Saturday, November 03, 2018

The Living End- Wunderbar Tour

The Living End recently released their eighth studio album Wunderbar and tonight's gig at the Forum was the first of their two shows in Melbourne. The opening act for the evening was South Australian seven piece band West Thebarton. They put on a very energetic set of Aussie rock as their charismatic front man Reverend Ray roamed around the stage.

The Living End began their set with "Wake Up The Vampires" and "Don't Lose It," two of the many tracks from Wunderbar that were played throughout the evening. Other highlights from the album were "Otherside," "Death Of The American Dream," "Proton Pill" and "Drop The Needle."

Considering the band's extensive back catalogue, it's always interesting to see what unexpected tracks will make the set list. Tonight we were treated to "'Til The End," "Bloody Mary," "Loaded Gun," "End Of The World," "Wake Up" and "One Said To The Other." They also played usual favorites such as "Roll On," "All Torn Down," "Second Solution," "White Noise" and "Prisoner Of Society," which had the mosh pit going and finished off the main set. For the encore Chris came out and played "Amsterdam" solo and then the band joined him for the epic "The Room" and a raucous version of "Uncle Harry." Once again The Living End proved they are still one of the top Australian live acts out there.

Here's the video for the latest single "Otherside"

Friday, November 02, 2018

Dave Dobbyn- The Evelyn Hotel

Dave Dobbyn returned to Melbourne tonight for a sold out show at The Evelyn Hotel. I got there as Adam McGrath from The Eastern was finishing his solo set for the mainly Kiwi crowd. It was packed and very hot in the venue by the time Dave Dobbyn and his band took to the stage. They began with "You Get So Lonely" off his latest album Harmony House, and played songs from throughout his long career. It was great to be able to hear so many of my favorites, including "Language," "Whaling," "Devil You Know," "Maybe The Rain," "Be Mine Tonight" and "Love You Like I Should."

Dave was chatty and telling stories throughout the night, while the crowd was in full voice singing along, especially when "Slice Of Heaven" was played to closed the main set. For an encore they played "Outlook For Thursday" and then invited Adam McGrath back onto the stage for the beautiful "Welcome Home" to finish the night. It's always a pleasure to see Dave live and he seemed to really enjoy getting to play in Australia again.

Here's a te reo Maori version of "Welcome Home"

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Bang On Live


Bang On is the weekly podcast hosted by Myf Warhurst and Zan Rowe that covers all things music, art, life and "farshun." As part of the Darebin Music Feast they did a live taping of the podcast at The Thornbury Theatre this afternoon, which was a sold out gathering of the Melbourne #BangFam.

Warming up the crowd was ABC journalist Virginia Trioli, who did a DJ set that had some members of the audience up and dancing. Then Myf and Zan came out and taped this week's podcast (episode 82), which covered topics such as the new movie A Star Is Born, Rihanna turning down the Super Bowl halftime show in support of Colin Kaepernick, and the pink fur Fendi scarf. Zan banged on about Holly Throsby's new novel Cedar Valley, and Myf reminded us about the real people behind true crime podcasts. They also had Virginia Trioli come up for a chat, and she encouraged us all to do something new every day.

We were also treated to a couple of extra things, including Myf and Zan's Year in Review, where they picked their celebrity of the year, think piece of the year, and farshun of the year. Then we got to watch an entertaining denim themed farshun parade of audience members, with the winner receiving a pair of flap chaps made by Myf (inspired by Janelle Monae's "Pynk" video). All in all it was a very fun afternoon and exciting to get to be a part of a live taping of Bang On.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Olympia- Star City Tour

Last night Belinda and I attended the second sold out Melbourne date at Northcote Social Club in support of Olympia's new single "Star City." It was nice to have an entire bill of female musicians for a change. We caught the second half of the set by opening act Merpire, who played as a duo. I really enjoyed their atmospheric and dreamy pop music. Next up was Eilish Gilligan, who started solo on piano for a few songs and then had her band join her for a more 80s electronic sound for the rest of her set.

Olympia kicked off the evening with "Somewhere To Disappear" off her last album Self Talk. The first half of the set featured other songs from the album, including "Tourists," "Honey" and my favorites "Different Cities" and "Smoke Signals." Once Olivia removed her kimono to reveal a sequin dress she started to preview songs from her upcoming album, which all sounded fantastic. Her band was made up of a bunch of veterans from the Australian music scene with Richard Bradbeer on bass, Ryan Strathie on drums and Sarah Belkner on keyboard, percussion and backing vocals. They finished the main set with the new single "Star City," and then for the encore Olivia played a new track solo and then had the band come back on for one of her older songs "Atlantis" to end the night. It was great to see her live again and I look forward to the new album coming out next year.

Here's the video for "Star City"

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fire Gardens

The Melbourne International Arts Festival is currently happening from 3 - 21 October 2018 at different sites around the city. One of the special events at this year's festival is the transformation of the Royal Botanical Gardens into the Fire Gardens over the next four evenings by French artists Compagnie Carabosse. As you entered the gardens there were burning clay pots to light the pathways as you walked around.

At the beginning were moving metal sculptures and rings of fire to walk through as you made your way down to the lake where there were many floating platforms with different lit sculptures. As it was a windy night they were moving around a bit on the water. There was also a solo guitarist, Steph LaRose, playing music which added to the atmosphere as people stood around and watched the sculptures.

2018 Melbourne International Arts Festival

2018 Melbourne International Arts Festival

Further along the path were sculptures that shot out flames, and a bunch of lit piles of charcoal both in tubes spaced out in the ponds and in giant snaking sculptures on the hill, which due to the wind resulted in sparks flying out of them whenever a gust came along (and at one point people were having to stamp out a little fire on the ground).

2018 Melbourne International Arts Festival

Within the Fern Gully were little white tank tops hanging among the trees that looked like floating lanterns. There were also these rocket looking sculptures on the grass that you could see different designs on when the flames would shoot through them.

2018 Melbourne International Arts Festival

Overall it was a great experience to be able to walk around the Fire Gardens. Thankfully the festival had three set entry times and limited the number of tickets to 7,000 total for the whole night so it wasn't too crowded. If you are lucky enough to have a ticket for this sold out event I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

MoMA At NGV: 130 Years Of Modern And Contemporary Art

This year's Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition is MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art. It features over 200 works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York grouped into eight chronologically themed rooms.

Works from many of the world's best known artists are featured in the exhibition. My favorites included the works from the Bauhaus and Pop Art movements, and the paintings by abstract expressionists. If you have visited modern art museums overseas you will have probably seen examples of many of these artists' works. For those who haven't been able to travel though, this exhibition is a great opportunity to see key works by many of the great artists in one place.

MoMA at NGV

MoMA at NGV

MoMa at NGV

MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art runs until 7 October 2018.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

MWF- Ta-Nehisi Coates: Writing Yourself Into History

MWF
Tonight as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival I went to see Ta-Nehisi Coates: Writing Yourself Into History at the Athenaeum Theatre. Hosted by journalist and filmmaker Santilla Chingaipe, this hour and half long discussion with American writer and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates mainly focused on race and politics in the US. Ta-Nehisi began the evening by reading a passage from one of his books about growing up in Baltimore. He spoke about his upbringing with his parents, how he read a lot of books, and how his father, a former Black Panther, forbid the celebration of Thanksgiving due to colonialism and the genocide of Native American people.

As a journalist he has mainly focused his writing on race and culture, and his essays written during the Obama presidency became his most recent book We Were Eight Years In Power. He talked about the two times he was invited to the White House with other journalist after certain articles he had written were published. On his second visit he got into a bit of a heated discussion with President Obama. In discussing Trump's presidential victory, Ta-Nehisi felt it was the result of white supremacy and a backlash by racists against the Obama presidency, not due to anything in particular that Obama had done while in office.

I liked that he spoke about his writing process, and how his publisher made him write one of his books three times before considering it to be at the level for publishing. He also spoke about writing the Black Panther and Captain America comic books and how different it is to writing books as it is a visual medium. The words have to serve the illustrations, and he compared it to writing poetry. Overall it was really interesting to hear Ta-Nehisi speak and also good to see a diverse crowd come out to see him.
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