Vivify, is all about generating life and animation into to the world. Music, theatre, art, politics and social issues aren't things that should be passively thought about or received. I am a freelance journalist. I have written for magazines and newspapers in the UK and in Australia. My aim is to educate, inform and ultimately bring to life, the musings of the world.

Aerosmith | Tom Magazine

I recently reviewed a little band called Aerosmith. You may have heard of them. Click the post title to read my review. Rockin out! 

Review - Father John Misty - The Zoo - Wednesday 20th February 2013

Those who aren’t familiar with The Zoo may not know that it doesn’t have any air con and can get rather sweaty at times, so it was a good thing Brisbane put on a balmy, breezy February night for the eager crowd. Those who had turned out early to make sure The Zoo had its quota of Hipsters for the night were lucky enough to catch Alex Gow of Oh Mercy sporting a fetching denim vest with bright coloured rubics cube inspired shirt. A pretty impressive get-up for an equally impressive set. 
The four piece played all their hit songs from their last two albums, most with Gow’s intense eyes staring straight ahead into one spot as he sang out the lyrics with intensity. Finishing with a brilliant Leonard Cohen cover was fitting choice for the Melbourne group.
A short trip to the loo, and another lemon lime and bitters was all it took for Father John Misty aka Joshua Tillman to swagger onto the stage with a five piece band. 
Now it seems that due to geographical travel planning, Brisbane is always either the place a band’s  tour starts, or ends. Because of this, the shows are almost always have that extra bit of sentimentality in some way or another. For Father John Misty, this was the last show of their 10 month international tour, and coincidentally, the last show of the foreseeable future for the band. So, it was a biggie! 
With a full timbre of keyboards, drums, rhythm guitar, lead guitar and bass (not to mention some eclectic tights the bass player was wearing) the melodies began. With Tillman taking to the stage grasping a full bottle of wine, of which he gulped a few times during the show, he displayed an aura of charisma that would never have been able to be unleashed during his time with The Fleet Foxes. 
And thank Christ it was. Addressing the crowd with some pretty peculiar banter in between songs, Tillman was in top form, even saying at one stage: “I love you guys, I just wanna wrap everyone here up in a picnic basket, then leave you at a transit station…. and then come back…. just to see the look on your faces when I rescue you”.
Opening with the first track on Fear Fun ‘Funtimes in Babylon’ provided a fitting warm up for the crowd, some of which seemed to be already warmed up with a few extremely annoying ladies and gents yelling out ‘I love you Chris’ repeatedly. Tillman came up trumps, totally acknowledging the biggest idiot in the crowd with a big fat heckle-a-thon. 
Gliding through songs on Father John Misty’s debut ‘Fear Fun’, the band and Tillman put on a stellar performance, playing songs with more of an enhanced full cream thickness than on the record. 

Tillman experienced a few troubles with his guitar, swearing a bit and sending it back to side of stage the first time it was handed out to him. Whether he’s still getting the hang of guitar after being the primary drummer in The Fleet Foxes for so long, or his henchman was just useless and handed him an out of tune guitar, we will never know. 
Finishing the main set with the familiar ‘Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings’ had everyone singing and swaying along amongst the driving snare and hi-hat. Even if half of them didn’t know the words. 
Father John Misty’s encore included an impressive new songs performed acoustically, by Tillman alone, then another two with full band. A good sign that there will be more records recorded by him under this moniker. Good news for fans, and good news for those who might have missed out this time on seeing this brilliant artist. 

The Cat’s back in town

The British Empire may have a thousand of years of history, drama and tales of conquest to tell but another empire has slowly been making its mark on Britannia for almost a decade. By winning over the hearts and minds of young Brits, Australians and global citizens alike, The Cat Empire have achieved cult status all over the world and will play their 800th show on their upcoming tour. With a new album and mammoth European tour on the way, lead singer and percussionist Felix Riebl took a few moments to explain what has kept ‘The Empire’ so strong after all these years.
With their 800th show set to be played next month Felix said it will feel good to reach such a big milestone. “We always celebrate every century and it’s always important as a band to celebrate your successes and achievements and the fact that you have managed to hold on for that long and be successful as a group. It’s been an incredible ride,” he said.

The band have just finished the Australian leg of their ‘Cinema’ tour to promote their new album of the same name and are in the process of preparing to head overseas once again. Felix said he enjoys the gigs but the flying can take its toll. “We did some calculations the other day about how much we have actually flown and it’s really pretty scary you know. I don’t particularly enjoy the flight over,” he said. “Sometimes on an international flight it’s good because you can see five movies and have an excuse to do nothing for a while. The crazy thing about being in a band is that it’s kind of one of those situations where, to do a lot of those things you love you have to spend a lot of time in transition.”

The Cat Empire have certainly made their mark globally, playing more overseas gigs than any other Australian band. There are a few that really stand out to Felix; “I think the first time we played the Shepherds Bush Empire it was pretty special,” he said. “It’s such a massive theatre. It felt like we were supposed to be doing an opera there as well. And it was nice because there’s been a lot of famous people perform there as well and I saw a lot of posters from the early 80’s like Dire Straits, when they were starting out and a lot of other bands that I had followed since I was a kid.”

The new album features darker lyrics and more spacious tunes than previous offerings but still packs a punch in terms of dance-ability. Felix said that the process this time around produced a very momentary kind of album. “I am unsure how it happened. We came back to do a tour after a year off and all of the numbers at the shows had doubled or tripled and there was a fresh feeling over there and we had fun on that trip,” he said. “We got back and decided to make and album and we went into a rehearsal without much stuff pre-written and we had an album about three months later. It was quite a fast natural process.”

Felix who has major ancestral roots in Austria and the Czech Republic is always excited to go back to Europe to play. “My father came out from Vienna to live with my mum in Australia and my father became a farmer and so I spent a lot of time in rural Victoria and I’d go back to Vienna and Europe. That was how I was introduced to a heap of different music and European culture really captivated me growing up as a contrast to Australia which is so other worldly and quite stark.”
The Cat Empire has always been about world music I suppose. I have always liked that about this band how it seems to be able to embrace a lot of different cultures seamlessly and I’m very proud of that.”

Catch The Cat Empire in all their glory at Brixton Academy on 23 October.

For the show review, and more information about gigs by Australian artists in London visit

The Jury’s out

I did this hilarious interview with Berkfinger from the Phily Jay’s back in May. Enjoy the hilarity below.

Philadelphia Grand Jury, or the Phily Jay’s as they are informally known have landed in the UK to grace the Brits with their poise, talent and most of all, their music. Songs like ‘Going to the Casino’ and ‘I’m going to kill you’ have been blasting from every stereo back home for almost a year now and it’s time the UK got a taste of the action. It has been an interesting ride so far for the boys from Sydney, who have a new drummer, a new album and now, a new place to live for a while. I caught up with Berkfinger, singer and guitarist in the band to find just what they plan to do here and how long they are going to honour the UK with their presence.
About six months ago, the band’s rather handsome drummer Dan Sweat decided to depart and work with his ‘other’ band Art vs Science. Berkfinger assures me that there are no hard feelings. “Absolutely not. Dan is my friend and flat mate and I just finished producing Art vs Science’s debut record, plus that was about 100 shows ago. We have Calvin on drums now and if you haven’t seen Calvin, you haven’t lived!” Current drummer Calvin Welch from Michigan, USA is no stranger to fame, playing previously with the likes of Earth, Wind and Fire and has acted in the second Underbelly series as a cab driver. “He’s also been on a KFC ad and is apparently a character on a computer game, although we are yet to see it. Funny guy,” said Berkfinger.
The band are now looking to stay in the UK for at least seven months and Berkfinger is excited to crack out the tunes in front of a new audience. “What I’m really looking forward to is testing the old songs in front of a fresh crowd and really soaking up the culture here. We also have the new record to do, so that’s exciting. There are no burritos in London.” he said.
Berkfinger, who is also known for his producing prowess with an array of Aussie bands is looking forward to setting up shop in London. “We are building a studio in a Railway Arch here in London near a pub that’s owned by the singer from The Pogues, so I guess making that a good space and then a killer second record is our next set of challenges,” he revealed. “I have already brought over all the bits and pieces of my mixing desk, which was actually used by Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond and Dusty Springfield and I have a bunch of microphones and a sparkly drumset so i’m all like, “What could possibly go wrong?”
The band kicked off their UK shows at Camden Crawl and have a flurry of dates across London throughout May so there’s no excuse not to see them. The response so far has been “ridiculous” says Berkfinger. “We came off a sold out Australian tour and were not looking forward to awkward silences between songs in the set but thank God there hasn’t been any. Last night we had a whole crowd chanting “One more tune!” for a good five minutes. Of course we didn’t have an encore prepared because we didn’t expect such a response. So yes it seems that they like it.”

Read this article and more of my work at

Butler on his hat obsession, finding himself and politics

It’s one of the sunniest days in London this year and John Butler is traipsing around the markets in Camden. He’s just bought a nose ring and he’s on the prowl for a hat, or two. ”I’m always looking for a good hat,” he says. “I have a hat obsession, so I buy a lot of hats and don’t wear any of them. I think I like the idea of hats, more than I like them on me.” It turns out that John didn’t just fly to England to buy a some jewelry and a hat he’ll never wear. Australian Times journalist Vivienne Hill caught up with Mr Butler, one of Australia’s most influential artists to find out about his new trio, album and upcoming UK tour.

There have been a lot of changes in John’s life in the last few years. It was the culmination of these events lead to his new album, April Uprising. “Having to look back on the last few years I went through a big metamorphoses, I had my son, cut my hair and then went on a huge ancestral search. Those three things are quite empowering in a spiritual way,” he said. The search took John to Bulgaria where he learnt about his family roots. “I think we have all heard that if you know where you come from it’s a sense of rights, and a sense of foundation that you get from it. Being in the exact places where my ancestors stood was just amazing.” On his travels through Bulgaria John learnt how his grandfather fought in the famous April Uprising battle in the 1800s. “I was born 100 years after that uprising; it was a great metaphor for everything that encompassed the last three years.”
John believes the album is more ambitious and focused than anything he has done before. “We created this strong, powerful, song driven album. In terms of my songwriting, I wanted to create more with fewer words,” he said. “There are different songwriters around who can boil down a five hour conversation into a phrase. The power and the art of that is amazing. I am very much inspired by that.”

April Uprising packs a punch in terms of revolutionary lyrics. “There is some crazy stuff that is going on in the world at the moment but there is actually a revolution happening as we speak. Rather than people thinking its going come one day and everything is going to change, I believe it’s kind of underway. Change is totally happening.”
With looming elections in both Australia and the UK John believes people need to make politicians accountable now more than ever. “The most important thing that people need to consider when voting is that the politicians are their employees. Sometimes people want to make the politicians their leaders and the public should be the politician’s leaders,” he said. “If you want your politicians to be accountable you have to knock on their front doors a few times.”

Soon to be knocking on London’s door with his new trio, John is excited to tour the UK once more. “My home is Australia and I love it deeply but when I go overseas I see all these places and the best part about it is meeting different brothers from other mothers and different sisters from other misters. And just catching up with the fans and being able to play music and travel is just an extreme honor,” he said. John believes that fans differ from country to country. “In Japan they are very quiet during the song and then very loud in the pause. French love clapping on every beat, Germans they stomp their feet in a uniformed way. It’s scary. They are all very similar too though. As human beings we have different colours different nationalities but we can all shake our ass.”

Xavier Rudd Review - Shepherds Bush Empire, London

To be honest, the Empire wasn’t as awash with urban hippies as expected. Tonight it was a different crowd, clad in swanky boots, pretty dresses and expensive jackets. Almost all of them had one thing in common; they were Australian and had come to witness the sound of home. However, Before Xavier hit the stage a pleasant warm up ensued with a fantastic set by a rather cute UK lad named Ben Howard. His folky acoustic melodies were accompanied by what some uneducated Aussie men at the gig classed as ‘a babe playing a huge violin’. In fact it was Ben’s accompanist, India Bourne, on Cello. His sound was a mix of Mumford and Sons and Xavier Rudd. If his set was anything to go by, he is definitely set for big things this year. It was a pity that most of the people watching the stage from the pit couldn’t see where Ben’s candid, raw melodies were coming from unless they were 8ft tall.

Problems were solved as soon as Xavier walked onto the stage (without shoes) and up onto a platform to sit in front of his Didgeridoos. ‘The Mother’ opened to rich applause with Rudd accompanied by ‘Izintaba’ a bassist and drummer from South Africa. The bassist was fantastic, his guitar hung almost up to his chin and he provided a slap bass rhythm worthy of the gods of funk. With Aboriginal and South African flags hanging from the roof of the stage, the scene was set for what turned out to be an epic percussion battle of African and Indigenous Australian beats. The full band and rich sound provided a fantastic live alternative to the more subdued feel of Xavier’s records. It was clear that he was enjoying it too, dancing around like a maniac, inviting people on stage and even diving into the audience. There were softer, emotionally charged moments too with the Rudd bringing out Aussie hippy hymns like ‘The Message’ and ‘The Letter’ later on. A slight pause in the middle of his set to pay homage to oppressed people around the world reminded everyone why the nature of this man’s music is so unifying. The only disappointment was the excessive noise from people who failed to register that he was requesting a moment of silence. So the question must be asked, why do expats spend money on tickets to gigs in London of Aussie bands that they aren’t really interested in just to talk the whole way through about their gym attendance and boys? Listen to the music you twats, or leave… you’re ruining the show. That small issue aside, the show was amazing and the other few thousand people who really got into it will agree that all in all it was a ‘Ruddy’ good time.

Josh Pyke Interview

Pretty much any Australian lass would love to have a serenade from this man. Josh Pyke just seems to have a way with words. He accompanies his beautiful lyrics with delicate melodies and musical masterpieces are created. Boys, if you want to get in with your ladies, it’s easy, just “play a little Pyke and turn down the light”. There is the other option of going to see him live for added authenticity. Josh has toured the UK a bunch of times and he’s coming back before heading to the studio again. Australian Times Journalist Vivienne Hill caught up with him to find out what’s on the way for the Aussie artist and why he keeps coming back to charm the UK with his tunes.

Josh has now toured the UK about 10 times and will be back in March to woo his audiences once more. He is looking forward to seeing some old friends again. “I’ve toured the UK quite a few times now. It pretty much feels like a second home, and the thing I miss most are the friends I have over there. Some of my best friends live in the UK and it’s such a blessing to be able to tour and play music to people and also get to see my friends,” he said. “I don’t really miss the food in the UK though.”

We all know there is a definite lack of freshly grown cuisine in the UK compared to Aussie’s fine culinary selection but Josh assures me the fans are much the same. “I find they’re pretty similar, although there is (as there is in Oz) a real difference between crowds from town to town,” reveals Josh. His tour will take him all the way from London to Glasgow, stopping at most main cities along the way. ”I’m really excited! It’ll be the last shows in the UK I’ll do for this record, and I’m looking forward to playing with my support, Emma Pollock too. I feel like the shows have been getting better and better in the UK, and I plan to keep on coming back and building it there.”

After the tour Josh will head back to OZ for an exciting collaboration. “I’m doing a record right now with Kav from Eskimo Joe, Bob Evans and a dude called Steve Parkin, we’re called the ‘Basement Birds’, and I’ve loved collaborating with them,” says Josh.

Pyke still has plans to fly solo aiming to hit the studio soon for a follow up to his second album ‘Chimney’s Affire’. “I’ve written a bunch of tracks, but I’m still trying to figure out who to do it with and where to record it,” he reveals. “I’d like it to be more rocky, and possibly actually rehearse the songs up with a band, and record the album pretty much live.” As for the name of the album, nothing is set in stone yet. “Maybe I’ll call it ‘Bodies Vanish’, but that’ll change no doubt,” he jokes.

If there’s one thing that’s certain to be on the new album, it’s some more of those intricate loved up lyrics that Josh is so famous for. “I love romance! I think people should always try to be romantic and make the effort to do that stuff,” he says. Definitely some hard evidence there that not all Aussie men aren’t all wife beater wearing, Bundy drinking, bogans.

Defending the Caveman Review

The longest running solo play in Broadway history, Defending The Caveman, was been adapted by Australian actor and comedian Mark Little. The show ran successfully in London until February 21.

Little is best known as Joe Mangel in Neighbours and took to the stage to deliver some hilarious analogies about the differences between woman and men.

Australian Times journalist Vivienne Hill and her boyfriend Bart went along to see how the battle of the sexes played out to give a review the show an even gender spectrum and get some of the best relationship advice they have had in a long time.

Vivienne’s review: Doing it for the girls
When a play which is going to be performed by a guy starts off with the words ‘all men are assholes’ on two big screens.

From the moment Mark entered the stage he had all couples in the audience hating each other in the first 10 minutes.

I could see people looking at each other in disgust as he talked about the gross things boys do to girls to annoy them and the reasons why ladies get toey with their lads when things don’t work out right.

However, Mark was just setting the scene.

As the play develops it gets funnier and you see couples smiling at each other and appreciating their differences in a big way.

The jokes are absolutely hilarious and the real life analogies to the caveman were so spot on.

In the show, Mark produced fantastic observations of how females and males communicate differently in western culture.

A solo production has got to be the hardest performance an actor can possibly do. For one man to hold the audience’s attention for so long and remember such a long script is an enormous task.

If you’re having trouble understanding the opposite sex. This is the best relationship advice you’ll get in a long time.

Bart’s review: Defending the caveman
As I write this my dear sweet girlfriend Vivienne wants to talk to me, and she is complaining that I can’t do two things at once.

I am reminded of one of the dozens of insightful and very funny observations made by Mark Little in his show Defending the Caveman.

This specific observation being that as much as they try, men genuinely can’t do two things at once. I hear you brother.
So I enjoyed the show immensely as it managed to be quite funny without ever sounding disingenuous or going over the top in the search for laughs.

I went into the show fully expecting it to be a drawn out homage to ‘According to Jim’ or ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ type humour (ie. ain’t them ladies be crazy!!), but I came out having had a thoroughly enjoyable and actually enlightening experience.

Mark’s caveman analogies are never stretched too far, and he does a fantastic job by not veering off course into broad gender generalisations and stereotypes in one direction, or aloof pseudo-psychology and philosophy the other.

Gurrumul Gains New Territory and so do I…

Hi Kids,

It’s been a while since I updated this lovely blog… I have moved to London and am now writing for the Australian Times - a free tube paper. They got me to do an interview and review with Gurrumul which you can check out below.


Gurrumul Finds New Territory.


FOR a blind and extremely shy, non-English speaking Aboriginal to travel all the way to Europe to share his story with the world, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunipingu deserves everything the world has to offer.
The Australian Aboriginal artist formerly of Yothu Yindi fame conquered the ARIA Awards last year, winning Best World Music Album and Best Independent Release and has excelled himself with a trail of other awards and accolades along the way.
With the aid of Gurrumul’s translator - manager and close friend Michael Hohnen - The Australian Times was able to get an insight into the journey that brought him to the other side of the world, and a glimpse into the mind of one of Australia’s most unique artists.
Michael Hohnen has worked with Gurrumul for many years and believes people are drawn to him as an artist purely because of his distinctive musical qualities. “After speaking to a lot of people I have found that when they put his music on, they suddenly say, ‘wow I love that beautiful sound and voice’,” he said.
“We have recorded it acoustically and have made it sound really beautiful, warm and as approachable as possible. People don’t realise that Gurrumul is blind if they hear his music for the first time, they just want to go and buy the album.”
Gurrumul’s music is almost solely sung in the Yolngu dialect and his lyrics centre on his life story, family and experiences whilst growing up on Elcho Island, off the coast of Arnhem Land, Northern Australia.
Michael said his limited English skills add to his introverted temperament.
“He is really good at understanding what people are talking about in English,” he said.
“If he listened to this interview he would understand quite a bit of it but he would fall apart if you asked him to speak. His confidence speaking English in public is non-existent.”
Gurrumul’s musical popularity has surpassed his acute shyness and Michael said he has come a long way from his performances with Yothu Yindi.
“He has come into his own. He was always treated as a talented backing singer, keyboardist, guitarist, and drummer,” he said.
“We explained to him that people weren’t hearing who he really was and how special his voice sounds. I don’t think he had much faith because he told me that he liked his music but he didn’t think other people would like it because it was so stripped back compared to anything he had done before.”
Gurrumul’s calculations for the success of his solo career have excelled all of his predictions.
The release of his first solo album in Europe has been received to great acclaim reaching the second spot on the album charts in Germany and achieving great success in a number of other countries.
“It’s sort of happening country by country,” said Michael.
“Gurrumul is very private and doesn’t have much to do with anyone that we deal with let alone the press but he does respond to key people. He has a unique intuition for people’s personalities.
He can pick something up about a person early on. He knows how many people are in a room and what sort of people they are straight away.”
Gurrumul shows are far removed from a common touring artist, as he uses his instincts to gauge the crowd when on stage.
“He knows how popular he is by how big the crowd sounds,” said Michael.
“There is not a lot of audience engagement but what happens is that people just sit, glued to Gurrumul and watch for any tiny little things that he does. We also have a camera on him so even if he is sitting quite a way away you can see any subtle expression that he has.
In a strange way it is like going to see an opera singer, it is curious and emotional throughout the whole performance but you are just hearing someone sing ‘Arias from Ahrnem Land’ instead.”

Geoffrey ‘Gurrumul’ Yunupingu
Gurrumul Review 8th November @ The O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire


When the Gurrumul crowd members were asked to take a seat instead of squeeze into an O2 Empire mosh pit, it sure seemed they were destined to witness an awe-inspiring event.
German/Australian trio Worldfly warmed up the crowd, lead Michael Maher taking charge on guitar and piano.
It’s rare to see a box drum and a cello fused together but these three seemed to pull it off seamlessly.
As Gurrumul prepared to take the stage, an audiovisual presentation from the depths of the Northern Territory Arnhem Land gave an insight into Gurrumul’s home and family history.
What followed was an extremely humbling experience.
,Gurrumul’s tales about animals, his ancestry and nature were accompanied by a string quartet.
Of particular note were his songs ‘Bapa’ and the finale ‘Gurrumul a History: I was born Blind’
Gurrumul’s voice had a timbre that emanated an ethereal inner peace.
The audience continued to marvel at him throughout the show, breaking their silence only to clap vigorously.
His close friend and double bass player Michael Hohnen provided banter between songs, with shy Gurrumul using his voice for singing alone.
The multimedia display with English translations of the Yolngu dialects magnified the meaning of his soulful words.
Some light comic relief was provided when the band flipped their instruments upside down and played them clumsily in reverse; an almost necessary break to the trance Gurrumul’s voice created. As Gurrumul prepared to take the stage
There is no doubt this man has a unique musical quality.
He is an Australian gem, helping to share Aboriginal culture with the rest of the world.

Bestival Review 2009

Bestival, as the name suggests is the BEST festival ever. (Well, the best one I have been to anyway.) Let me tell you why…(please don’t be deterred by the negativity of the first paragraph. I can assure you that paragraphs following this make up for it 10 fold.)

We arrived in Porstmouth (the south of England) after a grueling train ride from Waterloo to find a huge line to board the ferry to the Isle of Wight. It was well worth the wait, once on the ferry, we could see the whole of Portsmouth Harbour. Upon arrival at Ryde (a town on the Isle of Wight) we had to wait in another line for about 2 hours to catch a bus into the festival grounds. When you are carrying three days worth of clothes, food and a tent, you don’t want to be standing in a line for 2 hours, let alone four, so we were, along with everyone else very frustrated by now.

It all seemed worth it as we got to the festival grounds. Bestival is set at a place called Robin Hill Country Park. Basically, it’s this HUGE Park with a hedge maze, farm animals and some other rural stuff. It’s surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful green grass; the perfect place for a festival. We managed to sneak in our bottle of vodka past security even though they were checking everyone’s bags. I don’t quite know how we did it. A short trudge down to the campsite and we set up our tent. It was imperative that we made sure exactly where we were camping. When you have 40,000 people camping in one spot for three days, you can get lost in a sea of tents. (I can only imagine how crazy it will be at Glastonbury.) The sun was shining, so we ventured out to check out the festival grounds.

Bestival had so many art installations, sculptures and stuff to see. There are huge flags everywhere, weird tents with mirrors all over the walls, circus tents, people in costume and even a random piano, just in the middle of a field for anyone to play. Every year they have a theme. This year it was Space, so as a consequence, there were big sculptures of rockets and aliens at every turn. All this stuff and the festival hadn’t even started.

The Thursday night in one of the big tents they played the movie ‘This is Spinal Tap’ on the big screen followed by a performance by The Cuban Brothers. If you’ve never heard of the Cuban Brothers before just think of some trashy South Americans trying to do Hip Hop and break dancing. It was hilarious.

DAY 1:

Friday morning and the first official day of the festival saw us wake up to a breakfast of fresh bacon and eggs. We also picked up a free festival newspaper. Yes that’s right, the festival puts out its own newspaper every morning for punters.

There were three really awesome bands in a row on mainstage. Passion Pit, Friendly Fires and Florence and The Machine. We managed to get a spot right near the front of the stage to watch them and made some really awesome friends in the process. Our new found friends, Fay, Amanda, Clare and Amy took us under their wings and we hung out with them for the rest of the festival. We have made lifelong friends through them.

Passion Pit, Friendly Fires and Florence and the Machine were all equally as good as each other. Fiery red headed Florence took to the stage sporting a hot green and silver space suit for her performance with some wicked high heels to match.

A short trip back to our campsite to get warm clothes at dusk was followed by a short viewing of MGMT’s set and a dance off at the RIZLA dance tent. The headliners of Friday Massive Attack then played a surprisingly dodgy performance. Maybe it was where we were standing relative to the stage but their set just didn’t do it for me.

Just before bed and a lullaby from Bat For Lashes in the Big Top tent proved to be just what we all needed.

DAY 2:

We woke up to another beautiful clear and surprisingly warm day. Saturday at Bestival is dress up day. Bestival is well known for its fancy dress themed days. In 2005, an attempt was made to set the Guinness World Record for most people in fancy dress at any one event. Literally every second person had a costume on. Some people had spent hours, maybe days making their costumes. (For pictures of some of them see my Facebook photos.) Our first act of the day was Lily Allen. She came out wearing a Barbarella costume. Her set was pretty much a duplicate of what I saw when she came to Australia a few months back. Nonetheless, it was a stellar performance. The only problem was that all the sound kept shorting out on the main stage.
Next up we witnessed the finesse of the one and only Seasick Steve. Having been taught guitar by a local mechanic, Seasick left his Oakland, California home aged 13, drifting around the States doing odd jobs and living the life of a real hard-lucked bluesman. His experiences over that time inform the ruggedly infectious music he makes today. He is almost 70 years old and His set was out of this world. For one of his songs called Diddley Bow he played a one stringed string instrument with a screwdriver as a slide. He is a real ‘Song a dance man’.
Kraftwerk headlined the main stage that night with their trademark visuals and onstage layout of four men standing in front of synthesizers. It was a historical moment as ‘the Beatles of electronic music’ played their hits like Autobahn and Man or Machine. A lot of the younger kids weren’t really that impressed at the technicalities of the German foursome’s tunes. I guess they just don’t understand that the music they were hearing was made about 35 years ago and laid the groundwork for pretty much every dance song they hear today.
Later on we attempted to enter the Big Top for a late night set from La Roux. This proved to be a little difficult as the tent was overflowing with a sea of bodies. We ended up reluctantly watching from outside whilst looking longingly into the tent.

DAY 3:
By the time you reach day three of a three day festival without a shower, things start to get a little bit smelly. Lucky we had our trusty pack of baby wipes. We ventured down to the Christian Church tent for some free porridge and herbal tea that they were handing out which proved to be a money saver and rather yummy.
Our first port of call was a set by a fantastic up and comer Speech Debelle. She is from South London and has just won the Mercury Prize (A very prestigious music award in the UK.) Her folky English Hip Hop proved a real treat.
Next we managed to get front row for American indie lads Hockey. Their tune ‘Too Much Soul’ went off and we later met them in person in the mosh at mainstage. Definitely a band to watch.
On a little stage tucked into the trees of the festival we saw Luke Pritchard from the Kooks do an acoustic set. He ended up bringing two of his band members with him but it wasn’t on the program as ‘The Kooks’ so not many people knew about it. His set was absolutely fantastic and a lot of his family and friends were there to watch as the festival is not far from his hometown of Brighton.
As my friend Justin puts it, ‘The alternative version of Coldplay’, The Doves were on main stage in the afternoon. Their soft, driving rock was a smooth way to wind down after a weekend of party.
Just when we thought we couldn’t get anymore cruiser, the Fleet Foxes took to the stage. Their impeccable harmonies and beautiful melodies put the whole crowd into a trance. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend.
I would recommend Bestival to anyone who wants to go to a festival overseas. It is different to any festival I have ever been to and so much better than any event I could ever dream of creating. If you haven’t started saving money already, then start. Just like me, YOU, could have the time of your life.

Reading Festival

Reading Festival Review

Think of the Big Day Out festival in Australia, then think about three whole days of the Big Day Out and you have Reading Festival. Located about 45 minutes outside London, the Reading festival is held at the end of August in the lovely town of (You guessed it) Reading. This year it was host to some amazing acts such as Kings of Leon, The Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead. Unfortunately, we only managed to nab tickets to the last day but what a day it was.

The best thing about going to a three day festival on the last day is that you have all the energy in the world. Everyone around you has probably only managed to get about 4 hours sleep the last two nights and they haven’t seen a shower since they left home a few days ago. We were fresh and it really showed as we walked into the huge gates and past the compostable toilets.

With only a few clouds in the sky (a pretty nice day by English standards) we witnessed our first band of the day, ‘Noah and The Whale’. They provided some lovely relaxing tunes to accompany the first cider of the day.

Representing the Australian contingent of the festival, The Living End hosted the main stage. It was a pity that no one knew who they were. We managed to find a few stray Aussies that were going nuts to ‘White Noise’ and ‘Prisoner of Society.’

The dance tent was burning up with the sound of Canadian DJ Deadmau5 ringing in everyone’s ears. He is sure to have one of the biggest dance hits this year with ‘I remember’ repeating on radios all across the world.

A quick scoot over to Metronomy proved that they are a band to watch in the coming months with the boys playing some fierce tunes to an eager audience.

Mainstage then saw Vampire Weekend throw out some awesome renditions of Oxford Comma, Campus and A-Punk. As the sun set to the sounds of one of the most underestimated indie bands in years the weather certainly got colder.

The crowd slowly warmed up with the aid of scarves and beanies whilst some preferred to continue running around half naked. Karen-0 from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs however took to the stage in a hot little spacey number. A few costume changes later, she had managed to punch out ‘Zero’, ‘Gold Lion’ and ‘Phenomena’.

Britain’s Reading favourite’s Bloc Party had the job of warming up for Radiohead but they could have headlined on their own with the performance they gave. The band formed in 1999 at the same festival, so the night underscored a special 10-year mark in their career. Kele made a touching announcement half way through the set. “Ten years ago I asked this guy (Russell Lissack) to play guitar for me — this song goes out to all the young kids in bands out there,” he said.

A long wait followed Bloc Party while the stage was cleared and huge white pipes were pulled down from the roof to cover the entire stage. The extremely long wait in the pending rain was definitely worth it just to hear the crowd roar as the legends that are Radiohead entered the arena. It was a lyrical, emotional and visual rollercoaster as the band took everyone on a journey as far back as The Bends and Hail to the Thief. Their renditions of classics like ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ and ‘Karma Police’ had the whole crowd in a giant sing-along. The band took to the stage one more time, finishing with an epic encore of ‘Paranoid Android’. I feel like writing a bunch of words just isn’t enough for what went down that night.

Reading festival certainly proved to be an epic experience I would recommend it to anyone who loves the vibe of a big festival like the Big Day Out. There’s certainly something for everyone. And for those of you who don’t like the crowds. Please stay at home.

Van She Magic.

Well, haven’t we had a huge week in music. The triple J’s Hottest 100 of ALL TIME has been on the radio… Michael Jackson’s funeral was on and in the sleepy little town of Brisvegas.. Van She played a gig.

Please see below.

Twas a rather chilly night in West End, but a warm welcome met us as we entered the Hi-Fi bar arena. The Hi-Fi is so effective because even the shortest people can see from most places around the room. The theatre like curtains opened to reveal Brisbane’s BMX. The vibrant 6 piece produced a few dance worthy tunes. It was a nice treat away from electro traditions to see a Saxophone being used. Their tones sparking similarities to New York’s Black Kids and The B52’s. The clear lens Ray Ban trend seems to be taking over the indie music scene with almost a quarter of the crowd clad in oversized black rimmed glasses. A lot of the people who wear them don’t even have eye problems. Members from support band Elke - also from Brisbane – were sporting those very glasses. Aside from their copycat fashions, their music was superb. They are clearly four boys with a heck load of passion for what they do. Some seriously super tunes emanating from their guitars, keys, and drums. It was about a half hour wait until the curtains would open again to reveal that Van She’s vocalist and bassist Matt Van Schie has dyed his hair brown. The rest of the bands were also there, playing their so called Vemixes. Unexpected surprises came as staple songs such as ‘Strangers’ and ‘Changes’ were altered so that choruses became synth infused instrumentals. Their eclectic visual display on the screen behind the stage fused sight and sound together producing a sensory overload. The band are getting better and better with each visit to Queensland. For lovers of electro, Van She are an essential experience that must be endured live for a proper education into their world.

Parlez Vous Francais?

It’s not every day that an Australian band will ask you to take off your shirt. But for the boys of Art vs Science, it’s as common place as a shop keeper asking for cheque, savings or credit. Their masterpiece ‘Parlez Vous Francais?’ has had people stripping all over the country. How could a song do this? Could it be that they just want to see everyone get their kit off? Or could it be that they are just downright crazy? So many questions left unanswered, so many tales untold. Well one thing is clear, in their musical experimentation these Sydney boys have been engaging in a battle for Australian’s eardrums. But before they take over your car radio, IPod, television and even your world, singer and synth player Dan Mac has a few insightful words to ensnare the senses, educate the underprivileged and well, give you a taste into the world of Art Vs Science.

‘Do you speak French? Do you speak French? If you speak French, take off your shirt.’ Roughly translated, that is what the Art Vs Science boys are saying in their latest single and according to Dan, a surprising amount of people can speak it. “We have a couple every now and then.” he laughs. “At one of the Groove in the Moo shows there was one guy front left going mad when we were playing that song and he had his shirt of waving it around and going ‘I’m French! I know what you’re saying!’

The lads will be embarking on a mammoth tour around the country to celebrate the release of their EP which will include Splendour and Parklife. “We just can’t wait to start playing again,” says Dan. “Splendour (in the Grass) will be the first gig we have playing in almost two months. I am itching to get out there.”

The band’s live shows are full of energy, bravado and each band member has their own special move to wow the audience. “Jim likes thrashing his hair about. Dan has a lot of funny faces but his signature thing is that he spits water in the air,” say Dan. Fans can expect to hear some brand new tunes from the trio as they take the stage. “We like to road test our songs in front of audiences before we record them so in the coming shows and this half of the year we will be slipping in new songs and seeing what the crowd thinks of them,” reveals Dan. The bands plan is to tour until the end of the year then record an album ready to hit shelves around March next year. “We will try to explore having a theme throughout the album. With an album you can have more ideas and more instrumental parts in between the bangers. It provides more depth than an EP does.”

So who would win in a fight between Art Vs Science? “I’m not really sure to be honest,” says Dan. “I think science could win but art could win too because it would use dirty tactics.” The name of the band was chosen almost by accident but the band are growing to love it. “As time goes on the name has more meaning when we are writing,” says Dan. “Music as an art form is cool but there are also scientific aspects to music in the way songs are structured, the way you enjoy them and how they affect you emotionally. Essentially there is a formula to what makes a band really good and a song really good.

If you look at all the best music that is around, especially pop music, all these hit songs have something in common and we try to use that in our own writing. But to be honest we just thought it was a cool sounding name. We only just started it on a whim and it was purely by chance that it worked out so well.”

By Vivienne Hill

Art vs Science are playing…

14th August, The Zoo, Brisbane
15th August, The J, Noosa
16th August at Neverland, Coolangatta

And Parklife Brisbane on the 26th September.