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Doors opened at 8 pm, but the music only really began at 10:45. Oh sure there was Mission Control at 9:15, but the Melbourne based band was more self indulgent rather than entertaining. Or perhaps I was just expecting to go to a show and get more than an hour’s worth of Metric. So yes, Mission Control. The vocals were a mess, not because the singer was bad, but because of the sheer amount of effects going on. I couldn’t see the stage floor, but I’m almost certain it was littered with more effects pedals than there was floor space. I didn’t particularly dig their music, but warmed up to it by the time they had to get off. That was about 10, 10:15 or so. Only another half hour til Metric comes on.

If I am not mistaken, their setlist last night at the Billboard went a little something like this;

Twilight Galaxy
Satellite Mind
Monster Hospital
Gold Guns Girls
Empty
Gimme Sympathy
Sick Muse
Dead Disco
Help I’m Alive
Stadium Love

Encore:
Live It Out

There was a little bit extra after Empty which I wasn’t too sure about but whatev. Twilight Galaxy was a pretty kick ass song to start with, but when they started really rocking it up towards the end of the song with full on distortion and Emily Haines head banging. It was a rather short set, slightly over an hour, but it was intense.

Other highlights… Watching the sea of hands rise up with Emily Haines’ tambourine as she reaches the chorus for Help I’m Alive… and pretty much anything James Shaw did. He’s a demon on that guitar. Oh yeah, also, when Mission Control went off stage so they could clear the way for Metric (or Imperial as they’re known in the States) to perform. At least they came up with a decent joke while at it. Oh yeah. I had tears in my eyes when they played Satellite Mind, and I don’t know why.

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I watched Muse live in concert. And you, almost certainly didn’t.

I don’t really even need to mention how great it was.

I don’t even need to post the crappy photos I took because you should know, it was fucking great (the concert, not the photos).

I don’t even need to post the video I took of them playing Hysteria (mainly because Youtube won’t allow me and I don’t want to break rules).

Just take my word for it. It was good, I got the tickets, I was there, and it was good. On a scale of the concerts I’ve been to, it’s below Foo Fighters, above José and Nickelback. I rate the concerts, in that order. I might say more about it, but I probably won’t. It’s a late night. And I have more to pack.

Clearly not content with coming some time like now, he’s playing the Forum Theatre on the 2nd of January.

I want to go.

But I’m not in town.

Fuck.

I want to see him render Teardrops, live.

Ah well.

He better fucking come back again when I’m in town.

Muse Concert Tickets

As one might remember, I mentioned that José Gonzáléz was touring Australia again and that I made sure I wasn’t going to miss him when he pops Down Under again. So at 3PM me and two other lucky people made it to the Athenaeum Theatre to get in. Athenaeum Theatre is a building that looks old, and probably is old, with white classical facades and 3 floors of seats. This, is a real theatre. The seats on the ground floor were divvied up into “stalls” which is a crummy way of calling it given they aren’t partitioned or anything save for the walkways that divide the sections. Thankfully, the place was small enough that you’re never too far from the stage where the action goes on when you’re down there.

The upper areas, which I’ve had the misfortune of walking to thinking thats where my seat was was called the dress circle on the 1st floor. Decent view from that height, I’d hate to be the fellows on the uppermost floor on the farthest seats at the back. But anyway.

I had no clue of who the opening act would be, or whether there would be an opening act at all given no name was given on the ticket nor was there any indication of an opening act until actually in the theatre and looking at a silk screen poster for sale that looked a lot like 2 japanese cranes printed on recycled paper. That and his name was on it along side a Jen Cloher. Opening act.

Ah. Now we know.

Did I mention you could bring drinks into the theatre? Thats right. As an alcohol friendly country, this theatre sold drinks at a bar next to the entrance, and you had people buying bottles of champagne, glasses of reds, whites and bottles of beer. Its 3PM people, and we’re already drinking alcohol. And they drank in moderation. Lest they not have the ability to clap mid-show.

Anyway, the stage was set with 3 chairs and 5 different guitars. 2 for one chair, 3 for another. The other chair sat all alone. By 3.30 the lights started dimming, and a trio came on stage. A woman carried a violin, a man and another woman picked up guitars. The woman with a guitar, introduced herself as Jen Cloher, her violin toting friend as Andrea, and her other guitar playing cohort as Michael. Jen Cloher & the Endless Sea are actually a 5 piece but played as a trio that night to set up what would be an acoustic night.

They played a 30 minute set which was made up of songs from their Dead Wood Falls LP and Permanent Markers EP (really, what else would they take it from if not from their albums??) and all are actually quite, decent. From sad songs like The Longing Song which is very much like its name is about longing, to the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Statetrooper, which Jen said has a “stalker-ish” feel when sung by a woman. I concur.

Each time a song ended the lights went out, and without fail I kept hoping its the last time so they can stand up and let Mr. Gonzáléz come in and play. That isn’t to say they were bad, its just that everytime I hear his songs I can’t help but wonder if there are actually guitars in play when his song is on.

By 4PM Jen Cloher and co had picked up and gone, and the sound technicians swarmed in and set the stage up. For 3 seats. Again. All had microphones to them, but the left most was left untouched with no instruments, the middle one had two bongos and what looked like a hard guitar case on the floor, the rightmost was left with a mic as well.

Then finally the lights dimmed. José Gonzáléz walked out with guitar on hand, and sat on the rightmost seat. A single light was focused on him, his deep eye ridges produced shadows that covered his eyes, his fingerwork on the guitar showcased as he immediately started plucking Deadweight on Velveteen, no accompanying vocals, no other person on the bongos, no introduction.

He needed no introduction for his hands did all the introducing, mesmerizing the seated public with his ability and finesse on the classical guitar. When listening to his album, you get the assumption that there are more than two guitars in play. But the reality is that he is a one man show. Any string being plucked or strummed are of his own guitar. No one elses. The price of admission is justified the moment you watch this virtuoso show you how to play the classical guitar.

There was rarely an in-between time between songs as he seemed all business in putting out songs, rather than make banter with the public. Later in the show the two seats were filled with a man on the bongos and a woman on with a rattle or a shaker… something. The hard guitar case was probably not a guitar case but actually something to step on. Like a bass drum, but not producing a bass sound. The percussions were not obvious, as his haunting vocals and classical guitarwork took centerstage.

His voice was hardly ever heard outside of himself actually singing. A quiet meek voice introduced his two friends on the bongo and shaker, and to state that he was playing his last two songs was probably all we’d hear outside of him actually singing. By then he had gone through about a dozen songs, most from his Veneer album, and a few newer ones I don’t remember, even from his Australian Tour EP.

And yet as he played his last song and he got up, we had yet to hear ALL his tracks, such as the song in the Bravia Advert – Heartbeats. Indeed as he walked away with his two friends the applause kept going for at least 5 minutes, until he walked out again and the applause turned into outright ovation as he sat down with his guitar and said into the mic “Heartbeats”.

The crowd just went nucking futs.

The one song that the general public would’ve heard from him, that probably turned what was already a hit in Sweden into a world renowned one. This song is worth the price of admission alone. You come in, sit down, hear him play this and walk out satisfied knowing you can die and not have anything else left in the world to do.

Upon finishing that number, a smile on his face, he gestured to people offstage to come on, and along came bongo-guy and shaker-girl. More percussion accompaniment to songs like Stay In The Shade.

3 more songs and a thank you, an ovation as the three come together for one last bow and a wave.

For 45 bucks, I’m happily gratified. This may not be a Foo Fighters rock concert or Snow Patrol, and it never tries to be. This is a José Gonzáléz concert. For the hour and a half you’re in the hall with him, you’re sharing something special. For that hour and a half, your eyes and ears are his. You experience a world of music that is unique to itself.

Thank goodness the Snow Patrol tickets sold out so I could end up here instead.

José Gonzáléz Australian tour shirt.

Ooh. While at it, I picked up his paraphenalia in the form of a shirt. The design is also on his Australian Tour EP cover. More music swag added to my inventory.

José González is a fairly busy man. Visit his site and check the tour dates and you’ll see he’s practically all over the world. The last time I checked his tour dates was just after he arrived in Melbourne and played in the Northcote Social Club, from then which he moved to play in Dublin, I believe. I didn’t attend his show in Melbourne last year. I probably wasted my chance on what would’ve been the best $35 bucks I’d ever spend that year.

I didn’t let that chance just fly away this year. I’m surprised I actually caught this at all, but then again I only did find out about last year’s gig on his website. This year was more of the same, with little hype going on as I saw little to no posters announcing his show until I was inside the Ticketmaster office looking for Snow Patrol tickets. Which I didn’t get because I procrastinated like a bitch and lost to some other lucky sod who bought theirs earlier in the afternoon.

But yeah, I caught site of blown up posters resembling the flyers that were neatly stacked on the desk which mentioned José González, a familiar name, but very unexpected. I had thought His small gig last year was all that given the release of Veneer last year, but apparently he’s back to drum up more fans for it again. In a bigger venue, the Athenaeum Theatre in the middle of Melbourne. I believe I was lucky to pick up his tickets, given there is only one day that he plays, and the night show was already sold out.

The only other venue he plays in Australia, is Sydney on the 25th of July at Enmore Theatre. Actually. No, I lied. In tiny text I see he’s performing Sunday July 23 at Splendour in the Grass, all the way in Byron Bay.

So here’s the ditty on when what and where when José González pops on over to Australia;

Saturday 22 July – Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne ($45)
Sunday 23 July – Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay (sold out)
Tuesday 25 July – Enmore Theatre, Sydney ($45)

Moose and VenuesA concert. Is where teenagers go to get drunk, throw up middle fingers, body surf, do mexican waves and have a fucking awesome time. The last day of the Australian Foo Fighters In Your Honor tour, here in Melbourne was no exception. With a packed Rod Laver Arena, the Foo Fighters rocked it up on the last day of their In Your Honor tour here in Australia.

The opening show was Nation Blue, a seriously loud 3 piece band who must have really rocked the first night because tonight one of them came in crutches. As Dave put it, they really put new meaning to ‘break a leg’. Although appreciably musical, at times I had this strange feeling in me to get up and and tell them to “get off the stage ya cunts”. But yes, good show lads. At least I didn’t have that thought running in my head with the rest of the concert.

But really, we have to appreciate a band who goes out of their way to bust a knee to please a crowd. The guitarist who kept flinging his guitar around however, should probably stick to keeping it in his hands and actually playing something instead of having it out of his reach.

Then we had the British lads the Kaiser Chiefs. With a name like that I was half expecting them to greet us in German. But otherwise naw. They seemed like nice Brit chaps. Potential posterboys for the GLBT movement. But I’m being harsh over choice of clothes. The Chiefs put on a good show, belting out quite a performance which is admirable. If they came by again I’d be sure to attend. The Foo Fighters handpicked these fellows because they genuinely like their music. So Dave says. The Kaiser Chiefs had a choice to go with two groups to Melbourne, U2, or the Foo Fighters. Aren’t we glad they came with the Foo Fighters, as Dave started mimicking U2’s frontman Bono as drummer Taylor started up the drums to the sound of Sunday Bloody Sunday. “This is not a song about a rebellion”, to the amusement of those who got it.

In Your Honor coverThe Foo Fighters started out this concert strong and kept plugging at it all the way through. With songs new and old, it was a flashback for old fans and a baptism for newer ones. A 10 year anniversary of the formation of the band, they really threw in a song from practically ever CD produced. In Your honor, Big Me, All My Life, My Hero, they played just about every song to singalong. It felt, pretty much like a Foo Fighter sing-a-long the whole while.

They showed just how adept they are at what they do, as Dave ran to the otherside of the arena and started shred away on his guitar, only to have guitarist Chris shred his guitar as well, mimicking him and adding more. A guitar duel, was on the way. But just as quickly as it started, it ended with Dave running down the side of the moshpit back on-stage to showcase drummer Taylor’s ability. To drum, that is. And quite an impressive show he put on. Several minutes worth of drum solo and then Dave Grohl comes out talking about how great his bandmates are, from Chris, Nate and to Taylor. He went on to say that Taylor could do a drum roll one handed. And he did just that, as the Foo frontman went on to suggest how he’s able to do that by a little pump action, or practice with shaking hands with Mr.Benjamin. But their ability did not stop there as Chris and Dave switched places for the song Cold Day In The Sun. Admittedly Chris looked strange actually, with his red singlet, shorts and white socks as he strummed the guitar and sang that song. Being behind the drums all the time does that to you, I guess.

They rocked on for about an hour or so, and suddenly went backstage, much to the puzzlement of the crowd, which started cheering and clapping in hopes it draws them back out for an encore. Eventually they did, obviously tired from much screaming, Dave was holding on to some beer in a plastic cup. He really knows how to play with the crowd, getting into a little shouting match with the arena over whether to give up his beer to the moshpit.

That said, he engages with the crowd rather often, cracking a joke or two now and then. Which really should be par for the course with any concert. “I thought we were friends?” said a quizzical Dave Grohl as the packed arena crowd said yes to music but no to Dave talking. Eventually he did talk about his thanks. Which we do have to be thankful for, especially the people that brought them here for us.

There was an inkling of playing a cover of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, but sadly no luck. “Nobody fucking remembers the lyrics man” says Grohl as he searches for a Zeppelin song to cover, but eventually ends up playing his own tune, Big Me.

The musical tour-de-force ended a bit earlier than hoped, with sample favorites from all albums but not much else. We can’t expect them to play ALL their songs, but it was cool, how the last song they did, was a solo Dave on the guitar, slowly singing Everlong, which reached a euphoric high when the band joined in near the end and come out leaving the crowd in awe, as with every other song they did.

As much as one and a half hours worth of Foo Fighters doesn’t seem enough, I believe we came out with what will undoubtly be an unforgettable experience. As Dave said, he’s just an ambassador out to spread the good word. Of Rock n’ Roll. Rock on, good man.