The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'jen turrell'
Today I saw a guy named Gary Wiseman (who has interesting CD packaging), the always lovely Jen Turrell, local guitar/double-bass act Sodastream and Amy Linton of the Aislers Set play, in a backyard in inner Melbourne. Which was fun, if a bit chilly at times.
Every band venue should have a Hills hoist in the middle... And every backyard should have a PA setup and a combination mixing console/compost bin.
And that was probably the last time I will see Stewart and Jen (two genuinely lovely people and very talented musicians) for some time, as they leave Australia this week, not to return for some years. The next time will probably require me to visit the US or something like that.
I had a fairly busy evening tonight (in a good way). Readers of my blog may remember my dilemma from a few days ago. To whit; two shows worth seeing, both unlikely to be repeated, on the same night. Firstly, American indie singer/songwriter Jen Turrell was playing at the Empress, in her last tour of Australia before she and Stewart have to stay in the USA for two years (it's a permanent residency requirement, I believe); secondly, the ever-rocking Ninetynine were set to play at the Tote, in possibly their last gig before their world tour. If I missed them, my next chance to see them would probably be in Reykjavík in November.
And then I realised that (a) Jen was playing a support set, while Ninetynine were headlining, and so if I went to see Jen, and then rushed down to the Tote, I had a good chance of catching them. Which is exactly what I did.
I got to the Empress shortly after 9. Jen was the first act on, and went on stage at 9:30, playing about a dozen short, sweet jangly-pop songs, accompanied by Stewart on bass and their TR-808 on Minidisc. It was a very nice set, with a lot of lovely harmonies and classic chord progressions, and a bit more than a touch of fey sensitivity.
Then I made my way to the Tote. I got there halfway through the second band's set. The band room was quite full, and I recognised a number of the people there (Jesse from Sir, Sarah-Jane from I Want a Hovercraft, a girl who followed Ninetynine all the way from Sweden, and a guy who collects Casio keyboards were some of the people I ran into.)
Anyway, Ninetynine came on, and they rocked hard. They had a lot of kit with them (vibraphone, glockenspiel and three Casios), swapped instruments a lot, played with great energy, doing a lot of new songs and finishing with an intense version of Polar Angle. Their new material is very strong; sophisticated and layered, and yet with a spiky edge and punk energy, and their next album (due in 3 or 4 months) should be something to look forward to.
It was a good night.
I just realised that this Thursday night, Jen Turrell is playing at the Empress (on tour from the US for the last time for a few years, most probably), at the same time that Ninetynine are playing at the Tote. It's things like this that make me wish I could be in two places at once.
I just came back from the 555 Recordings/Red Square Records (i.e., Stewart and Jen's respective labels) popfest at the Empress. Some 7 acts played there tonight, playing everything from jangle-pop to electro-pop, with a definite indie slant. (I.e., none of the dross that passes for "pop" in the wasteland of commercial radio.)
First up was Jen Turrell's act; accompanied by husband and co-organiser Stewart on bass, and a TR-606 drum machine on a MiniDisc, she played guitar and sang some rather nice jangly indie-pop, including a cute little number based on the old Twinkle Twinkle Little Star melody. Ashtrayboy were guitar-pop with trumpet and melodica (that's that keyboard thing that you blow into), and Driving Past were similar, only with an old electronic organ. Then came Bend Over Boyfriend, a gender-bending Mod/power-pop act from Washington DC, playing all three of his songs, including an encore of "The Kids Are All Gay", accompanied by Stewart and Jen. They played a tight, punchy set, and were quite impressive. Other People's Children sounded a little synthpoppy only more abstract, with electronic backing tracks, guitars, Casio keyboards and vocals. Origami were a mostly female post-punk pop with alternately sung/shouted vocals and a fair bit of jumping about. Then finally The Lucksmiths went on; they played a somewhat stripped down set, as one of the members had his arm in a sling. There was little percussion, and mostly understated vocals and folk guitar strumming, though complemented with a xylophone in places, to good effect.
Oh yes, and needless to say I spent too much money at the CD table they had there; though, to be fair, Jen gave me a discount given how many I was taking home.
Tomorrow night, the second and final night of Popfest, promises to be just as good, with Boyracer, Minimum Chips and Even As We Speak just three of the acts involved.