Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gotye live in San Francisco, a gorgeous show for a gorgeous record

Gotye at Coachella last weekend (
Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

Last night, Gotye performed at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, in between Coachella performances, fresh off Saturday Night Live. You can definitely say that the Belgian-Australian artist is the hottest ticket of the moment.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve most likely seen the sexy and innovative video and heard Gotye’s hit tune “Somebody that I Used to Know” featuring Kimbra covered on Glee, American Idol and everywhere else (Maybe you heard me singing it? I can't stop). What you might not know is that the song is not a one-off, but part of a beautifully written and produced album called Making Mirrors which transfers well to the stage.

Wouter “Wally” De Backer’s song-crafting has grown in leaps and bounds since the 2008 “Mixed Blood”. “Eyes Wide Open”, “Save Me” and surprisingly “State of the Art” are exquisite songs which could easily be released as singles.

Gotye has been compared to Elliott Smith, Sting, Peter Gabriel and I would throw Imogen Heap into the mix, creating a genre-defying, sample-saturated wall of sound. Watching De Backer perform these tunes is watching him switch from playing various percussion instruments, sample –filled keyboards and pushing his voice to unfathomable heights in pitch, volume and timbre. Experimental keyboardist Tim Shiel joyfully plugged away at his set of electronic toys.

The only time I felt the music suffered from too much sampling (the five-piece band also included a guitarist and bassist) was in the soul tunes “I Feel Better” and “In Your Light”. Live horns are always better; sampled horns are sort of sad.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Countertenor Andreas Scholl and the Australian Chamber Orchestra: making chamber music sexy

Countertenors fascinate me.

The countertenor represents a moment in history, the 17th century, when men who were feminine were desirable. Men were more masculine if they had feminine aesthetic characteristics. They also represent a time before women were welcome in concert music. Young boys, countertenors and castrati sang the vocal parts now known as alto and soprano. The countertenor was the David Bowie, the Prince, and hair bands of their time. They were divas and their fans loved them like rockstars.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Country Music Love Down Under

Who knew that Australians love country music until Nicole Kidman married Keith Urban (who was actually born in New Zealand). But they do. And even I recognize some of the names on wikipedia's list of Australia's country music stars.

When I lived in Sydney in 2000, my friend's mom insisted that she and Reba MacIntyre were old friends and on a first name basis. And this was before the sitcom "Reba" was on the air.

A small town in New South Wales called Tamworth, is the Australian tourist equivalent of Nashville, Tennessee. In a week in mid-January, Tamworth is home to a week long Country Music Festival. Like the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, this festival takes over dozens of night clubs in town.

The above pictured 40 foot golden guitar replica of the Country Music Awards trophy can be found next to the Gallery of Stars Wax museum. Every few years, another figurine of an Australian star is added.

I'm thinking that Australia and Texas have more in common than I ever knew.

p.s. Apologies to Australians, my family and friends included, that hate country music : )