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:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Rone- Empty

Throughout Melbourne there are many historic old buildings that are being torn down by developers and replaced with new apartments. In his first solo show in two years, Melbourne street artist Rone utilised the inside of the soon to be demolished Star Lyric Theatre in Fitzroy to stage his latest exhibition Empty.

The show, which ran for 10 days and finished today, contained his works of female portraits done on paper and canvas, as well as photos of ones he had painted in abandoned buildings that few would have seen in person.

The highlight of the exhibition though was his large scale portrait painted on the back wall of the theater, which ended up incorporating some of an original mural from the 1920s that he uncovered while painting.

The exhibition also contained a short video about Rone and Empty, a virtual reality station, and a secret window where you could look through to see another large scale portrait in a dark room lit by fairy lights. It's always a privilege to get to see these works up close, and also to have Rone roaming around the exhibition and chatting with people this afternoon.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Morrissey- Festival Hall

The last time I saw Morrissey live was in Berkeley in 1991 on his Kill Uncle tour, so it's been a very long wait between gigs for me. I was overseas when Morrissey was last in Melbourne a couple years ago, but thankfully he returned tonight for a sold out show at Festival Hall.

The evening began not with an opening act but a montage of music videos from his favorite artists. Then after the screen at the front of the stage dropped, Morrissey and his band emerged, bowed to each other and took their positions. They started the set with "Suedehead," his first big solo hit. Morrissey's 2014 album World Peace Is None Of Your Business featured throughout the night as they played the tracks "Kiss Me A Lot," "Istanbul," "World Peace Is None Of Your Business" and "The Bullfighter Dies." Other highlights included "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris," "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores," "I Will See You In Far Off Places," "All You Need Is Me" and "You Have Killed Me." It was also amazing to hear some older songs that I wasn't expecting them to play such as"Alma Matter," "Everyday Is Like Sunday," "Ouija Board, Ouija Board," "You're The One For Me, Fatty" and The Smiths track "How Soon Is Now?"

Morrissey's voice sounded fantastic and he did his microphone cord flicks and worked the stage. When he reached out to fans in the front row, two of his crew members would come out onto the stage ready to grab him in case he got dragged into the crowd (it was quite funny). The visuals throughout the concert were great as they utilised photos and videos on the backdrop to better illustrate the songs, none to more effect than videos of the treatment of animals in abattoirs for The Smiths track "Meat Is Murder," which closed the main set.

For the encore Morrissey came back out in a red version of the shirt he had been wearing earlier and they finished the evening with The Smiths song "What She Said." Morrissey then ripped off his shirt, threw it into the crowd and departed the stage. For a man in his late 50s he's still in pretty good shape. Although the show was only a bit over an hour and a half long it was fantastic to be able to see Morrissey play live again with such a powerful performance.

Here's the video for one of my favorite tracks, "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris"

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Big Scary- Animal Tour

Melbourne duo Big Scary continue to build on their success, with their latest album Animal debuting at number five on the ARIA charts. Tonight was the second of their three Melbourne shows this week at 170 Russell. The opening act was Dreller (aka Thomas Rawle), who played an emotive set of music accompanied by just a drummer.

It was an expanded live version of Big Scary that took the stage, starting the evening with "Oxygen." Their set prominently featured tracks from Animal, and for such an intricate and complex album they did an amazing job playing the songs live. Highlights included the more energetic tracks "The Endless Story" and "Up & Up & Up" alongside the more introspective "The Opposite of Us" and "Over Matter." They also played a few older tracks with "Luck Now" and "Belgian Blues" off of Not Art. For the encore Tom and Jo came out and did "Falling Away" before the rest of the live band joined them for "Twin Rivers" to close out the night. It's great to see Big Scary's popularity grow as they continue to challenge their fans musically with each new release.

Here's the video for "Over Matter"
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