Friday, April 3, 2015

Song of the Week #343 - bumper edition!

Since today is a public holiday there's plenty below to get your teeth into.

I've heard some tracks from the new Van Halen live album. I fully recognise that David Lee Roth was never the greatest singer in a live situation but this is beyond a joke. It's sad as the rest of the band are playing their hearts out. Take my advice and hunt down a copy of their concert DVD "Live Without A Net" instead.

Van Halen - Best of Both Worlds (live with Sammy Hagar) -

Last weekend H, Angus and I wandered up the road to the Hunter Valley with Fiona to attend "A Day on the Green" at Bimbadgen Winery. This is an event that was booked and paid for sometime last year. John and Julie made the trek from Tingha to join us. The four bands playing were Choirboys, The Angels, Cheap Trick and Billy Idol. Here's a very quick rundown...

Choirboys: had a lot of fun, mix wasn't too bad although at times the second guitar couldn't be heard at all, did a great AC/DC cover (Live Wire). If they'd blabbed less between songs I think we would have had time for at least three more! And whilst they played their biggest hit, naturally, I reckon that dropping it at least a tone so that Mark could actually sing it would be a good idea. All in all, good rock and roll with loads of smiles and fist pumping.

Choirboys - Empire -

The Angels: yep, Dave Gleeson isn't Doc Neeson, get over it folks. He sang well (easily the best vocalist all day) and his energy was almost boundless. Only two original Angels (the Brewster brothers) are in the band but they still rock. I'm not sure we needed a cover of ZZ Top's "La Grange" but it was still well done. The highlight for me was their encore song, "Marseilles" but you couldn't fault the whole set. They were the best band at the show by miles and miles.

The Angels - Waiting for the Sun -

Cheap Trick: there are two parts to this review. The part where I recognise that Cheap Trick are a great band who made good LPs, write cool songs and play their hearts out. Then there's the part where I tell you that they had an absolutely awful mix. They sounded harsh, distorted and noisy. It was hard to listen to. I'm sure that the band wondered why the crowd was almost muted in its response but when you are having your ears assaulted in the worst possible way that's bound to happen. This was a real shame.

Cheap Trick - California Man (live at Budokan) -

Billy Idol: yes indeed he has about three hit songs but managed to pull together an energetic, well produced and enjoyable set. Steve Stevens on guitar was great; a true rock star. We just wish that Billy had kept his shirt on.

Billy Idol - Can't Break Me Down -

Without wanting to appear to be a prude, there were some very feral people at this show. A few drinks brought out the worst in some patrons. It was just lovely hearing the woman behind us describing her sexual exploits enjoyed with her friend's husband at the same time that she was pouring her drink over everyone. Happily she fell asleep sometime during Billy Idol's set.

One of the high points of the day was getting the opportunity to meet Australian Metal guitar hero Stu "Hammer" Marshall (no relation). Stu is a guy who has been appearing in guitar magazines for years as well as playing in a number of highly regarded bands such as Dungeon and Pain Division. He's just returned from a tour of Japan and is endorsed by ESP Guitars and Blackstar Amplifiers.

Meeting Stu leads me to this next track from his band "Empires of Eden". I only took delivery of their latest album a week or so ago and it's been on high rotation. I'd say that if you're a fan of melodic metal then this is for you. Every track has a guest vocalist and there is quite a range but they're all first class. The majority of the album was recorded here in Australia by Stu with the vocals being done all over the globe. If you like bands like Manowar, Dio, Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate or Helloween then this is definitely worth a listen.

Empires of Eden - Architect of Hope -

I've also been listening to an album by the group "Drive By Truckers". This is the band that Jason Isbell used to play in. As I have all of Jason's albums I decided to check out his earlier work. Not bad so far; probably more rock than the country he plays now. I like both. This next song is like the cousin of Springsteen's "The River".

Drive By Truckers - Outfit -

The National Folk Festival is on in Canberra this weekend. I went once in about 1993 and it was an interesting experience. There was a lot of the cliche that Billy Connolly refers to as, "three woolen sweaters singing the Skye Boat Song" and then there were Morris Dancers too. I've considered going back in recent years but it's an expensive outing. I must admit though that the chance of seeing Kutcha Edwards, Shane Howard, The Bon Scotts and Chris O'Connor might drag me along. I better check the programme!

Kutcha Edwards - Friends -

One of the joys of the internet is that I can write in this blog. People can choose to read it or not to. I'm not generally interested in how many actually read but the fact that the blog address was listed in some newspapers and online news sites made me take a quick look at the statistics. Usually I get about 50 people reading the blog in a week. Add to that all of you that are subjected to it via email. Well, over 350 people read my initial post about Zoë in the cyclone and then almost 200 read both of the subsequent posts about helping the people there and Zoë's aid mission. That's a lot of people, well it is for me anyway. If you missed any of that journey then it's all online at 

As an aside, we're now living with a tri-lingual daughter. Zoë, who is back briefly from Vanuatu, now speaks Bislama as well as English and French. She was interviewed in this language on Radio Australia and we're hoping that some of her village might've heard it. Bislama is a version of Pidgin English. It's relatively easy to understand and we've been trading text messages, emails and short conversations in it. Seeing it written down is pretty cool but I find that if you say the words out loud it makes sense. The most amusing phrase we've come across so far is, "sit sit wota". That means diarrhoea! We've also enjoyed the updates from Vanuatu's mobile phone carrier asking if people have "wan olfala mobael in lo droa, bag o shelf we yu no moa sta usum?" That means do you have an old mobile in the drawer, bag or shelf that you use no more. It's an education folks.

Alison, Zoë, Angus and I also have an idea about a way we can continue to help the people in the village Zoë was in on a long term basis. We'll do some investigation to make sure we get it right so watch this space.

Finally, the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli is coming up in a couple of weeks. It's a good time to reflect on the bravery of Australian and New Zealand men and women who went to war thinking it was just a big adventure. It's also a perfect opportunity to remember that war is about people and there are never any real winners.

John Williamson - Diggers of the ANZAC -

Have a great weekend everyone,


"That's money talking...gets louder every day  " - The Black Sorrows, Money Talking - 2013

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