Kingdom of Little Empires

5 Oct

Live Review

Live Photo taken by Ying

I guess it could be one of the reasons that made me arrive one and a half hours early for the gig, Kingdom of Little Empires. It’s such an inspirational day with the warm sunshine and I’ve been waiting for ages. After facing the Brisbane River for a while and finishing one bottle of beer, I take a little walk and start observing the Turbine Platform, where  I’m about to hear Snakadaktal, Albert Salt, Danika Smith and Stonefield. With a quick flash back of the news I have so far, it’s glad to see Stonefield, the 2010 Triple J Unearthed High winner, bring their huge stage show home after heading to the UK’s Glastonbury Festival.

Dom Alessio from triple J once commented on their psych-rock styled music:

“This is why these sisters are the best high school band in the country. So much maturity in their song writing at such a young age. And it rocks, plain & simple.”

Well, besides the growing popularity of Stonefield, this live is also a great touching point to witness how the young winner in 2011 Unearthed High competition, Snakadaktal and other two fresh finalists, are going to impress audiences. Wondering if it’s just like what Triple J presenter Nina Las Vegas describes on Snakadaktal’s indie pop tune Chimera

“Such a simple song with so many great ideas within”.

With a light testing plucking staccato sound coming from the show room, the atmosphere in the Powerhouse seems to be really heated, turning its historical sense into a vivid music craze.Snakadaktal isn’t doing too bad on the live stage, regardless of their age. How to digest the overwhelming fact from high school student to musicians that are capable of controlling their official music journeys can be a tough job. The band’s guitarist, Sean Kelly said in an interview when he heard they won the competition:

“This is really overwhelming. I’m just shocked, wow thank you all so much. I’d like to thank pretty much everybody that we know, all of our friends and family and our school. Thanks to everybody for being nice to us and listening to our music even the people that hate us.”

Besides their refreshing indie pop style, taking an overall angle of their stage experiences, I have to yell, what an unpolished diamond!! It is such a pity that audiences have to bear an extremely bad quality microphone which probably gave them a hard time of keeping their passion alive. The strategy is not quite worked for audiences when Sean (the voice) tries to ease the atmosphere with his prologue “Errr, we are here to play some songs for you.”

Recalled by Albert’s performance, somehow, I can’t help remembering the sentence I’ve read at some point

The world rushes on over the strings of the lingering heart making the music of sadness.”

Albert did a great performance to recall audiences’ most soft parts of their heart, falling into his music world by his talented mixed use of alternative rock, jazz and acoustic styles. The song Beaumont Child, is one of the best examples to describe Albert Salt and his music.The interesting thing was, I did not realise it was Danika sitting right beside me until she got on the stage. My first impression was that she didn’t that care about her outside image to be recognised or being stand out from other teen age girls.  She kept a very low profile among the crowds. However, it doesn’t mean her music is on “average”. Oppositely, it’s an amazing bloom of her “life” she wrote and sang about. Danika claimed her band was quite new, the Bassist had only began learning the instrument 3 days ago, and the other two members just joined a week before. But all the elements and facts didn’t bother too much for delivering what they tried to communicate with the audiences. She may be a little shy when talking in front of audiences, but as soon as she sang, you would notice she was the queen on that stage and people started falling in love with her voice. The song oh Father and you matter to me are the best examples of Danika’s music inspiration from her life’s story.

“Check, Check, Check, One Two” 

“Check, Check, Check, One Two”

It’s Stondfield giving their microphones a test, meanwhile all of a sudden, people get to stand up and head to the nearest part of the stage which just show a completely different situation. I am pretty sure some of them are about to get high.

Starting with Lead Vocals Amy’s powerful penetrating voice, their psych-rock music leads people into a music heaven with 100+ decibels of uninterrupted rock and roll. You feel your heart beating along with every single beat that dramatically fill in the Turbine Platform. It’s impossible to hear a word you say, but I am a good mouth reader

“Fucking love you guys” or someone just like “Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!” lasting for quite a while.

In my personal opinion, I agree Stondfield achieved an outstanding performance along with their great control of the stage and interactivity with audiences. Stonefield bought an unforgettable closure for Kingdom of Little Empires.

After they came back on for the encore, I take a deep breath of fresh air outside, a little dehydrated but satisfied.

 

 

Forever Beyond

27 Sep

If you want me to say which band can represent and have a major impact on modern Chinese music industry during 1980s, I will plump out without doubt; Beyond, the most representative rock band from Hong Kong. Or you may also be interested to know, the extremely grieved period for Chinese music history: the moment we lost Wong Ka Kui, who was the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and the spirit of Beyond.

 

When Ka Kui died in a stage accident, millions of fans used their own ways to give profound condolence to their favourite star, who has been considered the most inspired symbol of promoting Chinese rock music within a worldwide sense. Ka Kui used to be a rebellious youth like most of us, but after, he chose to become a musician that fought for freedom, dreams and peace. It’s not hard to notice the majority of his songs were the reflection of social issues such as injustice, war, racism, poverty, family and his pursuit of dreams. Till now, many young people who weren’t born in that generation, still engage with Beyond, singing their songs thousands of times, no matter whether it be experienced obstacle for lives or pursuit for the new starts. In that sense, I can still feel the spirit of beyond hasn’t died along with Ka Kui. It’s just like a bottle of aging-sealed red wine, the longer the bolder. And I hope one day, when I’m getting too old to walk outside, I will still be able to enjoy my life inspired by my vivid memory of Beyond, that unforgivable era full of passion and hope.

Glorious days (光辉岁月)

By Beyond

The bell ring calls for home

In his life

Likely with a few sighs

What black skin gives him

Is to devote himself

In the process of fighting for equality

Time turns possession into losses

But there is still hope in his tired eyes

Today only empty body left

To welcome glorious days 

Hold on to the freedom in the rain

Hoping against hope for all his life

He still believe he can make his own future

Who can do as he did

Can we forget the color of each other

I hope on the land

There is no inequality

The beauty of rainbow consists in

It is not separated

Under a vast sky海阔天空)

The night is bitter cold, the snow is flurrying
My heart is freezing, my mind is wandering
Rushing through the storm, uncertainty surrounded by mists
Between the sky and ocean, will we change in this boundlessness
— No one can escape the changes
How many times have I faced ignorance and humiliation
Never have I given up my dreams and determination
In a moment of distraction, a feeling of abstraction
The love in my heart has faded without realization
— Can anyone understand?
Forgive my passion for freedom, and the untamed heart
Even someday I am also frightened, I could fall hard
Everyone has a choice to betray their believes
Even someday I have nothing but you, I wouldn’t be scared
I will always be the free spirit and proud,
I will forever sing my songs out loud,
I will nonstop walk across thousands of miles

Austra Alluring

26 Sep

Just while I have a minute, Austra is bloody awesome and gets me through long sessions of arduous assignments with her spurring and emotive music. Electronic, auto tuned to the shit house and a bit Fever Ray on a happy day, Austra is the new La Roux for this season, minus the bad hair.

From 2011 release: Feel It Break, which also features singles “Beat and the Pulse” and “Lose It”, “The Villain” is a hidden gem on the album, and I think, the most atmospheric.

 

Listen to it loud and dream of a cold Toronto winter where assignments cannot be submitted, because the university is too busy giving away free hot chocolate and holding rave parties.

OH, Choi

26 Sep

“I am just listening to the clock and…” Hm? Wait, I almost forgot I’m a terrible singer, but I just can’t help whispering David Choi’s By my side. I still remember the first time I discovered him through one of the famous YouTube Channels Wong Fu Productions. All I noticed about him, and you might get the same feeling as I do, was how Choi could hold a straight face so perfectly in every single video, later I realised it was his prominent trait.

Choi is a songwriter and producer, sometimes a humorous character appearing in fellow YouTube stars’ videos. Wong Fu Production uses a lot of Choi’s music in their videos, and they had a solid team working together which helped them in successfully promoting their impressive content.  

Below, it is Choi’s music video for By my side, produced by Wong Fu Production with its graceful conception.

Another song That Girl written by David Choi, produced by Wong Fu Production

“The ones we love tend to stay in our hearts and minds long after the relationship ends. While some move on quickly, others dwell and heal at a slower pace. Whatever the case, the thoughts, emotions and memories we experience during this time are heartwrenchingly powerful and real.”- By Wong Fu Production

Choi’s music is often about relationships and love, merged with his unique slow and quiet style and his knowledge of jazz and classic music. His songs have been described as heart melting and he made me believe that, without changing his expression, it works better for love and romantic songs.

 

 

 

This week’s playlist!

22 Sep

It’s been such a massive week in Brisbane music-wise; the Brisbane Festival has had some amazing performances, we’ve got Counter Revolution coming up this Saturday over at the Botanical Gardens AND Parklife coming up next week!

Alas, there’s a hole in my pocket where my wallet used to be so I won’t be going to any of those – but who’s to say I can’t get my own fair share of great tunes, aye?

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This Is For the Heart Still Beating..Beating..Beating!

14 Sep

 

What you see here is a fan-made video for the opening two tracks (First Light and Last Light) of Converge’s album You Fail Me. The video was shared by the band itself not long ago on their Facebook after they stumbled across it.

 

It’s a haunting 5 minutes of footage set to equally haunting music. This band are not for the faint of heart. They’re brutal as fuck and that outtro riff gets me every fucking time.

 

This stuff scares the crap out of me…and I love it.

I can’t even.

13 Sep


I like pop music, okay? I do. I went through that whole boyband phase years ago just like every teenage girl out there, and yeah, I still know their lyrics, what of it? So after reading this, you can’t call me a music snob or deaf or say, “YOU JUST HATE POP MUSIC!” I don’t.

But this?

It’s sticky sweet pop music,  it’s a catchy tune, yeah, and it’s probably gonna get stuck in your head after you play that, sorry. Again, though, what is this? It’s ultimately an artist happily riding the coattails of his former success, that’s what it is.

Famous for his “lol I started making music in my parents’ basement” start-up story and accidental foray into Billboard for Fireflies and Vanilla Twilight, Owl City’s continued fame baffles me to no end.  All Things Bright And Beautiful clearly lacks that spark Ocean Eyes had – a clean, distinctive sound and addictive synthpop and indietronica beats. Actually, after Ocean Eyes, did you guys even realise he’d released another album?

I sure as hell didn’t.

His word-of-mouth sleeper hit inducing skillz were considerably less this time around and I can see why. Sure, there are great tracks like Deer in the Headlights and Galaxies but it seems to me that Owl City’s in more for a miss than a hit with his most recent album.

Like those one-hit-wonders, call me a one-hit-fan.