Feature Car: V Resto Garage’s 1970 Ford Falcon

17 Apr

Don’t be fooled by the typical GT-clone appearance of this brand new build from V Resto Garage – there’s nothing typical about the fit, finish and performance of this 1970 Ford Falcon. Under the bonnet lies a 514ci monster that’s housed within a flawlessly smooth engine bay. That same level of detail weaves throughout the car and combined with the 22in Simmons FR rims (12in wide at the back) and you’ve got one hell of a muscle car! It was featured in the April 2019 issue of Street Machine.

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V Resto Garage's 1970 Ford Falcon
V Resto Garage's 1970 Ford Falcon
V Resto Garage's 1970 Ford Falcon

Live Review: Heistfest 2019 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – April 7, 2019

16 Apr

36CrazyFists + Superheist + From Crisis to Collapse + BLKLST + Take My Soul @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – April 7, 2019

36 Crazyfists @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Another Sunday gig at the Cambridge Hotel and another early start. Not a huge issue in and of itself, when the venue fails to list the correct start time on its own website until late into the afternoon of the show and you aren’t surprised when the bands on show tonight are playing to far fewer people than they would normally.

Take My Soul @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Sadly, one of Newcastle’s brightest new bands Take My Soul only plays to a couple dozen punters just after 4pm. Despite the lack of bodies, the modern, down-tuned, 7-string-wielding five-piece brings all the riffs as well as some stupidly tasty, crystalline clean parts that provide the perfect balm to the brutality of the heavy stuff. Their new EP is definitely worth checking out.

BLKLST @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Melbourne’s BLKLST is on stage next and the crowd is still thin on the ground, but the four-piece make a huge racket for a single-guitar band. Self-proclaimed as a nu-metal/hardcore hybrid, they’re pretty on the money, with the band’s singer showcasing some moves and vocal influences very reminiscent of the late 1990s scene that spawned bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit and so many more. Super tight, the bass player offers some sick backing vocals, too. Definitely worth a watch.

From Crisis to Collapse @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

From Crisis to Collapse is next to inflict their aural assault onto the growing crowd. Based in Byron Bay, the five-piece wasted no time laying waste to the audience with Technicolor bogan front man Angus Carter seemingly equal parts mental and brutal. While his on-the-edge-of-sanity persona is enough to grab your interest, the group’s riff-laden song list does the rest, with more meat on the bone than your local butcher. Sadly their fleet-fingered lead guitarist is lost in the mix during lead breaks.

Superheist @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

When Superheist reformed in 2016, fans were suitably stoked to see the beloved metal/nu-metal band back on stages around the country. Back in the early ’00s, their albums reached into the Top 20 thanks to some cunning pop-sensibilities and excellent song writing.

So while tonight’s crowd might be there in part due to a strong sense of nostalgia, it’s not all down to their back catalogue. The set list is peppered with new tracks that are every bit as catchy and crushing as the old stuff – perhaps even more so, given their use of 8-string guitars for an even more guttural approach.

Superheist @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

While guitarist and brainchild DW Norton might be the only mainstay in the band from its heyday, the current line up proves full of energy and presence – particularly singer Ezekiel Ox (Mammal) who spends most of the set out in the middle of the crowd.

We’re assured that this won’t be the last Heistfest and with a line up of bands like this, we can’t wait for the next tone.

36 Crazyfists @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Finally, Alaska’s 36 Crazyfists launch onto the darkened stage. Calling the Cambridge main room half full would be optimistic, but those present are all enthusiastic to see the veteran four-piece in action – at times a little moshing can be seen splitting the crowd into two halves.

Around since 1994, the band’s catalogue has been consistently strong and drummer Kyle Baltus (a member since 2012) absolutely pounds the skins tonight, providing the perfect basis for some tight, intense performances. They may have been the most mainstream-sounding of the line up tonight, but there are enough punishingly heavy moments to make everyone happy.

36 Crazyfists @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - April 7, 2019

Singer Brock Lindow must have cooked himself tonight, wearing a Parka for at least the first half of the 13-song set. His voice sounded great in the more sung parts, but proved a little raspy in the heavier sections. Guitarist Steve Holt really shined there, providing a mean roar when required.

This reviewer thinks the Cambridge has some responsibility for this gig’s small audience. With a University-oriented weekly show called ‘Sunday School’ happening from around 8pm, the venue clearly wants to have its cake and eat it too. Only problem is that they haven’t done enough to inform everyone else.

The fact that their own website listed ‘Doors at 8pm’ until mere hours before the event had to impact attendance and the bands are the ones that suffered. Otherwise it was a great show full of strong performances and you should definitely pencil in the next Heistfest for 2020.

Phil Anselmo & The Illegals @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – March 31, 2019

10 Apr

Originally published on Life Music Media

Phil Anselmo & The Illegals - Newcastle, March 31, 2019
Phil Anselmo & The Illegals – Newcastle, March 31, 2019
Phil Anselmo & The Illegals - Newcastle, March 31, 2019
Phil Anselmo & The Illegals – Newcastle, March 31, 2019
Phil Anselmo & The Illegals - Newcastle, March 31, 2019
Phil Anselmo & The Illegals – Newcastle, March 31, 2019

It’s not every Sunday that you get to experience some of the crustiest, filthiest metal the scene has to offer while the sun is still shining (festivals being the exception). But here we are on a perfect Autumnal day, walking into the iconic Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle before 5pm to witness just that.

Palm (Japan) - Newcastle, March 31, 2019
Palm (Japan) – Newcastle, March 31, 2019

Sadly missing out on openers Potion, we’re glad that we’re there early enough to see Palm from Osaka, Japan rage the stage with its own unique blend of down-tuned riffage. The Cambo is about half full at this stage, but razor-throated singer Toshi bounces around the stage in full flight with a blood curdling scream that get the punters riled up. More than once there’s a circle pit collecting bodies in the middle of the room. By the end of the set, the band’s dreadlocked Aussie bassist is pulling a shoey from a random punter’s jogger.

King Parrot - Newcastle, March 31, 2019
King Parrot – Newcastle, March 31, 2019

Melbourne’s King Parrot is up next with an extensive set of its uniquely Aussie, filthy, rockin’ metal. The band’s energetic live show lives up to the hype generated by existing fans and Phil Anselmo himself, who has previous done a lot to champion the band on the world stage. Looking gloriously bogan as each member barges their way around the stage, humour is a major component of their image, but there’s nothing funny about the songs – which are brutal, crusty and have the rapidly-filling room hanging on to every riff. It’s easily the heaviest use of a Gibson ES-355 this reviewer has ever seen.

After a decent wait (even though it is still only 7pm!), The Illegals take to the stage amid a cacophony of distortion and pummelling drums. Former Pantera and Down (and many more besides) front man Phil Anselmo clenches his fists and plays a little air guitar side stage in the darkness – psyching himself up before launching into a blistering set that is split between 50-percent new material and 50-percent Pantera classics.

Perhaps the first thing you notice is that Anselmo still has an imposing presence on stage. The second thing is that he still boasts one of the best screams/growls in metal some 30 years after hitting the world stage on Cowboys From Hell (there weren’t any songs in the set list that let us gauge the health of his singing voice).

The Illegals are super tight, in a wonderfully ragged way and the mix is thick and full, which makes the aural onslaught of the blast beats and breakdowns particularly satisfying. While all the chosen tracks in the first half of the set get plenty of attention from the crowd (who clearly are also almost universally familiar with them), it’s no surprise that the Pantera tracks in the second half send everyone in the room into a state of apoplexy.

Mouth for War, Becoming, I’m Broken, Hellbound (with a medley of Domination and Hollow riffs), Walk and A New Level pretty much flatten the building and sound even more intense tuned down a couple of steps from the original recordings. At times the crowd threatens to drown out Phil’s barks and screams as everyone sings along to the classic lyrics that for many, influenced their adolescence.

During I’m Broken, Phil brings Toshi from Palm and Youngy from King Parrot on stage to help with the words. It’s not the last time the small Cambridge stage plays host to more musos. At the end of the set, the band invites all the other bands up on stage for a ‘jam’ to celebrate the end of the tour for Potion and Palm (a result of additional dates being added to the end of the tour with Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane being sold out).

It’s a barnstorming set and a brilliant afternoon of metal that leaves the room spent – even though it is still only 8.30pm!

Feature Car: Leigh Parker’s 1988 Volkswagen Mk2 GTI Golf

03 Apr

My photo shoot on Leigh Parker’s 1988 Volkswagen Mk2 GTI Golf appeared in issue 61 of VW Magazine Australia. With its comprehensive list of mods, including BBS wheels, Brembo brakes, 1.8L AGU 20-valve motor and much more, it’s one hot hatch.

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Leigh Parker's 1988 Volkswagen Mk2 GTI Golf
Leigh Parker's 1988 Volkswagen Mk2 GTI Golf
Leigh Parker's 1988 Volkswagen Mk2 GTI Golf

Feature Car: James Gatt’s 1964 Chevy Nova

29 Mar

Between an unfortunate workshop accident and life just generally getting in the way, it took two years for me to finally get James Gatt’s superb 1964 Chevrolet Nova in front of my camera and it appeared in the March 2019 issue of Street Machine. Bags, billet and a sexy multi-throttle injection setup, the car is all class.

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James Gatt's 1964 Chevy Nova
James Gatt's 1964 Chevy Nova
James Gatt's 1964 Chevy Nova

Feature Car: Stephen Sherry’s Holden LJ GTR Torana

27 Mar

Shephen Sherry’s LJ Holden GTR Torana, known as GRNADE, is a fresh build but is already well known in the scene and with good cause – it packs a 680hp, 6/71-blown 383ci SBC-powered punch! I got to photograph the car for the March 2019 issue of Street Machine.

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Stephen Sherry's Holden LJ GTR Torana
Stephen Sherry's Holden LJ GTR Torana
Stephen Sherry's Holden LJ GTR Torana

Feature Car: Kevan McConochie’s Manx Buggy

19 Mar

Kevan McConochie’s 2.27L stroker VW-powered Manx buggy is unlike any other you’re likely to see. Slammed, widened, caged and ballsy, the Audi grey tub isn’t about to see any beach time. This is a street buggy.
I photographed it for issue 60 of VW Magazine Australia.

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Kevan McConochie's Manx Buggy
Kevan McConochie's Manx Buggy
Kevan McConochie's Manx Buggy

Feature Car: Azgar Khan’s Volkswagen Mki Golf Cabrio

15 Mar

My photo shoot on Azgar’s slammed and sexy Volkswagen Mk1 Golf Cabrio appeared in issue 60 of VW Magazine Australia. The car has been a largely DIY build between Azgar and his mate Manuel, whose patina Beetle I photographed for the same magazine around 12 months earlier (see it here).
With a 2L 16-valve Seat Ibeza engine swap with those funky trumpets hanging off the front, and riding low on the 15×8.25in Workmeister rims, it looks sick!

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Azgar Khan's Volkswagen Mk1 Golf Cabrio
Azgar Khan's Volkswagen Mk1 Golf Cabrio
Azgar Khan's Volkswagen Mk1 Golf Cabrio

Cover Car: Owen Rice’s Holden CV8 Monaro

05 Feb

I photographed Owen Rice’s beautiful Holden CV8 Monaro burnout car for the front cover of the return issue of Street Machine Commodores. This is so much more than a simple skid car. It’s also a fully fledged show car, complete with custom interior, detailed undercarriage and smooth engine bay. There is detail everywhere! Oh, and it makes almost 1200hp from its 400ci, 8/71-blown stroker.

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Owen Rice's Holden CV8 Monaro
Owen Rice's Holden CV8 Monaro
Owen Rice's Holden CV8 Monaro

Feature Car: Jason Spiteri’s EH Holden

29 Jan

I had the pleasure of photographing Jason Spiteri’s tough-as-nails 1964 EH Holden for the January 2019 issue of Street Machine magazine. Powered by a stout 427ci Dart SBC, the car is slammed in the weeds and ready to destroy tyres at a moment’s notice.

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Jason Spiteri's EH Holden
Jason Spiteri's EH Holden
Jason Spiteri's EH Holden