Hi, my name’s Cookie and I love live music. There are people who enjoy all aspects of recorded tunes and I for one am a person who appreciates a good album! But there is something about seeing a band live that just can’t be replaced. Since before I was 18, I was going and seeing live bands (my height came with the advantage that I wasn’t checked for ID) and growing up in Sydney in the late 90s there was a huge amount of venues such as The Annandale, Bar Broadway, The Hopetoun, The Bat and Ball, Northpoint Tavern, The Excelsior, The Metro etc. The sad thing is that all but the Metro which is a dedicated music venue, still have live music.
But this isn’t a rant about how the music scene is dying, I’ll save that for a later date, no this blog is about some of my favourite sets that I’ve had the chance to witness in my 19 a bit years of soaking up every single bit of live music both at clubs, pubs and at festivals. Before I get into it, let me state some sets were good but didn’t make the list, others were OK and some were just awful!
So here we go!
Unwritten Law, Livid Festival, 2000
I’m amazed at 19, hanging out with some friends at the local RSL club, that we had the motivation to say, yep, we’re going to that festival in Brisbane. And we did, by train, for 12 hours to Brisbane, because the Livid festival in 2000 only happened in Brisbane at that time. The entire bill was huge The Cure, Green Day, No Doubt, a little known UK band called Muse, The Dandy Warhols, Feeder, Regurgitator, Grinspoon, 28 Days..it was a massive lineup! But the highlight for me was going and seeing San Diego punks Unwritten Law headline the punk/metal stage at the end of the day.
It had been two years since the release of their self titled album and I for one loved it! From start the finish the whole set was a perfect blend of the self titled album and their earlier tunes and boy did I lap it up. Unfortunately the subsequent times I’ve seen them they have disappointed a tad but that happens when you see bands a few times over.
Flyleaf, Soundwave, 2007
I love it when I have never heard of a band before, then just stumble upon them purely by chance and get my mind BLOWN! That case in point was Texan rock band Flyleaf who in the pouring/torrential rain dropped one of the most impressive sets I’ve seen.
It was the first Soundwave to tour Sydney and the event was held in overcast conditions at Sydney Park in St Peters on a February afternoon. I had just seen New Zealand band Blindspott at the same stage and was about to move to the main stages when the heavens opened, having found a relatively dry location under a tree near the stage with about 100 other people, I thought ‘well I’m not moving now, might as well stay here and check whoever is on next’ and that band was Flyleaf fronted by in the incredible Lacey Sturm who belted out their entire debut album to a very appreciative crowd. That memory has stayed with me for so long that I can still feel the rain dropping on me when I listen to their album, weird I know!
Magic Dirt, Village Fair, 2005
A bit of a back story on this one. In 2005 whilst completing my degree at CSU I got to work on Village Fair as a band coordinator. The festival that year had Gerling, After The Fall, Something With Numbers, Bluejuice, 2 Up, The Panda Band etc. A pretty solid line up for a regional music festival.
Only a few hours into the festival starting I get a call from one of the members of Magic Dirt who were loading up in Sydney. Somehow there had been a mix up and a set of keys to their van full of their equipment had gone missing (actually I’m not sure if I should be telling this story, but it is over a decade old!) Long story short, stress ensures for most of the afternoon into the early evening purely because we weren’t too sure if the band were going to be at the festival in time for their set.
They rocked up within about 15 minutes of the start of their set, then proceeded to drop one of the most RAWK sets Village Fair ever saw. At one point lead singer Adalita jumps of the stage, climbs onto the barrier, grabs someone’s novelty hat of their head, whilst screaming the lyrics to their song Vulcanella at the top of her lungs. I have a very poor photo of it as proof.
Karnivool, Mona Vale Hotel, 2006
Off the back of their amazing debut album Themata, West Aussie lads Karnivool spent quite a bit of time touring around the country playing shows wherever and whenever they could. My chance to see them was at the very small venue at the Mona Vale Hotel. I can’t describe the night anything more than perfect. It was a sweaty club atmosphere, low stage, minimal security and barrier therefore everyone was up close and personal with the band.
And they dropped a straight prog rock set of epic proportions. Just listen to Themata and imagine being in a cramped venue on a hot night in Sydney
Bring Me The Horizon, Reading Festival, 2015
And finally the granddaddy of mind BLOWN for me personally in live music. The first time I got to see Bring Me The Horizon as a fan live. And it happened in their home country of England at what I believe is one of the best festivals in the world.
I’d had a seriously good time checking out heaps of bands, whilst dodging the inclement weather at Reading Festival. The highlight was the hour long set that BMTH dropped on that Saturday evening. Even before their set, they played a hilarious safety video for the punters, then opened with the opening track Happy Song off their latest album That’s the Spirit. At times it seemed like Oli Sykes voice wasn’t going to hold, but he pushed on to a very appreciative crowd. They finished with Drown which had the whole crowd singing along at the top of their lungs.
I wasn’t the only one who thought their set was good, NME published their thoughts online the following day stating that off the back of that set Bring Me The Horizon are future headliners of the festival. A statement I certainly agree with.
There is a long list of other sets I could go on about. But I’ll save that for another blog