live reviews

Little Quirks, India and the Journey to the East, Edda Srey, Jasmine Pearl. The Dungeon Adamstown. August 16,2019.

Little Quirks. The Dungeon. August 2019.

As part of the Newcastle Music Festival, tonight’s gig is presented by Lo-Fi. 

Lo-Fi have been running music events at the old Church hall for some time. And tonight’s theme is female front persons.

Normal genre is more rock flavoured but tonight it’s a more laid back concern.

Jasmine Pearl is first up, with an electric guitar, an intriguing, honeyed,soft voice and a swag of originals.

Simple and raw.

Edda Srey are a keyboard centred four piece with some beautiful, easy melodies and a hell set of she vox.

A change of guitar sees some deep desert rat cow-poking tones a la Twin Peaks.

Some nice dynamics, easily sliding from rocky upbeat to smokey sparse moods.

Harvest Moon gets a neato stripped-bare,sweet makeover.

Polished.. for the most part.... and it wasn’t for the lack of trying with that last song... haha.

India And The Journey To The East are in full trip mode from the word go.

Acoustic meets electric to create haunting soundscapes that rise and fall.

Switch from acoustic to electric and it’s time to rock. Guitarnage plus...and awesomely tight as.

Little Quirks have a brand new single out this week and they just keep going from strength to strength.

The perfect blend of folksy pop and blissful ballads is their forte. 

But tonight it’s full rock mode, and how...

An awesome, newly-rocked rendition of Dreams is more than proof of that.

Crumbled!!! Jesus! Where did that come from?

The beast has been unleashed, and tonight, rock has a new contender!


Edda Srey. The Dungeon. August 2019.

Edda Srey


India and the Journey to the East

Snow Patrol. Sydney Opera House August 2019. Pic: Amanda Naylor Photography.

Snow Patrol, Ryan McMullan. Sydney Opera House. August 11, 2019.

Snow Patrol. Sydney Opera house 2019. Pic: Amanda Naylor Photography

With only two of the Snow Patrollers (Gary Lightbody & Nathan Connolly) on deck for this acoustic style tour (Johnny McDaid out whilst recovering from surgery), it mattered not, as tonight was sheer style from the word go.

The purple Opera House haze sets the scene for (temporary Snow Patrol member) Ryan McMullan’s key driven sounds. Filling in for McDaid, it was quite clever to showcase his pedigree prior to the main act.

Big voice. Big tunes.

Bowie’s Heroes cops what initially sounds like a stripped-back work over... but wait, it’s a Bowie tribute of sorts, centred around the song of the same name.

A move from piano to guitar and its more of that simple Irish charm.

Haunting airs as that voice rises and falls with sad tales of home and family.... glass of red....spin of the mic to appease the crowd rear of stage. All class!

Mesmerising from the outset, Snow Patrol totally pull it off as a three piece. Beautifully crafted aural moodscapes...

Showcasing songs from the new album Wildness, along with their catalogue of hits, it’s an intimate encounter and tonight the opera house is the perfect acoustic canvas.

Run sees the crowd joining in ...magic...haunting...moving. Hasn’t waned one iota in19 years.

A few mistakes here and there but it matters not. It’s all about feelgood and it’s hard to know who has the biggest smiles on their dial, Lightbody or the punters.

The organised crowd choir thing goes down well...You’re All I Have… total crowd control, the rear of stage crowd harmonies epic, as Gary holds them in the palm of his hand...awesome.

Life on Earth...”five years in the making” laments Lightbody. “It’s only three chords, but the lyrics …faaaark. Worth it? Fuck yeah. 

Exit Connolly and McMullan, and it’s a couple of tracks in solo mode. 

Soon…a song about his father’s dementia…sadly beautiful.

I Think of Home, a song about Ireland...earmarked as the next SP single. 

Called Out in The Dark sees us back in full rock mode. Guitar explodes…change of weapon...Chasing Cars even more cuttingly cool acoustically. The pinnacle of the evening!

Open Your Eyes sees total crowd immersion. Epic finale. And a happier face you’ve never seen.

Encore gives us Take Back The City solo mode, before the infectious heartfelt dynamics of Just Say Yes takes it home and leaves a warm fuzzed feelin’ in your innards.

Ya gotta love the Irish!

Mark Fraser – 

All images Amanda Naylor Photography

More images in gallery-click here

Snow Patrol, Sydney Opera House 2019.

Pic: Amanda Naylor Photography.


Snow Patrol. Sydney Opera House 2019.

Pic: Amanda Naylor Photography

Texas Strangers. Lakes Hotel, The Entrance. August 10, 2019

Texas Strangers

Opening with Bob Seger’s Turn The Page, I’m a little surprised that they aren’t kicking off with an original or a song off their excellent new album. 

But  I guess when you have a three hour slot to fill, you need to give the punters what they want.

With a room full of cowboy hats and snakeskin boots, it’s a definite country vibe, and that’s the obvious flavour of the Texas Strangers.

Steve Killeen has a big set of vox with an almost Elvis-esque feel time at times.

Steve Earl’s I Don’t Want To Lose You Yet unleashes the twang factor. Sunset Gypsy, an original from their earlier EP is a catchy rollick.

Debut single Catching the Red, is classic cow poke country in every sense.

Elvis meets Johnny Cash vocally. All the right twanged guitar, humpalong bass and plenty o’ that snappy snare. 

Allan Jackson’s obvious fan fave...Cheap Trick’s I Want You To Want Me gets a hay bale serve up... before 

Gayle O’Neil joins ‘em on stage for a duet of Jackson...and it’s a drunken audience frenzy.

Me, I’m just hanging to hear the awesome Always In The Rain from the Borderline album.

A short break and we’re down to the pointy end of the evening. And hopefully a good slab off the new album. 

But it’s Leo Sayer’s You know I can’t Dance that kicks it off.  Honky tonk piano.

Dingoes’ Way Out West is as country slick as ever. A timeless classic.

Fall’s smooth country warmth is the perfect mellow mid-nighter, ahead of You Ain’t Foolin’ Me’s bloodletting and bitter tale of betrayal...and it’s nice to hear a few more tracks from Borderline.

Gayle O’Neil heads back on stage to perform her number  one country single Open Arms.

Didn’t catch the name of the newie, but it’s draped with more than a bit of soft smooth classy charm ...beautiful.

Some more crowd fodder. Some boogie woogie...

But sadly no Always In The Rain...maybe next time.

Mark Fraser - 


Ben Leece, Peta Caswell & The Lost Cause, Katie Brianna. Lizotte’s Newcastle. August 7, 2019.

Ben Leece Pic:Swamp House Photogra phy.

First time at Lizotte’s and what a great little music venue… kinda like an old yesteryear movie theatre with stacks of musical instruments, rock posters and collectibles scattered over the walls...way cool.

Tonight is locals night and also a showcase of Stanley Records artists.  

Katie Brianna kicks the night off with a big voice and an acoustic guitar.

Couple of solo numbers, before Ben Leece and his band join her on stage for some extra punch, bringing some fine ‘jaguar’ sounding twang...

Katie exudes plenty of confidence and she’s not afraid to have a chat. Genre? Slightly country sprinkled, affable pop ambles. Final song Home was a total corker.

Peta Caswell & The Lost Cause are a little more countrified initially before moving into their maturo soft-rocked pop, kinda thing.

Singing guitar, sweeping keys and a fine ambassador for the Stanley Records family.

Wish We Weren’t Over drips sad, lonely tears all over the canvas. Seductively sparse beauty that wins you over in an instant.

I Don’t Wanna be your Baby Now from the recent EP is another country tinged tear jerker that just screams Tamworth.

And then there’s the rockier edge of the sword ( You Can Bring Me Anything But Now) that hammers oh so eloquently.

Some band intros and it’s into the bouncy, bass rumbling romp of future new single Baby We’re Not Done.

Hard Work’s power vox and EP opener Better With You (love the guitar on this) rock out the tail end nicely.

Ben Leece has an album doing the rounds and with the lights on mellow mode, he comes out solo, riding that sweet ‘jaguar’ and sounding like a modern day Jackson Brown. What a voice!

Depth. Tone. Power.

I’m hooked twenty seconds in.

Enter full band and the rock meter kicks in. Beautifully twanged guitar...infectious rhythms and an under stated air that sweeps you up in its humble path.

Ain’t Got Nothing’s rockier country edge. Sunny Side’s pure swamp- etched country blues.

From smoky seductive throes and those lush Geelong-based harmonies to beautifully rocked moodscapes, it’s all more than just a little special.

Mark Fraser – 

Images courtesy Swamp House Photography

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Peta Caswell & The Lost Cause.
Pic: Swamp House Photography

Peta Caswell & The Lost Cause. Pic: Swamp House Photography.


Katie Brianna. Pic: Swamp House Photography

Jamberoo Music Festival.July 20, 2019

Little Quirks at Jamberoo

The sleepy town of Jamberoo comes alive for the second annual Jamberoo Music Festival, attracting bands, artists and punters from across the country.

And what an awesome concept it is...buskers on every corner... friendly locals...great food, craft  beers...what’s not to love?

Dan Demos kicks off in the School of arts hall with a foot stomp and a guitar. Bluesy tales of crossroads and mojo. Slick pickin’ skills to boot.

A short walk to the local church where the floating vox of Mem Davis, accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful sounds of Sandy Gill’s cello makes the walk dating cops a beating as she fills that church hall perfectly with heart felt ditties.

Brad White and friend bring some duel acoustic to the party down in the scout hall...whilst GOTU take their tripped out soulful journey to a packed house at the Bowlo. 

Two guitars, violin and drums are their MO and it’s smokey as! Beautiful stuff. The genius lays within the sparseness.

The jam packed BBQ chilli prawn roll is just the medicine before the beers start flowing.

The Water Runners have just kicked off in the Arts Hall. Theirs is a folksy bluegrass,  skittle type delivery...and a can of Cuppit Pale Ale seems more than appropriate. 

Another full house on this sun drowned winters arvo, as banjo, violin and double bass carry the Runners swashbuckling yarns of yore.

Down at the scout hall, is Wollongong’s Yasmine Russell. Wow! Gorgeous harp renditions of the likes of Sweet Child O mine and some equally mesmeric originals.

Did not expect that! So so coool! Mind totally blown!

Wolf Gordon open with Neil Young-esque harp and ease into that lackadaisical folk thing. A soft gloved slap that’s easy to swallow...slick lidl bass rolls... brushed drums and affable vox. Nice!

Genevieve and the Stones Throw’s bio cites a Janis Joplin similarity. And vocally they ain’t too far from the truth. Big ole double bass, even bigger vox and a three way hammer. Confidence with a rock hard kick!

Pete Cornelius is in solo mode and bluesy sweet guitar is his thing. He’s been doing it for years and it shows in the depth of his songs and the passion in his lyrics. Honey smooth vox to boot.

Geelong’s Rach Brennan and the Pines are promoting their new album and present the rockiest edge to the day so far.  

Jumpy. Poppy. Rocky.

Shades of Tanya Donnelly in the  vocal dept. Bro and sis up front, keys, guitars and a kickarse backbeat. Spesh. The album is a corker too. 

With all the chairs removed in the main hall, The Ninth Chapter have turned it all into a full on party as we get towards the pointy end of the day. 

More funk than this distorted scribe can handle but they have their own swag that blatantly hits home with the punters. 

Back at the bowlo, Bill Barber gives a funny rundown on the personalities of guitar chords and takes a stab at country before launching into his own warbled version of countrified blues. Funny guy.”this goes out to my current and future ex wife.”as he delves into a bit of BB King. Big song. Big vox.and some hellfire picking to boot. 

As the sun disappears  behind  the hills, 19Twenty have a packed hall awaiting. My first encounter, so expectations are high. Brendan Fahey your street cred is on trial.

“How good is arvo drunk”,And we’re away... and almost instantly I can  see what all the fuss is about. 

Engaging.Insane.Endearingly funny as all hell.

We’re gonna do a surf song... enter sax and it’s Bombora all the way...that big arse double bass more than holding its own. 

Kiss gets a guernsey, complete with crowd singalong and if pisstake had a soundtrack it would be 19twenty... smoke on the water riffs jokes...all wrapped in a killer musical punch in the nads. 

F&@k you ain’t gonna do what you told me..Am I ever gonna See Your Face Again...What’s not to like?


Gabadoo is a one man show. A mix of looped hip hop and indigenous tales.  Bit of a warmup. And it’s on. Cool raps. Killer back loops. It all gels.

Short dinner  break to soak up some of the bevies and we’re back into it.

The Barren Spinsters are a two piece that kick as hard as a fully fledged lineup. 

Snappy drums. Twin neck guitar and lots of drive are the formula for their incisive brand of kickarsery. 

Me and Julio...lotsa whistles and as tight as the proverbial.

Blood Guts and Fire Trucks bring a bit more rock to the a plenty...distortion plus and riffs that catch fire as soon as they’re unleashed.

Little Quirks. What more is left to say? Gorgeous melodies. Exquisite harmonies. Aurally  perfect on every level. Tonight they bounce so perfectly, loving every moment ... better and better every show.

Cranberries’ Dreams is kick-butt on fire and drop dead killer from go to woe.

The new EP is on show...sounding sensaysh already, and  it isn’t even out yet. Soo much energy!

Passion plus. Fun fun fun. Greatness was always on the cards for the Quirksters...Tonight that’s evident!

The Kite Machine are three parts of Rach Brennan and promise to be more rocky. They come on as loud as f&#k, living up to the hype. 

Rumbling bass,squirkoid guitar and kickarse bottom end. Bleed!

Grizzlee Train are geetar and drums. A swirloid blues train that seems to hit plenty of nerves with their tight knit blues rock fusion. 

And that’s a wrap for this tainted scribe, as I score the shuttle back to my motel with a buzz in my ears and a batch of new bands on my radar.

Highlights for the day...19Twenty, Little Quirks, GOTU and Rach Brennan.

Memo to self. When you action plan B and grab a shuttle to your accomm in the backwoods of Jamberoo and leave your car in town, remember  there ain’t no phone coverage, internet, taxi or Uber service and it’s a long Sunday morning walk back to town.

Mark Fraser -

More festival images in Gallery


19Twenty at Jamberoo

Rach Brennan & The Pines

Rach Brennan & The Pines

Little Quirks, Jordyn Richards, Inez Curro.The Music Lounge @ Builders club Dee Why. July13, 2019.

Little Quirks- Dee Why 2019.

A seated,meal scenario setup with a full house mix of older and younger punters. My old mate Keith Armitage books the place and as a long time supporter of all things musical, he’s been showcasing original acts at the Music Lounge for a number of years.

Inez Curro won her heat at a recent band competition and is tonight’s opening act. An elf-like presence with an acoustic guitar, singing angelic ditties about mouldy back packs, fish and red sneakers.

Soft,sadly etched, sparse originals that hauntingly drift across that ever so politely quiet room.

16 year old Jordyn Richards also nailed it at a recent DYRSL comp and after a bit of a lead mixup, launches into her own batch of equally angelically voiced, acoustic tales.

Hypnotically beautiful. A slight country tinge with a killer range and some nice dynamics. Pretty special.

Little Quirks are fun from the outset. The instant appeal of new track Devil’s Ivy. The bouncy throes of I Told You So... those trademark, beautiful harmonies.

Upcoming single Cover My Eyes is an exercise in poetic harmony.. gorgeous in every way as it rises and falls. 

Where We Hide’s subtle punch is its own beast.

A change of stage as Mia comes off drums and joins the front line for the beautiful acoustic version and vocal harmonies of Bury Your Bones (also from the upcoming EP). Amazing, and not a dry eye in the house.

First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold Is the perfect follow up...those haunting harmonies once again.

Seen a Face bounces in true LQ style, ahead of Life Wouldn’t Be the Same’s infectious popnificence, incisive drum rolls and pop topped dynamics.

Brand newie, Florence’s Town is as catchy as all hell. A totally new set arrangement in all, and tonight it works beautifully.

Alex takes vocal lead on Fleetwood Mac’s Second Hand News and lifts it another notch.

Crumbled is on fire, as Mumford’s Hopeless Wanderer ties it all up ahead of the encore of The Cranberries’ Zombie.

Tonight is one polished delivery in every sense, and if the queue at the merch stand is any indication then they’ve won themselves a heap of new fans to boot.

Mark Fraser -


Jordyn Richards

Little Quirks live at Music Lounge

Little Quirks cover First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold.