics, props, and of course, legendary rock songs such as ‘I’m Eighteen’, ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’, ‘Department of Youth’, ‘School’s Out’, and more.

Dave Hudson shines on vocals, proving to be competent in handling the bellowing lows and threatening highs of each song. His stage presence is immense as he adopts the mannerisms of Cooper, almost making it seem as if the music has completely taken over him. He orchestrates his band much like a conductor at times (but if a conductor ruled with a long shiny sword rather than a baton). He plays around with the band, weaving in and out as if he is wildly encapsulated by the sounds being produced.

The band themselves are a true highlight of the performance, plenty of skills are on display from their guitarists, Chris Anthony & Richard Poray who both ooze of style and passion as they play. Steve Smith is thunderous on the drums (and notably adorns a Guy Fawkes mask during the second act), and Jason Anderson blasts the bass with ease as Ashley Miller provides the final touches on keyboards. The all-singing and all-screaming back-up vocals accompany the band with a well-balanced stage presence. Collectively the band covers Cooper’s classics with relentless energy and stamina often leaving you thinking “wait, they aren’t going to take a breather after that?”

Theatrics also play a huge role in this performance. While the specifics won’t be detailed, it has to be mentioned that there are live-snakes and a guillotine. They bode well as extensions of the music and provide many crowd-pleasing moments as a result.

Between the two acts, the first is noticeably stronger theatrically. While the second act certainly has its abundance of musical successes, the theatrics seem to become somewhat repetitive at points and drag for just a little too long. One particular moment involving a spider verges on becoming a little awkward.

That being said, these minor issues do not overshadow the successes of the experience. It is needless to say that Welcome to the Nightmare – A tribute to Alice Cooper is a fitting ode to its subject. Just try not to get too freaked out by the abundance of baby dolls littered across the stage!

4/ 5 stars


Words by Isaac Freeman

 

Welcome to the Nightmare – A tribute to Alice Cooper plays again on February 21 at the Clovercrest Hotel and on February 27 at the Marion Cultural Centre.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Spin Off Festival 2019

We all know Adelaide flies under the radar: we are often defined by the Malls Balls or our filtered water. Although we aren’t considered to be the artistic hub of Australia, little old Adelaide is home to one of the most vibrant art scenes in our country. The proof is in the festival pudding. The most recent example: Spin Off Festival 2019.

For those who are not familiar with this festival, Spin Off states that it brings ‘the cream of the Splendour in the Grass line up to Adelaide, curating a concentrated super dose of sideshow revelry’. It was a concentrated super dose of talent, but not for a second did this festival feel like a sideshow.

We were blessed with a divine day. In the midst of what has been a cool Adelaide winter, the sun showed its face, the air was still, and it was blue skies as far as the eye could see. The space was decked out with food trucks that bordered grassed areas, and a KFC tent was providing free food on the hour. Transmission – who run Adelaide’s regular indie music nights – set up a dance floor that was buzzing well into the evening. Our showground was filled with so many beautiful, energised, and groovy people.

The day kicked off with Kian, our young hip-hop, indie singer who melts hearts left, right and centre. The Australian rapper Kwame, known for his performance energy, was unmatchable on stage. Around lunch time, Ruby Fields brought waves of crazed fans through the gate to see her rock out with her appealing angsty vibe. Mallrat followed – wearing the most fabulous red, frilly two piece– and drew us in with her sweet nature and infectious liveliness. The flow didn’t stop! The surf and garage rock duo Hockey Dad impressed, backed with artistic on-screen visuals, Wolf Alice gave us the music for a solid, high energy dance session, and Ocean Alley, as the modern reggae fusion group they are, did not disappoint their devoted fans. Ball Park Music were next and have established themselves as irreplaceable in the Australian music scene, always pleasing with their honest, upbeat tunes. Catfish and the Bottlemen were the penultimate act and, from what I heard, were a huge influence on the large attendance at this year’s festival. Boy, are these guys loved, and their music is what I like to call ‘boogie friendly’ – it’s awfully hard not to get into it. And then there was Childish Gambino. The big one. What talent. What spectacle. His dramatic display was captivating, and I have very rarely been a part of a crowd so enthralled by a performer. Gambino will be spoken about for generations, and Adelaide was stoked to have him here.

The thing about any festival, is there is a strong sense of community. For however long a festival lasts – a single day or an entire weekend – festival goers get to know the space and all its nooks and crannies: a festival and its set up grows to feel like home in a mere few hours. People bond over a shared experience, and sweaty bodies getting down for a groove creates a unique intimacy. But in our city, I can’t help thinking that these festivals are even more close-knit. You could stand in a single spot in our showgrounds filled with thousands of humans, and bump into half of the people in your life. In the mosh, all you have to do is look both ways and you are guaranteed to lock eyes with a familiar face. It’s nice to think of this city, and the young people who go to these events, as an interlocked community.

Adelaide not only showed up for Spin Off, but we gave the national and international artists before us a bloody good time. Good on us!

 


Words by Michelle Wakim

Photograph by Stazi Markovich

 

Nirvana – Nevermind the Singer

The Fringe has brilliantly recaptured the essence of many a great musical era over the years, with cover bands inspiring the new generations and yet fuelling the nostalgia of many seniors who come back to a simpler time temporarily, in the short captivation of a single performance. One talented group, in all its glory, milks the essence of the 90’s precursor of grunge. Nirvana- Never Mind the Singer by Great White Productions became a little something to diversify the Fringes’ entertaining reaches across Adelaide.

Upon entering the well renounced Crown and Anchor venue just a corner away from the action of Rundle Street, the back room had filled to capacity. The crowd formed a hoard of ex-rockers snug up against the stage front and inevitably piled all the way to the peeling band posters at the rear. It wasn’t long before the screeching of distorted guitars arose the morbidity and excitement of Kurt Cobain’s unique style and so, as the pun intends, the band kicked off in chronological order the tracks from Nirvana’s Nevermind album, with the hit song Smells Like Teen Spirit in the lead.

In an unexpected twist, the band featured two females of the five vocalists, which produced an aura of perpetual tone shifts amongst the high octaves and the low octaves in each piece.  With some dominating as lead and some supporting as backup, the transition of vocal ranges made for a great show all in all, achieving a wide spectrum of sound that any trained ear can appreciate.

The instrumental efforts were close with the original recordings, and for the fans, that really fulfilled the desire to witness a live act of such a pioneering sound.

Loud and abound, the atmosphere continued to increase, and each song began to peak higher and higher as the voice boxes of the singers began to tear. Personally, the energy from Territorial Pissings blew me away, as the notable song to end in Cobain’s chaotic screams, you could see the exertions upon each face as they screamed in unison.

Unfortunately, the show was a one night only. However, if you have a chance, come as you are to see Nirvana: Nevermind the Singer.


Four stars

Words by Sarah Ingham

Florence + the Machine at Botanic Park

A week ago, Botanic Park served as an enchanting setting for a flawless group of performers. We were gathered, by the hundreds, to see Florence + the Machine: the evening was pure and utter magic.

Before I dive into the perfection that was Florence + the Machine, I must elaborate on the curtain-raisers that set the foundations for everything wonderful to come. First up was the strapping Marlon Williams. Marlon appeared on stage in sports shorts matched with

marlon 2
Marlon Williams – part Elvis, part San Cisco’s Jordi – at the Botanic Park.

high socks and dress shoes, making quite the first impression. One of my pals managed to describe him to a ‘T’: Marlon Williams, in music and persona, is a sweet, sweet combination of Elvis, with his hip movements saying it all, and San Cisco’s lead singer Jordi, with his cheeky, alternative vibe. Marlon’s blues and folk music is far from generic and a pleasure to listen to. Wowee, this New Zealander is one to add to your list

 

Next to the stage was Leon Bridges who brought with him enough swag to make the whole of Adelaide ooze with grooviness. His band, possibly the most attractive collective you will ever lay eyes on, were spectacular in accompanying the singer’s silky tones. This

leon bridges
Leon Bridges, performing before Florence + the Machine.

soul artist, wearing the most fabulous pants I’ve seen in years, is huge in the US: Leon Bridges performed for some of his greatest fans, Michelle and Barack Obama, in their humble White House. I know in my music mix soul is severely underrepresented, and Leon successfully fills that void. Do yourself a favour and give this guy spin.

Now to the top spot, the shining star, the main attraction. Allow me to set the scene: Florence + the Machine. Botanic Park. A steamy summer night in January.

From the moment the barefoot goddess took to the stage, the audience were completely hers. Florence entered in the most dramatic and graceful fashion, slowly exposing herself from behind the wooden on-stage sets before belting out June from her new album High as Hope. As she pranced, lept and swirled across the stage, her immaculate vocals echoed out over Adelaide’s most spectacular park in clearer tones than heard on any recording. Florence wore a flowing, sheer, lavender dress that, along with the microphone, served as an extension of her body. The lighting design was exceptional and spotlights caught the red-haired beauty in a way that accentuated her presence and power.

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Florence Welch performing January 16, 2019.

 

Florence + the Machine was not a music concert, but an emotional event that demanded our participation. The night was filled with expressions of hope, love and change – expressions that this tender world needs at present. Florence revealed elements of herself, such as her shyness and her anxious tendencies, which made her more endearing and inviting than ever expected. The audience responded to her honesty, particularly in how they celebrated her music. Florence + the Machine’s recent hit single Hunger was belted with strength from every corner of the Park, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. South London Forever tinkered on heart strings and brought forth conversations relevant those who are lost and finding purpose. By the time we got to Dog Days, the crowd were moving powerfully as one. I had to remove my dangly earrings just so I could jump along and match the energy those around me. Throughout the night we were asked to hold hands with those around us, hug others, even strangers, and tell them we love them, and to put our phones away so we can have an ‘experience’. It was all intensely visceral, and as one of my friends so wonderfully expressed, Florence is more of a force than a woman.

During nights like these, there is always something bigger at play. If we learnt anything, it’s that Florence and the artists that joined her on stage signify the role art plays in this world. These individuals demonstrated how creativity and mediums such as music allow for connections that are missing in our sometimes fragmented world. If art makes life palatable, life was very, very tasty the night that Florence and her crew came to town.

Later that night, our humble city of Adelaide was the first Australian city to receive a thank you from Florence + the Machine on Instagram. Looks like they felt the love too.

 


Words and performance photos by Michelle Wakim.

In Conversation: Boo Seeka

Boo Seeka are coming to Adelaide on November 24 and 25 to play two free shows at the Grand Bar and the Walkers Arms Hotel,. The shows are part of the Corona Sunset Presents tour which will see the electronic hip-hop duo tour five states for twenty shows. Tulpa Magazine leapt at the chance to talk to Ben Gumbleton in the lead up to their tour.

Beginning by enquiring what attracted them to the tour, Ben says that it was a couple of things. ‘One, we’re a big fan of Corona’, and ‘two, I think it’s an amazing thing what Corona are doing bringing these Summer Sessions to launch in to summer’. He adds that the Sunsets tour allows them ‘to give back to our audience by doing free shows at places we’ve never done any free shows since the beginning of Boo Seeka’.

It’s quite an ambitious undertaking,twenty shows across five states, spread over a month and endingshortly before Christmas. But that didn’t phase Boo Seeka. ‘To bequite honest we were saying “how many shows do you reckon we cando?” and “how many can you throw at us?” We love touring. Wewould play 365 nights a year if we could,’ said Ben. Last year theydid a tour for their first album Never Too Late as well as atour for their single and those ‘were about 35 shows a tour aroundAustralia and that was before jumping on a plane and going and doing56 shows in the States and 47 shows throughout Europe and the UK’.

With talk of their international endeavours, that necessitates the question: where is there favourite place to tour internationally? Ben’s answer is clear. ‘I really liked America. We’ve been over there a few times. I love Europe and the UK as well but there’s just something about America and they just seem to be way more into their music. Especially playing to the college kids – they’re just so into having an amazing time and enjoying life.’

Turning to the duo’s favourite place to tour within Australia, Ben says that’s a harder question to answer. ‘Every show’s a bit of a new experience and even when you go back to the same place it’s somewhat of a different show’ and can be altered by factors such as ‘playing in a bigger room than you were last time or the people know more songs than they did last time or it’s on Saturday instead of a Thursday night’. He stresses that there’s not ‘one place that’s better to play than others but we really love to play new places and seeing people show up knowing the songs’. He does add, however, that there is something special about playing a new town. ‘We played Tamworth and Armidale on the last tour and a lot of the kids there didn’t really think it was going to be us that were going to show up because they don’t really get any bands going out there and it’s kind of a shame to hear that. I really hope that more bands would go out and tour rurally.’

One of the selling points (or it would be were the tickets not free) for Corona’s Sunsets Presents tour is that they play in more out-of-the-way, community areas. Rather than just having an “Adelaide” performance, they will play at both Glenelg’s Grand Bar and Walkerville’s Walkers Arms. ‘I think these venues are going to be a lot different to playing the Gov or the Fat Controller and that’s the amazing thing of going out with Corona and playing all these very different places. We probably wouldn’t have played these venues if we were going back to South Australia on our own tour.’ He explains that it’s ‘probably going to be a very different crowd’ as people will come to a Boo Seeka show for the first time as tickets are free. ‘That’s one of the main differences, playing to maybe 50% of the crowd that’s never been to a Boo Seeka show.’

In a career that has seen many heights and successes across its recent years, we wonder what has proven their highlights. ‘I know it’s a cliché but it’s the monumental things like getting our song on the radio [for the first time] to selling out our first show to selling out our first ever headline tour. Getting to play Splendour in the Grass, Live at the Wireless, and playing with all these amazing bands that otherwise I’d be standing out front [of the crowd] with Corona in hand, saying how amazing the festival or show is.’ Ben says, ‘It’s just amazing how now we get to do this for a living. Sometimes you’ve got to pinch yourself.’

With all this the duo has achieved and all they are currently doing; the future will have a lot to live up to. ‘We’re actually right among the decision-making of when we’re going to put out the next single. The next single’s ready to go.’ And a new album is on the way too, ‘I can safely say that now.’

Until then, you can check Boo Seeka out at the Grand Bar in Glenelg on November 24 and the Walkers Arms on November 25 in the Corona Sunsets Presents tour series. You can find the rest of their tour dates here.


Words by Liam McNally

A Nice Time to be Alive: Ruby Fields, San Cisco, and Ball Park Music live at the Thebby Theatre

On a mild Friday night in the bloody beautiful city of Adelaide, a keen crowd gathered to watch Ruby Fields, San Cisco and Ball Park Music at the Thebarton Theatre – a one off spectacle! Let me give you a rundown on the fabulous night it was.

A little side note before we get started: it was polo shirt night, meaning every performer was adorably dressed in a polo-shirt. Oh, the aesthetic!

We kicked off with a beauty, I had no idea Ruby Fields had such a following! The crowd was far larger than expected for any pre-show at the Thebby and we were well and truly taken by this groovy gal. We spent most of her set having a good old jive to her upbeat tunes, such as ‘I Want’ and ‘P-Plates’. Don’t get me wrong, there were also sensitive moments: I got a lump in my throat half way through Field’s performance of her most recent single, ‘Dinosaurs’ – a song about the simplicities of childhood. But really, Fields won us over the second she mentioned our beloved Hahndorf.

Next up was Jordi, Jen, Josh, and Scarlett, San Cisco were in the house! When debriefing with my buddies later in the night, we couldn’t help but notice how wonderfully unique San Cisco are; no other band are so brutally honest yet pleasurably palatable. Lyrics such as ‘why does it feel so good to be self-destructing again?’, ‘I want to be with you forever, but I need space, you should stay at your place’ and ‘if you’re going to break his heart, could you break it gently please?’ are about as real as it gets. However, the best part is that their music is somehow it is angst-free. The harsh truths hide behind fantastic guitar solos, Jordi’s high vocal tendencies and the up-beat tempo of their tunes. They featured some of their most recent works like ‘Hey Did I Do You Wrong?’ and ‘Slow-Mo’, alongside some original San Cisco such as ‘Fred Astaire’ and ‘Magic’, before finishing the set with ‘Too Much Time Together’. San Cisco speak to those in their early 20s in a way no other band can.

After all this excitement the crowd flocked to the bar to get some well-needed fluids into their system. A couple of Adelaide gems were spotted in the lobby, with the likes of Liam Stapleton, one half of the Triple J breakfast radio show, and Callum Hann, runner-up from MasterChef 2010, floating about. Oh Adelaide, you always see a familiar face.

For Ball Park Music, my friends and I decided to take a seat. This is the first time I have ever sat down at a concert – it had been a long day, we were hot and bothered and our feet hurt (we are only 21, I promise). So, we cushioned ourselves in the well air-conditioned seated section at the back of the Thebby with a dead-centre view of the stage. And I am so glad that this is how I experienced the magic of Ball Park Music.

There is something breathtaking about sitting back and watching a sea of people share emotional experiences through song. We saw the crowd hush, cheer, dance, and bop in unison. Ball Park Music are often taken for granted – they have been a consistently good band for the last decade. I honestly forgot how much I loved them until I saw them play in this environment. Their music had been the background to many significant moments for me in the last few years, and I hadn’t even noticed. I’m sure others came to this realisation as well. The melancholic nature of their lyrics, mixed with Sam Cromack’s calming yet energised familiar voice give you those tingling goose bumps.

I will admit I got emotional many times during their set, particularly listening to the crowd singing along to ‘Everything is Shit Except My Friendship With You’, ‘The Perfect Life Does Not Exist’ and ‘Exactly How You Are’. ‘It’s Nice to be Alive’ – possibly one of the most uplifting songs of our generation – met every expectation as a spotlight landed on Cromack and the crowd sounded out each word, loud and clear. They also offered sweet Adelaide a treat, finishing with a song which they hadn’t yet performed their tour: they belted out a phenomenal rendition of the Beatles classic, ‘Hey Jude’, which left me thinking that although the perfect life does not exist, this moment in this life comes pretty damn close.

I enthusiastically suggest that you get around all of these artists – they all encapsulate the most relatable of experiences through their music. They were the perfect trio, performing in a perfect venue, in a perfect city, to a practically perfect crowd. It is VERY nice to be alive.


Words and photography by Michelle Wakim.

High as Hope: Florence and the Machine’s fourth album

High as Hope, the fourth Florence and the Machine album has been released and that means one of two things. I will either put on my headphones and put the volume as high as possible and risk deafness, because damn it, if I’m losing my hearing, it’ll be listening to a Florence and the Machine album. Alternatively, I put it on the sound system and give in to my generous nature and share the album with the neighbourhood.

Each album released by the band has charted Florence Welch’s development as an artist. Not one has been a failure, not one can be looked upon now as comparatively lesser to her current output, but each shows her grow new abilities – and grow upon existing abilities – as an artist.

High as Hope probably marks the most thematically pure album to date. As each song moves to the next, it feels more a part of an ongoing tale than separate. It has its highlights (to my mind, ‘Hunger’, and ‘Big God’) but not a single misfire. The fact that each song can merge together in one larger creation could be a weakness if the tone were not so firmly and artfully executed.

2015’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful still likely stands as the peak of Welch’s skills but this newest album excels in its own way.  Her greatest skill as an artist is possibly her ability to turn emotion into art and while this has led to some bombastic and grand sweeping songs, it has never overwhelmed the art she seeks to channel it in to. It’s a goal of many artists and few achieve it with quite the strength Welch has managed.

This fourth album perhaps marks her transition from an artist working through the universal concerns of youth such as identity, change, hope, and loss, to an artist who deals with the concerns of the next stages of life. Her songs have always seemed personal yet massive, elegant yet overpowering. This has not changed with High as Hope but rather been further perfected. Much of the same concerns of her music, many of the same questions, and much of the same essence is there. Entering a Florence and the Machine album, you know what you will get but you can never be quite sure how it will be delivered. As an artist, Welch seems determined to challenge herself but never strays far from the well from which her career and artistic identity sprang and there is nothing wrong with that as there is endless exploration in the ideas she deals with.

This seems, at times, a slightly stripped-down album. Not just for it comparatively smaller duration but also because it lacks the extreme heights and lows that has often been an integral part of her previous work. Songs such as the aptly titled ‘Cosmic Love’ from her debut album, the third album’s title track ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’, and Ceremonials’s ‘No Light, No Light’ sounded as massive, universal passion-filled tracks. Entries such as these are not to be found in the ten-track High as Hope which opts for a more restrained confidence. What she does with this album is a thorough success but perhaps the lack of the power of a song such as the ones present in previous albums leaves this album just short of the perfection it could be.

 

 


Words by Liam McNally

4/5 stars

Sunset at the Grace Emily: Chase the Sun by Only Objects

On July 1, local band Only Objects kicked the month off with the launch of their new single Chase the Sun at the Grace Emily. The song marks something of a change in style for Only Objects, a band already marked by its ability to try a variety of styles. Still very identifiably a part of their established “sound”, the song seems to stretch them to achieve new things.

Patrick Lang, writer of the quartet’s new song, acknowledges the band has always been eclectic and relishes new challenges. Of the song’s sound, he states he ‘wanted to write a piano ballad of some description, but I also wanted to allude to that neo-folk kind of feel’.

The song has more of the folk music feel about it which is perhaps unsurprising as Patrick says before he loved the trappings of electronic music, he was, ‘at heart, a folk musician’. The result is a happy marrying of these two genres that would surely appeal to the tastes of lovers of both.

This move away from the ultra-modern in the song is mirrored by the lack of references to modern life. As Patrick explains, ‘some human experiences are universal and transcend time and place’ and that he aimed to make the song sound like it ‘could have been written anytime in the last several hundred years’. He says that, to him, ‘it’s a melody in the folk tradition of something like Wild Mountain Thyme or The Parting Glass.’ He adds, ‘not at all to compare it to those absolutely timeless songs, but there is just a drop, a dram, a tiny part of that feeling in Chase the Sun.

Even the track’s accompanying artwork has something a little unique about it that sets Chase the Sun apart in the Only Objects oeuvre. A ship sailing in a glass bottle – the image (by Jesse Miles) – is simple and evocative. As Patrick says, ‘it’s both entirely unlike us and, in an odd way, entirely us.’

The timeless element of Chase the Sun permeates every element of it. The band embracing older methods, combined with the artwork, and even Patrick’s own statement of his previous leanings towards folk music, all conspire to ensure the track possesses a perfectly appropriate quality. The intention to create something very genuine and honest proves a thoroughly successful one.

And what of the experience of a different style? ‘A lot more stringed instruments than what we are used to, that’s for certain!’ Patrick adds that he ‘really enjoy[s] the recording process in terms of finding little hidden melodies and ideas in songs, and this was certainly no exception.’

Patrick offers particular praise for Matthew Vecchio, who produced the track for Only Objects, who ‘has a really lovely light touch as well’, helping to ensure the track played to its strengths and kept a clear balance. ‘Balance’ is perhaps the word best suited to this track that steers well clear of both the more large and bombastic, and the meeker of sounds – the track remains assuredly and earnestly in a place of balance, succeeding in the band’s effort to evoke a folky, stirring element to the listener.

Asked whether the band aims to try new things or whether new experiences are a by-product of their songs, Patrick told Tulpa: ‘It’s a mix, really! We often become fascinated by structural ideas, particularly from electronic music, and then try to work them into songs.’ The band has tried their collective hand at a wide variety (such as last year’s You Only Kill for Love) which could prove difficult in less sure hands.

Only Objects were preceded by Fleur Green who treated the crowd to a series of original songs, including a debut of a new one, a cover, and even a part of thousand year old Persian poem The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. All in all, a fairly standard Sunday evening in July. Fleur had the audience captivated and gave the audience an excellent performing of her own.

When they took the stage, Only Objects were generous in their own set. They offered a good sampling of their work and added a cover of a Frightened Rabbit song in tribute to the recently passed Scott Hutchison. Chase the Sun had penultimate place in the set list of the night and saw the highlight of a night of highlights as the audience joined together in song.

The night may have been for Chase the Sun – and truly that offered a great moment of the evening – but the night was filled with a celebration of music and generous offering for all who braved the cold of a July evening in Adelaide.

 


Words by Liam McNally.

Thanks to Patrick Lang.

Cover artwork by Jesse Miles.

Howl n Bones launches at the Ed Castle

On June 30, Howl n Bones celebrated the release of their debut album II. Not only was the launch met by the energetic crowd packed into the band room of the Ed Castle but also the support of three bands joining together to help mark the night. First up was The Straight Jacket Tailors, a band sharing some of the same roster of talent as Little Captain (previously reviewed and interviewed in Tulpa) who stormed the stage to set the tone of bold and powerful music. The night of festivities was continued by Victorian band, the self-proclaimed ‘stoner rockers’ Jack Harlon and the Dead Crows. The final set in preparation for the Howl n Bones main event was another South Australian product in Somnium.

The launch felt less like an album making its first tentative steps into the wide world and more like a full blown, confident takeover of the Ed Castle. The atmosphere was almost one of carnival celebration.

Starting at 9pm and going late in a test of the passion and determination of music lovers, the night was an unabashed celebration of music. Surprisingly, the crowd had not thinned much, or indeed at all noticeably by the time the headline act, Howl n Bones took the stage after midnight. It’s got to say something when the crowd can brave Adelaide’s bitter winter nights for hours of music.

Howl n Bones own album, II, is difficult to describe. One can choose the band’s own description of their work as being of the genre ‘scum funk’, a genre of their own creation but whether this goes anywhere in preparing the listener is another question altogether.

The collection of musical offerings were plenty. No-one could have gone home that night saying they had not been offered a generous helping. The event catered best for lovers of some of rock’s more unusual and experimental edges but was sure to offer something to the taste of most people. The relaxed atmosphere that saw the audience ebb and flow (but always come back for more) throughout the night and allowed the audience to mingle with the performers added to that full-to-bursting offering. As the performers of each band joined the audience to support and cheers the other acts, the entire three-plus hours of bold sound had the air of all joining in mutual support, and mutual celebration, of the roaring music scene.

The credit for the assembly of such a cavalcade of sound goes to the work of IMB Presents in whose stable of talent both Howl n Bones and The Straight Jacket Tailors can be found.

The night proved a banquet of many, many courses that could fill even the most music-hungry and allowed the audience to take as much they wanted.

Howl n Bones’s eight-track II has been released and coming in at a little under 40 minutes, is no small offering. After the powerful display of June 30 by all four bands, though, what else could be expected? With tracks such as I Get High and Stoned Horse, the band announced Jack Harlon and the Dead Crows were surely not the only band present with a claim to the ‘stoner rockers’ genre. These two tracks live up to their names and Howl n Bones’ own album cover art with its Lovecraftian horror-beast, certainly makes it clear to any prospective listener that the band is not aiming for some laid-back easy listening but rather something pushing the boundaries and attempting to explore the new and the strange.

II winds back the clock and takes cues from elements of music through the recent decades to form something of their own blended from the rich heritage of musical endeavours that boldly planted its flag on the reaches. After a listen to the album, it becomes clear why the band decided to name their own genre to work within.

 


Thanks to IMB Presents.

Artwork: Album cover.