Posts Tagged ‘cambridge hotel’

LIVE MUSIC: Make Them Suffer @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – August 15, 2018

22 Aug

Make Them Suffer

Live Review: Make Them Suffer + Silent Planet + Oceans Ate Alaska + Thornhill @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – Wed, August 15, 2018


Newcastle’s Cambridge Hotel has been playing host to a run of great metal shows of late. The latest gig to warm up the cold winter nights is Perth’s Make Them Suffer and despite being a mid-week show, Hunter punters turned out in their masses to witness a strong international line up of modern heaviness.

First on stage was Melbourne’s Thornhill who brought their own blend of contemporary metal styles to the proceedings. While they seemed a little self-conscious in front of the crowd, they brought with them some solid, dramatic progressions and some great, if well-worn riffage.

The UK’s Oceans Ate Alaska took to the stage in front of a half-filled room and proceeded to rampage like they were in front of a full house. Showing much more polish and cohesiveness, the five-piece boasted a great frontman in Jake Noakes, who stalked the stage with a brutal combination of screams, growls and hardcore shouts. From the blast beats, skittering riffs and finger tapping through to the breakdowns and sing-along choruses, Oceans had something for every modern metal fan and put on a very solid performance.

Perhaps the highlight of the night, LA’s Silent Planet made a big impact with their metal with a message. From themes of war and refugee welfare to mental illness, the band tore through a set that boasted metalcore at its core, but also included progressive traits for a sound that was at once mature and brutal. Singer Garrett Russell was clearly a bit of an eccentric, but that just added to the tension and sense of drama. Some fans up front looked as though they were having a religious experience.

After a short wait, headliners Make Them Suffer enjoyed a hero’s welcome to a darkened stage before they erupted into a powerful set of tracks from across their catalogue. The band were self-assured (coming straight from a sold-out show in Brisbane) and emitting a bruising energy that spilled into the crowd, where bodied flowed over the mosh barrier for the duration. At one point, singer Sean Harmanis instigated a Wall of Death, with half the audience politely obliging, no doubt causing more than a few bruises.

Currently touring on the back of their latest album Worlds Apart, Make Them Suffer were taut, tight and left the Cambo audience wasted, sweaty and just a little damaged.


Oceans Ate Alaska

Silent Planet


LIVE GALLERY: Polaris @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – July 21, 2018

07 Aug

(Originally published on


I pity any metal head in the hunter region that missed out on tonight’s show at the Cambridge Hotel. Between the four acts on show, just about any genre-loyal fanatic would have been well catered to.

While the overarching theme of the night was of a decidedly modern take on the style, from opener Junkhead‘s spasmodic Dillinger-esque riffage and Diamond Construct‘s more progressive tendencies (these guys have really matured and improved over the last few years), you’d have been smiling from ear to ear by the half way point.

By the time Sydney band Justice for the Damned took to the stage, the Cambo was completely full with an obviously friendly crowd and the five-piece wasted no time in laying waste to each and every one of them. Despite the toy dinosaurs on the stage and some members looking decidedly ‘late ’80s thrash’ in white high-tops and tucked in tees, Justice for the Damned’s blend of ridiculously heavy down-tuned grooving riffs, mixed with equal parts death and hardcore means that while they may not take themselves too seriously, their tunes aren’t to be messed with.

By the time Polaris take to the stage, the audience one big sweaty mess – despite it only being about three degrees outside. One punter has even managed to dislocate his knee in the pit – his only consolation being granted the ability to watch the remainder of the set from side stage.

For the uninformed, Sydney’s Polaris are a highly polished, modern, crushing blend of metal styles, from metalcore to deathcore with hints of progressive elements thrown in for good measure. The band’s mix of growls, screams and clean vocals really adds to the dynamic.

Bodies start falling over the barrier right from the start of the set and continue throughout the show – and anyone not breathless from the full body contact is singing every word at the top of their lungs. It’s really inspiring to see such support and enthusiasm for local music. I’ve born witness to plenty of international touring acts fail to fill the Cambo main room like this.

It was a truly amazing night of Aussie metal.


Live Gallery and Review – Red Fang @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – May 11, 2018

30 May

Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018.

Red Fang + Drunk Mums + Black Rheno @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – Friday, May 11, 2018
Words and Pics:

CLICK HERE to view the full gallery on my Flickr page.

Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018.Newcastle has always played host to international bands. It’s just that it has never been with the same kind of frequency of our neighbours south to Sydney. In fact, my very first proper concert experience was Pantera when they played the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on their Far Beyond Driven tour.

Still, it’s always exciting when a good international band gets booked into one of our remaining live venues. So when Red Fang announced a show at the Cambridge Hotel, you can bet this scribe had his hand up waving wildly like an excited kid at the front of the classroom with the answer to a geography question.

There is, however, always some level of trepidation when said international act is below the tier of, say, a band used to playing the big sheds and arenas. I’ve personally seen some amazing bands play to less than half full rooms and so it was that opening act Black Rheno performed to a handful of eager punters soon after the doors opened.Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018.

That’s a shame, too. Because the Sydney three piece (with the guitarist running a split rig that also acted as a bass, a-la White Stripes and Local H) rocked out hard with a manic set of high energy rock that was tight, but loose in all the right ways. Apparently the band has just started recording an album, so that’s definitely something to look forward to.

Next, the Drunk Mums looked like they’d stepped off a plane direct from the 1960s, complete with requisite ’60s axes and well-worn chord progressions. Despite the familiarity, the band brought a certain raucous sense of humour to the sound that helped make it unique. Loose, noisy and plenty of amusing between-song banter.

After a short intermission, no doubt thanks to their stripped down rigs not requiring too much setup, Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang took to the stage in front of a half-full, but very appreciative room of fans. They launched into a sweet rendition of Blood Like Cream and didn’t say too much for about three songs, when they’d clearly started to warm up a bit.

The mix tonight was nice and clear, with plenty of definition in the low end where singer/bassist Aaron Beam’s chord work could really shine. He really wields that thing like a baritone guitar and it works perfectly for Red Fang’s Sabbathian, stoner vibe.

Over what would be a 14-song set with no encore, the band wowed the enthusiastic crowd with tunes from all its previous releases, including latest disc, 2016’s Only Ghosts. They were super tight, despite the inherent fuzziness and ageless scunge that lies between all the grooves in their riffs. Oh, and how sweet their grooves and riffs are! They were certainly inspiration for all the middle-aged rockers in the audience and the DIYers out there.

Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018. Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018.


CLICK HERE to view the full gallery on my Flickr page.

What the Hell is a 27twelve?!

11 Mar

I was thinking about my post the other night; the one about the Newcastle music scene and how I got involved with music journalism back in the ’90s. And I realised that somehow I had completely left out the part relating to 27twelve.

Now, for most reading this, you’d be completely forgiven for wondering just what the hell a 27twelve is. Well, it was the name of my monthly metal ‘zine.

After writing for Mark Hughes at concretepress for a while, I was hankering for some greater creative outlet. The writing bug had bitten and I realised that I had a voice. I wanted that voice to spread further; to reach more people and discuss things that mattered to me.

I have to be honest and admit that I really had no prior knowledge of the then-burgeoning ‘zine scene. As it turned out, Newcastle and the surrounding areas were home to many examples of ‘zines on all kinds of topics. But what inspired me to create a little A5-sized publication was a late-night documentary on Hugh Hefner and the Playboy empire. Hugh started his publishing career with much the same concept: a magazine in a small, cheaply printed format.

That very same night I sat up in front of mum’s slow-as-a-wet-blanket PC and started work on the first issue of what would become 27twelve. Don’t bother asking where the name came from or what it meant. I didn’t know then and I don’t know now, suffice it to say that being in bands back then, I was always trying to think up names for bands and song titles. 27twelve was just one of many on the list and not wanting to create a publication with a name that would give people a preconception of what would be inside, I went for something that no-one could mistakenly judge.

In all the mag ran like clockwork for over two and a half years and boasted many of my favourite local and international acts on the cover. Even today I look back and am surprised at how much support the nation’s record companies gave me in terms of access to their acts for interviews and mountainous piles of CDs for review.

It was distributed throughout Newcastle, Maitland and the Manning Valley regions in many of the same places you’d find street presses like the Drum Media and 3D World. I relied on my unemployment benefit payments from the government to pay for the printing of each issue which was completed by simply photocopying each double-sided A4 page 1000 times. After printing was done, I had the support of friends and family to help me fold the pages and staple them in the middle, creating a 28-page A5 magazine.

Often some of those same friends and family members would feature within the pages, writing opinion columns and providing advice on subjects within their chosen field. For instance, my grand mother wrote a regular political column and my best mate wrote a regular piece on computer technology and game reviews. Those were fun times.

When 27twelve turned one, I even threw it a birthday party. I booked five of my favourite local bands to play at the Cambridge Hotel on Hunter Street in Newcastle West, designed up pole posters and invites for contributors, advertisers, local musos and the like. We ended up with a good couple hundred people at the event and I remember through my drunken haze later in the evening, the then-promoter of the pub putting his arm around my shoulders and thanking me for a good night.

So what killed 27twelve? Primarily it was me being sick of being unemployed, never having any money and feeling like the city was closing in around me. The scene there was big, but small at the same time. So, I moved to Sydney to find work.

Ben Hosking, Editor of 27twelve

For a time, the mag continued. I interviewed bands after hours (sometimes even AT work) and basically used all my remaining hours designing and writing – but it all got too hard. I ended the print version of the mag not long after it turned two and a half when my flatmate convinced me that the place to be was on-line. Thus began my introduction to web design, back in 1999. It didn’t last, though, and I closed it for good.

It was an awesome ride that together with my work at concretepress, allowed me to interview most of my favourite bands and see them live for nix, as well as collect the motherlode of review CDs that were regularly swapped at Rice’s second hand bookstore for non-fiction paperbacks and other CDs.

So, here I am now, endeavouring to re-enter the music journalism field in addition to my primary work writing for automotive publications. My love of music never left – I simply had so much on my plate working for Express Publications that there was little time or inclinatin to continue. However, over time I pulled the guitars back out of storage and started reading Metal Hammer, Kerrang and Guitar World again. When I left Express earlier this year, my desire to write about music was firmly reignited.

Thanks for listening.