Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's been a long time coming. An unhealthy degree of excessive listening and 1500 plays of Skinny Love later, I'm finally going to see Bon Iver live.



I'm not that excited really...


On another note. As new posts on this site become as irregular as one who hasn't had their bowl of All Bran (too much spare time, too many commercials viewed), here are other platforms to follow up on my verbal diarohea and musical ramblings.

www.twitter.com/aleanpenaflor

www.allidoislisten.com/



See you around!




Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Papa vs Pretty - Northcote Social Club, 25th of June 2011

If there is one thing to be said it’s this; my mind is completely overwhelmed with the immense talent that are Papa vs Pretty.


The Sydney-based trio took to stage and dove into track
Life's Got A Hold Of Me. The guys’ humble nature swiftly broke the barrier between stage and audience, establishing an effortless flow between band and fans. It was too easy to forget that we were all essentially strangers to each other and easy to believe that collectively as a crowd, we’d merely gathered to watch our friends perform.

Lead Thomas Rawle and drummer Tom Myers constantly conversed with the audience, whilst bassist Gus Gardiner gracefully still took his place on stage despite being unwell, even joking that song
I Still Believe In Us ought to be changed to ‘I Still Believe in Gus’. Tracks off debut album United in Isolation made up the bulk, with past singles such as Wrecking Ball and Heavy Harm also woven through the setlist. True to form, latest single One of the Animals unleashed chaos within the already energetic mob.

With genius guitar riffs that know no boundaries between frets, articulated drum patterns and underlying bass lines heavily- yet concise and structurally- layered in a majority of their songs, it’s the odd, bare, acoustic ballad tracks that reveal the band’s musical diversity. Despite their quintessential ‘rock’ sound, there is a depth to the band that Rawle seems to consciously shine light on, performing tracks such as
Bitter Pill and I Felt Nothing (one of the encores), which require only him and his guitar for a majority of the time.

You’d think a musician such as himself, who displays an unbelievable level of skill and talent, wouldn’t be unnerved with the prospect of being exposed by the absence of other backing instruments. Self-doubt, however, is only human instinct after all, as Rawle confides within the audience that he personally finds the ‘quiet’ songs harder to play, as ‘it’s easier for people to hear mistakes’. On the contrary the crowd were oblivious to mistakes made or not, raising their lighters and phones as Rawle’s incredibly strong voice rang throughout the room in an effortless vibrato.

It cannot be stressed enough how remarkable these three musicians are, there is a fierce intensity to this band that is surely only achieved with having such a tight unit. Together, they quite possibly form one of the most promising Australian acts around.



Photos: Alean Penaflor

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Boy & Bear, Jinja Safari and Emma Louise - Corner Hotel, 26th of May 2011

Emma Louise was first to stage, her sweet and dulcet tones surprising those who were courteous enough to pay attention (one thing I'll never understand is how people can talk throughout the entirety of someone's set). Louise's songs have a beautifully earnest nature to them, though admittingly they began to sound all relatively alike. It wasn't until the last few tunes that a new, slightly darker undertone cut through. Having described her final song - Triple J Unearthed single 'Jungle' - as an ode to the 'confusion' she felt regarding a relationship, the keys' pulsating chords and the box drum's beats intensified the atmoshpere within the Corner bandroom.

If all had been coaxed into a mellowed state of being, they were about to see that disappear. Moustached, sans shoes and vine clad Jinja Safari let loose and partied on garth with no signs of slowing down. You couldn't help but smile, dance and laugh with these lads, with their tribal-esque theme and frantic energy hardly containable on stage. I couldn't help but be reminded of Tame Impala, as the band broke down into an almost improvised jam as an outro to some songs (a friend, on the other hand, was reminded of Vampire Weekend during others). During 'Peter Pan', intrigue was caused by the introduction of a sitar, because let's face it, a sitar holds much more mystique than that of an average guitar.


I felt that I was on some wacked musical rollercoaster, having started with the acoustic realms of Emma Louise, onto the ecclectic Jinja Safari, to all in all conclude on a folk note of Boy & Bear. As they took to stage, there was almost a sense of admiration from the awaiting (now) quietly polite crowd, something that lead Dave Hosking comments on during the night, stating that Melbourne people were always 'polite'. He laughed at the memory of their Adelaide show where 'everyone was hammered' (much like the exuberant female behind me). When their cover of Crowded House's 'Fall at your Feet' reached the ears of the gathered fans, the sing-along errupted all around. The set comprised of 3 out of 5 tunes from their EP ,and tracks from their forthcoming album including new single 'Feeding Line' as finale (Hosking explained that there would be no encore 'it's a bit weird walking off, then coming back on to play a song...we'll just play you our entire set'). There was no questioning the consecutive sold out shows, they have truly earned it.



Photos: Alean Penaflor

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cat Empire with Eagle and the Worm 10th Anniversary - Palace, 6th of May

My old High School Jazz teacher Nick was playing and had kindly asked if I wanted to tag along. Surely no one would turn down a free gig.




Eagle and the Worm






Cat Empire



Photos: Alean Penaflor

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Last Dinosaurs and Papa vs. Pretty - Northcote Social Club, 25th of March 2011

Twas a cold Friday night, where the reek of hot chips being consumed by the person next to you, penetrated the multiple layers of your clothing. Despite the unpleasantness of that forever lingering oil smell, nothing could dampen the thought of a gig awaiting.

Melbourne band Loon Lake supported the co-headliners for the Melbourne leg of their tour. Having previously heard 'In The Summer' with its fair airplay on Triple J, it wasn't at all surprising to see their light and cheery sounds get the early crowd happily bopping along.

Co-headliners Papa vs. Pretty took to the stage next. What I didn't anticipate, was how the next 40 or so minutes would leave me turning to look at my friends repeatedly with wide-eyed awe. Lead Thomas Rawle had a definite hold of the stage, as if having played the guitar since he was conceived, if that were at all possible. The beginings of their energetic set mellowed into an almost atmospheric mood, as Rawle's melodious voice progressed through their songs. There's a joy in watching Rawle, bassist Angus Gardiner and drummer Tom Myers; they emanate this vibe of a good group of friends bound together by something they truely enjoy. It's insane to think that members of this band are in their late teens, yet have the ability to craft songs that ooze maturity beyond their respectfully young age. If anything, Papa vs. Pretty and the next band are prime examples of the extroadinary talent young Australian bands have.


As the rapidly strummed guitar chords of School Is So Easy cut through the hubbub of the eagerly awaiting crowd, it was apparent that Last Dinosaurs were the main attraction of the night. I always love seeing these guys live, as the Caskey brothers (Sean and Lachlan) aren’t afraid of utilising their stage space, so much so that when Sean dances, it were almost as if he was purposely circulating the perimeters of the stage. If drummer Dan Koyama weren't seated behind the kit, I'm sure he could cause a raucous riot too, whilst bassist Sam Gethin-Jones holds his place with understated cool.



The setlist saw a mix of tunes from the band’s earlier days, to tracks off their EP Back From The Dead (with the exception of Alps much to my disappointment). New tracks were tested and from what was happening around me, it was apparent that the audience liked what they heard. With dense and slightly darker harmonies combined with their signature bright riffs, there was a definite sense of the band having developed a tighter musical unit. One of the new tracks saw Lachlan Caskey (lead guitarist) showcase the depth of his so far unrevealed skill. This was the second time that I would find myself in a trance of complete awe, as Lachlan showed the gathered fans that they really hadn’t seen anything yet, as far as his guitar playing goes.



As the opening riff of Honolulu reached the audience's ears, you couldn't help but feel a change in the crowd. It was obvious that a majority had been waiting to hear this familiar and well-loved song, and gladly it was welcomed with open arms. This preceded the final song of the night, latest single Time and Place.



Photos: Alean Penaflor

Thursday, February 17, 2011

St Kilda Festival

Admittingly I didn't find myself staying very long, as my friend and I found ourselves merely irritated and in search for better things. I guess it was sort of our fault for not trusting our past experience, but going anyway 'just for the sake of it'. We'd planned on seeing only two bands that day, one being Hungry Kids of Hungary and the other being Muscles. Both my friend and myself had previously seen Hungry Kids of Hungary at a smaller festival held in Moonee Ponds. We were slightly disappointed that for the second time, Hungry Kids failed to give any sort of energy. I mean, it probably isn't even of their doing, and perhaps it may've just been unfortunate that the both times I've seen them has been in broad daylight and in an open venue, but there's something very constricted about their performances. They're nice enough, conversing and just being generally friendly to the crowd so I'll just put it down to playing in the wrong 'venue'. Being stuck behind a big group of kids who found it extremely entertaining to crowd surf didn't help either, although us seething fellow crowd members got our revenge by dropping the bastards onto the floor. Deciding to head back into the city, we didn't end up staying around for Muscles' set.


Photos: Alean Penaflor

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Two Door Cinema Club and Parades - Prince Bandroom Melbourne, 9th of February 2011

I've found that there is always an extremely terrible aftermath of attending gigs. That sickening feeling of lying in bed(or wherever you may graciously find yourself) in the wee hours of the next morning, wishing you were back in that claustrophobic, overheated and sans-personal-space, moshpit. You'd think I'd learn by now, but I refuse to accept encores and afterparties as an 'okay you've had your fun, may you please exit our premises now. If you won't, I'm sure our bouncer here can help you out'. That so called bouncer, who was once your bestfriend even for just some hours, has now also turned on you. To think what we had was real man, shame on you.

With support act Parades warming up those awaiting the arrival of the headliners, I couldn't help but revel in the fact that their music was the type you'd have as a movie soundtrack to something like a Sofia Coppola film(If Phoenix wasn't so involved), and I don't mean that in a bad way at all. They're heavily instrumental with minimal lyrics, and it works. Actually I don't know so much about the Sofia Coppola thing anymore, her soundscores are often more twinkling and whimsical whilst Parades has a bit more...oopmh.

The end of their set saw a half an hour break, comprising of dj tunes that suited more of a seedy nightclub (which is a shame because before the support act they were playing bands such as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah). Finally...

Admittingly, Ben the drummer is quite amusing to watch. Despite not being a part of the band's legitimate lineup, you can't help but jump up abit higher with him bouncing around behind the kit. Unfortunately, because of the almost red-cordial induced hyperactivity, I couldn't get a photo of him without it being blurred. A frantic frenzy swept throughout the gathered mass as beloved 'Something Good Can Work' broke through the speakers, whilst the heartfelt acapella version of 'What You Know' had the crowd bellowing the words back to lead Alex as he held the stage solo, up untill the rest of the band kicked in with the original tune. If anything's a certain, it's that Alex can sing. There's often a doubt that the voice on a recording is autotuned and polished, only to leave audiences disappointed when the flaws are heard at a live show. Alex proved this wrong however, as his voice was nothing but melodious and spot on.

The band graced us with 'Come Back Home' and 'I Can Talk' for their encore. My God, shit got crazy when they played 'I Can Talk' as their final ode to Melbourne. As the opening line goes by 'Uh oh, uh uh oh' ,was more than adequate. They were in big trouble, for having to leave us.



But as all good things go, everything must come to an end. Like a tasty Grill'd burger, there's that last morsel that we try to savour, in a desperate attempt of clinging onto what is left, and by that I mean I fought for the last setlist that once belonged to the crew.



Alex Trimble, you had me at the flip of your red hair.






Photos: Alean Penaflor