“Even if I choke and fall I’ll be knocking at your door all the time, all the time and what.. Could see now, for you wretched soul?

 

 

 

F*ck I was doing so well, getting these up in a timely manner then relapsed into actually having a life and neglected this blog. Here goes another attempt with my review of a freaking awesome show with additional unpublishable inserts…

You know walking into Fowlers Live and seeing seven guys onstage with black masks over their heads, in nothing but their boxers means you’re in for a show. What kind is yet to be decided but so far standing in the dark drawn to the choreographed mayhem onstage I am somewhat dubious to Adelaide band PUSH WOOD and their half-arsed display of metal anarchy…

 …Giving each other the finger and pussy-pushing each other around I’m told they are opening because Jonathan Boulet are borrowing their equipment. The sound was heavy, they have potential and I loved it when one of the guitarists was playing his guitar with the metal stage bar and the drummer’s symbols but I just don’t believe them… 

If you’re trying to push the envelope and act hard-core don’t give someone a half-arsed shove, knock them off the stage. From the way they looked, to the statement they were trying convey they just didn’t bring the noise. It’s like they were “hell-raising within the boundaries”, too worried to really create a scene in-case they don’t get asked back. No big finale at the end, nothing special, Henry Rollins would have stayed by the bar… [correction; would’ve pissed himself laughing]

 …You couldn’t get a more eclectic line-up for the night, as next up were The Bakers Digest a self-titled ‘folk-n-roll’ band also from Adelaide, dressed in button up shirts, in various pastel shades and black ribbon tied in bows around their necks… 

 …Looking the part and playing a very seventies southern rock sound, they started to draw in the crowd with their funky, electrified folk-rock music and those long locks. With a great visual and a few fantastic key’s solos they played known songs ‘Money Goes Lately’ and ‘Rio’ as well as a very cool cover of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s get it on’…

[my mission for the perfect face-shot while battling slight hair envy]

 …They are a band on the rise, their set is tight and they seem really comfortable and at ease onstage. This is a band who knows what they are about, conjure up feelings of elder-year music nostalgia (in a good way) and yet have a fresh perspective about them. I am very keen to see them again…

 …Jonathan Boulet came on to a packed but not at capacity crowd with ‘Black Smokehat’. A confident and really penetrating performer who seems beyond his years, it feels like he is really looking at you as averse to keeping up a barrier between the crowd and the performer… 

…The whole band played really well together and with extra percussion and Jonathan stomping around the mood onstage really took off. Being at the front it was harder to distinguish the reaction of the crowd but I didn’t feel as big a vibe as I have in the past, nobody was really letting loose and you had one moron at the front who kept trying to fist-bump Jonathan repeatedly and another wanting to grab his beard…  

 …But enough of the negative, every track off the new album We Keep The Beat, Found The Sound, See The Need, Start The Heart, was played with gusto and my favourite song ‘Hallowed Hag’ was spookily good and crowd-stirring. They played with such enthusiasm that the drummer’s snare drum ripped and you could see the PUSH WOOD metal boys off to the side watching J.B’s performance in admiration. Yeah, that’s how it’s done fellas… 

…In the middle of the set one guy shouted out “it’s not just about you Jon” and J.B ribbed back “who said that? Fuck off!” with a sly smile before agreeing with him and complimenting and introducing his band. He did point to the guy before starting up again, and said “This next song is dedicated to that guy… it’s called ‘Trounce’”… 

 …‘This Song is Called Ragged’ actually lit a fire under the crowd’s arses and got every-one whooping and stomping as well as the other more well-known ‘Community Service Announcement’. During Boulet’s last song all of the PUSH WOOD guys ran onstage with tops off and the black sacks over their faces really causing a ruckus this time grabbing the Boulet team and jumping around but not affecting the brilliance of the last song. Great show.

 

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“Early in the morning, I’m wakin’ bakin’, drinkin’, contemplatin’… Ain’t no such thing as Satan, evil is what you make it”

Melbourne. After pulling an all-nighter, four hours to burn till my flight and ready to drop, I had to keep moving to stay awake. So Graffiti hunting I went…

This is what I like to see. Controversial? Does it make you blush? Does it turn you off? Does it turn you on? If you’re affronted, you might want to objectively ask why. I find it shocking but beautiful.

So this guy below. Went round writing on Graffiti he didn’t like with derogatory comments. What a joke.

Touché.

I’m so fucking tired at this point. Just want to lie down and die for a few hours.

Honestly what a dumb idea. Getting up at 4am to get a flight, pulling an all-nighter with only 3 hours sleep the night before and booking your flight home for the afternoon the next day. Totally worth it though.

Meanwhile I’m surrounded by buff topless men, doing push -ups and various other exercises before posing for what I can only assume are porno comp cards. Or is it time for Cleo’s bachelor of the year awards?

Touché.

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“Golden child, in your ivory tower.. step on out from your solitary hour”

Two redheads, a guy with glasses and a young Peter Gabriel look-a-like are at Rocket bar in Adelaide. Their names are Worlds End Press and all I know about them is that they like Bowie (snap) and that they were awesome at Laneway Festival a few years back. Which is why I dragged my friend out to see them, this is all the information I need.

My details of the night in question are vague but with the aid of a few photos and my verbal skills I will try my best to entertain you…

This pixie caught my eye when I walked in. With a smooth piccolo voice and gracefulness that would turn the hardest criminal into a gentlemen. Alphabette is the name of the band and lead singer Louise O’Reilly is a breath of fresh air. She had me ready to throw my jacket over puddles for her with the flutter of her lashes and other worldly graces long begotten many women of today.

Jazz hands.

Outside during a Dj set…

 

My friend and his freaky ear muzzling amigos.

 Fishing were awesome. I was dancing like a maniac and my feet were hurting well before Worlds End Press came on. This dude came down from behind the decks and was singing with us groovers and shakers.

Get down, get dowwwwn and then… fiery goodness

The bar staff came and lined up a row of shots for the band… perks of having fans behind the bar.

Cool gig, but went on forever. Damn heels.

 

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“But I am the war coward… I.. am.. the.. HERO”

Showing the locals some love, on a pretty mellow night, a little while ago with the line-up mainly consisting of local bands (cause two outta threeee ain’t bad). Yep two local Adelaide bands and one from way outta town, Brisbane-town to be exact. It was chilled, I was chilled -read super lazy and super yellow mellow – that I spent most of the gig sitting, hey at least I made the effort to leave the comfort of my home which is more than can be said for the rest of Adelaide as you can see from the turnout… read on

Sometimes it’s nice to sit down at gigs. Standing really can get overrated especially when comfy couches are involved. Last time I was at Jive it was a sold out madhouse, tonight the vibe is a lot more ‘glass of wine’ then ‘jaeger-bomb’ and so it started with a crowd of about twenty mainly made up of band members, family, friends and devotees. Sparkspitter started off nice and experimental with two band members sitting down, Rohan with the lapsteel and their sound immediately makes me think of Battles and Bath except more whimsical, musically pure and not so sample clunky – what a great describing word… 

… If you go on their bandcamp they are self-proclaimed ‘experimental-indie-minimalist-krautrock-postrock’ but that is as best you can try to categorise them and fit them into a box because those “tags” don’t really do it. This is 3am, stoner basement, Utopian music, the kind of which you could sit there staring at the walls listening to every sound or lie back and let the music overcome you… 

 (Told you it was great turnout. This is typical Adelaide freezing cold Saturday night effort right here)

All fifty people in the room were mesmerised as each song started off intrinsically, as one person would start with their part then another would come in, in what can only be described as layers, musical layers where science, art and music meet… 

Till the sound got more hypnotic, louder with such intensity, building and building until you could just burst wanting to climax already. Six to eight minutes long, with nearly no vocals and all three of them onstage eyes closed, in there cocoon of rapture and dysfunctional synchronicity… 

It was greatly intoxicating and there were a good number of people making a beehive for the stage after their set for a Sparkspitters CD…

 …Watching Brisbane band Founds set up it was interesting to see how they were going to fit all seven people; guitar, violin, bass, acoustic, keyboard, drums, synth, two tambourines and a sporadic trumpeter onstage, but they did…

Founds set was filled with strikingly powerful songs including “Avalanches” and “Holograms”, such was the commanding boom of joyful, harmonious music that came from that stage that it smacked you in the face and kept everyone back about four to five feet…

The two vocalists Kirstie and Elle-Louise’ harmonies are flawless and vocal range is perfection, they give the grace while the boys gave the momentum…

They remind me musically of a mixture of Florence, Mumford and the Von Trapp family to put it ignorantly, but they give off an amazing vibe onstage…

the bassist thrashing his hair around, the violinist frenetically playing alongside, a grand motley crew that gel so incredibly well together… 

Last but not least I got my butt off the couch not only because I wanted to sway and dance to the ethereal, psychedelic loveliness of Fire Santa Rosa Fire but also because the huge rush of fans to the stage had completely blocked my view… 

This was the fourth time that I have seen Fire Santa Rosa Fire and each time I fall more and more in love with the band. Ever friendly, ever humble and such a fantastic sound, they are one of my favourite Adelaide bands… 

Singer Caitlin mentions she had no voice two hours prior to the gig but her vocals are still amazingly as top notch as ever breezing through the setlist singing “Little Cowboys, Bad Hombres” which has great lyrics with Caitlin and Dave weaving a tale on vocals… 

“Panther Shrine” has one of the best hypnotic guitar plays with Metric-style vocals. Dave partook in some entertaining crowd banter trying to speak over the crowd jokingly telling everyone ‘would you pipe down dammit I’m trying to tell you a story.’…

I also may have jumped, clapping my hands like an excited Japanese tourist and squealed for joy when they played my all-time favourite song “War Coward” which – poo for you – they don’t play live that much anymore. It has a head swaying, cobra-dancing, stoner-grooving and very intense almost sexual Led Zeppelin-esque guitar jolt throughout… 

As well as “Phantom of Lakes” with its vocoder distortion, catchy moans, funky bass and guitar, a song that starts off so beautifully and grows in intensity and emotion. It was cool watching them play to a home crowd in a relaxed, chilled out and appreciative atmosphere… 

…There was this one guy at the front, who knew the lyrics to all the songs including the Kate Bush cover they did, drunk as a skunk eyes closed, finger wiggling, smiling, singing and bopping erratically but having the time of his life. Will he remember it tomorrow? Only that it was a great way to spend a Saturday night, that’s for sure.

Love them. I rate them if you get a chance you should totally see them.

Light a candle, close your eyes, have  a smoke and a groove to these;

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“Showing off tonight, you’ve gotta know the girls won’t let you down… Sha la-la-la-la-la-la-la”

Ha! This gig was fun. I’d already seen Deep Sea Arcade no less than a week before in Sydney for the launch of their ‘Outlands’ tour and thoroughly enjoyed the gig. I’d also managed to wrangle a great team of friends to come with and two hours prior heading to Jive we were knocking back the margaritas. Always one for mixing work with pleasure, thankfully I have a great memory for someone who was intoxicated and managed to knock out this review of the night…

So my first gig review for the AU review and I’ve arrived late missing the first act Woe and Flutter but this is also from being stuck flirting with the nice lady at the door convincing her that I am actually supposed to be on the door-list…

 …I’ve brought with me a crowd, having seen Deep Sea Arcade a few weeks ago when they performed in Sydney for the same tour and have convinced them [my amigos] to come to this sold out Adelaide show – we know talent when we hear it. Finally through the door and I’ve already bagged a spot at the front, half price margaritas kicking in (reason for being late) and looking forward to limbering up with The Cairos

 …A male pop-punk-indie four-piece from Brisbane, getting great Triple J airplay with their song “Shame” and who look like they’re out past their curfew. “Lena” starts the set with a great toe-tapping head-nodding beat; a plucky guitar with beautiful imploring vocals weaves in and out of a harsher punk guitar thrash, bringing every-one closer to the stage and right into things…

 …My new favourite song “Yeah No” sounds so much catchier, sensual and funkadelic live which is awesome and it really feels great dancing with the ghosts of this old iconic 70’s nightclub. Bassist Reuben was in his element and really giving it thrust to this one, jutting back and forth to the addictive bass, long hair thrashing around…

…“Seasons of Snow” has lead vocalist Alistair screeching the chorus and a hint of Smiths-style guitar play while “Shame” had some girl come grab me and swirl me around the front of the stage singing our lungs out to the chorus… SHAME!!..

…A very good cover of “Bette Davis Eye’s” came towards the end and “We All Buy Stars” reminded me again why they sound like a modern day ‘Smiths…

 …Nick Weaver is a figure. While everyone is setting up he’s there pouting away tuning the bass in the most peacocking fashion I have ever seen in my life Mr ‘too cool for school’ and I can’t stop staring. Put him and Julian Casablancas in the same room and see who can do it better…

Deep Sea Arcade have a very British sound to them it’s no surprise to me that they have supported Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Kaiser Chiefs and The Charlatans. Their sound reminds me of Kasabian and The Beatles but they’re from Sydney and they rock in their own sixties- psychedelic-indie way. Appearing to the sound of Nancy Sinatra’s haunting “In my Room” they immediately jump into fast and jangly “Seen No Right”…

…Tonight is all about their new album launch for Outlands and although Jive is tiny it was just right and intimate for this modern sixties vibe. This album is full of songs that are so top of your lungs sing-worthy with fantastic vocals and I wailed along with everybody else to “Granite City”, “Lonely In Your Arms” and “Steam”. Nic McKenzie’s dreamy psychedelic voice floats through the room, up the back of your shirt and gives you shivers on songs like “Outlands”, “Together”, “All The Kids” and “Ride”…

 …Strangers became friends at Jive as one girl threw her faux-fur vest on-stage and Nic wore it proudly for a song – sweating in it the lucky lady. “Girls” went off. That is not an overstatement, having already made best friends with two guys in front of me and allowing them to get their creative juices flowing with my camera. Arms were linked, eyes closed, fingers pointing and bodies heaving to the sweet sounds…

*Because I was drunk and not holding the camera very steady I decided to make lemonade and create some animated GIF’s with the blurry images to re-create some of the magic =P Enjoy – Hope you have decent internet connection.

 …Disappearing for their timed encore the crowd yelled, cheered and screamed with ferocious withdrawal symptoms until they re-appeared, to an amazing cover of Chemical Brother’s “Let Forever Be”. I can’t remember what the last song was (or if the C.B’s cover was it) I was too intoxicated on the amazing vibe, great company and absolute rapture of how great these guys are live. The Adelaide gig filled with A-town love was by far much better than the pomposity of Sydney’s and Deep Sea Arcade gave back so much more of themselves in gratitude. I will be stalking their Facebook page to find out when they will be touring again.

And that will be pretty soon as they’re touring within the next month or so promoting another single off the album which is awesome because I’ll totally go and see them a third time, especially as they have a new guitarist and will be playing new material.

BUT the night wasn’t over, my friend started chatting to Alistar from The Cairos and he was super cool, so we went backstage and chilled out for a bit chatting with the rest of the band and the guys from Woe & Flutter…

Lock up your daughters. I did record a mini interview with the loutish bunch but the recording has since disappeared – maybe a good thing but totally hilarious as they did break out in song (Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet)

I’m down for supporting new music so I bought their EP and when Alistar offered to get the guys to sign it, he ran around getting me sweet nothings engraved…

 Yep. That’s a penis. He also ran off with my pen.

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I Met The Walrus

This is so cool I had to share!…

“In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview about peace.John Lennon’s voice and spirit,40 years ago. Now,Josh Raskin added his talent.What was the result? The best animated film ever seen.Simply,timeless”…

Awesome.

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“All the crazy shit I did toniiiight, those will be the best memories…”

Wow I’m really banging them out, aren’t I? That’s what happens when your number of jobs goes from three to one and your body-clock is still in Europe, meaning I’m up at the productive time of 3pm to 6am. So without further ado, my very sober review of Planet Cream; an event where you really need to be f*cked up to attend…

It’s 10.30pm you’ve just landed in Adelaide from a day of work slogging around Sydney in your new boots that are now killing your feet. You’ve been up since 4am and yesterday’s Tabata class is still wreaking havoc with every single muscle in your body. You’re supposed to go to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre to review Planet Cream but still scarred by the memory of Future Music, the thought of being around that type of crowd and having to stay sober is more painful than your aching muscles but ‘f*ck it’ the masochist inside you says, ‘let’s go!’ Crossing the street looking inside the entertainment centre can only be described as intimidating, the noise is incredible and the small line of 15 year old girls camped out under their blankets for One Direction tickets have to be commended, they’re bloody brave…

Just cutting in here to mention, that I was so, so happy to see people I knew because it honestly would have been torture to be there alone. Wearing my ‘Led Bloody Zeppelin That’s Who’ singlet I really felt overdressed on this freezing Autumn night as there was an extortionate amount of side boob and stiff nipples on display (former girls, latter boys). Honestly you stick the term ‘Festival’ on the end of a poster and looking around you’d think the temperature had shot up 10 degrees. The entertainment centre usually such a classy and clean venue looked like it had literally gone to the dogs, trash was everywhere and the place was dirty – =P had to do it!

…Plastic cups crunching under my feet and a walkabout reveals a silent disco, the main room (affectionately called ‘The Darkness’), an alfresco-style rave area and the small and cosy Star room. Finding some friends we went into the Star room which had local DJ Paul Marshman playing and stuck around enjoying the tunes and the view. Nicknamed “The Entrance” room because everyone who came through the door in from the smoking area thought they were the don and were compelled to make an entrance. Jesus posing, boogieing in, grooving, shoulder popping, male synchronised skipping -nobody just walked in – in their eyes they were the bee’s knees. Hilarious. Marshman was great and I reluctantly stuck to head bopping  as my body couldn’t handle fancy-pants-ing around, playing a game of ‘Name that Drug’ and envying anyone who could bust any sort of a move. ..

Like moths to a flame.

 …Never one to let weather get in the way of anything the crowd looked better suited for the beach as the boys had their nipples out and for the girls serious side-boob was order of the day. I’m not unjust to say whoever wears sunglasses in the dark is a douche – and of those there were plenty. Moving into the darkness for Dirty South it was pretty awesome, besides the off-putting illegal puff puff – cigarette smoking indoors, the rebels – Dirty South played a great mix and it’s the first time I’ve been to a gig/festival that started in Adelaide, the energy was incendiary…

 …Though my mind could no longer ignore my aching body and David Guetta was to be my last performance of the night…

Ah yes, the Jesus pose..

… and again.

 …As joyous as ever with that huge fat-kid-loves-cake grin throughout the whole set, you can’t fault him for loving what he does and giving back to the crowd 3-fold…

 …Playing crowd pleasers; ‘Little Bad Girl’, Solitario’s ‘Turn Up The Bass’, ‘When Love Takes Over’, Avicci and Gotye’s ‘Somebody that I used to know’, ‘Turn me on’, ‘I Can only imagine’, Calvin Harris’s ‘Feel so close to you’ and finally, I mean lastly ‘Without You’…

…The set felt like an eternity and already patting myself on the back for even showing up, I begrudgingly limped to the car missing Above & Beyond. I am told they were incredible but climbing into my bed that night was orgasmic so I barely mind.

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“We’re gonna rock this town, rock it inside out… We’re gonna rock this town, make ’em scream and shout”

I’d heard Brian Setzer was coming to town and having mastered ‘Rock this Town’ on Guitar Hero, (don’t judge me) and having a fondness for Rockabilly but rarely the opportunity to indulge, I put my name down to review Brian Setzer’ Rockabilly Riot. So here’s my story…

I am still on my P’s when it comes to Rockabilly. I love Chuck Berry & Johnny Cash, like a bit of Bill Haley and when I was a wee girl found it really easy and delightful to know the words to ‘My Ding-a-Ling’, ‘See you later Alligator’, ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’ and ‘Great Balls of Fire’. But I always go to these events feeling like an outsider, with my long wavy seventies hair, black skinny jeans and minimal made up face. Amongst the men that spend more time styling their hair then I ever would, the thick soled shoes, A-line dresses and floral prints my companion and I stuck out like sore thumbs. Rockabilly is excluded from the mainstream and with it more a lifestyle than just a genre I’m feeling like a voyeur standing by a large group who seemed to know everyone, I just wanted the lights to dim so I could stop being stared at like a ‘music tourist’…

 …Lanie Lane was the supporting act and she cut a very nice figure up onstage in a teeny tiny black halter dress, red fringed jacket and was my very first band to see live with a female double bass player. She sung Muddy Water’s ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, her own ‘Oh Well, That’s What You Get Falling in Love with a Cowboy’, ‘What Do I Do’ and finished off with ‘Ain’t Hungry’ which finally got the crowd shuffling…

 …Her bands backing vocals from the boys during ‘What do I do’ were a highlight for me and it was intriguing looking around being with such an eclectic crowd…

 …The punk rockabillies with their Mohawk’s, the beards, the double father and son team in-front of me passing down the love for the ancient rockabilly ways…

 …When the man himself appeared he looked like a true neo-rockabilly icon in his thick-soled shoes, black Johnny Cash suit with fluoro green lapels, with matching green paisley printed vest and a super cool silver cross and bones bolo tie with metallic shiny green electric guitar. Sorry it’s so hard to focus solely on the music when everyone looks so badass!…

 …First half of the night had Setzer with an old time double bassist Johnny Hatton and drummer Noah Levy who was the spitting image of Buddy Holly. Playing ’49 Mercury Blues’, ‘Drive like Lightning’ and Rockabilly classic ‘Put Your Cat Clothes On’ even though the quiffs were floppy and the hairlines receding – for me – this was an thoroughly entertaining show…

 … Johnny Hatton with his sticking out ears, thin rimmed glasses but huge quiff dyed fluoro green looked like a part-time mechanic and full-time rockabilly for life. Alternating between straddling the bass like a steed, laying it on the floor and hovering the double bass precariously over the heads of the crowd there’s still some great rocking years left in these old-timers…

…Next half of the night fellow Stray Cat’s drummer Slim Jim Phantom came on with a cocky swagger that would put most 18 year olds to shame. When Mr Setzer asked Slim Jim to give a fashion tip to the Adelaide crowd Phantom’s pearl of wisdom was ‘two belts are better than one’ – duly noted sir, duly noted…

 ……All throughout it was so hard for me to take pictures on my shonky camera as the ground was shaking from all the toe-tapping and foot stomping being undertaken. Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ was gratefully received as Setzer’s low baritones reverberated over the crowd and ‘Put Your Cat Clothes On’ released the two hound dogs standing next to me as these grown men went absolutely crazy, though I found the rest of the crowd incredibly tame…

 …‘Runaway Boys’, ‘Rock and Roll Queen’, ‘The Stray Cat Strut’, ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ‘Fishnet Stockings’ were also on the set-list. Slim Jim looked uber-cool chewing gum, playing so damn intricate and fast with youngest man in the group and double bassist/Johnny Depp doppelganger Chris D’Rozario competing with Hatton for the most outlandish assault with the double bass…

 …Hatton and D’Rozario had it out with a somewhat slap-rivalry which reeked of ‘performance’ as Mr Setzer  joined them and couldn’t handle more than 10 minutes of slap bass. In the end the ground absolutely shook with people stomping the floor, braying for an encore and screaming for more of the same…

 FREAKING BADASS…

 …‘Rock this town’ – which is ashamedly the only song I know word for word from hours of guitar hero – was awesome as they finished of the night with ‘Seven nights to Rock’. Not the most raucous Rockabilly event I’ve been to but the men onstage were in top form and though the oldies aren’t as vicarious as they once were (so I’m told) they still absolutely commanded. Brian Setzer’s guitar playing was just as infamous and mesmerizing seen live and if I could have seen the Stray Cats in their hay day I would have loved to.

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“Are you gonna go my way?…”

Where have I been? On faraway travels, loves lost, loves found, saudades killed, new music discovered, bassists pursued and dreams uncovered. But first I need to bring you up to speed, on the last couple of months..

Think of a band or artist that you love that has been with you since puberty. That holds a special place in your heart and was one of the soundtracks to your existence. That for me was Lenny Kravitz. Living in England, during my teen years and suffering with a room covered in wallpaper I wasn’t allowed to surround myself with images of the bands that turned me on and rocked my world. The only sacred space was the back of the door and there, among few others, hung my poster of Lenny Kravitz. This poster:

God. Damn. He wasn’t the first to introduce me to the connection between music, sex and fantasy but he was a key player and his albums were on constant rotation. So imagine my excitement when I discovered Lenny was touring Australia (barely) for the first time in EIGHTEEN years. Slightly offensive though, I mean Australia isn’t that far away when you have your own private jet I’m sure you can do more than five shows in a country so large.

So I flew to Melbourne. On a weekend that crammed the city with less desirable folk (St Patrick’s Day and the Formula 1) and room rates inflated higher than Kanye’s ego – even hostels weren’t accepting anyone for less than two nights – I decided that being on a tight budget I would pull an all-nighter. No friends to fall back on, no lovers to use I was a girl alone with no real idea of Melbourne nightlife and hoping to make one-night friends or at least meet a few people who could help me stay awake. Flying to Melbourne solo on the earliest flight possible on a Saturday I wanted to make the most of a full day of shopping and sightseeing before going to see my teenage dream. In hindsight it wasn’t the smartest idea going to sleep on Friday midnight and waking up at 4am on the eve of an all-nighter. But I’m always one for learning the hard way.

Putting everything into a locker at the train station and putting on my dancing shoes…

These bad boys. The perfect girl-alone-in-a-big-city shoes. UNIF Hell raisers.

Being alone, means if you want prime position and you want to drink, you need to get your booze (four can maximums suck) and then stay put. Unless you came prepared and brought a flask – which I didn’t. But you then run the risk of needing the toilet an hour in and having to hold on for over five hours. Yes, this is extent of my dedication when flying solo…

Wolfmother. I saw them 3 maybe 4 years ago when they were an awesome three piece in one of the dodgiest neighbourhoods in Lisbon in a rundown club with a crowd so into it that there were arms and legs everywhere as people were hanging off of the rafters. I’m not exaggerating it was epic. The keyboardist and bassist at the time Chris Ross was at one point bent over at the waist, keyboard on a precarious lean so sharp it was almost sideways, playing a keys solo and picking the frenetic bass at the same time, sporadically slugging his beer when he could. EPIC.

This show, with a whole new cast of members – minus good-old Andrew – was more tame…

My fellow comrades. Note the immense distance separating the fan-poor from the fan-elite. In the right side of the photo you can sort-of see a bit of white amongst the black showing the back of the elite seating section. No-one respected any kind of seating arrangement so the minute the bands started all of those who could afford it ran to the front leaving us at the barriers a good 30 metres away from anyone. If they were worried we’d be throwing bottles or attempting a jump-over there were plenty of vigilant security and they still could have moved the barrier a good 10-15 metres forward. Just saying, I couldn’t have felt more isolated, distrusted, cold and slightly left out, as those at the front were really rocking it at the front of the stage and we, at the back with such a huge gap away from it all. If the pictures look quite close might I mention I have x18 zoom on my camera and it was at it’s limit. Alas no close-ups…

   

The gig was good. Not epic. They have this hairy, seventies rock aesthetic with the majority of the band, but then their drummer Hamish (from band The Vines) looks like the guy from My Name Is Earl.. if you’re going for a “look” it should be cohesive – not relevant you say? What incredibly successful band had everyone look cut from the same cloth bar one person? If you’re trying to sell me something be cohesive is all I’m saying. Andrew, Vin, Elliott and Ian had a look; long hair, flares, porno-tash, velvet and florals, looking like a band. Hamish; jeans and tee, looked like the fill-in drummer. Your killing the visual.

About the gig? They are better suited to smaller venues. Not tiny clubs but not so open, I know bands reach a level where you can never really capture that same magic as before they go popular, but definitely not a venue where the crowd is cut up. Their enthusiasm and charisma that they took a few songs to really reveal, didn’t carry very far unless you’d happen to be right in-front of them. The crowd around me didn’t really get into it. Andrew Stockdale seems more at ease onstage as a frontman but it’s not ‘Andrew S and the groovy 4’ it’s Wolfmother, I should be vibing off of everyone.

The Cranberries. Not gonna lie I didn’t get many great shots due piss-poor low light conditions and being completely captivated by Dolores’ voice…

They were, she was, The Cranberries are amazing. I may have teared up for Linger. She was captivating all in black but midway through she changed her shoes to some sparkly, sequinned cons as she boogied/slid along the stage. Zombie conjured up a spine-tingling sing-a-long as Irish flags were procured from somewhere and swung about.

Ok. So this looks a lot further back than we were. BUT you can still see how separated the crowd was from each other. Booo music is supposed to bring people together…

And then, there was light…

Lenny FUCKING Kravitz. In the flesh, breathing the same air, looking at me… (not really). But total charming, smooth-suave-criminal, badass, sex ba-bomb. What a performer.

Let Love Rule. Mr Cab Driver. Always On The Run. Stand By My Woman. It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over. Are You Gonna Go My Way. Believe. Rock and Roll is Dead. Can’t Get You Off Of My Mind.

Fly Away. Black Velveteen. American Woman. Again. Where Are We Runnin. Calling All Angels. I’m sure I’m leaving a whole bunch of newer songs out but all I cared about that night where highlights from ‘Mama Said’, ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ and ‘5’.

He was incredible, such an amazing performer who really connects with the audience and makes you want to jump the barrier and mad dash to be closer to him. I managed to refrain myself.

^^ Same picture. One illuminated with camera phones, the second with them removed. Which do you prefer? I prefer the latter.

Being such a fan of Kravitz but not someone who really delves too much into a singers personal life (I’m all about the music) I had no idea his father was white-Russian-Jew and his mum black-American-Bahamian-African. Before the song Black & White America he spoke out about his family and his life, and against racial prejudice stating that his mother was black and his father was white and even though they faced violence and prejudice they loved each other and fought hard against the world to be with each other. During the song he had a photo montage playing of his family and himself as a kid and it was really, really awesome…

I felt really connected to the song even though my fathers not black but Moreno and my mother’s white, primary school wasn’t the funnest place to be for me when I first started and ignorant little girls are confronted with someone different. It was cool to see him be so passionate about something and really sharing with the crowd.

During the end of the set, while singing ‘Let Love Rule’ Kravitz got the crowd chanting “LEEEEEEEETTTTT LOOOOOOOVVVVEEE RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUULLEE” over and over and he jumped off the stage and – surrounded by security – proceeded to walk up to where I was…

You can imagine my excitement, being right up on the barrier as he got, closer and closer…

..And then I got absolutely crushed. I don’t know how many people jumped on my back and all heaved forward, while (what felt like) a hundred hands shot forward around my body and face and I got enveloped in the rush. Not only did I not get to high 5 him but was incapacitated to take a decent photo of him being less than a metre infront of me. I was crushed physically and mentally, it was so upsetting. A moment you wait for, for eighteen years and then glory hounds who hadn’t had the patience or the dedication to camp at the front of the barrier gang-rush you and take away your moment. Next time I’m wearing spikes on more than my feet, I’ll be head to toe punked-out so no-one escapes injury before they try that again. I was undoubtedly upset. Here’s my last shot before nearly being cut in half by the barrier…

The End. My one bug-bear was that he didn’t sing one of my teenage favourites ‘I Belong To You’… I know shocking.

After an exhilarating three band show and being only 11pm at night I then had to face reality that my night wasn’t over. I had to go out and party till the sun came up and kill time till my flight at 3pm in the afternoon. Another “in hindsight” moment is that if you pull an all-nighter it’s probably a better idea to get the first plane back. Because not only did I party as hard as I could solo in Melbourne meeting many men who were happy to keep me awake and dance and chat but also gained the affection of one man that had every one of my nerves on end and my women’s intuition screaming to get away from. Think Christian Bale in American Psycho. A suit-man with a lot of money, who claimed to know what I’m all about, talking absolute tosh and upon learning I was pulling an all-nighter offered his south bank apartment to me. Doesn’t sound very creepy but this guy was extremely intense. Needless to say I ran away to an R’n’B club – that almost didn’t let me in, as my shoes were considered a deadly weapon – and spent the last two hours sitting on a leather couch watching people grind up against each other and trying not to fall asleep. Come daylight I realised that in booking my afternoon flight I had failed to factor in that it was a Sunday and nothing was open till 11am. This meant more wandering the streets for hours and when I finally managed to sit down at a decent cafe for some coffee and breakfast, nearly head slammed the table as the 4 hours sleep in two days was catching up with me and I was doing that embarrassing startled-snapping awake thing.

My bed had never, ever, ever felt so good when I finally got in it. Needless to say though it was totally worth it, I had one of the most adventurous nights in a long time and I proved to myself that I’ve still got it in me to test my physical limits and party very hard on minimal sleep.

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“Let’s dance to joy division and celebrate the irony.. Everything is going wrong, but we’re so happy”

I love my editor. Not only does he allow me to cover some really great gigs for free but I also get the opportunity to speak my very opinionated mind without any buffering, edits or censoring. A luxury that is extremely rare in the journalism industry. So here are the fruits of that labour in the form of my review on the worst music festival I have been to in the past 3 years. Future Music Festival. (Oh and a few extra notes from that day sprinkled in lightly)…

I wanted to like Future’s I really did, but remembering how aggressive the crowd was two years ago and considering I’d spent a life altering weekend at WOMAD… somewhere between fat chance and no chance is your answer. Let’s start with the hour it took me to wait in the VIP/Media/Guest line with four other ticket windows free, with the occupants sitting there picking their noses and scratching. Add to that a classy lady behind me using language that would make Lil Wayne cringe her sentence went a little something like this; ‘C*nt, blah blah blah f*cking blah, blah f*cking b*tch c*nt”… for an hour. It also helps if the girls looking through the list of names have a general grasp of the alphabet, I’m now realising why it took so long. Before heading towards the entrance I saw one girl, alone, passed out where a security guard had guided her under a tree as he went to get water, the rest of them were making all the boys lift up their shirts to check for alcohol smuggling. It looks grim doesn’t it? At the entrance they had no shade and too few lines with everyone completely stuck, bottlenecked and pushing I felt like cattle. I managed to hear Jessie J onstage already and she sounded alright, very rehearsed, she wasn’t in one of her elaborate outfits I guess in the toss-up between fashion and the possibility of passing out from the Aussie heat was not worth risking. After a brief walkabout figuring out where all the stages were I head to watch Hackney Rapper Professor Green, not before some girl calls me ‘piggy’ for pushing her off my foot when she walked into me, it’s a dog eat world here…

Changing the venue from the lush green grasses of Rymill Park to the barren red dirt of Ellis Park made the place seem that much more isolated. It was like entering some Mad Max vortex or the opening scene of Tupac’s (Hype William’s directed version) music video ‘California Love’ (which is based on the M.M film) if you like. Think an obliterate landscape with howling uneducated people lurching about. Imagine sticking every bogan in your state into one vicinity, giving them an excuse to start drinking before 10am and herd them into a caged premise with hollow repetitive thumping beats. Grim.

Ah yes. Nothing like the love of the crowd.

…I managed to get to a good spot and Professor Green’s performance really lifted the spirits. He played hits from his debut Alive Til I’m Dead album and At Your Inconvenience including ‘Just be Good to Green’, ‘I Need You Tonight’ and ‘Read All About it’ which the crowd really got into…

…Local Dj Stubanga was doing well on the Knife Party stage and for a law student by day, DJ by night he’s getting some great gigs; Future’s and this years The Big Day Out included…

…Within only an hour my feet were completely brown and the dust was all over my skinny jeans up to my shins, the ‘new and improved’ venue that is Ellis Park is more like a baron wasteland with impromptu random tents providing the shade as there were no trees at all within the large cage. The crowd was 30% normality with people there for the music, the rest were uneducated, offensive and aggressive who were pretty much just there because it was a public holiday, a legit excuse to get wasted during the day and the ‘in’ thing to do. Butt cheeks galore and men giving it as good as the girls in string singlets nipples out, fist pumping the air, pushing in front to get close to the stage just to stand there watching the concert through their phones. Dance music is completely wasted on this mob, I really want to love dance music but the crowd Future attracts year after year just gets worse and worse. This isn’t an age thing, this isn’t a bourgeois thing, Warren Ellis from Dirty Three was wrong looking at this lot there is ‘NO hope in the youth’, I wanted to get rip-roaring drunk just to try to ignore the vibe and put up with being there. The place would be a whole lot better if they banned alcohol and gave everyone an ‘E’ as they came in, then everyone might chill out…

Yayyyy.. some friends to cling to. The Plastik People Dj’s!! Salvation!! In the VIP area they were giving out pills (mints) in tiny tin cases… classy. As I mentioned before E’s would have been so much better.

…I listened to Chase & Status from the safety of the VIP area, hiding with some friends who were Djing a bit later and made it my mission to try and go to as many not so popular acts to stay away from the masses…

Haha.. one half of Plastik People Dj’s Mr Sala-man

…Friends and Future comrades Plastik People DJ’s were a nice escape right in the dusty back corner at the Pure Blonde “Beer Garden” playing to a tiny but dedicated crowd mashed up dance mixes with Bob Sinclair, ‘Drop it like it’s hot’, Pass the Courvoisier, Bob Marley ‘Could you be loved’, Beastie Boys, MSTRKRFT and ‘What a Bum’ Sister Nancy. They were also throwing down free beers and water to the crowd from the rider in the back which everyone appreciated…

Just call me tattoo hunter.

…American electro pop Holy Ghost! were my highlight of the day even though the lack of crowd was embarrassing I loved the forced intimacy. Front man Alex didn’t seem like he cared, seemingly nonchalant about it all, but they gave a great show and it was great to hear actual instruments being played…

…Before lighting up the first of many cigarettes he told us that this was the smallest crowd they had played to so far but the one with the strongest connection, the liar. Being so against smoking it’s funny that I find it so badass when musicians light up onstage, but I’m all for sticking it to the man however small the gesture…

Oh the sunburn. Grin & bare it.

Classy. No it’s not a bad fake tan job it’s arid dust. If you think this powder build-up was isolated to my feet you should have seen my camera the next day. Covered in a thick film of red dust. And although my jeans are looking quite black in this photo the red filth went up all the way to my knees by the end of the day.

…By this time thoroughly sunburnt but excited to see Fatboy Slim I headed to the main stage where I was in for the biggest disappointment of my life…

…After a great video intro and obtaining a decent position in the crowd I was looking forward to seeing Big Beat pioneer and nineties icon Norman Cook in the flesh. Q magazine named Fatboy Slim on of ’50 bands to see before you die’ and for the life of me I have no idea why. First off the set list said ‘Fatboy Slim’ not ‘Fatboy Slim DJ Set’ over the longest tension building hour and a half of my life he proceeded to DJ, playing everything BUT his own music, sampling maybe three lines from two songs, I hoped and prayed he would turn it around not giving in and pissing off to see The Wombats but that moment never came…

Holding a flare. Hardcore.

…If I wanted to hear a DJ set I could’ve gone to any other stage and have heard exactly the same music, which I did as half of the stuff he played I’d already heard throughout the afternoon. I cannot put down in words how disappointing this was, he just seemed like a has-been with all the ‘B*TCH’ samples he had looping over the music (I’m not a fan of that word already but to hear that on loop throughout the set is grinding). Nothing other-worldly about his Djing either with themes of ‘GET NAKED’ throughout and flashes of naked hippies appearing onscreen as well as an image of the ‘You’ve come a long way baby’ fat boy with wings behind him, but absolutely no sign or glimpse of the genius that made him so important in the first place. Clips of The Supremes ‘Stop in the Name of Love’ were sampled, ‘California Love’ by Tupac and Dre, Dj Kool’s ‘Let me Clear my Throat and ‘I’m in AUSTRALIA b*tch’…

…I could’ve cried again that weekend but for all the wrong reasons, maybe Mr Cook should get back on the booze or maybe turn in the tables because at the end there was no big encore, no final boom but he played his last song like all the others, bowed and walked off stage… ‘Thanks for the money suckers’ should’ve read up the back on-screen. Absolute bollocks!…

And the warm hospitality you got from your fellow party-goers extended backstage also. Sala-man went backstage with the good intention of chilling out with fellow Dj’s, meeting a few idols, shaking some hands and helping himself to the free booze. Only to be accosted by some guys asking why the f*ck he was backstage and taken to some interrogation room for about half and hour and being questioned by the bo-po (backstage police aka security) as to how he got backstage and what the f*ck he was doing there. Apparently some people are good enough to get paid shit all, the privilege to Dj in some crappy corner but no entitlements to at least some backstage action – which is honestly a pretty cool privilege that they should at LEAST be privy to. Well I caught up with him after they let him go after much pleading that he had to find his girlfriend and in a justly pretty pissed off mood. But onward and upward.

Hold on let me clean my glasses.

Ah yes here we go.

…Swedish House Mafia were the ones that really brought it home the curtain revealing an amazingly high DJ platform and the three of them giving me a reason to stay till the end of the night…