UZUMAKI EP Launch at the Cherry Bar, Melbourne – June 2016

When you listen to my kind of music and hear all the best rock n roll stories, the Cherry Bar is often mentioned. After all, if I wasn’t so little, I could’ve partied with Steel Panther after their show a week or so ago, but no. The Cherry Bar is a pretty rad venue, with a crazy history and a perfect example of why the saying “if these walls could talk” was invented.

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It’s in AC/DC Lane in Melbourne’s CBD and trust me, as suggested by a muso/journo friend of mine, the smell remains with you for days! I’m not sure if that’s because it genuinely smells or if after you’ve been there, you just want to savour the awesomeness of it all to the point where you can’t actually smell it anymore, you just think you can. The Cherry Bar really is a part of Melbourne’s role in the music world. It’s not a very big venue but they still manage to get a whole lot of people in there. When you’re there, you just feel like you’re part of something big, something special and you can’t help but let yourself go in this pretty fantastic world.

As I was popping my Cherry Bar cherry (sorry, couldn’t resist), I experienced the EP launches of two very awesome and talented young bands – The Walking Ded and UZUMAKI, with 6 Foot Inch performing as well. There was actually a shitload of people there and as with previous all-ages gigs, it was further proof that young people are craving live rock music. It was very cool for the Cherry bar to host the all-ages event as it doesn’t happen often.

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In reality, all-ages gigs are the future of music. We are the ones who will be there in years to come, paying entry, buying music and merch and dancing and partying the nights away, so it makes sense for any current act and venue to milk the shit out of that. If a band can basically guarantee the next generation of appreciation and sales, then why wouldn’t they?

The night started with 6 Foot Inch performing and they sounded great. Sadly, I only got to see these guys perform a couple of songs due to other commitments and I would genuinely love to see them again as they are another young Melbourne band keeping the dream alive! The Walking Ded are a Melbourne band consisting of Camden on drums, Odin on bass & vocals and Finn on guitar and they’re only little! They’ve just launched their first EP and that is seriously an incredible achievement for these young musicians. Their creativity and stage presence is outstanding, with the boys writing their own songs about everyday life experiences. They had the crowd moshing, singing and having a great time, everyone enjoyed their set and I was impressed with the fact they were rocking the walls of the Cherry Bar with their own material.

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But UZUMAKI absolutely shook the Cherry Bar walls and they were amazing. After having a chat with the band, they walked out on the stage ready to do their thing like professionals and the energy was crazy! I’m not going to say too much more about these guys because I think you should have a listen for yourself! I’m stoked to have met such an energetic, talented and passionate group of musicians and they definitely have a huge future ahead of them. I hope you all enjoy our interview!

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My Cherry Bar experience was pretty perfect. Again, I was just grateful to have the opportunity to experience it all and hopefully the importance of the younger market is catching on with artists and venues. No matter how great an act is, if they’re not willing to find a way to reach out to their younger fans, then my opinion will change. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and if a band really appreciates their fans and wants to ensure the longevity of their success, they’ll do anything they can to accommodate their younger audience.

And the decision really does rely on the artists and their management, considering the law in Victoria now allows venues the option of providing all-ages events. And it’s really quite simple – I earn about $8.00 an hour doing a school-based apprenticeship yet I’m still willing to pay $100.00 or more to see a band who I love. However, I’d much rather go to see bands at smaller venues, where I actually get the chance to interact and enjoy the experience properly. It also allows me the opportunity to work and do my own thing and along the same lines as before, the younger journos, photographers and promoters are very much the future. In another ten or twenty years’ time when some of these acts want to go round again, who’s going to be there? There’s nothing I’d like more. So I guess it all comes down priorities.

Steel Panther did it. Skid Row didn’t. Guess who’s t-shirt I’m wearing tonight? And that people, is rock n roll.

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Have a listen to my interview with UZUMAKI and embrace the nightshift!

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A little one’s review of Black Stone Cherry and Steel Panther at Festival Hall, Melbourne – June 2016

Firstly, thank you to Festival Hall, which actually provides a concert venue that doesn’t exclude Under 18’s due to the service of alcohol. Sure, the unlicensed section feels like you’re behind bars in an institution, but I’m not complaining. At least I was able to go.

The side view seating was cramped and uncomfortable with no opportunity to stand up and head-bang like a lunatic, which is what I really wanted to do. However, I was fully entertained and a little bit scared by the old dude sitting next to me (actually, pretty much on top of me) who clearly had the flu and a Tinder addiction. As a friend of mine said “He wants to pick up at the Panther show!”. Ewww.

And on that note, even if I wanted to “pick up at the Panther show”, the seating area provides no room to move around, so I had to be satisfied with the occasional flirtatious glance at the two young hotties sitting to my right with their dads, hoping that one of them would at least respond with a smile or a wink or something. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

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My main motivation for wanting to get to this show was to see Black Stone Cherry perform live and seriously, they were amazing! As the support act for Steel Panther, they didn’t play for anywhere near long enough and when they were done, I was devastated. For a crowd who was mainly there to see Steel Panther, it was awesome to see them get behind BSC and they definitely didn’t disappoint.

The two dads of the before-mentioned hotties were impressed and made comments about how much they enjoyed the BSC performance, which was great to hear. I was blown away by how good they were. They played a raw and honest show with amazing energy and I couldn’t take my eyes off them, especially guitarist Ben Wells. This might sound a bit weird but just looking at him reminds me so much of Jani Lane so visually, I was super sucked in and had feelings of love. I would absolutely love to see a full BSC show in a more intimate venue, where I can actually stand up and rock out. And when they get the audience to help out with their Soul Machine lyrics, I’d like to be up the front singing loudly and proudly because that song went off with the audience! The hotties’ dads were right into it!

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So now let’s move along to Steel Panther. I like Steel Panther. And if you don’t like naughty words or dirty things (and I don’t mean muddy footy boots), now is the time to close your browser.

Being a little one, I asked mum to take me to the show. She’s a glam metal fan too, and she loved it all the first time round. But she never really got into Steel Panther. She did know that they pretty much just take the piss out of that whole genre, with an emphasis on the “sex, drugs and rock n roll” culture of the glam metal movement in the 80’s. Like a good little mum, she did a bit of homework beforehand and questioned me about what to expect. I don’t think she was worried about the show itself, but more nervous if she had made the right decision about allowing me to go, especially when she heard that it was pretty standard there would be lots of “tits out”.

Then I think her humiliation and shame kicked in at the fact we were sitting in the little one’s section and here I was singing all the words to Asian Hooker and 17 Girls in a Row. My friend Damo was in the licensed section and sent me a message saying that the look on mum’s face was priceless. Poor mum.

On a serious note though, the show was incredible. Yes, every single song is pure filth, there’s lots of tits out and let’s not forget the blow-up sex doll being passed around the crowd but this isn’t just a rock concert, it’s a theatrical production. There’s props, make up, costumes, role playing, comedy, audience participation, the whole works. And more the point, they are all phenomenal musicians.

Michael Starr (I’m going with stage names) is an amazing vocalist. Compared to other front men from that era, he has definitely been the one to stay fit and fabulous and his voice is crazy awesome. He rocks the spandex pants better than any other human ever and the way he works is pure genius. Guitarist Satchel reminds me of Zoolander, Lexxi reminds me of that weird Boy George-ish character in the Wedding Singer and Stix just reminded me of why I have a sad weakness for glam metal drummers!

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Considering 80’s glam metal is one of my favourite obsessions (*said in Frank N. Furter voice*), it feels incredible to have been able to experience it live, especially as my opportunities to do so in the future will be pretty limited. I had an amazing time, I loved the atmosphere, I enjoyed sharing the experience with mum who genuinely appreciates the genre and it was brilliant to catch up with Damo after far too long! Everything about the show was perfect, including mum’s disgust at the extensive use of the p-word (which can also mean cat), the giant inflatable penis flying around the crowd and the lecture I copped all the way home about being careful what I do in case it ends up on social media or youtube!

My life has changed forever. That is all.