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.

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