Jason Matthews is about to embark on four years of college when he reluctantly agrees to help his friend Craig by accepting a package that contains thousands of MDMA. What Jason doesn’t realize he has been stitched up by his friend and is arrested and under mandatory sentencing laws, faces ten years in jail. His father, John Matthews (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) owns a successful transport company and has a good life with a new family in a big luxury home. When he learns of Jason’s arrest and sentence, he pleads for leniency from Congresswoman Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon). Keeghan, looking for re-election, stands on a platform of keeping drug dealers off our streets. She agrees to reduce the sentence if John Matthews works a sting operation with federal police to capture drug cartel ring leader Juan Carlos “El Topo” Pintera.
The crime drama inspired by true events and for the first half of the film it sets the plot perfectly and does enough to engage the audience but then it feels like it runs out of time to deliver the story and its message and rushes through, what is essentially the main climax, leaving you a little underwhelmed and confused as to why it went the way it did. The performances by the cast are adequate. Sarandon doesn’t really push herself in her role which should have played a more pivotal role. The Rock looked a little out of his depth a bit. Action dramas are more his cup of tea but his effort was A+. Jon Bernthal as Daniel James, Matthews accomplice in the sting is the standout in this movie with a gritty supporting role.
The movies central message is the inflexibility of mandatory sentencing laws in some states of the U.S but the rushed finish cheapens the impact of the message. Probably more of a DVD night in movie that a cinematic experience.
The Metro Theatre is one of Sydney’s leading venues hosting an array of notable and emerging local and international artists across a wide variety of musical genres and more. But once you step foot into the venue, categories and stereotypes are no longer existent. People begin to embrace the music and one another. This was evident on Friday night at Julian Marley’s Sydney show (son of reggae legend Bob Marley). The Metro presented with a diverse range of individuals from the youthful to the old timers, cultures, from all walks of life and there was such a great sense of unison. After all, that is the essence of reggae music – ‘One Love’.
I must mention that the lady who stood next to me at the front row told me ‘this is the first time I’ve ever heard reggae music, I got dragged along to this show and I’m fucking loving it!’. Music is powerful, but reggae music can change your mentality!
Upon arrival, Sydney based 10 piece roots-reggae band The Strides took to stage with songs from their album Reclamation. Still rocking out since we last saw them perform almost two years ago at Notes Live in Newtown.
After The Strides it seemed like a prolonged set up time for Blue King Brown, however, it was well worth the wait. The audience was greeted by the ladies of Melbourne-based reggae-roots band Blue King Brown, with an acoustic set featuring lead singer Natalie Pa’apa’a and vocalists representing West Papua. With only three vocalists I predicted that this would be an intimate and engaging experience, and we were immersed in the rhythm of the music as well as the message that they wanted to share. Natalie illustrated a song about a couple that were separated due to the hindrance of bureaucratic red tape, however they were reunited again. At the end of BKB’s set I was left with a resonating message “Free West Papua” which was clearly stated on Natalie’s acoustic kickbox.
The crowd was anticipating Julian Marley and as he entered the stage, it was apparent that his father’s spirit continues to live on. Marley shared his Rastafarian faith, knowledge, music and of course his father’s life and spirit. There was a sense of nostalgia growing up to the Marley’s voices in my cassette player. No doubt Marley is acknowledged as an individual artist, but he is also an inclusive collaborator with his 12-piece Uprising Band, performing some original tunes as well as father Bob’s hits. Some memorable songs were ‘Boom Draw’, ‘Babylon Cookie Jar’ and Bob Marley’s ‘Kaya’.
It was refreshing to join some of the country’s most thriving reggae bands alongside Julian Marley, and no doubt they were aptly chosen to support him. With a combination of ‘Worldwize’ humanitarian reggae-roots acts, it became an insightful and memorable show. Although I could see that a larger venue could have easily accommodated a larger crowd.
Click here to check out our photographs from Julian Marley’s Sydney show!
He has a voice of an angel, a razor sharp wit and swears so much it would make the demon blush a deeper shade of maroon. He is also an incredible entertainer. Paul McDermott‘s Sydney Comedy Festival show “Paul Sings” gives the diminutive artist a chance to reflect on his musical comedy career with a show revisiting some of those songs that showcased his amazing voice. Trailing back to the early days of Doug Anthony Allstars, through to his work within the Good News Week franchises and his short lived ABC series Sideshow, McDermott broke up the songs with anecdotal tales with comedic timing and full of belly laughs.
Haven taken the show around the country as part of the various cities comedy festivals, tonight was the final show and McDermott and his four piece band were “ready to tear this a new one!” I’ve always been a fan of Paul’s singing ability but hearing a bulk of his songs in one setting I discovered how clever he is as a songwriter. He proclaims during the show that he “wrote most of these songs on the Tuesday morning before a taping” and being devoid of any musical playing ability he would have to hum the melody to other musicians to write the music which normally “lead to us fighting for an hour and in the end we had a song”. But Paul, whether he likes it or not, is a great songwriter. His lyrics create strong imagery and he takes you through a story to each song and the deliverance is pure class as he adapts the ultimate frontman demeanour.
It wouldn’t be Paul McDermott without some insults and put downs and those who kept arriving late felt the wrath of McDermott in only a way he could get away with. (Tone fair to the group who came in with ten minutes to go should have probably not bothered) The funniest part of the night was his retelling of how he and Marina Prior met Paul Stanley from KISS while performing the musical Witches Of Eastwick and how he managed to dry hump the KISS frontman in front Stanley’s manager and girlfriend in a display of as an with no fear who enjoys pushing the boundaries to its tenth degree.
Not one to be content with the shows end, he took the band and audience into the foyer for an encore and then stuck around meeting with fans for some time after it was all said and done. The accomplished artist, comedian and singer could easily continue to add to this show and write more songs and establish a music career. An entertaining show that is part crooner concert, part comedy show, part variety cabaret sideshow. Whatever it is, it highlights the talents of Paul McDermott.
Set upon the rooftop of the Boulevard Pool bar at the Cosmopolitan Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Canadian twin sisters Tegan & Sara played a preview show before their Coachella appearance in a few days time. The setting was perfect. The Las Vegas skyline surrounding the open air stage. A large screen behind the stage projecting the gig out onto the Vegas strip and a cool, clear spring evening contributed to one of my favourite Tegan & Sara shows ever.
The humble twins repeatedly thanked the crowd for coming out and for supporting their music. In return we got a great set by the duo mixing crowd favourites such as ‘Walking With A Ghost’, ‘Back In Your Head’ and ‘Where Does The Good Go’ along with a fair chunk off this years record Heartthrob. The newer songs received an amazing reception as fans have taken to the new record and more keyboard driven sound.
For me the highlight was the brilliant ‘Why Don’t You Want Me’. The song is great track about rejection from a lover and is written so perfectly. The girls have a great knack to write a good “love lost” tune and this one is probably their best. Live, it sounded amazing and judging by the crowd singing along, it will find a place on their set list for years to come.
Other tracks off Heartthrob like the albums opening ‘Closer’ and ‘I’m All Messed Up’ had the crowd swaying and dancing along. A short encore to end the evening leaving the crowd satisfied with the show and me desperate to see them again now that I’m missing their Australian tour for Groovin’ The Moo.
There’s something to be said of any band that can hop flawlessly from rock to reggae to drum and bass and back again and take a crowd of people along with them for the ride. And that is that they are undeniable rock stars. That’s just what I’d call New Zealand band Six60 who managed to effortlessly transition between genres this past Friday when they hit the stage at The Metro in Sydney to a sold out crowd.
Opening with their light hearted reggae anthem ‘Don’t Forget Your Roots’ the energetic 5 piece captivated the audience thanks to their boyish enthusiasm and playfulness on stage. Six60 made it clear that they love what they do. In return the crowd assured them that the feeling was mutual by singing (or screaming?) along to almost every note of every word of every song that they played throughout the show. It didn’t matter whether the guys were tackling honey-coated reggae or gutsy rock tinged tracks the crowd was with them every step of the way, and the atmosphere of the show felt a lot like one hell-of-a-party.
Lead singer Matiu Walters’ vocals remained flawless through out the show, despite the fact that he jumped around the stage with boundless energy for 90% of the show and the fact that he’s the only singer in the band – there’s no backing vocalists to help him out. I couldn’t help but ponder how much warmth extra vocals and harmonies would add to the bands sound, but Walters looked like he didn’t mind carrying all the vocal responsibilities at all. And I quickly forgot about my love of harmonies as Walters’ vocals gave more than most do; he was honest and subtle when required on the stripped back numbers but switched to bold and strong on command. All of this delivered with his cheeky devil-may-care attitude, which was perfectly in tune with the rest of the bands mood.
By the time the show got to its encore of ‘Someone To Be Around’, thanks to the crowds unusual chant choice of “Whoop there it is!”, Six60 had delivered a strong show that managed to have the dynamic energy of a stadium rock concert while maintaining the personable, down to earth vibe of your local pub gig. But as humble and carefree as Six60 may appear they are far more than just a pub band. Six60 make having the musical equivalent of split personality not only look easy, but very much like something that every band should take a stab at. After all why should we have to stick with one genre if we can enjoy a mash of them all in one show by one talented band? If Six60 keep dishing out their brand of rock-roots-reggae with a dash of dub then I’ll gladly keep making room on my plate for more of their treats.
Castlecomers latest single, ‘Rosie’ (directed and edited by Sean Dooley) expresses a fun and energetic foot tapping experience. Involving YouTube‘s famous comedian Superwog and a variety of different cultured people. This video will no doubt put a smile on anyone’s face and could potentially make you dance.
Starting the video with a question “how do you dance?” following through with some fun dance moves and psychedelic patterns to brighten up your day. To quote one viewer “it’s the kind of song I blast in my room while getting ready for uni, and dance stupidly on my bed!”.
This video clip definitely holds a sort of innocent and happy energy within it. This will definitely go viral quickly amongst the fans and fans-to-be of Castlecomers in the very near future. I can definitely see this clip spreading into the top 40 scene.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Director Thomas Vinterberg introduces the audience to a masterpiece of powerful drama, violence and corruption brought upon an innocent man in ‘The Hunt’.
Lucas, stunningly performed by Mads Mikkelsen, is introduced as a humble kindergarten teacher, recent divorcé and loving father, desperate to gain equal custody rights from his ex-wife to see his son Marcus (Lasse Fogelstrøm) more often.
Following an emotional journey of virtue and hardship, Lucas struggles to reclaim his life after he is wrongly accused of sexually abusing with one of his students. ‘The Hunt’ focuses on the fine line between truth and fiction and how easy it is to blur the boundaries when you do not understand the consequences.
When Klara develops a crush on Lucas, she imparts her feelings by offering him a heart she made and kisses him during playtime at school. However, after Lucas explains that her actions were inappropriate and he cannot accept her gift, she falsely claims to the headteacher that Lucas made sexual advancements.
What I found to be the most intriguing aspect of the film was the focus on the child’s side of the story, presented as the truth. It was illogical and unfair for everyone, especially his best friend Theo, to immediately jump to conclusions without giving Lucas a chance to explain himself.
The small rural town in Denmark, where Lucas resides alone with his dog Fanny, becomes a dark and unforgiving place of brutality and hatred from his former close friends, work colleagues, acquaintances and the community. However, the arrival of Marcus and support from a close family friend gives hope to Lucas to surpass the judgement.
One of the most memorable and heartbreaking scenes of ‘The Hunt’ involved Lucas being repeatedly beaten and thrown out of the supermarket for wanting to purchase pork chops and other groceries.
The extent to which the community disowns and alienates him reinforces the fact that there is no justice once a white lie is spoken; it transforms into a chaotic overruling that blows out of proportion.
‘The Hunt’ is a must-see film that challenges your views on how significant one lie can be in affecting the life of another. Once the hunter becomes hunted . . . there’s no telling how far it will go.
It could be easy to write this band off as another Black Keys rip off, but that sort of ignorance will make you miss the beauty of this record. Yes, it has plenty of swampy bluegrass riffs we’ve all come to love from The Black Keys, but the execution of these songs will leave them lingering in your mind. On their third album, The Blackwater Fever have crafted tracks that requires you to listen to them over again and with each listen, you will pick up something different. Intentional or not, its a great tool that great songwriters have.
The two piece from Brisbane have really welded in various styles into their dark blues filled rock. There’s LO-fi garage mixed in with a bit of Nick Cave broodiness, some rock n’ stomp from old White Stripes and plenty of Deep South, whiskey vibes. ’Won’t Cry Over You’ is a stand out track that rattles the speakers, as does the album’s opener ‘When The Night Comes’. These tracks are then contrasted with the more brooding tracking such as ‘Over Broken Bones’ and ‘End Of Time’.
Listening to this record and the instrumentation used makes you wonder how a two piece can pull this off live with the use of guitar and organ to create the harmonies and drums and bass to lay the platform for the tracks. Then add Shane Hicks vocals, that has a blues trademark minimalism on top of that. The Depths is a solid record and I think the songs will translate even better live.
Liza Moscatelli was named Young Chifley Woman of the Year for her work in facilitating art workshops at Ted Noffs Foundation,
Birds of Tokyo took to the stage and the Enmore Theatre quivered with applause and screams from the crowd. This show marked the end of a tour for Birds of Tokyo with their new album ‘March Fires.’ They get straight to it with a song off the album.
The crowd, whilst not the most lively, are taken on a journey from the bands most recent stuff, to their early songs, and they are receptive.
Ian Kenny, the vocalist, keeps the front of the crowd moshing by dancing along to the tunes on stage.
The backdrop lights up in flashing images, telling a story to accompany each song.
A woman next to me leans over to her friend and says ‘what do you think?’ The friend replies ‘thank you SO much for introducing me to them. They are amazing!’ She then gets back to gyrating and head-banging with the rest of the crowd.
The big winners aka the most popular songs, ‘Plans’ and ‘Lanterns’ got a round of sing-alongs from the audience, and coming from such a large audience, this was a delightful experience.
Whether you’re a newcomer to Birds of Tokyo, or a seasoned fan like myself, you will love their live show.
Their new sound, while not a huge leap away from their previous albums, is slightly more melodic and careful. That said, though, I think anyone that is a fan of their previous albums will love ‘March Fires.’
You really can’t lose with this band, because they are simply such a fun night out.
The support act for the night was Regular John. You might have heard this band doing the rounds on Triple J lately with their tracks ‘Sky Burial’ and ‘Strange Flowers.’
If you haven’t heard of them though they are a red-hot, psychedelic, punk rock four-piece band from New South Wales.
Their set-list on the night consisted mostly of songs from their most recent album ‘Strange Flowers’ and some from their previous album ‘The Peaceful Atom is a Bomb.’
Regular John have made up a huge step up from their first album to their last and have evolved into a sophisticated hard rock band.
They are still slightly experimental, particularly with their latest album, simply in that no two songs quite sound the same, but that’s something that, personally, draws me to them.
These guys are a gold-standard support act and I definitely recommend checking out one of their stand-alone live shows.
The Guppies are your standard teenage-y-punk band from Newcastle, which I guess is not that standard. They are great, all the same.
They have a fluid musical styling with a penchant for easily-accessible, very catchy tunes, like ‘Never Liked Mondays,’ and ‘Bad Blood.’
As terribly cliché as this might sound, the three-piece just simply know how to rock out on stage and gave us all a ‘rocking out’ lesson on Sunday night.
I also have to recommend catching these guys live.