Melbourne’s iconic Cherry Rock festival was held again this year, for the 11th year. Held at Cherry Bar in AC/DC lane, it’s a seething mess of bodies, booze and bloody good times. Held in May each year, the weather is always unpredictable and this year offered more of the same. The rain mostly held off, but the high concrete horizons don’t let in much sun so the cold and damp sets in pretty easily. Being an inside/outside festival has its pluses though – if the cold is biting you can head inside for the next set in not too long. And by the time the indoor set is finished, you’re almost gagging for that cool air again.

This year the festival was headlined by NZ stalwarts Shihad as well as Brant Bjork, Dwarves and Nashville Pussy from the US. Ably supported by Indonesian stoner rockers Mooner and Kelompok Penerbang Roket as well as Sweden’s Bottlecap and Spain’s Bala and a swag of Aussies that are well known to the Cherry crowd.

It was a bit of a buzz for me personally to see Nick Oliveri with Dwarves – as a fan of Queens of the Stone Age, it was the first time I’d had a chance to see Oliveri perform in the flesh. He was thrilling on bass, if a little daunting. And his bandmate in Blag Dahlia was so in your face it was verging on uncomfortable to be shooting so close to the stage.

Brant Bjork and his fuzzy desert rock tunes were welcome refuge in the middle of the day. It was nice to bliss out a little before the senses were assaulted with the addition of fellow desert rock icon Sean Wheeler. He was a showman from the first, and brought some real energy to a cruisy set from Bjork.

But my highlights for the day were the chicks. Amyl and the Sniffers are a local Melbourne outfit with a mullety/sharpie/bogan vibe that gives no fucks at all what you think of their VB t-shirts. Frontwoman Amy is shouty and loud and brash and totally commandeering. She held the familiar Cherry crowd in the palm of her hand while simultaneously spitting them out with a spray of her beer. 

My other highlight was Bala from Spain. A two piece, all female wall of sound. Flinging hair, shouting lyrics, freaking loud guitar and smashing drums. It was a killer set and I was quite blown away by how much noise came out of just two people.

Cherry Rock, I salute you and all your messy glory. You’re a Melbourne institution and while I was pretty crook this year and it was a little harder to enjoy you, I was thrilled to be able to witness your shenanigans once more.


* gallery shot for AMNplify and you can see the full gallery here: Cherry Rock 2017

Is there anything as quintessentially Melbourne as Cherry Bar? Situated in ACDC Lane, a laneway off a laneway, everything from its grungy interior to its notice at the door proclaiming, “No suits. No sporting apparel”, just screams Melbourne. Cherry Bar is pure Melbourne and pure rock. Everything about it grabs you by the throat and blasts rock music straight into your ears. And the best part about it? It’s usually free entry. Cherry Bar hosts free live music so often that it feels like a betrayal when you show up and find there’s a cover charge.

Cherry Bar is exactly the type of venue where you would expect to hear a band called Diva Demolition, and certainly the band looks the part. Diva Demolition are carefully crafted to let you know they’re a rock band before they even hit the stage. They look like an angry female-centric rock band (my absolute favourite kind), so it surprised me that they frequently play Mt Isa, because I have some pretty strong ideas, that are in no way based on ever having been there, of what Mt Isa is like and the kind of people that frequent the pubs up that way. Hint: not the kind of people that favour angry female-centric rock bands.

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Once they hit the stage though, things became a little clearer. Diva Demolition are pure Aussie Rock.   A little bland for my taste (Aussie Rock not really being my thing), it was clear why Mt Isa has embraced them, and why the rest of Australia could very easily do the same. With the sparse crowd and playing a free gig on a Sunday night, you could be forgiven for expecting a band that’s decent, but not quite ‘there’ yet. Diva Demolition, by contrast, are polished and professional, sounding more like a band that should be playing Festival Hall, or at the very least, The Corner Hotel.

Kylie Cowling has a great voice, and easily holds her own onstage, but it’s impossible not to look at Sherree Newton. The woman fairly oozes charisma. She is a showwoman (totally not a word, but absolutely should be) who looks like she was born to be onstage. She is over-the-top and completely entertaining without being even the slightest bit unnatural. The two women are the core of the band, with two men (or ‘toy boys’, as Sherree and Kylie call them) fading into the background, seemlessly filling out the band’s sound without really drawing attention to themselves.

Their new single, Rock the Zombie, is out now and you can find their full length album on iTunes and Spotify, or actual real-life retailers if you prefer actual CDs.

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words: Claire Watt
photos: Mandy Campbell

It’s not really very fun to head into the night in Melbourne in Winter, but it is always very fun to head out to see La Bastard play. This homegrown surfabilly and good time rock’n’roll band are always a feast for the senses and their gig at the Post Office Hotel in Coburg was no exception.

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The pub was like a warm inviting haven, the heady scent of mulled wine simmering at the bar was just about the most comforting smell you could imagine on a night that felt like it might snow at any moment. The atmosphere was relaxed and jovial, you could really tell that everyone was keen to enjoy La Bastard’s last local show before they head off on their Euro tour next week. The crowd was a sea of some very familiar faces (friends of the band) and people who were there to enjoy the free gig and have a drink or two.

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Once the band started up they were almost immediately joined for a dance by a man I affectionately dubbed Tai Chi Man; his slow and engaged dance style was fun for the band and the crowd to watch, and helped to entice Ben off the “stage” (not that he ever needs any encouragement) and others up to boogie. One thing I love about La Bastard – they always have the crowd dancing. It’s a blast seeing people dancing in a small pub environment watching a band, and it’s not something that happens very often in my experience.

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Interval between the two sets saw people disperse from the front bar and only slowly come back in once the second set started but things kicked up a gear again when they played ‘Call of the Wild‘ and the crowd got back on their feet as Ben and Dick got up on tables and Anna danced around and through the crowd.

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If you get a chance to see La Bastard when they get back from Europe, please do. Trust me when I say you’ll be in for a toe tapping good time, and I dare you to not dance.

SEE THE FULL GALLERY HERE

La Bastard, 4th July 2015 at the Post Office Hotel.
(All photos by Mandy Campbell.)

READ OUR REVIEW HERE

Click on thumbnails for full size images.

First Aid Kit first came into my consciousness through a couple of covers – firstly through Kingswood covering ‘Wolf‘, and then through First Aid Kit themselves covering Jack White’s ‘Love Interruption‘ for Triple J’s Live at the Wireless.

Back in March First Aid Kit toured the east coast in some of their biggest headline gigs, as well as a slot at both Golden Plains and WOMADelaide. Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg command attention with their strong and beautiful harmonies, hair swishing and keyboard pounding, and don’t let your mind once wander from the performance in front of you. The stunning Palais was the perfect backdrop for their folky blues and the sold out crowd were enraptured from the moment the women entered the stage.

If you’ve never seen First Aid Kit make sure you catch them next time they’re here. They are currently on a bit of a break while they write some new songs and “see what happens”. Lets hope they hit our shores again really soon.

Full gallery can be seen here at TONE DEAF.
(click on image for slideshow)

Earlier this month I was able to shoot and be mesmerised by TV On The Radio live here at the Forum in Melbourne. Not knowing much about them or their music, I went in with an open mind and I was very pleasantly surprised. They were energetic and charismatic, and singer Tunde Adebimpe had the pumping crowd eating out of the palm of his hand.

Full gallery can be seen here at TONE DEAF.
(Click on image for slideshow)

 

Let’s get this one thing out of the way to begin with: we here at DoneUndone LOVE Kingswood. Not in a creepy, stalky kind of way – well, maybe a little – but mostly we love their pure rock sound, and the fact that they all have beards. So this was never going to be a particularly impartial review. End disclaimer.

The Kingswood gig at Melbourne Public on the 7th of June was, unfortunately, part of their farewell tour prior to departing our shores for the US. And while we’re of course very happy for them, the show did nothing to make us any less sad to be bidding them goodbye.

A few things before we get to Kingswood…

We’d never been to Melbourne Public before, and we found it a little difficult to find. Hidden away behind the World Trade Centre, it’s in a lovely Docklands street that we didn’t even know existed. When we did find it we knew almost immediately that it was not our kind of pub. Light, high-ceilinged and with an ample bar and plenty of staff, it was not the slightly seedy, dimly lit kind of place that we feel most comfortable in. It felt more like a night club with carpet and too much light.

The light didn’t dim much when the support band came on, which made it feel a little less concert-like than I was expecting. Still, it didn’t seem to faze My Echo, who were certainly there to put on a show. I’ll confess – I hadn’t heard of My Echo before and I don’t know much about them. They did play one song that was familiar but whether because I’d heard them before or it was a cover, I honestly couldn’t say. They certainly weren’t lacking in fans though. While most of the crowd were obviously there to see Kingswood, there were definitely some My Echo fans in their midst.

My Echo

My Echo

Personally, I found them a little Living End-esque. Their stage manner was showy and a little theatrical, and I think their target audience is a little younger than I am. I wasn’t inspired to go out and buy their album but I’ve no doubt that many would have been. And I can’t say they didn’t put on a good show. They didn’t hit the mark for me but I can think of a lot worse ways to pass the time waiting for Kingswood!

My Echo

My Echo

Speaking of Kingswood…wow, what a show! Playing all but two songs off their ‘Microscopic Wars’ album and throwing a few from ‘Change of Heart’ into the mix, Kingswood had an energy that spread throughout the venue. ‘ICFTYDLM’ was clearly a crowd favourite, and got everyone singing along. Lead singer Fergus Linacre has an easy and natural onstage manner, and I really love the way he talks to the crowd rather than trying to perform for them in between songs.

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Kingswood

‘Eye of the Storm’ is a particular favourite of mine (I’m a sucker for a slow song) and the guys played it to perfection, just as they did all the others. ‘Chronos’ was a good, energetic song to finish on, leaving the crowd in high spirits. (And we’d love to know why the boys spell it ‘Kronos’ on the setlist, if anyone knows?) It’s always good when you go to see a band and they’re just as good live as they are on their album. It’s even better when, like Kingswood, they’re live performance leaves their brilliant album for dust.

Kingswood

Kingswood

So we have just one more thing to say – come back soon, Kingswood! We miss you already.

(See the full gallery here: KINGSWOOD GALLERY)


words: Claire Watt
photos: Mandy Campbell

 

Some time ago I was in a facebook group with other photographers of varying skill, where we attempted to take 52 self portraits – one a week for a year. I got about half way through. Which will surprise exactly no one. However, I completely loved the group of people and the challenge – I just had some personal set backs that made everything go on the backburner. I disappeared off facebook and pretty much stopped doing photography. In fact, the only time I really used my camera during that time was for self portraiture. I may not have been in the group anymore, but I still had some ideas churning and I tried to explore them. They were mostly pretty dark conceptually, but some of them are still some of my favourites.

So, to now… I realised that while I adore shooting live music, and is something I want to continue to do for a very long time, it doesn’t afford a great deal of creativity. I still feel a pull to creating self portraits as a form of therapy and ultimate expression. So I started a new group. It’s in it’s early stages – and I admit I’m not up to date. But I’ve started and I’ll take my time to get through it and do it justice.

Here is photo number one and the caption that went with it.
Theme: Face. (introduce yourself)

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Hi. You pretty much all know me. Most of you know that I wear my heart on my sleeve, and many of you will know by now that I use my photography (especially self portraiture) as a form of therapy.

So here’s a thing about me… I’m getting more vain the older I get. I feel sexier than I ever have before. I feel a confidence I’ve never known before. Society doesn’t really like women admitting that they’re vain, they just expect women to look after themselves and look good and be humble. And then try and tear them down if they happen to step outside the expected norms.

Selfies get a bad rap. But I’m a big fan, and not just because I use them as therapy. Who else is going to take my photo if I don’t? One day in the future I won’t be here anymore, but my photos will. I hope my kids enjoy looking through the boxes of printed photos, and the hard drives of non printed one, sifting through the crap, finding something that makes their heart sing. That they can say “OMG look at Mum when she was 37! SHE HAD PINK HAIR!”

This is me. I’ll keep shining in ways that suit me, and me only. As my sister said about me once … I love a selfie. 

Recently I had the very distinct pleasure of photographing some of Australia’s rock’n’roll queens; Suze DeMarchi from the Baby Animals and Sarah McLeod from The Superjesus as they headlined the Melbourne leg of the She Who Rocks national tour. Ably supported by all female band Tequila Mockingbyrd, I most definitely had my socks rocked by these first ladies of rock’n’roll royalty.

Click on thumbnails for full size images.