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Hypocritical Kiss

I’m going to see Jack White play in Sydney on Thursday.

When I mentioned this to someone recently she looked at me strangely. “I would never have picked you for someone who likes Jack White,” she said.

It struck me as odd. The man’s a genius.

The Cure – Reflections – @ The Sydney Opera House 31/5/11

There was no support act. The lights simply dimmed and the iconic figure of Robert Smith walked  to the middle of the stage. The Cure opened at The Sydney Opera House, to thunderous applause,  with  10:15 on a Saturday night.

They played their first three albums in their entirety. Starting with 3 Imaginary Boys, moving onto 17 Seconds and finishing with Faith. The crowd were in ecstasy, engulfed in the joyful, melancholic, uplifting and haunting music. Music that we never thought we would hear performed live in such a way and in such a venue.

It was a special night, and the Sydney Opera House, where there are no bad seats made it all the more so. Unlike the larger venues, the Opera House manages to achieve a sense of intimacy and connection between the audience and the band.

And then the album show was over. We expected an encore – the typical 3 song first encore, followed by 2 song sand maybe 1 additional song if we were lucky.

As the band returned to the stage, they seemed strangely energised. Robert Smith who had said very little throughout seemed, well, jaunty. He smiled and greeted the crowd warmly. And then the magic happened.

The Cure performed 3 encores, 14 songs in total – longer than any of the albums. They played B-sides and rarities, popular songs such as Boys Don’t Cry and Let’s Go to Bed, and my favourites: Charlotte Sometimes and Hanging Garden. I think it was at that point I started to cry a little.  

The performance was an epic 4 hours long, and quite possibly the best concert I will ever see in my life.

Setlist

Thursday Music – M83

Today’s music recommendation is M83. This is a French electronic outfit, led by Anthony Gonzales. Their music is described as “dream pop” which seems quite apt.

Like All India Radio’s music, which I wrote about last Thursday,  M83 are great to unwind to. I listen to it at the end of the day, or when I’m working at home, and need something to help me focus.

They’ve been around since 2001, but I only came across them last year, when I friend passed on a CD to me.

I’m finding it hard to find words today. I want to describe how I feel about their music, or to tell you what it is like – but I just can’t seem to find the right way to do that. The best way might be for you to see and hear for yourself.

I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday Music: All India Radio -The Silent Surf

It’s Thursday – time to talk music.

Today I want to tell you about an Australian band called All India Radio (A.I.R)

How can I describe their music? Its primarily instrumental and very beautiful. I find it soothing at the end of a busy day. If I am working and find it hard to focus, its the right kind of music to play in the background. It helps me quieten my thoughts and find clarity. Sometimes, if I’m having trouble sleeping, I put the headphones in and let it transport me to a more peaceful, tranquil place.

I discovered A.I.R only recently when I was looking at YouTube videos for the band The Church. In the related videos was some work that Church frontman, Steve Kilbey was doing with A.I.R’s Martin Kennedy. The music was great, so I looked into what else M.K was doing.

This led me to A.I.R’s new album, The Silent Surf. Steve Kilbey contributed the vocals to the opening track.

You can hear some of their music for free at their website. I really like their videos as well. See what you think of this one:

You Don’t Understand Me

This is You Don’t Understand Me by the Raconteurs. Its a beautiful song, and very different from the last two  videos I posted featuring Jack White. I think it was this song that kick started my current obsession with his music. But that’s enough of Jack White – back to other topics next time.

Treat Me Like Your Mother

Yesterday I posted a video of The Raconteurs playing ‘Bang Bang’. I think that might be my favourite footage of a live performance by Jack White. My favourite video at the moment is from his band, The Dead Weather. The song is called ‘Treat Me Like Your Mother’. I love how gritty this track is and the video is just brilliant.

Obsessing about Jack White

With only 4 weeks remaining of the school year, its a busy time at work. As well as the usual daily work of planning, preparing, delivering, assessing and evaluating learning tasks, there are all the end of year issues. Student reports are the big one, but there are also a lot of other tasks for assistant principals, such as counting the enrolments for the coming year, forming new classes, planning for staffing in the new year. The list goes on. It also seems to be the time of year for putting out fires (all metaphorical so far).  Students start acting out, teachers start stressing out. Suffice it to say, that with all the little fires I’ve been putting out lately, I’ve had little time to attend to my important, but not urgent tasks, such as this weekend’s of writing student reports.

And so, of course instead of getting on with it, I procrastinate. My way of procrastinating is to obsess about something. Its a different obsession each time and this year’s is: Jack White (White Stripes, Raconteurs, The Dead Weather).

I’ve loved his music for a long time. I really enjoy the raw sound of it. What amazes me about Jack White is his diversity. I first became aware of him through his band The White Stripes, then earlier this year I went to see him perform with his current band, The Dead Weather. The man exudes rock star charisma. It was interesting to see. He simply walked onto the stage and sat down at the drum kit, and that was enough. He just had the most incredible presence and was utterly cool. It wasn’t as if he was trying, either. He just was so, so cool.

I’ve been spending my spare moments trawling through YouTube videos, discovering more of his work. Here is one of my favourites. Its with his band, The Raconteurs (in Australia they are marketed as The Saboteurs). Its a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang’ and he does it so brilliantly.

*Sigh* I wish I had just an ounce of that talent!