Sick toons

Uni sucks but these tunes make it better. Cannot stop listening, hope you like them too.

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Lana Del Rey @ The Enmore Theatre

 

On the Thursday night of July 26, the Enmore Theatre was packed out by a heady mixture of teenage admirers and twenty-somethings who had been through all the heartbreaks lamented in Lana Del Rey’s debut album, Born to Die. There were males too, filling the obligatory duties of being a good boyfriend. So let’s get started.

The stage was adorned with greenery à la Jurassic Park style (this is probably an inaccurate description), but I felt it was somewhat in discord with the accompanying grainy montages of Americana that have become Del Rey’s signature. Or maybe I’m just artistically/culturally challenged.

Opening the show was a heavily bearded indie artist called Oliver Tank accompanied by the ethereal, shawl-wearing Fawn, who he introduced as his friend. Fawn possessed lovely, shattering vocals that could make your heart melt. His music had a dreamy, electronic aesthetic to it that reminded me of Purity Ring and Germany Germany. However, he lacked the panache to enrapture the crowd, and it seemed most were just waiting for the star act to come on. Oliver Tanks said bye and left the stage.

After another forty-five minutes, the long awaited star LDR finally glided on stage (OMG!!!).  The petite Del Rey had donned a gorgeous flower crown for the occasion and looked absolutely divine with her immaculately glossy hair. But if the subject of my attention (her hair and the extremely distracting moustache of one in the string quartet) is any indication of how engaging she was, you can probably guess that I wasn’t sold.

I’d like to point out that I really wanted to enjoy this show, I did. Despite all the criticism and the SNL shenanigan, I wanted this to work. This is the girl who vehemently defended Del Rey’s legitimacy as an artist in an office full of hipsters who hated her for ‘cheating’ her way into the industry. But I disgress.

First up was “Blue Jeans,” and it was clear that Del Rey was one mean songstress. Accompanied by a string quartet, with a bit of piano and guitar thrown in here and there, all the notes were delivered with finesse and clarity. She even did some fancy, high-pitched warbles to show off her vocal prowess (this is not sarcastic, the girl can sing). Her opening vocals were met with a screaming crowd and upheld smartphones getting snap-happy. This was a relatively new experience for me – I had never seen a gig through an iPhone before.

The rest of the gig was more or less the same – the crowd screamed when she touched her hair, they screamed when she knelt down, and more screaming when she did the operatic trills. She also covered Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” which was pleasant enough and garnered more screaming. Finishing with “National Anthem,” the songstress said her thanks and departed the stage. No encore was provided, nor was it needed, really; she had laid out all her cards on the table.

Though there is no doubt she has a fervent and loyal fan base who knew all the lyrics to her songs, Lana Del Rey still has a long way to go before becoming a true performer. Her show lasted a brief forty-five minutes with minimal on-stage banter and consisted almost exclusively of slow songs (which I’m not complaining about). But ‘mediocre’ was the best word I could find to sum up the evening. 

Sticky Fingers Guerilla Gig @ King St Auto, Newtown

Most would probably describe the venue unorthodox, but when you look at a band like Sticky Fingers who unofficially headlined Newtown Festival in 2010, performing from the back of a fire engine is probably something of a walk in the park. At the start, it was hard to tell whether the crowd gathered at King St Auto in Newtown were here because they had got wind of the free rum or the free gig. Forever the impoverished uni student, I was stoked for the splendid combination of both.

The Sydney four-piece (and sometimes five-piece, like on the day) is known for their eclectic sound labelled by the band as ‘psychedelic reggae’ and ‘surf dub.’ After playing their first song, “Willow Tree,” it became clear that the people weren’t dancing because of the free booze.  For such a relatively new band, Sticky Fingers have garnered a surprisingly loyal and tenacious bunch of followers. Perhaps it was the infectious bass, or front man Dylan Frost’s soulful and melancholic vocals; though their set wasn’t perfect, the rowdy crowd didn’t seem to mind.

Playing a combination of old favourites like “Inspirationalizer” and “Headlock”, as well as some new demos, the throng savoured every tune. Frost wasn’t one for words, but nevertheless the crowd remained enraptured, revelling in the fervent guitar riffs, and reggae beats produced by these earnest, self-professed misfits from Newtown. Overall, Sticky Fingers make a dynamic and entertaining live band with a strong stage presence.

Their latest tune, ‘“Caress Your Soul”’ was released earlier this month and is the title track off their debut album, expected to be released in March next year.

Photo by Me.

A trip

The first song (not single) from Tame Impala’s impending album, ‘Lonerism’. Totally blowing my mind with the nostalgic 70s sounds and reverbs. The aptly named ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ fills my eyelids with scenes of dystopic landscapes and hazy remembrances. As always, the track adheres to Tame Impala’s ‘There’s a party in my head, and no one is invited’ philosophy (Read: Solitude is Bliss). I believe the followup album comes out in October, and they’re also playing at Parklife this year, which should be one huge party.

Is it called Octopus because I feel like they have so many tendrils banging and groping at my eardrums? On first listen, I decided it was a pretty tight reunion track what with its crazy riffs and the return of Kele’s distinct vocals. I conclude it’s a good track, though not a memorable one.

And the latest from local Sydney band, my personal favourite, Sticky Fingers. You’ve got to hand it to these fellas for consistency. Creating another sway-inducing psychedelic dub tune, ‘Caress your soul’ is the first track from their forthcoming debut album (to be released March next year). Sweet riffs, tight production and Dylan Frost’s mellow vocals does crazy things to my ears.

A RADICAL RETHINK

  • We’re all stronger than we think. It’s never the end of the world
  • I should stop procrastinating and wasting time. I need to reorganise my life
  • We are so lucky, let’s not be idle with all that good fortune balled up in our fists
  • The only way to get through it, is to get through it
  • Live intensely, because it only happens once
  • I only ever want friends in life
  • Why can’t all people live by the same philosophy that I live by? (Don’t be a dick)
  • Can I be a journalist?
  • Don’t let money dictate your world
  • I never say things that I should
  • Why not?
  • So many ideas overwhelm me, it’s difficult to focus and harness that creativity and make something out of it
  • Regard unfamiliar and daunting experiences with a positive attitude
  • Surround yourself with people who never say or do commonplace things
  • Have a great time
  • I see and feel things everywhere
  • Try harder to make the best out sticky situations. Shift your perspective so embarrassing moments become ones that you can confide in close friends and have a laugh about later
  • Listen to good music. It makes everything more visceral
  • Feeling good about yourself first is the key to being happy
  • Chin up