Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Big Day Out @ Claremont Showgrounds, Perth, 03.02.08

Being a Big Day Out virgin, I knew ahead exactly what would be getting up upon us on Sunday - heat. Hitting up to 36 degrees with only occasional relief of a breeze, I was glad I put on multiple layers of sunscreen and drank enough water. The blaring sun did not deter 40,000 punters from having fun in the Australia's biggest music festival, the fantastic music lineups were enough to take the mind off all things skin-singeing.

We missed The Dirty Secrets at Green Stage because someone was being too much of a sleepyhead. The first band we saw was Cut Off Your Hands at the Converse Essential Stage. The undercover stage was stifling and sweltering, but the New Zealand quartet managed to draw a decent number of early birds, partly due to their hit song Oh Girl being overplayed on Channel V. They delivered a tight and vibrant set of sound similar to the current British indie dance rock wave. Without the crutch seen on other Big Day Outs, lead vocal Nick Johnston showed us some of his signature quirky dance moves, celebrating the joy of newly freed arm and ankle.

Next we made our way past the notorious Lilyworld and heaps of stalls to the Boiler Room to catch Shy Child. The electropop duo delivered an energetic set with only a keytar and drumming to a small but passionate crowd. An army of fluoro was dancing with all their might to the New York band's brand of synth pop, especially when they dropped hits like Drop The Phone and Noise Won't Stop. Surprise early highlight of the day.

Our first mainstage set of the day was another electropop act Midnight Juggernauts. We ventured to the D section to get a closer look of the Melbourne trio at the Orange Stage. The band is no doubt better suited to a intimate night-time set than a festival atmosphere, they nevertheless revved up the crowd by infusing a rock egde to their electro set, with soft vocals and psychedelic beats. Tracks played are primarily taken from debut Dystopia like Into The Galaxy and Road To Recovery.

Following a break to satify growling stomach, Battles took on the Green Stage with their inventive, genre-bending sound. Songs from debut Mirrored were built in front of all onlookers as ex-Helmet drummer John Stanier stomping his way off with his trademark up high cymbal. Tyondai Braxton created live voice samples in front of our eyes, then looped them with keys and guitar like a painter at work. Ian Williams alternated between keys and guitar, and Dave Konopka in guitar complemented the math-rock superband. They played a top set of crowd pleasers, highlight was one of the best tracks of year 2007 - Atlas. Everyone witnessed the reverb brilliance were truly impressed.

We hopped to the mainstage, there were already a long line at the D entrance. The indie darling Arcade Fire was out in full force as a 10-piece outfit, they proved their capability to draw a large devoted crowd within the D barrier. From Funeral's Wake Up to Intervention and No Cars Go from Neon Bible, the band traded instruments in transition of songs, from accordion to drums, from keys to harp, to deliver an overwhelming performance of lush and theatrical sound. As the band proceeded to the anthemic Rebellion, William Butler took the attention by thumping a marching drum strapped around his neck 20m up high at a pole. A sing-along was inevitable as the band stood in a line in the centre of the stage for a sensational acappella take on the chorus to close what was, for me, the best set of the day.

As Silverchair were to played next at the Blue stage, we figured we should just shuffled to the area between the Blue and Orange stage. It was a great move as we could get a fairly good view and not get caught up among those shirtless Rage Against The Machine fans who looked as if they were ready to brawl any non-Rage fans that got in their way. Daniel Johns was as usual, making a lot of speeches, repeatedly asking the crowd to sing along but it did not go down too well with the impatient Rage-hungry fans. Nonetheless the band played a decent set but their newer songs did not get as good a response from the cowd as their older materials like 'Freak' and 'Israel's Son'. It would have been a brighter set if the band were not put on before RATM, I could see Daniel Johns was very much put off as boos were echoed from the crowd and bottles were thrown up to stage.

By this time, the D barrier was filled with either drunk sweaty bogans waiting for RATM or cool indie kids for Bjork. We left however to go see LCD Soundsystem. On my way to the Boiler Room, there was a massive crowd going to the opposite direction, they were all bailing out to see RATM. Good for me as I could get up close to the stage. It was the best atmosphere in the Boiler Room with fun people and LCD Soundsystem delivered a sheer energetic show that got the crowd dancing like crazy. James Murphy is quite an entertainer, creating some great humorous banters with his band and crowd in between songs. There was a number of highlights in the set, including the bit where the Butler brothers from Arcade Fire joined on the stage and the massive sing-along of All My Friends. As a fitting closer, Murphy was handed a bouquets of roses by his crews in the event of his birthday. He wrapped up the brilliant set by throwing roses to the stoked crowd and belting out the epic 'New York I Love You'.

I watched 10 minutes of Rage Against The Machine, probably 5 kilometres from the stage. It was so packed that saw some keen punters even climbed on top of the shipping containers and trees. I went home instead and I did not feel like missing much. All I could say is they are not my cup of tea. I was happy to leave with some memorable moments of a great day out.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Brain Thrust Mastery

After Hours

We Are Scientists are back, with a drummer short. The departure of Michael Tapper was a shame, but fortunately, that happened after the recording session of the upcoming album, 'Brain Thrust Mastery', which means drummings in the tracks will still be nothing short of incredible. The first single 'After Hours' continues with The Scientists' usual guitar-driven riff and upbeat rhythm, and it's pleasant enough on the ear after a few listens. The track comes with a pretty amusing video too. 'Brain Thrust Mastery' is set to be released on 17 March.

We Are Scientists - After Hours

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Thursday, February 07, 2008


Four years of commerce study in college, I hated doing management. A band named The Management would not have intrigued me, it sounds just like one of those bands emerged from the garage rock ashes in early 2000s. But MGMT is cool, like the new breed of band names without vowels. Being named band to watch in 2008 by both Rolling Stone and BBC, it is hard to overlook this electro-psychedelic duo from Brooklyn, New York.
Signed to major label Columbia/Sony, MGMT's debut
Oracular Spectacular shouts nothing but the indie sound that is bandied about in mainstream media. Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden are ambitious to mix so many volatile elements in this record, from disco, synth pop, glam rock to blues, but the result is suprisingly impressive.
Opener 'Time To Pretend' began with hints of Queen with some squiggly keys in which they sing about the expectancy of stereotypical stardom with lines like 'Let's make some music make some money find some models for wives/I'll move to Paris, shoot some heroin and fuck with the stars'. 'Weekend Wars' recalls The Stones, then maneuvers to a Scissor Sister's b-side material. 'Electric Feels' flashes Bee Gees falsetto to a nolstagia disco funk with playful lyrics like 'I said, ooh girl/shock me like an electric eel'. Meanwhile 'Kids' is a catchy pop that revolves a more-updated synth lines. The sound of kids playing reminds me of
Guillemots's 'Trains to Brazil', both are quality songs. 'Pieces Of What' see MGMT attempts a gritty acoustic piece, and they unexpectedly pull it off so well.
This is a young and fun record. Every single song stands on its own, none outshine another.
Oracular Spectacular is simply spectacular.

Weekend Wars
Electric Feel
Pieces Of What


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Monday, February 04, 2008

Andrew Bird @ Rosemount Hotel, North Perth 12.01.08

It was warm and fuzzy inside Rosemount Hotel, everyone was eagerly welcoming the multi-talented songwriter Andrew Bird. But before Bird soared to the stage, local band Fall Electric played a solid acoustic set to the sizeable early numbers. Bird’s live wingman Martin Dosh followed suit with a one-man rhythmic set that revolved around his drum kit, keyboards and looping machine. Dosh who is Andrew Bird’s drummer proved to be capable of delivering some captivating instrumental moment on his own.

We see the commencement of an impressive set with Andrew Bird kicking off his shoes on stage. He launched in a solo mode into the jazzy-wordy Why? Next was Action/Adventure. Andrew Bird’s live performance is so unique, it is unlike anything I have seen before. He constructed songs just right before your eyes like a painter at work. He is truly a master creator, plucking his violin, his incredible high-pitched whistling, singing and playing guitar, then looped them all through pedals to create mind-blowing textures to his songs. So many thing were going on at the same time, sometimes he pondered for awhile to decide what to do next, somehow everything clicked, he pulled it off in total control.

Dosh and bass player Jeremy Ylvisaker joined Bird on stage for the brisk and powerful Fiery Crash. The full band sound oozed a certain groove that got the crowd going. This was followed by selections from earlier albums like Opposite Day and live staple A Nervous Tick Motion To The Head From The Left. Then Bird pulled out a new song The Non Animal, a solid track that was met with healthy response. Andrew Bird was a mere one kilometre from me, so I have a good eyeful of him. Bird was a fun performer to watch, he twisted and contorted his body whenever he got into his own music. He was an undeniably a brilliant singer, soothing but powerful, and his whistling was another major weapon that charmed the crowd.

He then moved on to the two catchy tracks on Armchair Apocrypha, Heretics and Plasticities, the reactions of the crowd showed that the man’s latest album was no doubt one of his finest works. The main set was closed off with the hopeful Dark Matter before he returned to the stage alone to cover the Handsome Family’s The Giant Of Illinois. When he picked up his shoes, everyone knew it was the end of a wonderful night. I left feeling satisfied and a little more intelligent after the set of witty and sensible songs.

After the gig, Andrew Bird came out to the garden, chatted away with those still hanging around and signed some bits and pieces. I felt lucky enough to have stuck around and talked to the talented man. I am sure he would attract a flock of fans if he visits our shores - which is Malaysia.


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Foals - Antidotes

Foals - Antidotes

So the much anticipated 'Antidotes' has leaked, not long after the previous post on Foals. It turns out to be really great, considering they've left off two of their two most irresistible singles, Hummer and Mathletics. On first few listens, I am pretty confident that the album is a grower. Foals definitely displayed some promises by producing this album that's actually quite pleasing on the ears.

Foals -
Red Sock Pugie
Foals - Cassius
Foals -
Tron (Is A Great Film)

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