Tag Archives: metallica

Metallica, Muse and U2. A review.

So, following on from my rants about the year in music, I went to a heap of big concerts this year.

Faith No More, Metallica (twice), Muse, U2

Add to that; Children Collide, Regurgitator, Big Day Out, Illy, Little Red/Sparkadia, Grinspoon, and you have a pretty good year of music!

But over the last month or so I went to 3 of the big ones.

Metallica

I have never seen them live before. I always wanted to be in the Snake Pit back in 1993 but couldn’t afford it. So I made up for it in 2010 by seeing the Kings of Metal, twice. The first time was standing up on the floor about 5 metres away from James Hetfield. What can I say? AMAZING. They are the ultimate professionals. Their stage setup is great, with the audience surrounding them as they pelt around the stage non-stop giving every angle of the arena a piece of the ‘talica. Their music was the biggest highlight. They varied their setlist for both of the gigs I went to, playing old and new stuff and only ONE ballad. (you know the one)

The 2nd time I saw them I was up in the upper level of Acer Arena, but having the front row was great as I got an excellent view of their on-stage shenanigans and the sound was probably better than the first gig. They even played Last Caress and Leper Messiah which went OFF.

It’s bloody awesome to be able to see a band that you have been idolising for 20 years finally in the flesh and soak in your favourite songs being played RIGHT THERE. That’s the key to seeing live music. It’s LIVE. It’s happening. Awesome shows

Muse

Having seen Muse twice already at the Big Day Out’s of 2007 and 2010 I thought I’d know what to expect from these giants of UK rock. I had tickets to see their headline show in 2007 as well, but couldn’t make it, so I was dead keen to finally see them do their own thing on stage.

First, their stage set-up was great. We had seated tickets (that’s what I get for letting old fart mates get tickets!) and were seated almost side of stage. 3 big skyscrapers were positioned on stage and I wondered whether we’d be able to see anything at all.

Yeah, I shouldn’t have worried. The sounds of ‘Uprising’ began and huge cloths dropped off the towers revealing the guys lifted up off the stage on individual platforms. AWESOME.

Matt Bellamy is a real showman, which is funny because he hardly spoke for the whole gig. Dom (drummer) said a few things on the mic, but that was about it. Matt had the clothes (think mirror-ball jacket), the moves (spinning around during Plug in Baby or  shining light over the crowd) and the attitude.

Overall the show was good, but not as great as I’d expected actually. They played most of the hits. Their stage show was great, but I was a little disappointed with the constant filler music between songs, including the symphonic songs from Resistance . Too many extended intros and pissing around between songs. They didn’t play Bliss or MK Ultra, 2 of my favourites and they could have easily fit them in if it weren’t for the theatrics. I’m all for a stage-show and some theatrics are good, but not at the expense of more songs. 15 songs in an almost 2 hour set? Not enough when you have 5 albums worth of material. I think they probably almost played the same amount of songs in their Big Day Out sets.

EDIT: In fact, I confirmed this. They played 15 songs at the Sydney Big Day out 2010 as well!

Of course there were massive highlights. Starlight absolutely went off and Knights of Cydonia to finish was massive. They are a tops band, but in retrospect I actually think I enjoyed their Big Day Out shows more than their headline.

U2

Is there a bigger band in the world than U2? I mean, I know The Rolling Stones are still kicking around, but they’re too crusty to count any more. LaLa had seen U2 3 times previously and made sure that I came along to the 360 degrees tour outside at ANZ Stadium.

Firstly, I was stoked to be at grass level in ANZ Stadium. I have seen many a footy match in there, including the great Socceroos vs Uruguay game of 2005 and to actually be in the centre of that massive stadium was a big thrill. Then I saw the stage. Holy crap! It was the biggest stage I’d ever seen, and I remember the Guns n’ Roses stage from Eastern Creek!

We made our way up closer, around 25 metres or so from the stage and settled in for Jay-Z, who was the support for the Australian leg of their world tour (Muse did their US leg!). Jay-Z had an impressive setup. I counted 12 people on stage including a sweet looking bari-sax and other horns. The drummer was elevated and it looked very cool. We caught half of their set including ’99 Problems’, ‘H to the Izzo’ and ‘Empire State of Mind’. He was ok. I am not much of a fan, but it was good to see him live for a little.

At 9pm U2 made their way, slowly, walking up to the stage. The tension and atmosphere were great as they made their way up. No theatrics to their entrance! I felt myself getting quite excitement at seeing Bono and the boys in the flesh after all these years. Beautiful Day was their 2nd song and it set the tone for an extremely fun and entertaining set. Bono didn’t do his expected preaching at all other than to comment on the release of Aung San Suu Kyi which was commendable. He also noted that more than 2000 Burmese are still detained for their political beliefs which is a good point.

They played ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and ‘Pride’, my 2 favourites and rolled out 24 songs in their 2 hour set. They just played hit after hit and for the old blokes that they are, it was great to see!

Vertigo was a highlight of the night as the ever-evolving stage move the big screens from the top right down to just above the band’s heads and rotated lights all the way around (hence 360 degrees!).

The massive tower that rose up from the middle of the stage had a disco ball on it and both this and a lower ball spun during the encore to an amazing effect over the packed out stadium. It really looked spectaular.

Clearly, this was the best and most elaborate stage I had ever seen. The music was very solid and you really couldn’t fault anything from the night. They did play a number of songs that I had never heard of, but then again I am not a huge fan so I wouldn’t expect to know them all.

Needless to say, U2 fans were happy and they’ll surely return to the next show in 4 years!

I might as well…

….and just for the hell of it, here’s a pic from when the Gurge hit the Maram Bar in Canberra in August.

Quan, Ben, Pete. They rocked it. They always do.

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The Hottest 100 Votes I didn’t get to…

Ok, so, I didn’t quite get to finishing my 10 votes for the Hottest 100, and then Michael Jackson died and then I went to Melbourne and then everything is about to change…but I will get to that.

Where did I get up to?

Oh yes, I have 3 more songs to reveal, which if you’d seen my facebook you’ve already found out.

Song 8 – Lovesong – The Cure

Out of all the dozens of Cure songs it is hard to pick a favourite. I love the ‘Wish’ album, but of course ‘Disintegration’ is amazing, which is where this song comes from.

It has achingly beautiful lyrics, a mad bass line and a soulful melody. Just the perfect Cure song.

Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
You make me feel like I am whole again
You make me feel like I am young again
You make me feel like I am fun again

However far away
However long I stay
Whatever words I say
I will always love you

Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am free again
You make me feel like I am clean again

I will always love you

Song 9 – One – Metallica

Metallica are a band that I didn’t quite ‘get’ until the ‘Black ‘ album in 1991. You could call me one of those ‘mainstream’ fans that only jumped onto the bandwagon once they became popular. The only thing is that instead of following Metallica forwards, I went backwards. I listened to ‘…and Justice For All’, ‘Master of Puppets’, right back to ‘Kill ’em All’ and loved them all.

Then they went and brought out ‘Load’, ‘Reload’ and they turned to shit. I’m sorry, but the 3 albums after the ‘Black’ album were pretty much crap. Last years ‘Death Magnetic’ was a slight return to form but honestly nothing beats the ‘Master of Puppets’ album for pure Metallica gold.

Ironically this song doesn’t come off my favourite album, but instead off the epic ‘…and Justice For All’ album.

This song is like a novel. It starts out slowly, introducing the guitar and lyrics, slowly building up to a slowish drum beat. Then it starts to get heavy. The whaling guitar of Kirk Hammett together with Lars’ pelting drum beat build up to the blazing triplet beat of double-kick and guitars.

Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please god,wake me
Now the world is gone Im just one
Oh god,help me hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please God help me

The finishing guitar solo with the underlying rhythms of Jason and Lars are just amazing to hear. Seriously, this song is like an aural orgasm to me. My heart races. I get sweaty. It just DOES it for me.

Now, combine the amazing song with the scary, yet captivating film clip and you have the complete package.

Listen to the song, but then watch the video clip. You will learn to love it. Trust me

Just the song

The Video Clip.

Song 10 – Wicked Game – Chris Isaak

Now to something completely different. You can’t change styles much more than from Metallica to Chris Isaak, but I think that this proves that I enjoy a wide range of musical genres.

This song is almost a gimme. I mean, who doesn’t love the deep, sexy melancholy of Isaak’s voice along with the sexiness of how he looks. I mean seriously, he was damn hot back in the day.

Throw a topless Helena Christensen into the film clip and you have a complete song that just screams SEX.

I have loudly sung along to this song many many times in the car (or at karaoke!) and I just the pitch change in the chorus. “No…I…iiiiiiii….don’t wanna fall in love”.

Watch and try not to squirm….

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So that’s it. My Top 10 songs that I voted for in the Hottest 100 Of All Time

It was not easy, and it seriously took me a month to work out.

So many good songs missed out, but I feel pretty confident that I have picked a great representation of my favourite songs.

Songs that nearly made it:

AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long
Air – All I Need
Alice in Chains – Rooster
Arrested Development – Mr. Wendal
Audioslave – Cochise
Beastie Boys – Sabotage
Ben Harper – Faded
Billy Idol – Hot In The City
Bob Marley – No Woman No Cry
Bomb The Bass – Bug Powder Dust
Bon Jovi – Bad Medicine
Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over
The Doors – Light My Fire
Faith No More – Epic
Foo Fighters – Monkey Wrench
Green Day – Welcome To Paradise
Guns n’ Roses – November Rain
Hoodoo Gurus – Thousand Miles Away
Icehouse – Man of Colours
Jamiroquai – When You Gonna Learn
John Butler Trio – Betterman
John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Road
Josh Pyke – Lines on Palms
Lenny Kravitz – Always On The Run
Living Colour – Cult of Personality
Midnight Oil – Power & The Passion
Muse – Stockholm Syndrome
New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle
Nick Cave & Bad Seeds – Ship Song
Nirvana – Lounge Act
Outkast – Hey Ya!
PJ Harvey – This Mess We’re In
Placebo – Special K
The Police – Message In A Bottle
Prince – Sign O’ The Times
R.E.M. – Drive
Ratcat – Don’t Go Now
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Suck My Kiss
Redgum – I Was Only 19
The Screaming Jets – Better
The Shins – New Slang
Skunkhour – Sunstone
Smashing Pumpkins – Soma
Soundgarden – Jesus Christ Pose
Stevie Ray Vaughn – Little Wing
Stevie Wonder – Superstition
Sting – Fields of Gold
Stone Temple Pilots – Interstate Love Song
System Of A Down – BYOB
They Might Be Giants – Birdhouse In Your Soul
Tool – 46 and 2
Tricky – Black Steel
U2 – Pride (in the Name of Love)
Urge Overkill  – Sister Havana
Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby (really!)
Violent Femmes – Blister In The Sun
Wolfmother – Joker and the Thief
Young MC – Bust a Move

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The countdown starts tomorrow!

From 10am tomorrow and then at 4pm all weekend songs from 100 to 21 will be counted down.

Then on Saturday 100 – 51 from midday and then 50 – 1 on Sunday from midday.

I can’t wait to find out who makes it and intend to have the radio blasting all weekend!

My tips?

Smells Like Teen Spirit will win.

Love Will Tear Us Apart will be up there, along with Boys Don’t Cry and Throw Your Arms Around Me.

Alive, One and Stairway to Heaven will probably make it. I think a roughie might be Muse or Kings of Leon.


Top 10 Albums of 2008

I did it in 2004

2005

2006???

2007

It’s that time of the year again.

My Top 5 10 Albums of 2008!

I have decided that picking 5 this year was just too hard, so here’s 10 of my fav’s!

It’s been another great year of music. From the Electronic goodness of Cut Copy and MGMT to the Rockelicious  licks of The Living End and Cog, I feel that 2008 is probably going to be remembered for the domination of a little Sydney duo called The Presets.

They played in Washington DC a couple of times when I was over there and I didn’t ever catch them. I am regretting that now as they have become one of the biggest Aussie bands in ages.

2008 will probably also go down as the year that the ‘new’ Guns ‘n Roses album Chinese Democracy somehow finally got made, and then Axl Rose went missing. (Yes I bought it. How could I not??)

As far as touring bands went, my favourite gig of the year would have had to be seeing Rage Against the Machine at the Big Day Out in January. Just amazing to finally see them live after falling for them in my impressionable teens, and getting a potty mouth in the process.

So here it is, my 10 favourite albums of the year and why!

Breed Obsession10. Gyroscope – Breed Obsession
This 11 year old Perth band blasted through the gates at the beginning of this year with Snakeskin which was actually in last years Hottest 100. I love their live show, which I have seen twice this year. My favourite on the album has to be All In On One which has a great hook and made me listen to the rest of their album. Unfortunately I have a feeling this album will be hard to top after it’s taken them a few tries to get this far, but here’s hoping they can stick around a while yet. I think they just have to stop taking themselves quite so serious as well. Lighten up fella’s!

Death Magnetic

9. Metallica – Death Magnetic
New albums from Metallica and Guns n’ Roses in the same year? What, are we back in 1991? Anticipation for the new Metallica release was probably just as big as the gunners hype, but the end result was worth the wait for these ageing rockers. The Day That Never Comes was the fist single I heard of this album and it’s 8 minute running time was enough to make me relax. Metallica are back. Let’s just delete Load, Reload and St. Anger from the annels of time and we have our Metallica back. There’s enough old school Metallica on this album to keep you going including All Nightmare Long, My Apocalpyse and Judas Kiss. The only song you really need to skip is Unforgiven III. What were they thinking?

weezer-red_album-cover8. Weezer – The Red Album
They are back! Not that they really went anywhere. Weezer just seem to pop up every year or 2 with another catchy, fun, rocking album. Troublemaker starts this album in tradition Weezer fashion. Would you call it Pop-Rock? Alt-Rock? Grunge-Rock? They have never really departed from their grungey early 90’s roots. Their roots are even documented in the cute little tune, Heart Songs.
“Back in 1991/I wasn’t havin’ any fun/Till my roommate said/Come on and put a brand new record on/Had a baby on it/He was naked on it/Then I heard the chords/That broke the chains/I had upon me”
Pork & Beans, Everybody get Dangerous. 2 more songs that really put this song in my favs of the year. Check it out. Tell me you don’t smile!

Summerland7. The Herd – Summerland
As soon as Howard and his reign of terror ended in this country I eagerly awaited the next ‘Herd’ album. Being the political beast that they are I expected something punishing and we got it with The King is Dead. That song is probably in my Top 10 of the year, but it’s not just the parochial soap-box songs (ie. 20/20) that make an impression on this album. I loved Zug Zug and Toorali. The premier Hip Hop troupe in this country keep plugging on and with the inclusion of Jane Tyrrell on vocals makes them all the stronger in my opinion.

Sleep Through the Static

6. Jack Johnson – Sleep Through the Static
Have you ever been lying by a pool in Mexico soaking in the ozone covered rays intoxicated with beer, tequila and sunburn whilst listening to Jack Johnson on your iPod? Well, my friend, you are missing out. There is NO better sun soaking, beer drinking, chillaxing music than our Hawaiian friend Jack Johnson and this album is no different. I love the title track, and even though a lot of his songs seem to blur into one after a while, there is a distinct feeling that this man just doesn’t give a crap. He’ll be happy to keep doing what he’s doing whilst surfing and living it up with his bucket of money in Hawaii. I mean, damn, I would.

Sharing Space5. Cog – Sharing  Space
When I was invited to see Cog live earlier this year I wasn’t expecting a whole heap. I didn’t really know their first album that well, and I had never really thought about seeing them before. I went along not expecting too much, but I was BLOWN AWAY. I immediately got their first album, played it to death and then yearned for the new stuff. Their 2008 effort just blows their debut out of the water in my opinion, but that’s not saying their first effort wasn’t great as well.  Get this. The opening song, No Other Way,  goes for 10 minutes, but not once are you hoping for it to end. Then you get pelted with Are You Interested?, What If and Bird of Feather before you even get to take a breath. Man it’s good, and seriously, see them live if you can. I just hope they don’t wait another 3 years for the next one.

In Ghost Colours4. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
Electronic music was something that infiltrated my iPod a lot this year. Cut Copy is something that slithered into my head more and more as the year went on, culminating with seeing their show at Trackside last month. Heart on Fire woke me up to this album, but there are so many more great tunes that gnaw away into your head the more you listen to it. When I saw them live, I saw people with their hands up dancing away that I never thought would dance. They just get you moving like that. Unfortunately for Cut Copy, they have been in the shadow of The Presets for much of 2008, but they have combined to make this year a great one for nerdy electronic keyboardists.

White Noise3. The Living End – White Noise
The Australian music scene would have mourned the passing of this great band if they’d gone through with their splitting up before producing this album. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved every Living End album that has been made, but this one stands out above the last couple as a Rock n’ Roll masterpiece. They still have the ability to rock out with every song they write. Solid writing, amazing musicianship (Chris Cheney has been voted Australia’s best axe-man) and never taking themselves too seriously make The Living End endearing to the Australian public. White Noise has been their flagship song of 2008, but seriously Raise the Alarm and Moment in the Sun are superior songs and are probably up there with some of their debut album stuff. You’ll even hear a Billy Joel-esque ranting tune (a’la We Didn’t Start the Fire) in 21st Century. Top stuff!

Apocalypso2. The Presets – Apocalypso
What can be said about 2008 for The Presets. They smashed through the commercial radio and tv barrier with My People which was nowhere near their greatest song on this album. They probably even got under people’s skin with that song, but you just had to listen to This Boy’s in Love and Yippyo-ay to discover how good these guys yet. I didn’t even believe the DJ’s on JJJ when they were sucking the cocks of Julian and Kim earlier in the year, but once you put this album on repeat for a week or so you’ll figure it out. I even got my daughter singing along to them after 10 minutes in the car!

Oracular Spectacular1. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
I already went on about these guys earlier in the year, but they were worthy of it. For me, 2008 was the year of MGMT. Don’t get me started on the fact I couldn’t get tickets to see them TONIGHT. *Sigh*. If you don’t know who they are, they are from New York, they fiddle on keyboards but play with a full band in concert. They have a distinctive sound that may turn you off at first, but just listen a little more. Listen to the layers and the sounds that they mix together. Listen to Time to Pretend and tell me it’s not a great song. Listen to the piercing keyboards on Kids and tell me you don’t hum that tune in your head all day. Then there’s Electric Feel which is best played in a dark room very very loud. Dang. Why didn’t I pay $150 for an ebay ticket tonight??

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There you have it, my top 10 albums of 2008. Honourary mentions have to go to Josh Pyke for his new opus Chimney’s AfireThe Raconteurs (Saboteurs in Australia) for Consolers of the Lonely, The Ting Tings for We Started Nothing, The Grates for Hearts Lost, Teeth Won and the Kings of Leon for Only By the Night.

Unfortunately Chinese Democracy just misses out.

Maybe next time Axl….