Five Music Experiences Worth Investigating

Nicki Alchin
1st Dec 2022

Yes, Sydney has some big acts coming such as The Pixies on 3 December 2022, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis on 17 December 2022, Red Hot Chilli Peppers on 2 and February 2023, and Bikini Kill 13 March 2023, but here are some slightly left of field or lesser known artists that you may wish to check out.

Artist: Mick Thomas' Roving Commision
When: 7pm, Friday 2 December 2022
Where:The Great Club, 160-164 Livingstone Road, Marrickville
Cost: $33.40 + bf
Seating Allocation: Unreserved Seating (arrive early to grab a good position)
Who: 18+ (unless accompanied by guardian)
Current EP: Back In The Day featuring new and old originals and unexpected covers of Cold Chisel, The Saints, Neil Young and Johnny Thunders.
Overview: Mick Thomas is a legendary musical story teller, who has popped up over the years in various bands and solo acts, most notably "Weddings, Parties, Anything". He has a lovely folkie baritone voice that oozes with warmth and empathy, can spin a great yarn as well as being able to play a guitar and the mandolin. His current musuc incarnation is the newly signed "Mick Thomas' Roving Commision". A new album is in the works to follow hot on the heels of the EP "Back In The Day".

Mick will be joined by Squeezebox Wally from the "Weddings, Parties, Anything" days, and alt-country songbird Brooke Taylor.

Artist: Surprise Chef
When: 7.30pm, Saturday 3 December 2022
Where: Oxford Art Factory, Basement, 38-45 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
Cost: $35.29 + bf
Seating Allocation: General Admission Standing
Who: 18+
Current Album: Education & Recreation (launch)
Overview: Bright instrumental soul and funk vibe from Coburg in Victoria. Have no expectations and you will be pleasantly surprised where Surprise Chef's groovy genre-bending fine musicianship will take you. 'Education and Recreation is the band's third album and I suspect, like the previous two, will be well received on a global scale.

Artist: Asteroid Ekosystem
When: 7.30pm, Wednesday 7 December 2022
Where: The Great Club, 160-164 Livingstone Road, Marrickville
Cost: $47.70 + bf
Seating Allocation: Unreserved Seating (arrive early to grab a good position)
Who: 18+ (unless accompanied by guardian)
Current Album: Asteroid Ekosystem
Overview: Alister Spence, an accomplished pianist and composer, has created a supergroup to explore a fusion of jazz and indie rock improvisation.

Alister is joined by co-members of the Alister Spence Trio and Ed Keupper. So the line up goes like this: Alister Spence; the legendary Lloyd Swanton (also known from The Dynamic Hipnotics, and The Necks) masterfully creating a depth of string collaboration on double bass; Toby Hall (also known from Alison's Wonderland and Mike Nock's Big Small Band), drumming expertly from languid to frenetic and back again in the blink of an eye; and the indie rock guru, Ed Keupper (known from The Saints and The Aints) strumming away on his electric guitar while throwing out some vocals here and there.

You will hear songs off the self-titled debut album and possibly a new song Ed wrote for his father, before the band floats into an impro dream state. Youll find it very hard not to be swept up in the sheer musical excellence that Asteroid Ekosystem consistently delivers.

Artist: Darren Hanlon
When: 7pm, Saturday 17 December 2022
Where: St Stephens Anglican Church, 189 Church Street, Newtown
Cost: $39 incl of bf
Seating Allocation: Unreserved Seating
Who: All Ages
Current Album: Life Tax
Overview: Darren is a talented, likeable troubadour who writes catchy, relatable folk tunes. He's the type of guy you'd readily call a good bloke and mate if given half the chance.

The December St Stephen's gig is Darren's annual Christmas concert, which as well as spreading good cheer, acts as a vehicle to promote his latest album and play the hits.

I trust Darren will select the right combination of current and past crowd favourites to ensure an enjoyable night for all. Having said that, from the current album, "Life Tax" I'm hoping you will get to hear, "Lapsed Catholic", "Away" and "Spin" which all exhibit quintessential Hanlon song writing attributes. Past treasures that I would place on my list of "must plays" include "All These Things", "Elbows", "Falling Aeroplanes", "Folk Insomnia" and "Punk's Not Dead".

Artist: Andrew Bird
When: 8pm Friday, 10 March 2023
Where: Enmore Theatre, Enmore Road, Enmore
Cost: $89.90
Seating Allocation: General Admission and Reserved Seating
Who: All Ages
Current Album: Inside Problems
Overview: Andrew Bird is an extremely talented overachiever American musician who is known for being able to sing and whistle, as well as play various instruments. His musical style pendulates between swing, lounge, folk and indie pop.

The music Andrew creates is polished and accomplished but also has the audacity and skill level necessary to create, for the listener, an illusion of experiencing a direct line of dialogue with the singer. The single "Underlands" from the 2022 album "Inside Problems" will hopefully grab your attention and prime you for further listening pleasure from tracks such as "Make A Picture", "Lone Didion" and "Atomized". It is totally worthy of serious appraisal time, even by the most jaded of music enthusiast.