Saturday, September 06, 2014

Essendon v North Melbourne Elimination Final

Twelve months ago Essendon finished eighth and should have been in the finals, but due to penalties by the AFL for the supplements scandal were stripped of the opportunity.  This year we finished seventh and tonight faced the sixth place North Melbourne in an elimination final at the MCG.  Both teams have not played that consistently throughout the year, so it really was anyone's game.  My ticket guardian angels for this season Simon and Colette were kind enough to let me join them for the match.  Essendon had an excellent start kicking the first two goals, but North played well in the second part of the quarter and brought the score back to within a point.  However, the second quarter was all Essendon as we gained a 27 point lead and held North to only one point for the whole quarter.

Essendon's lead was up to 33 points early in the third quarter, but then the tide turned as North managed to kick five goals in eleven minutes.  The burst came out of nowhere and completely shifted the momentum of the match as North got to within 3 points.  Both teams kicked goal for goal for a period, but as we entered the fourth quarter you could sense it was only a matter of time before North hit the lead.  Once they did, Essendon managed to get back in front, but from there on it was a nail biter as the lead switched back and forth.  Within the last four minutes North managed to kick two goals and that was it for Essendon and our finals hopes.  It was a disappointing loss as we shouldn't have given away the game after such a big lead.  Not playing for the full four quarters has been an issue all year and this time it cost us dearly.  Considering all the distractions the players have faced it was a great effort to make it into the finals.  Hopefully they will take some lessons from this season and come back next year mentally stronger.  I also hope that Mark "Bomber" Thompson stays at the club as he has been so entertaining as a coach this year while James Hird was suspended.

Final Score
North Melbourne: 14.9 (93)
Essendon: 12.9 (81)

Friday, September 05, 2014

Boy & Bear- Get Up & Dance Tour

It's hard to believe it has been nearly a year since I last saw Boy & Bear play live.  They have been busy touring all over the world in support of their latest album Harlequin Dream, so it was nice for them to come back to play some more shows for their Australian fans.  Our show at the Palais Theatre was the second in Melbourne this week, but the first one that went on sale and sold out.  The opening act tonight was the wonderful Holy Holy, who sounded fantastic in the acoustics of the Palais.  Mary and I were happy to get to see them again and they played lots of new songs in addition to the previously released tracks "Impossible Like You," "House Of Cards" and new single "History."

Every time Boy & Bear come through town they play bigger and bigger venues, and there was a wide range of ages in the audience tonight.  The set contained songs from all of their releases, and I was really happy to hear "Rabbit Song" so early on in the evening.  They tended to play many of songs back to back with no break, and sounded really solid after all the touring they've been doing this year.  Some of the many highlights included "Lordy May," "My Only One," "Back Down The Black," "Milk & Sticks" and "Old Town Blues."  They also brought back their cover of Crowded House's "Fall At Your Feet" into the set, which was great to hear and my third Crowdies cover of the week after The Basics shows.  Dave Hosking apologized to everyone for calling this the Get Up & Dance Tour since they were playing a seated venue where you weren't allowed to stand.  This didn't stop a small group of people in the middle section though who popped up to dance during "Southern Sun" and "Feeding Line."  I have to give the band mad props for keeping up their no encore policy, which they warned everyone about toward the end so no one would be disappointed (or stick around clapping for no reason).  The last song for the evening was the lovely and touching "Big Man." 

Here's the video for the latest single "Old Town Blues"

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Basics- Gasometer Hotel

I have spent the past two nights at the Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood for a couple intimate shows by The Basics.  The opening act both nights was six piece band Sugar Fed Leopards.  Wearing fabulous leopard print and sequins outfits (with sole male member David Bramble in a gold lame suit), they sounded like a 60s girl group with a mix of songs drawing inspiration from Motown, calypso and disco.  Besides having great energy, lovely harmonies and a plethora of different dance moves, they were very entertaining and a lot of fun.

September 2
It was Mary's birthday tonight so we were excited to get to spend it with The Basics.  For the first half of the set we were treated to brand new songs from their upcoming album that has just been recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.  It was a bit of a bizarro version of The Basics as Tim was playing bass and Kris was on acoustic guitar.  I really liked the political tone of a lot of the new material, with "Whatever Happened To The Working Class" being a true stand out track.  In between the new ones we also got a few covers, including two Crowded House songs: "It's Only Natural" and "Four Seasons In One Day" which led to an interesting discussion of Neil Finn's lyrics.  Unfortunately for Kris he managed to break two strings on his guitar a few songs in, which lead to a funny search for another guitar, and then since it didn't have a strap trying to find something for him to sit on so he could play.  Someone handed him a milk crate, which was really low to sit on so Tim and Wally got to Kris' height by kneeling down, which was funny.  Thankfully they did manage to find a stool for him soon after.

After Kris did a solo version of "All Or Nothing" the boys came back on stage and Kris and Tim switched back to their normal instruments.  They launched into their more well known songs, commencing with Tim singing "Hey Rain."  Poor Wally was a bit hoarse tonight and couldn't really hit the high notes in "So Hard For You" so Kris took over half way through.  Next they played "Lookin' Over My Shoulder" which was restarted in a lower octave so Wally could sing it.  His drum solo was particularly manic as I think he was hitting out his frustrations with his voice.  We were also treated to "Feels Like Love," which included a flute solo by Gideon Brazil (who also played saxophone throughout the night), "Have Love, Will Travel," "My Baby" and the upcoming single "The Lucky Country."  It was a bit of a loose show, but still entertaining.  Mary also got "Happy Birthday" sung (although it was directed at someone else in the room) as well as a quick chat and photo with Wally after the show.

September 3
People may question why I would go to see The Basics on consecutive nights, but it's because no show is ever the same.  Tonight's set was much tighter and focused than last night.  I'm not sure if it was because the ABC was doing some filming or just the fact they had a play of those new songs under their belts.  They started the show once again with "Ashleigh Wakes," and played many of the new songs from last night including "Time Poor," "Whatever Happened To The Working Class," "Goodnight Sunshine" and a song I really like with African beats and Swahili chorus.  Hearing these new songs for a second time allows you to see which ones stick in your head, and there is a Beatles sounding song with a soaring double chorus that I think could be a bit of a sleeper hit.  They once again covered Crowded House's "It's Only Natural," which led to someone in the crowd shouting out they could go on X-Factor.  Wally then told a story about talking to an older woman, and when she asked about his music career he admitted she may have heard one of his songs.  Her response to knowing this worldwide hit was, "You should go on X-Factor!" to which Wally replied "Do I have to?"

We got some new songs in the set tonight, including "Hey There!," "Just Hold On," and newish tracks "Roundabout" (which had the audience clapping along), "I'm A Woman" and "To Think Of You."  Tim played "Hey Rain" and "Have Love, Will Travel" before they finished the main set with a blistering version of "The Lucky Country."  For the encore we once again got a cover of Crowded House's "Four Seasons In One Day" and an audience request for "Better" which was a pretty epic way to end the show.  It was such an amazing gig and I'm super excited for the new EP which is due out next month.  In addition, if the Basics Rock'n'Roll Party (BRRP) gets registered I may even get to vote for them in the Victorian State Election in November.
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