Saturday, 16 March 2013

Bloc Party!

On Thursday we went to see my favourite band of all time, Bloc Party, play at the Royal Festival Hall in Melbourne. Bloc Party announced an indefinite hiatus in 2009, which many fans, including myself, feared was actually a permanent break up. During their break many of the band members did side projects, and I was lucky enough to see frontman Kele play a gig in Brixton about a year and a half ago. However I truly thought I would never see my favourite band play together again.

About a year ago though I heard an interview with Kele on BBC Radio1 that confirmed the band were getting back together. So happy! They played a small show in London last fall that I wasn't able to get tickets to, and then their second show was scheduled in February, which was when we were already in Australia. Disappointed again... However I got some good news when we arrived in Melbourne. Bloc Party were playing at the Future Music Festival last weekend, and also headlining their own show later that week. I love a music festival, but if I want to see a band I really love it's much better going to see them at their own show, as they play a lot longer and the crowd is all their fans etc.

Ok, so here are my thoughts on the venue and the show. Royal Festival Hall is a good venue actually, not too big and the sound was good. We had floor tickets - there is no way I would get seats for something like this - how boring! One big downfall - you can't drink (alcohol) on the floor or in the seats! You have to get a wristband to go to a special licensed area and you can only have your drink in that area. Which is like a basement, and so you can't see or even really hear the stage from there. Weird! The supporting band, World's End Press, sounded really good when we went in. Apparently they have also been touring with Hot Chip, who are another band I really like. Anyway, we had a drink in the basement instead of watching them so I can't really tell you what they were like. Drinks were expensive but pretty much in line with drinking in Melbourne. I had a G&T for $9 and it was served in a can which made me laugh. I think Andy's beer was $6, so pretty much normal gig prices. 

Ok so on to Bloc Party. Now, I absolutely love them so my judgement is slightly clouded. However I do not love all the songs on their new album, Four. The album has some pretty heavy rock songs on it, like "Kettling" and "We Are Not Good People" which they thankfully did not play. There are a few good tunes on the new album, such as "Truth"and "V.A.L.I.S." but in my opinion Silent Alarm and Weekend in the City are still far superior albums to anything they have done after. They played quite a few songs from these albums that the crowd got really into, like "Positive Tension", "Banquet", "Hunting for Witches" and closing with the classic "Helicopter". Not much of the dance/electro crossovers at the gig, except for "One More Chance" and also they covered a bit of Rhianna's "We Found Love" before the song "Flux". I really enjoyed those but I'm not sure this was the right crowd for that. A nice surprise was they played "Blue Light" which is one of my favourites from Silent Alarm that they don't often play at gigs anymore. We also got to hear a new, unrecorded song called "Ratchet"which we both liked and makes me excited for what's to come. And lastly, they played our wedding song "This Modern Love" which was a huge hit with the crowd as well as us! mrwandymcnoble made a short recorded of it which I'm disappointed wasn't longer but to be fair he just wanted to enjoy the song and not film the whole thing! 

Overall it was a fantastic night. The band is super tight, drummer Matt Tong is incredible to watch, Kele is still a bit awkward but endearing when engaging with the audience, the light show was pretty amazing and fit well with the music, a good setlist overall and a good crowd. 5 stars (out of 5) from me! 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Birthday Weekend in Sydney

Last weekend was both a holiday long weekend in Victoria (Labour Day), and also my 32nd birthday - yikes! That sounds old. But hurray for having my birthday on a long weekend! We flew up to Sydney with mr and mrssweatybetty on Friday after work for a lovely weekend in a beautiful city.

Saturday (my actual birthday) we went for lunch with mrwandymcnoble's uncle and aunt who live in Sydney. We were at a golf course right on the beach and had a bottle of prosecco (my favourite!) with our lunch. 
Birthday lunch
Birthday prosecco compliments of mrscanada!

Mrssweatybetty is from Sydney (well, near enough) and lots of her friends live in the city. We went to one of their houses that evening for a girly evening of wine and gossip. That is something I've not done in a while as we have a limited number of friends here in Melbourne at the moment, so it was good to hang out with the girls, even if I had just met them! The boys went for a night out in Sydney to the Opera Bar, and from what I can tell had a fun evening without us!

Sunday we went to Balmoral Beach for a day of sunbathing and kayaking in the sea, and then the 4 of us took the ferry from Manly to the city centre during sunset for one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen! The Harbour Bridge is such an impressive structure, and the Opera House looks amazing at night (although I think it looks less amazing in the day - not as white as it looks in pictures). We had a delayed birthday dinner celebration at a fantastic wine and tapas place in The Rocks, the historical part of Sydney.
Harbour Bridge - view from the ferry
Monday was our last day, and of course we had to visit Bondi Beach before we left. Not in the least because mrwandymcnoble is a big fan of the reality TV show "Bondi Rescue". Ok, I will admit, I kind of like the show too! Even if every episode is pretty much centred around fully clothed tourists almost drowning in the waves and then being saved by the awesome Bondi lifeguards. I was expecting to be a bit let down by Bondi as it is such an obvious tourist destination, but it did not disappoint. The beach is stunning and we had so much fun playing around in the waves. It is certainly different to the beaches in Melbourne! You feel much more like you are in the ocean in Sydney and water is a lot warmer! Unfortunately they were not filming Bondi Rescue while we were there and we didn't see any of mrwandymcnoble's favourites like Hoppo and Chappo.

Bondi Beach 

We did a cliff walk from Bondi to Bronte beach, and it was just stunning view after stunning view.
Bondi to Bronte cliff walk

I was not really expecting to like Sydney as much as I did, but it is a fantastic city to visit and I can't wait to go back. Probably the only downfall would be it is really spread out and you have to drive everywhere, and from what I have heard traffic is horrendous. (But, so is Melbourne traffic to be fair!) Most Australians seem to either love Melbourne or Sydney and hate the other one, but I don't quite understand that. They are both fantastic cities, and I am quite happy to live in one and visit the other when I can!