Category Archives: Review of Gigs

Gig Review – Arcade Fire

Artist: Arcade Fire
Venue: Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Victoria, Australia (in the somewhat elite seated section – not that we sat down)
Date: Wednesday, 21 January, 2014
Who?: The amorphous ensemble from up Quebec way with a huge indie/crossover following, a big equipment haulage budget, and a welcome desire to dazzle.
Crowd?: Thousands of adoring folks with about 30% beards and lots of skinny jeans.
Best Bits: The aforementioned razzle dazzle, human bobblehead costumes, about three absolute killer tracks.
Could be Better: Heavier basslines, better mix (percussion was too muted), perhaps less cowbell.
Dream Venue: At a festival where they had to tighten up the setlist
Dream Lineup: I’m thinking Echo & the Bunnymen, Bright Eyes… and reformed Canadian gag-popsters Corkie and the Juice Pigs:


Worth a Second Look?: At a festival, yes. At this price solo, nah, probably not.
Give us a look: OK, here’s 67 mins of action (Win wore the same jacket last night)

Gig Review – Ben Caplan & the Casual Smokers

Artist: Ben Caplan & the Casual Smokers
Venue: Northcote Social Club, Northcote, Victoria, Australia
Date: Friday, 3 January, 2014
Who?: A facially hirsute Canadian with a huge gravelly voice, strumming stuff and occasionally bashing keys backed by violin, stand-up bass and drums.
Crowd?: A couple of hundred appreciative inner-city types (and one annoying couple who eventually got asked to leave).
Best Bits: The astounding voice- sure there is a Tom Waits aspect, but the lungs are bigger, the melodies more eagerly pursued. The whole gypsy/folk vibe sans pretense.
Could be Better: I was keen on hearing his Fairytale of New York cover.
Dream Venue: A riverboat, a galleon, a medieval marketplace
Dream Lineup: With fellow Canadian Serena Ryder, the also gravelly Ben Weaver… and the cast of Fiddler on the Roof.
Worth a Second Look?: Absolutely.  If you’re in Sydney catch him on Wednesday.
Give us a look: