REVIEW: RYA PARK- THE WORKERS CLUB, FITZROY (15/6/2017)

The best kind of Thursday night is a Thursday night spent at The Workers Club. Luckily enough for me, I have in fact spent several Thursday nights on the corner of Brunswick and Gertrude Streets. This night, in particular, was one I was definitely looking forward to.

Thursday June 15 saw Rya Park headline the band room, with supporting sets from Bloom and Jack the Fox. Not only did Rya headline an incredible show, she played to a sold-out crowd- the first I’d seen for the very band room I have spent an awful lot of time in.

I managed to catch the second half of Bloom’s set, and well, this girl really needs no introduction. I was instantly a fan after seeing her come runner up in the 2016 Melbourne Music Bank finale.

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 I also then scored the opportunity to review her single launch back in January (you can find it here!)

From experience, Bloom puts on immensely diverse sets- she is possibly the most vocally diverse artist I’ve seen out of Melbourne in a long time, and this set was no exception. She moved away from the soulful jazz I had once seen her play and headed towards the electronic pop thing- something I totally appreciate. Playing an entirely solo set with her laptop and guitar worked entirely to her advantage, and showed the audience yet again that she is a powerful, emerging Melbourne artist and a complete force

to be reckoned with. I actually almost forgot how good she is until I saw her that night, so definitely look her up if you haven’t yet.

The next act of the night was occasional-duo, occasional-five-piece-band act Jack the Fox. I’d literally never heard of these guys before seeing them (I honestly prefer it that way sometimes- it’s so much easier going in entirely unbiased), but far out they were unbelievable.

Overcoming some initial technical issues, the lead singer especially just got on with it- which is literally what this whole live music thing is about. I was left speechless the minute he opened his mouth- before he’d even started the set. What a voice this guy has and what a band these guys are. The audience were introduced to some Mumford and Sons-ish, storyteller vocals with incredibly picturesque lyrics. The underlying haunting tone in his voice had me on edge the entire time, and yet each song was different from the rest.19397732_1065316940268264_1849820819_n.jpg

Oh it gets better, though. They managed to get a didgeridoo on stage. And play it whilst alternating with vocals. I mean, seriously, why have I only just come across this band? These guys were honestly just awesome, and totally embodied the rawness of the Melbourne music scene.

Rya graced the audience with her presence not too long after Jack the Fox blew everyone away. Rya Park also fronts Melbourne-based band Tempus Sun, who were the winners of the 2016 Melbourne Music Bank. She is one artist who can perform either way and still completely encapsulate everyone in the audience.

Watching Rya perform was like staring into the soul of Ella Hooper- circa Weir. She’s definitely got the potential to have a long withstanding career, too. Rya also embodies the power of women in the music industry, with her songs sharing the theme of freedom.

The highlight of her set was her cover of London Grammar’s Strong. Not going to lie, I was totally nervous when she announced it- they’re one of my favourite bands. And let’s not forget that Hannah Reid is one of the best vocalists going around. Covering any song of theirs, let alone their most popular, is a tough gig, but Rya nailed every second of it. It was just awesome to see an artist challenge themselves and succeed.

I’m finding it difficult whilst writing this to pull apart her set, just because she’s honestly so good. I did struggle to hear her speaking when introducing her songs, but considering it was a sold-out show that was to be expected. There were no flaws apart from that, however.

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Rya’s final (well second-from-final) song of the night, highlighted just how versatile and dynamic her range is. It was a powerful, assertive song that had everyone on their feet. The backing vocalists really came to light as well, with everyone both on and off stage becoming involved. The crowd loved it so much that they demanded an encore, and Rya was awesome enough to meet their demands- something I’ve definitely never seen happen at a small gig. She encored with an upbeat tune- quite contrasting from the previous one- to round out the night.

Rya Park is an act to watch, and a name to remember. Her free-spirited, yet passionate tracks are catchy, well-performed and just a whole lot of fun.

 

Check out more from Rya Park:
Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

REVIEW: SCOTT CANDLISH EP LAUNCH, ‘HOME AWAY FROM HOME’ – THE WORKERS CLUB, FITZROY (23/2/17)

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love a live gig. I love them even more when the gig belongs to someone I’ve recently met.
February 23 of 2017 was one of those nights.

I had seen Scott Candlish play before, as an opening act for fellow Melbourne act, The Hunter Express. I have also recently interviewed him, learnt his story and published his profile online. As a result, my respect for him continually grows. The launch of his EP ‘Home Away From Home’ had everyone in the Bandroom at The Workers Club grooving along.

Opening the night was Citrus Jam and let’s just say I was completely lost for words. The fusion of flamenco and metal with just his acoustic guitar, brought his absolute A-game. Despite sitting on a chair the entire set, he was able to manipulate his guitar and his loop pedal into something that was a completely new experience for me. And that is what I love about music, and in particular live music. That is how you know that they know music.

Everyone in the audience was awestruck and I even heard passing comments from them such as “that’s nuts” and “that is pure mental.” The best part of his set though, was that he was a damn good guitarist and an excellent musician who knew exactly what he was doing to get the crowd going. I must add that Jena’s highlight of the set was when he played his own rendition of Sandstorm.

C5jcOFDWQAAygvP.jpgFollowing Citrus Jam was two-piece band Wolf and Willow. They could not have been a further different genre and the only thing the two acts had in common were that they both used guitars (just goes to show how good guitars are!) You could tell from the first song that they were laid-back, go-with-the-flow kind of guys, but they gelled really well together. The lead vocalist was silky smooth, yet still gave off Passenger vibes.

The best part of their set was their interactivity, both with each other and with the crowd. They were definitely ‘all about the music,’ as they explained via one of their songs and gave a good live performance.

Without a doubt, Brad Ellis of The Hunter Express is one of the best musicians I’ve seen across Melbourne. Having been impressed with him last time I saw him, I figured he was going to be back at his best. And he was. He is able to alternate between funky, upbeat tunes and laid-back folk songs whilst maintaining his musicianship the entire time.

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I made comments on his single Hoping You Don’t Mind at All when I last wrote a review on one of his gigs. This song is just fantastic and honestly one that everyone should know. It is a mixture of big-band and roots, and the lyrics are so catchy you will be singing them for days. He got Scott up on stage to sing alongside him and that just made it all the more better.

Scott returned to the stage not too far later as the main act of the night. His opening track Flee, gave the audience a piece of exactly who he is as an artist. A traditional folk track with heartfelt, expressive lyrics was the perfect way to launch the Home Away From Home set.

It was awesome to see Scott’s pop and rock sides. The band was great and if it wasn’t for the fact that he told me it was only the second time he’d play with them in a couple years, I wouldn’t have known any better. Tracks Thrown It Your Way, Contact List were catchy, upbeat and relatable. His cover of Dave Matthews’ Grey Street was epic, and the band just brought the house down.

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Shown Me Why and The Stranger were my two favourite songs of the night. They showed off how good his vocals were, and I appreciated his guitar work (despite what he says about instruments!) Shown Me Why was definitely a noteworthy track and one I could see going places. Monsters was also another highlight, as he stripped it right back and gave everything into this personal and encapsulating track.

Scott finished off the night the only way he could- with possibly the most folky song on the EP, Two Feet. It was also the first track released from it and sums up the concept of the EP entirely. He made me respect him even more at the conclusion of the night adding an extra song onto the set list to give his adoring crowd an ‘encore.’

A big hand goes to all the artists as they worked really well with the crowd and kept the majority of people engaged whilst giving awesome performances. I mean, we were hooked!

All in all, it was another memorable night at The Workers’ Club. Congratulations to Scott on the release of his EP Home Away From Home.

I can guarantee you will be hearing more of his name in the future.

To purchase the EP: https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/home-away-from-home/id1198694079

To follow Scott Candlish, click the following links:
SoundcloudTwitter | Facebook Instagram

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

REVIEW: ABBEY STONE- THE TOFF IN TOWN, MELBOURNE (29/1/17)

Without a doubt The Toff in Town is my favourite live music venue in all of Melbourne (well, maybe with the exception of Festival Hall- I mean The Beatles have performed there.) As a result, I was eager to see Abbey Stone do her thing there. Yes, it was the night of the Australian Open Men’s Final and yes, I had just worked an eight hour shift (oh, the life of a barista!), but, I was definitely excited.

Opening the show was Liv Cartledge, a young singer-songwriter from Beechworth. I must admit, I’d never heard her name before, but as a fan of music and someone who writes about music, I was keen to hear what she had to offer.

I was beyond impressed. I was also grateful she introduced every single song, because it made writing this far easier.

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She opened her set with Timber, which was an easy-listening tune but at the same time introduced her deep vocals. This made it rather complex, but definitely an appropriate song to kick off the night as it was enticing and the audience got to learn who she was very quickly. Ciggies, was a particularly interesting choice for a song title, as Liv admitted that she wasn’t a smoker, but its folky and acoustic undertones showed off her diversity as an artist. With an upbeat funky chorus, it is the perfect road trip song.

Her instrumental use was as diverse as her vocal range. The incorporation of an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar and a bass guitar, often in the same song worked wonders both with the band interaction, and also their interaction with the audience. Liv’s husky, yet powerful vocals were reminiscent of Stevie Nicks’ early days. In her heavier, edgier performances she sightly reminded me of Paramore’s Hayley Williams.

Liv’s original work is unbelievable, yet the highlight of the set was definitely her cover of the 1996 song Pony, by Ginuwine. All I have to say about that cover is “wow.” It honestly was probably one of my favourite covers I’ve ever seen and has meant that Liv’s music has left a mark on me.

Abbey Stone is also a force to be reckoned with. She’s sophisticated and elegant, and the opening of her set was no exception. As she sat by her piano ready to play, you already knew that she was an artist who took her craft seriously. I’d listened to a little bit of her music before the show, but I always go into to live shows not knowing what to expect.

From the opening note, I could tell she was a soulful, powerful vocalist. Everything was technical and everything was flawless, definitely along the lines of Alicia Keys. Even then the opening track had me thinking of Carrie Underwood and the vocally powerful country-pop artists. I Wish You Would Stay was the perfect example of this, and demonstrated the depth of her lyrics. It was heartfelt and emotional, and she effortlessly made you feel what she was feeling. There was a noticeable trend in that each song had a similar theme of heartbreak, was approached a different way each time.

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Whilst I can’t explain every single little thing she did, I can tell you that she almost literally threw her whole body into the entire performance. She was a very visual performer to watch, as her facial expressions and body language reflected the themes of each individual song. Put that with an insane vocal ability and performing the whole set solo, and you have one unstoppable artist. On the Australian scale of things, her vocal ability is comparable to the likes of Delta Goodrem.

The highlight of her set would have to be Stuck. A catchy tune with amusing lyrics, it displayed Abbey’s fun and quirky side. I also admired the way she presented her ‘trilogy,’ as it provides a concept to her EP. The trilogy could not have ended any more perfectly. I’m Still Here, allowed her to really kick up her power and show how aggressive her performances can be and also her sass.

Abbey is nothing short of a powerful vocalist and an entertaining performer.
I’m sure we’ll see big things from both Abbey and Liv in the future.

To purchase the EP :https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/doorways/id936532268

To follow Abbey Stone, click the following links:
YouTubeTwitter | Facebook Instagram
Websitewww.abbeystone.com.au

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

REVIEW: THE HUNTER EXPRESS EP LAUNCH- GASOMETER, COLLINGWOOD (22/10/2016)

I’ll start by saying, I’m no stranger to the Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood, but I had never set foot inside the Bandroom. It was a charming little venue that reminded me of the local pubs you’d find in British films. In saying that, I found that the Bandroom was possibly too small for The Hunter Express, as the audience packed in for what was a night of music to remember.

The first act of the night, Jane Sea, was a last-minute fill in. She definitely succeeded beyond her role, however! Her powerful vocals shone through as she played a mixed set of covers and originals. I adored her acoustic cover of MGMT’s Electric Feel, as she was able to impress with her vocal ability.

Scott Candlish was the next act to take the stage and despite his laid-back nature, he didn’t fail to deliver. I found it difficult to place him into one particular genre without any prior research, but he did give off a folky vibe with some country undertones. Regardless, I really enjoyed his set! He performed part of his set alongside his friend Annabelle and their voices balanced each other out superbly. A highlight of his set included the launch of his single ‘Two Feet.’

Concluding the night was main man Brad Ellis aka The Hunter Express who was launching his debut EP Bluestone Lane. His mixture of roots and big-band, as well as his heartfelt lyrics created an EP that is definitely worth checking out! Hoping You Don’t Mind at All, the leading single of the EP, was the most memorable song. It’s big-band vibe and catchy lyrics had everyone in the room singing and dancing away.

I also really enjoyed Feels Alright, as Brad was able to show off his folk ability. He and Scott performed part of his set together, which I loved as the banter between them was fun and easy-going. That is what I really appreciate about smaller gigs!

Despite the venue being crowded, three acts with bright futures played their hearts out in what was a great night of music!

Congratulations to The Hunter Express on the launch of his debut EP, Bluestone Lane.

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 Follow The Hunter Express on
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Click here to buy Hunter Express’ EP titled Bluestone Lane.

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra.