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Aussie artists
Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - June 18th 2014

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As music fans, we have seen and heard lots of great music. But only a handful of acts are truly special. Howzat! rarely travels. I've been on a plane only twice in the past decade - both times to see Perry Keyes play in Sydney. Tonight, he's playing at The Vanguard in Newtown. The sign on the door says "100% sold out". Even Peter Garrett has bought a ticket. Howzat! once asked Pete what he loved about the Sydney singer-songwriter. "Perry is the real deal," he replied. "Songs from the heart, from the Aussie street. He is a rare talent." The prince of Newtown, Tim Freedman, adds: "Perry is one of the greatest lyricists Australia has produced. He is the Ruth Park of the end of last century's Redfern. His characters live, and they have all the more impact for not having been spoken for before."

Perry Keyes' fans are fanatical. Tonight's crowd includes people who have travelled from Cairns and Adelaide. After more than two hours and 21 songs they respond with a standing ovation. "It's really fucking good to be here," Perry says, wryly adding, "I've been out of showbiz for a while." A knee injury kept him out for all of 2013; tonight is his first gig since 2012. Perry tells the crowd he'll ease into the show with some ballads - "ballads about murder and drug selling". He previews songs from his forthcoming album, Sunnyholt. The title comes from the road that runs through Sydney's outer-western suburbs. It harks back to a line in The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw, the opening cut on Perry's second album, The Last Ghost Train Home: "They've sent you down to Campbelltown, to Mount Druitt and St Marys". "It's a reference to my family and neighbours that were 'moved' out to the west from the old working class neighbourhoods of inner-city Sydney," Perry explains. "More than 150,000 people were 'settled' out there in the late '60s and early '70s. The songs on Sunnyholt are basically the stories of what happened to some of those people and their descendants. In a way, it's part two of The Last Ghost Train Home."

Perry - who plays this Saturday [21 June] at The Flying Saucer Club - spent most of his first five years in hospital. At 14 months, he contracted polio. It was the last laboratory-confirmed case of the disease in Australia. While his childhood friends went surfing and played rugby league, Perry retreated to his bedroom and taught himself to play guitar, inspired by The Clash and Lou Reed. "Having a dodgy leg meant I was on the outside looking in. Music was this great little secret that I stumbled upon." He still lives in the old neighbourhood. He barracks for the Rabbitohs and is a regular at the Redfern Oval café, but he doesn't romanticise Redfern. He sings about "streets full of broken people", where "some aches never leave" and people "sleep but don't dare dream". Perry Keyes is the Springsteen you've never heard of. One day they'll call him a national treasure.

"Death or glory, it's the same old story/ Which one ya gonna choose?" - Perry Keyes, Things That A Boy Would Do

Justice Crew spend their sixth week on top.

Que Sera JUSTICE CREW (number one)
Geronimo SHEPPARD (six)
Fancy IGGY AZALEA (seven)
Chandelier SIA (eight)
Super Love DAMI IM (14)
Tightrope ILLY (18)
Price of Fame 360 FEATURING GOSSLING (19, debut)
High PEKING DUK (26)
Don't Stop 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER (32)
She Looks So Perfect 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER (34)
Eye Of The Needle SIA (36, debut)
Live It Up 360 FEATURING PEZ (37)

The Amity Affliction score their second number one album.

Let The Ocean Take Me THE AMITY AFFLICTION (number one, debut)
The Very Best INXS (13)
The New Classic IGGY AZALEA (18)
Flesh & Blood THE JOHN BUTLER TRIO (19)
40 Years of Rock - Greatest Studio Hits THE ANGELS (21)
Built On Glass CHET FAKER (27)
Raw X Infinity REMI (29, debut)
Greatest Hits THE ANGELS (33)
Atlas RUFUS (34)
Harlequin Dream BOY & BEAR (38)

At The Speedway PERRY KEYES
People Will Break Your Heart JEFF LANG

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