Sunday, May 18, 2008

Winter storm brewing over Brisbane at dusk

This was the brilliant view we had from our deck yesterday afternoon as the storm brewed over the city. The orange sky was other-worldly!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Time Off bought by Street Press Australia

I found out last weekend that a few weeks ago, SPA bought Brisbane's local music street press magazine, Time Off. I've been an avid reader of Time Off for around 10 years now, relying on it as my main source of news of upcoming gigs and interviews, and to a lesser extent, recent releases.

There's been a few changes to the layout and format over the years, and even though they seemed quite drastic at the time, I found that the last incarnation was great for finding what I wanted quickly. One of the things I really liked was the bold-ing of band names and artists in the quick news sections (eg, Tour Bus, Local and Soundcheck sections), which made scanning the paragraphs a breeze. The gig guide was also very comprehensive, listing both headliners and supports for most gigs, often up to four weeks in advance. The only thing I can think of that would have made it better would have been to distinguish new listings in each edition, but on the whole, it was very usable.

Every now and then I manage to pick up a physical copy of the magazine, but I mostly access the content online. I noticed something was astray when the online version had not been updated for a couple of weeks (it's usually updated in sync with when the physical mag is out, ie, every Wednesday). I didn't pay too much attention to it, thinking that there must be some technical reasons behind it. That is, until I picked up a copy of the mag and read the article about the acquisition.

Since that issue (1370 for those playing along at home), the format of the physical magazine has changed significantly. The emphasising of the band names and artists in the news snippets is gone, making it much more slow and painful to skim read.

The gig guide is now split up over a few different pages, where only gig listings for the coming week go into detail about who the supports are. It also appears that only mid to big-name bands are listed with significant advance notice. I think both of these factors are a backward step for smaller acts trying to gain more exposure. As someone who is into a lot of the smaller acts and isn't averse to going to a gig just to see them in the support role, I think it's going to make it harder to find out about them in time to lock them into my calendar! Things like the upcoming David McCormack support and Pinky Beecroft gigs are nowhere to be seen in the latest issue.

So far, I've only experienced the changes in print, as the website still hasn't been updated. I'm hoping that it will be a bit easier to read online when it does come back! In the meantime, I'm doing a bit more leg-work of my own and scouring the venues' websites for those elusive nuggets of gigging gold.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Gigs update 2008/05/06

It's been a little while (more on that soon), but my upcoming gigs page has been updated! New additions include Pinky Beecroft's new project, Clare Bowditch, Holly Throsby, Angie Hart with David McCormack, and The Whitlams.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Panics @ The Tivoli

On Saturday night, I found myself at The Tivoli again, this week to see The Panics. It feels like I've already been there heaps more than just the three times I've actually been this year, but I think it must be because I was only there last week.

On a side note, it'll be interesting to see what affect the new taxes on "alcopop" drinks have on the already exorbitant prices at the Tiv'. Anecdotally, I've heard the price of a carton of pre-mix rum & coke cans has jumped from $45+ to around the $80 mark. Given that they currently charge $10 per aforementioned can there, I wonder if they'll even continue trying to sell them!

Anyway, back to the show. The Wilson Pickers were part way through their set when we arrived. This four-piece alt-country band fell very much on the country side of that particular genre, but in a very good way. At times, they were reminiscent of The Travelling Wilburys with their tight instrumentation and strong vocal roles throughout the set. The setlist itself comprised mostly of originals but also included a Bob Dylan cover and the increasingly obligatory cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene.

The primary support act tonight was Melbourne 5-piece, Little Red. Their set was almost the very definition of pop music. Backed by the drummer, the four-part harmonies sung by the two guitarists, bassist, and vocalist oozed of mid 60's Beatles & Beach Boys. I would have no hesitations in recommending them to members of my parents' generation! Interestingly, all four vocalists took the lead for one song or another, which at times left the front man looking like a bit of a fifth wheel. For the most of it though, you could tell that this is just one big happy group (a bit too happy for my liking) doing what they like doing.

After a bit of a longer break, the band everyone was waiting for finally came on stage. From what I could tell, their set was made up of most of the songs from their last album, Cruel Guards, interspersed with songs from various stages of their back catalog. There were a lot of songs tonight that I hadn't heard before (or at least don't remember hearing), but enjoyed greatly none the less. The band sounded genuinely humble as they expressed their appreciation of the large and enthusiastic crowd throughout the set, which for me at least, really made me feel a part of this night. This was quite a feat given that it looked like the gig had sold out!

Towards the end of the main set, they brought a couple of local horn players out, which really added to the sound of Feeling Is Gone, and the crowd favourite, Don't Fight It. The band concluded their main set with Get Us Home, in which, from seemingly so few instruments, they produced a wall of sound that I haven't experienced at The Tivoli since I saw Mercury Rev there several years ago.

The band returned to the stage shortly after for their encore. The second of the two songs they played for it was an instrumental jam out, which, while at first seemed like a bit of an odd choice, was a great way to finish the night. Based on what I heard tonight, I'm really looking forward to delving into The Panics' back catalog!