As the year draws to an end, we thought it was time to reflect on all the awesome shows we’ve been to in the last 12 months. From international superstars to local shows that have absolutely blown us away, here’s a list of our favourite shows of 2015.
Spiegelworld: ABSINTHE – Wheeler Place in March
ABSINTHE was a wild ride, and certainly not for the faint-hearted. Much like its namesake spirit, ABSINTHE is bold, biting, and might make you see some really strange things. A raucous and raunchy cocktail of cabaret, burlesque and daring circus acts, full of jaw-dropping moments – both from the incredible stunts and brazenly bawdy dialogue. Although, we I may never look at sock puppets the same way again (anyone who’s seen the show will know exactly what we mean)…
Dune Rats & Cosmic Psychos – The Cambridge Hotel in June
Combine the tumultuous forces of old school ocker punk lords with new breed stoner-punk ruffians, both infamous for their wild, thrashing, beer-drenched antics, and chaos will surely ensue. The whole show had this rollicking, unpredictable vibe. Kind of like a house-party where your three crazy, irresponsible, old uncles show up shit-faced and shredding on guitar. Good times. Shoe-ys for everyone!
Bad Luck Kitty – Operation Cyclone in June
Can Tom Blake be any more talented? In Bad Luck Kitty, he’s behind a stand up drum kit providing the driving rhythm for this highly entertaining rockabilly band. And he’s bloody good at it. These guys have great songs, and the interplay between guitarist/vocalist and bass player, Adam Gear and Dean Lewis, is not only great to watch, but it really gives the songs an energy beyond their sum. With the three players standing up the front of the stage and delivering danceable song after danceable song, it was hard not to sit up and take notice.
Justin Ngariki & the Dastardly Bastards – Stag & Hunter Hotel in June
The conditions were perfect. A packed room of live music lovers, an in-house PA lovingly installed and operated, Justin Ngariki, and a band made up of some of Newcastle’s most talented musicians. The cover of LA Woman by The Doors was a real highlight, as was the band’s version of the Neil Diamond classic Crunchy Granola Suite. Song after song of grooves, gutsy vocal lines, and blistering guitar solos.
KISS – Newcastle Entertainment Centre in October
From the moment you walked in, it was clear from the many and varied lookalikes that this was a KISS concert, and the vibe was high. After over 30 decades, this glammed-up foursome still give it their all. Playing all the big hits and crowd favourites, the show was a sonic explosion of sound, lights, fire, smoke and aerial manoeuvres that blow away every superlative in the ‘spectacular’ genre. Gene spat blood. Paul charmed like a lover. It was classic KISS, rocking and rolling all night.
Blackfeather – Lizottes in October
With a stellar line-up that included original singer, Neale Johns, Stuart Fraser (Noiseworks), and Paul Wheeler (Icehouse), this gig was always going to be special. The show featured some of Neale’s newer solo tunes, and of course, the epic Seasons Of Change and the honky hit single Boppin’ The Blues. Neale Johns has a supreme rock voice and, with the grunt of this band behind him, this guy really shone. One of those spine-tingling shows you wished would never end.
Fleetwood Mac – Hope Estate in November
What a show. We’re almost lost for words when it comes to describing how incredible it was to see this iconic five-piece. Time has definitely not tarnished this band, with a performance as strong as ever, and a powerful collection of songs that – evidently, from the broad range of ages in attendance – continues to resonate from generation to generation. These guys absolutely rocked it; Mick Fleetwood’s killer drum solo, Lindsay Buckingham’s shredding guitar solo, and of course, the enigmatic Steve Nicks sashaying across the stage in what can only be described as her very own dance solo. An unforgettable concert.
Thirsty Merc – Belmont 16s in November
Following the tragic death of their tour manager and injury to their drummer, Thirsty Merc, pulled themselves up and continued their ‘The Good Life’ tour to promote their new album Shifting Gears. With a show that included classics like In The Summertime and 20 Good Reasons as well as newer tracks, the band cooked like few others, and the crowd, many of whom were jammed at the front of the stage, loved every second of it. Memorable for all the right reasons.
Jon Toogood – Stag & Hunter in December
Toogood set the atmosphere of his crowd interactions for the evening with a crack of his whip-like wit and humour, before jumping headfirst into a banquet of covers close to his heart and what songs of his own that could survive an acoustic transition. Joining the choir was mandatory, as Toogood insisted upon roaring singalongs, but never once falling short of entirely engaging.