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Review of Explosions In The Sky supported by El May and Eluvium, 16 February 2008, Melbourne [17 February 2008|11:57 pm]
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[Current Mood |goodgood]
[Current Music |'How Could I?' by Cynic]

If I had to describe last night's concert in just two words, they would be 'fantastic' and 'intense'. If you ever have the chance to see Explosions In The Sky, I would very strongly urge you to see them. I have never seen a band so intently pour themselves into their music. The opening acts, El May and Eluvium, were both also very good.

My full review.Collapse )
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(no subject) [15 February 2008|09:56 pm]
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[Current Music |ODI cricket on TV, Australia vs Sri Lanka]

Well, today's been pretty good on the music front. I bought tickets for Porcupine Tree in both Melbourne and Brisbane - Sydney's still up in the air and dependent on a couple of factors, but tickets aren't exactly flying out the door at a great rate of knots. I also went and got my ticket printed for the Explosions In The Sky tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to that despite going by myself. What is a little disappointing is how late it is. Apparently they're not expected to be off stage until 20 past midnight,which is going to mean I'll be pushing it a little fine to get home. It seems those who schedule concerts really do not think of those who are dependent on public transport. I hate to think how much a taxi will cost if it comes to that.

In other news, it looks like Liberal Party leader Brendan Nelson has gone and really put his foot in it. He's already taken a lot of flak for his terrible speech at the national apology a couple of days ago, and it turns out that a story he related about one Aboriginal women in some kind of attempt to demonstrate that actions were undertaken with "good intentions" was actually used without even consulting her, let alone asking her permission. Now she's accusing him of misrepresenting her story for political gain. Good on her for speaking out. This guy has the charisma of a tomato, and now it seems he appears to have the grace of a tomato splattering on a wall too. It may be a long way away and lots will surely happen in between, but it's probably reasonable to say that if he's still the Liberal leader at the next election, Rudd will cruise to a second term.

And to change topic again, it looks like life is starting to settle down a bit. I still feel ... all kinds of things, but at least I've got a good weekend to look forward to. Besides tomorrow's concert, I'm aiming to meet up with a few other local U2 fans on Sunday, and of course there's the cricket. If there's one good thing about summer, it's cricket. It's the first weekend of the Super 14 rugby too! That seems a bit strange, given that rugby's a winter sport and all, but the rugby year seems to be getting longer and longer and I'm almost used to the season starting this early now.
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So it seems the heavens have aligned to bring Porcupine Tree to Australia [30 January 2008|08:44 pm]
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[Current Music |'Waiting (Phase One)' by Porcupine Tree]

There is a God.

Or at least there are favourable financial conditions that I shall conceptualise as God for they are bringing Porcupine Tree to Australia for the first time ever. First Split Enz and Crowded House both reunite, then Dream Theater finally come to Australia, and now the best of the lot, Porcupine Tree.

The tour:

25/04: The Metro, Melbourne
26/04: The Enmore, Sydney
27/04: The Tivoli, Brisbane
(Source: OzProg, who are co-presenting the tour just like they're co-presenting Dream Theater right now.)

I will obviously go to the Melbourne gig, and I'll go to the Brisbane show as well since it's a convenient excuse to go back and visit the family. I will make Sydney happen if at all possible, though this is somewhat dependent on pricing - which is yet to be announced. The really convenient part? This will barely clash with university. The 25th is a public holiday, ANZAC Day (though I do wonder - will the gig be shunted back to the 24th?), and the 26th and 27th are Saturday and Sunday. I can fly home to Melbourne on Monday morning and be back in time for afternoon classes. If I receive a favourable schedule this coming semester, I won't miss a thing; as it stands, I've never had a Monday class earlier than midday so far. Depending on my schedule, which I won't know until late February, I may just stay the Monday with family in Queensland and come home Tuesday morning.

My only concern is that now it looks like my musical life can only possibly go down. There's only one Porcupine Tree and as of this moment, nothing could top this news. I'm sure some amazing band is awaiting me just over the horizon, though.

So, anybody want to go?
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Dream Theater, 2008-01-29, Festival Hall, Melbourne [29 January 2008|11:53 pm]
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[Current Music |'Dreams Burn Down' by Ride]

Well, I'll say this about Dream Theater: when you go to one of their Evening With gigs, you sure as hell get your money's worth. They took the stage at 7:25pm and didn't finish until 10:40pm.

My review.Collapse )
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(no subject) [13 January 2008|10:24 pm]
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[Current Mood |depresseddepressed]
[Current Music |'Behold The Vastness And Sorrow' by Wolves In The Throne Room]

Lately, I have started to really take to my writing again - as I suppose may have been apparent by the fact I am back to posting daily. It's been at the forefront of my fight against boredom and loneliness; it certainly served me well back in my early teenage years when I felt similarly socially isolated and shy. I am really looking forward to the start of the new university year and yet it is still over 1.5 months away. The Christmas holidays are agonisingly long. So I've been writing fiction again to fill in my evenings, and for once I feel like I am not writing total garbage. I remember when I was 13 and I dreamt of being an author. Now there was a pipe dream. Far too many people have pretentions of being an author, while far too few of them have any actual talent. So now I just write for the fun of it and just try to hone my skills - it will be helpful later when writing academically, and it refocuses my mind and has its therapeutic qualities.

I'm also rather looking forward to the Dream Theater concert that is a fortnight from today. Given their history of never coming to Australia before, I am incredibly happy that they are coming here and I am trying to avoid looking at the setlists for their current shows in Asia. I want to be surprised, and I also would rather not know if they are doing The Ministry Of Lost Souls and Prophets Of War - if I must have twenty minutes of my life wasted on that complete crap, I would rather not be dreading it beforehand. I just wish they had come here on the previous tour. I've looked fairly extensively through the setlist archive on Mike Portnoy's website, and I think the last tour had some of their best sets, while the current one has some of the worst. No doubt part of this impression is created by the predictable presence of songs from Systematic Chaos. I found that album to be more than just disappointing. Ah well, at least they play for 2.5-3 hours, so over two thirds of the show should be quality music.

Moving topics completely, the news at the moment seems to be so tremendously depressing. I've tried to write entries reflecting on various events but it all ends up in the same sort of pondering and asking "why?" Maybe it's just my state of mind that I'm feeling things more acutely than normal. I find myself turning the television news off in disgust increasingly frequently. Visiting news websites almost feels like a chore. And then of course I turn to my personal life only to find Grandpa has not been doing spectacularly the last week. He will hopefully be receiving treatment to make him more comfortable this coming week, as long as he is capable of travelling halfway down the South Island to receive it. It's too hard to accept the fact that there will not be a cure or even a considerable improvement in his condition.

So it'll be another birthday plagued by worry about a family member's health. Lucky me. No wonder I have been immersing myself in fiction, whether it's writing my own or reading that of others.
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(no subject) [13 December 2007|10:17 pm]
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[Current Music |'(A Shimmering Radiance) Diadem Of 12 Stars' by Wolves In The Throne Room]

Some of you may remember an absolutely fantastic online game that I get addicted to every summer, and this summer is naturally no exception: Stick Cricket! And now they've introduced a multiplayer version. If anybody would like a game, let me know and we can sort out a time. It's good fun. My screen name there is Axver as per usual, but I'll only sign into the Clubhouse if someone I know will be there for a game. Otherwise I just find random semi-illiterate people trying to pester me.

On a completely different note, it's about time I posted about the Muse concert I saw almost a month ago now, on 15 November at Rod Laver Arena. I don't have the setlist for the opening band, The Checks; I made notes so that I could work it out, but I didn't care for them at all so I can't be bothered. They played a very mundane, basic form of rock; for some reason, while watching them, I felt reminded of Kings Of Leon but without the dying pig as a vocalist. I was fairly bored.

Muse's set.Collapse )

Now I just need more concerts to go to. Dream Theater hit Melbourne on 29 January 2008, so I'm really looking forward to that. I'm thinking about seeing Explosions In The Sky on 16 February 2008, but I'm not sure; it'd be nice if I had someone to go with. My biggest wish is that Porcupine Tree come here sometime next year; it seems possible but unlikely right now. Rest assured that if they do come, I will attend every Australian show that I possibly can. Their setlists lately have been beyond mindblowing. Waiting Phase One? Dark Matter? Drown With Me? The Sky Moves Sideways? Lightbulb Sun? And that in addition to the new stuff and the songs you'd expect like Lazarus, Trains, Even Less, Blackest Eyes, and Hatesong. Does it get any better? No, no it doesn't. I sincerely hope Steven Wilson can find time out of his ridiculously busy schedule to bring Porcupine Tree down to this part of the world.
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Crowded House with The Walls and Augie March, 8 November 2007, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne [18 November 2007|11:17 pm]
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[Current Music |'Allure of the Earth' by Woods Of Ypres]

OK, it's about time I reviewed a couple of the concerts I've seen lately. I've been meaning to for over a week, but university was hectic right up until the end. My last assessment item of the year was an exam on Wednesday, and since then I've been kicking back and relaxing. I've been reading LJ, but I've honestly been just a little too lazy to actually write anything. Time to break out of that slothfulness and put fingers to keyboard.

The first show was Crowded House on 8 November, with The Walls and Augie March as the support bands. Apart from Augie March, it was a really fantastic concert. As the setlist addict that I am, I noted down the setlists for all the bands. Crowded House's set was obviously easy, as I know their entire catalogue very well; The Walls' singer introduced most of the tracks and those he didn't name were easy to figure out from checking their site and consulting my notes; Augie March's singer only introduced the last two so I had to write lyrics for the rest and hope I got them right. I think my sets are accurate, or close to it.

First support act: The Walls.Collapse )

Second support act: Augie March.Collapse )

Main act: Crowded House.Collapse )
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(no subject) [16 August 2007|11:33 pm]
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[Current Mood |tiredreally fucking tired]
[Current Music |'Mekong Delta Blues' by Scorched Earth Policy]

Highlights of Axver's day:

1. This morning, I bought a ticket to see Muse here in Melbourne on the 15th of November. Got a pretty good seat too. As much as I enjoy most of Muse's music, I don't like them (or the sack of shit that is Black Holes And Revelations) enough to be bothered with the whole "lining up for ages to get a good spot in General Admission" thing. Plus, since I'm going alone, a seat suits me better anyway.

2. Ate far too much food with Kate this afternoon. At least I do a fair bit of walking these days in comparison to past standards of laziness and inactivity.

3. Indulged in generorky fun this evening by going to a public lecture at university. It was given by Michael B. Oren (perhaps best known for his book on the Six Day War) on the topic of "Jews, Statehood and Power: Israel and the Challenges to Jewish Morality". One of the courses I'm doing this semester is the History Of The Arab-Israeli Conflict, so this tied in rather nicely, especially as this week's focus was on the differing Israeli and Palestinian narratives of the creation of the state of Israel. Oren, who has not just studied Israeli history but served in the IDF, provided a rather interesting perspective and was a very engaging speaker. I won't try to provide an analysis of what he said or provide arguments about its validity, as I'm dead tired and no good could come of it. However, I will mention one side matter that struke me: the way in which Oren used holy texts such as those regarding Moses. It was interesting for someone such as myself, who has grown up in two countries where such texts are used to advance religious, theological purposes. Oren, of Jewish background, used them for a cultural purpose, something I have a hard time relating to but that I enjoyed hearing. It was nice to hear someone quote a religious text without then proceeding to force it down my throat. I was also surprised that when he was discussing figures such as Moses, Joshua, and Nehemiah, he spoke of the "Bible", not of the "Tanakh". Perhaps to cater to his audience? I don't know.

If I can get my lazy arse into gear, I have a few politically flavoured entries to write. Or maybe I'll just talk music. I've been enjoying plenty of new stuff lately.
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Axver's crazy U2 escapades [3 December 2006|11:59 pm]
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[Current Mood |tiredtired]
[Current Music |'Godhead's Lament' by Opeth]

I've finally finished writing my reviews of the U2 concerts I attended in November and I figure at least some people on my friends list would be interested in reading about my experiences at the shows. I think I've already posted about the notable non-concert events, and to save me repeating what I've already written, I will simply use this post as a reference tool listing my reviews over on U2-Vertigo-Tour.com.

Brisbane, 07/11: setlist and review
Sydney, 11/11: setlist and review
Sydney, 13/11: setlist and review
Melbourne, 18/11: setlist and review
Melbourne, 19/11 (second best show): setlist and review
Auckland, 24/11: setlist and review
Auckland, 25/11 (best show): setlist and review

I'm not sure whether I would consider the second Auckland show to be superior to the latter two of the three I saw in Boston in May last year or not. They were all absolutely incredible concerts.

Oh yeah, and I'm the guy on the right holding the sign! That's from the second Auckland show. We were trying to get the band to play Slow Dancing, the only b-side to have been performed on every single tour since its debut but yet to appear on the Vertigo Tour. We even had a lyric sheet with chords, and that sort of stuff has prompted the band to take up fan requests before, but unfortunately they didn't this time.

And it's late, so that shall be the extent of my update. Either tomorrow or the next day, I plan to write something political. I've had a half-written entry in my head for the last few days and it's got to come pouring out sometime soon!

Have a good one, folks.
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Split Enz, 2006-06-07, Brisbane. [8 June 2006|10:42 am]
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[Current Music |'Missing Person' by Split Enz]

Split Enz are back, and it felt like they'd never gone anywhere. The quality of the band's performance last night was outstanding; you certainly couldn't tell that, besides a few one-offs, the band had been disbanded for roughly two decades. Considering the fact Split Enz had essentially ceased to be an entity before I was even born, I never thought I would have the chance to see them live, and they certainly lived up to every expectation I could've had. I'd also like to say I'm delighted that it was the first night of the band's tour, as that stopped me from ruining any surprises by looking at setlists from earlier dates! If you're going to a later date and don't want spoilers, don't waste your time clicking the cuts because just about everything I've written is filled with spoilers.

The opener: Evermore.Collapse )

The main event: the legendary Split Enz!Collapse )

In summary, Split Enz were nothing short of 10 out of 10. It was definitely worth the money to see them, and if anyone reading this has the chance to see them over this tour, go! You won't regret it.
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