Me Music: Bluesfest, the Trip of a Lifetime

Okay, so I’m back! The weekend before last I had my amazing trip up to Byron Bay to experience Bluesfest music festival. And it was nothing short of spectacular. I’ll throw in some stories/highlights along the way, but I figured what I could do is list my top ten favourite performances of the festival in commemoration of the wicked good time I had.  And I’ve included a couple photos I took for the top two! Here goes!

10. Kate Miller-Heidke

Morcheeba almost took spot #10, but essentially, they were great but pretty stock. Kate Miller-Heidke was something really different, and is such an amazing live performer. She’s also really funny and endearing and interacts brilliantly with the crowd during and in-between songs. She’s a good egg, and an amazing singer.

9. Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

I’ve long been a huge fan of Seun’s father, Fela Kuti, who basically invented Afrobeat, that really funky music genre. Fela has passed away, but Seun continues his legacy with Egypt 80 and some of the members from his father’s original band. They’re really funky and fun and have a lot of bustling, positive energy. And it’s also a lot of fun to watch Seun dance. He just does his own thing, and the result is all good vibes. It’s such a treat to see some of the original masters of one of my favourite genres have at it on the stage.

8. India.Arie

I wasn’t sure what to expect from India Arie. She turned up telling us all how she was rushed and stuck in traffic and all these things and she wasn’t settled. Though she was on stage on time, so she did well, but she was clearly rushed. As someone whose pet hate is being rushed, I can understand how she felt and it was nice to see her being so real up there in front of us. So, instead of the set she had planned, she decided she was going to do her own thing. She was going to have a ‘songversation’ with us, instead of a concert, and she was going to play the songs she needed to play to feel right about the day. So she just changed her setlist as she went. She knocked it out of the park. It felt like quite an intimate songversation, despite there being so many people there. But I was up the front, so I guess that helped.

7. The Beards

I thought they’d be kinda funny, so I went. They were hilarious! And they actually really rocked. The gig was so good. They were on one of the smaller stages/tents and they really needed one of the bigger ones. We packed that sucker. And they rocked it.

6. KT Tunstall

I’ve liked KT Tunstall for a long time. I have fond memories of chilling by the lake near my grandparents’ holiday house as a kid being kept company only by my discman and two albums – one being ‘Everyday’ by Dave Matthews Band, and the other, ‘Eye to the Telescope’ the debut album of KT Tunstall. I was keen to see her live, and saw both of her appearances at Bluesfest. She was fantastic. Really funny and engaging and so good live. And one of the few who performed solo with no band or accompaniment whatsoever.

5. John Butler Trio

I knew going in that JBT would be one of the best live performances I had ever seen. I have most of their albums, even live ones, and have been a fan since forever. I was so pumped to finally see them live. They were awesome. I guess they didn’t crack the top four maybe because they didn’t surprise me. They were awesome, but they were what I expected. Expectations are dangerous like that. The next four artists really surprised me. Blew me away, really. JBT didn’t quite blow me away, but they were no less absolutely awesome.

4. Nahko and Medicine for the People

These guys were the surprise of the festival for me. I have an album of theirs. It’s mellow and beautiful. It’s really chill. I expected that vibe live. Then they started playing. Man, they blew the roof off the sucker. They absolutely rocked. I could not believe the energy they had. Perhaps the biggest energy of a performance I saw there. They were epic. It actually blew me away. I was up near the front, so I was involved in the stage dive from Nahko, the lead guitarist/vocalist, and then after the gig the bassist came down to greet some folks, so I met him and he was really cool. Just full of positive energy. I reached out for the handshake and he said “nah give me some love brother” and basically leaped at me with a hug. We had a bit of a chat after that and like I said, just so positive. His energy, and really the energy of the whole band, was one of my favourite things of my trip. I want to source that energy myself. It’s all good things.

3. Michael Franti and Spearhead

Michael Franti and Spearhead win the award for “most energy required to attend the gig of”. Seriously, I almost had a heart attack. At least two or three times a song, every song, you’ll hear Michael say “put your hands in the air. Now, I wanna see you all JUMPING!” SO much energy. But his energy is so infectious.  And somehow you actually find yourself jumping again and again. And having an absolute blast. He also has a tendency to move through the crowd and loves getting everyone involved. It’s party central. I also met Michael Franti after the gig, so that was pretty awesome. There’s another guy with such a positive vibe.

2. Joss Stone

Oh my. The only performance that remotely rivalled what we all know will be my #1 favourite. I was aware Joss was gorgeous, and I was aware Joss can sing, but in actuality, I had nooooo idea. She was phenomenal. And I was lucky enough to be right up the front. I was also lucky enough to have her point my way during one of her sing-to-the-audience-members bits. And then I died.

 JossStone

1. Dave Matthews Band

Okay, so this surprises no-one. Interestingly, the only band on this list I have seen live before. Despite being a huge fan of a few of those. But DMB had basically won before I even got to the festival. Both their shows were epic, and the Saturday (1st) show was probably my favourite show of theirs ever. Although in the second show, I was up the front with four other fanatics and there’s a part where he sings “Love you, you, you, you, you, you, YOU!!!!” and at that part we were accentuating each word by pointing violently at Dave and the band, and in one verse he did the same back to us! So we flipped. That was like the greatest thing ever. We were totally fangirling. And we’re all blokes.

DMBMonGood

Street Art; Part Uno

I love creative street art. Some people see it as vandalism. I guess I can understand that. It doesn’t bother me, though. And I definitely see the beauty in it. Now and then I may post a favourite. Here’s one right now…

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Come on, that’s clever! And it’s not hurting anyone. I like it. It brings imagination into the World and makes me smile. When done right, it’s a wondrous thing. That example above, is of one done right.

Photo Credit: Mr. Pilgrim

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

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One thing everyone knows about me, is that I am a big fan of the sea. I feel a real affinity with it. I find it incredibly calming and centering.

The photo above shows my brother and niece mucking about in the shallows. To me, the sea has always had strong ties to family. I have great memories of my two brothers and I diving in the waves when we were little. For a time, our grandparents had a place in a small seaside town, and these days mum has a place at the beach. I’ll move seaside myself one day. Hopefully sooner than later.

 

For the Weekly Photo Challenge.

i-Boombox?

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Photo courtesy of iruntheinternet.

The new iBoombox came out already? Why was I not informed?

Seriously though, this is probably me in 30 years. Technology be damned. Lord knows I won’t be able to keep up with the new tech at that point. And there’s no way I’m letting that get in the way of my music appreciation.

I guess I better get myself one of these bad boys before they sell out!

Me, the 10-year-old Zoologist

When I was 10, I wanted to be either a Zoologist or a Wildlife Photographer.

I was mad about animals. Oh, the amount of books I had. The amount of books I still have. I have always found that stuff fascinating. It isn’t where I am now, but hey, my journey is far from over.

I actually got close. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree, with a double major in Zoology and Conservation Ecology. So, I have the relevant qualifications for one part of my childhood dream.

These days I am studying Professional Writing and Editing. Hey, if I end up writing Zoological books, the 10-year-old me will love me forever.

At the moment though, the closest I get to my childhood dream is visiting the Zoo. Here’s a few recent pics…

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Poor Tasmanian Devil. He looks a bit mopey today. Don’t you just want to give him a cuddle?

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Two little squirrel monkeys playing together. Well, that’s decidedly cute!

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Spider monkey in the midst of a staring contest. Spoiler: He wins this one.

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Meerkat on watch. You can never be too careful.

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Mr Gorilla is tired. Someone throw him a pillow.

 

All photos here are by me, That EJ.

In response to – Daily Prompt: When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up? What are you now? Are the two connected?

There’s no ‘I’ in Success

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My answer to today’s Daily Prompt is a photograph of ‘success’.

To me, success comes in many forms. It is a very personal thing. Everyone will define it differently. This photograph is just one from the end of a day when I was feeling particularly successful. There’s a short story in it… I may as well share.

Some friends decided they would enter a team into the Etiko Futsal Cup. A futsal tournament played twice a year in inner-city Melbourne. For those not in the loop, futsal is basically soccer on basketball/tennis sized courts. It’s 5-a-side. 4 and a keeper. I was asked to play. They needed a goalkeeper. Everyone always does. no-one wants that gig. What a crap job. Anyway, they asked me. I had played against them a bunch of times. Don’t think I’d played with them before that. I was keen to get the chance. These guys are terrific players.

So anyways, it’s a 30+ degree (Celsius) day and we kicked off at 9am or thereabouts. It finished about 10 or so that night. Long day. In the full sun. Hence my sunburn in the pic. I wasn’t feeling that though. Not at that point. Fairly sure I felt it the next day.

We managed to get through our group stages. Then we won the quarterfinals. Then the semi-finals. We were cruising. We were in fine form. I’d not let more than a single goal in each game. Then came the final. The sun must have been getting to me. Yeah, I’m sure that was it. We went down 2-0 in the first half.

With a late surge in the second half, we clawed back and it finished 2-2. Extra time proved useless. No score there. We entered a penalty shootout for the tournament. I was… nervous. To say the least.

I conceded my first 2 shots. Woops. Decided I should pull my finger out. I saved the last 3. My teammates scored 3. We had won the shootout 3-2. We had won the tournament. Thank the heavens… I needed a drink.

So there’s this photo of me, after a full day of keeping. And boy am I relieved. Not only did we win the Cup, but I was awarded player of the tournament. There were better options. All of my teammates, for example. The guys that kicked two goals in the last few minutes to force the shootout. But I was feeling successful nonetheless. And that day will stay with me forever. Hopefully one day I’ll get to play with them again. Thanks team!

Baby Lemur

I visited the Melbourne Zoo… months ago. Seriously, it may have been last year. I don’t remember. Point is, I just got to sorting through the photos I took. I know, I’m the worst. But hey, better late than never I guess.

So this short post is just me throwing two of the photos at you all. There are some others that came out okay, and I may find an excuse to post them later. But for now, just two. Both are of a baby ring-tailed lemur. I know… adorable. So without further ado, I give you baby lemur:

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Yes, that’s camera-shy mum hiding behind the tree. She wasn’t in the mood for paparazzi that day.

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Isn’t s/he a cutie? Anyone know where I can get one??