The Dwarf's 2014 Top 10 Live Videos
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The Dwarf's 2014 Top 10 Live Videos




It's the last day of 2014, so here I am reflecting on the ten best live concert moments that I captured with my trusty old camera at gigs around Melbourne. It has been a really busy year. In 2014 I have posted over 500 live concert video footage on my Pro Vimeo music channel, as well as my popular YouTube website. Here are TEN of my favourite gigs of the year. So grab a cold frothy, sit back and watch some magic ignite on some of the stages, all around Melbourne Rock Central.

1. Glen Hansard - 'When Your Mind's Made Up' (Port Fairy Folk Festival 2014 on the 9th March 2014)

When I think of the concept of a "folk festivals", I have a bleak vision of a bunch of dirty hippies singing 'Kumbayah' or some quiet Peter, Paul And Mary songs. One thing that I have learnt at attending so many music festivals, is keep your eyes and ears open, and you will always discover and experience something new.

This performance is truly electrifying. He may look like a mere mortal of a man with a decrepit beaten up acoustic guitar but when Glen Hansard hits the stage, he transforms into a true giant amongst men. Watch this spine tingling performance of the frontman of The Frames and one half of the folk rock duo, The Swell Season, totally captivating the audience at the Port Fairy Folk Festival 2014. If this does not rock your world, you don't have a soul. We are so lucky that Glen regularly tours Australia, so catch this amazing performer next time he is playing in your town.


2. Bitter Sweet Kicks - Team Rock'n'Roll (Cherry Bar on the 28th June 2014)

If there is any other video or band that I am so emotionally connected to it would be this one. To me, it has always been about the songs. When that little young punk kid Brendan Charlie penned 'Team Rock'n'Roll', I wondered if he knew what he had just created? This song is in my heart is as important as GOD 'My Pal', Radio Birdman 'Aloha Steve and Danno', Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls 'Flash', The Saints 'I'm Stranded', The Lime Spiders 'Slave Girl', The Scientists 'Swampland' and The Lipstick Killers 'Hindu Gods (Of Love)'. If there was any justice, it would go down in aussie rock history as one of the greatest Australian songs.

Every time Bitter Sweet Kicks played on stage, there was always this simmering anticipation from the crowd who couldn't wait for that inevitable stage invasion, as they played their signature song. Bitter Sweet Kicks were the band that I photographed the most over the years, out of any other bands. Was I a photographer or a stalker? I was involved in photographing there promotional photographs for marketing and tours and I also created and was involved in a couple of their official music videos.

They were the only local band that flew the unbridled dangerous spirit of The MC5, The Powder Monkeys, Iggy And The Stooges and so on. This night was their bitter sweet farewell. They played a few more times afterwards but it never felt the same. Brendan left our shores after this concert at The Cherry Bar, to chase some fancy skirt in France. Chris Taranto left the band a few gigs afterwards and they fizzed out with little fanfare but in my heart for a few years, Bitter Sweet Kicks were the best goddamn rock'n'roll band in Australia. Team Rock'n'Roll forever!


3. Sunnyboys - The Seeker (Forum Theatre on the 21st March 2014)

Documenting the sold out shows at the Forum Theatre by eighties icons, The Sunnyboys was a true mission of love. Having seen the trials and tribulations that the band had gone through in their documentary, it was pure bliss to see the Jeremy Oxley smiling and enjoying himself so much. Especially then they played my all time favourite song by the band, 'The Seeker'. It was such a joy to watch a very animated Richard Burgman, Bill Bilson banging the drums and Jeremy's brother Peter Oxley on bass. THIS IS REAL!

They had played a smaller gig at The Corner Hotel in 2012. Playing a big room with the whole crowd singing along to the bright, happy, young, fun songs of The Sunnyboys was a very memorable experience. 'Alone With You', 'You Need A Friend', 'Love In A Box', made me a very 'Happy Man'. Talk about a comeback, there was so much love in the room on those nights back in March.


4. HITS - Take Your Pills (Corner Hotel, Richmond on the 3rd Nov 2014)

HITS are the best aussie band in the land. The best thing to come out of Brisbane since The Saints and that might be a big call but their latest album Hikikomori was my favourite Australian album of the year. With a solid pounding backbeat, the twin axe attack from Tamara Dawn and Stacey Coleman and the mesmerising antics from Evil Dick Richards. 2015 will be the year for HITS, as they breakout from under the dirty smelly shadow into the bright spotlight, like a BULLET TRAIN!


5. Teenage Mothers - I Love Her So Much, I'll Kill Her (Shebeen on the 23rd Aug 2014)

There is no doubt in my mind that Raph Brous is a clever cookie. Unfortunately Teenage Mothers seem to be always getting negative media attention, as they obviously "Don't Wanna Play The Game". Personally I don't give a flying fuck about all of the silly controversies and the sad trolls making smartarse posts on the shame cauldron. I am solely interested in the music and this band has high quality songs in spades.

Starting off with a shimmering guitar loop and then some sweet gospel organ playing as this song slowly starts, "I Love Her So Much, I'll Kill Her" embodies the frustrations and angry feelings of a relationship breakdown. With unhinged jealous rage and contemplating murder, this song suddenly cranks it into high gear. It's a wild ride. While other songs be Teenage Mothers like 'I Hate New York' or 'Orlando and Miranda' might have got all of the attention, this song resonates with me and it is a tour de force and the best song from their debut album, I Wish I Was Beautiful.


6. Future Of The Left - Singing Of The Bonesaws/Lasped Catholic/Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues (Corner Hotel on the 2nd Jan 2014)

Expect the unexpected at any Future Of The Left concerts. Beer unicorns with the poor punter being passed around the crowd like a ragdoll, dismantling of drum kits mid song, feeding a banana to the audience members, that has been gaffa taped to the guitar headstock. That sort of crazy thing. This is the final encore of their gig at the Corner Hotel. From 'Singing Of The Bonesaws' from their latest album, 'How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident' and then exploding into two classic songs by mclusky, 'Lasped Catholics' and 'Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues' and then suddenly lurching back into Catholics again. I have lots of other videos from that night including some excellent video footage of the band performing 'Arming Eritrea', 'Small Bones Small Bodies', 'Manchasm', 'You Need Satan More Than He Needs You' and 'To Hell With Good Intentions'. It is all there and much more, if you love mclusky or Future Of The Left, on my Vimeo music channel.


7. Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano with Spencer P Jones - Blister In The Sun (Cherry Bar on the 7th Jan 2014)

The Melbourne music scene is full of secrets. Surprise midnight gigs from international acts, backyard jams in houses in the suburbs and sometimes just some good friends that haven't seen each other in years getting together for a fun night out on a stage. No wonder I call this vibrant music town, "Melbourne Rock Central".

Spencer P Jones played with the classic cowpunk outfit, The Johnnys, who supported the very first Violent Femmes tour to Australia back in the 80's. Just a few days before, when the reformed Violent Femmes performed an epic performance at The Falls Festival at Lorne, Spencer was invited on stage to play on a couple of songs. Violent Femmes' lead singer/songwriter Gordon Gano was proudly wearing a Spencer P Jones T-Shirt at Falls. LOVEFEST!

So when James Young the owner of The Cherry Bar contacted me that Gordon and Spencer were going to perform tonight at The Cherry Bar, I just hightailed it down there to see what special musical treats were in store. With Spencer on guitar and Gordon on violin they performed a bunch of Spencer songs. They even did a tribute to Lou Reed with the violins being a perfect sound with an extraordinary cover of The Velvet Underground "New Age".

When Spencer asked Gordon to sing a couple of songs, he treated everyone with a laid back countrified version of "Blister In The Sun". Other Violent Femmes songs performed were "Good Feeling" and a totally rock out version of "Dance, Motherfucker, Dance!" with both Spencer and Gordon sharing vocal duties and JR Reyne helping out on guitar. They finished the set with a cover of The Cleans, "Anything Could Happen", which Spencer's old band The Johnnys use to also cover. MAGIC!


8. The Dandy Warhols - Bohemian Like You (Corner Hotel, Richmond on the 3rd Sept 2014)

Only in Melbourne Rock Central could we have five sold out shows for the legendary grunge inspired alternative pop from Portland, The Dandy Warhols. I have had the pleasure to photograph them playing various music festivals but never before in such a small intimate venue like The Corner Hotel in Richmond. To see them up close and bangin' out all of their hits including "We Use To Be Friends", "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth", "Get Off", "Godless", "Horse Pills" and my personal favourite, "Bohemian Just Like You". WHOOO-WHOOOO WOOOOOO!

NB: This video also has the song lyrics, if you click on the CC (Closed Caption) icon.


9. Chris Stamey of The dB's - Happenstance (Northcote Social Club on the 28th Jan 2014)

The dB's are power pop gods and one of those bands that will unfortunately never tour Australia. Quietly watching Chris Stamey in awe, playing this song in an near empty room in Northcote was pure bliss for me. I really loved that band from the first time when I was a pimple faced spotty teenager who picked up their nifty little seven inch vinyl single 'Black And White' with the flipside, 'Soul Kiss' from an import record store. If you have never heard of The dB's before, wrap your ears around some of their greatest songs like 'Amplifier', 'Dynamite', 'Bonneville' and 'The Fight'. They totally out weezered Weezer before Weezer even existed, by a good ten years. Is that a valid sentence? I don't know but I hope you get my drift.


10. Bits Of Shit (Port Royal Street Party, Port Melbourne on the 18th Jan 2014)

The Port Royal Street Party looks like it might be a one off event. It was a brilliant sunny day, tripping out on Sailor Jerry cocktails while having a blast with some of my all time favourite aussie bands playing: Cosmic Psychos, The Meanies, The Murlocs, Harmony, The Spinning Rooms, Straight Arrows and more. This highly entertaining performance by Bits Of Shit takes the cake. The denim jacket wearing band is made up of member of The Up Syndrome, Southernhay Orphans, The Sailors and The Ooga Boogas. Watching crazy frontman, Danny Vanderpol interact with the crowd and providing the best exit that I have ever seen at a gig. He is like a hyped up wild eyed bogan version of Iggy Pop and a cheeky Bon Scott rolled into one.

Is this the last ever Bits Of Shit performance? According to their website, "We are going on hiatus for an indeterminate length of time due to personal reasons". It will be sad to see them go because has far as frontmen goes, Danny entertaining antics on stage, made Bits Of Shits one of Australia's best bands. The band does have an annual SHITFEST UnAustralian Day Spectacular coming up at The Tote on the 25th-26th of January 2015. Bits Of Shit are not playing but it looks like they might have mutated into two new bands: Whipper and Octopus Brothers.


I have to be honest. I can't just do a TOP 10 because when I look back, there is at least another another 25 amazing video moments, I want to add. A whole series of sold out Spiderbait concerts at The Corner, the second Down On The Farm music festival, River Rocks in Geelong, Daddy Cool being inducted into the The Age Music Victoria hall of fame, The Painters and Docker's fun set at The Community Cup, Even playing on a rooftop on a sunny day, Phosphorescent's intimate Live To Air set at Triple R, the welcome return of Radio Birdman's blistering set at The Corner Hotel, some brilliant Led Zep tribute nights, three nights of Living Legends celebrating the music of Kim Salmon, Spencer P. Jones and Charlie Owen at The Tote, some of my favourite bands like Wire, The Dwarves and The Vibrators and so much more.

I am going to add this special little bonus to this top ten list. It's Davey Lane's special tribute to The Masters Apprentices' Jim Keays, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

2014 is almost over. What amazing special musical treats await us in 2015. Only time will tell but you can bet you, I will be documenting this unique Melbourne music community.

BONUS:
THE AGE MUSIC VICTORIA AWARDS: Davey Lane & RocKwiz Orkestra - Because I Love You @ 170 Russell, Melbourne (19th Nov 2014)

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