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I like the air

Robert Francis “I Like The Air” from Max Goldblatt on Vimeo.

After 3 weeks and 33 flat visits, I finally found myself the most perfect flat and flatmate in London…and so I’m happy to announce that I’m now an official resident of London, N7 to be specific.

With the whole flat hunting ordeal finally behind me, and a rad place to come home to, I am overjoyed to have free time to enjoy this royal city…well, when its not pissing down as it has done very much of late.

After more rain in may than the past 200 years there was a fantastic glimpse of summer to come which lasted us a glorious 10 hot, muggy, sunny days..and of course, the rain did indeed return to remind us that though it may officially be summer…we are in Britain, and that just won’t do.

The festival season kicked off in beauty over the jubilee long weekend with a partially sunny, and totally rad field day over at vic park. I was caught off guard by the crowds and queues (it wasn’t sold out…) and after taking the wrong bus (scenic route through Clapton) and running through the streets of hackney I found myself queuing for so long to enter that I missed my fav band…bummed out and on the verge of tears I hightailed it for the red bull tent to restore my faith in the world (Dutch courage and energy drinks will do that apparently)

After borrowing a stranger’s phone (I’d like to thank Vodafone…crap mobile reception) I managed to find some friends and the day turned into one of fun in the sun (sometimes) with great tunes and a massive park to dart across from one stage to another…personal highlights were Metronomy and Beirut who were both really great live acts..

We ended the night there dancing in the rain to Franz Ferdinand…how appropriately British for my very first, British festival. Photos to come.

The Hidden Orchestra

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One of the best things about this city (I know I’ve only been here a week but I have indeed always loved this about London) is the crazy amount of stuff happening…all the time!!

I have enjoyed a few gigs of some favourite bands, always awesome.

But something I truly love, is discovering new bands at gigs…via amazing friends who take me along or suggest something they think I’ll enjoy…and so on Sunday night, my friend and temporary flatmate/landlord had a spare ticket for The Hidden Orchestra.

As the tickets were a gift to her, she didn’t know them either, a quick YouTube search had us wanting more, excited to discover another cool band…I know I’m quite out of the loop (years on the other side of the world then months without a base will do that to you) and that was confirmed as the gig was completely sold out! A good sign, and to their credit they earned all their fans by being so damn awesome. Think jazzy drum n bass…oh and two drummers. Yep TWO DRUMMERS! Any band with two drummers is already rocking it. These guys were so freakin good…they were playing together, against each other…ahh it was so perfectly done too.

Now I may have mentioned this before (I seem to have posted the same video clip twice so it wouldn’t surprise me) but I have had truly shit luck with supporting acts.

I don’t quite understand it really. I mean as far as I know, supporting acts are meant to be local talent, up and coming artists, in the same vein as the main acts…a chance to discover some cool new musos, perhaps become a fan and buy an album or tshirt or something.

Somehow, and perhaps it’s a Melbourne thing…my gig experience of the past few years has been great for the main acts but abysmal in the supporting act department. Not average. Like really really really bad.

Needless to say I’m now quite apprehensive when it comes to supporting acts. I try to get there as late as possible so I’m just in time for the real thing!

Well we miscalculated and managed to make it while the first supporters were playing…damn.
But actually, they weren’t too bad. And they probably were in the vein of the main act. Only whinier. But enjoyable nonetheless.

But The Hidden Orchestra, man those guys were unreal! Look them up, or go see them. They’re rad.

A Queenslander in the Garden State

A couple of weeks ago now I had a friend down from Brisbane for 2 weeks…so here’s a little summary of what we got up to in that time amongst many other crazy times…

Foster the People at the Northcote Social Club…I’d never heard of these guys before my gig buddy suggested we go see them (they sold out both nights on their first ever international tour) Ok so most people who listen to the radio have heard of them…apparently they were huge on triple J…and by the way most people were singing along to the songs off their EP I imagine they’re quite popular…they were awesome.

It could look like this photos out of focus, but actually it’s perfectly captured the energy and movement of Foster the People…they were crazy energetic and moved all the instruments around between each song, swapping each other and rearranging the stage…it was nuts! Their new stuff (yet to be released) was so good, and I do love going to a gig when I don’t know any of their music…I feel like I have a different experience and I’m not waiting for that one song I’ve heard a few times…seems like some people do that…when I saw The Naked and Famous a couple weeks ago it felt like some people (those next to me) were bored, and didn’t expect the rest of their music to be so “rocky” (it was a bloody awesome gig too, they were rad) but stood there (next to me) complaining about it being hot…and blocking my view whilst not even getting into it…until they played their hit song…the dancy one…I can’t remember the name of it (who cares really) anyway the point being that going to a gig when you don’t know the music can be the best way (my opinion) and that people who only know one song and don’t like to expand their horizons should stay at home…or go elsewhere…just don’t stand in front of me bitching

So Stephanie studies Art History and writes an art blog (on the Brisbane art scene) and so naturally we spent most of our free time (not that there was much of that) traipsing the back streets and laneways of Fitzroy and the city (mainly) looking at graph art and paste ups…Melbourne has such a great scene for graph art, and compared to other Aus cities it’s more widely accepted here as an actual art form…this proven by our visit later in the week to the Until Never Gallery, off Hosier Lane in the city…where Brisbane street artist, Shida was exhibiting and had work for sale.

Above: Sri Ganesh – Hosier Lane, Melbourne

Ganesh…the god of travel and new beginnings…

The photos below are Shida’s work, some on the walls around Hosier Lane, and the last one is one of the pieces for sale at the exhibition…it’s a resin piece on an old drawer…so awesome


Stephanie eventually left Melbourne pretty reluctantly…who can blame her though..best city right here…

Oh, and there are plans to move here next year

flood relief @ The Espy

so I saw this poster when I was at the Espy a while ago and got pretty excited about the cover bands…not really noticing that it was for QLD flood relief…not that I’m not into helping the flood victims…of course when I found out it was for flood relief I was even happier about it.

now I haven’t seen a cover band per say…I’ve seen bands do covers, which is cool…there’s usually 2 ways to go about it…either you play the song as the original band played it (to the best of your ability) or you change it and play it in an original version, which can be good too…depending on the band..

I should have known with a name like Shred Zeppelin, what was going to be in store…without photos as proof, no one can really understand the awesomely horrendous gig that ensued…the lead singer’s resemblance to Robert Plant ends with a big pouf of long blond curls…his goatee resembling The Zohan a little more…I was disgusted by the pot belly hanging out of his open shirt (why!?) in an attempt to resemble his idol…and between the Blue Steel pouting and the interpretive dance (spirit fingers included), it was clear that many hours of video footage have been clocked up in every attempt to impersonate the epic singer.

the absolute best/worst part of it all was the female backup singer…to hit the high notes for our lead singer…I mean if you can’t hit the high notes what the hell are you doing in a Led Zep cover band?? the best member of the band (who may not even be part of the band?) was the guy on harmonica, who did some great “guitar solos” but really pulled them off…who is this band anyway?

after almost an hour break (and no drinks allowed outside) it was time for the Doors show…I dare say our lead had a good voice were it not for him bragging about being “so fucked on….you use your imagination…” – so…nothing? as he was swigging from a bottle of Jim Beam – who drinks JB straight anyway? and asked for a lighter for the audience to light his cigarette…I mean how awesomely rock n roll is this guy anyway? It was an amusing act, as we watched what was an accurate imitation of some of Morrison’s gigs…the try hard outdone only but the ancient guitarist (who was actually incredible) but unfortunately also looked like a closet serial killer, intense with concentration…

overall it was a fine line between enjoying great music, and ignoring that it was being horribly butchered…knowing the lead singers of both bands were rolling in their graves at that very moment…the bizarre mix of people, ages and backgrounds truly shows what the Espy, St Kilda and great music is about

I’m partly relieved that I didn’t have my camera…now back to the couch with more coffee…mmm coffee…

it was fun overall though I did have to make a quit exit as soon as the first notes of Stairway to Heaven started, not being able to stand the butchering of such an epic song.

now for something more enjoyable on this rainy grey sunday

St Kilda Live & Local Photos

Here is a selection of my photos from Live & Local week (a couple of weeks ago now)…they’re also on the facebook page for St Kilda Festival, though this is my selection (not a fan of them all)

That week was my first time shooting live bands at gigs..it was a lot of fun, though pretty tiring…the main thing i learnt about the whole thing is that bands are pretty hard to take photos of. They move a lot. And most of the bands I was shooting were up and coming bands, those not quite used to being on stage (from what I could tell) and some of them were so shy they were facing each other with their backs to the audience….hello…that’s not how it works here….you may be shy, but putting on a show is part of being a musician right…

Anyway short of telling them to turn around (I tried a couple of times) there’s not a lot I can do about it really…at the end of the day they’re the ones looking stupid in the photos…oh and the lighting! my god!! Most of these venues had pretty much no lights…making it pretty difficult for me…short of setting the lights up myself (which I did at the Sea Baths a couple of times…I now know where they keep their power boards and extension cables too)

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Good Vibes and getting over the Local

well St Kilda festival’s Live & Local was a total success, exhausting but so much fun! apart from some technical issues (more related to venues, organisers and bands) everything went pretty smoothly (if only an hour late or so every day…)

there are so many amazing bands playing in some rad venues around St Kilda,
I’ll get some of those photos up soon, they are currently on the facebook page for St Kilda Festival

after 8 days of running around St Kilda, to about 4-6 bands a night and so many venues (I can’t even recall how many now) I was pretty over it and so so tired, but it was well worth it

so here are a couple of photos from Good Vibes…thankfully it ended up being a beautiful day and the bands were incredible…mainly Phoenix which is the reason I was there…they were so worth the ticket price, they put on an amazing show

once I get the OK from the organisers the Live & Local photos will be up too…