Ashley Zoch

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Dave Graney / Grand Salvo @ Wesley Anne, Northcote

We hit up the Wesley Anne on High Street last night to catch the lounge stylings of Dave Graney and the soulful, rural folk of Grand Salvo. Darren, Kim, Michael and I snuck in a quick bite in one of the nice private booths before heading into the band room to catch Grand Salvo tuning up.

Darren & Michael have related countless stories of their previous Grand Salvo gig(s), mostly surroundig his quiet stage presence and unassuming character off-stage. These stories were enough to entice me to check him out, despite my lack of interest in what I have heard of his recorded work. The Wesley Anne's sound setup did little to bring out his quiet voice and nylon stringed guitar work, but he was still delightful to listen to. He was joined by a female vocalist for about half the set. Both had lovely warm folky voices that reminded me a little of Paul Simon's duet with Linda Ronstadt on "Under African Skies". Once the set was over he picked up his guitar and case and headed quietly out the front door.

Dave Graney hopped up on stage and played a couple of tracks with a nice Maton electic guitar (including a nice raw rendition of "Rock & Roll is Where I Hide" which was the only track I was familiar with). He was then joined by Clare Moore on vibes and jazz pianist Mark Fitzgibbon for a run through of a few old favourites and some new material from his forthcoming album "Hashish".

The Wesley Anne appears to have a policy of "no drum kits" (perhaps due to their proximity to houses and restaurants). I wonder if this might have caused Dave to reconsider his arrangements at short notice, as the instrumentation seemed a little thrown together. I suspect he was trying out some new material and some new arrangements in a welcoming setting. The table behind us laughed it up quite a bit and it looked like he enjoyed himself as much as the audience, if not more.

The Wesley Anne is a nice intimate venue. It's mostly candle-lit tables & chairs with capacity in the band room for close to 100 (by my count). Their sound system isn't up to much, but I suspect they are growing their band room and hopefully it will get an upgrade in time.I'm almost certain no-one made any money.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Outwit, Outlast, Keep Friends

I'm a bit late in blogging about the end of Survivor : Palau (despite not being able to wait for it to show on Aussie TV and grabbing it stealthily a few days prior). At the start of the season I picked Stephenie as my preferred winner. Unfortunately she didn't make it much past the 'merger' when the strong Koror tribe alliance picked her off.

Frogwoman Stephenie

With Stephenie piling on the makeup to join the jury I moved to Ian (assuming Tom would be gone once the game moved from tribal to individual immunity). Tom forced his way through to the final three (through strong wins in the challenges and some bullying back at camp) and Ian fell apart dealing with the politics. I'm sure there's a lot of debate over Ian's decision to take himself out of the game in order to retain Tom's friendship, but I put it down to immaturity. I think he honestly thought he would loose his newly made friendships if he continued to 'play the game'. After 30-something days in gruelling conditions I'm sure his mind was a 'in a different place'.

Tom Westman certainly displayed a strength of mind, body and character and deserves to be the 'Sole Survivor'. Here's to the next season in September.

Nostalgia is a Seductive Liar

Blogging is a great way to waste away the hours. At the pub this weekend we were discussing the fun of reading over old blog entries. At the time I didn't think I had written much that wasn't still fresh in my mind, but tonight I decided to upload my old entries from a few previous blogging efforts and re-discovered a few old memories. Of particulary note was the Folding for Air gig that we ended up aborting. A band I'd still like to catch one day. I haven't seen their name around the traps for a while. I wonder if they are still around.

A email reminded me that today also marks the one year anniversary of the website. Unfortunately the email was an invoice for another twelve months of hosting (from my good friends at EhostPros). It's a small annual price to pay to share my thoughts with the world.

To mark the date (in the same way a kidnapper might get you to hold up a newspaper) I'd like to say 'See ya later' to Angela. I thought Geneva would have gone, but it appears you were disliked twice as much (as decided by the Australian public).

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Pink Stainless (Tail) / Registered Nurse / The Bites @ The Rob Roy

I'm a little late in writing up last weekend's gig at the Rob Roy. Our correspondant over at The Dutch Are Weeping was much more prompt in his review.

The most notable part of the night was the presence of a fellow who looking remarkably like the gent on the left in this article. At a gig full of grungy university kids and various 'scenesters' this was quiet unexpected. In my mind I had him pinned as an over-zealous and aging record company A&R Scout or the father of the girl in the first band. He turned out to be neither.

The Bites - indie glasses included

The first band were a no-show. The Bites took the stage a little late and played a short set of generic garage rock. I warmed to them a little in the second half of their set. The singer is charismatic and has a Kim Gordon quality to her, but the music just doesn't do much for me. Lots of distorted chords stabbed on the beat (and repeat).

Registered Nurse (not jazzy despite the double bass)

Registered Nurse followed with a chaotic, rushed and shortened set heavily laced with Ex-Underground-Lover Richard Andrew swapping guitars and tunings. For all his finagaling I couldn't hear an scrap of difference in his guitar sound. They finished off with a nice tune called Strippers full of distorted slide guitar and feedback. It had potential if they jammed on it for another 10 minutes. Unfortunately they were shuffled off the stage for the final band. I don't think they 'jam' much regardless.

The Pink Stainless (Tail) - a different gig, but you get the idea

Our middle aged, grey-suited, slick-haired friend from earlier was still in attendance and made an appearance on stage at this time. I was sure he was some sort of band management drone, but he turned out to be the lead vocalist for the The Pink Stainless (Tail). I watched with mouth agape as they cranked through a handful of garagey rock tunes with Simon Strong (according to their website) ranting over the top. While I couldn't grasp much lyrically, it seemed like a stream of conscience to rival Bad Boy Bubby or Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler. I could ramble struggled influences for a few paragraphs, but there was definitely some Krautrock, Punk and Art Rock in there.

The Pink Stainless (Tail) were not really my thing, but there's a couple of interesting tidbits I uncovered while writing this entry. Firstly they covered Pyschic TV's Godstar. Psychic TV were a little on the early side of industrial for me, but I am a fan of Peter Christopherson's later outfit Coil. To move even further from the topic at hand, Jhon Balance from Coil died late last year. I believe he fell from a second storey balcony while under the influence of alcohol. Coil are an enigma worthy of a good biography one day. I suspect I'm the only person to read this who will ever hear them.

The other interesting thing is that their guitarist is Harry Howard, brother of Rowland S. Howard and sometime bass player for Nick Cave's The Birthday Party. Their website also makes mention of one of them playing in My Bloody Valentine. With My Bloody Valentine and Underground Lovers represented, we've covered off a good portion of my "80's Aussie alternative bands that I get confused" which consists of My Bloody Valentine, Underground Lovers, My Dying Bride, The Loved Ones, Died Pretty and also the INXS song "The Loved One". There's a few more, but I can't recall them. Also I know some of those bands aren't from the 80's.

Simon Strong also has a website. It begins with "Welcome to the cortex of my website". The whole thing seems to be a combination of quasi-serious literature mixed with coy satire of academic papers. It made my head hurt.

Friday, May 13, 2005

iTunes Top Ten Songs

Here's the top 10 songs I've listened to (for prosperity). I guess this is roughly from the start of 2005.

  • Air - All I Need
  • Dave Matthews - Dancing Nancies
  • The Shins - New Slang (When You Notice the Stripes)
  • Thievery Corporation - Heaven's Gonna Burn Your Eyes
  • 2 Heads - Out of the City (Hardkandy Mix)
  • Air - La Femme D'argent
  • Dave Matthews Band - Pantala Naga Pampa
  • Preston School of Industry - The Furnace Sun
  • The Shins - Caring is Creepy
  • Aaron Bingle - Voare

A few of those are on my BBQ playlist and I learnt a couple on guitar.

Now if only I could find a way to graph them...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Testing Flickr

Here's a photo of Tayls & Tam dancing at their wedding last month.

I'm testing out Yahoo's Flickr site as a host for my photos. This post has been generated by the Flickr site and posted to my blog.

Let's see how it goes.

Edit : Looks like it works a treat!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Grosser Bruder

A few thoughts on this year's Big Brother

  • Logan (twin brothers secretly swapping in the house) turns out to be a good idea. It's interesting to watch them cope with the gaps in their knowledge. I hope they make it through their two week test period (and then both go into the house). Man, it must be boring in that isolation room for the twin who's currently 'off'.
  • 'Hotdogs' is an unpleasant character who's intelligence is far outweighed by his libido. I hope he gets booted at first 'tribal council', but I doubt it will happen.
  • Nelson & Kate are both likeable. He's my vote for the win.
  • I reckon Gianna is the imposter. She seems like a desperate out of work actress.
  • Angela, Michael and Tim are all a bit old and mature for the others. Especially Tim - I'm suprised he ended up in there.
  • Dean, Glenn, Michelle and Christie are all pretty generic 'house-filler'.
  • Constance & Geneva are immature and I imagine they're pretty annoying. Constance is my guess for first one out of the house. Bi-curious Geneva really lacks self-worth.

Hotdogs. Get rid of him.

After watching a bit of live internet streaming, it seems like the housemates spend all day lying on their beds bragging about their sex lives. It must get awfully boring. I guess the more intelligent housemates (who aren't always in bed) don't talk about such titillating topics.

It's interesting to see the difference in personalities once people settle in a bit. It's like they put on their super-personalities for the video profiles and the first few hours in the house. There was a noticable change in Christie who planned to run the house but now spends most of her time in bed whinging. I wonder if this effect is due to their social stature amongst their friends versus the overbearing personalities in the house.

Texas Hold 'Em

I played a few rounds of Texas Hold 'Em with a some buddies last weekend. Despite its success on television, I don't rate it very highly as entertainment. At least as a participant. Mark summed it up pretty well - It's just not very social. It's a bit like inviting people around for a Chess tournament.

I've played Poker since high school with a wide variety of players (or 'playaz' if the mood takes you). We started with 1 & 2 cent coins and moved up to using matches as chips and cashing in at the end of the night. The purchase of 'chips' has even been considered on occasion. We've even discussed 'high stakes' games, although none have come to fruition.

My biggest gripe with playing Poker is the betting. We can never seem to reach an equilibrium where betting has meaning, but doesn't mean breaking someone's bank account. The game feels like it's lost all its thrill when you don't bet. This weekend we played with 200 toothpicks each. We set the maximum bet at 4 picks and played for about 4 hours. The end result was sufficient picks in each person's kitty to keep playing for at least another 6 hours. Hardly edge of the seat entertainment.

I think the answer is : Poker nights need a good soaking in Beer.

With yet another failed Poker experiment out of the way, we moved onto the ever faithful Hearts. The highlight was Pete laying down the 'Black Bitch' only to have her return home with "her boyfriend" (King of Hearts) and "his little brother that his mum made him bring along" (Jack of Hearts).

Hmm. Hearts humour is disturbing.