live reviews


Girrakool Blues Festival. Mt. Penang, March 6-8, 2020

First time at Girrakool, amd it’s a pretty neat little setup.

Circus big tent. Beer garden. Killer chilli pad Thai and a real laid back regional feel.

Caught Jesse Redwing at Mangrove Mountains last year, and after closing last year’s Girrakool, this year, he’s opening proceedings.

Guitar is his forte and blues is undeniably his flavour.

Effortless lead journeys...slick dynamics...tighter than a pair of size 28 jeans.


Tom Cat Playground blend old school coolio (no not that one) with blues harp, sharp suits and raspy blues vox to push out a kinda smoky infectious groove.

Rumbling bass, steam train harp and dancing guitar all add to the authenticity.

Next stop Louisiana.

That big tent holding the sound in beautifully.

Ray Beadle comes on like the proverbial house on fire...before the power cuts out...adding to the atmosphere.

Power back on and it’s an almost puritan kind of guitar and key sound that stabs that Friday night air.

Retro keys a plenty and an almost movie soundtrack type of soundscape...

A meandering road train racing to the dusty horizon..

So the story goes, that Stevie Ray Vaughan gave his nephew Tyrone a guitar for his seventh birthday.

And the rest as they say, is history.

Tonight, Tyrone Vaughan and The Daren Jack Band deliver a guitar duelling frenzy of sorts.

Manic one moment, all slow, muddy and smoky the next.

The midnight hour has hit hard, and it’s time to call it a day.

Day 2:

Mirrabooka kick off International Women’s Day with their dreamy acoustic flavoured, folksy type of beauty.

Ukelele, Mini banjo and flute create infectious, easy wafts that caress and take you on that feelgood, somewhere-else journey.


Rambal hail from Vic, and their ilk is your more cocktail hour blend of electro organ, guitar and vocal harmonies.

Long meandering jams.

Blues with an espresso martini bounce.

Cass Eager & The Velvet Rope go the keys and guitar road in a more cabaret way.

Bit of B B king... slinky late night moments...singing guitar...and some fully fledged raggedy blues jams.

Hell, even a bit of reggae....Lotta fun.

Marlene Cummins is a passionate First Nation performer and does a guitar and vocal thing before bringing on the full band.

A local elder welcome and it’s into an almost Blues Brothers kinda backbeat...retro keys...and a bass line that takes me back to a dance scene from the movie Quadrophenia.

Blues in the classic sense...with a touch of soaring dirty sax.

All The Kings Men could form their own soccer team...with the amount of members on stage.

Paying tribute to all the blues kings, theirs is a Louisiana kind of blues that comes wrapped in brass and Sunday best. 

More of that retro organ...blues-a-delic backbeat... and plenty of three way brass injections.

Continental Robert and the Trouble People features Robert Susz from Dynamic Hepnotics.

From mic  to harp, he manages to juggle the two with ease.

That big old double bass...astro, midday TV keyboard injections.

A mix of soul, jive and blues, it’s a lively crowd warm up for 19 Twenty.

An aboriginal smoke ceremony and a couple of traditional dances for mothers and creation bring in the twilight and reset the mood.

19twenty just blow it out of the water from the minute they hit that stage.

Beautifully irreverent, funny as fuck...

Energetic happy jacks with a unique charm that you just cannot escape.

Was up front early getting some shots and just couldn’t pry myself away.

Double bass, guitar and drums. No voids. No lows. Sen- fucking-sational.

Riveting, entertainment plus...Discovery Channel...Am I ever gonna see your face again... purely for the crowd engagement...

An hour’s not long enough.

Whole crowd on a high!! Just wow!!!

Turner Brown Band have tough shoes to fill, and it’s clear they have the creds.

A kind of gospel like, steel-guitar driven musical sermon.

You Are My Sunshine...a totally frenzied psychedelic work over. Insane.

Sister Act eat your heart out.

Big voice. Big messages. Big impact.

Never seen anything quite like these guys.

Russell Morris is an Oz icon, and with the likes of his classic endearing hits,Sweet Sweet Love, Real Thing and Wings of An Eagle, he makes that big tent his own.

A little rain. No matter.

Day two comes to a close and it’s time for some zzzs before doing it all again tomorrow.

Day 3.

Kariong High School Band are this morning’s openers, and it’s great to see young local talent getting some exposure.

Come Together...Don’t Dream it’s Over ...Valerie.

Instrument much talent. 

Distorto lead bass runs...Brendan Jury you are a freak!

Joker and the Thief...rock solid!

Georgie Fahey, Jasmine and Nikita Mansfield sharing the vocal duties.

Great showcase. Well done Girrakool for promoting the next generation of artists.

The Blues Wranglers were runners up in the Girrakool band contest and earned themselves a slot on today’s bill... their debut festival gig.

A mix of old school, bluesy covers and originals, dirty gravelled vox, keys and a fair slather of blues harp are their forte.

And they do it well.

The Blues Preachers are a mix of traditional bluegrass, laid back blues and gospel focused ditties.

Simple, dancing acoustic guitar, stomp box and blues harp.

Sunday sermon sorted.

Unfortunately I had to head off early, so missed out on The Defenders, Genevieve Chadwick and Shane Pacey Trio.

By all accounts, all were suitable closers for Girrakool 2020.

Cruisy sounds..great atmosphere, full strength beer, laid back family fun under the big top...tick!

Mark Fraser- 


Turner Brown Band. Images: Mark Fraser


Cass Eager.Images: Mark Fraser


Ups and Downs, Halfway, Aerial Maps. Marrickville Bowlo. February 29, 2020.

Celebrating the release of the excellent Popboomerang 3 compilation, tonight’s showcase promises to be a pop extravaganza.

Aerial Maps features Pete Fenton(Crow) and Allanah Russack  from Hummingbirds on guitar, and are a kind of almost spoken word/ poetry/storytelling meets smokey-moodscapes kinda combo. 

Trippy soundscapes that amble along dusty Oz highways.  Beautiful sweep-you-away drilling moods.

The epic On The Punt...A strange kind of beauty.

Very different. Even more endearing. Sold!

Halfway keep that moody ilk alive, albeit a more dreamy flavour.

Beautiful pop airs that melt your very soul.

7 piece maturo pop that’s as solid as it is infectious.

Feelgood to the core. Incisive. Backyard beautiful.  Sparse throes that are as equally enthralling. 

Gorgeous slide, keys and a trio of guitars add to the depth of the passion that is the Halfway sound. 

Square Ruled Pages is their contribution to the Popboomerang compilation and tonight it's as beautifully jangly as ever. Sugared riffs that creep right on in.

Band stoked. Crowd stoked. This sorry arse stoked. 

A beautiful drug!

Brisbane’s Ups and downs punch the rock into their pop and do it so effortlessly. 

Snarled guitars...killer backline...el superbo. 

Yeah, some moody moments, but it’s raggedy-man pop for the better part. 

Sweaty. Serrated. Smarmy. 

And a guest appearance from Allanah ... too cool . The Hummingbirds' Two Weeks With a Good Man in Niagara Falls. 

Power pop plus. 

Well done Scott Thurling and Popboomerang Records for a luverly slice of pop infection at the Bowlo...

Mark Fraser -


Halfway. Images: Mark Fraser


Aerial Maps. Images: Mark Fraser 


The Mezcaltones. Ocean Beach Hotel. February 22, 2020

Beautifully theatric from the outset, The Mezcaltones bring that perfect mix of cowpoke and retro surfarama to the stage from  the word go.

Looking and sounding the part, they put the cool into the twang  and deliver a killer tex mex flavoured set of originals and selected covers... all packaged in black denim and south of the border cowboy hats.

The retro surf throes of Motorcycle girl. The lazy rhythms of Ellie.

Tonight we cop a fair showcase of the new album.

Those Baja surf instrumentals totally nail it.

Poor dad jokes... but hey it’s all about fun tonight. 

Dead Kennedys' Let’s Lynch the Landlord...given the Mezcal!!

Choreographed beautifully. 

"Don’t anyone move... this is a robbery" comes the frontman Col Padre jumps from the side of the room ...a la Tarantino style Yeah!

Set two brings the punters to the dance floor

Yeah yeah banana ...the beautifully whimsical cow twang of Na Na Na. Too cool.

More of that south of the border twanged bar room charm... tumbleweeds, Bar fights, dusty trails...

Swampy guitars, drinking toasts...I drink to love...

Fab dances...feel (fucken) good melodies that make it all so easy to succumb to the Mezcaltone charm. 

"I’m Bill from Kill Bill.."she vox on fire 

Third set... Masks on on fire... swamp riddled cow-thumpin’ Tex mex blues ...

Hypnotic surf tones...dusty tumble weed antics..

Electric is the he key word for set three.  Band fired up. Crowd fired up. Electricity is king.

I want Candy...Bow Wow Wow ...Mimi  on  vox.  All over it.


Ad then more of that Tarantino Travolta dance thing comes blazing out of the void...catchy, crazy, coolio...

Voodoo mex punk..."yippie aye oh...".

Awesome first encounter...the sound...the look...the fun...all nailed...and a  nicer band you couldn’t hope to meet. New album out Feb 28. 

Mark Fraser- 


The Mezcaltones. Image: Mark Fraser


The Mezcaltones. Image: Mark Fraser.

live reviews


Red Hot Summer Tour. Roche Estate. February 15, 2020.

Boom crash opera kick it off in front of 12000 punters. 

Get Out of the House....Hands Up In The Air...Dancing in the Storm ...Onion Skin...all the BCO hits.

Punter approved radio fodder. 

Dale Ryder is back in the fold and is a bit challenged vocally these days, but then, he is 65.

It mattered not though, as the early crowd seemed to obviously approve.

The rain is threatening, but so far so good. 

Oops spoke too soon. 

A quick drenching and all is back on track.

Killing Heidi come on all happy jack like and they pump out a pretty solid delivery of their left of centre commercial pop rock. 

Ella Hooper is on fire... a regular Energizer bunny.

Mascara and Weir are the undeniable crowd winners today. 

Was never a fan of Baby Animals until I caught them at last year’s Red Hot Summer Tour.

Now a total convert!

It’s hard not be sucked into Suze DeMarchi’s energetic charm. 

One Word, Rush You... all-round killer openers. 

Energy plus with and sans guitar, DeMarchi’s style is pure rock goddess through and through. 

One kickarse set in every sense. Mesmeric. 

Time for some crowd engagement, as Mr MC gets the rabble off their butts.

Gotta say though, watching
11,999 people drunkenly endeavouring to dance to  Nutbush City Limits  is kinda mind numbingly eerie.  

The Angels were a highlight last year, and today, we’re hanging for more of the same.

It’s electricity from the word go. 

Take a Long Line, I Ain’t The One..just fucking  on fire.

Dave Gleeson is phenomenal as a front man. So much energy. So fucking  crazed. So engaging. And obviously loving every moment of the very core.

The facials. The gestures.A joy to watch.

Sure he ain’t Doc, but then he’s not trynna be. 

Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again... electric crowd control...with the obligatory singalong response.

The Brewster front row... two bro’s and  a son...tight as...crowd mesmerised. 

Crowd blown away. Writer blown away. 

No Secrets, Take Me  Away to Marseilles...vivid memories of my first encounter back in 1978 when they supported Meat Loaf at The Hordern and wiped the floor.

The Angels really are timeless awe. 

That’s all I have to say. 

Haven't seen The Living End for a zillion  years. 

Always loved their three way punkabilly energetic onslaught. 

Second Solution. Roll On. The ultra snap-tight maniacy of What’s On Your Radio... and a thrashoid  rendition of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love...

So frickin’ good. 

Cheney as cool as ever on the guitar and vocal duties. Scotty Owen  driving that double bass down the M1 at a rate of knots....and one ripoid backbeat courtesy of Mr Andy Strachan.

All Torn Down...chunkachunked to perfection... that Gretsch fucken screaming...

Don’t Lose hell raising screamer...

“Sing it loud and sing  it proud” cries Cheney, as  Prisoner of Society just  bleeds all over that 12000 strong canvas. 

“You fucking  rule and you know it” he continues...

West End Riot’s battleground ...scorched and snarled. 

2008’s White Noise rounds it up beautifully, after some guitar theatrics and a bit of frothy beer slide...

Electric plus!! 

James Reyne, the man with his own language, winds it back down a tad... Beautiful People...keeping it radio friendly...

Hammerhead. Slick and subdued.

“Here’s a really old song,” adds Reyne,  as Downhearted welcomes in the sunset over the Hunter. 

Errol...Fall of Rome...

Boys light Up is a given, and brings up the tail end nicely...

The slow crooner that is Reckless was always one of Oz Crawl’s classics and tonight it’s as pristine as ever... as the stage is set for the Hunters...

Bringing in the night, Hunters & Collectors, who have managed to transgress the ages, bring that inherent mystique to life in an instant. 

Talking to a Stranger sets the tone with its trademark intensity.

Blind Eye’s infectious throes...blazing brass filling the voids perfectly.

The catchy drive of Where Do You Go. A beautiful familiarity. 

Mark Seymour is as beautifully intense as ever. Those vocals still cutting to the bone... brass... keys...tight, slick, incisive... 

The floating airs of True Tears of Joy.  Sparse emotional, moody. 

Guttural. Brutal. Powerful. Beautifully scarred. All the things that make Hunters so very special. 

Say Goodbye... still as raw and potent as ever. 

Holy Grail... almost religious, with its sheer passion. 

The River Runs Dry and of course, the timeless classic Throw Your Arms Around Me round out the Hunters set of killer crowd faves... crowd singalongs to boot. 

Ears shot... feet on my dial. 

Rock is the big winner today!



Chris Cheney-The Living End. All images: Mark Fraser

Dave Gleason-Angels. Image: Mark Fraser

Dave Gleeson-Angels. Images: Mark Fraser


Pennywise, Strung Out, No Fun At All. NEX Newcastle. February 13, 2020

Sweden’s No Fun  At All are an electric overdose from the outset. The perfect opener.

Powerhouse energy nuggets that steamroll, sweat and shake the very bedrock.

It's impossible not to get caught up in their jagged distorto infection. 

Melodious mayhem at its very Swedish skater-punk best. And you can tell they are loving every sweaty minute of it.

So-Cal’s Strung Out scream out of the stalls and launch straight into their gnarled, snarled sledgehammer flavoured frenzy.

Fricken insane drumming... sounded like a double kick...whatever, that riser was alive and that RJ Shankle is a sheer beast of his own ilk.  

Jason Cruz’s vox are a little tour ravaged, but it matters not. He owns it tonight and these ears can’t fault Strung Out on this occasion. 

Sweaty, non-stop smacks  to the head that just keep on coming at ya.

Crowd surfing like it's 1990 all over again.  Newie knows how to party.

The room is well and truely warmed and primed  for Pennywise.

With the anticipation almost tactile, Pennywise explode into the night.

Can’t Believe it.. Victim Of Reality....the brakes are off and that runaway truck is aimed Straight Ahead...

Full house and it’s on fire tonight!!! 

Pennywise tees are the standard garb and beer and Jack are the poison of choice. 

“Newcastle, if you don’t give a fuck let me hear you..” I Don’t Care... snagged and snotty.

One Voice strips paint from the walls and points that blow torch firmly at the front row.

“Make Some Noise it’s a pretty damn fucken good song.”

Aliens...relentless... Just For You...chunkachunk ...

No slouching. No excuses. Just full on Californian chaotic  arse-kick from go to woe, as Straight Ahead gets a complete airing, along with a splattering  of gnarled PW extras.

The best punch in the face I've had in a.long time .

Mark Fraser- 


Strung Out. Image: Mark Fraser


No Fun At All: Image: Mark Fraser


The Stranglers , The Gooch Palms. Enmore Theatre. Feb 8, 2020.

Two years to the day since I last  caught Stranglers here at the Enmore. Was one of the highlights of 2018, so kinda excited to be back tonight.

Newcastle happy jacks,  The Gooch Palms are a two piece snotty, punk flavoured outfit.

Ragged fun with a little anarchy. A touch of Tenpole even

Not your thrash ilk, but more your  piss take, organised carnage type of delivery with a strong nod to the late 70s punk era, mullets and old holdens dragging down Hunter Street.

Guitar, a kilt and a stripped back drum kit... and a bucket of snarly energy to boot. Yay Newie!

Stranglers are electric from the outset. Duchess, Get a Grip On Yourself.

JJ’s quirky, happy dance moves, Baz owning centre stage, Dave taking those four sets of keys to an astral level and drummer Jim Macaulay's slick and incisive backbeat adding some cool new runs.

No Mercy. The demonic bottom end of Nice n Sleazy.

And how can you go wrong with the killer bass runs and space piercing keys of The Raven.

JJ takes on the vox,  with that bottom end beast slaying and driving  every minute of it.

5 Minutes keeps the pummel alive.

The spooky retro, carnivalesque keys of Golden Brown. Always a crowd fave. 

As is Always The Sun with its teasing rhythms  and kickarse dynamics.

Skin Deep’s catchy harmonies and popervescence.

Nuclear Device’s quirkoid tale of Oz.

Peaches keeps the hits peeling off. Bass once a again the king. 

Walk on By’s bludgeoning force.

The beautiful urgency of Something Better Change. JJ’s vocals sounding more gravelly at the tail end. 

The dark beauty of Hanging Around. Those swimming keys, killer dynamics...and of course some of the best bottom end on the planet. 

Tank... a brutal bold boulder of a beast. 

Encore gives us a “pop rock song” a song JJ wrote at 15.  Go Buddy Go....the very first song Stranglers ever recorded..

Some guitar theatrics and the dark, oerfect punk, swirling keyboard and growling bass riddled popestry of No More Heroes tears the Enmore another one! The true essence of The Stranglers right there! 

A sheer drilling masterpiece! Amd what a way to end.

Tight as fuck polished  punksters  of yore. And dare I say....debonaire musical powerhouse gents of today!!

Still got it... and then some!



JJ- The Stranglers. Image: Mark Fraser


The Gooch Palms. Image: Mark Fraser

Ben Leece

Tamworth Country Music Festival. 2020

First time at TCMF and although I’m only checking in towards the tail end, it’s still a sensory overload on every street.

I stop for the obligatory selfie at the Golden Guitar on the way in.

Checked into my tent complete with provided blow up bed setup, despite having swore I would never camp again. A decision I will later regret.

But hey, when you leave it to the last minute and the cheapest hotel room is pushing up towards a grand a night, what’s a guy to do?

Jaydin Shingleton Is my first musical encounter. A Kiwi with a killer rich voice, he’s happily punching it out down by the Ferris wheel. 

It’s a million degrees and 200% humidity, so I grab a seat and a beer  on the balcony of the Pig & Tender Box where there’s a swag of young buskers playing away on a truck right out front.

A lazy cruise around the main CBD, where there’s literally a busker every 50 metres. 

From 10 year old first timers to 70 year old Willie Nelson wannabes ... all seeming to be belting out similar covers, with notably very few originals in the mix.

But hey, it’s Tamworth, and for ten days each year, it’s country music central.

I decide to check out Tamworth Hotel where there’s some awesome lineups over the next few days.

The TH flavour is more alternative, with a fair slab  of Dashville artists on the bill over the coming days.

A massive dust storm hits the city, and for a few minutes, it’s a red dusty apocalypse. 

Minutes later it’s pissing down rain and before you know it, it’s back to that humid country scorcher.

Matt Ward and his band are centre stage at TH...some easy lunch time listening,  as I rehydrate and check out the agenda for tomorrow. 

The Pigs have a sizeable following down at FanZone...Sweaty as all fuck, slap-a-billy hay bale rolls in the mud...

Macho Moisturiser... it’s all about the fun...

A fine feed of Vietnamese and some killer G & Ts and it’s time to suffer the tent.

Storm from hell, gale force winds, sauna bath temps, half deflated anorexic blow up mattress... and 2am band wind-ups down the creek.

Z count... zero. 

Day 2.

Another early walk around town for an update on the busker situation. Brekky at Inland Cafe  (killer smoothies)... 

I stick my head into that grand old Town Hall and wow! An 11 piece mind-blowing, suit wearing Celtic ensemble is in full early morning swing in front of a packed house.

Complete with Irish Dancers...and funny to boot. Murphy’s Pigs.
Mind blown!!

And it’s not even 11am.

Saltbush are doing their own brand of cruisey, polished country on the ABC stage, before I take a short drive out to the Storytellers sessions at the Almond Inn.

19 year old Queenslander Matt Munro is in the midst of his tales of broken relationships...grandfathers past and working Dads. Country to the core.

Steve Killeen is up next and gives us the beautiful Sometimes Angels and some sweet 12 string Irish balladeering. 

Mandolin tales of ghost towns.....poignant story  tales that hit  home.

A cruise around Main Street to catch some more buskers and then  up to the Tamworth for the soulful country-etched charm that is Ben Leece and Left of the Dial.

Henry wagons has a short front of stage chat with James Ellis, and we’re away.

And today those Geelong backing vocals (Laura from Georgia State Line) are back in the house. 

The haunting airs of Apple Tree, Nothing  Not Anymore’s sad catchiness... all the more poignant with twin guitars and that sad steel.

But it’s the endearing, yearning vox of Leece that make it all that more special. 

New song is a killer and having the full ensemble together is obviously putting a smile on Ben’s dial.

Quick shower and it’s a ‘short’ walk to Joe Maguires at the far end of town.

It’s still a thousand degrees and G&Ts are the only solution.

There’s a fiddle and guitar duo on before Texas Strangers and it’s the vocal numbers that stand out.

The Strangers pump even more heat into the room with their affable version of countrified rock.

Dusty tumbleweed-flavoured originals peppered with enough ragged covers. 

A Million Miles Away...true country etched reality.... steel slide... train track back beat. 

Shout out to the firies with (They Call Me)The Fireman...key rattled honky stomp.

And if the catchy raw beauty of Sometimes Angels doesn’t win you over... then nothing will!

Oh, and new single American Dream is a killer. 

Torrential rain is well needed, but it means an Uber ride back to that infernal tent. 

The floors soaked, I’m soaked. 

At some stage I can hear Andrew Farris doing  INXS’ Dont Change out on the Park Stage, across the creek.

Happy to call it a night after that, but the horde of runamuck pissed idiots had other ideas. Gotta get out of this tent.

Day 3. 

It's 9am and the Annual Tamworth street parade is winding its festive way down Main Street.

I clear out the tent and move into a new room at possibly the worst Hotel in Tamworth. Beggars can’t be choosers, but this place is the ultimate shithole. And filthy. But it’s a bed.

Some cheesy garlic bread at The Tamworth (best in town) and it’s a killer afternoon of music ahead. 

James Ellis And The Jealous Guys look and sound the honky  tonk...slow sad pedal steel... nice  early opener. 

The perfectly  cruisy  intro for what lays ahead. 

Beers for lunch... sweat off another kilo...

Matt Ward keeps that country sad, Americana thing going. 

Latest single, Better Man tells a hard tale of life’s shitty moments. 

Pedal Steel...acoustic and electric guitars..beautiful backing vox....What I Should Do Now’s even sadder throes.

Civilians put a bit more blues into their slab  of country... well early on in the piece anyway.

Kinda rootsy and even a bit of brass in the equation. Not a regular giggling band but more a labour of love of sorts. 

Some absolute pearler   numbers in the mix. Classy and infectious.  Aural  sculptures of the sublime ilk.

Add a bit of Ben Leece towards the end of the set and how can you go wrong.....we’re topped off perfectly. 

Georgia State Line... smooth as ravaged silk.

Affable melodies that go down like a 95 black Shiraz...smooth and warm all in one.... a summer road trip with your favourite mixed tape.

Forthcoming album track, Jackson is an epic piece of sonic awe. 

Beautifully lush pop trails. Gimme more!

Little Quirks make their Tamworth debut today...and as the youngest band on the bill, they totally own that wind swept stage.

Tight. Slick. Special. 

New single Devils Ivy is electric... I Told You So bounces in the wind and who doesn’t love a bit of Cranberries.

Cover My Eyes is the brand new EP, and what a gorgeously harmonised pop nugget the title track is too.

Bury Our beautiful in its own sadness.

Crumbled is its own beast and kicks serious arse each time it comes out of its cage.

Strength to strength.

Ben Lee & Left of The Dial never disappoint. Tonight is no different.

Those honeyed vox, pedal steel and lush harmonies take it to another level.

Latest single Paper Thin. Just wow!

A beautiful infection.

A little help from Georgia State Line late in the piece. Priceless. 

Songs that speak to all your warm parts with the most beautiful of ease. 

With all intentions of returning after recharging the camera and the phone back at the hotel, I end up settling into a few numbers from Oh Harlow, a young female  duo from Queensland...with some lovely airs and a batch of catchy originals.

I lay on my hobo bed and watch the killer electric storm out my broken window... the same storm that apparently flooded a few towns south of here. 

Ten hours later, I awake feeling totally re-humanised, after two previous sleepless nights...

Some tourist shopping for the kids and it’s back on the road south. My first TCMF under my belt.

Best venue: Tamworth Hotel.
Best bands:Ben Leece & Left of the Dial, Little Quirks, Texas Strangers.
Fave new bands: Georgia State Line, Civilians, Murphy’s Pigs.
Best brekky: Inland Cafe
Best ice water: Post Office Hotel.
Best G & Ts: Tamworth Vietnamese Restaurant.
Coldest beers: The Pig and Tinder Box.
Best cheesy garlic bread: Tamworth Hotel.
Friendliest folk: All the  staff at Festival HQ.
Best (and slowest) Uber driver: John.

Mark Fraser- 


Georgia State Line. Pic: Mark Fraser


Civilians. Pic: Mark Fraser

Jupiter 5

Jupiter 5, White Knuckle Fever, Johnny Devilseed and Old Man Rubes. Hardy’s Bay Club. January 17, 2020.

Tonight is the second slab of Outaspace Presents shows at Hardy’s Bay.

Girl From Woy Woy sets a bluesy tongue-in cheek pace. Devilseed and co are in the house.

Country hoe down one minute and funny as F&@k the next. 

Raspy vox, guitar and harp and a stomp box.

Waits’ Heart Attack and  Vine.

Drunken pirate ambles...and moonshine  madness all round.

Short and sweet set before White Knuckle Fever hook straight  into their bat shit crazy antics.

“Let’s Get Fucked Up”... what a killer track... killer performance...think Kate Pierson on speed...and you sorta come close to the dont-give-a-fuck itis that is the swampesque nature of White Knuckle Fever.

Tude... rude...raucous it. 

“All I wanted was a fucken kebab”....another onstage fart into the mic, and we’re on fire.

The drunken harp  of RSA Blues.

Sex and smut all over the canvas...mic pleasuring...beautifully confronting.

The power of fun.

Instant fan.

Jupiter 5 knocked my nuts off first encounter and tonight they’re on (my) home turf... win win.

“We’re taking control of this ship....”

“Greetings  earthlings you have exquisite taste“ proclaims Jay.

And it’s a sonic Detroit-esque deluge of unearthly planetary noise that rips this Friday night apart.

Dirty fuzzed-up rock nuggets laden with eccentricity a la Dr Zachary J Smith....

Catchy... corrosive... killer.

“Professor Robinson set a course to the seventh galaxy.”

And so it goes...outer space, galactic, guitar-driven anarchy that rumbles, rocks and rolls it’s way through the celestial matter.

For this, only their third gig, the inherent deep rock heritage sure shines through. But when you’re talking ex members of Conspirators, Psychotic Turnbuckles, 69BC and Hitmen, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.

Supersonic heroes? Methinks so!

Oh, and an encore of Tats’ Nice Boys...the perfect sayonara from the sonic space boys!!!

Mark Fraser- 


Whiter Knuckle Fever


Johny Devilseed and Old Man Rubes


Sea Gypsies, Little Quirks, gold blum, Saint Spook. Entrance Leagues. December 20, 2019.

Saint Spook dish up a different style of guitar rock. 

Second song in and I can hear a sample of  The Cure’s Boys Dont Cry somewhere in there if I’m not mistaken.

Theirs is an infectious plodarama kind of popped rock that’s hard not to succumb to. 

Sometimes moody, sometimes barbed...always engaging.

gold blum are another guitar driven,  snarled rock combo.

Melodious guitarnage with more  than enough pop sensibility.

Bit of Blur...and not too shabby a rendition. 

A ring in stick  man...wouldn’t have picked it.

Beautifully scorched  pop anthems that creep into your safe spot so effortlessly.

And then along comes Killing in the Name of... did not expect that.

“Fuck you aint gonna do what you told me...”

And what a kickarse sign off! 

Little Quirks... what’s to say?...

Amazing on all levels. Beautiful moodscapes... killer harmonised pop songs...

Criminally under  rated in so far as how good they really are.

A new second guitarist  in the mix tonight... the sound is a little fuller but it’s the same inherent simplistic charm that makes Little Quirks so endearing.

Florence’s Town... beautifully simple...Crumbled’s jumperama infection...and the beautiful Hopeless Wanderer (Mumford and Sons)... so much energy. So much fun. Hard not to love these guys.

Sea Gypsies...hmmm a little too much hippy-esque funk for my liking.

Hate dissing on bands, but not my cuppa tea in  any respect.

Sure, musically, they are good at what they do, and they have a string of tracks to prove it, but it ain’t doing it for these ears on this occasion.

That said, their new single Mexico is an absolute killer piece of pop... guess I was expecting more of the same.

Mark Fraser-


gold blum.

Little Quirks

Texas Strangers. Woy Woy Pub. December 14, 2019.

Last time I caught Texas Strangers, they were missing half their band. Rather than cancel, they plugged on with a couple of ring-ins.

Tonight it’s a kinda  full crew and with a new single under their belt and their excellent Bordeline album on show, there’s more than a tad of anticipation. 

Seger’s Turn the Page has the punters on their drunken feet and kinda sets the tone for what lays ahead. 

Sure, country is the flavour, but there’s an affable rock element that sets TS apart. 

Sunset Gypsy’s tale of curses and cheating ways has more than a little Cash swagger in its veins.

The rail track rambling twang of Catching the Red...How Could You Do Me Like That?’s bar room brooding and cowpoke catchiness.

Funny one liners...a Celtic rendition of I’ve Just Seen a Face.... and it’s hillbilly heaven at the olde pub tonight...

Album fave Always in the Rain kicks off second set and what a killer it is on all fronts. Heart warming, infectious as all hell and deserved of wider listening. 

New single American Dream is pure anthemic, popped, countrified rock and has hit written all over it. 

One More Shot of Whisky’s carnivalesque keys and Irish charm perfectly showcases frontman Steve Killeen's heritage...and all of a sudden we’re throwing down pints at Paddy O’Reillys...

And it’s that point of difference that gives  Texas Strangers  that special edge.

A bit o country a slash of Irish, a stab of feelgood rock and plenty of tongue in cheek... such is the TS charm.

Heading to Tamworth in January! New single out soon.

Mark Fraser- 

Texas Strangers

Hard Ons, Arse, The Mis-Made. Landsdowne. December 13, 2019.

Unfortunately I missed The Mis-Made, but  after the quality run  of killer singles they have released over the past year, I’m sure they kicked some serious arse.

And speaking of arse, Arse are apparently one of Blackie’s fave bands at the moment...and on that recommendation, you kinda wanna be front and centre.

They don’t  disappoint, with their three way  thrash and short sharp stabs of beautifully mangled noise.

Some manic slower moments, but it all comes back to that rumbling runaway Aussie tainted carnage.

Hard Ons  latest album is a fucking  certified cranker and tonight we cop it live!

Beautifully brutal and then some, with those inherent harmonies dripping all over the canvas. The metal mayhem of Made to Love You II and Float...the popesque infection of Bad Bad Temper To Match and Not Just For a Day...bliss on butane!

On stage is where Hard-Ons love to be and after more than 35 years, tonight it shows tenfold. 

Small stage. Big crowd. 

Perfect sonic synergy all round. 

Keish totally in his groove up front, Murray in full control of the back end, Ray bleeding all over that perfect bottom end rumble and Blackie just smashing tand carressing those guitars within an inch of their lives.

The legend that is HARD ONS lives on!

Mark Fraser- 


Hard Ons




Outaspace Garage Meltdown presents....Sore Points, Thee Cha Cha Chas, The Dunhill Blues, Fangin’ Felines, Thee Evil Twin. Factory Floor, Marrickville. December 6, 2019.

Thee Evil Twin are a three piece sonic assault laden with sweet distortion and a kickarse backbeat.

Solid. Sweet. Scorched.

Short shots of perfectoid rock pellets.

The ideal opener!

Wollongong’s Fangin’ Felines possess that perfect blend of melody and mayhem.

Seasoned rock-ettes with more than a little pop in their punch.

Beautiful, sometimes retro, moods that bleed and bulldoze simultaneously... and some killer harmonies to boot. 


The Dunhill Blues are just as raw and ragged live as they are on record.

Sweaty surges of thumperama that punch  you right In the face and in turn take noise pollution to the next level.

No subtlety here, just pure solid chunkachunk  garage, punk tinged rock... and the odd psychedelic sidetrack...

Hammer me deaf!

Thee Cha Cha Chas are at the tail end of their East coast tour and their unique, two way,serratedly fuzzed  rock charm comes complete with lime green alien garb tonight. 

A lot rockier than last encounter... could be the PA? Either way they are on galactic fire this evening. 

Tight as time travel and equally as enthralling, their quirked Melbourne fun smashes it out of the park.


And Alternative Ulster just firmly seals the deal.

Alien arse cheeks  indeed!!

Canada’s Sore Points are a whole new level of noise.

Theirs is a snotty  power punched brand of aural assault that comes double time, double fast and double loud.

A twopenny bunger delivery of bludgeoned punkesque pellets that are as sharp as shit and  just seem to explode on impact.

Go Canada!

Great lineup. Great night. Kudos to Outaspace for making  it happen.

Mark Fraser- 


Thee Cha Cha Chas


The Dunhill Blues


Thee Cha Cha Chas, Space boozzies, Lion Island. Hardys Bay Club, November 23, 2019.

Loved Lion Island’s last album, so was a little excited to see how it transferred live.

Drummer Bob is now on guitar and the sound is raggedly garage-ish.

Joanie’s on crack Opens up and it’s into your veins instantly with its catchy throes.

Infectious indie, melodic power pop with shades of Westerberg... a similarity I’ve noted before...and a great one at that.

"I saw the clash in the supermarket"... gloriously messy. 

Sweet jagged  guitars drive the bus and it’s feelgood all the way.

Bunch of new songs, plenty of punch and some gnarlier garage moments.

Sure there are some raw moments but hey, that’s rock n roll. 

Space Boozzies hail from the coast and even have their own tween queen dance crew.

Dirty, raggedy triple guitar riddled rock pellets that crawl drunk from the gutter and slam their way down the alley in their own haggard way.

Undertones’ Teenage Kicks does snotty justice to the original.

A one minute punk onslaught...some psyched 60s squelcharama...some more gnarly punk-esque carnage...a bit o smooth sax...and in all, it’s one sweaty hair ball of a set.

Fresh from Japan, Melbourne’s Thee Cha Cha Chas  are a two piece that kick as hard as a fully fledged combo.

Scorched guitar and footsie drums all in one with she vox  and bass completing the picture.

Not afraid to kick some arse, have a chat and generally fuzz it up, it’s  hard not to succumb to their unique charm.

And Alternative Ulster!!! FRICK Yeah!

Fresh as fuck and beautifully ravaged.

Big shout out to Milly and Adam from Outaspace for having me along (and for the Dunnies record).

Mark Fraser- 


Space Boozzies


Lion Island