A bushfire benefit concert by Tones and I; a collaborative rendition of the iconic Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack; one of rock music’s most beloved slackers ascends to a major venue; disco, jazz and techno at a late-night club; and a psychedelic 3D audio-visual show from one of electronic music’s most influential artists. Dive in.
Tones and I
Since releasing her second single Dance Monkey in May last year, Victorian-born musician (and one-time busker) Tones and I has become nothing short of an international sensation.
Dance Monkey hit number one in 30 countries around the world and has been at the top of the Australian charts for 22 non-consecutive weeks, beating previous record holder Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You, which held the number one spot for a comparatively paltry 15 weeks. The success has brought accolades to the singer, including four ARIA awards.
Originally from Mount Martha, Tones and I has announced a bushfire fundraising concert at 170 Russell. She’ll be bringing along a bunch of secret guests (Adrian Eagle is the only one announced so far), and 100 per cent of profits from ticket sales and merch will go to the RFS, CFA and the Australian Red Cross.
Tones and I plays 170 Russell on January 28. Tickets go on sale at 10am on January 8 here.
Songs from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
For anyone who remembers the launch of the original Playstation, there are few games more iconic than Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. If you were a teenager at the time, chances are high that you spent hours in a friend’s basement consuming energy drinks to fuel marathon gaming sessions riding as the eponymous skater, bursting out over Nevada’s Hoover Dam and landing tricks such as the Kickflip McTwist or the 900.
In the age of skate-punk and ska bands (and Dickies shorts), the soundtrack to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater could be considered one of the most important musical artefacts of the early 2000s. Despite having only 10 songs, it felt layered and varied. There was the pop-ska of Superman by Goldfinger, classic anti-authoritarian punk in Dead Kennedys Police Truck and absurd funk-bass lines in Primus’s Jerry Was a Racecar Driver.
On the 18th, a group of Melbourne musicians are getting together with the ridiculous intention of playing the soundtrack live. The line-up includes members of Destrends, Hideous Sun Demon, Mesa Cosa, Defron, Sugar Teeth, Electric Self, Mangelwurzel and Dick Willoughby & the Dirty Stop Outs.
From 6pm, there’s a Playstation competition in the front bar – if you think you’ve still got what it takes to step into Chad Muska’s shoes and bust out a 360 Shove-It Rewind.
Songs from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is at the Croxton Bandroom on January 18. Tickets here.
Looking back, the release of Flying Lotus’s album Cosmogramma at the beginning of the decade was a watershed moment for the re-introduction of jazz into popular music. The album mixed hip-hop and IDM to create a sound that was dense and cryptic, but accessible nonetheless.
It’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to see the links between Cosmogramma and Kendrick Lamar’s jazz-inflected masterpiece To Pimp a Butterfly (Lamar even rapped on FlyLo’s 2014 track Never Catch Me). Through his label, Brainfeeder, Flying Lotus has had a massive influence on the careers of other LA luminaries, both in the jazz world and elsewhere. Acclaimed artists such as Kamasi Washington, Thundercat and Georgia Anne Muldrow have all released music on the label.
But Flying Lotus’s creativity goes beyond music. In 2017 he released his directorial debut Kuso, an unhinged horror-comedy feature film about the mutated survivors of a Los Angeles earthquake. He’s also pioneered the use of 3D visuals, utilising the technology in his shows as far back as 2012. His new show, Flying Lotus 3D, uses 3D screen technology to create a psychedelic audio-visual experience.
Flying Lotus plays the Forum on January 25. Tickets here.
The first time I saw Mac DeMarco play was at Meredith in 2013. During his song Ode to Viceroy, a woozy love-letter to his favourite brand of smokes, a bout of guitar thrashing led to a few broken strings. A band member on stage sarcastically says, “Oh yeah, three strings, that’s only gonna take about three minutes if I know my man Mac.” The string change ended up consuming about half of his set, during which time his band members did their best to fill the silence by cracking jokes and playing goofy cover songs. When he did finally get the strings sorted, the crowd went wild. It was utterly shambolic and but wildly entertaining, despite only getting about 20 minutes of Mac’s music.
But DeMarco, once known for his dart-punching slacker persona, has become an increasingly accomplished songwriter across his albums 2, Salad Days and This Old Dog. From playful beginnings, Mac’s songs have gotten deeper, more touching and introspective. His most recent album, 2019’s Here Comes the Cowboy, sounds like it was recorded in a cabana set up on a cattle ranch – it’s a stripped back, tropical-country kind of sound.
And now the guy who once stuck drumsticks up his arse while covering U2’s Beautiful Day is playing a venue as big as Festival Hall. He’s being supported by Pond, whose excellent live show is reason to enough to go.
Mac DeMarco plays Festival Hall on January 11. Tickets here.
Late-night Queensberry Street nightclub Colour this month launches Bloom, a new night from booking, production and artist management service Moor Music.
Moor Music was started by Josh Olave last year, following a mammoth May block party in North Fitzroy. Three neighbouring houses gave over their backyards for the mini-festival, which showcased up-and-coming Melbourne electronic musicians and DJs. Olave says it was his first attempt at creating what he calls a “a live rave jazz scene”.
At Bloom, Moor Music will host jubilant disco band Honey, who played a peak Friday night slot at Golden Plains last year and have been getting audiences loose and sweaty during regular performances at The Night Cat. Honey co-headlines with Melbourne producer, singer and songwriter Mha Iri, who’ll play a DJ set weaving her signature euphoric melodies and thumping kick drums. Elsewhere on the bill are live performances from avant-pop artist Niiine and neo-jazz six piece Cofi, and DJ sets from Champagne Internet and Hamslice.
Bloom takes place at Colour on January 10. Tickets here.