Sans Parents are getting me hungry for their forthcoming EP with the release of new single “Can’t Stop Moving.”

I can hear a lot of retro pop influences in there like The Cars and Split Enz, but Sans Parents is careful to modernise them so the song doesn’t sound like merely a homage to the past. What good fun!

Enjoy streaming this single until Sans Parents’ EP drops in May.

It’s been six long years since Rob Thomas graced us with a solo tour. That time around he was promoting his sophomore solo album Cradlesong and the heavens opened up, making Hope Estate a soggy muddy mess. Yesterday couldn’t have been more different, a steamy summer’s day that made me worry about getting burned even with a wide-brimmed hat and healthy helping of 50+ sunscreen. Those weather extremes aren’t ideal for an outdoor show, but when I know Rob Thomas will soon be in front of me I’m always willing to grin and bear it.

But first I had to make it through Pete Murray. I don’t know what it is about Pete Murray. He’s a good-looking guy who sings folky acoustic guitar driven music. On paper, he’s exactly what I like. However, I’ve just never been able to engage with him. Probably those moments anticipating a performance from my very favourite singer in the world weren’t the ones I’d suddenly develop an appreciation for Pete. I will say that he performed very well. He joked about the men a little less reluctant to embrace his set, and encouraged them to sing along as well. He sounded just as he does on the radio and he has a really tight band. His lead guitarist was particularly impressive. He played all the hits, although hearing them one after another only reinforced my idea that his music is a little samey. I couldn’t fault what he did. It just still wasn’t for me.

Rob Thomas on the other hand …

I wondered whether in a week that was sadly shrouded in controversy I could expect the same energy and fun from Rob, but as he burst out with “Give Me the Meltdown,” a high-energy number from Cradlesong. It left no doubt that we were all there to have a good time, and that’s just what we did. In fact, I think I might have had the most fun I’ve ever had at a Rob Thomas show, and believe me there have been a few. Rob kept the energy up with “Fallin’ to Pieces,” “Lonely No More,” and “Her Diamonds.” I marvelled at the song choices, a wonderful mix of the numbers everyone knew and the tracks near and dear to the heart of the fans who buy the albums.

A stripped back, raw performance of “Ever the Same” had me choked up. It was as near to perfection as I think I’ve ever heard. “Pieces,” another ballad and one of the rare songs from the new album The Great Unknown to make the set, was so powerful. His lively cover of “Let’s Dance” was a fitting tribute to Bowie. “Streetcorner Symphony,” with its lyrics of being there for one another, sisters and brothers of every different colour, was the most delightful way of putting all of the media muckraking to rest.

Rob’s banter with the crowd might have got him in trouble last week, but he wasn’t about to stop giving of himself that way. I love that. For me it’s the stories that make a concert. Moments like hearing about the admiration he has for his wife’s strength, and how that inspired him to write the album’s title track, “The Great Unknown.” Moments like listening to him speak about living in the moment and appreciating the beauty in it, even if it’s something as seemingly insignificant as standing around while your dog defecates, made a song like “Little Wonders” resonate a little more deeply.

There’s a line in that song that says “I cannot forget the way I feel right now.” Standing there, watching my very favourite singer, a person who has such a special place in my heart, I thought about just how I felt, how wonderful that very moment was.

You know the best thing about it all though? For the last few tours I’ve scaled back my concert activities. When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I’d always see two or three shows on Rob’s solo or Matchbox Twenty tours. Then I got older and married and reasoned I needed to be responsible, that I had other priorities in my life. I was still committed to this notion until Rob announced a State Theatre show. The allure of seeing my favourite singer in such a small venue was so strong that I snapped up tickets.

So as I watched the show last night, there was none of that sadness I usually get, because this tour’s not over for me. Tomorrow night I get to do it all again, with Rob playing a more intimate, stripped back set, so he informed us. I am so thrilled that this concert high gets to last a little longer. Rob’s going to have to pull out something special to top last night’s gig, but I’m sure he’s up to the task.

Image source: own photos

I feel like I’ve been floating on a bit of a cloud since Sunday night. Not even a workload so heavy that I haven’t been able to write up a review until now has been able to penetrate my post-concert haze. That is the feeling you get when you leave one of the very best concerts you’ve ever seen. That’s how I feel after witnessing the first State Theatre show of Prince’s Piano and a Microphone tour.

In true rock star style, Prince had us waiting half an hour after the time the show was scheduled to start before gracing us with his presence. Despite sitting alone, a result of the very strict two-limit ticket that forced my party of three to split up, I didn’t feel lonely. I was surrounded by amazing people whose enthusiasm for the Purple One matched my own. As we recounted tales of tours past and watched the officious security guards enforcing the “no photos” rule, the time flew. Certainly all was forgiven by the time the words, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate this thing we call life” echoed from the speakers. Prince stood dramatically in silhouette at the back of the stage, pausing for applause before taking his place at the piano and launching into “Let’s Go Crazy,” a rollicking good time which set the tone for the evening.

This was exactly the intimate show I was hoping for. With just his voice, a kaleidoscopic projection screen, and a piano with synchronised synth strings triggered by the keys to give some songs a little more depth, Prince put on a show that reinforced what a special artist he is. The set list spanned the breadth of his discography, from early 80s songs like “Controversy” to “RockNRoll LoveAffair” and “Black Muse,” two songs from his new album HitNRun Phase Two. Covers of “Stand!” from Sly and the Family Stone and “A Case of You” from Joni Mitchell paid tribute to his influences.

Prince has always been an enigmatic figure, but I felt the walls came down on this tour. His version of “Love Thy Will Be Done,” which he wrote for Martika, was truly breathtaking. “I Love U In Me” was just as sexy as we all hoped it would be. We squealed with delight as Prince invited a dancing female fan up on stage to groove by his piano during “Raspberry Beret.” He again called for dancing reinforcements during “Kiss,” when he spotted a young boy boogying with some of the fastest feet I’ve ever seen. I was sure he might trip over as he danced frenetically to the obvious amusement of the Purple One. He invited us to sing the backup parts for “Cream,” and admonished us playfully when we would sing off key or encroach on his parts, insisting we’d need to start that bit again.

After seeing Prince perform with a full band in 2012, it was so exciting to see him bring a different complexion to these songs. There was a wistfulness about “I Could Never Take the Place Of Your Man” that I’d never heard before. “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore” had a soul that had me stamping my feet in appreciation. I’ve always considering Prince one of the most underappreciated guitarists of our time, but he’s also breathtaking on the piano. I marvelled as “The Question of U” morphed into Beethoven’s “Fur Elise.” On his third and final encore, Prince treated us to “Purple Rain,” the perfect song to close out an incredible night.

I have never spent $400 on a concert ticket before and I listened to plenty of people who said I was mad to do it this time. But this show was worth every single cent. I expected something magical for the price, and Prince delivered in spades. I feel so blessed to have been in the audience of this very special show, one of the very best I have ever seen and am likely to see.

Image source: own photo

In the 90s I remember music fans going nuts for pop-punk, an offshoot of punk music. I appreciated its accessibility but also felt this more melodic music lost the rebellion punk music was meant to represent.

South Sydney’s The Great Awake have gotten the balance right though. Tracks like “Departure Lounge” have a raucous real heart that hearkens back to the glory days of punk. They’re paired with great melodies though that should help it appeal to people who don’t ordinarily listen to the genre.

“Departure Lounge” comes from The Great Awake’s debut album, Reasons For Leaving, which drops on February 24. They’ll celebrate the album’s release with the following shows.

4 March 2016 – Front Gallery, Canberra
5 March 2016 – Dicey’s, Wollongong
6 March 2016 – Frankie’s, Sydney
12 March 2016 – The Exeter, Adelaide
19 March 2016 – Fat Louie’s, Brisbane
26 March 2016 – Valve Bar, Sydney
1 April 2016 – Bar 303, Melbourne
2 April 2016 – Cherry Bar, Melbourne
8 April 2016 – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
9 April 2016 – Fresh Cafe, Launceston

Sydney six-piece Tropical Zombie have won me over with their brand new single “Call The Police.”

Apparently the band recorded it in the back of a Central Coast café; that’s certainly given it a more spontaneous energy than so many recordings. It feel like one of those classic singles that was recorded in one take, capturing a moment where the stars aligned perfectly.

“Call the Police” comes from Tropical Zombie’s debt album, which should drop in the middle of the year. You can hear some of the tracks when the band plays shows all around the country over the next couple of months. Many of the gigs are free, so there’s no excuse for staying home!

10 March 2016 – Noosa Festival of Surfing, Noosa (FREE)
11 March 2016 – Quicksilver Boardriders, Coolangatta (FREE)
12 March 2016 – Mojo Burning Festival, Brisbane
12 March 2016 – The Northern, Byron Bay (FREE)
18 March 2016 – Club 54, Hobart
19 March 2016 – Republic Bar, Hobart
1 April 2016 – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
2 April 2016 – Festival of the Stone, Torquay (FREE)
8 April 2016 – Rad Bar, Wollongong
9 April 2016 – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney

With Twin Fires kicking off their East Coast tour tomorrow night in support of The Snowdroppers, it seemed the perfect time to introduce you to their debut single “Two Hands.”

It’s got such a great folk-rock feel to it. I can imagine cranking this up in my car on a road trip. The Snowdroppers might be the main event at the shows, but with music like this I imagine Sydney act Twin Fires is going to get a lot of love. If you’re going to the shows, make sure you arrive early to catch this exciting new band.

20 February 2016 – The Foundry, Brisbane
26 February 2016 – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney
4 March 2016 – Howler, Melbourne

When I heard Hugh Sheridan was performing in a new act called California Crooners Club, I thought I knew what to expect. I was sure I’d hear music that faithfully plays tribute to music’s golden age a la Michael Buble. But what I got was something much more original and innovative.

Along with musical partners Emile Welman and Gabe Roland, Hugh Sheridan is creating music which melts jazz and crooning with more modern musical influences including R ‘n’ B, rap, and pop. The current single “Just a Little More” captures this fusion perfectly.

After selling out shows in Adelaide earlier this month, California Crooners Club has announced new shows in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. Given the popularity of the previous dates, I wouldn’t wait too long to get your tickets.

26 February 2016 – The Toff, Melbourne
4 March 2016 – The Beresford, Sydney
8-14 March 2016 – The Octagon @ Gluttony, Adelaide

The Central Coast’s newest music party Sweaty Palms just got a whole lot cooler with the addition of Perth indie rockers Tired Lion, indie pop act ADKOB, and local darlings RedHook, Elaskia, and DJ Bobbie Derwin.
They join already announced acts Kingswood, Ocean Alley, the Lulu Raes, and Bootleg Rascal.

Sweaty Palms hits the Entrance Leagues Club at Bateau Bay on March 19. Tickets are affordably priced, but if you are one of the first 25 to turn up with a palm tree organisers will accept that as payment. That makes it the world’s first live music event accepting palm trees as currency. Only on the Central Coast!

Image used with permission from Kingdom Sounds

I’m predicting massive things for Joel Adams, a 19-year-old soul artist from Brisbane. Apparently he released his debut single “Please Don’t Go” in December, and it’s starting to generate some serious buzz around the world.

It’s charted on the iTunes Australian pop daily charts nearly every day since the first month of its release, despite not receiving a lick of airplay. It also reached number five globally on Spotify’s Vital 50 charts after streaming in Australia, France, South Africa, Norway, and many more country. It’s even hit number 54 on Billboard Canada’s Hot 100 tracks.

It’d be too easy to dismiss Joel as just another pretty young thing. He’s very cute, and the girls are going to eat that up, but there’s much more to this young man than that. He wrote and composed “Please Don’t Go” himself, and also co-produced and recorded it. Never underestimate how hard it is to make pop music that’s this good. Joel Adams is definitely a name to watch.

After making a splash at the Woodford Folk Festival, South Australian-born world traveller Liam Garner is returning home for a string of shows right across the country. This is the first time he’s toured Australia since he supported Paolo Nutini last year, and his first local headlining tour in ages.

Liam promises to share old and new songs at the shows, including the incredible “Hank and Tammy.” Take a listen and tell me that you don’t want a ticket to these shows.

Tickets are on sale now for the following gigs.

18 February 2016 – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
19 February 2016 – Royal Oak Hotel, Launceston
3 March 2016 – Four5Nine, Perth
4-6 March 2016 – Nannup Music Festival, Nannup
9 March 2016 – Ararat Live, Ararat
11 March 2016 – Billy Roy Blues, Bendigo
16 March 2016 – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney
17 March 2016 – The Stag, Newcastle
18 March 2016 – Flow Bar, Old Bar
20 March 2016 – Leftys Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane
8 April 2016 – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide (with Tim Moore)
15 April 2016 – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne