The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'steward'
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.
Live bands: This evening's live music at the Tote was quite good; first up was Steward (aka Stewart Anderson), doing the very final gig of his recent Australian tours. It was a solo gig, with just a guitar, some crunchy noise pedals and a MiniDisc of drum loops (some of which sounded like an 808 being run through various distortion pedals). He didn't bring any Hello Kitty toys or other similar noisemakers, but rocked out nonetheless. If Stewart plays in your town, either solo or in Boyracer, go and see him and be reminded what rock is.
Next up were Sister Cities, a minimal side project of Architecture in Helsinki. Guitar, clarinet, ba-ba-ba harmony vocals, a toy piano and some very lovely, sweet pop. At one point they did what I think may have been a Bruce Springsteen cover (though not that he'd recognise it). Anyway, they're playing again on the 4th at the Town Hall Hotel.
Then came Origami; a slightly punky two-girl indie-pop band (founded by a former member of a certain casiopunk outfit I keep going on about); mostly jangly indie guitars, with a few surprises (some banshee-like screams, and at one stage an 8-bar funk breakdown). Stewart joined them on drums and played really well (though he didn't think so).
Finally, Sarah Dougher came on and played a set, in a singer-songwriter sort of vein; fellow Oregonian Amy Linton of the Aislers Set joined her on drums.
Towards the end of their set, Origami did a short (and rather doovy) guitar/Casio instrumental named Nancy Drew; which got me thinking about the connections between a certain type of indie-pop and retro/childhood references. Whether it's retro-hipster irony, indiekid neoteny, subversive punk culture-jamming, or some combination of all three.
Anyway, it was quite a good night.
There were too many things on last night; at least two gigs worth seeing. It was a tough decision, but in the end I decided to go to Pony to see Steward's last solo gig in Australia, along with Tugboat and Simpatico. I got in a bit late (due to work and such), and thus only saw the last part of the Tugboat set; they had a reduced lineup and played a sort of slowcore set, ending with a Mojave 3 cover. Then Steward went on, with a MiniDisc player, a guitar and a Hello Kitty toy of some sort. His material can be described as jangly pop meets drill & bass; during the set, he strummed a guitar, with a variety of distortion pedals, over some crunchy electronic beats, and generally jumped around like a maniac. Simpatico, meanwhile, was a guy with an acoustic guitar and a MiniDisc player with some backings, who sang a sort of slightly twee jangly pop, rather reminiscent of The Field Mice (and perhaps The Smiths in places as well). I ended up getting his CD, titled The Difference Between Alone & Lonely.
Tonight I went to Pony to see Stuart from Boyracer/555 Recordings' solo act, Steward. He rocked. Most of the set featured backing tracks off a CD, but nonetheless, the live performance was inspiring. He started off by playing these toy drumsticks (you know, the ones with the speaker box on the belt which makes electronic drum sounds when you shake them) over a track, then went on to play guitar over a few others. Towards the middle of the show he went walkabout in the audience with a QuickShot toy four-track tape deck and a microphone, and at the end, he used one of those dashboard toys which makes ray-gun/explosion sounds to get weird sounds out of his guitar. The entire performance was done with an inspiring amount of spirit and energy; it made me want to pick up my guitar and start doing weird things to it.
I went to the Empress this evening, to see a number of bands. First up were Tugboat, who were not bad. Then was English indie band Boyracer, or rather Stuart from Boyracer, his wife Jen (?) and someone else filling in on drums. It was an interesting show; Stuart played the guitar like a maniac, gurning and wibbling and jumping about, though it ended up sounding quite good (despite his guitar being a $120 one he picked up on Brunswick St. earlier; he didn't bring his famed Hello Kitty guitar this time). He also joined the Cannanes' lineup when they played afterward, doing various duties, though after breaking a maraca and a glass, he was relegated to playing the triangle. Towards the end he danced about on stage and then decided to help the drummer along, standing in front of him and hitting the drums.
Stuart is also the guy who runs 555 Recordings, formerly of Leeds and now based in the US, and they had a stall, where they sold various CDs for $10. I picked up two things from there: Soft Love: A Tribute to Soft Cell (which is interesting in places, consisting of various weird indie laptop electro-pop and such; New Waver's version of Numbers with the lyrics changed to be about office life is somewhat amusing), and Knowing We Was Right From Da Start, a label retrospective compilation (which I haven't heard all of yet). I also scored the Cannanes' album Communicating At An Unknown Rate.