Thursday, December 16, 2010

Muse December 2010

Few books in my life have had a more profound effect on me than George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. I read it for the first time years ago and wasn’t able to sleep for a week afterwards. Having read it a few time since, I find that its one of the best books I’ve ever read, but also one of my least favourite. A hugely confronting read, I was apprehensive to say the least when I heard that Muse was releasing an album that was loosely themed around Nineteen Eighty-Four. Apprehensive, but not remotely surprised. With their already hysterical sound, I wasn’t sure how it would play out – but The Resistance is a good album. Not the best they’ve ever produced, but good. And most importantly, the music is big enough to carry the themes of hopelessness, mass control and surveillance. That creepy Big Brother feeling you carry with you for weeks after reading Nineteen Eighty-Four was perfectly conveyed at the Muse concert last night in Melbourne – at least when you could actually go beyond the screaming masses of 14 year of girls who got lost on their way to a Justin Beiber concert.



Having seen Muse many, many times (at least ten, but I think last night was thirteen for me) and given that I felt The Resistance was not their strongest material, I decided not to shell out $120 for a ticket to see them this time around. I had seen them at the start of the year at Big Day Out (their set was the only saving grace for an abysmal festival and day). As the concerts approached though, I quickly changed my mind and snapped up two tickets on eBay for $60 each. Bargain. And so I headed off to Rod Laver Arena to visit one of my favourite people – Matt Bellamy.

Here’s what they played
Uprising
Resistance
Newborn
Supermassive Black Hole
Bliss
Hysteria
Butterflies and Hurricanes
United States of Eurasia
Feeling Good
Undisclosed Desires
Time is Running Out
Starlight
Plug in Baby

Encore
Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1 (Overture)
Stockholm Syndrome
Knights of Cydonia

This was a solid set – although I felt for $120 a ticket (even though we didn’t pay that) they could have played for a bit longer. Given their back catalogue, and the fact that this was a very mainstream set, I though an hour and 40 minutes playing time was fairly poor. We would have liked to have seen a few more songs from Showbiz and Absolution. Last time I saw them they have played Cave, Apocalypse Please, The Small Print, Sober and Showbiz which are all amazing songs and would have been well received last night.

I guess now that they play stadiums they have to play to the crows which means they won’t play anything other than their singles. Sad face.

But now onto the good news.

Muse are a really, really good live band. Their stadium shows are amazing. Matt and Dom are really incredible, talented musicians in their own right. They wear amazing outfits! (last night Chris was wearing an orange stripy suit and Matt a shiny silver suit) They are lovely and love Melbourne. Matt plays a variety of interesting, custom made instruments.

They are really great.

It’s funny that a band who are so obviously left-wing (Matt once famously declaring that he thought Sept 11 was an ‘inside job’) have such a huge commercial following. We were surrounded by a real mix of fans – screaming 14 year old girls behind us (annoying) and older 30-somthings on either side. For the first time ever I was seated for the show – a new experience for me – and I think its indicative of how old I am getting that I sat there thinking to myself “Hmmm, this is very comfortable and oh my! What a great view! And no dickheads bumping into me… How nice”.

I was glad we were sitting as they bought their massive stage show with them – there was lots to look at. They opened the set with each band member sitting in giant towers. I could never describe it properly and my photos are awful, so I stole some from the world wide web. Spectacular.









As they moved to the floor after a few songs Matt jumped out and started charging around the stage in his silver suit looking like a tiny little spaceman. Very cute. Lots of knee kicks, playing the guitar behind his head and end-of-the-world wailing. Awesome. Each time I see Muse play, Matt’s vocal quality gets better and better – he can really sing. Amazing.

Highlights included the guitar during undisclosed desires (wiki: Manson guitars have made a guitar for Bellamy called the "Keytarcaster", it is a guitar with strings but no pickups and a two octave keyboard built into the body of the guitar), during which Dom also came to the front of the stage and played there. Also loved it when they released the inflatable balls as they usually do at the end of the set – they did so during Plug in Baby last night – but with a twist this time. The balls were actually huge, white eyeballs, which was a creepy nod towards the Orwellian themes that dictated the show.



I always love watching Matt play the piano solo in Butterflies and Hurricanes and last night he performed flawlessly as always. I took a video of it – it’s a bit fuzzy where those douchebags behind us were screaming, but ok I think!

video

The lighting and stage set up was incredible. I guess that’s the advantage of doing huge stadium shows that cost a fortune to go along to – you can do amazing things. I found the sound quality to be good – not amazing, but certainly not bad either. And considering some of the shows I’ve seen at Rod Laver, that was a good result.

Seeing Muse always leaves me feeling a bit weird the following day. I think the Absolution album probably takes me back to another time and place more strongly than any other piece of music I know. For me, it evokes a huge sense of belonging and self worth, and sends me away from the world in which I live to a whole other place. Last night delivered as usual for me – each song from Absolution made me feel more and more human (after a shit 2010 frankly) and watching them perform made me feel like I had come home in so many ways. Corny, but true. They are an amazing band.

I know they have a lot of haters, but you can’t deny that they are a hugely talented bunch of people who have found a winning formula, both commercially and musically. I understand the hysteria of their music is not for everyone, but if you can look past that you will see a mind-blowing act who will continue to define live music for many years to come.

Love Muse. Love life. xo

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meredith 2010!

Another Meredith, another awesome weekend. Over the years I have come to love Meredith like a third home (after Melbourne & London) and each year it delivers another set of good times, wonderful memories and incredible music.

To say I was excited to see Custard and Neil Finn is probably one of the biggest understatements of the year. I was EXCITED. However they didn't make an appearance until Saturday afternoon, so what else was happening before that?



For starters, for the first time ever, we were only half an hour late leaving St Kilda. Normally we end up getting into the Meredith line around 10am, but this year we were there at just after 9am with what felt like every single other ticket holder. I think the warnings of camps shut down and long waits to get in encouraged lots of people to come early, just like us. Oh well, the more the merrier. We ended up in a great camping spot and got set up.

PUTA MADRE BROTHERS opened the music on Friday afternoon. These guys were lots of fun! Great accents, great show and two of them were super cute. WIN.

JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD played later on in the night and we really good. Their sounds was totally raw - just the two of them (as someone commented to me, 'Not much of a Brotherhood eh?') and they fluctuated between early sounding Nirvana and Kings of Leon. The singer looked like a King of Leon too. The drummer was awesome though - he keep jumping up to yell into the microphone while he was playing. Fun times.

CLOUD CONTROL played a solid set with a few well known hits. They were fun, even though they looked like they were 12 years old. Did I mention I am getting old???

LITTLE RED played a fun fun FUN set at Meredith two years ago (the wet year - remember that one?) so I was looking forward to this set. Unfortunately they have caught the 'Eskimo Joe' syndrome and turned into massive douchebags (AKA I am too cool for school now that I've achieved some commercial success and despite this being a festival set I am going to play all the obscure shit off my new album). They played a grand total of ONE song (maybe two) from their hugely popular debut album. I was really disappointed that they didn't go for the hits.

C.W. STONEKING played a chilled out Saturday afternoon set. The majority of which was spent by me trying to work out where the hell his accent is from??! I thought he was Australian but now I am not so sure.

THE FALL made me feel like I was missing a vital ingredient in what was going on... I actually asked someone if they were taking the piss after the first song, but no sadly, that same weird yelling/screeching from the very odd singer continued for the rest of the set. I don't know that it's possible for him to look anymore bored than he did either - lighten up dude, you're playing Meredith! This was a shame because their drummer was super exciting to watch and the rest of the band were really solid. Ok, I just googled them and it all makes a bit more sense now, but I think most of what they had to offer was lost in translation...

CUSTARD was probably the most fun set of the weekend. They appeared in the weak sunshine on Saturday afternoon to a crowd of quite a few die-hard fans. Some of us sang along to every SINGLE SONG in a celebration of all that was good about the 1990s. The highlight for our group had to be the synchronised dancing and singing that went with "Hit Song" as well as the shimmy-ing during "Ringo". The guys seemed to have a good time to, telling us 'it was good to be back!'.

COMBO LA REVELACION provided the usual attempts at very white people to dance like the girls on stage with varying levels of success. Mainly unsuccessful on my part. But always fun!

NEIL FINN arrived in a sunshower of goodness to one excited little festival-goer (me!). Being a huge Finn Family Fan I was super exited to see Neil as I'd never seen a solo set and I really like both his solo albums. Unfortunately for me (but hooray for everyone else) he only played one song from his solo material ("She will have her way") as well as a few Finn Brothers songs and one Split Enz song (he opened with "One Step Ahead" and I was so excited that I had a little cry). He did end up playing some of his less known material too, but it was mainly a Crowded House singalong with all the family favorites including "Fall at Your Feet", "Better be Home Soon", "Don't Dream its Over" and "Distant Sun". Highlights for me were "One Step Ahead" and "Into Temptation", but he also did "Silent House" which was nice as their new material is hugely underrated. There was a lot of hand holding and hugging during his set and it was the most wonderful thing I've ever seen at Meredith.

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS played to a hyped up crowd who were ready for a bit of a dance - and dance she did! How does she stay to upbeat for the whole show? I was exhausted just looking at her. But they were excellent and heaps of fun, despite the rain that arrived at the same time.

DIRTY THREE probably played for too long and have left me feeling that they were boring. Sorry. It was wet and cold.

We didn't last much longer after that. A speedy getaway after THOSE DARLINS on Sunday morning meant we made it back to Melbourne much earlier than usual at 3pm.

What a wonderful weekend. Meredith, how I love thee!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October...

Sorry I am so bad a proper update everyone! I promise to put up some gig reviews soon. Or at least something more interesting than my mumblings.

Listening… to Neil Finn in expectation of an amazing Meredith weekend in December. Until then, my life is going to be crazy busy. When you say things are busy at work, it never really translates, but let me tell you this – I am BUSY AT WORK. Between now and December I have; a corporate golf day I am running that needs to raise over $140k, a joint partnership event with Melbourne Heart FC to create a giant heart shape on the field during a December game with over 1500 volunteers, a bunch of events I am running including a VIP function at Como House, a Volunteer Christmas party and my high school ten year reunion as well as Christmas parties galore (That’s the fun part)! So by the time Meredith rolls around I will be totally brain dead and ready for an amazing weekend with Neil Finn and Custard. Its possible I might cry a little bit during Neil Finn’s set.

Reading… Oh, this is so lame. I am reading the Cassandra Clare books. Don’t hate me.

Watching… Nothing. Have not seen a movie or watched TV for at least 2 or 3 weeks, expect on Saturday night when a friend came over and we watched Romeo & Juliet (cool) and Twilight (lame). Its possible we even increased our lameness by fast forwarding to the bits that Edward was in. Dorks.

Buying… A new flat. Well I didn’t buy it, but I am moving in a week to a new (more expensive) flat. Goodbye any savings I may have accrued in the last few months!

Wanting… A holiday. Again. Or a new job? Maybe in the new year?

Trying… to be healthy! Back in the gym which feels great and trying to get my health back on track. Also trying to stop drinking coffee and alcohol! Its very hard…

Loving… my great friends for supporting me over the last week as I had to complete a series of crazy tasks. Thanks guys.

Planning… a house move next weekend. I’ve booked some movers. That’s about it at this stage….

Writing… some copy for our website about one of my upcoming events. Boring.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August

Listening… Triple J at work.

Reading… I just read a STACK of books on my holiday, but most of them were trashy. I am halfway through E. M. Forster’s “A Passage to India” which is hard going, but fascinating.

Watching… Season two of True Blood and a stack of movies I bought home from Bali, including St Trinian’s 2, which is uber trashy, but features David Tennant and Colin Firth! Swoon. And David Tennant is the bad guy! Double swoon.

Buying… Oh God, NOTHING. I cant believe I went on holidays when I have NO MONEY! I will be paying for that for the rest of the year! But having said that…. I may have recently purchased my Meredith ticket. WIN!!!

Wanting… Last month I said a holiday and I got that! Wow. Maybe here I should say that I am wanting to win lotto… hmmm. No, I am wanting a very exciting opportunity that has come across my radar in the last week or so and its extremely challenging and tempting… stay tuned! Will post details in October sometime.

Trying… to get my health back on track.

Loving… Hearing how passionate people are on twitter these last two days about the 63rd Annual UN Department of Public Information NGO Conference and seeing how committee people still are to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Go team!

Planning… on a crazy savings plan!

Writing… well… this update! Not much else. My laptop has died a painful, water related death, so until that is fixed/replaced, I am not writing anything! Except for my Simple Diary!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A week in Bali...

Prepare to be jealous...

For some reason, this year's winter has seemed to drag on for months longer than usual. And its been freezing! Each cold snap leaves me thinking “Surely that’s the last of the really cold weather” and each week I am disappointed to find Melbourne still serving up another freezing week of icy winds and rain. I’ve been lucky since I started my job 3 years ago (3 years! When did that happen!?) that I’ve been overseas each year for a really long break of 3 or 4 weeks at a time. But I was not expecting to go anywhere this year – I need to start saving for a potential trip to the States and UK next year.

So it’s a lucky day when a friend of mine invited me to share a week in Bali with her – and as she works for an airline, we got cheap flights. Really cheap flights. Like under $250 return flights. Which meant I got a lovely week away from the very chilly Melbourne weather which was quite unexpected and amazing.



I stayed in Bali for 7 nights and its been 11 years since I last visited. The areas I visited were much more touristy these days. Back when I visited, Legian was considered a ‘village’, whereas these days its hard to find a line between where Kuta ends and Legian begins. Lots of people stay in Seminyak, which is a bit further along and a little less busy than Legian, but not by much.

Why you would want to stay in Kuta is beyond me – its dirty and crowded and expensive. Legian is 5 minutes down the beach and Seminyak another 5 minutes after that and this is where we stayed for our first 2 nights in Bali.

We had booked a lovely little room in a mansion home in a quiet and secluded part of Seminyak. Its called Casa Artista and was the best start to our holiday!

We had a nice spacious 2 bed room here with great air conditioning, outdoor bathroom (obviously private!) and a huge balcony overlooking the pool and wider Seminyak area, where we ate breakfast each morning. It was so beautiful! Included in our stay was a ‘fit and healthy’ breakfast each morning (I don’t normally say this but… lol) and a few spa treatments, so I was also able to enjoy a lovely massage in the outdoor treatment rooms (again, obviously private!)



The only downside to the hotel was the construction work that was happening next door which meant we had quite a few hours of drilling each day. But it wasn’t enough to really disturb you and we both managed to spend a few days by the pool reading and relaxing in the sun!

After two nights we moved onto the Seri Suites, which had been recommended to me from a few different people. We stayed her for 5 nights and it was amazing, with one exception which I will warn you about first in case anyone out there in internet land is planning on staying here… The ROOSTER!!!

There was a bunch of roosters in the farm behind our first room. While the hotel is set in a lovely, village type setting surrounded by rice paddy fields, there were also roosters. So our first morning, come 4am, off they went, every 5 seconds or so, until around 11am. A nightmare and impossible to sleep through. Not exactly a relaxing start to our stay!

It must be an ongoing occurrence at this hotel, because when we complained the following morning they offered to move us straight away. But because we needed a twin room, we ended up having a mattress on the floor of the room we ended up in. Not ideal, but it was fine as we loved the room and the views and were right next to the pool!



And so began 6 very relaxing days lounging by the pool, enjoying beautiful massages and eating yummy food. We had a few dinners over at Jimbaran Bay, which I highly recommend, even though it’s a bit more expensive. Our more expensive of the two dinners was around $40 each, including tip, which is really not that bad considering the huge amounts of fresh seafood we ate, plus beers, plus the car trip there and back (one hour round trip) and the incredible views from the sandy beach across the bay! Amazing.



The shopping was not as great as I remember, but I did come away with some beautiful homewares and lots of jewellery. Food and taxis are uber cheap (around $3 for a taxi back to the hotel from Seminyak/Legian, which was around 10-15 minutes) and the weather was perfect. We even had a few raining mornings which makes the place feel even more beautiful, as you sit in your outdoor lounge room watching the rain wash everything away. So peaceful.

So it’s a place I can highly recommend. I would love to visit again sometime, maybe with a group of friends? A little slice of paradise only 6 hours from Melbourne!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stolen ideas...

I totally stole this idea from Briony. But its a cool idea when nothing else exciting has been happening in my life...

Listening… to my iPod and the various playlists I've been working on. Plus Transference and Them Crooked Vultures in my car.

Reading… I just finished Ethan Frome (remember that from high school! SUPER depressing) and Frankenstein (I kept waiting for the happy ending - what part of Gothic horror story did I not understand?) and a Catcher in the Rye (I think I missed something... I HATED Holden's character). And on the side I read my new favorite trashy novel, Blue Bloods, which is a combination of Twilight and Gossip Girl, only heaps more trashy. I loved it.

Watching… Just finished Studio 60, which I adore. And I've seen a bunch of movies in the last fortnight including Eclipse (twice now!), A-Team, Prince of Persia and Get Him to Greek (but that was only because I was mega hungover in Sydney and it was the only place I could go to sleep and recover).

Buying… Not much - my funds have pretty much dried up as I've realised that I still owe $10k on my HECS. Damn you, higher education. But I did spend $96.30 on dry cleaning yesterday, which disturbed me greatly.

Wanting… A holiday. Badly. A new job. Badly. And world peace. Of course.

Trying… To pull myself out of this depressing rut I've gotten myself into. To find a new challenge. To get up off my arse and go to the gym.

Loving… ABC2 and Graeme Norton and Q1 (thanks Briony!)

Planning… on where to go next on holidays! What I'm going to wear to work tomorrow.

Writing… in my simple diary as usual, as well and my book journal! A new social media policy for my workplace, plus a bunch of papers for our Executive Management Team at work. Less exciting, but its what I'm writing!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Spoon@Billboards April 30

Ok, so this was a gig that was very eagerly anticipated for me. I adore Spoon, they are one of my favorite bands and they certainly did not disappoint. I had listened to them pretty much non stop for several weeks before the gig and could not wait to see them in such a great venue - its big enough to host international bands, yet intimate enough that you don't get lost in the crowd. I went with a few friends and ended up standing next to Phil from Grinspoon for most of the gig. Interesting as they were halfway through their Groove in the Moo roadtrip... anyway! To the gig! Playlist below:

Before Destruction
Nobody Gets Me But You
Small Stakes
Rhythm and Soul
The Beast and Dragon, adorer
Me and the Bean
The Ghost of you Lingers
Is Love Forever?
The Underdog
A Wolf Parade song I didn't know :)
Stay don't go
Don't you Evah
Don't Make me a Target
I Turn my Camera on
Eddie's Ragga
I Summon You
Got Nuffin
Trouble Comes Running
Black Like Me

Encore
Anything You Want
You Got Yr Cherry Bomb
Written in Reverse

This was probably one of the best live shows I've ever been to. Their sounds is unbelievably haunting and yet incredibly simple and flawless. They've been playing together for so long that they seem to mimic each other and can pull together Britt's self indulgent wanderings (which I normally never tolerate - I have a soft spot for Spoon) into a concise tune that moves right through you.

I really should have put down my thoughts right after the show. Listening to the songs now it's hard to remember that chilling feeling you get as the sound travels around the room - and that's what it feels like at a Spoon gig... during The Ghost of you Lingers, it felt like the sound was moving from one side of the room to another, rather than blasting out of the speakers in a traditional way. And then just as you get the shivers wondering how they make sound work like that, they move seamlessly into a classic pop tune like Trouble Comes Running. Lots of fun.

Their material has evolved over the years to such a standard that even amazing pieces like Finer Feelings and The Way we Get By are not included in their live sets -they didn't play and of their 'hits' the following day at Groove in the Moo in Bendigo either.

I felt they probably could have played a bit longer, but there is no denying that it was a solid set. I sometimes got a bit fed up when a 3 minute pop classic extended out to 10 minutes because of their faffing around, but they did keep this to a minimum compared to other times I've seen them play, so all in all, I was pretty happy for a few days following.

With the exception of Groove in the Moo, probably the worst festival in the history of the world, but that's another story.


Some photos:





And the best photo of all...



I chased him down at Groove in the Moo the next day and had a chat. Swoon!

terrible... I know

I know its a terrible excuse... but I've been super busy. Prepare for some updates this afternoon. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tightarse Tuesday and more Comedy Festival

Tuesday is always a good night during Comedy Festival and last Tuesday was no different. We had tickets for Tom Ballard and Tripod.

Tom Ballard was a surprise. Given the breakfast show on Triple J lacks... in general... we did not expect a lot. Pleasantly surprise to find that Tom is indeed very funny, very quick and did a very solid hour of stand-up with a pretty average audience. The opening to the show has got to be one of the highlights of the festival so far - I wont give it away in case you go to see him (you should) but it possibly involves dancing girls, leotards and some amazing choreographed dance/fight moves. What an opening! Tom shares the story of the worse thing he's ever done, with some great material in between. I would have liked to have seen a bit more audience interaction - such a double standard from me! While I hate being involved, Tom was very quick and very funny when he chatted to the audience. He had a mate sitting in the front row ("I pay him to come") who laughed like nothing I've ever seen (heard?) before. It was hilarious.

My only warning is to be careful who you take to this show. It's not one for the parents, and after seeing it with my brother, I'd suggest that siblings should probably be on that list as well.

After this we headed off to see Tripod, who we've seen many, many times before, as well as owning a few CDs and DVDs. Tripod tell the Tale of Tosswinkle the Pirate is still one of my favorite comedy shows. It's brilliant. It's been a few years since we've seen them and the last show we saw them do at Trades Hall (maybe 2-3 years ago) fell a bit flat. But a combination of a great set at the Gala (they did a song about air guitars that was genius) as well as the promise of this show being about Dungeons and Dragons (don't understand it at all, but I do love a bit of geek) tempted us back to see them this year.



And I am glad I did. Great use of an old school overhead projector led to one of the funniest shows I'd seen in a while. I still don't think it's their best material, but gosh it was funny. They had a fourth member on stage for this year's show - a young lady called Elena Stone who played the role of the Dragon (Tripod were playing Dungeons and Dragons remember?). She was AMAZING. So talented. But unfortunately, not very funny. Guys, you should have written more funny lines for her.

But the show was so great, audience participation was great and at one point I thought my brother was going to wet his pants. He said it was the best Tripod show he's ever seen. I would say second best, although the use of the projector, sheet and cutouts was genius. Great work boys.

It's a true indicator of how much I love Comedy Festival - Wednesday morning, I woke myself up because I was laughing in my sleep. LAUGHING IN MY SLEEP!!! People who know me can confirm I am in no way a morning person. In fact, what is a more common occurrence, is when I yell at someone in my dreams and wake myself up. This has to be a first for me.



Unfortunately, the laughing did not continue when I saw Colin Lane that night. It should be noted that I am a huge Lano and Woodley fan and that they were/still are my favorite comedians. But if I thought Frank's show fell a bit flat, that's nothing to Colin's show. The most disappointing part of all is that I saw his show "I'm not sure about the Music" last year at the Butterfly Club and it was great. I was so excited to see it again. I am not sure what went wrong - I know he did songs last year that he didn't include in his 2010 show, but the show I saw on Wednesday night seem to lack any real meaning or storyline, and yet it wasn't a stand-up show. It required a bit of structure, because for most of it, I was just a bit confused about what he was getting at.

There's no question that he can sing. Really well. But he ended up doing songs that were too long and not funny and I couldn't work out where they fit into his show. He did a bit of audience participation which was great - it showed that he's really clever and quick and can be funny all on his own. But it's the scripted material that fell flat. Some old jokes and material I'd seen before, but that's to be expected. To be fair, the audience were pretty terrible. He was playing at the Hi Fi Bar, which was too big and looked really empty. Tough crowd. But not a show I would recommended. I think the transition from 90 minute comedy show at a small venue, to a large, commercially advertised 60 minute show just did not work. For me, anyway.

We headed off to Justin Hamilton after this. I'd never seen him before and he was a real surprise - he did a great 60 minute set of really solid stand up, with a few really magic moments. His show is called "Idiot Man Child" which I found hilarious to begin with (I'm a bit strange ok?) and he talked generally about his life and adventures. The usual kind of thing. But he did talk pretty openly about his stint on a 'commercial radio station' and the experience of working with a 'quietly racist' colleague... I really want to know who that is and what station it was! But a great show and by the end of it, yes, I did have a bit of a crush on him! His story about social justice on a tram was one of the funniest things I've ever heard and really resonated with me - it made me so happy! I love that silver fox!

So now I am on holidays and having a break from the festival for a week or so. We have tickets for the last week, so will post some more thoughts after that. I wouldn't call these reviews. They would probably be the most shit reviews in the world.

"I'm not being racist, but can you tell me when the next tram to St Kilda leaves?"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Super Saturday

So it's a Saturday night and I think this is the first Saturday night I've had in for about 6 months. What's more, I spent the whole day yesterday doing NOTHING. That's right, nothing for the WHOLE day, except watching half of season 3 of the West Wing. That makes a nice change from being crazy busy all day every day and only coming home for 5 or 6 hours at a time to sleep. Ah bliss. What a start to my holidays - no work for a whole 12 days. Brilliant.

This morning I started my holidays in style, by using the gift voucher I got for my birthday at Beautyologist. I love their motto - "Bringing a touch of Paris to St Kilda"

I had bought some stuff here before - they sell really amazing soy candles, but had never had treatments here. Not sure why - it's just down the road from my house and its so cute inside. Anyway, I was a very lucky girl this year and got a $200 voucher from some of my favorite people, so I took myself off this morning for a 1 hour facial, 1 hour massage and a manicure. And ended up $5 out of pocket - that's very affordable indeed.

I had two hours upstairs and loved my full body massage - the room was super comfy and the oils smelt amazing. The therapist was lovely and didn't mind that I didn't want to chat, so instead I drifted away in relax-o-land, and listened to the great music that was playing. I loved it. She moved straight onto the facial and the best part about his was that she wasn't super pushy about the products they use. They use the Dermalogica Professional range, and I already use their moisturiser and cleanser, and usually when I have a facial (at Aurora at the Prince Hotel) they really push their products and up sell to the point of a guilt trip. The therapist at Beautyologist just had a general chat with me about products and said she would make a note on my file of what they used should I want to purchase anything in the future. Very nice.

I then went downstairs for my manicure - I probably wouldn't have my nails done there again. The use OPI polishes, which are great and I love their colours, but they had a really limited range. I ended up with a dark, almost black, purple (which is what I always pick) when I really wanted to try something new. There just wasn't that much choice! I also found it a bit strange that they just sat me on a couch and did my nails in the middle of the shop - at one point another girl came in to have her eyebrows waxed and sat down on the couch next to me and they did it out in the open! Kinda cool, but not for me.

But the massage and facial were amazing and I will go back there for sure in the future. What a great start to my holidays :) Bliss.

2010 Comedy Festival Gala

My brother and I generally go to the Gala every year. It supports Oxfam, my favorite charity and I love Comedy Festival, so it's a win-win situation. This year's event was at the Palais in St Kilda (handy) and it was much of a muchness. Loads of comics doing 5 minute spots. Highlights included Andrew O'Neill, Arj Barker, Sam Simmons and Tripod. I love Tripod.

Kitty Flannigan hosted and she was pretty funny. I like her too.

Unfortunately the venue was a massive let down. It was about 35 degrees inside the theatre, so it was unbearably hot. In the TV broadcast the following week you can see the audience fanning themselves during the show - not a good look. The sound quality was also very poor - when guys like Tim Vine came out, you could hardly understand what they were saying, as it was so fuzzy and difficult to understand. A disappointing night. But left us very excited for the rest of the festival!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Comedy Festival reviews - Preview Weekend

I love Comedy Festival.

It's my favorite time of year - standing around in the rain and almost cold weather, seeing 2 or 3 shows a night, especially on Tightarse Tuesday when you try and cram in as many shows as you can. Every year I say the same thing - I'm not seeing too many shows this year, I'm not spending hundreds of dollars, I'm only going to see a few shows, I wont go crazy and see all the big names. And yet every year it's the same... I see my 'list' of shows during the cheap preview sessions, then the reviews start to come out, and the conversations start... and before I know it, I've seen 20+ shows again this year!

Not this year though. This year I am sticking to my budget and only seeing a maximum of ten shows. Preview weekend has just finished and I've seen 5 shows already, with another 4 in the pipeline, so I've not given myself much room to move... hmmm.

2010 started well for me - I got a $150 gift voucher for the Festival from my brother and sister for Christmas, so I was pretty excited as the shows started to go on sale. Too late we learnt that the gift vouchers, in fact the entire festival ticketing system, is a pain in the bum. Gift vouchers can only be redeemed in person, so for the first time since I was in high school (ten years ago people!) I had to actually go into a shop and purchase tickets. That is a pain in the bum.

Upon arriving with my carefully constructed list of shows and dates, I was informed that my gift vouchers could only be used for ticketmaster shows, which immediately cut out over half the shows I wanted to see. Pain in the bum.

No matter, I thought. I found some new shows that we sitting on the 'maybe' list, that had rapidly made it onto the 'let's see this show' list and purchased a bunch of my original shows online later that day. So onto opening weekend!

Friday night we had some free tickets to see Wil Anderson. I've not seen one of his shows in years. I thought I didn't like him that much. How wrong I was - he was great! His show was very political; he talked about racism, gender, fat kids and stupid people (my favorite topic). His motto for the show was "Let them go" and supported it by ranting and raving for much of the show about the need for society to stop pandering to the lowest common denominator - stop making laws that protect the stupid and start weeding out them out by means of natural selection. Hilarious. My favorite part was when he said "It's so lazy and stupid to hate people based on race or whatever. There's so many reasons to hate people, most people are stupid, so you should get to know them, and then hate them". Pretty much sums up my life. Anyway, it was funnier when Wil said it. The best part of the show was that he spent the whole time making fun of the redneck bogan population in Australia, which was most of the audience, and instead of being insulted they just laughed along. Idiots. It was hilarious. He's on for the whole festival, at the Comedy Theatre. Wilfl Misconduct - go see it.

On Saturday we had some more free tickets and went off to an afternoon dress rehearsal for "Good Evening" with Shaun Micallef and Stephen Curry. The was easily one of the best festival shows I've ever seen. Very clever and very funny. At one point I was that person in the theatre laughing and snorting uncontrollably (this was while Stephen was signing an Elizabethan song with a ridiculous hat on), which led to the group I was laughing along with me. Then I heard the people behind me saying "Look at that girl, she's killing herself laughing" at which point that group of people started laughing at me and soon enough the whole area of the theatre was laughing along with me. It was great.



Not that I mind swearing in shows, but it was nice to see some comedy without swearing and something that was a bit old-fashioned and silly. I suppose our generation missed all of that - the show is based on the sketches of Dudley Moore. Some people laughed at stuff before the sketch had even started, so I suppose they must have been well known by some. Good Evening is running for a limited time and is on at the Comedy Theatre. Highly reccomended.

Sunday night I saw three shows - David O'Doherty, Frank Woodley and Sam Simmons. I'd seen all these guys before, and they are some of my favorites, so my brother and I decided to get them in early during the preview sessions.

David O'Doherty was on at the Forum - late start, which is never fun when you have multiple shows lined up in one night. He has the longest introduction ever - but funny. He opened his show with his 'lower your expectations' song, which is very funny, but we've seen him do that before. I am never happy when my regular artists repeat material, hence why I'll never go see Tom Gleeson again. After many years of loyal festival followings, last year he repeated materials from 4 or 5 years ago. We were not impressed.

Anyway, David also does the same song at the end of every show, but he updates it with his most recent beefs of the year. This year it was iPhones and women. And he's written a book on Pandas which is pretty funny... My favorite fact was this: Pandas who are struck by lightning find that their black fur turns white, and their white fur turns black. These pandas are called 'negative pandas' and are extremely rare. And this one: All pandas are born female. They will only turn male if they get a fright within their first 48 hours of life. It is for this reason that zoos with a high female bear population often employ a panda spooker to surprise newborn girls into manhood.

Pandas are funny.



So David's show ran over which meant we were late for Frank Woodley. Luckily we've seen him many times before, so we knew the sneaky joke he got in at the start at our expense. He tells audiences that if someone walks in late, he'll ask them if he should tell a certain joke again and that the crowd should go crazy. It's pretty funny. So when we arrived late, he said hi to us in front of everyone and then asked the crowd if he should tell the 'badger' joke again, to which the crowd went wild! haha it was pretty good :)

But his show seemed to lack the magic he always achieved with Colin... at some points it was a bit awkward, although with quite a few empty seats, it's hard to be the only person laughing when no one else is. I suppose the preview shows are always hard. Frank also repeated a bit of material, but only a little bit and I suppose that for Paul and I, as two of the biggest Lano and Woodley fans ever, were bound to hear some repeated stuff. I love his little song "I might contradict myself, but at least I don't contradict myself". I was singing it all night!

And I also loved the bit where he did a skit dressed up in a suit and glasses with a mobile phone. Did he look exactly like David Tennant or what?! Weird. It was a pretty hilarious skit! Watch out for it.

After Frank, we wandered down to Bosco Tent, one of my favorite venues, to see Sam Simmons. We saw him here last year as well and he is now one of my favorite artists. His stuff is so strange - and hilarious. At one point last night I was in fits as he presented Diane, the angry cabbage to us. Weird.

I also love Bosco Tent cause it provides some of the funniest moments of shows - like when Sam got right to the end of his show and was wrapping up with his heartfelt message and there is a tram outside ringing its bell non stop. Cue Sam; "Shut the fuck up you stupid tram! Cant you see this is the poignant bit of the show??!". And then again 10 seconds later; "Seriously tram, what the fuck are you doing? Shut the fuck up!". BAWHAHAHA


A note: I am very behind with my posts. I still have my Soundwave review to post, as well as about 6 comedy shows I've seen since the ones above. But I am sure you will all forgive me, as I've had about 4 hours sleep a night this week. More posts will come up over the Easter break

Thursday, February 25, 2010

gigs 'n' stuff

On our way to the corner hotel on Tuesday night, S & C were chatting with me about our upcoming visit to the Soundwave Festival. I mentioned that I was very much looking forward to seeing Jimmy Eat World and that I'd not seen them since I lived in London, to which S replied, "I've not seen them since that crazy show at Big Day Out". WOW. Had I totally forgotten about that crazy, amazing show? Yes I had. How could I??? I am so disappointed in myself, it was one of the most incredible shows, with an electric atmosphere. It was back in the good old days, where a million kids crammed into one of the cow sheds (at least that's what it smelt like) at the Showgrounds and when they opened their set with Bleed American, people went MENTAL. It was so ace!

So I've decided that I need to document some of the shows I see, for future reference. And what better time to start, with loads of great artists out in Australia at the moment and heaps of exciting shows coming up in the next few months (did I hear you say Spoon? Why yes thank you!!!)



Last week, Paul and I saw the Cribs at Billboards. I have never understood why the Cribs are not more successful in Australia. They are massive in the UK, but even with the addition of Johnny Marr (ex The Smiths guitarist) on this, their 4th studio album, people in Oz still don't seem that interested in them... hmmm. Anyway, does not bother me in the slightest, as it means I get to see an amazing, talented band in a reasonably small venue. And I LOVE Billboards, it's my favorite venue in Melbourne (I am sure that is not a popular statement, but it is a great venue! Really!).

We had some yum Chinese at Post Deng Cafe (I love that place) and then caught the last few songs of Bridezilla's set. Very nice.

Finally the guys came out and opened with We Were Aborted from the new album, which I was very pleased with, as I love that song. They've not toured in Australia since their 2nd album, so they played played plenty of old stuff. And the difference having a second guitar (Marr) makes to their old stuff! It sounded amazing! Hey Scensters was like a different song. And Another Number did loose a bit of it's raw, scratchy sound (which arguably is what the band does really well), but it still had a great sound. Here is them playing Cheat On Me...

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I wish I'd made a note of their set list, but they played for around an hour and a half and it was all very solid material. They missed a few key songs though including Martel and You Were Always The One, and they didn't play an encore! How strange, have not seen that for ages.

One of the most amazing songs they did was Be Safe, from their Men's Needs, Women's Needs album. Its the track that has Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth having a chat over the top of them. At the gig the projected his face onto the stage and the boys played in semi-darkness in the background. The visual image was incredible. I took a video of some of it, but it didn't really work... To be fair, it came off my phone.

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Some photos too...





All in all, a fab gig. Was a very happy lass for several days afterwards :)

On Tuesday night we wandered off to the Corner Hotel for Paul Dempsey, Oh Mercy and the Wagons. I actually missed the Wagons who played last, as I am a nanna and went home to sleep. It's been a pretty busy few months and I am trying really hard not to burn out... But Oh Mercy were fab and very cute (and very young! Wow, I am really old). I am not a massive Paul Dempsey fan... but I will admit that he writes amazing songs and has and incredible voice and is generally a pleasure to listen to. He is very very good, and on the strength of a 25 minute acoustic performance I am now considering going to see his show next month. I just wish he would stop talking in between his songs! But a very fun (and cheap - $15) Tuesday night. Happy Birthday Simmo!

It's taken me a while to get this info up here, but I promise to update a review soon after Soundwave. I've been reading the Sydney reviews (which are all bad) and so I am hoping having the festival at the Showgrounds will result in happier reviews from the Melbourne crowd. We will see...

But what a line-up! Faith No More, Placebo, Jimmy Eat World, Eagles of Death Metal, Jane's Addiction, Get Up Kids, the Gallows... WOW! Flemington are going to have to really fuck up things to ruin it for me. Although BDO also had a stellar line-up and look at what happened there. Positive thoughts people! Positive thoughts...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Now I know I am getting old...

As my 27th birthday approaches next month, I have been having slight panic attacks. When did I get so old? What have I been doing with my life???

But it was never so apparent as how I felt yesterday at Big Day Out. Never, ever again. I've been going to big day out for 11 years. 11!!! I think I've probably missed 3 BDOs in that time and have had some amazing times there at a number of different venues. I remember seeing Muse there years ago, Rage Against the Machine last year and many more incredible acts over the years.

Yesterday at Flemington destroyed a lot of happy memories for me.

Its been a long, long time since BDO was in Melbourne on Australia Day. I would like to think that this contributed a huge percentage of the dickhead factor at the event. I've never seen so many aussie flags/tattoos/inflatable fingers in one place, as well as the usual assortment of racist and embarrassing t-shirts ("Purebred Australian" - what the fuck does that even mean??? You might as well wander around with a tattoo on your head saying 'I'm a dickhead'). Having the festival on Australia Day probably bought a bunch of wankers out of their redneck wonderlands. It certainly seemed that way. I think that about 90% of the crowd were not really 'music' people. Maybe 9% of the crowd were familiar with the artists and their materials. The other 1% were emos.

I arrived just before Kasabian took the stage (with some very impressive double denim) and watched them play a very solid hour of good material. I was very surprised to see such a HUGE crowd at their set. I couldn't understand why so many people were there, especially since they had such an early playing time. It soon became apparent why so many people were there... very disappointing to see the bulk of the crowd leave after they played 'fire' about a third of the way through their set, which meant they missed the highlight when they played 'lsf' as their last song. This would be come the theme of the day. The bulk of the crowd were Nova/Triple M listeners, who knew a couple of new songs and that was about all.

Headed off to see Girl Talk in the Boiler Room next and stayed for the whole set, waiting for that 'magic moment'. Unfortunately, it never came and coupled with a pretty terrible sound quality, led to a very disappointing set. The tent looked great though!



We had planned to see a bit of midnight juggernauts but ended up leaving the boiler room to get away from the people in there and went to see the last song in the hilltop hoods set and get a good spot for Dizzy Rascal. I had not seen Dizzy since I lived in London, just after he won the Mercury Music Prize. He was very skinny and British back then - he was BUFF yesterday. It was kinda weird! He played a bunch of stuff from Boy in da Corner, including 'fix up, look sharp', but true to form the crowd just stood there during that fine performance and chatted to each other. Different story when he played bonkers, holiday and dirtee money. They loved that! Look at the crowd go wild!



I had intended to watch all of Lily Allen's set immediately after Dizzy. But 4 songs in, she was SO bad that I had to run away and hide until it was over. It meant that I missed her Britney Spears cover of 'womaniser'... but having watched her try and do anything original in the first part of her set (and failing miserably) meant I am not too upset about that. We ended up coming back to watch the last couple of songs (watching Lily try to harmonise her own songs was PAIN FULL) and decided to hang around and watch a bit of The Mars Volta. At least, we figured, the majority of the dickhead crowd would be off watching Calvin Harris (we did watch the first 2 songs of his set, but I am not a massive fan and was starting to get violent, so we left). And we were right! The crowd was cool. Just like in the good old days! We had a good chat to a couple next to us about if the boys would open their one hour festival slot with a 35 minute instrumental (they didn't) and how cool it would be if they played 'one-armed scissor' (as if).

They were good, the sound was good and they had very big hair. I liked them a lot. It did get a bit self indulgent towards the middle of the set, but we had to head off to meet friends and eat some food before we got ready for the evening shows. I was so fed up by this stage that I didn't make the effort to get over to the Green Stage to see Grinspoon and I really should have. Turns out, they played 'just ace' and 'dead cat X 3'! They took a poll on facebook of what people wanted to head most. haha!

Pretty soon, it was time to try and get a good spot for Muse. The only reason I bought the ticket to BDO was because of them. I passed on the first round thinking I would get side show tickets, only the side shows never came. So I bought a last minute ticket to mainly see them. I think it was the 9th or 10th time I have seen them now, and their shows are always good. But this was definitely a Resistance tour - they played pretty much the whole new album and 2 songs off each of Origin of Symmetry, Absolution and Black Holes. Nothing off Showbiz, which was pretty disappointing. Again, the crowd didn't really know any of their old stuff (newborn and plug in baby) but went crazy for some off the stuff of black holes. It was not the best show I've ever seen them do, but there is nothing quite like singing along to Hysteria with 40,000 people. They didn't quite have the same impact as RATM last year (imagine 50,000 kids screaming 'fuck you, I wont do as you tell me') but it was pretty cool. They are such an incredible act. I love them.

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Lucky they played. Otherwise it would have been a most disappointing day. Then again, I probably would never have bought a ticket if they hadn't played. Hmmm. Either way, I think this marks then end of BDO for me :( The program this year stated "It [BDO] was and still is delivered to you by passionate music fans and we work hard to keep the event true to it's original vision" I guess I couldn't quite see that past all the sponsors and a badly managed event. I watched a security guard punch a dude in the face for knocking over a garbage bin of tinnies. I waited 35 minutes at the end of the event to get onto the platform to get a train out of there. Each time I needed to go to the bathroom I waited a minimum of 20 minutes. The one time we got food we waited over half an hour.

There is no question that the event has changed. Significantly. It felt like there was many more than 50,000 people there yesterday. I guess maybe that's just me getting old... But the people we talked to and shared memories with from the 'good ole days' agree - its not what it used to be. I guess I really am turning 27 soon...

And you can bet I am selling my Good Vibes ticket. Any takers?

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Tote is closing :(

Sad news today - The Tote is closing it's doors for the last time this weekend.

Click here for the release from owner Bruce Milne on Fasterlouder.com

Last drinks!