Month: April 2013

Gigged In presents Woodlock and special guests

woodlock

Gigged In presents Woodlock and special guests

On Saturday, the 27th of April, a group of four well-established buskers were brought together at the Sydney Live House, Lewisham. Gigged In presented the young talents of Jarne, Jack Man Friday, Everything After and Woodlock; each successful buskers in their respective areas of Melbourne and Sydney.  Sydney Live House at the Lewisham Hotel hosted this event and the venue was definitely appropriate for a gig such as this. Intimate and informal, it supported a crowd of over 100 audience members, making crowd control easier for the performers and more accessible for the fans.

Young talent Jarne opened the night with his powerful husky voice, showing a great deal of control that sounded not unlike Ed Sheeran. As well as knocking down the audience with a cover of Give Me Love, he presented covers from the Foo Fighters, MGMT, John Mayer. While quite raw, he was quite professional in his execution and showed us he was an especially unique talent with unconventional methods in playing the guitar. By laying the instrument horizontal on his lap, he managed to replicate a full band of percussion and display talent with raw acoustic guitar, thoroughly impressing the audience. Especially considering successful covers of songs and the need to create an identity, buskers seem to have a licence to innovate and experiment with sound and genre and the best part is, they’re good at what they do.

JackManFriday is a young Sydney talent, mesmerising the audience with his skills in vocals and electric guitar. His manipulation of amps and recording technology is cutting edge as he uses creativity and innovation to experiment. Jack is outlandishly skilled and impressive in the collaboration and craft of song writing as he seems to have a solid understanding of the elements necessary to a harmonised sound, and can do so performing as a one man act. Jack himself has incredible control over his voice which has improved since his first EP Wolves. He ran through the set list of his new self-titled EP Jack Man Friday, showing off his incredible range of genres and vocal talents as a singer/songwriter. Buskers tend to need a mastery of all genres, if only to widen their audience catchment. JackManFriday was especially able to show his range of vocal and musical talent across genres such as beatbox, Indie-Folk, Rock, even Soul. At an event such as this, four bands with a great variation of talent, the night was a rollercoaster of tempo, mood and genre and the audience of devoted fans could do nothing but sway with the current.

Everything After is a two-man band who sounds like a cross between Boy and Bear and Mumford and Sons. With an intelligent mix of acoustic, electric and ukulele, their vocals were amazing. They were fully polished and passionate in folky music, even encroaching on the genre of bush band by incorporating percussion and tambourine in their charisma. Everything After is a multi-skilled band of perfect harmonies, with the best example of their sound being their excellent, yet unique cover of Mumford and Sons’ Awake My Soul. All bands, especially Everything After, played a number of new tunes, so the audience felt privy to their musical process, felt special to be the test audience for a song never before heard.

Finally, the main act of the night, Woodlock, took the crowd by storm. Woodlock sounds like a combination of Mumford and Sons and The Paper Kites. Their collaboration of keyboard, electric and acoustic guitar, ukulele and percussion identify them as a bush band, an indie-folk band and a successful one at that. They have all the components of a polished, professional band, with husky harmonies, and adaptations of pop-rock, for example a funk-folk rendition of Swedish House Mafia’s Don’t You Worry, Child. They had a casual friendliness about them, conversing with the audience and laughing with each other and after a while, the gig started to seem like a practice rehearsal in their garage. Yet their music was spot on perfect. While they have a set genre, just like Everything After, they stick to it and really impressed people with the quality of their music.

Because these were bands of buskers, they’re raw and real and their performances are passionate. They seem to have a level of respect, a certain reverence for the craftsmanship of music. All bands were polished, professional and above all, they had fun during their performances and therefore we the audience delighted in their fun. Their light conversation and banter kept the performance interactive and alive and all of the acts managed to please the crowd, yet held us in the palm of their hand. Previously, I’ve bought CD’s from the buskers, as I stand there and wish to take their music home, for an affordable price and to support local talent. While the studio and sound recordings of the EPs immortalise my favourite buskers, they don’t seem to capture the true performance of these people. The atmosphere, the mood, the whimsical and jovial nature of these people and their utter passion cannot be experienced anywhere but live in performance and it was a privilege to pay money to see these bands under one roof for one night.

All of these buskers can be found and followed on YouTube and Triple J Unearthed. They have most forms of social media to follow if you’re interested in networking to find their next performance, be they in Bourke St, Melbourne or Pitt St, Sydney.

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Soulstice

Soulstice

On Sunday the 21st of April, Bar100 the Rocks hosted the premier fashion and music event Soulstice. Featuring a number of emerging assists in the fields of music and fashion, the event served as a platform for sophistication, elegance and funky soul. Music and fashion event promoters Avant Garde and Chailax Entertainment teamed up with Westfield Liverpool at this beautiful rustic venue to showcase trending talent and wearable art on a glowing pink runway.
With leading brands such as Wayne Cooper, Guess and Bardot, new season fashion seems to be one of bold contrasting colours superbly highlighted by metallics and floral blazers. Lace and formal fashion have been made casual with simple mixing and matching with vintage styles like the peplum and long sleeves. The event showcased Atticism & AF Clothing and soft grunge designers with emerging DJs Don Juan and Nick Toth, among others who set the soul vibe.
The event itself was a great big party with a night club atmosphere, live performances from the likes of Michael Duschene (The Voice Australia) and tequila shots from sponsor Alacran Tequila. It was great to be out on a Sunday night in the heart of historic Sydney with a crowd of people there for the same reason- current chic fashion and local music talent, all of whom performed with the utmost the professional nature. The venue itself, Bar100, The Rocks, is most magnificent. Still rustic in architecture and intimate in ambience, all aspects of this bar, from the ground floor restaurant to the elegant Lounge 1909 emanated sophistication. Soulstice is an event is strongly recommend to people seeking a funky night out of bold fashion and live music, with a catwalk and a platform to strut your style. The next Soulstice is 19th f May, at Bar100. Check it out here for more soulsearching information- http://www.bar100.com.au/2013-04-21-soulstice/

Spelling Bee, the musical

This year, from the 19th until the 28th of April, the Canterbury Theatre Guild presents The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. This musical is a humerous examination of the microcosm that is junior school competitive academia. Plotwise, the musical itself seems to have sprouted from a regular audience member at spelling bees, following 9 characters through their spelling bee experiences and friendly competition. In my opinion, the cast seemed a little too old for the characters, however by the end of the night, I was most impressed with the characterisation and loyalty that the actors had to their parts. Although I was a little phased by the faux American accents, the singing was great, and the acting even better. The performers looked as if they were having the time of their lives, with veteran musical performers from amateur productions all over Sydney. As the night wore on, the audience loosened up and the gags seemed less forced and instead of the theatre guild putting on a show, we became part of the show. Four random members from the audience were called upon to test their own spelling skills and unscripted mayhem ensued. With vibrant colour and confidence, it was a pleasure to see an amateur production executing a professional job with warmth and ease. It was a great family night out of entertainment for all ages and the venue, Canterbury Bowling Club, showed hospitality to no end. Showing suppport for this local theatre group at a community venue keeps the performance culture alive and this night was one of outstanding collaboration between cast and crew.

Birdy

Birdy @ The Opera House

Story & Photos by Regi Su

I am a fan of Birdy. Not necessarily one who created a shrine to her talent, like a few of my friends who attended, nay, I just an average Birdy fan.

 

birdy3Birdy – Photo source : WB Artists

 

May I say, seeing Birdy live in concert at the Sydney Opera House was beyond all of my expectations, it was truly magical. The performance from the young British singer was very fitting, the sophistication and elegance of the Opera House seemed to bow to her humility and modesty. She didn’t speak too much to the audience, only introduced her songs, then giggled when fans crooned praises and worship.

Had she stood up from behind her piano and stolen the stage, it wouldn’t have been Birdy, and I’m glad I saw her. Birdy, live, was an amazing treat.

In her soundtrack, her orchestra is perfect and equalised and majestic and her vocals are impressive to say the least. However, her live performance is greater than any sound device could give. For those unfamiliar with Birdy, I recommend Comforting Sounds as an example of orchestral glory and vocal control. The girl has a raw, powerful, strong voice that she can harness with such ease. The control she showed blew me away as she whispered to her audience, then grew louder in a cresendo to overwhelming waves of sound, then back to a quiet whisper. I never realised the full potential of her voice before.

It’s sweet and beautiful and the Opera House had the perfect acoustics and sounding for this.

birdy1

On the scale of concerts, Birdy was very tame, and the audience was open all ages, but when she finished, she was thanked with a standing ovation from the whole House.

Birdy opened with a cover of The XX’s song Shelter and closed with Fire and Rain, pleasing the crowd with well-loved favourites such as the cover of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love. Not only did her set list cover all of her-self titled album, but also three more; Learn Me Right for the Brave soundtrack and two others.

birdy2

Wonderfully supported by Lewis Watson and Lakyn Heperi, the night was one I would gladly relive. British indie-folk singer Lewis Watson already has a strong following to his soft, smooth and intimate acoustic guitar. Lakyn Heperi, star from The Voice Australia was so talented both vocally and with his acoustic guitar skills. His performance since The Voice had improved and matured and listening to him sing with Watson and Birdy was a privilege.

I hope to see great things from these young performers. Birdy finishes her Australian tour at the Sydney Opera from the 12-14th of April.

Mrs Warren’s Profession

Mrs Warren’s Profession

From the 14th of February until the 6th of April, the Sydney Theatre Company presents ‘Mrs Warren’s Profession’ as part of their 2013 season, a season that has been so successful, the company has announced an extension to the program with ‘Mrs Warren’s Profession’ now showing from the 4th to the 20th of July. I walked in as a fan of George Bernard Shaw and was not at all disappointed by this production at the wharf. Keeping with the integrity of the play the focus remained on the heavy dialogue, laden with social commentary, witticisms and explorations of capitalist values. As with any period play, audience contentration is paramount and the actors really kept the performance alive.

They mis en scene was simple, effective and perfect, for example, a set of books, a hammock and a backdrop of pink roses. This stunning beauty was illuminated by subtle lighting and contrasted as a wonderful juxtaposition to the second act. Everything on stage was used and had relevance and is a credit to the production team. The play is directed by Sarah Giles and supported by a stellar cast of notable faces, such as Simon Burke, Helen Thomson, Drew Forsythe and newcomer Lizzie Schebesca. I believe it was the calibre of performance that kept me glued to the tale, as each carried their own power and stage presence, drawing emotional connection to a story of old.

It was perhaps a bit of a risk to perform an piece with social commentary about a context that is not ours, one from 1893 to be exact. However, through the minimalist nature of the stageing, costuming and continuity, the focus lay with the universal themes, for example, if one does no exploitation, yet by extension witnesses it, are they too at fault? Once the universal subtexts were highlighted and drawn out, the period play had great relevance to our audience. However, if you perchance just want to witness the humour of a great playwright and the directing from a great theatre company, I strongly recommend a night at this play. I just hope that audiences keep their minds open to deliberating a subtext, for if they do, they will surely milk more for their money.

For more information, please visit http://www.sydneytheatre.com.au/what’s-on/productions/2013/mrs-warrens-profession.aspx