Review: The Beautiful Girls

Photos by Stuart Bucknell Photography

The Beautiful Girls, Animal Ventura & Mesmeriser
The Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 16th December, 2017

In the sweltering Sydney summer, the ice cool reprieve of The Metro Theatre’s ample air conditioning was a welcome starter to an evening that promised rays of Morning Sun.

To start the night off, the swaggering, lackadaisical tunes of Mesmeriser, the likes of which you’d expect to hear wafting across the sand dunes late on a summers day, set the tone early. Their chilled beach rock vibe with solid melodies with smooth vocals made them a natural match for The Beautiful Girls 15 Year Learn Yourself / Morning Sun Anniversary tour. A confident, solid set jam packed with tracks to warm up the growing crowd.

Taking a slight turn away from the beach feel, the funky vibe of Animal Ventura got the crowd moving. I love watching musicians use looping pedals well, and watching Aragones use one with a drum pad make a rich loop was nothing to sniff at. His vibrant guitar and vocals gave a contemporary feel to an indie singer songwriter sensibility. His musical treatment gives an uplifting feel to his sound, with vocal stylings reminiscent some of my favourite Jamie Callum tracks.

Just watching him build the loop for ‘Jungle’ was entrancing and then the delicate acoustic guitar danced over the basey loop giving it all a lightness and colourfulness. His vocals shifted to a more sultry tone trickling over the intricacies if the music below it. Transitioning again for the next song, in to a reggae beat demonstrating a stylistic breadth without skipping a beat, brought up comparisons to the likes Xavier Rudd’s rhythm heavy tracks.

So we know that back in 2012, The Beautiful Girls called it a day. Only it’s worth marking special anniversaries so seeing them for a 15th Anniversary was a fun affair for all.

Kicking off the set with title track ‘Morning Sun’ a more electric undertone to the indie acoustic sensibilities lifted the lyrics to a higher level of clarity and connection with the enraptured audience. From the outset, it was all confidence and cool, with the now large crowd rocking along and singing the choruses. Although it’s been a while between tours, their instrumentals lets them groove and connect with each other with subdued showmanship.

Upping the tempo with a heavy drum intro and setting the scene for a party vibe, ’10:10′ had the crowd going while showcasing their great indie rock solos. The rockier party sound continued with ‘Don’t Wait’ with the lyrics punctuated, rapping across The Metro in a fiery staccato. Even though the trio have been away from the stage for a while, they are still great at connecting with each other through their instruments, tone and staging, and translate that harmony to the crowd with gusto. So much so, that when it came to ‘#1 Style’, they had the crowd exploding with anticipation.

Of course, the crowd were there to hear some of their favourites how we remember them, so as McHugh switched to his acoustic, we knew some nostalgia was nigh. With a beautiful deep resonating riff the crowd recognised ‘Lose Yourself’ and the great showcase unleashed vocal styles reaching into higher registers, then rumbling along along below.

Familiar opening chords, to the crowds delight, announced a rousing rendition of ‘Dela’ and had a Paul Kelly-esque storytelling sensibility and the crowd eloquently singing along, and when ‘Periscopes’ arrived the crowd visibly swelled to greet an old favourite with crystal clarity to each lyric sung. To keep the momentum going, ‘Let’s Take The Long Way Home’ treated the audience to an impromptu harmonica replacement as McHugh had forgotten to bring his instrument and instead the crowd were urged to freestyle their own rendition of some jazz harmonica. Hilarity ensued.

And of course, and The Beautiful Girls gig could never be complete without ‘Music’ taking over the entire space, with the crowd singing word for word and McHugh hoping he can pull off some kind of 1980s hip hop over the eager audience singing.

It was clear they were delighted to be back on home turf, hailing from the northern beaches of Sydney. The production and planning for their show was evident, with striking lighting and great performances across the board. It was clear that even though the years have passed, they are still very comfortable and at home on stage. The Beautiful Girls continue to be a great band to see. The show demonstrated the great variety to their style, built out of years of experiences and recent space to grow their back catalogue to a new maturity. It was a night transporting us all to the tropics and a more reggae come Caribbean tone to their current musicality.

The whole show hangs together cohesively with common tones and styles echoing through all three acts, but with enough diversity between them to allow each act to feel fresh and different. For a bit of nostalgia, a guaranteed dance and every opportunity to sing along, you can still catch The Beautiful Girls on their 15th Anniversary Learn Yourself/ Morning Sun tour. If you’re looking for a fun, chilled vibe with a side serve of summer, this is the tour for you.

For more photos of the show, see Stuart Bucknell Photography‘s Timber and Steel Facebook Album.

You can catch The Beautiful Girls on tour at:

Thur 28 DecWoodford Folk Festival, Woodfordia QLD – TICKETS
Thur 4 JanMiami Marketta, Miami QLD – TICKETS
Fri 5 JanThe Northern, Byron Bay NSW – TICKETS
Sat 6 JanThe Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour NSW – TICKETS
Sun 7 JanCambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW – TICKETS
Thur 11 JanVilla Noosa, Sunshine Coast QLD – TICKETS
Fri 12 JanThe Zoo, Brisbane QLD – TICKETS
Fri 19 JanWesternport Hotel, San Remo  VIC – TICKETS RSVP
Sat 20 Jan – Corner Hotel, Richmond VIC – TICKETS
Sun 21 Jan – Grand Hotel, Mornington VIC – TICKETS

The Gum Ball Interview: Kim Churchill

Photo by Lester Jones

Today is the day that Kim Churchill’s latest single, Breakneck Speed, is released and the start of his Australian Tour. We’re looking forward to catching Kim at The Gum Ball next weekend for the official unveiling of his new live show.

So, we thought we’d catch up with Kim in the lead up to his tour.

Your music journey has certainly been epic – from living out of your van and gigging around Australia to now travelling the world most of the year. What’s the biggest difference for you between the early days for you and your lifestyle now? 

Honestly not a lot. I still spend a lot of time in the back of my van. I still surf everyday. I still play music everyday. It’s rad and it works. I am probably a bit more focussed and I dunno what you’d call it – ‘professional’ perhaps. I mean I guess that equates to ‘I drink less beer now’ haha. 

You’ve been a regular at so many Australian festivals like BluesFest and The Gum Ball – what kind of festival do you prefer – the big festivals with international guests, or the small, predominantly local act festivals, and why?

Well this is a cop-out answer but both. Big international festivals are exciting and inspiring and you get to see large scale bands play enormous shows. Smaller festivals have all your friends and they play just as brilliantly and are just as inspiring. I couldn’t do without either. 

Where is home now? Where do you find yourself longing to return to and spend most of your time?

Newcastle. The junkyard. Between the two I’m pretty much at home. I love that crew and I love the beach in Newy. If I’m away I really so find myself longing to get back. One day I might live there. 

What’s your biggest dream for your music? Where are you hoping your journey to take you?

Everywhere! Coffee houses In Turkey, stadiums in South America, beach bars in French Polynesia. I dunno I wanna see it all and be the soundtrack to a million different scenes. 

You’ve performed at The Gum Ball a few times now, how have you seen the festival grow and change? And what advice would you give to a first time Gum Ball attendee?

It’s one of my favourite festivals because it has maintained its integrity as it has grown. It’s still got all the beautiful vibes, people, trees, tents, beers and loving connection that it had back when I first went. I know it’s getting bigger and bigger but they really have their heads screwed on and I think it will be something I want to go to for most of my life 🙂 

Kim Churchill plays on Saturday 22nd April at The Gum Ball (Dashville, Belford, Hunter Valley NSW).

Tickets are still available to buy online.

Kim Churchill’s remaining tour dates are:

Thursday 20th April – Astor Hotel, Goulburn NSW
Friday 21st April – Shoalhaven Heads Bowling Club, Shoalhaven Heads NSW
Thursday 18th May – Old Museum, Brisbane QLD
Friday 19th May – Meat Market, Melbourne VIC
Saturday 20th May – Verbruggen Hall, Sydney NSW
Saturday 3rd June – Fremantle Town Hall, Perth WA

Interview: Ann Vriend (Canada) 2015 Australian Tour

Ann Vriend
Image Courtesy of Ann Vriend

Interview originally published on Overheard Productions

Ann Vriend is always a popular visitor to Australia at about this time every year.

The contrasts between frozen Alberta, Canada and sizzling Australia are rarely more stark than in January/February, so Ann can hopefully leave the tissues and cough syrup behind, and look forward to sandy beaches, dazzling coral reefs, and the inside of a string of popular Australian venues.

On an afternoon when frying eggs on the pavement in rural Queensland was definitely an option, Bill Quinn spoke with Ann from her sick bed in Edmonton, as she was putting the final touches on her tour, and readying to hop on a plane the following week.

Tour dates for Ann Vriend in Australia:

Saturday 24th January – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 29th January – The Reef Casino, Cairns, Qld
Friday 30th January – Sovereign Resort Hotel, Cooktown, Qld
Saturday 31st January – The Reef Casino, Cairns, Qld
Sunday 1st February – Brisbane Jazz Club, Fortitude Valley, Qld
Thursday 5th February – House Concert, Tallai, Qld
Friday 6th February – Mother’s Milk, Sawtell, NSW
Saturday 7th February – Sunset Studio, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 8th February – Ellington Jazz Club, Perth, WA
Tuesday 10th February – House Concert, Fremantle, WA
Thursday 12th February – Paris Cat Jazz Club, Melbourne, Vic
Friday 13th February – Dodges Ferry, Tas
Saturday 14th February – Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart, Tas
Saturday 14th February – Mountain Mumma, Sheffield, Tas
Sunday 15th February – Old Hepburn Hotel, Hepburn Springs, Vic
Monday 16th February – School Concert, Bendigo, Vic
Thursday 19th February – Django Bar, Marrickville, NSW
Friday 20th February – Smith’s Alternative Bookshop, Canberra, ACT
Friday 27th February to Sunday 1st March – Cobargo Folk Festival, NSW

Keep tabs on any changes and additions at Ann’s gig page.

Florence and the Machine Touring Aus in May 2012


Image courtesy of Florence and the Machine

The news everyone’s been waiting for is here. UK’s Florence and the Machine will be continuing their love affair with Australia with an extensive tour in May 2012. Since releasing their fantastic sophomore album Ceremonials, Australia hasn’t had much of a chance to see the new tracks live, but with this just released headline tour, only NT and TAS will have to do without. Tickets go on sale on December 7th. Dates are as listed below;

Thursday 17th May – Burswood Dome, Perth, WA
Sunday 20th May – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 22nd May – Entertainment Centre, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 24th May – Entertainment Centre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 26th May – Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD
Monday 28th May – Vector Arena, Auckland, NZ

Passenger Announces November Australian Tour


Image courtesy of Passenger

Since Passenger left these shores earlier in the year to return to the motherland, a void opened up in the soul of this publication that could only be filled by compulsively publishing any Passenger related news that we could find. In the past 3 weeks, we’ve brought you five unreleased Passenger songs, presented in various live session formats, and yesterday, the news that he will playing Peats Ridge Festival over new years- but this morning Passenger gave the news Australia really wanted to hear.

Passenger is back on the road at the beginning of November playing Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and Freemantle. Special pre-sale tickets will be available to those signed up to the Passenger mailing list, as outlined in his announcement. His confirmed Australian itinerary so far is below.

SAT 5TH NOV – EAST BRUNSWICK CLUB, MELBOURNE, VIC
THUR 10TH NOV – THE OLD MUSEUM, BRISBANE, QLD
FRI 11TH NOV – THE GAELIC, SYDNEY, NSW
THUR 17TH NOV – JIVE BAR, ADELAIDE, SA
SUN 20TH NOV – GRAND POOBAH, HOBART, TAS
THUR 24TH NOV – THE ELLINGTON, PERTH, WA
SAT 26TH NOV – THE ELLINGTON, PERTH, WA
SUN 27TH NOV – MOJO’S, FREMANTLE, WA
SAT 3RD DEC – HOMEBAKE FESTIVAL, SYDNEY, NSW
THURS 29TH DEC – SUN 1ST JAN (2012) – PEATS RIDGE FETIVAL, GLENWORTH VALLEY, NSW
 

Shugo Tokumaru Touring Australia in September, 2011

Image courtesy of Shugo Tokumaru

You know how the Japanese are freakishly good at everything?; well if you assumed that that wouldn’t extend to indie-folk music too, then you assumed wrong *snap, snap*. Shugo Tokumaru is a gifted multi-instrumentalist in a similar vein to Sufjan Stevens or Andrew Bird– only with a cute, carefree Tokyo vibe… and in Japanese. Tokumaru‘s most recent album Port Entropy has earned him widespread attention around the world, and riding that hype wave Tokumaru will be heading to Brisbane Festival for two dates, and then down to Adelaide for another two dates as part of the Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival– which I have to admit, is inspired programming. No further sideshows have been announced and his schedule looks pretty tight- so if you find yourself in the wrong city, you may have to travel for this one.

Tokumaru has released 5 albums as a solo musician, and and has recently joined forces with Polyvinyl to pedal his music in the US. Follow this link to look at purchasing his latest work Port Entropy– which has got me hook, line and sinker, or just familiarise yourself with the videos below.

Weds 7th September- Brisbane Festival, Brisbane, QLD- Tickets
Thurs 8th September- Brisbane Festival, Brisbane, QLD – Tickets
Fri 9th September- Space Theatre, OzAsia Festival, Adelaide, SA- Tickets
Sat 10th September- Space Theatre, OzAsia Festival, Adelaide, SA- Tickets

Frank Turner Announces New Album “England Keep My Bones” and Australian Tour Details

Image courtesy of Frank Turner

Moments ago, British Folk-Punk superstar, Frank Turner, announced via his blog that he’ll be releasing a new album called England Keep My Bones on the 7th of June, 2011. The former Million Dead frontman also announced details for an extensive tour of Australia throughout April. Although these dates are prior to the album release, it’ll be a good chance to have a listen to Turner’s new stuff before he releases it. No other details in regards to track listings or album art have been released as yet, but the full dates for the Australian tour are below. Click here to view Turner’s full blog post.

Those who are unfamiliar with the whole acoustic post-punk movement would be absolutely astounded to discover the far-reachingness of the genre. It seems that all the kids that used to be listening to and playing in punk bands back in the ’90s and early 2000s have moved on to appropriating the folk genre with brutal injections of that classic punk intensity. For local examples check out Sydney’s Isaac Graham or Adelaide’s Ben David.

13th April- East Brunswick, Melbourne, VIC
14th April- Enigma, Adelaide, SA
15th April- Annadale Hotel, Sydney, NSW
16th April- Rosies, Brisbane, QLD
17th April- Amplifier, Perth, WA

Juno Award Nominees- A Folk Lover’s Guide

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Image courtesy of Basia Bulat

Those who read Timber & Steel religiously would know that we tend to follow the Canadian music scene pretty closely. It’s not just the quality of music permeating the great northern land that we’re interested in, it’s the fact that there’s an overwhelming proportion of musicians blending folk influences amongst others, and creating new, however less traditional, breeds of folk. Although the majority of the exciting movements in Canadian music aren’t so much recognised in the mainstream frontier (which is no doubt the same in every country), the Juno awards aren’t completely void of excitement, as we hope to show. Check out a full list of nominees here.

Arcade Fire

There’d be very few readers out there now that aren’t well versed in Arcade Fire. If you hadn’t heard of them before, you’d have probably heard their name connected with their recent Grammy success. There’s no doubt that these guys are indie-rockers first and foremost, but their weaving of traditional influences and instrumentation into their music has made them a T&S friendly act, right from the get-go. This year they’ve been nominated for Album of the Year, Group of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year.

Basia Bulat

This young lady might just be the most exciting artist on this list. As an old-time folk lover, you can easily hear a traditional Irish-like sound in there, which is only thinly veiled by a more contemporary and alternative exterior. She has a fantastic voice, and is one hell of an autoharpist. She’s been nominated for New Artist of the Year.

Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene are in the same boat as Arcade Fire, being an outright indie-rock group with a folky twist. This collective is undoubtedly Canadian music royalty, including members of Stars, Apostle of Hustle, The Weakerthans, Metric, Jason Collett and Feist. They utilise strings, woodwind and brass instruments to achieve large, glorious and layered sounds. They’ve been nominated for Group of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year.

Del Barber

Del Barber is a roots artist with a strong American folk influence, and enough of an indie stripe to have been pedalled by younger audiences. He has a couple of albums, but to be honest, this is the first time I’ve checked him out. I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve heard so far, and intend to keep a close eye on him. He has been nominated for Solo Roots & Traditional Album of the Year.

Hannah Georgas

This Vancouver-based acoustic singer-songwriter is making really interesting pop songs with lavish arrangements. Her fresh interpretation of Tori Amos-like alt-pop is really refreshing, and has earned her nominations for New Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. Definitely T&S friendly. Earlier in the week, editor Evan Hughes credited me with publishing the first female nipple on Timber & Steel, so by posting the video below, I’m really hoping to build somewhat of a rep. for “bringing the sex”, so to speak. It’s a great song, though…

Justin Rutledge

We’ve been covering Rutledge’s goings on here at Timber & Steel ever since he won my heart with the live version of “Don’t Be So Mean, Jellybean” on his myspace (seriously, go check it out!). He’s signed to Six Shooter Records, who give us some great Canadian acts, and you won’t regret spending the time to get to know him, especially his latest album The Early Widows, for which he’s been nominated for Solo Roots & Traditional Album of the Year. He’s made a couple of short films/acoustic performance videos. An older one is embedded below, but follow this link for another really good one.

Le Vent Du Nord

This is a really cool act, and I’m glad I came across them. They play traditional Quebecois folk music, and yes that’s exactly how it sounds- French, Celtic music. Confused? Canada loves them. They’re nominated for the Group Roots & Traditional Album of the Year.

Luke Doucet

Luke Doucet is a country styled singer-songwriter who has been a landmark on the Canadian roots-music landscape for some time. He’s released 8 records on Six Shooter Records (solo and with his band Veal), the latest of which has been nominated for Adult Alternative Album of the Year. Watch him perform a song about an ex-girlfriend with his wife, Melissa McClelland, below. So awkward.

Old Man Luedecke

Old Man Luedecke has recently finished a decent tour of Australia which saw him wowing crowds across the eastern states and Tasmania with his traditional, quick-picking banjo stylings. I’ve heard people say that he was one of the highlights at Woodford Folk Festival, and I’m not surprised. Old Man Luedecke‘s laid back country charm allows him to really engage with the listener. He’s no stranger to the Juno Awards either, taking out the Solo Roots & Traditional Album of the Year in 2009. And he’s been nominated for the same award again for his latest album, My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs.

Owen Pallett

Owen Pallett is a very rare talent. His brand of indie-folk is often compared to Andrew Bird and Sufjan Stevens, and with good reason. Pallett is a fantastic instrumentalist and vocalist who masterfully uses loop-pedals to create swirling layers of full and textured compositions that have all the power of a small orchestra. He has recently toured Australia as well, and played alongside Sufjan Stevens as part of Sydney Festival at The Opera House. His first release under his name (he previously released material as Final Fantasy), Heartland, has been nominated for Alternative Album of the Year. I hope he wins.

Royal Wood

Royal Wood is a creator of classic, organic, and usually acoustic pop music.  From what I’ve heard of him, he favours the piano as his fundamental instrument. He’s a little bit Lior, in that his sound is obviously very derivative, but unique and personal enough to an extent that allows people to become very loyal to it. He’s been around for a while, and i look forward to checking out his past works. He’s been nominated for the Songwriter of the Year award.

Said The Whale

I was surprised to see Said The Whale nominated for New Group of the Year, mainly because I thought they were already an established act. They’ve certainly been gracing my iTunes for some time. Regardless, they do deserve some accolades swung their way. They’re an indie-rock band, who utilise acoustic instruments a lot of the time. I’m a folk lover, and they do something for me. Embedding is disabled for my favourite folk track of their’s, but you can follow this link to view it, or take your chances on the video below.

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