AusGrind: Australian underground grindcore, punk, doom and DIY culture.

4 good reasons to catch Slaughterfest this Saturday

Posted by Lachlan

I thought I'd do up a quick article with a few reasons why you shouldn't miss out on saucy Sydney's Slaughterfest III this Saturday at the somewhat seedy Sandringham Hotel (Alliteration. I'm clever.) - other than the obvious - that there are a whole score of kick-arse bands, and you can enjoy 12 hours of Australian grind, death, stoner and doom for a mere $20.

Captain Cleanoff: One of Australia's most renown grind bands. These guys deliver a slew of old school punk-influenced grind tunes in the style of Napalm Death. Their toe-tapping tunes recently took them over to Europe to play Obscene Extreme 2009. They also supported the awesome Brutal Truth while they were at it.

Captain Cleanoff - Hardcore Fashion Parade

The Kill: If Captain Cleanoff are one of our more renown grind bands, then The Kill are definitely our most violent; channeling the sheer unabated blasting aggression of Discordance Axis and Gridlink. Unpretentious caustic grindcore. This will be their first Sydney show in a long, long time (that is, if they ever even played in Sydney when Neil was singing for them...).

The Kill - Axe Attack / We Want Blood

Looking Glass: Fuck Wolfmother. These guys are hands down, without a doubt the best stoner rock band currently active in Australia. Fusing the nightmarish intensity of Jimi Hendrix psychedelia with baked Black Sabbath riffing and the sludged out heaviness of Kyuss, these guys will fucking blow you away - guaranteed. They have an incredible energy live. Don't miss this one.

Looking Glass - Acid Tongue

Ebolie: Sydney's booze-fueled metallic grinders with a penchant for bad jokes, drunken intensity, and dropping 16th notes without anyone particularly noticing. A combination of Nasum, Botch, Cephalic Carnage and The Dillinger Escape Plan. Get loose. Between you and me this might be one the last times you catch these guys. They're also supporting Brutal Truth the following Monday.

Ebolie - Cronullafornia

For the record, Pod People don't seem to have a fucking thing up on YouTube. Bastards.

Catch you all there Saturday. Things kick off at midday and the show may sell out - so get there early to avoid disappointment.


The mournful state of the Sydney music scene

Posted by Lachlan

One of the most disheartening news of recent times was the closure of Sydney’s Hopetoun Hotel – long a staple of quality local music, and one of the last few legitimate music venues left in this sad city. But the growing issue of venues to support the Australian music scene doesn’t start or end there – it is merely one of the more publicized instances in recent times.

A range of factors have combined to essentially rob Sydney of a strong grass-roots local music scene – everything from noise restrictions, expensive small venue licensing costs, insurance costs (especially for all age shows), growing cost/taxing of alcohol, poker machines, residential complaints, dance clubs and DJs.

The result has been very strict finishing times for venues like The Sandringham Hotel – who require the headlining band to finish up by 11:45 PM – not to mention exorbitant fines being gaily handed out. Take for example the Annandale Hotel, who were engaged in a 5 year court battle over late-trading and noise compliance costing them over $200,000.

In the case of festivals, one need not look further than this year’s Soundwave Festival, which was located at Eastern Creek Raceway – a full 40km from the centre of Sydney! Such saddening news of course does not stop there:

  • The Hopetoun Hotel has been boarded up without warning and put on the market.
  • The Harp Hotel closed after a management dispute with the venues owners.
  • The Annandale Hotel is rumored to be in great financial woe and may have to close its doors.
  • The Metro is now owned by Virgin Mobile, and is to be rebranded the Virgin Mobile Metro.
  • Maggotsville Warehouse – a valued DIY venue – has been forcibly closed by police.
  • The Empire Hotel – once an incredibly valued staple of Sydney’s rock, metal and punk scene – has since deteriorated into a paunch, faux-upper class bar which refuses to book such low class ‘riff raff’. It’s sad to see a venue like that turn into Opera Bar Lite®.
  • And let us not forget the likes of The Crest Hotel in Sylvania cancelling live music and and The Arncliffe Hotel completely closing its doors

It is certainly a sad time indeed, wherein we are left only with a smattering of smaller venues that are forced only to support larger-scale local music. Fewer still are now willing to support up and coming bands – let alone non-mainstream genres. One can no longer even find a fucking jazz club in Sydney. It should be no surprise that pathetic, riff-and-song-stealing frauds like Wolfmother represents our 'healthy rock scene', while truly innovative bands in the same genre who have been dropping the jaws of all spectators (I'm talking of Looking Glass) remain anonymous and unknown.

We are faced with a rising cost of venue licensing, insurance and alcohol coupled with residential and council pressure for stronger noise control. It is no wonder that the likes of Melbourne have long been seen as a city of taste, culture, art and creativity while Sydney has slowly been relegated to a gray, drab, burnt out husk of popular whim and the mainstream. The more time goes on, the more I agree with that assessment.

Compare a snapshot of Sydney to say, a show in Adelaide. I have been to Adelaide a total of 4 times in 12 months with my bands. Why? Because noise restrictions are not enforced in central city venues – you can have a headlining band not play until 2AM when punters are sufficiently in party mode. What’s more, you can play fucking LOUD – like dissident music is always supposed to be. Adelaide is also the only state which differentiates between "noise" and "music" when it comes to laws regarding "noise restrictions".

When you add up the cost of all of the above, coupled with the cost of bands, mixers, promoters and all the other growing financial headaches of the music venue world, it really becomes just a matter of time before all Sydney venues descending into an impalpable gray haze of poker machines, jukeboxes, ridiculous iPod DJs and those fucking acoustic-guitar wielding jerk shitheads who do nothing other than play horrible Jack Johnson covers to pre-programmed backing tracks for ample cash.

The concept of a small, old-style pub in Sydney has been long dead - sacrified for up-market, snooty psuedo-clubs. Now it looks like venue support for our local music scene is the next to go.

I want live music - so I go to gigs (Facebook support group thang)
Call for live aid
Musos suffer new blow as Harp Irish Pub closes (SMH)
Howls of protest as Hopetoun shuts (SMH)
Is Australia's live music scene dying? (ABC radio - from all the way back in 2003)
Nostalgia can't save the Hopetoun (Daily Telegraph)
Save the Hopetoun Hotel Blog (Some decent resources here and a push to help Sydney music)
Another rock hotel faces heartbreak (SMH)


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