I haven’t been to many live gigs at all this year, either because of financial reasons or the lack of interest in tours on offer. I suspect I’m entering an age where it becomes increasingly harder for new artists and bands to really click with me to the degree where I’d pay money to see them play live. At least I’m closing the year in style with this fantastic concert last Friday at the Forum Theatre, where I got to see the Canadian songbird extraordinaire, Leslie Feist a.k.a. simply Feist.
Hans Zimmer’s name might not be instantly recognisable among the general public, but most people would know the popular films he had scored: Gladiator, The Lion King, Inception, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Rock, and many more. An impressive body of work to say the least. I have my sister and her husband to thank for letting me know about this concert: they’re big fans of Zimmer’s work and were blown away when they saw his show in Prague last year. I could only afford cheap tickets at the very top of the arena, which unfortunately blocked about a third of the orchestra from view, but in the end it didn’t matter so much.
It’s been a long five year break since her last visit, but PJ finally made her way here with her latest tour and I made it to my ninth PJ concert. Short review, it was awesome (again). Passionate, intense, musically and vocally perfect, great crowd.
Went to see John Grant at my favourite music venue in Melbourne, for a night of exquisite balladry and funky grooves. Forum was only maybe two thirds full, which was enough for a good atmosphere while also making it very easy to move around. I started the concert second row from the stage before deciding that the sound was kinda abysmal there, with the vocals getting lost in the mix, and moved further away which improved things significantly. Because the floor wasn’t packed like sardines in the can, it was easy to move to quieter spots whenever people around me got annoying. People who talk non-stop, loudly, at a music concert are only one step above the people who blab during the movie, in my book.
A mid-week gig in Thornbury that’s unlikely to start before 10 pm would normally be a terrible prospect, especially during a week that’s already been sleep-deprived because of a late Mad Max showing at the Melbourne IMAX theatre. But if there’s any act worth going deaf in one ear and feeling like a zombie at work the next day for, it’s these amazing ladies. Sleater-Kinney for me was one of those bands I wish I got earlier into; I became a big fan with One Beat, loved their new direction on The Woods, saw them live twice… and then they broke up. Oh. Well then. So when I heard that they were making music together again and touring, I was pretty psyched.
I had such great time at this concert. Beautiful venue and incredibly enthusiastic audience; I’m used to the Melbourne crowd being reserved, but from the moment Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, her musical partner (and amazing guitarist), walked onstage they got nothing but cheers and rapturous applause throughout the show. People even cheered mid-song after instrumental interludes, which I’ve never seen before. Maybe it’s just that the country music fans are a lot more passionate than indie hipsters? I say “country”, but Welch’s music is a tad hard to categorise. Wikipedia helpfully describes it as sparse and dark musical style, which combines elements of Appalachian music, bluegrass, and Americana. I also found out that “G” in “Gillian” sounds like “g” in “guild” and not “gem”. You learn something new every day.
I really liked I Love You, Honeybear, the second album by Father John Misty (real name Josh Tillman), silly title and all, so when I heard he was touring Melbourne I jumped at the chance to see him live. Besides, Forum Theatre is probably my favourite music venue in Melbourne and it’s always nice to be there again under its fake starry sky.