The infrequently-updated site blog, featuring a range of content including show reviews, musical musings and off-color ramblings on other varied topics.
Sounds of the Suburbs Festival
September 25, 2016
Cronulla, the “place of the pink seashells," is a beachside suburb, about 30 kilometers south of the Sydney central business district in the Sutherland Shire, an area serving as the backdrop for the classic 1981 coming of age movie Puberty Blues, for which a big part of today’s laid-back, beachy crowd would have been the perfect cast – given that Sounds of the Suburbs festival is aimed at Sydney’s beautiful young things, people aged 18 to 24.
Squeezed into the Wilbar laneway behind the Space 44 gallery, which quintessentially turned a house into a live music and arts venue, and the Mexican restaurant/bar El Sol, the fourth installment of the boutique-y yet burgeoning Sounds of the Suburbs festival was held.
Sounds of the Suburbs is a laneway festival packed with Sydney’s newest and brightest of the indie variety, the odd touring band, Mexican food and culture located deep in the southern suburbs of Sydney. Summa summarum: All the key ingredients for a great DIY festival.
The 2016 all-day indie bill incarnated on multiple stages, one of which open for anyone bringing a device and plug whatever they wanted in, were supplemented by an art room displaying works from local creatively inclined folks, as well as Mexican food from El Sol and Italian wood-fired pizza.
Unfortunately only Budweiser was served on the beer front and while one was salivating at the prime selection of tequilas at display in the back of El Sol’s bar, only sangria and rum was served. Sacre bleu!
With DZ Deathrays (fresh off from an immensely successful Australian tour with Violent Soho), surf-inspired Guantanamo Baywatch, Peter Bibby, Alex Lahey, Verge Collection, Big White, Wild Honey, James Crooks, Tees, Pist Idiots, Baxter, Wash, Amyl And The Sniffers, Heads Of Charm, Red Wine Roses, The Cloacas, The Moving Stills, MVRKS, Mini Skirt, Uplifting Bell Ends and Stay At Home Mum this year’s incarnation of the festival lineup was not only eclectic, but even if you’re unaware of the protagonists, the names alone made you want to check them out.
For the most part, the bands gracing the main stage played fast paced, condensed sets, the lion’s share with an electric combination of lo-fi riffs coupled with energetic, offbeat stage presence, which did not fail to elicit boisterous and at time reckless responses from the willing, sold-out crowd.
Inside Space 44, in a more intimate environment bands like Wild Honey channeled their alchemy
Sounds of the Suburbs is a unique festival that has not merely found but created its very own and unique niche.
Having progressively gotten bigger and better with each year, one would not be surprised if it would evolve to a mainstream fest.
Photos by KAVV
Apocalyptica, We Lost the Sea
Rumor has it that Ritchie Blackmore tried to get into mastering the cello, the attention-getter among instruments – try to ignore a woman lugging one around, at some point of his career.
He came to the conclusion that one has to dedicate one’s whole life to it, after which he went back to playing guitar and turning it up a bit louder.
In classical music the bowed string instrument is often considered to be one of the less interesting instruments, eclipsed by the piano and the violin, because it tends to be used for drawn-out notes to give a melancholic tone.
Apocalyptica are a classically trained cello metal band and have mastered the art of exploring the range of the cello, showcasing how diverse and powerful it can be – playing it as low as the double bass and a high as the violin, along with making it sound like the human voice.
Apocalyptica started 20 years ago with an album solely consisting of Metallica covers played on cellos. Twenty years on, eight studio albums with compositions of their own along with collaboration with the likes to Ville Valo of HIM, Corey Taylor of Slipknot fame and Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil later, they descended upon Sydney as part of their “Shadowmaker” tour.
The set list consisted of a mix of originals and crowd pleasing cover songs, including heavy hitters by Metallica and Sepultura, interspersed by a segment with their current touring singer, Frankie Perez, which was the most conventional part of their performance.
Bringing together fans from heavy and more traditional musical spheres, the multi-faceted range Apocalyptica draws from makes them a very powerful and fun live act to see, keeping the audience on its toes as they seamlessly slide from Wagnerian tributes via somber moments to their various collaborations/covers, which elicit reactions and participation from the audience that you normally would only expect from hard rock acts with more traditional instrumentation. A great evening for anyone into heavy and classical music.
The evening was opened by We Lost the Sea, a great post-metal instrumental band from Sydney.
For some, music is nothing but a mundane distraction of background noise.
For others music can serve as a tool of survival and bring hope to otherwise hopeless situations.
Life is complex. The emotions it evokes even more so. Music can provide solace.
We Lost the Sea gives consolation by wonderfully executing lengthy, hefty instrumental songs with towering guitar arrangements that create an active, immersive and cathartic listening experience.
A band to look out for.
Photos by KAVV
Descendents, Modern Life Is War, Color TV
September 15, 2016
The only people luckier than those who get to see the Descendents are those who get to open.
Color TV kicked off the show with a surfy-garage punk vibe as the room filled in, while vets Modern Life Is War played to a mostly interested crowd in a surprise billing of hardcore and pop-punk. While it was fun watching Jeffrey Eaton straddling the banister as crowd control security rushed over, the real star of the show was the Descendents, now on tour in support of their 7th studio album (Hypercaffium Spazzinate, Epitaph, 2016).
“It’s been 20 years since we’ve played here,” Milo announced as they took the stage. You wouldn’t know it other than the gray hairs on both stage and in audience—except perhaps by the swelling enthusiasm of the crowd that seemed to dwarf the excitement of a more regular show.
Descendents live are something special. That’s the bulk of the story. There are bands who come and play a nice show that promotes their new album, then they move on and do it again. Then there are bands where the magic on a record isn’t reproduced, it’s created on stage and makes that record sound dull in comparison. The Ramones had it (or so I hear, I only have their live records to go by) and Descendents have it. Yes, the set list is sort of a best of compilation, but the manic energy from Milo on the mic to Stephen Egerton on the guitar and Karl Alvarez on the bass fill it out. With Bill Stevenson blasting at the kit, they still feel like a group of young kids who enjoy the songs, what they’re doing, and each other. That may sound trite, but it’s important, especially for a band pushing 38 years.
I felt a little young at this show and I guess that’s why. Descendents and I are essentially the same age, so naturally the crowd has a few years on me—though you wouldn’t know it by the atmosphere in the packed room. Despite it being a Thursday night with a lot of scheduled to get up early the next morning, it felt like the weekend. I’m sure 12 hours later it was all grumpy coffee mugs at the breakfast table in their suburban homes mumbling, “I don’t want to grow up” (see what I did there), but time stood still for their hour long set followed by two encores.
As stated, it really was a best of, though with a good chunk of new material and the oldest and best known material peppered within cleverly, never dropping momentum or losing a beat.
It’s tricky to summarize an hour and half of live Descendents because it’s a moment trapped in time where age and calendars and work fade away. The band is older and the stages are bigger, but it doesn’t feel like Milo and company ever grew up, and it feels great.
All photography by Loren Green.
An evening with Steve Wozniak
Australian Technology Park
August 28, 2016
Think Inc. is a boundary pushing, Australia-based initiative dedicated to the promotion of intellectual discourse by bringing forward thinkers like Maajid Nawaz, Edward Snowden, Dr. Neil deGrasse, et alia down under.
Tonight ‘twas Stephen Wozniak’s turn – the man who has been credited with being the inventor of the personal computer as we now it: co-founder of Apple, philanthropist, motivational speaker and strong advocate for STEM education.
The ”Evening with” the effervescent and engaging 66-year-old, moderated by Dr. Jordan Nguyen -- a biomedical engineer, innovator in his own right and inventor of a mind-controlled wheelchair -- was a engaging biographic event with Wozniak reminiscing about his upbringing and how he developed a love for tinkering with technology long before computers came to exist.
Being an overachiever in the spheres of mathematics and engineering and equipped with a sense of humour, the young Wozniak indulged in pranks and found instant gratification in the way technology could be used. This was common ground for his relationship with Steve Jobs, whom he met at college.
Working at Hewlett-Packard at the time, Wozniak did engineering jobs throughout California, the products of which Jobs would turn into money.
Wozniak’s approach to technology has always had a very punk approach in a benevolent way: DIY in its nature through and through, with money never being a driving factor and with a longing for being part of a revolution, he gave his designs for free without copyright and dedicated his spare time to educating others in how to set up and operating computers.
With Hewlett-Packard having turned down his computer designs repeatedly, he and Jobs seized the opportunity, made a virtue out of necessity and formally started a company in 1976.
The Apple had fallen off the tree and the rest of the flourishing enterprise is history, pervading every aspect of our reality.
Eventually Wozniak opted out of Apple to pursue his goal of teaching computer classes to primary school children – a job he loved for its instant gratification outside the confines of monetary rewards as he to this day considers human interaction to be of utmost importance for education at primary and high school levels.
Wozniak is still a strong advocate of start ups and innovative areas, which his answers during the open Q&A component of the evening, with questions from the audience, underlining the importance and equitable access to education and that business and marketing acumen needs to go hand in hand with engineering capability.
Wozniak’s sincere enthusiasm for the possibilities of artificial intelligence and the benefits it could bring and giving humans what they need instead of replacing them, made it another quality Think Inc. event.
July 2, 2016
The concept of The Beards is simple – an Australian self-proclaimed “novelty band” from Adelaide that exclusively performs songs around the subject matter of beards.
Variations of their monothematicism spans across five albums and their pro-beard agenda has been propagated relentlessly in a live environment across the globe since its inception in 2005.
The Beards are currently on a last victory lap across Australia to go out with a bang before they will be ending their touring and live performing career.
While it might sound like the concept behind The Beards could quickly grow old – yes, there are beard jokes and beard jokes along with a few beard jokes thrown in for good measure - their jovial stage demeanour, tight quality playing, banter with the audience and great songs make it a rollicking good time.
The Beards are seasoned, talented musicians with frontman and Zach Galifianakis Hangover-era lookalike Johan Beardraven, serenader and multi-instrumentalist, being the focus of the action.
The evening was split into two sets: An acoustic first half saw the band sharply dressed in dinner suits and in chamber music formation with the repertoire anchored in their folksy songs, while the second half saw the The Beards in more traditional rock mode.
No matter the genre, their engaging stage performance had everyone in attendance either singing along or enjoying the show with a smile on his or her face.
The fact that a band that sings entirely about beards creates such an atmosphere speaks volumes of their caliber as great songwriters and entertainers – let alone their warped sense of humour.
Their farewell tour keeps getting extended and one can only hope that it will prompt them to continue – be it as beardophiliacs or in other incarnations.
Photos by KAVV
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Murder by Death are preparing the release of their 6th studio album, Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, while celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their first LP, Like The Exorcist, but More ... read more
Well, it's high time that progressive music got a good, high-ish-profile awards show, and now, thanks to Prog Magazine, we have one. The bad news is that it stlil shows ... read more
Japandroids 7th St. Entry Minneapolis, MN July 7, 2012 When a touring band starts their set by saying, “It feels like we’re back home, Minneapolis”, the natural instinct is to go ... read more
LeBron James is Four Titles and a Rape Allegation Away From Becoming Kobe Bryant: How the Miami Heat Winning is Bad for Basketball Now I know that we here at ... read more
Royal Headache, The Arrivals, Condominium Triple Rock Social Club Minneapolis, MN June 9, 2012 It was with some intrigue and, admittedly, mostly trepidation that I made my way to ... read more
Hot Water Music just released their new album, Exister, and recently spent a couple nights in So-Cal to warm up the new songs before they head out to Europe this ... read more
There are a few cultural constants we all come to understand depending on where we come from, and growing up in Vermont is no exception. Amongst other things, many develop ... read more
Once again, fun. are on the road and Scene Point Blank was there to catch another great show. The band's playing the clubs in support of their sophomore record, Some ... read more
I had the pleasure of attending the 5th annual Musink Fest in Costa Mesa, CA--a festival blending live music and an appreciation for tattoo art--hosted by LA Ink star, Kat ... read more
Cursive recently began touring in support of their 7th studio album, I Am Gemini. I had the privilege of catching their show in Pomona, CA where they played a great ... read more
I know we don't usually review websites here at Scene Point Blank, but we just couldn't help ourselves after our editor in chief Loren received the following request: Hi,I'm Pheiné, ... read more
The piece ended rather suddenly, almost completely without warning. The conductor held his position for a moment, then slowly brought his arms down. The theater erupted with applause as the ... read more
Saves the Day and Bayside decided to team up this Fall to deliver a thrilling show fans of either could appreciate. Joining them on the tour are I Am ... read more
The World/Inferno Friendship Society recently started their US tour supporting their new album, The Anarchy and The Ecstasy, with sci-fi-psychobilly (psy-fi?) band, The Phenomenauts. You could not ask for a ... read more
Last Thursday, The Purple Turtle in London's infamous Camden held what is likely to be the most fun headlining show I've seen this year. Cannabis Corpse, fresh off the back ... read more
Motley Crue and Poison live, Target Center, Mpls, MN, 6/24/11 The New York Dolls opened the show but I couldn’t tell you damn thing about them. The girlfriend and I literally ... read more
Read Midwest Hell Fest Wrapup-Day 1 here. Despite intermittent sleep, I wake up feeling fairly well rested. If memory serves correctly, I’m somewhere deep within the confines of enemy territory—Wisconsin. ... read more
After losing a year of my life behind the wheel, I finally arrive at my destination: Kimberly, Wisconsin. Upon walking into the hotel—and I use this term loosely—lobby, I am ... read more
After a long wait and two opening acts—the clock struck 9:30 and Fun took the stage, while the boys and girls cheered. Suddenly, the beautiful overture to “Be Calm” opens ... read more
200 bands, seemingly as many beers, and only three nights. Where do I begin my recap? My stomach is still shrunken from not eating right, and I continue to drink ... read more
Let me start off by saying that I love all three of these bands, and I have been looking forward to this show since I got confirmed to photograph it. ... read more
Portugal. the Man is a Portland, Oregon based experimental indie-rock band, fronted by native Alaskan John Gourley. If you haven’t heard the story about this up and coming group, Gourley’s ... read more
I don't know how many of you have heard of Moving Mountains. A band from Westchester, NY, they are fresh off a tour with Thursday, about to embark on a ... read more
I hit the 500 review mark last week with my Narrows review. That's a lot of reviews. Sometimes I get burnt out with all the stuff coming through, especially when ... read more
So I just got done watching the season finale of Scrubs. It was Zach Braff's final episode. His character is saying goodbye, but I think they gave it a nice ... read more
Two months ago I had high hopes for the Cleveland Browns. Now I am left with a fairly mediocre season. We shall see how the remainder plays out. I'm looking ... read more
Might as well has this here too, it's been three years since I wrote it. I think it still holds true. Space for rent. Your ad here. My name is ... read more
I forgot to post this prior to week one, but given the outcome of that game, maybe it was for the best. Anyway, the Browns season is underway and that ... read more
Over the weekend a band that was very dear to my heart announced their sudden breakup and played their final show. I first became acquainted with Life Long Tragedy over ... read more
I was yelled at again for writing this, and since I am applying for a job at a local newspaper, I don't really want this hanging over my head. Sorry ... read more
Last night my band played with Souvenir's Young America, City of Ships, and Monolith at Siren Records in Doylestown, PA; it was a fun time all the bands played real ... read more
If you didn't hear the news, Roy Scheider died this week at the age of 75. Jaws is one of my all-time favorite films. I am extremely sad. I fully ... read more
They could make me look not so good to certain people. Nobody read them anyways. read more
So, back when Cave In's Until Your Heart Stops dropped on the hardcore masses several years back, I had the chance of catching the band at Middlesex County Community College. ... read more
I broke out my CD for the Gehenna- The War of the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness and saw something that always made me smile. Allow me ... read more
Hello. Some of you might remember (or have participated in) my experiment over the summer collecting people's wishes on this page. I got over 160 entries and published them all ... read more
Imagine being in this kid's place... Interview w/ Henry Rollins read more
Even though it is just a joke, I'd still vote for Stephen Colbert for president before I'd vote for anyone else for running, outside of the longshots that have no ... read more
Dear Atreyu, Please stop. No seriously, please stop...now. - File has been removed. It was up for a month. It was the band's cover of Faith No More's "Epic." - ... read more
I woke up today at 5:30am to get my ass to the store to open it for what I figured would be another boring Sunday at work. Work has been ... read more
So the man that founded Factory Records and helped Joy Division become as huge as they did through hype died today. Not alot of people repect what Wilson did for ... read more
Yesterday during rush hour traffic on 35W the bridge than spans the mighty Mississippi fell. There was no earthquake. There was no terrorist attack. The bridge just buckled and toppled ... read more
Part 1: Mission Statement, Introduction, and first terribly nostalgic musing A number of years ago, a few friends of mine, myself, and people who would quickly become my friends used ... read more
Shook Ones, for the uninitiated, are a melodic hardcore band from Seattle, Washington. Their debut LP, Sixteen, had some serious Kid Dynamite aping going on, without a doubt, but it ... read more
Remember when the idea of Friday the 13th used to be scary? Maybe its because I am a grown adult, but there just does not seem to be any horror ... read more
You have no idea how wonderful it is to be finally typing these words. Not that my work is done: a SPB staffer's work is never done! But seriously: typing ... read more
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