Review: Josh Pyke, Twilight at Taronga, Sydney

Josh Pyke with Winterbourne
Twilight at Taronga, Sydney, NSW
Friday 29th January, 2016

I can’t believe that Twilight at Taronga has been running for more years than I have lived in Sydney for, yet it took until 2016 for me to make it to one of the famed summer series concerts. With the city reeling from an afternoon thunderstorm that threatened to close the show before it even started, we settled in under grey skies to see one of our favourite artists of all time, Josh Pyke.

Having arrived later than intended, the available grass space was limited, but surprisingly there seems to not be a bad seat in the house for this annual pop-up venue. We grabbed our spot, picked up our fancy hamper, collected our Aperol Spritzs and made ourselves comfortable in time for support act Winterbourne to start. I admit, I hadn’t heard much by Winterbourne before last night, but knowing that Josh Pyke gigs are like a personal curation of Pyke’s favourite emerging and established acts in town, we knew we were in good hands. And, Winterbourne didn’t disappoint. With a smattering of recorded and released tracks to warm up the crowd (many of whom did know Winterbourne‘s work, much to their surprise and delight), the boys brought out some new songs from their forthcoming release that had the crowd hooked.

As a bonus, a brand new song, not yet recorded and probably only a few weeks old, was played with the caveat that the crowd’s reaction would seal the fate of the new track – and that we should not scream and shout at the end if we don’t like it. Suffice to say, they now have a crowd approved song on their hands. I found Winterbourne had a delightful spectrum of sounds and styles to their repertoire – some upbeat tunes that would get you up to dance, some ballady-folky tunes, some shades of indie-pop and some definite Pyke-esque sounds woven throughout their playbook. Winterbourne ultimately delivered an excellent, enigmatic set that warmed the crowd perfectly for the main attraction.

When I go to gigs, I usually make note of everything that is played and pay attention to which songs are highlights both personally, and for the crowd as a whole. With a consummate performer like Josh Pyke, the list is inevitably an entire list of highlights, sing alongs, huge responses and upswells from the audience and I could just resort too recounting the play list and waxing lyrical about each an every song. This concert was no exception, however the joy for me – apart from yet another brilliant Josh Pyke concert – is the reminder that his personality and banter on stage is the truly magical and endearing aspect of his live shows.


Photo courtesy of Josh Pyke

We’ve seen him in a number of settings, from large festival stages, to solo shows, from super groups, to full band concerts and even a magical collaboration with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. But it’s the witty repartee that fills the gaps between songs and reveals his inner dork that is exactly the thing that fans love about him. We all identify with getting things in the wrong order (and jokingly giving retrospective thanks for the upcoming misplaced track), having the Sydney humidity screw with your hair do, forgetting where your hands are supposed to go on the guitar for the chords you needs mid song but pretending it’s a quiet, sing-along moment for the audience, then outing yourself after the song… Ok, we might not identify with that exactly, but it’s his good humour, cheeky comments and ultimately flawed human approach to his fans that makes us all feel like we are personal friends gathering for a get together where our mate Josh pulls out his guitar.

He dedicated Leeward Side to his sons, Archer and Augie (who were in the audience with wife Sarah), which elicited the appropriate ‘aaaawww’ response and cheers from the crowd. Speaking of kids, he gave an hilarious language warning before the Lighthouse Song, which probably should have come with a language warning of it’s own. During another interlude, he asked whether anyone in the crowd did not follow him on Facebook, and for all those people to please go and immediately like his page and see if we could “crash the interweb”. Pyke announced towards the end of the set that they had a noise curfew at the venue and that he wouldn’t be doing any of that encore sh*t and to just pretend that the next song was the last if we wanted an encore. Middle of the Hill subsequently tore the house (or lawn) down and had us all cheering for more and ‘demanding’ an encore.

If the admission of no encore wasn’t funny enough, his ‘faux’ encore “oh we don’t have anything prepared” hammered home his penchant for Dad jokes and familiar rapport with the crowd. From the fans dancing madly at front of stage, to us and our fellow repose wine sippers up the back, the entire sold our audience was in raptures with Pyke‘s performance. Every person in attendance would have had as enjoyable a night as us.

You know it’s been a great show when on the Ferry back to the city, the couples around you are all singing their own two part harmonies of their favourite tracks, or humming their favourite melodies, or posting photos of the show to social media.

Twilight at Taronga was the first show in his new tour promoting But For All These Shrinking Hearts and continues around the country over the next month taking in Canberra, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Lismore, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Tickets are available on his website.

Twilight at Taronga is an exquisite concert series with a stunning backdrop, and excellent set up and is big enough to have a great vibe without having fellow music lovers in your back pocket. A string of sold out concerts limit your options for this year if you haven’t yet been, but there are definitely still some gems of the folk persuasion with tickets available, so treat yourself to some summer sounds by the harbour.


Thank Folk It’s Friday – 29th January


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Canberra indie-folk band Pocket Fox released their new single “Kingdom Come”. Details here

Boy & Bear kicked off their national tour this week. Details here

– Canadian trad trio The East Pointers have added three months worth of dates to their Australian tour. Details here

– Adelaide based troubadour Tom West released his new single “High Again”. Details here

Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel announced details of their upcoming album Southern Light. Details here

Timber and Steel will be presenting the upcoming national album launch tour from The Timbers. Details here

The National Folk Festival added a bunch of indigenous artists to its lineup including Stephen Baamba Albert, Rayella, Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, Jacinta Price, The Djaadjawan Dancers, Larry Brandy and more. Details here

– American folk icon Dawn Landes has announced a couple Australian shows next month. Details here

– Rowdy folkers The Button Collective have released their new video “Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy”. Details here

– Sydney jam and concert night Bluegrass @ Yulli’s is back this February with The Sweet Jelly Rolls. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Sam Newton announced an east coast tour this February. Details here


– We picked 10 artists to watch in the first half of 2016 including All Our Exes Live in Texas, Bon Iver, Eagle & The Wolf, Imogen Clark, John Flanagan, Matt Corby, Matthew and The Atlas, Radical Face, Rowena Wise and The Timbers. Check out the blog here



“For the first time in ages I committed to heading to the Illawarra Folk Festival for the three main days this year, even if it meant commuting to and from my base in Sydney every day. I was determined to see as much music as possible without dealing with the inevitable clashes that comes from trying to see everything in one day. This year I was going to lose my weekend to the Illawarra Folk Festival”Gareth Hugh Evans reviews this year’s Illawarra Folk Festival. Review here

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Gillian Welch

Gillian Welch

How could I not choose the first round of Australian shows from Gillian Welch? These shows are going to magical – have you got your tickets?

Saturday 30th January – Perth Concert Hall, Perth, WA
Wednesday 3rd February – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Friday 5th February – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

A Man Called Stu w/ The Morrisons, Post To Wire DJ
Thursday 4th February – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Ainsley Farrell
Thursday 4th February – LazyBones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Beth Patterson
Friday 29th January – Ocean View Hotel, Urunga, NSW
Saturday 30th January – Mother’s Milk, Sawtell, NSW
Thursday 4th February – Nimbin Hotel, Nimbin, NSW

Boy & Bear
Friday 29th January – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 30th January – Red Hill Auditorium, Perth, WA

Elwood Myre
Saturday 30th January – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 4th February – No. 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Friday 5th February – Nimbin Hotel, Lismore, NSW

Far From Folsom Featuring Tex Perkins and The Tennessee Four with Rachael Tidd
Friday 29th January – Melbourne Zoo Twilights, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 30th January – Twilight at Taronga, Sydney, NSW

Gillian Welch
Saturday 30th January – Perth Concert Hall, Perth, WA
Wednesday 3rd February – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Friday 5th February – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Saturday 30th January – Roth’s Wine Bar, Mudgee, NSW

Irish Mythen
Friday 29th January – The Wesley Anne, Northcote, VIC
Saturday 30th January – Baby Black Espresso Bar, Bacchus Marsh, VIC

John Butler Trio
Thursday 4th February – Twilight at Taronga, Sydney, NSW
Friday 5th February – Twilight at Taronga, Sydney, NSW

John Flanagan and Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel
Friday 5th February – The Cube, Wodonga, VIC

José González
Friday 5th February – Melbourne Zoo Twilights, Melbourne, VIC

Josh Pyke
Friday 29th January – Twilight at Taronga, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 30th January – Canberra Theatre Playhouse, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 4th February – Studio 56 @ Miami Marketta, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 5th February – The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD

Little Rabbit w/ Fat Cousin Skinny
Thursday 4th February – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

One Up, Two Down
Friday 29th January – Hotel Gearin, Katoomba, NSW
Saturday 30th January – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

Out of Abingdon
Saturday 30th January – The Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW
Sunday 31st January – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Saturday 30th January – House Concert, Melbourne, VIC

Ruby Boots
Saturday 30th January – Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 2nd February – Capitol Theatre, Tamworth NSW
Thursday 4th February – Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, Bathurst NSW

Sam Newton
Friday 5th February – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT

The Brisbane Folk Club feat. Sons of the East, The Forty Thieves, Andrea Kirwin
Wednesday 3rd February – The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD

The Brouhaha
Friday 29th January – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA

The Button Collective
Sunday 31st January – Black Wire Records, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 4th February – The Wild Rover, Sydney, NSW

The Franklin Electric
Friday 29th January – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 30th January – The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD

The String Contingent
Thursday 4th February – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

The Waifs
Saturday 30th January – Melbourne Zoo Twilights, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 31st January – Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD
Tuesday 2nd February – Capitol Theatre, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 4th February – Bathurst Entertainment Cent, Bathurst, NSW

Tom West
Sunday 31st January – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Willowy, Direwolf, Maia Jelavic
Friday 5th February – Desire Books & Records, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“The Blacksmith” – Andy Irvine & Donal Lunny’s Mozaik

I saw The Button Collective perform a cracking version of this song at their Illawarra Folk Festival blackboard set and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. I had to chose the Mozaik version of the track for my FFF just because of how much energy it has.

Ten Artists to Watch in the First Half of 2016

Bob Dylan

Following the success of last year’s “Ten Artists to Watch in the First Half of 2015” article we thought we’d try our hand again at picking which bands and singers you’re going to be hearing a lot from over the next 6 months. This list is by no means exhaustive (I had to whittle it down to just 10) but I think it’s a nice mix of artists, old and new, to keep an eye on this year. It’s 2016 – let’s get excited about new music!

All Our Exes
All Our Exes Live in Texas

While it’ll be tough to top a 2015 that included supporting The Backstreet Boys on their Australian tour I reckon All Our Exes Live in Texas are set to have a massive 2016. Having hit their crowdfunding target to record their debut album late last year the girls have been busy running between festivals, recording studios and music video locations throughout January – and they’ve just been announced as the supports for Passenger’s Australian tour. Expect All Our Exes Live in Texas to be everywhere you look this year.

Bon Iver
Bon Iver

It’s been five years since Bon Iver’s last album. It’s been four years since Bon Iver last toured Australia. In fact most people had written them off, assuming Justin Vernon was moving on to other projects, until mid last year where Bon Iver played the Eaux Claires Music Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Vernon told Consequence of Sound that this was the start of the band’s third cycle. Now they’re heading to Asia for shows in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, China, Japan and Taiwan this February and March bringing them very close to our shores…

Eagle and the Wolf
Eagle & The Wolf

Two of Australia’s finest singer-songwriters, indie-pop goddess Sarah Humphreys and alt-country troubadour Kris Morris, met, fell in love and now they’re making they’re making beautiful folk music together as Eagle & The Wolf. The project is in its infancy but they’ve already secured a tour with Kasey Chambers, wowed crowds at the Tamworth Music Festival and have an album coming out in February.

Imogen Clark
Imogen Clark

If the buzz from Tamworth is anything to go by 2016 is going to be huge for Imogen Clark. Signing to the coveted Lost Highway label late last year and recording her debut album in Nashville (release date to be announced), Clark has been going from strength to strength – and it couldn’t happen to a nicer girl!

John Flanagan
John Flanagan

John Flanagan is one of those artists that manages to straddle the fine line between country and folk music and as such has been embraced by both scenes. His new solo album There’s Another Way To Where You’re Going hits stands next week and he heads off on a tour with alt-country Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel throughout February and I have a feeling that Flanagan will gain a whole new legion of fans around the country before the year is out.

Matt Corby
Matt Corby

The two songs we’ve heard from Matt Corby’s debut album Telluric so far couldn’t be more different – the gospel infused “Monday” was followed up with the psychedelic “Sooth Lady Wine”. Exactly what the rest of the album will hold remains to be seen but you can be pretty sure Matt Corby’s amazing voice and solid song writing will shine through.

Matthew and the Atlas
Matthew and the Atlas

Another artist that has been too quiet for too long UK nu-folkers Matthew and the Atlas revealed their new song “Elijah” earlier this month with the news they’d been in the studio late last year. We don’t have any more details on what will be the result of those recording sessions but if you’ve heard “Elijah” you’ll be very very excited.

Radical Face
Radical Face

After almost a decade American artist Radical Face will finally release the third album in his The Family Tree trilogy this March. Radical Face first crossed our path when “Welcome Home” was used for a Nikon commercial a few years back and I’ve devoured everything since. The one track we’ve heard from The Family Tree: Leaves is “The Road To Nowhere” which sees Radical Face up the ante production wise boding well for the rest of the record.

Rowena Wise
Rowena Wise

There was so much buzz surrounding Rowena Wise’s solo music last year which seemed to die down somewhat as she ducked into the studio to record an album. Now there are some rumblings of a return with Rowena Wise and her new band The Guys booking gigs in February. Prepare to have Rowena Wise win your heart all over again.

The Timbers
The Timbers

Adelaide’s kings of the folk-stomp The Timbers will be releasing their first true studio album Restless in February and are following up with a huge national tour. These guys have built a reputation as an amazing live band and are set to become a festival favourite as they jump from Port Fairy to The National and beyond.

Sam Newton Announces East Coast Tour

Sam Newton
Image Courtesy of Sam Newton

Sydney based singer-songwriter Sam Newtown has announced that he’s hitting the road next month to support his latest album Set In Stone with a string of east coast dates. Newton will be joined on stage by a bunch of amazing artists including Gretta Ziller (Melbourne), Mogadishu Family Band (Coogee), Kyle Taylor (Aireys Inlet), Collingwood Casanovas (Canberra) and more.

Check out the full list of dates below:

Friday 5th February – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 11th February – The Bunker, Coogee, NSW
Friday 12th February – The Yarra Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 13th February – Aireys Pub, Aireys Inlet, VIC
Saturday 20th February – The Roundabout Inn, Gloucester, NSW
Saturday 27th February – Treehouse on Belongil, Byron Bay, NSW
Sunday 28th February – The Rails, Byron Bay, NSW

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s Returns for 2016

Sweet Jelly Rolls
Image Courtesy of The Sweet Jelly Rolls

Having taken a well deserved break in January Sydney’s favourite Bluegrass night is back in February. Bluegrass @ Yulli’s is unique in the local scene, providing players the opportunity to jam together for a couple of hours before a feature act plays an intimate bracket of tunes and songs.

The first Bluegrass @ Yulli’s for 2016 is set to take place on Wednesday the 17th February. The night will kick off with the all-in jam at 6pm before local duo The Sweet Jelly Rolls bring their blend of bluegrass, country blues, county and western music.

The night will take place upstairs at Yulli’s in Sydney’s Surry Hills and as always is 100% free entry. For more information on the night check out the official Facebook event here.

Watch the New Video From The Button Collective, “Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy”

Button Collective
Image Courtesy of The Button Collective

A couple of week The Button Collective gave Timber and Steel the exclusive first listen to their upcoming EP The Lonesome Sea and now we’ve been treated to their brand new video “Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy”.

A little about the track from The Button Collective’s frontman Brodie Buttons:

“This traditional song of the sea is a sailor’s last words to his love before embarking on a long voyage,” Buttons explains. “He tells her of the perils he will face at sea to earn their wage. He finishes with the cruel irony of the hardships they still endure upon his return due to him having spent all his wages at the bar drinking to his wife and family back home, forcing him to once again return to sea.”

Check out the video for “Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy” below:

This Sunday The Button Collective will be launching the new EP at Black Wire Records in Sydney – check out the official Facebook event for more details.

All future live dates for The Button Collective are below:

Sunday 31st January – Black Wire Records, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 4th February – The Wild Rover, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 6th February – Rocks Brewing Co., Sydney, NSW
Thursday 11th February – The Little Guy, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 25th February – Phoenix Bar, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 6th March – Spectrum Now, Sydney, NSW

Dawn Landes Announces Australian Tour Dates

Dawn Landes
Image Courtesy of Dawn Landes

Last week American folk icon Dawn Landes released her brand new EP Desert Songs with British songwriter Piers Faccini. The EP was recorded in the Cevennes region in France and is already getting a bunch of praise online.

In a surprise announcement Dawn Landes will be swinging past Australia in late February for a couple of shows in Sydney and Brisbane. We’re not sure if these are the only shows Landes will be playing here but if you get a chance make sure you go out and see her – full dates are below:

Sunday 21st February – TBC, Sydney, NSW
Friday 4th March – Jet Black Cat Music, Brisbane, QLD

The National Folk Festival Announces New Additions to the Indigenous Artist Line-Up

Jacinta Price
Image Courtesy of Jacinta Price

Every year The National Folk Festival presents a raft of indigenous artists as part of the their program, and it’s looking like 2016 will be no different.

For their 50th anniversary The National Folk Festival will be showcasing the likes of singer, storyteller and raconteur Stephen Baamba Albert, pop-country-rock-reggae group Rayella, festival favourites Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, award winning Central Australian singer Jacinta Price (above), dancers The Djaadjawan Dancers, children’s Aboriginal storyteller Larry Brandy and many more.

The 50th National Folk Festival takes place in Canberra over the Easter long weekend, 24th to 28th March. Earlybird tickets are available now via the official site.

Timber and Steel Presents: The Timbers’ National Tour, Announce New Album

The Timbers
Image Courtesy of The Timbers

We’ve had a long association with Adelaide folk four piece The Timbers over the years so when they asked us to present their upcoming national tour we jumped at the chance.

The Timbers will be releasing their brand new album Restless on the 25th February this year. Restless is the band’s first true studio album, recorded in a converted church in the Adelaide Hills, and featured the tracks previously premiered by Timber and Steel“All I’ve Got Time For” and “Lies”.

As further for taster for the album check out The Timbers’ brand new single “The Plan”

To celebrate the release of Restless The Timbers will be heading out on their Timber and Steel presented national tour from mid-February – check out the full list of dates below:

Thursday 11th February – Twilight Markets, QEII Square, Albury, NSW
Friday 12th February – Tanswells Hotel, Beechworth, VIC
Saturday 13th February – Smiths Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 14th February – Braidwood Hotel, Braidwood, VIC
Wednesday 2nd March – Brisbane Folk Club, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 3rd March – Sol Bar, Maroochydore, QLD
Saturday 5th March – The Irish Hotel, Toowoomba, QLD
Sunday 6th March – The Yacht Club, Mooloolaba, QLD
Friday 11th to Monday 14th March – Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy, VIC
Thursday 24th to Monday 27th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Friday 1st April – Mt Gambier Hotel, Mt Gambier, SA
Saturday 2nd April – The Yarra Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th April – Sarrens Restaurant, Port Lincoln, SA
Saturday 23rd April – Jive, Adelaide, SA
Friday 29th April to Sunday 1st May – Winter Moon Festival, North Queensland, QLD

Sal Kimber and the Rollin’ Wheel Announce New Album Southern Light

Sal Kimber
Image Courtesy of Sal Kimber and the Rollin’ Wheel

Melbourne based alt-country favourites Sal Kimber and the Rollin’ Wheel return this year with the announcement of their highly anticipated new album Southern Light. The album, which is due for release on the 3rd February, is being described as Sal Kimber’s “coming of age album”.

To celebrate the release of Southern Light Sal Kimber and the Rollin’ Wheel will be heading out on a co-headline tour with John Flanagan this February – check out the full list of dates below:

Friday 5th February – The Cube, Wodonga, VIC
Saturday 6th February – Tallangatta Valley Hall, Tallangatta Valley, VIC
Sunday 7th February – Oxley Hall, Oxyley, VIC
Thursday 11th February – Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 12th February – Alexandra Town Hall, Alexandra, VIC
Saturday 13th February – Live at the Bundy, Bundalaguah, VIC
Friday 19th February – Belbrae Hall, Belbrae, VIC
Saturday 20th February – Buangor Cobb & Co, Buangor, VIC
Sunday 21st February – The Old Church on the Hill, Bendigo, VIC

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