Live reviews


Jon Bellion, Travis Mendez, B Keyz. Enmore, November 8, 2019.

My 12 year old is kind of obsessed with Jon Bellion, so when he heard that he was coming to Australia, he insisted we had to go.

With an audience ranging from around ten to sixty years and a merch queue running up the stairs, this was quite a different scenario for these punk ravaged ears.

B Keyz is an American rapper and he warms up the crowd...dishing up simple, energetic raps over recorded back beats. 

Travis Mendes hails from Brooklyn and has a voice that sits somewhere between Marvin Gaye and Aaron Neville.

Soul to the core, it’s hard not to get caught up in his passionate performance tonight.

Jon Bellion is on the promotion trail for his new album Glory Sound Prep.

Tonight is the last Australian gig, and the place goes nuts as the recorded chorus of JT punches into the night...”and I don’t mean John Travolta...”

Bellion bounces on stage and it’s hands in the air from the outset.

A killer song to open with...catchy as all hell.

With a mixture of hip hop, pop and R & B, 

Bellion’s set is peppered with singalong classics (All Time Low), beautifully moody soundscapes (Stupid Deep), and even the more punchy elements such as album opener Conversations With My Wife.

The slower, pensive squelch of Blu is kind of epic in nature, but it’s the final song of the night, Good Things Fall Apart that really rips it apart with its haunting airs and infectious, sad charm.

Gotta say , I went in sceptical and came out a fan!

And watching my little guy sing along to every word, smashing the air and woo hooing throughout the entire set... what’s not to love?

Mark Fraser-


Dashville Skyline. Lower Belford. October 4-6, 2019.

Day 1.

Dashville is a little dusty piece of private country out Lower Belford way. 

The vibe is laid back and it is in no way your typical festival.

This being my first encounter, it’s all quite novel.  Beards replace black as the new cool, and an easy ambience gives angst the finger.

Queensland’s Jackie  Marshall is first cab off the rank for me, after battling that shitty $45 Kmart tent. 

She’s a little nutso. And that’s all good. 

Yodelly type guitar driven ballads are her thing and she loves a chat ‘tween songs.

Steve Lane and The Autocrats are a bit of a family affair, with Steve’s brother (drums) and son (bass) on board. 

A lazy cruise... guitars... banjo...Sunday beer garden jams...even shades of early Richard Clapton... and Graham Parker...

As Steve says, “ a bit of true cosmic country..”

And hell, we even get a bit of surf rock...

Fremantle’s Lincoln Mackinnon & The Wrecking Train.... crazy, ragged feelgood, blues-tinged rock with a good rogering of sizzling, scorched sax.

Snappy. Tight. Cutting Edge. Engaging to the nth degree.

Winner. Winner. Chicken bloody dinner.

Melbourne’s Freya Josephine Hollick. Wow! 

Looks like a 70s sharpie and sings like a retro angel.

So captivating. So unashamedly  confronting. Slabs of steel guitar. 

Smoke in the bar room... a love song...

A solo moment that just bleeds the soul.

And out of the blue comes a Dolly Parton number... I Will Always Love You. 

I dare you not to fall in love in a heart beat!! Mind blown!!

Was lucky enough to catch Hannah Aldridge rehearsing out back in the camp area. 

A beautiful set of vox. And the perfect setting twixt the trees as the sun was going down.

Tonight she brings that Alabama sass and country edge to a dusty little town in Oz.

Her dad James La Blanc  “wrote a song that was never recorded” and tonight she does it justice.

Cow punchin songs about cheating...tales of growing up... vampires and zombies...huntsman spiders...

That aforementioned rehearsal song just bleeds all over the canvas... sheer awe!

Archie Roach... waddya say? The man is an Aussie legend in every sense.

Stories to be told. Songs to be sung.

From the heart. From the soul.

A  Child Was Born Here....barbed wired raw edge passion from the very essence of life’s source.

“ I love my family with all my heart...but sometimes I don’t like them...”

He rolls off those tales so effortlessly...sometimes struggling for breath.

Get Back To The Land... bluesy and heartfelt.

That beautiful gravelly warble...

Walking in his mother’s footsteps via The Old Mission Road...simple...sad...soul wrenching...

Words can’t really describe the raw emotion and depth of spirit that this man brings to stage.

Always a moving experience.

James Thompson... aka a shitload of guitars in the mix.

Swampy bayou type stuff wrapped around a cacophony of guitars, penetrating keys and a hum-buckling retro- esque delivery.

Continuing the trend for shitarse-long band names, Skyscraper Stan & The Commission  Flats have an intriguing thing going.

Kinda goofy and funny and hard not to notice.

“Deep fried self pity..” what a great line.

Poetic stories in easy to take portions. And damn if that ain’t Spud up front.

“Dancing on my Own Grave”...plodalong cowpokin’...whistles and all.

The Day That Jimmy Got a Stiffie in the pool...sold!

The Re-Mains... way cool rocky nuggets. Slashed guitars  and rock solid punches in the noggin. 

Townsville’s pumped up hillbilly hayride.

Heartbrokers  pull the full party mode  and pump the rock side of the tracks.

Keys, guitars, smoke, frenzy...

If you were thinking about falling asleep, forget it!

Rock solid wake up call!

Sayonara day one!!

Day 2:

Weeping Willows kick it off at the bright old hour of 9am.

Hillbilly country hoe down type stuff one minute.

Bluesy, cruisey ballads the next. Beautiful harmonies...honeyed vox.

I down an appropriately named juice (hangover) that’s nine parts ginger and nine parts lemon. Burn!

Greta Ziller is all about guitars and vocals. A beautiful Gretsch and an equally haunting voice.

Some guest vocals for a killer rendition of Freefallin’

Over in the tractor shed there’s a songwriting workshop with Freya, Skyscraper Stan and Steve Lane.

Dave Garnham & The Reasons to Live love a bit of slide, some banjo and even some violin...and a big arse double bass.

A little bit country and then a little bit more.

“You’re born with nothing and then you die with a broken heart”

Ya gotta love the optimism of country!!!

Little Quirks blow it out of the water from the start.

Gorgeous harmonies... songs that creep into your consciousness in a whisper.

 New single Life Wouldn’t Be is infectious as all hell.

Cranberries’ Dreams... totally fresh with the new elongated intro.

 Cover My Eyes...Bury Our Bones.... from bounce to brooding...

Crumbled’s rollicking hay ride...

The perfect Saturday arvo antidote!

Ahlia Wiliams. Angry, punkesque, almost spoken word kinda stuff behind jagged guitar.

Totally one of a kind.

Love her attitude, and that snappy snare in the background just drives it all home.

“All I Want is to be Your Dog”... gold.

Queensland’s Suicide Swans are a raggedy combo...swapping instruments and punching out swamp water ditties around that dancing fiddle.

Gravelly. Steamy. Nice n muddy.

And when that ‘Wurlitzer’ kicks in!!!

Dead Marines have a few members of Oz music royalty on board.

Bernie Hayes, Brendan Gallagher & Bow Campbell.

Three acoustic guitars and a trio of vintage, port smooth voices.

I Drink Alone’s sad woes...quirky one liners...summer arvo porch ditties that fit perfectly into this Dashville Saturday arvo.

Hannah Aldridge... so good they billed her twice.

That Alabama charm is hard to ignore.

A solo hello before her borrowed band joins in and switches  it to rock mode.

Plenty o twang. Plenty o pump.

“One word one song...”just beautiful.

Sean McMahon & The Owls are as tight as the proverbial.

Heavier edged country rock that’s ridiculously catchy.

And then there’s the mellow moments...all smoky and seductive.

Bit of the old mouth harp takes it further down that dusty country road...

Country cool.

Kiwis, Albi and The Wolves mix of acoustic guitar,  electric violin and double bass dish up something a little different.

A tad eccentric. Plenty of smooth charm. And even a violin vs guitar showdown.

They even throw in a token country tune to boot, to appease the masses.

Sunset super sounds...A bit of an all -in covers session is up next...pieces of bands from the weekend doing their fave “Danny Glovers’.

It meant another gem from Freya Josephine Hollick and surprise appearance from Ben Leece. Sweet.

Nicholas Connors. Continuing the Newcastle nouveau sharpie theme.

Swampy, crazed guitar, an edgy, menacing presence and more than a little madness.

Epic soundscapes.

Think Cramps on acid with a touch of Pulp Fiction...and maybe Natural Born Killers.

What’s not to love?

A rancid breath of fresh air. My mind has been completely hijacked.

Emily Wurramara’s soft easy ways are in stark contrast to what has just unfolded.

Acoustic wafts carrying tales that float effortlessly into the cold night airs.

Amy Montgomery hails from Ireland and has a voice the size of Europe.

She’s only  20 and story goes that William Crighton heard her and decided to take her on tour as his support.

No doubts as to why!

A lit powderkeg of Irish energy... and then some!

WA’s The Kill Devil Hills  are not even on the radar when it comes to country.

Theirs is more a dirty rock ethos. 

“We believe in the value  of playing very loudly”

Guitars ablaze...scratchy violin...swampy hairy fireball of  crazed energy.

And equally just at home in the sparse moodscapes realm... occasionally riddled with brooding other times just dripping with unbridled emotion.

James Ellis & The Jealous Guys are a boot scootin lovers wet dream.

As country as the back streets of Tamworth in January, complete with slide and keys and a full set of hair and beards to boot.

William Crighton is last cab off the rank tonight and I’m only just making the distance.

Intense from the outset... “no one here is who they appear”

Didge setting the mood...bit of a pedal board hiccup and then we’re away.

Aussie tales with an indigenous flavour.

Smokey hues. Smokey stage. Spiritual airs. 

Story teller extraordinaire. 

And as the back stage musical shenanigans scream into the night until around 4.30 in the morning, I dust off early Sunday and head for home.

First  DashvilLe Skyline  (well 2 out of 3 days anyway) survived!


Header image- Amy Montgomery by Mark Fraser

Sean McMahon amd the Owls. Image- Mark Fraser

Sean McMahon & The Owls. Image: Mark Fraser

William Crighton. Image-  Mark Fraser

William Crighton- image: Mark Fraser


Radiators. Ettalong Diggers. October 6, 2019.

1980’s Numbers.

Summer Holiday.

No Tragedy.

Radiation’s cosplay.

How’s that for an opening bunch of classics?

Room Full of Diamonds... still as swirlingly cool and catchy as ever.

You always know what you are gonna get with The Rads... and they NEVER disappoint.

The sweet popestry of Bring On The  Crazy...bring on the night... fark yeah.

Some fake cow punch intros, a bit of country twangalong and its back to the serious shit of dishing out awesome sweaty, singalong pub rock n roll.

Life’s a Gamble... yeah yeah yeah...

And does it get any better than the killer melodies of Hit n Run?

Methinks not.

The crowd fave Gimme  Head.

Mark Lucas dishes up some cool drum solo stuff before the obligatory encore.

And it’s the sheer fun of 17 that just goes fricken nuts.

Coming Home is the perfect closer and I swear there ain’t a harder working band in the country.

There’s still all the Rads theatrics, the masks, the scalf...and more importantly, the timeless songs, and the sweaty, endearing, pub rock passion that just oozes beautifully from every gig they’ve played for the last however many years it is now.

Brian Nichol still has the goods, and Geoff Turner is never short of some classic one liners.

Brent Dehn is a more than worthy replacement for Fess Parker and Mark Lucas just loves every minute behind those skins, tying it all together perfectly.


Mark Fraser-


Rads images- Mark Fraser


Amy Shark, Sly Withers, Eleanor Jacks. NEX Newcastle. October 3, 2019.

A huge, cavernous venue in the west end of Newie, NEX is next level.

Eleanor Jacks... a keyboard and guitar two piece with a beautiful ease about them.

Strong vox with keys at the forefront and a non intrusive guitar presence bringing up the rear.

A Gaga cover (Bad Romance), the odd revenge song  (Narcissistic  Lover)...sounding a lot like Keane...

Run and Hide’s sultry throes...tail ender...I’m Drunk and I Love You...killer song title!

Sly Withers hail from Perth and have that inherent WA pop sensibility well and truely nailed. 

Sugar thrashed melodies that catch you from the very first hook throw.

A fill in drummer tonight, but you’d never know. 

Sharing the vox works well and a more Aussier sound you’d be hard pressed to find. 

Super catchy pop guitarnage. I’m an instant fan!

A bit of Rancid in the break... always a good thing.

Amy Shark... a pint sized energy pill from the outset.

This is the first night of her regional tour and she looks stoked.

Loving what she does and she does it so fucken endearingly well.

The gorgeous Psycho sans Hoppus... still a beautiful gem nonetheless. 

Chunks of Love Monster in all their live glory.

Donning the guitar, it’s a punchy delivery of The Idiot... poignant lyrics..snappy delivery..

Tales behind the songs...

Weekends’ haunting, smoked beauty. 

Songs from both sides of the heart...

Melodies that engulf...stories that hit’s hard not to succumb to the Amy Shark charm.

The moody Leave Us Alone...”Caught myself looking at photos of you in your old house..”

Spits On Girls’ cutesy but curt message.

From broody to ball buster it’s a beautiful emotionally drenched, dripping ride. 

All loved Up tail ends the set, before the gorgeous Adore and instant infection of  I Said Hi sweep the floor with the encore...

Sharkelicious! Join the cult!

Mark Fraser-


Sly Withers


Eleanor Jacks


You am I, Highbury Garage UK. September, 2019. Return of the Convicts.

You Am I have been knocking around for well over 25 years,producing quality music over the course of 10 albums ,but are still only whippersnappers compared to recent tourmates Hoodoo Gurus ,a band that helped create the template for inner city critical darlings moving to mass acceptance on the suburban circuit and chart success.

The band have touched down for a one off date in London ,before a Euro jaunt touring the Convicts opus ,available for the first time on vinyl.

So it’s apt to open with the tasty pairing of The Sweet Life (Tim Rogers and Davey Lane sounding a touch Thin Lizzyesque on the guitar motif) ,and Thuggery ,the song and descriptor of Russell Hopkinson’s drumming.

By My Own Hand is just the best kind of garage rock and Friends Like You is fun personified.

Rogers has always be unafraid to tackle matters of the heart and the serrated It Ain’t Funny How We don’t Talk Anymore is top notch ,Andy Kent laying down inventive bass lines with nonchalance ,as Nervous Kid and Cathy’s Clown surge by ,a messy melange of guitars.

The predominately Oz crowd adds backing vocals to the plaintive Heavy Heart ,Rumble is exactly that ,and after a swig from a bottle Rogers ,looking dapper in a pimp outfit ,cranks into Berlin Chair ,putting both the rock and star into Rockstar.

An extraordinary stage presence that sometimes overshadows his gift for crafting pitch perfect timeless gems  ,but always leaves the punters asking for more.

John Williams - 


CJ Ramone, Black Heartbreakers, Atomic Sphincters. Narrabeen RSL. September 21, 2019.

The Razza has switched the room around and moved the stage to the back end of the room. 

Great move. Way better on all fronts.

Locals, Atomic Sphincters are

obviously  unashamed Ramones their Tees and shorts so aptly proclaim.

Theirs is a scratchy street rock ilk...Flying V style.

Some blatant Ramones riffs that have you thinking they are gonna actually break into a Ramones number...

And all in all not a bad opener for the night.

Black Heartbreakers blew me away from the very first encounter (supporting SLF).

Just a tad excited they are on the bill tonight.

Loud sweaty, hairy riffs are their forte and they punch way above and beyond.

So much energy. So much raggedy fun.

Police- So Lonely...rocked within an inch of its life... as is Barbara Ann...a blistering kickarse sledgehammer of a rendition.

Wow! wow!

A must for your bucket list.

CJ and co. come out firing on all ten cylinders. Slightly bigger crowd tonight.

Dave Edmunds’ Crawling From  The Wreckage suitably worked  over... Rockaway Beach...just pure surf punk gold.

All the Ramones classics sounding better than ever...KKK getting full crowd participation... just a killer song in every respect.

Sheena...pure punked bubblegum pop.

I wanna be your boyfriend...a love song never got any seratedly sweeter.

And as CJ says, there’s no more Ramones band infighting ..”all the others are dead ...”so he’s now driving the bus.

Glad To See You Go ramps it all up again as CJ loses the hat and hits the home road yards hard.

Ramones never had two guitars but tonight those two guitars fill every void to the that chunkachunk bass and pumphouse back beat drag it all together.

The ode to Steve, Rock On, is anthemic from the outset...and catchy as fuck.

Commando’s ravaged tribute to those who served.

53rd & 3rd...tearing  it apart a brick at a time..Do You Wanna Dance... California Sun...dragging in the snotty sunshine...

And how can you go wrong with  a final slab  of the likes of Outsider,I Wanna Be Sedated, Blitzkrieg Bop and R.A.M.O.N.E.S

True class. True punk. True legacy.

Still time to catch em on tour!



Black Heartbreakers- Pic MF


Atomic Sphincter- Pic MF


CJ Ramone, Trashed Again. Small Ballroom, Newcastle. September 29, 2019.

Only a couple of sleeps since I was last here. And tonight it’s an all out outing for these f&cked up ears once again.

Trashed Again wear the look of old school punk and carry it off beautifully. 

Angry noise-scapes that pummel and squelch.

And lotsa sweaty fun!

Catchy chunks of petrified punk...what ain’t to love?

A befitting entree!

CJ Ramone. Jesus. It’s just like a Ramones gig only crunchy!!!

It’s a greatest hits fest, and I’m a 22 year old again at the  Capitol Theatre in 1980. 

So much fun! So fricken cool. Sheena is a Punk Rocker, Rockaway Beach , Rock N Roll High School... Blitzkrieg Bop...R.A.M.O.N.E.S...what a fucken playlist!!

It’s Xmas in September.

Peppered with originals...a Johnny Cash inspired cracker... Movin ode to an old mate...

Sure he ain’t no Dee Dee but he was never meant to be.

CJ was a Ramone and the passion lives in his delivery and respectful treatment of each and every Ramones classic.

If you’re even half an avid Ramones fan and you miss him on this tour, then you’re a friggin’ pinhead!

Gabba Gabba Hey!

Mark Fraser- 


CJ Ramone


Trashed Again


Amyl & The Sniffers, COFFIN,Rort Menace. Small Ballroom, Newcastle. September 18,2019.

Two venues with same name. Well f%ck me. And of course we hit the wrong one. Short road trip into city centre, and we’re back on track.

Rort Menace open up and set the bar with their three piece slab of in-your-face street punk.

Bloodied. Brutal. Beautifully loud.

Last caught COFFIN supporting Hard Ons and Tatts and was more than suitably impressed.

Angels’ Take a Long Line kicks it off perfectly.

A sweaty, bedraggled frenzy of noisescapes that have you breaking into a sweat just standing there.

An intravenous drug of psychotic guitarnage that screams “I hate the neighbours and every other fucker on the planet.”

Wake the baby we’re going out! And we ain’t never coming home...

Fun. Frenzy. Full core.And who cares if our ears are bleeding! I love these guys.

COFFIN!... once heard never forgotten.

Sharpie revivalists Amyl & The Sniffers have seemingly had a rapid rise from zero to hero (but they have been at it for around three years),and tonight we get to see what all the hype is about.

Mullets, short shorts and a ute load of sweaty ‘tude.

Legendary from the outset. Sooo much energy... so much sass... so much fun.

The hype is well and truely justified!

Aural assault so hot and steamy, the freaking camera was sweating. It’s a sonic road train straight back to the 70s, with pint sized Amy Lee in total control over that searing onslaught of guitar.

Crowd ownership. Tick!

Star struck journo. Tick!

Killer killer live presence. Tick!

Stage dives. Mega mosh. COFFIN piggy backs.Sheer insanity.

Prediction of huge things ahead!! Catch em throughout this current Oz tour. You won’t be sorry!

Welcome to 1973!!!

Mark Fraser-




Rort Menace


The Smith Street Band, Fait Accompli. Metro Sydney. September 14.

Fait Accompli was rocking some pretty cool Tees at the merch stand.

And they waste zero time doing pretty much the same on stage.

“My art kills monsters” reads Ray Lalotoa's Tee and it’s hard not to believe it’s true.

One song rolls into the next and it’s a sort of civilised pummel rock that wins you over in a ravaged heart beat.

And just when is it ever too much guitar? Never!

And what a totally killer last song. Epically awesome!

TSSB is probably one of the most insanely engaging, truely awesome and unique bands to ever come out of Melbourne.

It’s the no-bullshit rock that connects through its sheer honesty.

Tonight was proof of that... and whilst it may have been a shit year for the band, the emotion and energy in the air tonight is astral!

I Am Nothing...what an opener...Shine’s brutal honesty...those Aussie as all hell vox of Wil Wagner...that snarled guitar assault and just a shit tonne of feelgood through and through.

Epic crowd singalongs pepper tonight’s set.

Beautiful, drunken ballads that erupt into a sweaty rage. Ferocious yet endearing in the same instant.

And that’s the charm of The Smith Street Band.

Death to the Lads was the first of their songs that caught my ears a few years back and tonight it’s a hardcore anthem that shakes the very last bit of sweat out of this already TSSB drenched crowd.

Happy daze!

Mark Fraser-


Smith Street Band-Pic MF


Fait Accompli-Pic MF

live reviews


Ben Leece & Left of the Dial, Kate Alexander & Hanna Brenecki. Grand Junction Maitland. September 6, 2019.

The Junkyard is a cool little pub with hidden alcoves and small hangout rooms throughout the place...posters of past gigs all over the walls and a classic inner city meets uni student vibe.

A mix of electric and acoustic guitars, Melbourne’s Kate Alexander and Hanna Brenecki dish up some sweet vocals in a dusty, hazy etched kind of way.

A bit of dirt. A bit of clean. And the perfect mix of vocal tones.

Shades of country...hints of Louisiana swampish blues...and I overheard someone say even a bit Waifs like. Can’t totally disagree.

Ben Leece is smoother than smooth, and nails the shit out of it from the very outset.

That beautifully twanged guitar and those perfectly smoked vox.

Endearing throes that swallow you in a heartbeat and just wreak of true class.

No guest vox tonight but it matters not, as Left of the Dial fill the void perfectly.

And I still hear echoes of Jackson Browne... and that ain’t ever a bad thing...heartfelt, honest, endearing... what’s not to love?

But don’t think for one minute they can’t rock, cos the proof is in that three way punch!

And if their killer rendition of The Replacements' Achin’ to Be doesn’t knock your nuts off... nothing will....faaarken killer!

Throw in a bit of speedway, two-minute pop thrash and it’s a home run for this set of punished ears!

New album, No Wonder The World is Exhausted is out now.



Ben Leece & Left of the Dial 

Kate Alexander & Hanna Brenecki

Kate Alexander & Hanna Brenecki

Hilltop Hoods -Amanda Naylor Photography

Hilltop Hoods, Mojo Juju, Shadow. Qudos Arena, August 31, 2019.

Couple of hand wavers (Shadow) already making some noise when we arrive...

If their job is to get the crowd primed, then it’s mission accomplished.

Two way rhymes over simple beats. Sweat sweat.

House of Pain’sJump Around is the perfectly cool wind up.

Mojo Juju are a very different two way sibling swing. Drums and she vox...smokey rhythms...almost jazzy in a lackadaisical way.

A Heart is Not a Yo Yo is more upbeat in its own retro popesque way.

And a ballad doesn’t get any finer than when it’s got the Mojo touch.

Native Tongue is the new album and the title track is slow, dark and broody.

First encounter and I’m totally hooked.

A bit of Slim Shady singalong during the break...

And with much fanfare, Adelaide’s fave sons, Hilltop Hoods, explode into that big arsed arena.

Leave Me Lonely is pure HTH.

And the infection is instant.

The Nosebleed Section completely punches the shit out of it.

That big bold brass section is twice as cool live.

1955...Wow. Montaigne’s Broken leg and all.

A real time traveller... overproof from the outset...

Won’t Let You Down’s perfect orchestration.

Clark Griswold’s gorgeous horns and bouncy popervescence. 

Exit Sign...”Everybody say hi”...and it’s a full on party on stage.

Tightrope precision with plenty of Great Expanse on show...

Sell It All Run Away. Another classic brass drenched HTH home runner.

“Do you wanna hear some old shit?”

Crowd goes nuts... no brainer...get those hands waving m%ther f$ckers...

And whilst many other hip hop outfits base their sound around egotistical anger... it’s the exact opposite that makes Hilltop Hoods so very special.

Clever sample placements, the perfect mix of guest vocals, and killer melodies wrapped around a key element...FUN!

And of course no HTH show would be complete without the trademark hip hop poppery of Cosby Sweater!

The perfect encore!

H is for hell yeah!

Mark Fraser-

All images courtesy Amanda Naylor Photography. 


Mojo Juju - pic by Amanda Naylor Photography 


Mojo Juju - pic Amanda Naylor Photography 

Conspirators,Marrickville Bowlo 2019

Conspirators, Prehistorics, Jupiter 5. Marrickville Bowlo. 23 August, 2019

Dr Smith hits the stage and unleashes his silver mask...”oh the pain the pain”..and Jupiter 5 have landed.

Always expect theatrics when Jay Younie is involved. And tonight he’s on point.

Facials and zone outs are his MO, and it’s hard not to be won over.

Squealing guitars. Thump tub bass, and driving rhythms are the tools of trade.

A Conspirator here, a Turnbuckle and a 69er there and you get kinda get the picture...

Bleeding slabs of relentless carnage. Tight as.

Interplanetary infection all the way.

Prehistorics hit hard with the volume on 11 and a swag of guitar emblazoned anthems racing at your throat in top gear.

A little more metal in their lunch box and a panel van full of pedals to boot.

Gnarly cave man rock.

Around 35 years ago my sister had a friend whose boyfriend played guitar in a band. I was writing for On The Street at the time and the band was keen to have a review done.

So I went along to The Vulcan, did the review, and actually ended up managing them and releasing their debut single.

The band was The Conspirators and tonight they’re back with the original lineup.

And after the trademark Conspirators shake backstage, it’s just like any Saturday night at The Vulcan... only better!

Guitar driven, 60s garage with more punch than a sweaty final-round Danny Green glove.

Tight, turbulent, timeless.

What a beautiful, ravaged time warp!

Scorched guitars...precision bass...cranking back beat and ‘tude riddled vox.

What more do you need?

“I feel good... I feel great”...

Mark Fraser-




Jupiter 5

Little Quirks. The Dungeon. August 2019.

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

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. Sydney Opera house 2019. Pic: Amanda Naylor Photography

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

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


Snow Patrol, Sydney Opera House 2019.

Pic: Amanda Naylor Photography.


Snow Patrol. Sydney Opera House 2019.

Pic: Amanda Naylor Photography

Texas Strangers

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

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 Pic:Swamp House Photogra phy.

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

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

Check out more images in our Gallery

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

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


Katie Brianna. Pic: Swamp House Photography

Little Quirks at Jamberoo

Jamberoo Music Festival.July 20, 2019

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 -

19Twenty at Jamberoo


Rach Brennan & The Pines

Rach Brennan & The Pines

Little Quirks- Dee Why 2019.

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