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Gig Review: Mansionair + Grace + Slum Sociable @ Newtown Social Club

Mansionair Newtown Social Club

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, perhaps for some time: Newtown Social Club is my favourite live venue in Sydney. Some may find this controversial, but to me there is nothing controversial about the venue always delivering an intimate show with on-point mixing and a relaxed yet enthused crowd. Not to mention the opportunity to chat with the band members (and with it, the opportunity to fan-girl). On Monday night, each act provided a variety of sounds and styles, which made for a well-rounded evening.

Slum Sociable played a mixed set – they had an unusual sound that began very polished, which drew the crowd in quickly. The best thing about these Melbourne dudes was how relaxed and laid back they were on stage, and how naturally their music came across. While they only have one single out at the moment (“Anyway”), they had a lot of catchy tracks in their set which I personally can’t wait to hear recorded.

 

Grace brought the audience closer in towards the stage and enticed with her smokey melodies. While she seemed uncertain at first just singing, once she found her guitar in hand she became more comfortable, and rounded off a pleasant set.

When Mansionair came on, the most notable aspect of their performance was vocalist Jack Froggart’s well-supported silvery vocals. He cruised through their singles ‘Hold Me Down’ and ‘Second Night’ sensually, while drummer Alex Nicholls and guitarist Lachlan Bostock held the rhythm of each piece together. Effects on the mic made the sound effortless and brought to mind the beats of Glass Animals or the delicate sounds of producers like RUFUS.

The banter between band members and singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ to Alex (complete with cake) made the gig an intimate one, and made the band seem down to earth and approachable. Though the audience shouldn’t be fooled, Mansionair packs a punch live, and is an act to watch grow in the future.

For a taste of their sensuality, try listening to ‘Second Night’:

By Erin Rooney

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Best 5 Acts From Byron Falls Fest

Misting-tunnel-falls

 

Falls Festival is like its own little world. It has its own unique fashions, routines and even language that develops – I guess that’s what happens when you drop a whole heap of young people in the wilderness for a week.

But at the end of the day, besides the freedom, sun and seemingly never-ending, carefree times, people make the often tumultuous road trip up for the incredible music on offer (or at least we did!).

I tried to make it along to as many acts as possible, on both the big and small stages, in between much-needed retreats from the heat to the beach in Byron Bay. Across the four days, here are my list of acts that really went above and beyond the expectations of putting on a good festival show.

 

1. Glass Animals

Most Triple J listeners would have heard Glass Animals’ hit song ‘Gooey’ last year, but what struck me most about their performance is the fact that they had enough great songs that they were able to play this in the middle of their set. Filled with dirty beats and slinky smooth, breathy notes, Glass Animals were an unexpected standout performance that had the crowd boogieing from start to finish. The lead singer, Dave Bayley, also wins the award for sexiest dance moves at Falls.

 

2. Bluejuice

If there’s one thing we’ll miss most about Bluejuice breaking up, it’s their live shows. Filled with raw energy and always surprises, it’s impossible to have a bad time at a Bluejuice concert. Falls was no exception as halfway through the performance they threw buckets of glow sticks out to the crowd, proclaiming: “Best 50 bucks we’ve ever spent”. Flocks of loyal fans packed into the stage tent and overflowed out across the grounds for this one, just to get a piece of their final burst of contagious energy.

 

3. SAFIA

Being a bit of a veteran at SAFIA gigs, I can safely say that this is the best I’ve ever seen them perform. Lead singer Ben has developed an electrifying stage presence that turned a fairly empty early afternoon tent into a crowded, thumping dance party. Dropping a new single and playing some old favourites like their ‘Cavalier’ cover and ‘Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues’, SAFIA had one of the most polished set lists at Falls.

 

4. Bullhorn

Bullhorn Falls Byron

In terms of best acts to dance to at the festival, Bullhorn probably takes the cake. See, it’s a seven horn band with drums and a truly badass MC over the top. So it’s fair to say they’ve got a pretty powerful sound. The personality of MC Roman Albert took this band from your run of the mill jazz band on the smaller stage to a full on visual and sound experience. I haven’t yet stumbled across a recording that does these guys justice, so definitely one to catch live!

 

5. Kingswood

What was particularly interesting about Kingswood was the fact that they were playing at the most difficult, heat exhaustion filled part of the day, and yet, the crowd suddenly found a burst of energy to shout along to them. As one of the only raw rock acts at the festival, they owned their sound and worked their fans hard. I remember distinctly lying on the grass with my friends in a sweaty, comatose state from the heat and sitting up for a moment all together to say “Wow. These guys are really good”. So Kingswood – sorry we were so sleepy during your set, because you truly did an incredible job.

 

It’s such an action-packed four days of entertainment that it feels like I’m going to need a while to recover! But festival-going is certainly now on my list of best ways to escape for summer, and I will be back one day. What a way to bring in the new year! As for now, I’m looking forward to another awesome year of Australian music. It’s gonna be epic.

 

By Erin Rooney

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Vinyl Garden’s Top Song Picks For 2014

Best of 2014

2014 has been an absolutely incredible year for music – and even more so, for Australian music. For us, it’s been an enormous year of gig going, opening our minds to what support acts are offering and experiencing all that the Australian music scene has to offer firsthand through our stints at The BRAG and FBi Radio. We thought we would celebrate by posting our top song picks for the year in the form of our top 10 votes for the Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown.

 

Erin’s Hottest 100 Picks:

 

Erin: This year has seen a particularly interesting development in Australian electronic music and this is why there is a fairly high representation of electronic artists in my votes. ‘Gooey’ has got to be my standout track of the year, but then again, to me these are all outstanding tracks. Other artists that I think should have deserved a mention here include: Basenji with ‘Heirloom’, ODESZA for ‘Memories That You Call’ and Ball Park Music….for all of Puddinghead. I absolutely can’t wait for what next year will bring. Hope it’s almost as many gigs as this year!

 

Sophie’s Hottest 100 Picks:

 

Sophie: 2014 has been such an outstanding year for music and I really can’t wait to see what 2015 holds. Like Erin, I found Asgeir’s and Chet Faker’s albums to be standouts. Flight Facilities also definitely deserve a mention and it’s great that Vance Joy proved that he was more than a one-hit wonder with ‘Georgia’. Can’t wait for even more music to come!

 

So that’s our wrap for the Hottest 100. But before we go:

What we want to win the Hottest 100: ‘Gooey’ by Glass Animals

What we think will win: ‘High’ by Peking Duk

 

And with that, Sophie is off camping in New Zealand and Erin is off to Falls Festival in Byron Bay! Thanks for reading this year guys and see you in the new year for more Vinyl Garden!

Soph and Erin x