Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gig Review - The Decemberists, Billboard The Venue

Monday night, The Decemberists graced Melbourne for a second show that was added after the Sunday show sold out. We were able to get tickets, and after beers and dim sum, away we went.

It's sort of interesting. I've never managed to see The Decemberists in the United States, despite their Portland, OR roots. I've seen them in Amsterdam, and now here. Shannon had never seen them together, but we did see Colin Meloy solo once in San Francisco.

The show was very well done, if not a little bit short (set list below). The showmanship was certainly there, the crowd involvement was there, and the unique instruments were there. Colin was a bit chatty, and despite some funny stories, I feel like they could have squeezed in another song or two.

I actually haven't seen another band in person that can get the crowd as involved as this one. Colin Meloy and Chris Funk went crowd surfing. There was a sound off of sorts between two sides of the audience. The audience had to imitate a sailor being eaten by a whale. All the usual good stuff.

The performance was tight, the acoustics were pretty good, and the venue was small, so everyone had a good view. Overall, A- for the show, just because I think they could have played a little more.

Oh, I guess I can't hold them accountable for the opening act, but Bridezilla was pretty terrible.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Photo of the Day

Makes me want a bigger lens, so I didn't have to blow it up so much. Look at the craters.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

South West Victoria Road Trip

This past weekend, it was time to check out the south west corner of Victoria, a place where we have never been. Despite a slightly rainy start, it turned into a pretty beautiful weekend once we got a bit west of town.

It was Australia Day on Tuesday, so many folks made a four day weekend of it. We did have some fears about crowds, but generally, this wasn't a problem.

Our first start was a random drive up Mount Rouse, which really isn't all that big, but offered a reasonable view into the countryside (at least for the effort). You could even see the Grampians from side.

Onward to Portland. I think I had high expectations for the town that just weren't met. Nearly everything in town was closed at 3pm on a Saturday. Nice enough place, but just nothing going on. So it was on to Cape Bridgewater, which was lovely.

There was a tremendous wind farm on the cape, and you could get amazingly close to the windmills. Personally, I think windmills are very cool, so this was a pretty cheap thrill for me.

At the very south end of the cape, there is a petrified forest and a set of blow holes in the sea. Both are a bit disingenuous.

The forest is not actually a petrified forest, it was formed by erosion fueled by mineral deposits. Still pretty sweet rock formations.

We didn't get a lot of action out of the blow holes. Perhaps this had something to do with tides, but it seemed to me to be largely just waves crashing on rocks. It was beautiful, but not quite what I expected.

After an aborted journey down a dirt road due to some sand issues (we were in the Corolla), we made out way to the Swan Lake campground, in the Discovery Bay Maritime Park. Upon our arrival, we were a bit concerned as there were about 100 people camped in the dune buggy club area. Despite being a bit nervous about them, they were great neighbors to the three of us in the regular camp area. The campground was waaaaay down in a dune though, and I think we would have problems in the 2wd if it was raining.

Sunday, we continued west until we hit the SA border. It was really pretty out there, in that great plains kind of way. I was really bummed that we had to turn around. Alas, life beckoned on Monday.

But, our return trip was not without scenery. We meandered through the Lower Glenelg National Park, which has a moderate sized gorge that was cut by a river. The river was a wide, lazy affair that would make a good place to take a canoe. Plenty of wallabies and birds to keep us entertained between stops.

We then opted to return via the Grampians national park, but through a section where we had never been, on the southeast side. It wasn't as scenic as the northern part of the park, but it was really pretty and really quiet. It would make for some excellent riding. We did have lunch at a lovely lake that was surrounded by mountains.

And after that, it was a straight shot home, just in time for dinner. Another successful road trip.

Photo of the Day

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Photo of the Day

Who knew. Burning Man made Australia.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Photo of the Day

Street Art

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Photo of the Day

So wrong.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Catch Up

Who knew. I still have this blog.

What a month December was. I was on the road for almost six full weeks. It was busy for sure, but I'll just give the highlights. When we last spoke, I was in DC. Shortly thereafter, it was off to Maryland to see family. Then off for four days in Paris with my Mom.

Who knew. It was really cold, and the sun wasn't bothering to come up until 8:30. But it was Paris, and it was excellent.

We opted to leave from Brussels based on how flights looked. That was a good call, but just barely. The snow was coming down heavily when we left. The day after we left was the day that the Eurostar melted down. Whew.

Then there was some NC family time. On Boxing Day, I went to a concert in Raleigh, so, a quick gig review.

The show was headlined by Weekend Excursion, which makes it a reunion show. It was opened by one half of Athenaeum (Kano & Garrigan). The openers were fantastic, playing only acoustic, a fair split of their individual material (including Collapsis), and four Athenaeum songs. Weekend Excursion played a good set (and a very long one - show ended at 00:30). Their own material was tight, suggesting they had been playing (they have - new album in the works) but they did two covers. The Kings of Leon cover was pretty good, but a little slow. The U2 cover was really bad, and they should not do that again. Good gig though, for 12 bucks.

Then off to Montreat to hang out with some friends. It was cold. Lows were around 10. But, the weather was really nice, and it's a beautiful part of the world. Plus, the heat only went out in the house once. I did manage to catch a cold, and then give it to Shannon. She was pretty excited about that.

Back to Raleigh for a couple days before starting the journey to Australia. I got to spend some bonus time in San Francisco, which wasn't entirely unexpected. I finally got out from LA, and after enjoying my trip in coach, picked up some other virus that knocked me back. I then gave this to Shannon, and she was even more amused than the time before.

And that was that. The whole trip in, like, two pages. Since then, it's just been back to normal in Melbourne. Oh, we did return to 44 degree heat, followed by 18 degree heat. This place is strange...