Friday, December 6, 2013

Courtney Barnett - Up Late at GoMA

Tonight's outing started fairly spontaneously. With no plans to leave the house, I had settled in with some cider and season 4 of The IT Crowd to pass the time until my girlfriend arrived home from work. A short conversation on Facebook changed that and I was on my bicycle, on my way over to GoMA to see Courtney Barnett play as part of their Up Late lineup.

For those of you not in the loop, Up Late is a series of gigs at the Gallery of Modern Art, usually coinciding with a special exhibit currently on display there. The exhibit tonight was California Design. There were some awesome art pieces from 1930-1960 and some even cooler vintage furniture.

I want this living room to be my living room.
My friends and I grab a beer each and settle ourselves just to the side of the stage as Courtney starts to play.

Now, up until tonight, I hadn't heard much of Courtney Barnett. Save for her rather misguided and off the mark cover of Kanye West's 'Black Skinhead' - watch it here if you haven't already - so tonight, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

This guy brought his 'A' Game to talk to these ladies. It was not enough.
The first song kicks off and the guitar and drums shuffle into position, almost playing behind the beat while the bass player keeps everything tight and together. Musically, it's familiar. A sort of alt-country song with a slight droniness and the jam elements of a psych-rock tune.

A bad photo of Courtney, with heads.
The mix is good but the vocals aren't clear so I don't hear the name of the song, or any of the songs for that matter. The next song is more of the same countryish shuffle with a psych-rock tinge. Though now, Courtney is starting to show off her quite capable guitar skills and things get a little more rock and roll. I've been told Courtney's lyrics are quite good - and there certainly are a lot of them - but the less than stellar vocal mix causes me to miss almost all of them, until the bass player and drummer leave the stage and she plays a song by herself. It's about buying houses and off with the fairies real-estate agents, though, I still can't understand all of it. Throughout this song, I finally get to hear the tone and timbre of Courtney's voice - it's a little droney and she does nothing to hide her thick Australian accent (I really don't like mine, hers, or any other Australian accent) but I like her voice. It seems to be her own. She's not hiding it with any sort of fancy vocal training and she ends up sounding unique because of it. I could go on a rant about how most female vocalists seem to be afraid to be themselves and end up all sounding the same - that annoyingly sweet, breathy, boring as fuck tone that their singing teachers told them was the be all and end all of vocal tones (think Sarah Blasko, Julia Stone, Kimbra, Clare Bowditch, etc) but that will probably happen in another post. It'll be about how fucking stupid the inequality of the Australian music scene is. Anyway, back on topic!

A slightly better photo. More heads.
The set finishes up with a fairly long and massive sounding 60s style jam. For a three-piece band, it's huge and I'm impressed by their ability to keep as tight as they do while rocking the fuck out. Courtney's bass player and drummer really shine here, and Courtney herself gets a little more awesome with her guitar.

I buy a CD, get on my bike, and make my way home. Tonight was fun.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Douche-bag on a fixed gear bike.

Today, I went on a bike ride along the river from my place to the city and back. I was out of the house for all of about 45 minutes but it felt good to leave the house without any real reason. These photos were taken with an iPhone. Click the pictures for to see them properly.

Brisbane tends to look really pretty at dusk.

Seriously... Really Pretty.

This is my bike. Her name is The Emperor's Guard.

There used to be a homeless guy who slept under this bridge. A few months ago he was shot with an arrow. As in, from a bow. I wish I were joking.

I think this bridge looks fucking stupid. It reminds me of really old style braces, with head gear and stuff.

Lately, I haven't left the house a lot and it's made me feel bored, hypocritical, and restless. So, I've decided to go on more adventures, ride my bike more and see more live music.

"But why write about it? Can't you just shut the fuck up and not be another douche-bag with an opinion on the internet?"

Well, I could do that, but for some reason, I never really feel as if I've done something unless I document it. Be it with photos, reviews, stories, or just really shitty songs about my feelings on the situation. (You can find those shitty songs here by the way.)

So, without further adieu, I present to you: my adventures through time and space.