Winter Series Launch – Queens’ Birthday Long Weekend

We know you love John Course here at Side Street, us too! That’s why we’ve been busy working behind the scenes to bring you something a little special at Side Street. The wait is finally is over to share those deets with you!

Kicking off on Sunday 9th of June we’re bringing you an epic series of Sunday events which will showcase some of the best locals and Melbourne club DJ’s we can get our hands on. This is very much a John Course & Friends Series, and you bet we’re mixing it up!

Confirmed dates and DJ’s for our Winter Series will drop soon but we’ll have serious dance floor maestro’s every Sunday night from Sunday June 9 to Sunday July 14! The best way to see you thru a chilly Mordy winter!

This party to kick things off is the Eve of the Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday, and we’ve been lucky to score ourselves and extended 3am license. Yep, you read right! More time to party and we’re starting things off right.

We’re releasing a very limited number of $10 (+BF) early bird tickets to you our loyal Side Street fans, but these are expected to sell out quickly – you’ve been warned!

If you love to party, and think you’ll be making this your regular Sunday sesh, then on the night at the door, purchase a slick looking stubby holder, which will give you your first beer on us every Sunday for this series FREE. These are the $30 option and are subject to a very limited release and availability.

If you’ve attended our other parties, you know they sell out! This, friends, is the beginning of a very beautiful party series, which we think you’re gonna love. Show your support, and we’ll see you on the dance floor!

Hamilton is coming to Australia

The wait is finally over.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s iconic Broadway production Hamilton will be touching down in Australia in March 2021. The show’s arrival was announced by New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

The musical tells the story of US founding father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant who climbed the ranks to become the nation’s first treasury secretary. The show is well-known for its soundtrack of hip hop, jazz, blues and rap songs.

Premiering on Broadway in August 2015, the show has since nabbed 11 Tony Awards, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album. Since its debut, Hamilton has made the rounds in the US and London’s West End, picking up additional accolades along the way.

The Aussie show will be overseen by the original Broadway producer Jeffery Seller and Aussie producer Michael Casser, who also works on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Casting and ticketing information hasn’t been released as of yet.

Hamilton will be landing at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre in March 2021. For more information, head to the musical’s website.

X-GenZ

X-GenZ return to the Commercial Hotel, Yarraville – Saturday 22nd June at 9pm.

Come down and rock out to your favourite songs from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and naughties incl. Green Day, Faith No More, Divinyls, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Motor Head, Weezer, Primal Scream, Muse, Stone Temple Pilots and more!

Jimmy Barnes announces 2019 national tour

Featuring some classic Aussie support acts.

Aussie rocker Jimmy Barnes has unveiled a huge list of national tour dates ahead of the release of his new album at the end of this month.

In what seems like a flashback to the early 2000s, Eskimo Joe and Jet are heading around the country to join Barnesy on some of his stops. Country singer-songwriter Troy Cassar-Daley will also be supporting in New South Wales. The extensive tour will hit the capital cities up the east coast, in addition to a bunch of regional towns in Queensland and New South Wales.

Offering a taste of what’s to come from his upcoming album, My Criminal Record, Barnes has already dropped one track, ‘Shutting Down Our Town’.

Check out Jimmy Barnes’ national tour dates below:

Wednesday September 18 — Mackay Entertainment Centre, Mackay QLD

Friday September 20 — Townsville Entertainment Centre, Townsville QLD (with Eskimo Joe)

Saturday September 21 — Munro Martin Parklands, Cairns QLD (with Eskimo Joe)

Thursday October 3 — WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong NSW (with Jet)

Saturday October 5 — Hordern Pavilion, Sydney NSW (with Jet)

Saturday October 12 — Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne VIC (with Jet)

Sunday October 13 — Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide SA (with Jet)

Thursday October 17 — Empire Theatre, Toowoomba QLD

Saturday October 19 — Riverstage, Brisbane QLD (with Jet and Eskimo Joe)

Sunday October 20 — Home of the Arts, Gold Coast QLD (with Jet)

Friday October 25 — Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Newcastle NSW (with Jet)

Saturday October 26 — Park Beach Reserve, Coffs Harbour NSW (with Jet and Eskimo Joe)

Thursday October 31 — Theatre Royal, Canberra ACT (with Eskimo Joe)

Saturday November 2 — Pola Park, Tullamore NSW (with Troy Cassar-Daley)

Tickets for Barnesy’s show go on sale Friday May 31. For more info, head to his website.

Marysville Jazz and Blues Weekend teases first artist announcement

The groovy festival is back for its fifth year.

Marysville Jazz and Blues Weekend has unveiled a taste of what’s to come for its 2019 festival, announcing a number of acts scheduled to perform in October.

Located in the heart of the Yarra Valley, Marysville is known for its scenic views and vibrant cultural scene. Within just five years, the festival has already earned the respect of the local community, taking home the Murrindindi Shire’s annual ‘best community event of the year’ award twice in a row.

Revealed as part of the first lineup announcement are soul legends Vika and Linda Bull, Matty T Wall and The Senegambian Jazz Band. Heaps more artists are expected to be announced soon, but tickets are already on sale now, so why wait?

Check out the first lineup announcement for Marysville Jazz and Blues Weekend below:

Vika and Linda Bull

Karen Lee Andrews

Matty T Wall

Big Band Frequency

The Senegambian Jazz Band

Frank Sultana

Rhythm X Revival

 

Marysville Jazz and Blues Weekend takes place between Friday October 18 and Sunday October 20. For tickets, head to the festival website.

Review: David Bowie’s ‘Lazarus’ breathes new life into the Starman’s legacy

Unlike the original myth of Lazarus, David Bowie will not be resurrected anytime soon. So, it’s the job of the musical, coincidentally entitled Lazarus, to continue his breathtaking legacy. First opening on Broadway in 2015, the production has finally landed in the Playhouse Theatre at Arts Centre Melbourne to take Bowie fans on a rollercoaster ride of a musical.

Serving as a spiritual sequel to The Man Who Fell to Earth, and based on the book of the same name, Lazarus tells the story of Thomas Jerome Newton (Chris Ryan) and follows his life languishing on Earth. Newton is trapped on our world, can’t return to his home planet and, with the loss of his dearest Mary Lou, drinks away the days in his lonely apartment. It’s only when Elly (Phoebe Panaretos) falls for Newton do the voices in his head begin to take over.

The musical is by no means conventional in its storytelling and you’ll probably be left scratching your head in confusion by the end. However, this vagueness only lends itself to the absurd mystique of the whole production. It gives an interesting insight into the man himself, as many of the facets of alcoholism and alienation would have been relatable to Bowie during his life.

Those hoping to hear Bowie’s hits will be the happiest of the lot. Numerous tracks appear in the score, such as ‘It’s No Game (Part 1)’ from 1980’s Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), and more recent EP b-sides like ‘Killing A Little Time’ and ‘When I Met You’. Some songs will be unknown to the casual Bowie listener, but they give the production a voice of its own, as it thankfully does not sacrifice its story for the sake of crowd favourites. Nevertheless, ‘Heroes’ doesn’t fail to bring a tear to the eye, with a beautifully stripped-down, ballad rendition of the epic anthem.

The band really impressed with their accurate renderings of Bowie’s original songs, especially packing a punch with their rousing performance of ‘Absolute Beginners’. The cast is equally impressive, with Emily Milledge lending her angelic voice to some of the most emotional tracks. New Zealand-Australian singer iOTA delights in his embodiment of classic Bowie characters, like the villainous Thin White Duke who wreaks murderous havoc. But it’s Chris Ryan’s portrayal of Newton that drives Lazarus, as his vocal performances are some of the most powerfully commanding of the whole show.

Visually rich projections work across the stage to always keep the audience interested, along with intriguingly colourful costuming and explosive dance accompaniment to boot.

The cast and crew of Lazarus’ Australian premiere should be proud for staging David Bowie’s Broadway passion project, one of the last major works he would make before his untimely death. It serves as an invigorating blast of superb musical fun and continues to further the Starman’s musical message from beyond the grave.

Lazarus is running at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse Theatre until Sunday June 9. For more information, head to the Arts Centre website.

Beat’s guide to Adelaide’s best record stores

Stock up in South Australia

The continued resurgence of vinyl sales is not only a great thing for music lovers, but also a lifesaver for record store owners who found themselves facing an uncertain future with the advancement of the online streaming era. This is especially true for the small yet thriving Adelaide music community, with the City of Churches boasting some of the best record stores in the country. So next time you’re passing through, be sure to check out our favourites below.

Streetlight Adelaide

This is much more than just a record store. While there’s a great selection of vinyl and CDs on offer – particularly for those who love a good soundtrack – Streetlight Adelaide also stocks a wide variety of literature and film. There are loads of rare novels, vintage records and music docos scattered around this sleek operation, with the friendly staff always happy to give advice, order in stock or just have a chat.

Find Streetlight Adelaide at Shop 2/15 Vaughan Place.

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@deliaobst – #Adelaide's favourite songbird – is getting ready to release her very first, keenly anticipated EP 🎵🎵 bit.ly/RIUHotSix-DO • #RIUHotSix • photography: @siayalater

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Big Star Records

Having been around for over three decades, Big Star Records has been a constant in the ever-changing Adelaide music landscape. Totalling six stores across the city at one stage, there’s now just one; though it remains a staple amongst vinyl lovers. A throwback to a simpler time, Big Star has a classic rock vibe with old music posters plastered on the walls and rows of new and secondhand vinyl snaking its way around the store.

Find Big Star Records at 160 Magill Road, Norwood

Rerun Records

Rerun Records is the place to go for those looking to secure good condition secondhand vinyl and hard to find records. The majority of stock hails from your parents’ era, but you can also find popular new releases from modern acts like Maggie Rogers, Weezer and Hilltop Hoods. Owners John and Johnny are great blokes and always on hand to offer assistance and help you navigate the thousands of vinyl crammed into this cluttered yet inviting shopfront.

Find Rerun Records at Shop 32 & 35 Renaissance Arcade, 128 Rundle Mall, CBD

Mr V Music

Many local record stores collapsed with the rise of the internet, but Mr V Music persevered thanks to a loyal clientele and owner Vic Flierl’s dedication to providing the Adelaide public with all their vinyl needs. Pre-owned records are the big drawcard, with Mr V serving as the perfect place for crate diggers trying to find that one-off or special edition record.

Find Mr V Music at 115 Semaphore Road, Semaphore

Clarity Records

Owned and operated by local legend Matt Horvath and his wife Laura, Clarity Records is hands down Adelaide’s best record store. Catering to all genres (including a huge selection dedicated to punk, metal, prog and rock), Clarity also sells a wide range of music memorabilia, from band tees to music biographies and live concert DVDs. Horvath is all about spruiking Adelaide talent and, with a dedication to the Aussie music scene, Clarity contains one of the best selections of local and national vinyl you’ll come across.

Find Clarity Records at 60 Pulteney Street, CBD

Bongzilla are the smoke-fuelled stoner band you have to see live

Bongzilla, hailing from Madison, Wisconsin in the States, have been together for 24 years and will perform Down Under for the very first time this May. Made up of Mike “Muleboy” Makela on guitar and vocals, Jeff “Spanky” Schultz on guitar, Cooter “Black Bong” Brown on bass and Mike “Magma” Henry on drums, the band have wanted to come to Australia for a long time, but the closest they had gotten was Japan. As they prepare for their landmark foray to Australia, Mike Makela says it’s rare these days that the band goes to a place that they’ve never been before.

The band has been preparing a show of old and new songs including a number of fan favourites from albums Gateway and Apogee, released back in 2002 and 2000 respectively. “We’re actually going to do a lot of new stuff, there’s three new songs and then a reworking of an old song,” Makela explains. “There’s a song called ‘Free The Weed’, ‘Space Rock’ and then ‘Earth Flower’. Then we have a new version of a song that used to be called ‘Smoke’ and it’s called ‘Smoked’ now, so we’ll be playing that which is new.”

In recent times the band has been busy touring, but they are working on releasing new material. The name of their upcoming album is set to be Weedsconsin, a play on the name of their home state, something Makela says the band has always called it.

“We’re like three-quarters of the way through the record, I mean we’re so close to being done but we kinda want another song, like a ripper. The material sounds to me like Gateway meets Apogee, it’s really riffy but it’s slower than [what] we were playing previously.”

Bongzilla are also recording Black Sabbath’s ‘Snowblind’ for a Volume 4 compilation being made by a producer in New York. The record features different bands covering songs from the acclaimed heavy rockers’ fourth studio album.

The album has been a slow burn due to some of the bandmembers living quite a distance away and Makela says that the best time to write songs is when they’re practising. Magma will start a beat on drums, somebody will play a riff and then minutes later they have a whole song.

“Three of the songs we’ve had for almost two years at this point, because we’ve just been touring so much and just doing shit that gets in the way – we’ll just get ready for a tour or get ready for a show and not really practice.”

As they steadily prepare Weedsconsin, Makela says the band are also about to start their own record label and re-release their second album Apogee, with plans of releasing 2000 copies of the record.

Touring these days is different for the band than it used to be. When they first started, they’d have to save up to tour and shared turns rotating drivers as they drove between locations. Touring in Australia will be different than touring the US because they’ll be out of their van, instead flying between cities. “We’re driving a little bit but mostly flying, it seems like. I like it to be a surprise every morning. I don’t look at the itinerary these days; I used to, but now I don’t really care.”

Makela doesn’t think this will be the first and last time Bongzilla come to Australia, and hopes the band can come back soon. After their Australia and New Zealand tour is finished, the band will be going through the whole cycle again, and will finally find the time to complete their upcoming album.

Bongzilla come to The Bendigo Hotel on Thursday May 23 and Saturday May 25 (sold out). Head here for tickets.

Flume, Diplo and Denzel Curry announced for Listen Out 2019

A massive bill of electronic, hip hop, R&B and rap artists.

Listen Out has dropped its long-awaited lineup, with some huge homegrown and international acts heading to Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney later this year.

International stars 6LACK, Diplo and Denzel Curry have all been revealed for the 2019 national festival. On the local side, Flume, Wafia and Cosmo’s Midnight are all scheduled to make an appearance.

Flume’s Listen Out set comes hot off the heels of his recent mixtape, Hi This Is Flume, and follow-up track, ‘Friends’. Fellow collaborator JPEGMAFIA is also listed on the lineup, so a live rendition of ‘How To Build A Relationship’ might be on the cards.

Check out the full Listen Out lineup below:

6LACK
Biscits
Cosmo’s Midnight
Denzel Curry
Diplo
Doja Cat
Dom Dolla
Flava D
Flume
Hannah Wants
JPEGMAFIA
Leikeli47
Luude
Malaa
Riton
ScHoolboy Q
Set Mo
Slowthai
Wafia
Whethan
Young Franco
Coda Conduct
Ebony Boadu
JEFFE
Kinder
Miss Blanks
Perto
Triple One
triple j Unearthed winners and more.

Listen Out hits Melbourne’s Catani Gardens on Friday September 27. Tickets for Listen Out are on sale now via the festival website.

The Babe Rainbow evoked a ‘60s fever dream when they came to The Croxton

With the election looming and the hope of a climate-conscious government hanging in the air it seemed a fitting occasion for The Babe Rainbow’s ‘Earth is an Egg, Don’t Frack It’ tour. Like a ‘60s fever dream, the band swept into The Croxton as if plucked straight from the bygone era – long blonde hair cascading onto peasant blouse-draped shoulders and not a care in the world.

To hype a crowd for a band as laidback as The Babe Rainbow is a delicate task and one that was handled admirably by supports Regular Spread and Leah Senior. The first act played up the fact that the posters announcing set times around the venue had dubbed them ‘Regular Speed’ and jokingly tossed up the notion of changing their name. The band’s meandering sound was so palatable that the audience requested an encore, though Regular Spread admitted they’d run out of songs before dashing from the stage.

By the time Leah Senior took the stage, she had the by now near-full venue entranced with her fragile melodies and buttery vocals, hauntingly harmonised by sister Andi. Playing a handful of new tracks on the piano, her set drifted between upbeat jangle and a wistful sombre and was enough to silence the crowd as they listened in awe.

Once they’d reached the stage, The Babe Rainbow had a little trouble finding their footing. Vocalist Angus Dowling fumbled with his maracas, dropping them on the floor before knocking over the microphone stand while twirling on the spot with his arms outstretched. One could only assume the band had enjoyed too much of something or rather before reaching the stage. Dowling and the rest of the band seemed unfazed, though, if not entirely oblivious to these little hiccups.

The first handful of songs were, admittedly, a little sloppy as the band struggled to find their rhythm, though they hit their stride amidst the swirling Middle Eastern inspired twang of ‘Secret Enchanted Broccoli Forest’ and continued to gain velocity throughout the remainder of their set.

From there, they invited Bananagun’s Nick Van Bakel to join on the bongos; elevating The Babe Rainbow’s hazy groove into an unstoppable, rhythmic beast. Meanwhile, Dowling disappeared for a costume change, exchanging his floating blouse for a rainbow-striped boilersuit before parading it across the stage as if he were on a catwalk.

At one point, The Babe Rainbow’s drummer disappeared into the audience with a jam block in hand, barely visible amongst the swarming dancing bodies as he slowly snaked his way through the crowd and back to his kit. By now, the energy was electric and there wasn’t a still body in sight.

‘Johnny Says Stays Cool’ elicited an audience singalong as fans chanted “breathe in, breathe out”; a simple yet apt reminder in the daunting political climate we’d all happily pushed to the backs of our brains for the evening.

When the band left the stage, it felt too soon and bassist Elliot O’Reilly appeared to agree, walking to the nearest microphone and chanting “one more song” along with the crowd. If it wasn’t already clear that the band were having as much fun as the crowd, this moment certainly let it be known.

The Babe Rainbow are an ode to the long-gone summers of free love and their sound glimmers like the Californian sun. While the days to come held a disappointing outcome from the federal election, there’s no doubt that The Babe Rainbow’s impending new album will make for a prime political protest soundtrack.

Highlight: It’s a toss-up between Angus Dowling’s dance moves and Elliot O’Reilly’s suit.

Lowlight: The rough start.

Crowd Favourite: ‘Johnny Says Stay Cool’.

Thrice’s first Melbourne show in over a decade was everything their adoring fans wanted

The last time Thrice graced our shores was for the phenomenal Alchemy Index series. Since that time they’ve released four studio albums, a live record, and taken a hiatus. To say that Thrice fans were ready for their return is an understatement.

Through the haze of Thrice anticipation, opening act Spectral Fires were a significant letdown. Musically the group showed promise but the vocalists were off-key for the majority of the set, and that simply shouldn’t be the case on such a high-profile support slot. 

When Thrice announced their hiatus in 2011, Australian fans, in particular, were devastated as the wait they’d already endured between visits seemed infinite. As one of the only bands from the post-hardcore scene to achieve longevity with successful, high-quality releases and a fanbase just as passionate now as ever before, they thankfully announced their return.

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Another sold out show tonight. Melbourne, you’re next! 📸: @jaredrezel

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That long journey for Melbourne fans culminated in a sold-out 170 Russell, and triumphant cheers as the four members of the band took the stage and exploded into ‘Hurricane’ from 2016s’s To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere. With a lot of catching up to do Thrice managed to give equal attention to all releases while covering the must-hear bases with songs like ‘Image of the Invisible’ and ‘Black Honey’, both of which drew huge singalongs from the crowd.

The reason why Thrice are such a phenomenal live act is rooted in each bandmember’s passion for quality sounds. This search for amazing tone is the reason why sonically, the band’s records and live shows are flawless. Couple this with frontman Dustin Kensrue’s powerful yet delicate vocals, you have the perfect audible treat.

The wandering dynamics of the show provided for an emotional rollercoaster as the band sunk into the soft ‘Beggars’, brought in a little groove with ‘Yellow Belly’ and had people raise their fists and shake their booty for ‘In Exile’. The unparalleled skillset of each member was on display in ‘Red Sky’, particularly for guitarist Teppei Teranishi whose ability to meld effects and riffs in seamless fashion is a show on its own.

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Thrice are the band of the century confirmed

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Two undeniably powerful moments came back-to-back near the end of the set with the brutal ‘Firebreather’ and the huge group chants on ‘The Earth Will Shake’ before the main set closed with ‘Beyond The Pines’.

Thrice returned to the stage with the fan favourite ‘Deadbolt’ and allowed the crowd to beautifully close the show by chanting “together we’ll fight the long defeat”.

Was this worth the wait? No question. Let’s hope the next visit comes much sooner, though.

Highlight: The audience closing the show with a group chant.

Lowlight: The opening act.

Crowd Favourite: ‘Deadbolt’.

How Jordan Peele is changing the scope of horror

Prior to making his directorial debut with Get Out in 2017, Jordan Peele’s name was synonymous with comedy. Establishing himself through his sketch duo, Key and Peele alongside Keegan-Michael Key, his brand of accessible, on the nose comedy was quite literally his namesake.

Not only did Get Out mark a pivotal point in Peele’s career, the film deviated from the typical scope of horror films with such success, it embodied a paradigm shift for the entire genre.

Get Out discards the white-centric narratives common in horror through a plot symbolic of racial attitudes in America. Reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut Jr but in a contemporary setting, Peele melds an outlandish plot entrenched in science fiction with satirical social commentary to create something universally resonate.

The film explores the paradox of white attitudes towards black Americans, not just in that they’re seen as an ‘other’, but that the very differences which spur discrimination are also a source of envy and perceived power, in a sense. Get Out is shaped around the idea that people of colour have the genetic upper hand – “black is in fashion” as one character remarks – one that’s idolised on sporting fields and vilified societally.

The film takes the ideals of cultural appropriation and brings them into a tangible realm. By taking the thoughts of upper-class white people and surgically implanting them into the bodies of people of colour, the Caucasian characters are able to reap what they perceive to be the advantages of what it means to be black while retaining their white identity and social status.

Not only is the protagonist, Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a person of colour, he serves a greater purpose than tokenism. The type of brief token cameo has become so common within horror that on-screen characters of colour humorously reference the fact they’ll be the first ones to fall victim to whatever predator threatens the group.

Peele has been obvious in his efforts to shift the focus and centre narratives around people of colour – the white saviour narrative is tired and we’ve seen enough horror films in which the white protagonist(s) play the hero.

Though Get Out is rarely subtle, each seemingly minor detail is embedded with intent; it’s no coincidence that Chris ultimately frees himself by picking cotton from the upholstery of the chair he is bound to. The character is not only taking control of the situation in a bid to flee his white oppressors but Peele is turning an act emblematic of slavery on its head to become a moment of liberation.

Taking a subtler approach in Us

In March of 2019, Us presented another facet of Peele’s cinematic visionary. Where Get Out led the viewer to its message and proceeded to mercilessly beat them over the head with it, Us is an intricate web of metaphors offering little in the ways of explanation.

The film portrays a family targeted by villainous versions of themselves, leading them to discover an underground society of doppelgangers created, and subsequently discarded, by the US government. Though Us is a slasher film — at least at face value — it escapes any threat of rehashing a bored storyline revolving around a stalker, cheap scares and a growing body count.

Again, Peele’s focus is on the plight of people of colour and, while race is certainly an undercurrent of Us, themes of class, privilege and politics are the pulse of the film. The connotations of Peele’s artistic choices aren’t as obvious compared to Get Out, and he’s been vocal since the film’s release about his intentions of keeping many aspects of the plot vague in order for the viewer to draw their own meaning.

The plot centres around the idea of an underground society of rejected ‘others’, figures which mirror those who exist above the ground. Tethered to their doppelgangers, these others are forced to live in a complex underground tunnel system stretching across America as they re-enact their counterparts’ every move. But when they do it, it’s in a sinister fashion devoid of the purpose and consent afforded to those above the ground.

As Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) surpasses joyful milestone moments, like marrying and starting a family, her tether is forced to do the same – birthing two children through no choice of her own and being matched with her tether’s doppelganger. The lack of agency and autonomy afforded to those cast away by society is a poignant statement that needs little deduction.

It’s within the film’s biggest metaphor that much of the story’s meaning can be found: the reoccurring imagery of Hands Across America. Hands Across America was a benefit campaign in 1986 which sought to unite Americans by creating a human chain which would stretch across the continent. The campaign raised $34 million USD ($49 million AUD) to combat homelessness and hunger, yet less than half of that was actually donated.

The Hands Across America metaphor indicates a unification between the tethered as they unshackle themselves from the confines which have shrouded them from civilisation. The sprawling human chain of forgotten doppelgangers hints towards America’s aptitude for sweeping issues under the rug and turning a blind eye on those who do not comply with an ideal image of society.

Not only is Us a pivotal moment for the horror genre in terms of its message, but the film also propels the bored, slasher trope into a new dimension through even the most minor of details. The film’s sonic landscape, for example, is a far cry from the ominous, tonal soundtracks expected from this genre. Of course, Us is still punctuated with twinges of sharp synth elicited to raise hairs on your nape, yet Peele invites an eclectic array of sound into the fold, too.

When the Tyler family are murdered, The Beach Boys’ ‘Good Vibrations’ swells through the house in a striking juxtaposition to the sinister acts taking place. Similarly, when their bodies are discovered and the Wilson family attempt to call the police using their friends’ home Alexa system, their request is confused and NWA’s ‘Fuck Tha Police’ booms through the scene. Moments like this a layered in genius; the latter is a statement encompassing issues of law enforcement in America, elitism and technology.

Mixing horror and sci-fi in The Twilight Zone

A mere month after the release of Us came Peele’s reboot of The Twilight Zone, whose first season is still unfolding. While the series is a simultaneous step away from horror and one towards science fiction, his approach to creating farfetched fictional worlds which are horrifying in their credibility remains stable. The first handful of episodes alone comprise issues ranging from gun laws in America to police attitudes towards people of colour.

According to the 2019 UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report, while 40 per cent of the US population is made up by people of colour, just 12.6 per cent of film writers and 7.8 per cent of directors are from a minority group. In front of the camera, just under two fifths of lead characters in top performing films are played by people of colour.

Peele’s vision of centring plotlines around non-white characters create opportunities for diverse casts in popular Hollywood films. What’s more, by incorporating themes of race and discrimination into his storytelling, he beckons the viewer to consider a perspective outside the whitewashed narratives often shoved down our throats in mainstream cinema and television.

The horror genre often relies on insipidly mindless storylines, incessant jump scares and confronting gore in a defibrillator-style scare tactic intended to excite and shock viewers. Yet, Peele’s work suggests a new era for the genre; one which has the audience engrossed long after the credits roll.

Ladies Of The 80s

Spark

Spoonbill

Subterranean Zone

Mo’Sco

The gig that stunningly excavated the minds of C.W. Stoneking, Sarah Blasko and Ali Barter

An event that has picked the brains of the likes of John Cale, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dan Sultan, Rickie Lee Jones, Gurrumul and Sinead O’Connor saw each of C.W. Stoneking, Sarah Blasko and Ali Barter perform a series of songs that were special to them.

Across the seven songs, each of the songwriters touched on the following criteria:

1.  Their first song/the song that made them famous
2.  A song they wish they’d written
3.  A song to share with the other artists
4.  A song by Leonard Cohen
5.  A song selected by the audience
6.  Their favourite song from their own repertoire
7.  The song they want to be remembered by/would have played at their own funeral