Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dan Sultan- Magnetic Tour

Dan Sultan recently launched his new single "Magnetic" and has hit the road this month to support its release. Tonight he played a nearly sold out show in Melbourne at 170 Russell. I arrived as the second support act, Caiti Baker, started playing. The Darwin singer-songwriter and vocalist in the electro-soul duo Sietta has gone solo with a jazz/soul/pop sound. She played a very catchy and energetic set with her band featuring songs from her upcoming album.

Dan Sultan took to the stage with his full band and began his set with "Kimberly Calling" and "Your Love Is Like A Song." After such a rough week it was good to have a solid rock show to distract you from world events. Dan was in fine voice and played some new material, which had a bit of a soul vibe to it, along with songs from his previous album Blackbird, including "The Same Man" and "Under Your Skin." He finished the main set with "Magnetic" and then started the encore playing "It Belongs To Us" and "Dirty Ground" solo on electric guitar. To close out the night he did one of my favorites, the anthemic "Old Fitzroy." I'm looking forward to hearing Dan's new album when it comes out next year and this new soulful direction he seems to be taking.

Here's the amazing animated video by Dropbear for "Magnetic"

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Harpoons- ACCA

Melbourne Music Week kicked off today, and will feature a lot of different artists playing in some interesting and unique spaces around the city over the next week. Tonight Mary, Belinda and I met up at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) in Southbank to see The Harpoons. It's been a while since they last played live in Melbourne, so the crowd was pretty hyped to see them.

Their set was a bit of a preview of their upcoming album, which continues their dance and R&B sound with some beautiful harmonies and more songs about love. We also got to hear some older tracks such as "Can We Work This Out," "Unforgettable" and "Ready For Your Love." The foyer of ACCA where the stage was set up wasn't the most conducive to a good sound mix, although it did get a bit better as the show went on. It was a quick 45 minute set, but always a pleasure to see The Harpoons bring their positive energy to a live setting.

Here's the video for "Never Stop Loving You"

Thursday, November 10, 2016

LuxBite Hello Kitty Pop-up Patisserie

I was a big Hello Kitty fan as a child, so it was exciting to see one of my favorite Melbourne patisseries LuxBite team up with Hello Kitty for a special limited edition collection of desserts. I hit up their current pop-up store located on the level 2 link bridge of Melbourne Central during lunch to try out some of these sweet treats.

First off I sampled two of the small cakes. The Pink cake contains strawberry mousse, raspberry coconut, desiccated coconut mousse and white chocolate sponge. The Blue cake has a calpis and mascarpone mousse, blueberry jelly, blueberry cream and white chocolate sponge. Both cakes were very light and tasty.

Next I had the Macarons Box Set which contained three different flavors: blueberry marshmallow, salted caramel, and raspberry and white chocolate. The salted caramel one was amazing.

There are also some chocolates available too with their chocolate lollypops and three different Japanese inspired chocolate bars. Be sure to check out the LuxBite Hello Kitty collection at the pop-up location or LuxBite stores in South Yarra and Melbourne CBD. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

The Stiffys- Art Rock Two Tour

Last night The Stiffys concluded their tour in support of their latest EP Art Rock Two at The Workers Club. Opening the gig were three piece band Rad Island who had a bit of a pop punk vibe. Next up was the duo Sex Pills who sang short songs about everyday issues with their lead singer using a broad Aussie ocker accent. They even did a cover of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'."

The Stiffys are still in their art rock phase and came out wearing their astronaut suits (with Dev in a black "We Are Your Boys, Please RT" t-shirt and Stiffys sailor hat). They kicked off the evening with my favorite track off the new EP "Celebrate Every Night." As this show was billed as being in 3D the audience could grab free 3D glasses when they entered the bandroom, which enhanced the experience of viewing the moving geometric projections in the background. Things became even more 3D when the band started throwing out Vicks VapoNaturals they had found into the crowd.

It was a high energy show with a set list that contained songs from all of their releases. Highlights for me included the newer art rock tracks such as "Do What You Want," "The Pokémon Go Song," "King Of The Internet," "Kissy Kissy" and "Space Blog" alongside Stiffys classics like "Champagne," "Call And Response Song" and "Ranger Stacey." Crowd surfing happened at the end of the main set with Dev being kept up while they played a song in honor of The Beards "Touch Me In My Pants (On My Doodle)," and of course the boogie board was brought out for "Boogie Boarding" (this time rode by the lead singer of Rad Island). For the encore they finished on a high with "I'm Really Good At Sex Because I'm Always Doing It" and "I Like Drinks When I Drink Them." It's always great to see the boys do such a great job and maintain their positive attitude to life.

Here's the video for their semi-viral hit "The Pokémon Go Song"

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Melbourne Cup 2016

Photo by Eddie Jim
It's the Spring Racing Carnival once again in Melbourne, and today was the 156th running of the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse. This year's race was quite exciting as German horse Almandin chased down Irish horse Heartbreak City to win on the line, with favorite Hartnell (Great Britain) finishing third. This was owner Lloyd Williams fifth Melbourne Cup win, and the second for jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who first won 16 years ago. Weather wise it managed to stay dry for the majority of the day, but did start to rain as the horses galloped down the straight to the finish.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Girl On The Train

It was more treats than tricks this Halloween as not only did I finally get to use my Village Cinemas gift certificates before they expired, but the Village Cinemas at Crown were also giving away a free large popcorn with every purchased ticket. Onagh and I decided to see the mystery thriller The Girl On The Train, a movie based on the novel by Paula Hawkins.

The plot revolves around Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt), an alcoholic who rides the train to and from the city each day, passing the house she used to live in with her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and their baby. Two doors down from her old house is another couple Scott (Luke Evans) and Megan (Haley Bennett), who Rachel imagines are in the perfect marriage.

The movie jumps back and forth between time frames and characters as you see events from other characters' perspectives. Megan, who was also briefly a nanny for Tom and Anna, was not actually in a happy marriage, but detached from her controlling husband and seeing a psychiatrist (Edgar Ramirez). When Rachel passes by the houses on the train one day and sees Megan kissing another man on her porch, it sets Rachel off on a drinking binge. One evening she decides to get off the train and confront Megan, but wakes up at home from a blackout covered in blood and bruises, not remembering what has happened. Later on in the news she sees that Megan is missing, which sets off a series of events to find Megan and what really happened to her. Emily Blunt is absolutely amazing as Rachel and really carries the movie, which has a lot of twists and turns as the mystery unravels.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

C.W. Stoneking- The Croxton

C.W. Stoneking brought along his all female band from recent shows in the US to play a one off sold out show tonight at The Croxton Bandroom in Thornbury as part of the Darebin Music Feast. This was my first time at The Croxton and it's a pretty big space with decent views of the stage from wherever you stand. It's nice to have a larger venue operating on the north side of town.

Considering we are so close to Halloween, C.W. and his band started off the night with the very appropriate track "The Zombie." His latest album Gon' Boogaloo was prominently featured in the set with every song off of it played. Highlights included "Get On The Floor," "Tomorrow Gon' Be Too Late," "The Thing I Done," "I'm The Jungle Man," "The Jungle Swing," "Good Luck Charm" and "We Gon' Boogaloo."

C.W. was in fine voice and told some funny stories throughout the night about his hatred of banjos, hunting for Bigfoot while in the US, his love of chocolate fudge sundaes, and even called out a heckler for arguing in the crowd. The nearly two hour set also contained songs from his first two albums, including "Handyman Blues," "The Love Me Or Die," "Jungle Lullaby" and "Brave Son Of America." The couple of times where C.W. played solo on guitar encouraged the most involvement from the crowd. "Talking Lion Blues" had everyone yodelling (and also a few stops and starts from C.W. as he lost track of where he was in the song), and the audience sang along to "Jailhouse Blues," which was the last song for the evening. It was another great show from C.W. and always a joy to get to see him play live.

Here's a live version of "The Zombie" filmed with his band a couple months ago:

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