Radar Illawarra: the week's music news

Van She tech will help launch the Kiss Land club night on May 3.

Van She tech will help launch the Kiss Land club night on May 3.

* KISS Land’s launch party will be headlined by Van She.

The new Saturday night at Hostage X nightclub will kick off on May 3, with the Sydney electropop band – in DJ mode – at the top of a big bill of local dance talent.

* The big Splendour In The Grass lineup was announced this week, with Outkast, Lily Allen and Two Door Cinema Club heading a massive bill of talent from around the world. No Wollongong locals for the Byron Bay festival so far, but congrats to South Coast DJ talent Yahtzel who made his way onto the lineup. Tickets for Splendour are on sale May 2.

South Coast DJ Yahtzel will play the Splendour In The Grass festival in July.

South Coast DJ Yahtzel will play the Splendour In The Grass festival in July.

* Performer applications for the 2015 Illawarra Folk Festival are now open. Next year marks the 30th anniversary for the Bulli music icon, and it’s sure to be a big one after the bumper year that was 2014. Organisers are calling for locals to get involved, with applications open until May 30 at illawarrafolkfestival.com.au/performers

* Kiama singer-songwriter Jack R Reilly released a new single this week. Titled ‘My First Panic Attack,’ the soft acoustic track is up on his Soundcloud page soundcloud.com/jackrreilly

* The UOW Unibar’s annual band comp starts next week, with Basil’s Kite and Heavyset Dub among the first to stake their claim in the competition. There are 19 bands in the running for $6000 in prizes including studio recording and video packages, with four heats scheduled through May before the final on August 21. Entry is free for all heats.

* The UOW music society’s competition to find a local band for a big party in Sydney is on next week. UOW’s club will team with similar societies at several other unis for a big gig at the Spectrum Hotel on May 14, and the competition at the North Gong Hotel on May 1 will choose the band to represent UOW. Kava Kings, SheerKhan and more will line up to play, and yours truly will be one of the judges. It’s on from 6pm

* Music Farmers will next week begin presenting a weekly vinyl records night at the Little Prince. Aptly titled ‘Analog at The Prince,’ the launch party is May 2 at the Globe Lane bar, with a bunch of DJs and the Beehive Go-Go Dancers to entertain the  crowds. Get along if you like your music on wax.

SheerKhan describe their music as “Beat driven spaghetti-western surf psychedelia,” but in real life, the Wollongong band don’t sound nearly so silly. Tim from the band answered a few questions for us.

Sheerkhan are the Radar feature band of the week.

Sheerkhan are the Radar feature band of the week.

Who are Sheer Khan? Members in any previous/current bands? 

Me on vocals and guitar, and Sam Bailey (drums) were founding members in 2012 but the band went on a break at the start of 2013. Then the old lead guitar and bass player moved on so Sebo Grego and Ben Camden joined to slap the bass and throw down the riffs. Also we recently changed the spelling of our name because Mickey Mouse decided to put a trademark on something similar to the old spelling last year… jerk.

When and how did the band start? Describe your music – (influences etc.)? 

The change has been great for getting a group together with similar influences, with all of us being mad keen on classics like Led Zep, Cream, the Doors and Hendrix. Sam has drummed for a few jazz and heavy rock bands previously and Sebo loves funk so when we jam all of these different influences are mixed into the sound.

How did your sound develop and how has it changed over time? 

Originally we had a bit more of an indie/ pub rock kind-of thing going on, though once the new line-up came in we started fresh with writing and hit a far more vintage sounding psych-blues setlist. 

We’re pretty keen to make sure that all of our live material has a really high energy, quickly learning that it’s no use playing intricate and quiet songs through a poorly mixed PA to a crowd of people who want to dance and have a good time. 

What’s the Wollongong music scene like now? 

It’s fantastic to see how many places are opening up to having bands come in and being rewarded with good crowds. Small venues have popped up everywhere in the last four years and people are getting used to going out to see some bands instead of or before going out to the standard greasy nightclub. 

It’s still in the making but I hope we’re not far off getting niche music venues so that people who fancy a particular type of music can rock up as a regular to a place and be sure to see something they like