January 22nd, 2009

aussiepoida - LOL

The Sound of Music

It's been a while since I've gone to concert... the last one may possibly have been Air, which was somewhat of a disappointment. With such a sparatic and scarce gig-attendance calendar in mind, the last week has certainly been a treat.

Note: The LJ 'insert picture' function appears to be doing bad things to my previews. Click through to the actual photo, if you so desire.
Note Note: I must though elaborate and admit that the photos themselves are actually pretty damn scheise quality :-?

Bon Iver
Last Thursday I headed down to the Fly by Night Musicians Club to see/hear Bon Iver perform his magic.

I was there by myself, which was a first for me. With both Blake and Lombardi away on business(probably permanent business), I had to accept the fact that my other friends do not really share the same enthusiasm for (out kind of) music. I was actually quite uncomfortable walking through the front door. It felt odd in the same way as it feels odd to me to watch a movie by myself (even at home). I was happy to see that it was a seated gig, if only for the fact that it made me feel less alone in that room full of trendy, arty, beardy (the men at least... and one woman) people. That being said - getting a seated crowd motivated is always a uphill battle... more on that later.

The support act was fantastic... I'm not sure why, but I really enjoyed listening to him do his thing. His name? Joe Bludge. Just one man and his guitar, singling mostly simple songs about everyday things. There isn't a lot of information about him online.. pretty much only a myspace page... and the songs don't seem to sound anywhere near as good on myspace. As such, I'm not sure if I would actually buy an album of his, as his magic only appears to become evident on stage... but who knows... maybe I will buy something, just to support a local artist :-)

When I reviewed my video footage of him doing his Honeybee song, I count help but notice that it seemed a little... boring. And yet it filled my heart with joy when he sang it :-) I have included some footage below. Do not judge me. I shook his hand at the end of the gig. He appeared to appreciate the feedback.
Now. Bon Iver. I was struck with how big Justin Vernon actually is. I had always pictured him as a small-beardy man, akin to Blake or such. He is not. He's a big boy, and I dont mean overweight. My reception to the first couple of songs was a little lukewarm. He's voice sounded tired and wirey and he just jumping around trying to make the guitar weep with strange noises and feedback... it didn't look like the guitar was doing what he actually wanted it to do, and it sort of looked like he was getting frustrated trying to make cool noises which didn't eventuate... I could be wrong, of course, but it just looked like it wasn't going well :-)

Luckily, all that was left behind with the third song (cant for the life of me remember what it actually was) and the show started moving along at a lovely pace. Vernon found his voice, and the band found their plane.

'Creature Fear' was the surprise hit of the evening for me. I've never been keen on it, but the live rendition left me buzzing. Its great to see that they know how to play quietly... but also know how to rock-the-fuck-out when then want to :-)
They played a three of tracks from their new Blood Bank EP, which I rather liked. I cant remember if it was 'Beach Baby' or 'Babies', but it was a highlight. That being said, it did, to me, sound a fair bit like Sigur Rós... not that I am complaining :-) The big build-ups were fantastic, and the eventual (anti?) climax certainly original.

I've been reading a lot about how bon Iver encourages audience participation... I've heard that they've based entire gigs around the concept that the audience MUST sing along. I was a little disappointed that this was not replicated on the night, and the only song for which they requested participation was 'The Wolves (Act I and II)', where in Act II the audience had to repeat the words 'what might have been lost' several times, getting louder and louder, until eventually erupting into a scream. I didn't hear anyone actually scream... including me. The build-up to it did not inspire confidence to go through with it. It was a shame. Audience participation was lacklustre, and it is here that I will once again mention that this was a seated gig. Feel free to review the footage below.

Oh seated gigs.... how my lazy ass loves you :-) ... and oh how I hate how you rob a room of energy :-(

Overall it was a great experience. I loved the venue and hope to see more acts there in future... And I'm certainly curious what the future will hold for this little band from Wisconsin.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
On Tuesday night I returned to the Belvoir Amphitheatre (a venue I've loved ever since seeing Moby there with Lombardi) to witness Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds perform in front of a sell-out crowd.

I was once again by myself, which didn't bother me at all this time. That's not to say that I would have preferred if, say, Blake was there as well, as he is the one that introduced me to them. I gave him a call before the show started, to let him know I'm thinking of him :P

It took me a few moments to realise that the support act was, in fact, the before mentioned Joe Bludge! This time, performing in a two piece band called The Painkillers. They performed mostly the same songs that I had heard in acoustic form at the Bon Iver gig - I'm not entirely sure which versions I preferred, though I think the solo-guitar version of 'Hard on a Man' worked better. I also have no idea what other people thought of them. I love them :-)

James Baker (the drummer) was fantastic and beat those drums to perfection. These two guys are a great combination, and I may actively seek them out, as they seem to play around Perth regularly. The more I write about them, the more I seem to like them :P

Which now brings me to the main event - The Cave & Seeds. Nick Cave is certainly a showman, and seem to love the stage... if he doesn't, he certainly makes you believe he does :-) There was a casual and chaotic vibe to the gig which I really enjoyed. On a number of occasions, the band had to discuss what song they were going to play next. There was also a lot of banter between Cave and the audience.

Most notable was when a guy in the mosh pit was getting dragged away by security personnel - In the middle of 'Dig, Lazarus, Dig' Cave stopped the song, pointed at the scene and demanded to know what was going on. I wasn't sure who he was talking to. He stepped onto the crowd barrier and grabbed the security guards shirt and said 'leave that man alone. Leave him be!.... he's just dancing!' It was a great showing of the rock-and-roll attitude that he clearly possesses, and really set the tone for a great evening.

Usually when I go to a concert, there is a standout track that I remember above all others. Such a track did not emerge last night. I'm not sure what that says about the show, except that I was clearly entertained evenly throughout the evening. The show was a testament to how long these guys have been around... they've release 14 albums or such. I only have 3 of them (4 if you count the double album separately..which would be silly). They played a lot of songs that I didn't know.... and didn't play a lot of songs that I really wanted him to play. - There She Goes, My Beautiful World and Bring It On were the most disappointing omissions. In the end, he had a big audience, of various ages to please. We wouldn't all get what we wanted, but we all got enough to be satisfied :-)