Want to know what all the fracking fuss is about?
“Ugly Reality of Fracking” Green Muze
“Mine Threatens City Water” Ben Cubby, SMH 2010
“England Suspends Coal Seam Gas Fracking” Mining Australia, June 2011
When you think of Protest Songs you might think of John Lennon, Sam Cooke and Pete Seeger. But what about Michael Jackson, The White Stripes or Lady Gaga?
Not so conventional but when Riff Raff Radical Marching Band rock them out at protests around Sydney they get people singing and having a laugh.
Riff Raff say
we are a bunch of friends who got tired of boring protests and started a fabulous marching band in 2010! We play at community events, coal ports, solidarity demonstrations, artyhipsterthings, fundraisers, and on the streetz!
These musical protestors follow in the tradition of marching bands from USA such as the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, Infernal Noise Brigade and Brass Liberation Orchestra. Here is Rude Mechanical Orchestra performing Smash-A Bank Polka performed at Occupy Wall Street!
If you are interested they are looking for sweet new members and supporters! Including people that can play trombone, trumpet, clarinet, sax, flute, euphonium/tuba, and any forms of percussion.
Action by Rising Tide in Newcastle on August 5th, 2011 to highlight coal’s contribution to Somalia’s famine
Rising Tide Australia is a grassroots Newcastle group taking action against the causes of anthropogenic climate change and for equitable, just,effective, and sustainable solutions to the crisis. We are committed to the principles of Non-violent Direct Action. We are part of the global Rising Tide climate justice movement. We live in the biggest coal port in the cosmos.
In this action, the activists were calling for coal companies to donate some of their profits to the hundreds of thousands facing starvation due to the terrible climate change driven drought in East Africa.
“Coal is recognised globally as the biggest contributor to climate change. Yet, while climate disaster ravages East Africa, coal companies operating here in Australia are planning to massively expand their coal production, ignoring all the negative impacts.” Spokesperson Naomi Hogan
Climate change is affecting the poorest first. It’s easy for politicians to say “we don’t have enough evidence” speaking the lines that come from minerals councils and lobby groups. The West Australian State Liberals want us to wait for yet another report. A Royal Commission in fact. It is infuriating to people still using these stalling tactics. It is important that we stand with Rising Tide in their actions.
It is not just Australia that battles with the mega-rich resource multi-nationals. Here is a little idea from Canada to address an issue creatively – No Tankers Oil Poster
I hope you’re enjoying the queens b’day longweekend. Coinciding with this was two nights of the raw Australian punk, thrash, grindcore and heavy metal (and a touch of ska) over the weekend.
The event was called Decolonise II – diy punkfest held in the murky underground the inner west. Recently, I’ve been asking around to get some experience with sound and so I was helping a bit behind the desk, mostly just turning everything up to 11.Being involved with awesome bands like Thorax, Infinite Void, Kids on Glue and White Male Dumbinance(video) made me ask some questions about whether we have any right to call ourselves punk. The diy attitude, subversion and having fun while not taking yourself too seriously are things we have in common. At Midien there was a bunch of ‘scrn-prntng’ where you could print your favourite band name onto your hoodie. Also, there was a free stew going for the punks.
All of this along with not being out there to make money, not afraid to sing songs you love but think might challenge others and doing it for the love is what we have in common with this sound.
There is also a tradition in punk for activism and speaking out – bands like Dead Kennedys, Propaghandi and Black Flag don’t hold back. Neither do these great young Australian bands.
Decolonise II was the last gig for Do Not Resuscitate and Thylacine and they rocked the crowd. New bands like DOSS and Las Banditas are just firing up and definitely worth checking out. My fav band from last night was Steppin’ Razor (myspace).
And to promote us… coming up soon is this tour!!
Wednesday 6th July, Students of Sustainability conference. Charles Sturt University Albury NSW. Thursday 7th July, The Pheonix Pub, Canberra ACT. Friday 8th July, Jura Books Petersham NSW. Saturday 9th July, Dirty Shirlows NSW
Griffin will be in his best punk gear. Hope to see you there!
In the last month Australia has been visited by very amazing bluegrass players Tim O’Brien and Peter Rowan and his Bluegrass Boys (next post). I was lucky enough to see these performances at the Cat and Fiddle in Balmain and Notes Live in Enmore.
Tim O’Brien is a highly recognised performer and songwriter having won a Grammy Award as well as a couple of IBMA awards. He plays many string instruments and at Notes Live he played mandolin, banjo and fiddle with the Ocean’s Trio. The crowd was a full house of older adults who appreciated the music placidly. My friends scoffed at the idea of paying $50 cover charge. This crowd did not applause mid song for the great solos or sing along to the well-known songs. In fact, it was well past the bedtime of much of the audience by the second half of the show.
The highlight for me was ‘Old Joe’ (above) because it was a new song for me and shows off his songwriting skill. Overall the band worked well together with good variation and strong presence.
The support at Notes was Crooked Still. What you might call a ‘Nu-grass Supergroup’ as the fiddle, banjo and cello players are recognised as powerful solo musicians. Dr. Greg Liszt on Banjo plays very unsual and complex lead breaks and seems to be in a world of his own in more ways than one. Tristan Clarridge on cello has won national awards as a violinist but proves that he has mastered the cello. Holding it all together is fiddler Brittany Haas who’s solos are phenomenal in difficulty and execution. Aoife O’Donovan sings warm and gentle vocals and occasionally played guitar.
On this night, the pensioners were not receptive to Crooked Still. It may have been they were looking for a more traditional sound than the band provided. It was also the first gig in Australia and Tristan’s cello had been damaged in the Qantas flight with three serious cracks needing repair. Lucy Wise told me later that she had been asked to give the name of a luthier for his cello and the work was finished on the day of this show!
Friends saw this band in Melbourne and at the Blue Mountains and loved them. They have a confident and relaxed stage presence and perform with phenomenal musical skill. Check out this video for an idea of how this young folk take on trad songs.
To be cont. with Peter Rowan and his Bluegrass Boys
NB: videos might not work on email. Check out the blog online
In this blog we have news from the road!
First stop was Capt. Merkin (Dave Sparks) and Pirate Studios. This time we had Mumma Jones (Mim Jones) recording four tracks with us including a live take of Little Crooked House.
Check out our video tour diary from Billy Goat Bend in Mitchell River National Park, Victoria.
Second stop BADFolk (Berwick And District Folk Club) Video
Third stop Warrandyte Festival where we played to a lovely afternoon crowd lazing by the Yarra River. Highlights of the festival included the engine restoration society and Ducks in The Mud on Sunday.
Coming up next is Open Studio Show – 204 High St, Northcote Friday 25th March at 7pm with Lucy Wise and Ducks in The Mud for the small price of $10/5. And Hepburn Springs Folk Festival with The Woohoo Revue on Saturday 26th March.
Weary H. and The Lurkers
After a brief two-hour stop over in Syderlee, The Lurkers continued the wonderful adventure south to Tathra and Pirate Studios with Dave Sparks. In 2010, guitarist Daniel Champagne suggested that we get in touch with Dave because of his great studio. We booked in for five nights and four days with Dave doing the audio engineering.
Working with Dave was a pleasure. His style is carefully attentive and not too gentle – he’ll always go for one more take it he thinks we can get the best take. Dave’s background is in punk and because of this his recording style gets a genuine sound that we are really happy with.
The way we’ve been recording is pretty straight musically where we set up a room mic plus mics on each of the three instruments and just go for it. Some songs take longer than others – there was a memorably epic 28 takes for one song. Normally one f the first few takes are the best.
After recording the backing music the lead vocalist will go and do their take.
We didn’t want to waste Dave’s time so we’d practice after he’d gone off to bed. Our working day was nine till ten or eleven with breaks for lunch and dinner. Still by then end of the four days our ears were pretty worn out from concentration and our egos shattered from hearing our own selves back over and over again. Tempers were frayed by the end of each day because recording takes a specific musician – perfectionistic attention to detail. Not The Lurkers, but we work hard to get there.
As expensive, difficult and unrewarding it can be recording is unavoidable for a small independent artist. You’ve got to have something to take on the road and give people. Also, getting played on the radio is a massive help if you’re playing in towns you’ve never been. Community radio will often play your songs and promote your shows getting punters who might buy your cd.
In the end of the four days we had recorded eleven songs and mixed six. We’re going back in March with Mim Jones to help out on fiddle for a few tracks and to record a couple more. We’re aiming now to have the album out in June/July under the working title ‘Padlock and Chain’. Joel Tarling is doing design and art for the package and you can check out his art here.