The Witches are coming
In the dimly lit interior of a small nightclub, where the stale smell of a thousand extinguished cigarettes drowns out the smell of spilt beer and broken dreams, a band plays against a backdrop of cheap golden tinsel. Outside, palm trees line the night’s horizon. In the years to come, the streets will swell into highways and interstates, but for now Los Angeles is still a young city growing daily with transplants from across the United States, all looking for a new life. It’s still a city largely cut off from the rest of the country, and in the years before the Manson family forever tarnished the infinite hope of the western enclave and before the Hell’s Angels of Altamont interrupted rock’n’roll’s peaceful trajectory with unprecedented violence, there is still a dreamy California sound for those dark rooms suffused with neon light. The three women of LA Witch wouldn’t be born for several decades, but their sound transports you back to those warm Californian nights in smoky rooms.
The name is a partial misnomer. Though the band hails from Los Angeles, they do not partake in any sort of witchcraft. Yet their ability to conjure a specific time and place through their sound does suggest a kind of magic. On their eponymous debut album, LA Witch’s reverb-drenched guitar jangle and sultry vocals conjure the analog sound of a collector’s prized 45 from some short-lived footnote cult band. The melodies forgo the bubblegum pop for a druggy haze that straddles the line between seedy glory and ominous balladry; the production can’t afford Phil Spector’s wall-of-sound, but the instruments’ simple beauty provides an economic grace that renders studio trickery unnecessary; the lyrics seem more descendent of Johnny Cash’s first-person morality tales than the vacuous empty gestures of pre-fab pop bands. This isn’t music for the masses; it’s music for miscreants, burnouts, down-and-out dreamers, and obsessive historians.
LA Witch was recorded at Hurley Studios in Costa Mesa and mixed in Highland Park, Los Angeles, though early incarnations of several songs from the album originally surfaced on limited-edition singles released over the last several years. The band’s initial aspirations were humble.
After touring nearly non-stop for the last three years, LA Witch developed a singularly seductive, haunting, and wistful sound that enamoured the garage rock, dream pop, psych, and broader indie communities.
Be witched at the Hotel Great Northern, 9pm Saturday.
Embracing the Killer
Embrace all things naughty in a summer event to heat things up in style, Killer Fridays Style!
After such a great response and success with September’s Spring Fling we’re back to do it all again, only this time, a little bit better. Meet new LGBT friends.
Brunswick Picture House, Friday 7pm
The Wailers Still have it
In 1974 when Bob Marley went solo, on the brink of international stardom, he surprised the music community by choosing an American-born lead guitarist, Al Anderson. It was Anderson’s stunning lead work on such classics as No Woman, No Cry, and Three O’clock Road Block that first alerted rock fans to the Wailers’ music.
Anderson’s musical achievements with Bob Marley & The Wailers include the platinum-award-winning albums Live at the Lyceum, Babylon by Bus and ten-times platinum album Legend.
The original Wailers received their own Grammy nomination in 2013 for their album Miracle, making it Anderson’s second Grammy Nomination. Al Anderson is the sole member of the Bob Marley & The Wailers mid-1970s lineup in the original Wailers.
The original Wailers also include Chet Samuel (lead vocals / guitar), Omar Lopez (bass guitar), Howard Smith (drums), and Adrian “AK” Cisneros (keyboards and organ) who continue the legacy of Bob Marley & The Wailers’ music.
For a wail of a good time, see them at the Brunswick Hotel Friday, Saturday 9th.
We Are Your Friends
Hailing from the UK, Henge are 7-piece space-ravers from Manchester and they are bringing their brand of PLUR*-infused post-rave prog pop to perform exclusively at a few local venues. Fresh from performing the UK/EU festival circuit (Shambala, Blue Dot, Boa Bla), and their very own regular crazy club event Space Cassette, Henge are primed and ready for OZ, and they want to be your friends. Their music is laced with the essential principles of the PLUR ravers’ code: *PEACE LOVE UNDERSTANDING + RESPECT
Brunswick Picture House Saturday from 7pm.
Honk for 2018
Summer is just around the corner and that means one particular thing to the musicians of Orkeztar Lizmoré: It’s Honk time!
But what the hell does that mean? HonkOz! is a street music festival held in Wollongong every year since 2015, based on a similar festival in the USA that provides free music on the streets, with a focus on horns and percussion. (HonkOz is a fringe event of the long-running Illawarra Folk Festival.)
Lismore’s own gypsy-esque orchestra, Orkeztar Lizmoré (comprising musicians from all over the northern rivers, including several coastal residents, who meet and practise in Lismore) sent a small contingent to the HonkOz! festival in 2016. It seemed such a long way to go at the time but now they are truly addicted! They sent an even bigger posse down to the ’Gong in January this year and intend to return again next month.
HonkOz! is a unique experience for musicians (especially horn players). Street bands from all over Australia play at the festival. Not only do they do several performances as their own musical unit; they also become instant members of several huge combined mass bands to perform throughout the festival and at the grand finale. Imagine being a lonely sousaphone player and suddenly finding you get to play with three other sousaphones… and 15 trumpets… and 12 saxophones… and nine drummers… and 14 violins… et cetera!
The OrkLiz contingent has been practising for their next tour to Wollongong in January 2018 and they’re ready to test out their current repertoire on a concert audience. They’ll present a special fundraiser concert in the Tatts Hotel Backroom on Saturday 9 December, with music from Europe, Australia and the Middle East. Furthermore, joining them for this concert will be three renowned musicians from the iconic Lismore outfit KaOZ Klezmer: Mark Bromley (double bass), Liora Claff (guitar and beautiful vocals) and Pietro Fine (clarinet, who also directs Orkeztar Lizmoré) will make a
special appearance as KaOZtrio. Many north coast folk may recall KaOZ Klezmer’s many performances from the late 1990s and through the early-to-mid 2000s. This concert on 9 December will be a unique chance to recapture the spirit of those performances with music from their diverse repertoire, with songs in Yiddish, Hebrew and English. While their music borrows heavily from Klezmer and Jewish tradition, there’s also the odd Bulgarian folk song or Arabic dance song in the mix.
The gig on 9 December begins at 1pm in the Tatts Backroom. Children are welcome and all moneys raised will help the OrkLiz troupe to pay for their travels to Wollongong and their accommodation while they’re there. They are truly excellent ambassadors for the northern rivers/north coast region. Entry is by donation – pay what you can afford (recommended donation of $10).
Saturday at the Tatts Backroom, Lismore (entry by donation).
Noel and Liam do it for Dean
For Dean Lewis, it all really started when he was sitting with his younger brother years ago and his dad put on a DVD called Oasis Manchester Live 2005. ‘I remember watching Liam Gallagher walk out with this hat and red jacket and watching him with Noel; they were just the coolest guys ever. I spent the next five years watching every Oasis video; Noel Gallagher basically taught me how to write songs.’
Dean’s Oasis obsession also stirred some older musical memories in him, as his newfound lust for rhythm and melody took him back to the sounds of his childhood. ‘Some of my earliest memories are of my dad showing my brothers and me his guitars and telling us when we’re old enough he’ll give them to us,’ says Lewis. ‘My dad is a massive music fan. He had a big CD collection and was always playing The Beatles, Oasis or Van Morrison.’ As he began to feel his way into creating and crafting his own music, Dean continued to be inspired by mostly UK artists – Richard Ashcroft, The Kooks and, more recently, Catfish and The Bottlemen. ‘I’m just obsessed with his songwriting,’ Dean states. ‘It’s so simple and melodic. He doesn’t over-think it, and that inspires me. But more recently it’s certain songs that I get obsessed with. I consume music obsessively but it’s kinda focused. I’ll be so inspired by a song, then listen to it on repeat and only want to listen to that one song!’
Be inspired by Dean at the Hotel Great Northern 8pm Sunday.
Jay is excited and inspired
After headlining the Uprising Festival in Fiji last weekend, as well as headlining some huge festivals in India and Nepal last month, Jay Hoad is bringing his incredible show to New South Wales for one weekend as he makes his way around the globe on his 2017 world tour. He’ll be performing at the Rails in Byron on Thursday.
This will be the only shows locally for quite some time with mostly other countries on the tour schedule for the next 12 months.
‘I’m so excited to be back in Australia, and especially excited to be back in this region,’ says Hoad. ‘I absolutely love the vibe of this area. And right now I’m feeling so excited and inspired after spending six weeks performing and studying eastern music with some of India’s and Nepal’s most well-known artists.’
See Jay on Thursday, The Rails.