Category Archives: live music

Review: Sticky Fingers @ The Metro Theatre, March 21

The Sydney five-piece is an unstoppable force. An unrelenting touring schedule – national and international – paired with their perfected art of hit-making and irreverent Newtown swagger, Sticky Fingers have become a fast crowd favourite. A mainstay of the live circuit, the boys have reached a milestone, selling out one show after another for their Land of Pleasure tour. Sydney’s Metro theatre was no exception, and was packed out by revellers from the very beginning.

Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” was played out in its entirety – an admittedly self-indulgent gesture, before Sticky Fingers were finally coaxed on stage with chants of “Stiiiiiii-cky Stiiiiiii-cky.” Shout out to guitarist Seamus who is in his trademark red hot shorts again. The band open with “Freddy Crabs,” which showcases an absolute killer of a piano intro. The whole tune is one fat psychedelic jam with a reeling guitar solo, one of the most elaborate and complex tracks on their debut, Caress Your Soul.

Sticky Finger’s new single, “Gold Snafu” from their upcoming sophomore album is played to a crowd who already knows every single word. Whether it’s songs from yet to be released Land of Pleasure, or old crowd favourites “Headlock,” and “How To Fly,” the audience laps up each and every one indiscriminately.  For the devotees below the stage, these guys can do no wrong.

“These Girls” – if ever there was a Sticky love song, this is it. Lead singer, Dylan Frost croons “When I’m lying in her arms/I’ll be thinking about you.” Many girls (and boys) in the audience figuratively die because they just can’t.

Jimmy Young from the band Bootleg Rascal is then invited on stage to play with Sticky Fingers for the song, Bootleg Rascal. Nailed it.

No Sticky’s set is ever complete without one of their mates jumping in for a jam. Last year it was Tuka (Thundamentals), and this year, one Nick Lupi (Spit Syndicate) appears, who celebrates his twenty-sixth day of birth on stage with the Newtown lads. The MC throws down a few rowdy verses before retiring backstage.

For the encore, front man Frost returns to the stage alone and plays the stripped back “Slow” – a track from their early days that demonstrates the skilful song writing that has carried the band to success. Mid-tune, the lead singer is joined by his companions who flesh out the track together. It ‘s one of their strongest moments on stage, with the stripped back instrumentals creating quite a striking, visceral experience. The crowd are taken, and you can tell because it’s the calmest they’ve been since the start of the show.

The Sticky crowd is ‘loose’ at best, but more accurately described as rough, and when the band wrapped up with 2013 Hottest 100 fave, “Australia Street”, they promptly lost their shit. There was no one in sight who couldn’t belt out “I don’t feel/afraid from you” ending the night on a good-vibe high.

Energy levels were at a constant high, and true to form, Sticky Fingers put on a ripper of a show. They’re still a bit rough around the edges, and they’ve definitely played tighter sets, but it was hard not to be seduced by the band’s raw enthusiasm. The boys were clearly stoked that all their hard work has paid off – and so they should be. If anything is to be said, these gnarly Newtown troublemakers are in it for the long haul.


many things!


Tuka at the Annandale, taken by me.

I thought without uni and a lesser need to venture into the city I’d spend less and save more. I clearly underestimated my reckless bank-breaking abilities. Although, having said that I’ve been having a ball going to gigs and beating all of my friends at our board game nights (Just kidding! I never win). Anyway, this is the soundtrack so far to the first month of my break:

Mitzi are a Brissie quartet that makes funky disco t00ns. I was first introduced to them when I had to interview keyboardist Jad Lee. Really digging “Who will love you now,” they sound a little bit Breakbot/Hot Chip, which is always good when the time comes to bust out some moves; they rocked the house last night at Goodgod. At this point I also feel a need to do a shoutout to the Goodgod photographers who were part of my whole experience. I watched with a sense of amusement and confusion as these guys did lunges with a leg up on stage or shouldered the punters in the front to take a snap of the sweaty brows of said musicians. I love to see that passion and determination to get a good shot, but I often had to check myself saying, “Sharon, you’re not here to people-watch photographers, you’re here for Mitzi.”

So excited to hear from these guys again after their solid debut, Gorilla Manor. “Breakers” lived up to all my expectations and I’m in the keenest state a bean could be in to get my hands on their next record.

There has been so much hype around this Sydney producer, he tops the list of people I want to see live. Flume’s collaborated with another local on his debut, Anna Lunoe, who lends her nonchalant vocals to this funky track – good vibes all round. Cool video by the way, though it would have been infinitely improved if Harley Streten aka Flume pulled more of these moves.

I went to my first hip-hop show last week and loved it. All my “friends” were super encouraging when I told them I was expanding my musical horizons, saying things like “Shaz…,” “lulz you’re not a gangsta” or just laughing in my face. Great, y’all! But all that aside, Tuka was the man I saw and he’s a PERFORMER. I’m not saying that lightly either, he was super switched on and fed off the crowd’s energy, giving it off in equal amounts mixed with perspiration and theatrics. But seriously I was really glad I decided to go see him and all his mates (Jeswon, Ellesquire, Tenth Dan etc.) This song is genius, and so is the other one he did with Jane Tyrell which you can find here. I am so dedicated I vow to buy a copy of his album once my account balance exceeds $0.96. True.

This has been kicking around for a while, but Flight Facilities seem to have a knack for finding fitting vocalists to complement their superior production skillz. Christine Hoberg’s vocals have an ethereal quality, and the whole seven and a half minutes is a perfectly self contained, blissed-out dream.

That’s me done for the night! Have you noticed 80% of this post was dedicated to Australians? Great job guys, killing it – NME says so too! I’ve been sticking almost exclusively to local bands and gigs myself this past month, and it’s definitely worthwhile seeing these people hustle day and night to get their art out there.

Lana Del Rey @ The Enmore Theatre


On the Thursday night of July 26, the Enmore Theatre was packed out by a heady mixture of teenage admirers and twenty-somethings who had been through all the heartbreaks lamented in Lana Del Rey’s debut album, Born to Die. There were males too, filling the obligatory duties of being a good boyfriend. So let’s get started.

The stage was adorned with greenery à la Jurassic Park style (this is probably an inaccurate description), but I felt it was somewhat in discord with the accompanying grainy montages of Americana that have become Del Rey’s signature. Or maybe I’m just artistically/culturally challenged.

Opening the show was a heavily bearded indie artist called Oliver Tank accompanied by the ethereal, shawl-wearing Fawn, who he introduced as his friend. Fawn possessed lovely, shattering vocals that could make your heart melt. His music had a dreamy, electronic aesthetic to it that reminded me of Purity Ring and Germany Germany. However, he lacked the panache to enrapture the crowd, and it seemed most were just waiting for the star act to come on. Oliver Tanks said bye and left the stage.

After another forty-five minutes, the long awaited star LDR finally glided on stage (OMG!!!).  The petite Del Rey had donned a gorgeous flower crown for the occasion and looked absolutely divine with her immaculately glossy hair. But if the subject of my attention (her hair and the extremely distracting moustache of one in the string quartet) is any indication of how engaging she was, you can probably guess that I wasn’t sold.

I’d like to point out that I really wanted to enjoy this show, I did. Despite all the criticism and the SNL shenanigan, I wanted this to work. This is the girl who vehemently defended Del Rey’s legitimacy as an artist in an office full of hipsters who hated her for ‘cheating’ her way into the industry. But I disgress.

First up was “Blue Jeans,” and it was clear that Del Rey was one mean songstress. Accompanied by a string quartet, with a bit of piano and guitar thrown in here and there, all the notes were delivered with finesse and clarity. She even did some fancy, high-pitched warbles to show off her vocal prowess (this is not sarcastic, the girl can sing). Her opening vocals were met with a screaming crowd and upheld smartphones getting snap-happy. This was a relatively new experience for me – I had never seen a gig through an iPhone before.

The rest of the gig was more or less the same – the crowd screamed when she touched her hair, they screamed when she knelt down, and more screaming when she did the operatic trills. She also covered Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” which was pleasant enough and garnered more screaming. Finishing with “National Anthem,” the songstress said her thanks and departed the stage. No encore was provided, nor was it needed, really; she had laid out all her cards on the table.

Though there is no doubt she has a fervent and loyal fan base who knew all the lyrics to her songs, Lana Del Rey still has a long way to go before becoming a true performer. Her show lasted a brief forty-five minutes with minimal on-stage banter and consisted almost exclusively of slow songs (which I’m not complaining about). But ‘mediocre’ was the best word I could find to sum up the evening. 

Sticky Fingers Guerilla Gig @ King St Auto, Newtown

Most would probably describe the venue unorthodox, but when you look at a band like Sticky Fingers who unofficially headlined Newtown Festival in 2010, performing from the back of a fire engine is probably something of a walk in the park. At the start, it was hard to tell whether the crowd gathered at King St Auto in Newtown were here because they had got wind of the free rum or the free gig. Forever the impoverished uni student, I was stoked for the splendid combination of both.

The Sydney four-piece (and sometimes five-piece, like on the day) is known for their eclectic sound labelled by the band as ‘psychedelic reggae’ and ‘surf dub.’ After playing their first song, “Willow Tree,” it became clear that the people weren’t dancing because of the free booze.  For such a relatively new band, Sticky Fingers have garnered a surprisingly loyal and tenacious bunch of followers. Perhaps it was the infectious bass, or front man Dylan Frost’s soulful and melancholic vocals; though their set wasn’t perfect, the rowdy crowd didn’t seem to mind.

Playing a combination of old favourites like “Inspirationalizer” and “Headlock”, as well as some new demos, the throng savoured every tune. Frost wasn’t one for words, but nevertheless the crowd remained enraptured, revelling in the fervent guitar riffs, and reggae beats produced by these earnest, self-professed misfits from Newtown. Overall, Sticky Fingers make a dynamic and entertaining live band with a strong stage presence.

Their latest tune, ‘“Caress Your Soul”’ was released earlier this month and is the title track off their debut album, expected to be released in March next year.

Photo by Me.