Story by Regi Su
Vanessa Caspersz is an up and coming Australian act out of Katoomba, who has been dropping awesome beats for the past six or so years. She doesn’t show any sign of stopping soon. This twenty-old year old performer is a one woman whirlwind covering genres from folk and jazz to hip hop. “I have grown as a musician from all the various projects I’ve been involved in, which opens me to all the different ways of creating music and connecting communities,” says Caspersz.
The journey began at age fifteen when Caspersz was a part of the Marchy Archers band, a band so driven by a passion for music that within a couple of weeks of its formation, they competed at Battle of the Bands. With the Marchy Archers, “I felt really comfortable on stage, [because] I was alongside my best mates. I guess that’s why I don’t find the stage daunting!” Her stage presence certainly shines through every gig and since the Marchy Archers, Caspersz has performed all over Sydney both in a duo with Gaia Scarf, as well as performing as a solo act.
She’s a multi-threat singer songwriter with a lot of talents up her sleeve. Her vocals are sweet, dreamy and ethereal, which lies in stark contrast to her beatboxing which she can seamlessly layer through. She can also play the ukulele, guitar, piano and glockenspiel. When not performing, Caspersz still immerses in the music scene presenting shows on 2DayFM and FBi. There, she gives listeners the opportunity to hear music arranged in a way they’re not used to, possibly with a touch of folk or jazz. What’s more, being on the pulse allows her to keep current and be inspired by local and international acts that come through the radio stations.
With career highlights such as competing in the UK Beatbox Championships in 2012 and placing as a quarter finalist, Caspersz is to be congratulated. In 2013, she made the top 8 in the Australian Beatbox Championships and was the only female. When she’s not beatboxing at 505 or working the airwaves at FBi and 2DayFM, she studies Speech Pathology and Music at university and looks forward to working with Tuka from the Thundamentals for his upcoming ‘Listen Close’ tour.
Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/vanessacaspersz/photos_stream
Mahalia Barnes & The Soul Mates with Joe Bonamassa at The Factory Theatre, Sydney 3.2.15
Story and Photos by Malcolm Katon
Ooh Yea! — The Betty Davis Songbook is the new album collaboration between Mahalia Barnes, her band The Soul Mates and blues guitarist legend Joe Bonamassa. The crowd at the Factory Theatre were recently treated to a performance of the 12 track album which highlighted the vocal talents of Mahalia and the sophisticated guitar playing skills of Joe Bonamassa.
The collaboration between Mahalia Barnes and Joe Bonamassa worked a treat as they powered through songs made famous by Betty Davis during the 70′s including “Steppin’ In Her I. Miller Shoes”, “If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up”, “He Was A Big Freak”, “Game Is My Middle Name”, “Ooh Yea!” and “Walking Up The Road”.
Joe Bonamassa was no stranger to the crowd and they were mesmerised by his playing ability and how he could make his guitar talk. It was my first time hearing Bonamassa and I left the Factory Theatre knowing why he has so many fans including the guy standing next to me who drove all the way from Canberra and back that night just to hear him perform. I am sure that a good proportion of the crowd, and it was packed, were there to hear this legend.
The back up singers on the night were talented in their own rights and included Juanita Tippins, Jade McCrae and Darren Percival.
Mahalia Barnes has certainly inherited her fair share of talent from her father, legendary Australia rocker Jimmy Barnes who joined her on stage to sing Walking Up the Road.
Darren Percival, The Voice runner up in 2012 again showed why he is was so popular on the show and would have been a worthy winner. His vocal skills are matched by his passion for performing and putting so much emotion into every song.
Mahalia Barnes can belt out a song just as good as her father and sings with a passion that can’t be denied. It is easy to understand why she is so often described as a powerhouse singer.
The Lachy Doley Group not only supported Mahalia on the night but were also part of her band for her set and played on the album too.
If you would like to sample a song before you buy the the album then click on the link to download a free copy of Steppin’ In Her I. Miller Shoes
Details of future gigs will be posted on Mahalia Barnes’ website
Review by Rufus Onfire
In the case of the Juliana Hatfield Three more than 2 decades has passed since they gave us their delightful debut “Become What You Are” in 1993.
Since then the Boston indie songstress Juliana Hatfield has provided regular output on the album front, whether in solo mode, revisiting her past with the Blake Babies or collaborating with the likes of Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws under the title Minor Alps.
Sure fellow Three band mates bassist Dean Fisher and sticks man Todd Philips have worked with Hatfield on some of these projects, but with all 3 back in the same room could the magic still be found 22 years on?
From the opening chords of “Invisible” the familiar sounds of yesteryear flow back, a nice easy slice of indie pop to devour and compliment the following “Now That I Have Found You”. Current single “Ordinary Guy” tells the tale of wanting someone straight up in a relationship with none of the baggage that comes with the dude in this song.
The album has also presented the opportunity for Hatfield to re-interpret some of her back catalogue, “If Only We Were Dogs” was more folk when done with Frank Smith in 2007 but here it gets the “Three treatment” and a more punchy sound to great effect, while the Minor Alps tune “I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands” drops down a key here and with some acoustic guitar added with Hatfield vocals (Caws on the Alps version) it still holds up as well as the more heavier original and highlights the solid musicianship of the band in the process.
Then we turn to the 2 tunes that sound like leftovers from the debut, the breezy first taste we got late in 2014 “If I Could” and the honest self-assessment that is “I’m Shy”, probably the best double shot of indie rock you might get in 2015.
With indie also comes the short sharp tunes as a given, with “Push Pin” and “Blame The Stylist” filling this task here while the closing “Parking Lots” sort of takes us back to the beginning as we ease our way out of what has been a 12 track journey.
Are the comparisons to the debut album there? Yep.
Does this mean this is a companion piece of sorts to what blared out of the speakers 22 years ago? Perhaps.
But has the wait been worth it? Indeed it has with a well-rounded release that deserves a wider audience and hopefully achieves it as a result.
Just don’t leave it so long for the next album hey guys!
PLUS MORE GREAT ARTISTS NOW ANNOUNCED!
Today Bluesfest, held over the 5 Day Easter Long Weekend from Thursday 2nd to Monday 6th of April 2015 continues to build the buzz surrounding the festival by announcing the long awaited artist playing schedule with performance times and stages, yes: the whole enchilada!
Festival goers attending the 26th Annual Bluesfest, to be held at its custom built event site at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm (just outside Byron Bay) will now be able to get out their highlighters and get busy planning their Bluesfest 2015 experience.
Five major undercover stages (and one busking stage) will be bringing world class artists and their favourite songs to the Bluesfest audience from day to night.
With the festival now only six weeks away more artists have also been added to the gigantic line-up, including a number of stellar Aussie musicians.
For those yet to purchase tickets, 5 day tickets are entering their final allocation and will be increasing in price and final allocations are happening in many ticket areas.
Story by John Snelson
Blindmunkee is a five piece hip hop infused mad man’s rock band from Melbourne.
We don’t do much hip hop here – well, I actually don’t even know what it means … I used to think rhythm and blues was you know, Fats Domino, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Otis anyone at Chess Records … these days R&B seems to cover loads of shit I don’t like, from Mrs. Mills to all that rap crap – but no matter, just a dinosaur I guess.
I only discovered the beauty of thrash metal a few years ago … thanks to Stu Marshall (Empires of Eden and Paindivision), Riley Perry and Luis Rojas (and congrats to you and Chantel) from Mechanical Black … but I digress … this is supposed to be about Blindmunkee.
With a sound that has been described as HILL TOP HOODS having fisticuffs with GRINSPOON, BLINDMUNKEE have taken Aussie rock and infused it with Aussie hip hop creating a style that crosses genres with everybody winning. BLINDMUNKEE released their “origin story” in comic book form, with issue #0 coming out at the start of 2013 and quickly selling out the first run of printing. Having honed their blistering live show with a pile of crazy sweat filled gigs all over the country, BLINDMUNKEE is ready to step down out of the tree’s and take it to the masses.
“Our music is about thinking, questioning and making up your own life, not the one sold to you online or over the counter.
It’s a sarcastic snap shot of the world,” …Stu Munkee
BLINDMUNKEEare a 5-piece who have made a mark on the music scene through entertaining live shows, guerrilla marketing and there stand against the Governments invasion of our privacy and rights. BLINDMUNKEE are gaining more notoriety and are ready to take on the world!
Story by John Snelson
Shut Up and Choke Me’s, ‘Rage-A-Hol’, has been described as a journey through emotions
It’s an angry song, well it is about anger or is it really about despair ? I dunno.
Lost love – loss of trust – somebody’s been hurt here … we’ve all been there haven’t we ?
“We aim to spread our music as far and wide as we possibly can, to any ears that are willing to give us a chance. Our live shows are full of energy and passion, no matter the size of the crowd or venue we will always give it our all. Most of all we just want to share the music we love playing and have fun, and do our very best to give other people the fun and awesome experience we get out of it.” …Shut Up and Choke Me…
Shut Up and Choke Me’s, ‘Rage-A-Hol’ was recorded at Debasement Studios in Melbourne, mixed and mastered by Dylan Drury, and is just a sample of what Shut Up and Choke Me have in store for the future, starting with a 4 tracks demo set to be released in February 2015.
Shut Up and Choke Me are a Melbourne 5 piece, with influences ranging from metal to r’n’b, punk to funk, rock to dance, Shut Up and Choke Me naturally aim to create tunes that are full of variety and flavour, looking to express aggression and hate, mixed with love and fun.
Story & Photos by Jacques Van As – Sharkbite-Photography
With a name like Whisky Smile you know you are in for a wild kind of night. Originally hailing from Penrith in Western Sydney, Whisky Smile went home for a visit, putting on a show for their home crowd at the Tattersalls Hotel.
Time and time again they prove that they are worthy by putting on a show with their Motorhead inspired vocals and clear-cut guitar riffs. There is never a dull moment when the well known cover of “Ernie Dingo’s Got My Baby” comes blasting onto stage. The blues solo takes you back to whisky stained shirts and dark smoky filled rooms of America’s Deep South.
These guys are all out rockers; they close the night off with their own version of “Rock Lobster” which is full of laughs and a massive breakdown to finish off the perfect set.
Whisky Smile have gone back to basics and have done this well, their sets and sound are robust, unique and perfectly suited to the Australian rock scene. Go check them out live for a great night out.
Review by Rufus Onfire
It has been said that sometimes musical tastes and likes don’t fall far from the genre tree it first sprung from.
… and in the case of Merseyside outfit The Sundowners this tree of psychedelia and classic rock and pop styling’s influence wise had its origins across the Wirral from the more familiar surrounds of Liverpool and has delivered tasty morsels now for well over a decade.
Brothers James & Ian Skelly from local legends The Coral (well the writer here is bias and a big fan of their work) and in recent times solo mode were the first to devour something of note, and in recent times their siblings Alfie & Fiona’s band The Sundowners have joined in, starting with the 2013 single “Hummingbird” and an EP of their own last year and come full album time it seemed a natural the brothers would be on board production wise.
“Wild As The Season” starts things off nicely, its slow build of sound giving way to a wall of guitars before the jewels in the Sundowner crown aka the lush harmonies of Fiona Skelly & Niamh Rowe kick in for a short sharp opener that then rolls into the grooving “Back To You”, this song first given air on the “Medicine EP” and worthy of a second helping here (one of 3 tracks given a second outing including Hummingbird).
“Into The Light” and “If Wishes Were Horses” sees the “Tim and Jim” rhythm section (Cunningham on bass and Sharrock on drums) lead the way here underpinning the harmonies to great effect, while “Who We Are” is all Sharrock in the intro, delivering a great beat which when overlayed with the rest of the group highlights the great production qualities here that mine the sounds of old but provide a fresh and modern feel end product wise, perhaps due to the acoustics of Parr Street Studios as well.
With influences like this and the Rickenbacker’s on board in spades a nod to the Byrds like summery sounds of LA isn’t out of the question, with “End Of The Game” and “I Dreamed” fitting the bill nicely here, the rolling rhythm on show delightful while for mine the standout track on the album “Desert Rose” has a chorus both sound and vocal wise that just invites in an instant the listener to smile and savour it in spades.
Throw in the rollicking “Soul Responding” that has live favourite already written all over it and the punchy closer “Medicine” and before you know it the journey along the latest branch of the Wirral music tree is over with the end result of a solid first up album for the band.
As for musical tastes not falling far from the tree, in this case it’s providing more than enough fruit for everyone to devour and while it may be vintage in texture, when bitten into provides a freshness that has you wanting for more, now that can’t be bad for your ears now can it!
Story & Photos by Jacques Van As – Sharkbite-Photography
My initial thoughts when I heard the name Gay Paris, was red velvet, pianos and champagne.
However nothing would prepare me for the sounds that would tantalise my ears.
From the moment they stepped onstage and the first note that engulfed the audience, everyone knew they were in for a show. This rugged Louisiana blues rock outfit brings an energy to stage that is synonymous with large stadium performances. Front man Wailin H Monks could teach Iggy Pop a thing or two about dance moves, with his pelvic rhythm and eccentric larger than life moves. He possesses the power to conduct a crowd like a southern American reverend in a Baptist church.
These guys deliver a bone shaking, foot stomping, speaker shuddering performance. With songs like “Ash Wednesday Boudoir Party” and “Sons of a Butcher Parliament” you can see why everyone can’t stop moving. If there is one act to see in 2015 it would be Gay Paris. They will captivate you, seduce you and leaving you wishing you could come back for seconds.