Hometown Hotspots: Vibing Through Brisbane, Australia, with Last Dinosaurs
Everyone knows that when travelling to new places, the best spots to visit aren’t the ones easily found on the web. It’s all about local favourites – those true hidden gems that make the place unique for its own inhabitants. In our Hometown Hotspots series, we’re catching up with musicians around the world to find those gems on a personal tour through their own cities.
Indie rock band, Last Dinosaurs from Australia, has been gaining attention since their 2012 debut album In A Million Years, and they went on to headline shows around the world from the UK to South Africa.
Brothers Lachlan and Sean Caskey, with Michael Sloane, will be making a comeback with a new album titled From Mexico With Love on Nov 4 – and we just can’t wait!
From headlining shows at iconic venues such as Webster Hall, Fonda Theatre and The Filmore to sellout tours in Prais, Berlin, Amsterdam and London, Last Dinosaurs has also opened for big names such as Foals, Matt & Kim, Lost Valentinos and Foster the People, as well as playing at Splendour In The Grass, Laneway, Falls Festival and Field Day.
The members of Last Dinosaurs have been keeping themselves busy creating new music in Mexico and Australia even with Covid-19 constraints.
That resulted in their singles “Collect Call”, “Look Back”, “CDMX” and “The Hating”. It was then wrapped into a new EP with a new single, “Auto-Collect”, of the same title before they drop the anticipated From Mexico With Love in a few months.
Last Dinosaurs’ bass guitarist Michael Sloane shares with Sound of Life his favourite spots in the beautiful city of Brisbane, Melbourne, from his favourite spot to perform live and a morbid place he wishes will always stay the same.
LIFE IN BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA
Credit: Brisbane Local Marketing/Unsplash
Brisbane has always been known as the big country town in Australia. I think it’s come a long way to grow into itself in the last 30 years.
Growing up, my memories of Brisbane are stormy summer nights and a laid-back feel. It’s hard to be too serious about anything in the humid heat.
That humid feel definitely fed into the jangly tropical guitars that came from so many bands in Brisbane when Dinos were coming up.
AN EATERY YOU’D FEEL HOMESICK FOR: GABBA CHINESE
As silly as it sounds, we have a local Chinese spot near our rehearsal space that has been our go-to for meals for almost all the bands that come to rehearse and hang out there.
We’re always greeted by the owner with a friendly “Hello maaaate” from the owner when we order the Tofu Chow Mein.
This place was actually in our music video for “Eleven”, where we wanted a sort of down-and-dirty banquet we could dig into with wayyy too much enthusiasm.
YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO PERFORM: RIC’S BAR
Credit: John Robert McPherson/Wikimedia Commons
Ric’s Bar in Fortitude Valley (the club/music district of Brisbane) has always been a place where bands go to play their first shows and cut their teeth.
It’s cramped, and the drinks were the cheapest in the Valley, so it was always pretty rowdy if you could draw more than five people to watch you. I’m not sure it was my favourite place to play, but it certainly holds some important memories from the early days.
YOUR GO-TO FOR LIVE MUSIC: THE ZOO
I’ve seen so many of my favourite bands at The Zoo. It’s been a stalwart of the Brisbane scene for so long and it’s a great size to see upcoming local bands and also touring international bands that perhaps can’t do really large shows.
Some of my favourites there have been The Cribs, Cut Off Your Hands and Of Montreal.
I remember chatting briefly to Johnny Marr after The Cribs’ gig, he praised The Zoo for its wooden interior having nice acoustics, so there ya go, seal of approval.
YOUR SECRET SPOT FOR NEW VISITORS: MOUNT COOT-THA
Credit: Carles Rabada/Unsplash
I always like to bring people, especially people from big cities, to Brisbane’s Mount Coot-Tha and its surroundings.
I grew up nearby, so I am biased, but it’s a nice place close to the city where you can see proper bushland, hike up the mountain for a view of the city, and then visit the Botanic Gardens. There are two Botanic Gardens in Brisbane, but this one at Mount Coot-Tha is much better than the one in the CBD (central business district).
I used to walk through the Botanic Gardens listening to Dinos tracks on repeat that needed a music video, so it’s deeply connected to listening to demos for me.
THE ONE PLACE YOU HOPE WILL ALWAYS STAY THE SAME: TOOWONG CEMETERY
Credit: Rocketrod1960/Wikimedia Commons
As morbid as this seems, I grew up across the road from this cemetery. My neighbourhood friends and I would go across every afternoon to play, ride bikes, skateboard and shoot slingshots (no, I am not Dennis the Menace).
And as I got older it became a place to walk in total peace and quiet. Everywhere else is inevitably changing as Brisbane grows and gets more modern. This is one of the only spots where it’s got a good chance of staying as is for a long time.
They’re not all that scary, go find a graveyard, put on The Smiths’ “Cemetery Gates”, and go for a skip through the tombstones.
Hometown Hotspots is created in collaboration with Secret Signals.
Cover Credit: Ryan Faist
Writer | Kevin Yeoh
When he isn’t making sure Sound of Life stories are published in a timely manner, Kevin enjoys wandering aimlessly in Kuala Lumpur city, going down the YouTube rabbit hole and discovering new music.