Monday, 31 December 2012

Wilco - Brooklyn '09

You may have noticed that things have gone a bit quiet around here. Hopefully I’ll feel a bit more motivated in the new year, but for now here’s something to whet your appetite for Wilco’s upcoming tour. It’s a complete show made available through their website using the ‘donate what you want’ model. The cause at the time was the Haiti earthquake and donations were directed to Oxfam. Why not make a donation, or even better set up an automatic payment (folks like Oxfam much prefer a regular payment of even $10 per month since it lets them plan ahead).

To the show – this was on Coney Island in Brooklyn, and features guest appearances from Feist, Yo La Tengo, and Ed Droste from Grizzly Bear. As usual the band mixes up the setlist, playing songs off every album except AM.

Wilco (The Song)
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
A Shot in the Arm
At Least That’s What You Said
Bull Black Nova
You Are My Face
One Wing
Handshake Drugs
Deeper Down
Impossible Germany
Take Me Out to the Ballgame [the show is in a baseball park]
Jesus., etc
Sonny Feeling
I’m Always in Love
Can’t Stand It
Hate it Here
I’m the Man Who Loves You

Heavy Metal Drummer
You and I (with Feist)
California Stars/You Never Know (with Feist and Ed Droste)
Spiders (Kidsmoke) (with Yo La Tengo)

The Late Greats
Hoodoo Voodoo (with Feist and Ed Droste)

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Robert Plant Ticket

I've got a ticket to Robert Plant's performance in Melbourne on the 3rd of April that it looks like I won't be able to attend. It's in the floor section (now sold out) Row O. It cost me just shy of $160 including booking fee and I'm asking for $130 for it (plus postage costs, if any - happy to meet up around Melbourne CBD). If anyone is interested send me a message.

Pearl Jam - Soundboard Remasters Series

There's a bit of a feast or famine thing with Pearl Jam, in that since 2000 they've released official soundboard recordings of virtually every show they've played, but prior to that it can be tough to get decent quality recordings. To make life easier the folks over at We Got Shit have remastered what they consider to be the 14 essential pre-2000 soundboards. The two key questions are whether these are great shows and whether the quality is decent. So far I've only listened to the Rotterdam '93 recording, since the early days are usually the hardest shows to find in good quality. I've got to say that the sound is stunning. This is absolutely perfect quality. If the remaining recordings are on a par (and I'm now planning on getting them all) this series will be a major boon for Pearl Jam fans that want the key recordings from each period, but not every single show. With regards to performance quality my favourite shows (Atlanta '94, Berlin '96, Melbourne '98 are there) so that's promising. Overall, this looks like being a must-have for Pearl Jam fans.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Blondie - Sidney Myer Music Bowl

I recorded this, but a) it didn't turn out well, and b) it's officially available. So if you want this one you'll be able to get it in decent quality, but you'll have to pay ($30, which seems a bit steep to me, but there's 15% off for Christmas).

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

New Blog - BNE Live

Being the self-obsessed type, I like to keep an eye on the traffic coming here. I recently noticed some coming from a new site - BNE Live. Turns out its a taper from Brisbane with quite a catelogue of stuff. I haven't had a chance to download anything yet, so I can't comment on the quality, but it looks like a place to keep any eye on.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Best of 2012: Books (Part II)

Just My Type: A Book About Fonts

I quite like documentaries that follow on a small topic and reveal the interest in it. That’s a harder trick to pull off in a novel, but this book does it. As the title suggest, this is a book about fonts. It’ll explain to you the difference between serif and sans serif, why comic sans is so despised, what the most commonly used (and misused) fonts are, where they all come from, and why you should care. That’s the books really trick, by the end I really did care.


I went through a phase around the start of the year of reading graphic novels. I figure it’s a big enough genre that there must be some good things to find. And there are. I read lots of things that I only knew from crappy movies, but were actually really good. But my favourite is Crécy by Warren Ellis. It describes the Battle of Crécy and the events leading up it. I’m surprised it hasn’t been made into a movie yet, because, as well as having a good storyline (with the added bonus of being faithful enough that you can learn a bit of history), its also incredibly violent. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as an entry point to the world of graphic novels, but once you’ve read a few this is a good one to get.

The Maze Runner

I saw the Hunger Games movie this year. It seemed like a good (but not very original) idea poorly developed. I figured the books would probably do a better job, but having read all of them I can tell you: they don’t. So if you want to read some young adult fiction (some people might be a bit embarrassed, but there are some fantastic novels, the label usually just means they have main characters that are young adults) The Maze Runner is a better choice. A young boy wakes up in the centre of a maze. There are lots of other boys there – apparently they have been arriving at regular intervals for some time. Beyond that you (and they) don’t really know a lot. The book is one of those where every time something is revealed some new mystery immediately follows. The key to these is whether the author manages to end the whole story in a satisfactory way. I’ve only finished the first two novels in the series so I can’t answer that, but at this point its substantially better than some of the more well known titles in the genre.

Tearing Down the Wall of Sound

I imagine that Phil Spector is a tough subject to write about. Widely regarded as mad even before his manslaughter conviction (the book was written during the retrial) and equally widely regarded as a genius, capturing both sides sympathetically but accurately is tough. This book covers Spector’s musical contributions in detail, but isn’t afraid to fully cover his poor treatment of women (which was really just an example of his poor treatment of everyone around him), and his infatuation with guns. Although the book had to be careful, given the retrial hadn’t been completed, my impression was that it was a surprise that Spector hadn’t killed someone already (accidentally or otherwise).


Each century has had one great US president. The most recent (and least well known in the international consciousness) was Franklin Delano Roosevelt – FDR. FDR had to deal with both the Great Depression and World War II. He instituted the welfare state (slowly eroded since his death), ended prohibition, served longer than any other president (which will only ever change in the unlikely event of a constitution amendment to allow presidents to serve more than two terms) and brought the phrase ‘brain’s trust’ into our language. All of this while he was largely confined to a wheelchair (struck by polio as an adult, he could walk with assistance when necessary). One of the most interesting things I got from this book was that, despite being the greatest US president of the 20th century, as an invalid with (probably) an open marriage he wouldn’t have even been considered as a plausible candidate in the last fifty years.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Emmylou Harris - 10 November 2012, The Palais

It feels like this show happened a long time ago, but I guess its only been a few weeks. The intervening period has been packed with shows, and I figured this would be one that only a handful of people would be interested in – hence the delay.

I usually check out the setlists being played to get an idea of what to expect and Emmylou Harris had been playing a greatest hits set of late, which suited me fine. But she changed it back to promote her ‘latest’ album (which is actually quite old now). Although lots of folks seem to like it, I can’t say I’m a fan. In particular, while heartfelt, Darlin’ Kate makes me cringe.

Nonetheless, there were plenty of hits, and some of the non-hits, in particular Bright Morning Stars, were great. Despite that, this show just didn’t really satisfy. I was actually surprised when it ended because everything seemed so low key. The show wasn’t bad, it was just flat.

The sound is pretty good. The usual occasional talking (not really intrusive) and a guy near me who kept yelling ‘WOOAAAAAHHH’ like he thought she was a horse he wanted to slow.

My Songbird
Six White Cadillacs
Orphan Girl
Making Believe
Hello Stranger
Hickory Wind
Green Pastures
My Name is Emmett Till
Get Up John
Red Dirt Girl
Two More Bottles of Wine
Luxury Liner
Prayer in Open D
Darlin’ Kate
Every Grain of Sand
All My Tears
Bright Morning Stars
The Ship on His Arm
The Pearl
Together Again
Born to Run

Old Five and Dimers Like Me
Pancho and Lefty

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Neil Young - Studio Jam

To celebrate the announcement of a Neil Young and Crazy Horse tour I might put up a couple of things to get people warmed up (for anyone that missed out I’ve already posted his never-released-on-cd album Time Fades Away). This is a 30 minute plus jam posted on his website to announce the fact he was back in the studio with crazy horse. It kicks off with, what sounds like, the start of Fuckin’ Up, but quickly turns into a more generic jam. About halfway through they turn it into Cortez the Killer. I haven’t heard the latest album, but it contains a couple of very long tracks that they’re playing at every show (usually Neil Young setlists don’t vary at all, this time he’s mixing up the encores a bit, but still expect to hear long jams every night), so this might give you an idea of what to expect if you go to see him.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Best of 2012: Books (Part I)

At this time of year everyone comes up with end of year lists to fill space. There are a bunch of shows to come so that’s not problem here. But I do find lists like these irresistible reads, and occasionally useful ways to find something new I wouldn’t otherwise discover. So, in the first of a series of ‘Best of’ posts: The Bests Books I Read This Year (Part I).

Can You Feel the Silence?

I don’t actually read that many music bios (three this year), mainly because they are often really dull. There are few things I don’t like about Clinton Heylin (in particular that he can’t help but include himself in the story), but his books are well researched, well written, and interesting. Van Morrison is a particularly interesting subject because he has been so secretive, produced so much good music, but also failed to have the late career resurgence that many of his peers have experienced. This book goes some way towards explaining that. However, it never really manages to get inside the mind of Van Morrison. That might be too much to ask, given how reserved Morrison is, but it does make it hard to understand some of his actions (Heylin can only speculate). This is almost the definitive Van Morrison biography by default due to the absence of competitors, but if you’re interested in his work this is offers lots of interesting insights.

The Book Thief

I was initially going to rate the books on this list, but after putting The Book Thief at number one I couldn’t get any further. The book is quite long, but a very easy read (well narrated by Death). It focuses on a young girl in a small German village during the second world war. I’ve given quite a bit of thought about how Markus Zusak manages to have written a book with such a lot of potentially depressing content that is actually fairly light (I was tempted to write whimsical, but its heavier than that; really this is a book that’s hard to describe). My conclusion so far is that he’s a genius.

Crooked Little Vein

Warren Ellis is better known for his graphic novels, and so far this is his only novel. The phrase usually used to describe these types of novels is ‘the underbelly of America’ (other common phrases include ‘bizarre’, ‘drug-fuelled’ and ‘hilarious’). If you’ve read anything by Chuck Palahniuk (if you’ve read anything by Chuck Palahniuk you’ve pretty much read everything by him) you’ll be familiar with the type of story. I won’t try to describe the plot because it sounds stupid, and the novel isn’t that, but it’s a good little read.

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families

This is the best book I didn’t finish this year. I decided a while ago that I wasn’t going to waste my time finishing books I didn’t like. But that wasn’t the reason I stopped reading this one. It was because I found myself actually dreading having to read it because of the stream of horrific violence outlined in the book, and the staunch desire of everyone that could do something to stop to avoid doing so.

The book is about the Rwandan genocide that occurred over 100 days in 1994. During this time somewhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people were killed. This book does a fantastic job of outlining how and why this happened, and perhaps more importantly, how easily it could have been prevents or substantially reduced, and how determined some western governments were not to have to intervene. This is a hard book to read, but even if, like me, you only manage the first half, it’s a valuable experience.

Team of Rivals

I love politics. In a world where we generally like to assume we are civilised creatures, politics remains a realm where we have no such pretences. And elections! The very apex of the political process. Excitement abounds. Obviously this years big election happened in the US (no not the biennial congressional elections, although those too are fascinating). So I read a bunch of books on US politics (as an aside: if anyone tells you that the electoral college system is extremely complicated they’re not telling the truth). This book is supposedly the definitive biography of the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, with a particular focus on his cabinet (the ‘team of rivals’). For mine, the book focuses a bit too much on the nominating process; that’s necessary to set up the ‘team of rivals’ bit, but it took nearly a third of the book for Lincoln to receive the Republican nomination. As interesting as it was to learn about Lincoln, it was probably more interesting to see how the two main US political parties have changed so much, and to learn that, as much as Lincoln is revered as the ‘Great Liberator’ he was very much a man of his time (he assured Illinois voters that, while he opposed the spread of slavery, he supported Illinois’ laws prohibiting intermarriage and preventing African-Americans from testifying against whites in court).