Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fourth NaBloPoMo

Today is my 30th daily post in a row, completing NaBloPoMo for the fourth year in a row.

Of course I had 11 gigs to write about, so that helped a lot! And my now regular Top 5 pieces on albums of the year, play counts, and gigs of the year, have also been helpful prompts. But this year I did utilise the schedule function, which may be cheating a bit, but given my busy schedule, was necessary! I also managed to post on days where I had no real inspiration by finding my storage strategy of my travel pictures of the time based in London. This process, of blogging a few of these photos, also allowed me to revisit some of my travels and weekend trips of that time, and really appreciate how great having this blog is - I can look back on so many trips, events and places of mention, and random times, and recollect the where, what and my thoughts at the time. Love it! All those memories recorded!

jouljet has been going steadily since last year's NaBloPoMo kick start back into regular posting, and this is my 753rd post since starting blogging back in January of 2005, about to set off on that overseas adventure.

The most exciting part of blogging this month has been the traffic numbers. Blogger has an internal stats page now, which means it's more accessible than checking another site (which I still do for more detailed stats about searches leading to jouljet and traffic paths). Posts about the They Will Have Their Way gig, and the Straight To You show have reached over 70 hits since being published. And then the Harvest and my Top 5 Favourite Albums for this year have now reached more than 140 hits. The latter in just 3 days, thanks to it being picked up and mentioned by Largehearted Boy's Online Music List.

NaBloPoMo is also a time where I read more random blogs, through the challenge site usually, and this year through Twitter shares of those I am following. The sense of community in reading others doing the same challenge, but also of jumping through other blogger's posts and thoughts and lives, and leaving comments, is something I have really enjoyed over the last couple of years of this challenge. It also means my Google Reader list is ever growing!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Heavenly Sounds

Last night, discovering a late heat change in Melbourne when I arrived into town, I met Jane on the steps of St Michael's Church for our evening. Being ushered in, and being handed a leaflet for the night, we took our seats at the next available pews, as the room filled. Deceptive from the outside, this space is round inside, with the curved seating facing the gigantic church organ, with the stage set up in front of the alter for our night of secular music.

First for the night was the hilarious Henry Wagons, who gave us his country folk songs, which channeled a little Nick Cave on vocals and delivery. With Save Me, Love Me Like I Love You, a song about staying away from his sister dedicated to all the men in the room, his take on The Gambler with crowd number selection participation, and Willie Nelson, he entertained and had the room laughing through the heat.

Opening with the Bring Me Back, the girls of Seeker Lover Keeper then took to the stage, and filled this holy place with their harmonies right from the start. Exactly what a space like this is for!

After the second song, with Sarah Blasko and Sally Seltmann on keys together, Sarah talked about how shocked they were at the heat. Holly Throsby, on the other side of the stage mentioned that she had been just fine, which started the banter for the rest of the night. Reaching for water, then Sarah remembered that the audience was advised not to bring drinks, etc, given the venue, and expressed her guilt. She placed her bottle on the stage edge in case any of us needed it!

Tracks from the album such as Everytime and Theme I were lovely. Holly then joked about them not being sure whether to play the next track, a cover....Sinner, from the They Will Have Their Way compilation was gorgeous.

In the middle of the set the girls did a song from each of their solo back catalogs, with a SLK flavour to it, with Sarah's Bird On A Wire, Holly's amazing What I Thought Of You, and Sally's Emotional Champ, being a tribute to the emotion sharing of these friends over the journey of this supergroup this year.

Other album highlights for the night included Rely On Me and Going To Sleep. Rest Your Head On My Shoulder, being introduced as the first SLK song, penned by Sally, is one of my favourites. Along with No Regrets, which was fairly early in the set.

The encore was their Stevie Nick's tribute, a cover of her Wild Heart, which is just gorgeous, before finishing with the amazing Even Though I'm A Woman. What an amazing night, given the novelty of the venue, topped off by the performances of these three amazing Aussie singer-songwriters. Such a beautiful, uplifting and heart warming gig.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Australian Idle

After a day in Melbourne on Saturday, I crossed town in the rain and met Melissa in Richmond for dinner. We had a rather unexpected and inadvertent fine dining experience at Union Dining, which was pretty good.

We then ducked back down Swan Street to get to The Corner, and arrived into the band room as Heath Cullen was playing his opening set. The room was set up with tables of couples, with candles, all set around the edge of the dance floor. A strange setting for the front man of The Whitlams!

Second on the bill was Gossling, who delivered her piano and unusual Julia-Stone-like voice with charm. Among her own tracks, her and her band also gave us the cover she did for Triple J's Like A Version, I Just Dance The Way I Feel, which is awesome.

The room filled further, although not to capacity, for Tim Freedman to deliver his solo release album launch. Having listened to the new album once, and also reading some of the reviews from the album and the show, I was not sure what to expect. But Tim, being the ultimate Aussie musical showman, delivered. Even with this 70s pop inspired direction! He also had a couple of female musicians in his band on stage, which felt completely new.

Playing most of the new album, with stand out tracks like Old Man, Peter Brown and Misty, this collection of songs are all third person, but about a person. Tim introduced Girlfriend Heaven as the conversation you have with your 5 year old daughter to explain the disappearance of a girl from her life. My, he has become a grown up!

Heckled by one of the people up the front who had been standing stage side all night, Tim was sharp with his wit and puns, and his tirade on the TV show Spicks And Specks. A few random rants, and he was alternating white wine and water while playing....he also talked about having a birthday the day before.

He slipped The Whitlam's Beauty In Me in the middle of the set, but filled his double encore with the tracks the faithful gathered longed to hear - Fall For You, Keep The Light On, and You Sound Like Louis Burdett. Leaving us with Blow Up The Pokies, it was always going to be hard not to play such tracks. But the live version of his new songs has me returning for further listens to the album.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Top 5: Favourite Albums of '11

What an amazing year for album releases this year! So much great music set free for our listening pleasure. I have had a playlist on the go, adding to with each release, and that is now 23.4 hours of listening joy!

Of course, that's obviously not every musical album release of 2011 worldwide, so I am taking this annual post while watching the ARIA Awards this year, as my "Favourite" rather than best. I mean, there are loads of albums I haven't heard, or ones that didn't grab me enough to purchase. But still, I think these 5 are pretty amazing and rate at the best for me!

Gotye's Making Mirrors is by far my favourite album of the year, and the one I rave about the most. The journey through these 12 songs, from the highs of new love, to the hurt and confusion of lost love, to the depths of depression and finding your way out. And then right in the middle is the ode to music of today, with State Of The Art, ha! It's brilliant, and Wally is reaping in all the accolades that he deserves, with surely more to come in the next year with this album.

The first album purchased this year, from The Decemberists, was always going to rate high, even at first listen. The King Is Dead takes their indie folk rock sounds to new levels with their rustic sounds and storytelling. It's brilliant.

Moonfire. Boy & Bear. Need I say more? Ha! Scooping 5 ARIAs tonight, this album follow up to that amazing 5-track EP is just a dream of indie rock. Coming from Triple J's Unearthed process, and then emerging with their Crowded House cover last year, the album this year has raised them into the consciousness of most Aussie - and surely most Aussie's now after tonight's awards!

Aussie female supergroup Seeker Lover Keeper's self-titled album is a collaboration of harmonic joy of the talent in this country right now, in terms of singer/songwriters, and musicians. Seeker Lover Keeper has come to life in the gigs I have been to of these lovely ladies this year, and it a real thing of beauty.

The Great Impression, being the sophomore album for Sparkadia has been one of my most listened to albums of the year, and one that I love. AB's pop songs round out this count for me.

Missing from this list are albums from Oh Mercy, Architecture In Helsinki, The Dears, Feist, the second albums for Florence + The Machine, and of course Adele. Just too many for a list of 5!

A very Aussie view of albums for me really, with a host of amazing live performances bringing many of the these albums to life for me. Again, there has been so much talent unleashed this year!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Last night I went along to the sold out Boy & Bear show at The Palace. Having been ditched by my gig buddy for another gig, I ended up going on my Pat Malone, and arrived towards the start of the opening act.

Paper Kites were up first, and whilst a match musically for the night, nothing really stood out about them. Bell Park Music were next, to the filling cavernous venue, and had a lot of people singing and dancing along with them.

To the packed house, Boy & Bear arrived on stage, and opened with their debut album opener Lordy May. Right from the start the sound of this indie rock band with their harmonies filled the venue, and it was clear that they have become a much loved band with the crowd. Tracks like Golden Jubilee and Blood To Gold were huge, and the lovely My Only One and Big Man were beautiful.

The biggest sing-a-long for the night was their cover of Fall at Your Feet, but it was clear that their album has been purchased and loved by most of the packed room, with good reactions for Milk & Sticks and my favourite Part Time Believer.

EP track Rabbit Song was massive, with the whole theater joining them. The band admitted that songs like this have grown an entity of itself with fans after them playing it for the past year, and that it has now become so well known that they had messed up a bit of it last night, but that the crowd knew the right arrangement and verse.

Ending with Feeding Line, after explaining that they haven't ever and won't do an encore, the crowd did not leave disappointed. They were so amazing, and deserve the recognition for the work they have put in this year, at the ARIAs on the weekend.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Live Music Safari for Melbourne Music Week

Yesterday I spent the day taking in some events as part of
Melbourne Music Week
. I drove down and arrived at Thousand £ Bend in time to have lunch in the cafe at the front, before the music started. The reincarnation of St Jerome's, this hole-in-the-wall venue is actually a vast warehouse space, with a cinema room upstairs.

Moving into the light filled warehouse space, I first took in half of the photography exhibit around the walls, being Kane Hibberd's stills of bands in situ and set up shots. Some pretty impressive frames here. I then took a seat for the beginning of the day of Live Music Safari, which was Geoffrey O'Connor.

The sound was not great for this set, with vocals totally overpowered, so much of the lyrical detail was lost, however halfway through the set Geoffrey stepped down off stage and wandered up and down the centre of the crowd, and then sat up on the bar at the back, all without skipping a word.

Next up with the Q&A between Spiral Stairs and Gotye. We were directed upstairs to the cinema, where we found Wally beaming at us from the big screen, through Skype. Spiral Stairs explained that Wally was "very ill" and couldn't be present, and then told us of his discovery of Gotye's music, leading up to Wally being in the band for his wedding.

The questions put to Wally were really ad hoc, and often spoke over Wally trying to answer, given the internet delay at times. And then it dropped out about three times during Wally answers, questions which frustratingly were not repeated! But I think Wally was actually more candid than he may have been in person, and spoke freely of playing his new album live, the US tour he has just returned from, and interestingly how he has learnt through working these tracks with the 10-piece orchestra that developing tracks in isolation may not be the way forward for him, or that he will include a workshop-phase of finalising a song, given the life other instrumentalists have given his work over the last few months.

Through audience questions, he talked about his training leading to the music he produces, which has been drum lessons only. He says that the sampling and technology side of things has really been self taught. He also mentioned that he is about to take some voice coaching, as he has been disappointed that he has been unable to take tracks live where he wanted them to go. Ever the self critic!

Wally also provided an answer about starting out a band, and the importance of ensuring roles are agreed upon from the early days, to an audience question, and then also talked about his nerves about his pending ARIA performance on the weekend. Given that he is sick, he has not traveled to Sydney as planned, and that the track and performance with sculpture is a new concept, and will only have a few rehearsals now.

Such an interesting, intelligent and talented speaker, it was awesome to hear him speak so openly.

Back downstairs, I attended the panel discussion about Media in the Industry, which was a discussion about media and social media outlets were being used at present to promote music. Panel members included people from RRR radio, Inpress Magazine, Mess + Noise, Faster Louder and Three Thousand websites, and Arts Victoria.

Changing venues for the evening, I had a standard pub meal at John Curtain, where Nicole joined me. We then went upstairs to their band room, certainly an innovation since old uni days of very cheap beer here!

The room filled, and The Harpoons started their set. A band we have followed for some time, they have recently returned to live shows, with news of a pending debut album.

Playing quite a few new tracks, which sounded amazing, the tracks we recognised were You're The One I Love, and the always disarming Faith, with Bec's vocals quietening the noisy crowd a little. Reworked since last listens, it's clear this young band have been developing their sound and arrangements. The set finished with their new track Keep You Around, which is so lovely.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

KUBIK Melbourne

It's weeks like this, being Melbourne Music Week, that I really, really miss living in Melbourne. So much going on!

After Dolly on Tuesday night, we walked back to the car with a little detour to Birrarung Marr, to have a look at KUBIK Melbourne. Standing up on one of the bridges, we could take in the view of the open-air installation venue, with the backdrop of the city.

The lit up water tanks change colour with the music, with the band and people on the dance floor inside. As we watched, we took in the sounds of French DJ Wax Tailor, with his full ensemble band. Impressive!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dolly Parton

Last night Renee and I, Mum and Melissa went along to see Dolly Parton, on her first tour in Australia for 25 years, and left totally in awe of that tiny, buxom blonde with that incredible voice, and amazing stage presence. What a talent!

Taking our seats at Rod Laver, we were in the upper section, just a couple of rows up. We took in the full arena and the stage set up, as a Southern American accent introduced the night and informed us that we were being filmed for the night, for a DVD release. This guy then took us through some actions to be pre-recorded, cheering and clapping. Random.

But all was forgotten as the lights dimmed, and the stage and band was revealed, and then Dolly herself arrived on stage. All glitzy, sparkly pink dress, big hair and boobs, she was the ultimate entertainer all night, telling stories, making jokes and taking the piss out of herself, whilst delivering full vocal range and playing an array of instruments.

Opening with a cover of Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves, which was full of energy. Donning a guitar, the awe-inspiring Jolene was next, and totally amazing - and Dolly joked that she hasn't been able to forget that girl all these years.

Mixing her own songs with some covers all night, sometimes it was tough to remember which were hers! A three-peat of the Beatles' Help, Stone Temple Pilots Shine (amazing!!), and Stairway To Heaven just showed her scope. She told us that when she recorded the Led Zeppelin track she played it to her husband, who was not impressed. Dolly then declared that she hasn't listened to that man for 45 years, so she was hardly going to start then! Ha!

Speaking of her Smokey Mountain homelands, and sharing her family stories about her mother, father, and being one of 12 kids, she gave us bluegrass Tennessee Homesick Blues, Coat of Many Colours and Little Sparrow. Playing a range of banjo, flute, saxophone, guitar, autoharp and piano through the night, she totally amazed with her talents.

All this, plus new songs from her Better Days release. After the interval, she gave us Dusty Springfield's Son of a Preacher Man, and then a rap inspired by Queen Latifah. There was just nothing she couldn't do!

 But then the final 3 songs were the expected highlight, and the reason a lot of people, including us, went to see her. Starting with Here You Come Again, she then had her on stage musical director join her for Islands in the Stream, and then finally 9 To 5. Massive stadium sing-a-long, it was amazing!

Back out with her minders guiding every step off stage, Dolly returned for an encore of the true version of I Will Always Love You. Bless her!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Study Skills

There are occasions within my work where I recommend for a new client that assistance with study skills, given a return to study after never studying or having been away from study for such a long time, would be helpful in the overall plan for a return to function, improvement quality of life, and ultimately back to work.  And whenever I outline what it would be that I could assist with, I almost always feel like laughing out loud.  How could my study habits ever assist anyone else to successfully manage to complete their studies, in a low stress and organised way!

Having just finally completed my second last essay for the year, late (again!), I wonder what I could really offer anyone else!  My time management, anxiety-driven completion of any pieces for uni, and indeed any school work since the beginning of time, would surely create more psychological symptoms for a client of mine!  Do as I say, not as I do is definitely the way I function within this recommendation at work!

Being set a task to write an essay, my strategy is to try and read as widely as possible, to help my understanding of a topic.  Time allowing, of course.  And whilst I am doing so, I would be typing pertinent quotes, ideas and phrases into my laptop as a 'notes' document, which would then help me map out my argument, paragraphs, and ultimately the essay flow will then all join up with my own ideas and writings to make a nice, coherent piece of writing.  Sounds easy!  Sadly, it never seems to end up that way for me!

Procrastination is my biggest killer. The end of the year after balancing work and study will always take it's toll.  But the fact that I actually just trust that I will get something done is often my biggest downfall.  But I usually do, somehow!

I would love to know how anyone else actually does it, in a calm, non-panicked, and successful way!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gothic Terraces of Grand Place

I love this photo!  Such beautiful buildings!  These are the restored guildhalls in Grand Place, in Brussels, Belgium.

This pic was taken on my birthday trip to Belgium, in 2005.  The first of oh-so-many weekend pop-overs to a European country and city, when I was living in London.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Top 5: Favourite Gigs of '11

In what can only be described as a bloody awesome year of music, I have attended some totally mind-blowing gigs! This has actually included interstate trips....hate to think what I use in terms of an "entertainment" budget! Ha! Oh well, that's what all my hours at work are for - to fund the lifestyle I am accustomed to!

The amazing weekend in July, on the Sunshine Coast, that was Splendour In The Grass tops this list, without any consideration! Of course, three days of music, with the acts featured, is hard to beat. I had such a great weekend!

Sufjan Stevens' show is one that will be remembered eternally. So ridiculously good! An epic musical performance.

Seeing Wally De Backer showcase Making Mirrors at the Gotye album preview was such a treat! Traveling up to Sydney for the weekend for it, and getting to experience the album live, with the animations matched by Wally, all at the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. Awesome!

Portishead and The National were my reasons for going to Harvest, and they surpassed all expectation. In a chilled atmosphere, in the grounds of Werribee Park, this festival was so great, but these two performances on the day were so, so amazing.

They Will Have Their Way, being the live performances of the songs of Neil and Tim Finn, by seven of the most talented Aussie artists. Need I say more?

A couple of these would definitely feature in a review of the Top 5 of all time...but that post would be way too hard! I think gigs in a year could surely be a regular NaBloPoMo feature though!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Responding To Crisis And Disaster - CIMA Conference

This week I attended the Crisis Intervention and Management Australasia's (CIMA) 6th Biennial Conference in Melbourne, and was totally inspired by the work being done, and the learning shared, from around the world, through the lived experience and from working with people in, and recovering from a traumatic event.  Hearing from people doing the kind of work I aspire to, and from people who have learnt and were sharing learnings from their own personal experiences of an event like the Black Saturday Bushfires, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and the Queensland floods, was awe inspiring.

The Conference was held at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, which is such a great space along South Wharf.  The food for the two days was totally sensational, but the mingling and networking was clearly a highlight.  I managed to catch up with my lecturer from last year, who was a Keynote Speaker for the Conference, and is also the Deputy Head of the Social Work Department at uni, plus my current tutor was there, in addition to people I had met when I attended one of CIMA's courses last year. 

The opening address echoed the sentiments of many of my fellow AYAD Cambodia crew, about the reverse culture shock of coming home from places so very different.  The difficulties in relating, and fitting back in, and finding interest in the mundane.  He, Andrew MacLeod, suggested to the industry that an RSL-like community group for Humanitarian workers is needed for worker recovery through shared narrative, just like the returned Veterans do so well.

We then heard from, and saw footage, of the Helicopter Rescue Operators winching people to safety amid the rushing, flooding waters in Grantham earlier this year.  Amazing!  Personal accounts of mental health professionals assisting people in crisis on a ship in Japan after the big waves, to developing peer support programs with staff in Singaporean hospitals, and setting up community groups to renew towns devastated by Black Saturday. 

One of the highlights of the Conference for me was hearing Dr Rob Gordon speak - an industry leader in the treatment of people who have experienced crisis and disaster, and best practice development, he spoke of his developing model of Personal Recovery.  Powerful and engaging, with funny personal stories, he was brilliant and inspiring.  And I even used his teaching from this week in my work with a client with PTSD yesterday, at a review.

Another amazing talk across the 2 days was that presented by the ABC Local Radio journalist and broadcaster behind the development of Recovery Broadcasting, delivering communications, and a chance for community personal shared stories.  Allowing communities after Black Saturday and the Queensland floods connect, be connected and heard, this form of broadcasting is assisting recovery by being part of it.  This was a really remarkable presentation and discussion, and amazing work they are doing!

I had not been to a conference before, and feel like it marks my emergence into my professional standing and confidence.  Hearing the current thinking, research and treatment methods from around the world, and feeling part of this group of people taking it away and using it in their practice, was so very inspiring.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lantern at the Temple of Literature

Trolling through old travel photos, and discovering that there has been a method in my disorganisation methods, I have come across this pic of a lantern in the Temple of Literature, on my brief visit to Hanoi in 2005.

Takes me back to that humidity, the bustle of Hanoi, and that little piece of tranquility in the middle of it all. And that crazy pop in on the way back to London from a dash home. Wow, the lighting here is pretty cool!

I actually caught up with Narelle last month, in her brief visit home, who told me of all the amazing post-Vietnam things she has been doing, which has included Vanuatu and now studying in The Hague...bloody impressive! The AYAD Program really sets up such a diverse and amazing path!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tacos, China and Georgia Fair

Yesterday after working in the Melbourne office all day, I tried to combine dinner at a new place, followed by two gigs in the one night. Both gigs I wanted to see, both scheduled for the same night, and were at venues kinda close enough to make the dash between sets. And then the set lists of both venues came out and the band times aligned. Worth a shot!

Jessie and I met in Collingwood, along the uber-trendy Gertrude Street, for dinner at Trippy Taco. Battling just to grab two seats in this tiny hole-in-the-wall food spot, we ordered and were served amazing vegetarian 'fresh mex', as they call it. Always packed, this little place was buzzing, and had high through put of satisfied customers.

We then went down the street, to get to The Worker's Club, which as the newly stylised and named venue, I hadn't been to be (course, as the Rob Roy, many-a-times!) The rooms, it's decor and vibe impressed, and the band room is a great space! Heath met us in the band room for a drink, and we watched as The Good China were setting up.  Now, my downfall of my double up gig hit a bump with the delay in the start of their set....but we caught 4 of their songs, including All Nothing and the new single No More Maps, No More Roads, which is a really fun live track, plus 2 new ones, before we made the dash to the next venue.

Car parking in the CBD looked to be our downfall, as we had some stress finding one close enough to the Toff to make the dash for the second set for the night.  Georgia Fair had a sold out album launch, as we found out at the door, for their newly released All Through Winter, and as we worked our way into the steamy and packed band room, we discovered we were just in time!  Perfect!  I found Nicole in the crowd, and we watched the band we first heard last year play to a full adoring crowd.

Playing their most recognized hit early, Picture Frames, the 2 lads played a couple of EP tracks mingled with their album material.  Engagingly chatty with the crowd, they also announced that they have just moved down to our great city of live music.  Times Fly, Float Away stood out, and had a lot of the young crowd into each, as did Time and Baby Blue.  A talented pair, indeed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cuts To Better Access

Something that has happened this month, that seems to be getting minimal press, is that the Senate in this country passed cuts in access to mental health services through the Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative.

Better Access, through Medicare, meant that since 2006 people experiencing mental health issues could discuss these with their GP, and receive a Mental Health Plan to see a Psychologist or Social Worker, for up to funded (or near fully funded, depending on the practitioner) 18 sessions. This level of care would allow for assessment, and evidence based treatment for the issues presented. It also allows people who would normally not talk about such things, develop a trust in someone to enable them to open up, talk and address these concerns, before symptoms become something that needs a higher level of treatment, such as hospitalisation.

The new cuts, or redistribution perhaps, now means that such a person seeking help with mental health issues in this way will have access to 6 funded sessions. With a further 4 pending another GP review and approval.

There are many personal stories being shared by consumers and therapists across the web and blogospheres, many treaters outlining the people this is affecting the most - having their sessions end abruptly, not having access to further care at a crucial point in their treatment - or Psychologists working for free to ensure people are not at risk.

You can read more here, and you can sign the petition here, against it:

'Better Access' to Psychological Services Petition | GoPetition

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top 5: Play Counts in '11

This annual look at my iTunes play courts was going to be a straight 5....til the weekend, and shuffle come along and made that invalid. So again, my top 10 plays will find the top 5 artists.

According to, I listen to 47 songs per day...that's a lot of my day! Whilst shuffle is my usual, I have actually played a lot of the artists who were at Splendour In The Grass in a playlist, and also a playlist of 2011 album/EP releases, frankly cos there were so many, and so many great ones!

The Aussie female supergroup Seeker Lover Keeper has skyrocketed to my most played, with their gorgeous Even Though I'm A Woman.

Gotye's Learnalilgivinanlovin is my second most played song. In line with this being my Favourite Song for the 30 Day Song Challenge, it does get a bit of play by me. Plus Gotye was also at Splendour, adding it to that playlist frequency over the last 4 months.

From one of my favourite albums of this year, Down By The Water by The Decemberists comes as one of 2 tracks in third place.

Sparkadia's Too Much To Do is the other. AB has featured pretty heavily in the music stakes for me this year, with his new album and his appearance at Splendour. Fade From View and Still Can't Make Up My Mind, from the 2011 release The Great Impression, come in at 6 and 7 songs respectively, being equal fourth played. Love Less Love also from this new album is ranked at 9 and Space and Time from his first album finishes the 10 songs, both being equal fifth in the most played list.

Between Two Lungs rounds out the fourth placed tracks, from Florence and the Machine, being the only track consistent with this review from last year.

In My Stride from Oh Mercy is the fifth band in my top 5 played songs, with a track from their EP In The Nude For Love.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Towers of Ballarat

We have some seriously beautiful buildings here in Ballarat, with the towers in the sky a standout feature. Possibly because in terms of height they are quite dominating, given our low building height within the city, but also the fairly unique colonial look makes these views even more eye-catching.

This one is in Lydiard Street, which is the old Post Office, but now part of the University of Ballarat, Arts school.

The Town Hall has had a refreshing clean up this year, and now stands tall and proud over Sturt Street in it's full gray granite splendour.

All within a few blocks of each other, these historic towers form the visual icons of our country Victorian town.

The turret at Craig's Hotel is probably not one of the ones featured in the view of the skyline, but beautiful nonetheless. This is Lydiard Street South, a street so pretty, well preserved and maintained.

This over-abundance of gorgeous lamppost may be my source of such a fascination when I travel! Mystery solved!

The other tall turret which you can see when looking across Ballarat from a number of vantage points is the tower at the Ballarat Railway Station. White and lovely, this building is surely a site missed by most as the gateway for many visitors and commuters.

NaBloPoMo always makes me look around me for things to blog about, and my fair city really does have some features going for it. Of course, cheap rent, it's closeness to Melbourne, and half of my family here also count!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Harvest Presents 'The Gathering'

Yesterday I attended Harvest billed as 'The Gathering' in Melbourne, after deliberating for an age about whether to go or not. Held at Werribee Park, the main stage was positioned in front of the Mansion, and given that Melbourne weather put on a glorious day, it was a gorgeous setting.

Driving down, and a little worried about the advise that there was to be minimal carparking, I was pleasantly surprised with the easy, and free parking. I walked in and got to wander around and take in the spread of stages, art installations, and layout, before the first band on the bill I was keen to see.

Joining the seated punters inside the circus tent that was the Big Red Tractor Stage, I took in The Holidays, playing their album material and a couple of new songs. Between sets I decided to venture out to the Windmill Stage, checking out a little of UK band, The Town Needs Guns. I had worn my much loved red gumboots in anticipation of the mud that was at this stage area. Given the rain of the last week here in Victoria, it was to be expected, but luckily it was only found in this area. But smelly mud it was, and this stage visit was also disappointing given the lackluster performance on stage. Back to Big Red Tractor, I mingled into the crowd for Dappled Cities, who were great! People around me were enthusiastically dancing, and really getting in to it, which made this set that much more fun!

Back out into the sunshine, I ran into Laura randomly, for a quick catch up. I then ventured to get some food, and joined a queue. Seeing the lines for much of the day for coupons for the bar, it was an easy decision to just not drink, plus I was on my own, and also driving. I would rather catch the sets I was there for than spend all that time in the line. I got to hear The Walkmen as I was lining up for lunch though, who sounded pretty good.

Getting to the main stage, The Great Lawn, I then took in TV On The Radio, who were really impressive! Great stage presence and funky sound. Repetition was a stand out, and ending with Wolf Like Me. TVOTR, a new band discovery for me!

Next up here was Bright Eyes, who brought a loyal following to the front of the stage area. Conor Oberst was engaging and charismatic, and seemed the deliver all the tunes the fans wanted to hear.

As the electricity of anticipation grow among the crowd in front of the main stage, the big screens showed band members of The National getting ready to play, standing between the stage and the beautiful Mansion.

Opening with Anyone's Ghost, the haunting opening of Sorrow had the crowd mesmerized, as did England - I feel like I held my breath for that whole song. Amazing! Playing much of their High Violet album, Bloodbuzz Ohio was in there too. Mr November was one of the heavier tracks from their back catalogue.

This completely awe-inspired set finished with Terrible Love, with Matt Berninger launching himself onto the crowd, singing through being handed across the fans (I assume, could hear but not see him!). Totally amazing set, justifying my decision to go to Harvest!

But just when you think the day has been totally awesome, with a chilled vibe, and respectful punters (the promoters promised less dickheads, and they were spot on!), Portishead were last on The Great Lawn stage.

Not touring in Australia for some 13 years, I have always wanted to see them live. Dummy has been a soundtrack for me since it's release in 1994, and last night's performance lived up to expectation, and then some! There are not enough superlatives to do justice to how sensational this set was!

Beth Gibbons' voice is as brilliant, powerful and haunting live as it is captured in their recordings. It's 17 years since the release of Dummy, and yet she sounded so spot on. The detail delivered by the rest of the band was also perfect and epic! Opening with the dialogue of Silence, the building atmospheric tunes began. Songs like Mysterons, the amazing Sour Times, and Machine Guns featured, the latter including a grab on Tony Abbott with red beams from his eyes in the graphics. Ha! The beautiful Wandering Star, Cowboys, Over, and The Rip were all delivered, giving a span of their three albums.

For most of the set the crowd was silent, taking in every little bit of magic that was being produced on stage, possibly holding their breath in awe as I was - but when Glory Box played, every voice joined in, in a very feminine sounding sing-a-long. An anthem for a whole cohort. The encore featured Roads, and ended with We Carry On, with Beth jumping down from the stage and hugging some of the fans at the front, and running along to touch the outstretched hands of the front row. So, so, so amazing!

The crowd then streamed to The Windmill Stage for The Flaming Lips, as the last act for the festival. This massive stage area was filled to overflowing, with people finding all sorts of vantage points at the entrance to get a look. Catching a glimpse of a zorb ball and the stage screen graphics looked impressive, however I decided to leave the battle to get a good vantage point, and heard much of it as I walked back to the car. They sounded pretty good and wild, and I am sure their fans loved every minute!

I had a great day, even if I resorted to going alone, having not found anyone as old and free as I am to go! Old enough to know who Portishead is....come on people! Ha! It meant that I was free to go and see what I wanted, didn't have to worry that the phone range was jammed with so many people in the one place, to find anyone, and I didn't need to battle the bar lines. A sold out inaugural festival, with a totally mind-blowing line up. Well done Harvest!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


This is a grab of graffiti on the John Lennon Wall, in Prague, taken when I was there in 2010. The wall is covered in pictures, lyric snippets like this, and then just random people saying "hi mom", and "I was here", and other meaningless rubbish. It is covered over and over, just by time and people who add to it - so no two visits would be the same.

I loved finding the relevant tributes, and this and one grab that Belinda captured who two of the ones we saw. I bought 3 stills from a photographer on the Charles Bridge of three others, supposedly taken in the same year, although we saw no trace of them on our visit.

A lovely, ever-changing tribute to a peace-visionary.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Straight To You: triple j’s Tribute To Nick Cave

Last night Ballarat was treated to an amazing night of music, from an array of up-and-coming Aussie artists, showcasing the songs from iconic Nick Cave. All the people in our town with good music taste, whether there as fans of Nick Cave, of the artists putting on the show, or a bit of both, was at Her Majesty's Theatre!

After driving for work for much of the day, I met Jenni for dinner and drinks at Portico on Sturt. Now, I didn't even know this place was here, and sat in awe of the eclectic collection of couches, and people, in a place straight out of Smith Street. Awesome. The tapas were so good, and it was lovely to catch up with Jenni. She's such a role model and inspiration for me!

After pre-gig wines, we soon walked the block to Her Maj, and took our seats in the Dress Circle. The evening was then introduced by Triple J morning DJ, before Kram from Spiderbait opened the night with a track behind the drums. Bertie Blackman and Muscles then joined up at the front of the stage for Do You Love Me?

Introducing himself as Chris from Muscles, and positioning himself on keys, he then surprised everyone who has listened to his album material and sang a solo Grinderman song, dedicating it to a kid he remembers from school.

Alex from Sparkadia teamed up Lanie Lane to give us an enchanting Where The Wild Roses Grow, before Abbie May was introduced to stage to do a song. White hip hop boy, Urthboy was amongst the cast for the night, as was Jake Stone from Bluejuice, and Children Collide's Johnny Mackay.

Dan Sultan appeared for Deanna, and one of the highlights of the night was Lisa Mitchell performing a beautiful and powerful Into My Arms. Just accompanied by Lanie Lane on guitar, this was amazing....until one of the lads from the cast come out and joined Lisa on stage to waltz her around, perhaps in some kind of themed notion - but totally unnecessary! He even bowed with her at the end, as if he was part of the magic of her delivery of the song. She was breathtaking!

Adalita arrived after the interval, and delivered Straight To You, Jake gave us The Weeping Song, and Lanie Lane Jack The Ripper, before the pantomime promised before the break was given within Stagger Lee by Urthboy, and assisted by the rest of the group.

Henry Lee, and The Ship Song featured, and then Bertie did The Mercy Seat, which she says she has been listening to a lot as she has been working on a new album.

The venue got a lot of positive comments from the artists, as Her Maj was perfect for this night. Showcasing one of our country's best songwriters, from his love songs, to his disturbed horror tracks, spanning over 35 years of music.

The girls really stole the show for me, with Lanie Lane captivating in her versatility - amazing vocals and stage presence, then on trombone and later guitar to back other's tracks, what a talent! Lisa Mitchell, who I had only really known from that horrible Dollar song, shone, and it was so exciting to see Bertie strut her energy and talent, reminding us of the anticipation of her new album. Such a great night of music.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Taking Regular Breaks

I know people laugh at me and my propensity to take annual leave frequently, but whilst I do it to feed my travel bug, I frequently talk about the need for regular breaks to my clients, under the guise of self care. All together too many people who land on my caseload with some mental health concerns have truckloads of unused annual leave up their sleeves, and haven't had a holiday in years.

Burnout, emotional exhaustion, stress, depression and anxiety, are all diagnoses that I deal with within my client group, from people who are overworked, who have pushed or are pushed too hard for too long. Usually with many outside-of-work life factors too. Often with a lack of support from their workplaces.

As a traveler who needs little excuse for a trip to the other side of the world, and is one of those people who plans her next trip the second she is back at her work desk and jetlag free from her last one, I really don't get this. We all get a week of leave every 3 months, at a full time work rate - and that's an acknowledgement that it is not healthy to work flat out without a break!

So take it! Get away from the stress and pressure, take some time for yourself. Don't necessarily take it in big chunks like I do (although, can anyone else hear the West Indies calling again??), but ideally take it spread across the year. Do it so you don't end up seeing something like me cos you have hit the wall - hopefully we would be seeing each other with a backpack on, somewhere totally new instead!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Melbourne Uni and My MSW

Yesterday was my last day of classes for the year, again, being the end of our MSW 8-week Semester. Just as we get into the routine of it all, which has been a full day on Tuesdays for me, it's all over! A couple of essays still to finish, but somehow we have covered all we have needed to in weeks that have seemed to fly by again.

My morning lectures have been in a lecture theater in the Medicine Building - somewhere where, back in high school, I dreamed of attending classes! Well, I guess with this subject, and also one last Semester, I have ticked that off. Albeit not to study medicine, but Social Work. And in a room just next to the anatomy museum, which had fascinated me on all those Open Days we went to for uni application ideas.

Being back on the main campus of the University of Melbourne in Parkville is bringing so many memories back of my first year, here, back in 1996! Last year for the MSW we attended classes mainly in rooms within buildings streets off the main campus - Social Work being so valued, that it's tucked away! But we have been with the big schools this year, and walking through the beautiful Old Arts Building, and seeing signs for Redmond Berry, Alice Hoy, Raymond Barry buildings, and walking between the taller, imposing ugly brick ones, takes me back!

I love being on campus, as opposed to the previous Masters I did off campus, because I feel connected to the course, the classes and lecturers, and my peers. It means that I get to walk through areas where you see 'I Shot The Deputy' on someone's t-shirt, where you hear horror political rubbish like 'budgie smugglers, not people smugglers!' outside the Baillieu Library, and hear someone end an argument with them screaming that someone else is a fascist. Ha!

I even had lunch in the Union Building last week, reminding me of those busy times Jenny and I would meet for lunch, and then go off to a Sociology class together - before rushing off for a night out, most likely!

15 years ago I did subjects like Biology and Statistics, and the "oh-so-useful" History and Philosophy of Science, as part of a Bachelor of Science degree...err, of the start of it, anyway. But the real story is that this was not the goal I had set for myself, and I also lived on campus at Medley Hall - thus the complete loss of focus on the study aspects!

I also did Chemistry, which was actually my downfall of that year, failing by 3 points, and thus making me look for a different direction. Not going to many classes helped with this disaster - but now I wonder what on earth would have happened if I'd passed, and completed that degree, and ended up with a useless BSci...

My afternoon class this semester has been taught in an old chemistry lecture theater, with it's hard, uncomfortable seats, steep incline, impersonal feel, and the scary Periodic Table looking down at us for the whole hour. I mean, I used to know what that all meant! We also pass the poor freshers in their white lab coats going into their three hours labs....stuff of nightmares, they were!

Luckily, we have been able to retreat to the Arts Centre building after this experience, to flesh out all things ethics, rights, mental health, employee health, organisational theory, and social work. Much more my world right now.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Lamps in Tiananmen Square

I still can't believe we had the chance to stand in Tienanmen Square, just last year! A vast space of concrete, in front of the Forbidden City, with the hustle of life and crazy traffic rushing all around it.

I could spend hours just going over my photos of my travels, and probably do! This shot was taken on our first night in Beijing, out of a taxi window, and is one of the pics I have that I didn't use when I first blogged about this trip. It seems I am a little enchanted by light fixtures on my travels, as it seems to be a feature of the array of photos I have collected over the years.

I have actually just discovered where I have stored a lot of my photos from my time in the UK, and travels around Europe, so there are bound to be many posts like this in the future.

This picture on the left is what one of the light posts looks like in the smoggy daylight, back in China.

I had actually tried to get a panoramic shot of the square from the City, to take it in and keep forever, but a bus jumped into the middle of the three frame shot, and ruined it. So this vision, like so many amazing moments when you travel, is stored away in my memory for keeps!

Monday, November 07, 2011

They Will Have Their Way

Last night Nicole, Mary and I went to the They Will Have Their Way musical event, treated to the amazing songs of Neil and Tim Finn, performed by seven of the most talented Aussie artists right now. Off the back of the largely successful albums She Will Have Her Way and last year's He Will Have His Way, this concert brought both of these together in a truly wonderful night!

We met out the front of Luna Park in the balmy Melbourne evening, crossing paths with the sauntering Paul Dempsey on the street, before we had dinner at Grill'd along Ackland Street. Getting back to the Palais Theater we took our seats for the night.

Sally Seltmann opened Act 1 with her album track, Four Seasons In One Day, before she introduced Lior onto the stage for his beautiful Into Temptation. Clare Bowditch then joined Lior on stage for Won't Give In.

Then Clare gave us her album track Fall at Your Feet, with the girls of Seeker Lover Keeper joining her on stage in a harmonising backing, much like the Boy & Bear version that did so well last it. It was musical heaven!

Holly Throsby remained on stage with Sally for Not The Girl You Think You Are, before we saw Alexander Gow for the first time for the night, pairing up with Holly for her version of the lovely Stuff And Nonsense. Alex then performed his album track, I Feel Possessed.

Paul Dempsey arrived on stage and delivered Message to My Girl, which was a standout for me, as he and his lanky frame rocketed around the stage. Every time you could not imagine the night delivering something else above expectations, it did - Sarah Blasko and Paul teaming up for my favourite Crowdies song, Distant Sun - wow!

This half of the evening then gifted Sarah singing Split Enz's My Mistake, Sally returning for One Step Ahead, before Clare commanded the stage to encourage the crowd to join in for the evening. Channeling the message from her stage show from earlier this year, she discussed that these songs ranging from Enz, to Crowded House, to the Finn Brothers and the brother's solo material belongs to all of us, really, and that we all know and should be singing them - she then arranged crowd block harmonising for Better Be Home Soon, for which Paul joined her on stage for. Magical!

Interval allowed us all to take in the awe of the songs and performances thus far, before Act 2 commenced with Alex giving us a gorgeous Poor Boy, and then Holly sang Pineapple Head. The girls of Seeker Lover Keeper, being Sarah, Holly and Sally, in their supergroup formation, performed their album version of Sinner, which has popped up on the combined CD. Beautiful!

Unsinkable saw Lior and Paul combine, before Lior delivered Mean to Me. A totally under-appreciated artist for mine, he is such a talent! One of the most charismatic on the night, with his chatter to the crowd.

Alex took center stage again with a great Now We're Getting Somewhere, before singing Something So Strong with Clare. The youngest of the group of performers, what a treat for Alex to be part of this peer collaboration! Trading Alex for Paul, Clare joined Paul in his obscure Turn And Run, before Paul did a punchy Chocolate Cake. Such fun!

I Hope I Never was Sally's for the night, and then Sarah performed her album track, Don't Dream It's Over, with the rest of the cast for the night joining her on stage for harmonies. So amazing!

Sarah then sang a haunting Dirty Creature before the boys took over the stage for a crazy and emphatic I See Red!

The encore for the evening included It's Only Natural and Weather With You, with all seven talents combining in different front-of-stage combinations.

What a memorable musical event, an amazing tribute to the brilliant lyrical geniuses of Tim and Neil Finn and their vast and varied catalogue across the years. But also awe-inspired performances from Clare Bowditch, Paul Dempsey, Sarah Blasko, Sally Seltmann, Holly Throsby, Lior and Alexander Gow. Such talent in the Aussie music pool right now!


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Australian Modern Masterpieces

Yesterday I popped into the Art Gallery of Ballarat, to take in the Australian Modern Masterpieces exhibit. 40 pieces are on loan from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, presented with a surprising number actually part of the Ballarat collection.

Featuring pieces by Aussie artist, ranging from 1920s to more modern, the exhibit featured many more women than I had expected. A couple of pieces each from John Brack and Sydney Nolan plus Arther Boyd were perhaps the more known artists in the collection.

Several others captured my attention more, however, like Russell Drysdale, including his A Football Game. William Dobell's The Strapper and also the enchanting portrait of a boy next to it, plus Brett Whiteley's pieces and modern works by Jeffrey Smart.

Grace Cossington Smith channels Brack in her Rushing, and then captures The Curve of the Bridge and then there are the contrasts of the 2 Sofala paintings by mentor and mentee, being particularly attention grabbing. So many everyday images captured and interpreted, rather than heavily abstract features, given that our landscapes and cities holds such an array of subjects, this collection is really reflective of the Aussie life.

I think this little gallery is really under-appreciated, by me, and maybe most of our town. It only seems to get the attention of the public where the debate is stirred up about where the Eureka Flag should live - it looks like the Eureka Centre has won that battle for now, based on the empty space at the gallery.

Australian Modern Masterpieces is here until the 27th of this month, and totally worth a look!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Big Miner

As the planning begins for our next roadtrip, and the ongoing discussions that a such a trip should involve a border crossing and a few Aussie Big Things, I have discovered that we actually have one of these Big Things right here in Ballarat.

Of course, I think we don't really pay attention to the Big Miner, cos we pass him every time we drive out of Ballarat, and when we are driving home. Plus he stands out the front of the failed "Great Southern Woolshed", which I think we all just look away from, right?

So, it turns out he is 'a tribute to the tens of thousands of gold prospectors who frequented regional Victoria during the second half of the nineteenth century', but is actually now part of the tacky looking Gold Rush Mini Golf, distracting drivers coming over the hill into Ballarat.

Friday, November 04, 2011

R U OK? and Not-So-Common Sense

Whilst I would like to think that all my years of uni and work experience mean that I provide a specialised service to people with mental health issues, I really think that active listening, checking in with people on their general well being and ensuring continued engagement is just what people do. Sadly, wrong. But that's what people in general should do!

It's not hard to ask someone if they are ok. Although, perhaps if it was, the R U OK? Day wouldn't have gained so much attention. Because people don't. People seem scared to ask, in fear of a real answer, in case the answer is more than "yes, thanks". The continued stigma and fear of mental illness is shocking, considering the prevalence of one in five Aussies.

I work with many cases where someone has been off work due to a psychological injury, for a whole range of reasons and antecedents, where often no one from the group of people that they would normally interact with 8 hours every working day, every week for years, has asked if they are ok, or checked how they are going.

I am always stunned. Outraged, but hurt for the person more so.

I hear the excuse that because it had been indicated that the client was experiencing depression, etc, it was thought best not to call them. Usually so the client is not more upset, is the thought. Well, I don't know what is more upsetting than if you are off work/away from anywhere because you are unwell, and no one calls you to let you know you are valued, important, and that someone there cares.

Take to people! We all need to do it, for each other. Engage in what our Indigenous brothers call Sorry Time. Listen. Sometimes it's just a call, 5 minutes of your time! Could be all the difference to someone's recovery.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Derby Day

Everyone seems to rave about Derby Day, so this year I decided I would go along! Having only been to Flemington for the races on one occasion, and being rather spoilt on that occasion, I had chatted to lots of people about the regular experience. People seem to talk about Carparks, Rails, and Birdcages, and many had actually said that the general admission lawn would be too crowded and annoying.

Not one to listen to Negative Nancy's, Melanie and I decided to go anyway. I happened upon a ticket deal, however, which allowed us, and Mel's friend Michelle, to snap up Lawn Stand tickets for the same price as a GA - score!

With the rain of the previous day and night, and the less than exciting forecast, I decided I would wear my music festival fire-engine red gumboots with my dress (and I carried proper shoes, in case it wasn't that bad). Mel and I drove down from Ballarat in the morning, seeming to leave the blue sky and sun behind as we arrived into Melbourne.

Finding public parking a little too easily, we marked amid the mud in the middle of the track. A bus was provided to take us to the entrance, and we were in! Getting lots of comments about my boots, we decided they must stay!

Taking our seats, and using this as our base for the day, we watched a few races as the sunshine arrived, and then wondered around out the bar and down amongst the lawn, before returning to our shaded seats.

The sun broke out to make it a great day, and we had Mary find us at our seats and join us for snacks and more races. Another wonder around the people below, we were back to our seats for the main race. Seeing more of the actual horse racing than I have seen at such an event before, I still didn't recall that Sangster won the AAMI Victoria Derby Day! A really fun and easy day.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Return of The Good China

After considerable time off with broken collar bones, travel, writing and recording new material, and replacing their bass player, The Good China returned to gigging on Friday night.

As I walked into The Cherry Bar, Mit from the band said hi to me, which made the crazy drive down from Ballarat in the belting rain all worth it! It was pretty exciting to be seeing them live again, with the prospect of new material, too. I met up with Nicole, in a venue I have been into briefly, but never for music.

I heard a couple of tracks from The Harlots, and then witnessed the crowd transfer as these fans exited the stage area, and a new set take their places. The various 8 China's set up their multi-instruments, and we wondered how they would all fit onto this little stage.

Opening with a new track, The China's then played All Nothing, rewarding their loyal gig attendees. Their set mixed up the new, punchier material with tracks we all knew, with the newly released No More Maps, No More Roads. Introducing Josh, the new bass, there wasn't nearly as much chatter with the crowd as other gigs, which I am assuming was nerves and excitement at being back to it again. We Found 3 Whistles was very good, and the energy on stage left us with a craving to see them again, very soon!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Jezabels

After seeing them at Splendour, and being captured by their debut album Prisoner and recent EPs, I snapped up tickets to see The Jezabels in Ballarat pretty quick - which sold out fast!

Andrea was my gig buddy for the night, and we had dinner together at Thai Fusion beforehand, for a really good catch up, and wine. We then walked up to Karova Lounge, and found a spot in the filling band room to catch Canadian Hey Rosetta! With violin and cello on stage, this band provided the perfect interlude for the main act.

The Jezabels arrived on stage to much noise from the filled Karova, and launched straight into their atmospheric indie-rock. Lead Hayley Mary wowed with her vocal range and animated movement dominating the front of the stage, moved in tight black including stockinged arms, as she belted out each number with everything she had. Endless Summer and the very popular Mace Spray were early set tracks, and allowed the crowd to be vocal too.

I had a girl faint next to me during Long Highway, which was awesome (the song, not the fainting!) - it was quite warm in the old YMCA pool pit that night! She's So Hard featured also, with a good mix of new album, the EPs of late, and the older EP.

Hayley spoke to us just towards the end of the show to thank the previous bands and announce the final numbers, and this was the only direct communication - however she had the full band room attention with her, and interacted subtly with her three other band members. Disco Biscuit Love finished the night, via an encore, capped off another great gig here.

As we walked out and waited for our ride home, we discovered that the day had ticked over and it was my birthday. Sitting outside in the night, seeing the young people of Ballarat celebrating their end of high school, we were both reminded how old we are, just by the reflection of our thoughts on today's fashion! Ha!
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