I’m looking to relaunch Five Last Words, and would love a little bit of help. Are you all about discovering new Australian bands and/or handy with changing tumblr layouts and using HTML? Then please get in touch with me, and we’ll discuss what can be done. If you love writing reviews, want to get some work published or have a keen ear for hearing new tunes, feel free to get in touch, or if you know of someone that suits this criteria pass this message on to them. With a bit of work over the next month or so, I’d be looking to relaunch the site at the start of August.
Tonight Alive + Young Guns + Totally Unicorn @ The Patch, Wollongong (24/05/2012)
Tonight Alive currently have one of the fastest rising profiles in the Australian music scene, so if you haven’t heard of them yet, chances are you will soon. After working with acclaimed producer Mark Trombino (Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World), Tonight Alive are not only gaining prominent national attention, but are getting huge praise internationally, being nominated for Kerrang awards as well as being added to the famous U.S. Warped tour. Often touted as Australia’s version of Paramore, the 5 piece pop punk band, brought their dynamic live show to Wollongong NSW as part of their ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ tour.
First up were Wollongong favourites, Totally Unicorn. Now this was my first time seeing these guys in the flesh (and boy, did we see a lot of flesh) and now I can safely say I now understand the hype around the band. There are probably not enough synonyms of ‘crazy’ in the dictionary to describe the hardcore act. To set the scene a little, imagine the following: sweaty men, with beards, either shirtless or dressed in tie-dyed morphsuits, jumping around on stage like they have ants in their pants, diving into the crowd, climbing onto the bar – you name it, they were doing it. Their raucous live show was literally unlike anything I had ever seen before. With energy at an all time high from both the band and the crowd, it was almost like these guys were the headliners. After watching a set from these guys, you might leave feeling slightly more dirty and a little violated – but in the best possible way.
Up next to grace the stage were British boys Young Guns. After touring Australia last year as part of the Counter Revolution tour, unfortunately the band had to cancel their headline shows scheduled for this month. It all turned out for the best however, as they jumped on board the ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ tour. Launching straight a fast paced set, with latest single ‘Dearly Departed’ the British lads were rocking from the get-go, with front-man Gustav Wood full of energy and British charm. While the band is renowned for their big sound and anthemic choruses, much better suited to a larger venue, they still proved they have the versatility to play in a much more intimate and humble setting. They played a great setlist, with the only complaint being it was far too short! With songs ranging from their debut LP ‘All Our Kings Are Dead’ as well as their latest album ‘Bones,’ the boys never skipped a beat instrumentally, and Gustav’s vocals were pitch perfect with harmonies from his band-mates spot on.
Gustav also proved to be highly entertaining to watch, giving it his all as he jumped around the stage and warmed up the small but enthusiastic crowd. Highlights included opening track ‘Dearly Departed,’ ‘Stitches’ and of course the ever-catchy and fist-pump worthy ‘Bones.’ Closing on ‘Weight Of The World,’ the boys ended an incredible set with a bang, and a converted new fan-base. After being lucky enough to chat with them at the end of the show, chances are they will be back gracing our shores sometime in the near future, and you’ve heard it here first – you will not want to miss them when they do. This is a band that will be selling out stadiums one day.
Headliners Tonight Alive are no strangers to Wollongong – and the dedicated fan-base clearly adores the female fronted pop punk band. Opening with ‘Listening,’ the crowd energy and numbers were at an all time high. Front-woman Jenna McDougall is about as good as they come with an incredible set of lungs on her, as well as a warm and friendly stage presence. The band played with a ferocious energy, and looked like they were having the time of their lives, which the crowd reflected, with hectic moshing, crowd-surfing and even a circle pit opening up at one stage. Mass sing-a-longs were a given, and the highlight song of the night was probably the cover of Mumford and Sons ‘Little Lion Man’ – a song that showcased Jenna’s incredible range, as well as being a clear crowd favourite. One of my favourite tracks from the band ‘Wasting Away’ was a little pitchy, but the band quickly recovered to soldier on with their lively set. Other highlights included ‘Starlight’ ‘What are You So Scared Of?’ and the heartfelt track ‘Amelia,’ voted by fans to be included on the set-list for this tour.
Comparisons to Paramore always seem to haunt Tonight Alive, but it’s important to recognise they are a great band in their own right, with their own unique sound and live show. If anything, this tour has proved they are only moving onto bigger and better things as the year goes on, so if you haven’t caught them yet, you’re better off doing it now before they completely break through the stratosphere.
ShereKhan, live from UOW band comp.
Review: Ball Park Music, Nantes, Cub Scouts @ UOW Unibar, 29/03/2012
If you haven’t heard of Ball Park Music or seen how they have taken Australia by storm in the last 12 months, it’s probably time to crawl out from under that rock you’ve been hiding under. After enchanting Wollongong last year while supporting Boy and Bear, the Brisbane band brought their 180° degree to Wollongong Unibar on Thursday night, and proved exactly why they have been selling out venues all across Australia.
Up first were Cub Scouts, who did a great job as the first band off the rank at captivating the audience with their charming and melodic indie-pop. With clean vocals, catchy tunes and the interesting but highly effective choice of having two keyboardists, this is definitely a band to watch out for.
Next to grace the stage was Sydney four-piece Nantes. After the sweet tunes of Cub Scouts, Nantes grunge-tinged rock sounded almost odd to the ears, but as the band warmed up, their sound became more appealing. Vocally they may not be the most amazing band, but the addition of backing chants and tight, unique instrumentals were enough to draw a bigger crowd. As the set progressed and the familiar opening drumbeats of ‘Fly’ echoed throughout unibar, I was a converted fan.
The band of the moment, Ball Park Music, opened their set with a bang on ‘Literally Baby’ and the momentum and excitement was on an all time high from there. Lead singer Sam Cromack is ridiculously charismatic and one of the better front-mans I have seen this year, getting the crowd as involved as possible. The harmonies with bassist Jennifer Boyce were pitch perfect as they launched into more songs. A huge kudos to Miss Boyce too, who bravely shaved off her lustrous locks to raise money for the Leukemia Foundation.
Ball Park Music are known for their infectious and catchy tunes, with epic choruses and great and hilarious lyrics (seriously what other band can get a crowd of young adults singing the line ‘I haven’t had a friend in years, I only have sex with myself!’ so enthusiastically?) The band also look like they are just having the time of their life on stage, with this vibe being reflected on the crowd, with loud cheers and the sporadic attempt at crowd-surfing thrown in. The band also previewed two new songs for happy fans, with ‘Pot of Gold’ starting slow and building up to the explosive type choruses Ball Park are so good at delivering to us.
Personally, a highlight was hearing ‘Happy Healthy Citizen of the Developed World Blues’ live – simply, it was just an amazing experience and the build up to the song was incredible. Hit songs ‘It’s Nice To Be Alive,’ ‘All I want Is You,’ and ‘iFly’ went off as expected, and before we knew it, the night was unfortunately drawing to a close. Coming back for an encore performance of The Kinks’ ‘All Day and All Of The Night’ Ball Park Music enthralled the audience for one last time, before leaving to thunderous cheers and applause. All in all, the quality of live music on display really did prove it’s nice to be alive.
Review: The Getaway Plan at UOW Unibar.
Thursday night saw the long awaited return of Melbourne alternative rockers The Getaway Plan, who graced Wollongong Unibar with their presence. Touring off the back of new album ‘Requiem,’ excited punters milled around unibar, eager to catch the band in their first Wollongong show in years.
New Zealand band Gatherer supported the boys on their regional tour, and played a solid set. Their individual sound – with traces of indie interweaved with a grunge type vibe made for a different approach but the unique sound is something that works in their favour. The band played well to a slightly unresponsive audience – the excitement and buzz in the air was definitely saved for the headliners.
Opening with electric hit single ‘The Reckoning,’ The Getaway Plan were off to an explosive start. Being quite a seasoned viewer of these guys and their live show, (8 times, but who’s counting?) they are easily one of the best Australian rock bands to catch live – with frontman Matthew Wright displaying an incredible set of lungs with his high octave vocal range.
‘Phantoms’ and ‘Streetlight’ followed in quick succession, with the band then slowing things down to showcase their brand new single ‘Move Along.’ One of the first songs previewed after the announcement of the band reuniting, the audience sang along happily word for word.
The highlight of the night was definitely the re-addition of ‘The New Year’ to the setlist. Notably on their last tour and Big Day Out shows, the band refrained from playing the popular track from their 2006 ‘Hold Conversation’ EP and have been heavily criticised for this. Opening and ending on guttural screaming vocals, this song was definitely a crowd pleaser – to put it basically, everyone lost their shit.
The only criticism of the night of great live music was The Getaway Plan seemingly had a lack of energy – which is understandable due to the relentless touring they have been doing since their reunion. However with crowd numbers lower than expected, the bands lack of banter with the crowd didn’t do much to keep energy levels high and during some songs it seemed they were going through the paces rather than really enjoying the moment. The smaller crowd in itself was disappointing, considering the band hasn’t played a Wollongong show since before their demise in 2009.
Nevertheless, The Getaway Plan still put on a great show. Lead guitarist Clint is always entertaining to watch with his rhythmic jumping and bouncing around the stage and Matthew’s vocals are generally always pitch perfect. Ending on hit single ‘Where The City Meets The Sea,’ the band exited to applause and cheers from a satisfied Wollongong community.