Spencer P Jones. Spencer’s untimely and tragically premature passing was a lowlight of 2018. The only silver lining was the outpouring of love for the man, his music and his unbridled generosity. There will never be another like Spencer.
Beasts of Bourbon, Prince of Wales. Has there ever been a more emotional gig? Brian Hooper wheeled onto stage by nurses from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, plumes of smoke emanating from his oxygen mask. Spencer Jones, frail but determined to accompany his fellow Beast on stage for one last time. It was as sloppy as the Beasts once were, way back in the day. But it was beautiful.
Brian Hooper - "What Would I Know?" Recorded at Andrew McGee’s Empty Room property-cum-recording in Nagambie, Hooper’s reaction to the initial recording sessions was scathing. “It’s all shit,” he told me one day. But McGee saw enough in the recording to convince Hooper otherwise. A mixture of love, passion, pathos, self-loathing, resilience and gusto, this is a record brimming with emotional depth and musical complexity. RIP, Brian.
Jackson Briggs and the Heaters. James McCann put me onto these guys. Grinding country rock jams that should go on forever. They’ve got a new album out. Listen to it. Enjoy. Repeat.
The Breeders, Forum Theatre. It had been almost 25 years since I first saw The Breeders, at the Big Day Out in Adelaide, February 1994. On a Sunday night at the Forum Theatre The Breeders proved their every bit as vital as they were back in the day. I could listen to that riff in ‘I Just Wanna Get Along’ anytime.
For 20 years, Sydney’s Lime Spiders cut a swathe through audiences in Australia - and for that matter, right around the world.
Beginning as acolytes of the ‘60s acid punk sound, the band developed its own hard rock style, signed to a major label and toured extensively, attracting praise from the likes of Jello Biafra, Iggy Pop and Joey Ramone. Three studio albums and a live record attest to the band’s power.
The Green Spiders could be called the “sequel” to the Lime Spiders. Featuring three-quarters of the Spiders’ most prolific line-up,
The Green Spiders were born in 2018, out of a desire by the members to play together again. Their originals are written or co-written by Ged Corben, Tony Bambach and Tom Corben and naturally include a generous portion of Lime Spiders material.
There’s also a serving of obscure 60’s guitar rock/pop and a dash of 70’s punk.
Ripley Hood (Mushroom Planet, Funhouse, Gun Control, Brando Rising and the Four Stooges) fills out the Green Spiders line-up as lead vocalist.
Their February 16 show at Marrickville Bowling Club will be their debut Sydney gig.
They’ll be joined by power pop supremos The Loose Pills, now in the throes of completing their second album and deservedly one of Sydney’s best live bands.
Making its debut will be The Second Chance, a collection of Detroit rock veterans gathered around vocalist Pete Patterson (ex-Mother Jones, Melting Skyscrapers and Rattlesnake Shake.)
Tickets are selling here.
2018 was a shit year but with some amazing gigs intertwined.
We have a sub-culture, in which fragments of our past local music scene survive from a time that was exciting (as Damian Lovelock said) “as England in 1966 or NYC in 1975”.
The folk who peruse and read this website are either musicians, sound engineers writers or rock pigs mostly from a by-gone era. Generally, a generation that was made of weekly trips for vinyl hunts on Sydney's Pitt Street, in particular Ashwood’s and independent record shops like Phantom and The Record Plant. A generation that had subscriptions to RAM Magazine, or Rolling Stone and read fanzines.
Our world was pre-gaming, home computers, no Netflix, no Internet, no YouTube. What mattered was music, and it was our obsession. We were playing in bands, producing bands, writing about music, collecting vinyl records before the hipsters made it expensive.