Sunday, May 19, 2013

Eurovision 2013

It's one of my favorite weekends of the year- the Eurovision Song Contest!  This year it was held in Malmo, Sweden and I kept myself in a media blackout all day so I wouldn't be spoiled for the finals on tv tonight.  There was a bit more diversity in song styles and I liked that a lot of countries sang in their native language instead of English.  I'm not sure if this is due to post-GFC national pride or what I would like to call the Psy effect- not needing to sing in English to have a worldwide hit.

It was a tight race but the winner was Emmelie de Forest from Denmark with "Only Teardrops" 

My top 3 on the night were:

Margaret Berger (Norway) - "I Feed You My Love"

Amandine Bourgeois (France) - "L'enfer Et Moi"

Andrius Pojavis (Lithuania) - "Something"

I was very disappointed that Who See from Montenegro didn't make it through to the finals with their song "Igranka."  Their performance had astronaut suits, hip hop and dubstep.  It was awesome.

Finally, the "What the hell was that" award for this year goes to Cezar (Romania) - "It's My Life"

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Oh Mercy- Last Melbourne Shows For 2013

The last two nights have been spent at the Northcote Social Club with Tash and Mary (on Thursday only) to catch the last Melbourne shows for a while by Oh Mercy before they relocate overseas.  It was coined as a celebration and both evenings were a bit of an Oh Mercy fest.

The opening act was Slow Dancer (aka Simon Okely) accompanied by James Harding on bass and Myles Wootton (The Panics) on drums.  They played an excellent set both nights.  There is such a great groove to all of Simon's songs, especially the single "Leave It To Me" (see video below) which has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it over a year ago.  I can't wait for his debut album Surrender to be released sometime this year.

Next on the bill was Alexander Gow solo on electric guitar playing some older Oh Mercy songs.  He began with "Hold Out Your Hand" and "Blue Lagoon" from Great Barrier Grief.  I was so thrilled to hear "Salvation Jane," which is one of my all time favorites and a b-side from one of their first singles.  Interestingly it was "In Good Time" (only played on Thursday) and "By The Collar," the two Privileged Woes tracks, that sounded the strongest to me in the set.  This could be because I haven't heard them live in years.

Alex did covers of songs by Kieran Ryan (Thursday) and The Panics (Friday) and Jae Laffer of The Panics returned the favor by singing his version of Oh Mercy's "Labour Of Love."  Alex also invited Gossling (aka Helen Croome) onto the stage to sing their duet "La Minute De Silence," which was recorded for the Melodie Francaise album of French songs sung by Australian artists.  He finished the set with the Deep Heat b-side "Lady Eucalyptus."

Here's the video for "La Minute De Silence," which was shot in Paris a couple months ago:

For Oh Mercy's set Alex returned to the stage with Rohan and began with "Europa" before Eliza and Simon joined them for "Lay Everything On Me."  The set was mostly songs off Deep Heat including my favorites "Rebel Beats," "Pilgrim's Blues," "My Man," "Still Making Me Pay" and "Drums."  We also got a few Great Barrier Grief tracks with "Keith St," "Stay Please Stay" and Kieran Ryan's lovely cover of "Doldrums."

The funniest moment of the two shows revolved around Simon's birthday on Thursday, which his band members completely forgot about until he announced it on stage.  The reason they gave was that they did so many fake celebrations of his birthday at shows that they didn't know the actual date.  To make up for it they brought out a birthday cake (complete with a penis drawn on the top) and Jagermeister shots on Friday as we all sang "Happy Birthday" to Simon.

The band was quite sentimental at both shows since these will be the last Australian shows for at least a year.  Alex thanked all the familiar faces in the crowd who have supported them over the years.  They finished the night with a ripping version of The Waterboys' "Fisherman's Blues" before taking a final bow on stage.  It will be a new chapter for Oh Mercy with Alex and Rohan moving to the US for a while but I have great faith that we will get their best album yet from the experience.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

La Belle Miette

My battle against obtaining an afternoon sugar hit at work just got harder now that La Belle Miette have opened their Collins Street store in the last couple weeks.  I have been a big fan of their macarons for over a year now, with their Hardware Lane store being a safe enough distance away to make it more of a special treat than a regular visit.  Now they are just down the road.

Besides the wide variety of yummy flavors available daily (with salted caramel being my favorite) they also do special macarons during various holidays.  For the past two years there have been special limited edition flavors in honor of Mother's Day.  Last year the theme was floral scents, and this year they did a Macaron High Tea with cucumber sandwiches, pink champagne, berry cheesecake, Devonshire tea, opera cake and chocolate brownie flavored macarons.  All of them tasted exactly as described, with the berry cheesecake being my favorite of the six pictured above.  Between La Belle Miette and Spring Street Grocery's gelati I'm either going to go broke or need to hit the gym more often!

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