Monday, May 21, 2012

City & Colour Live

City and Colour Dallas Green
City and Colour Dallas Green
City and Colour Dallas Green
City and Colour Dallas Green
City and Colour Dallas Green
City and Colour Dallas Green
City and Colour Dallas Green

Canadian singer/songwriter Dallas Green kindly bought his City & Colour project back to Sydney last week for another year of back to back sold out shows! Following a huge demand from us Australian fans, this was the second time Dallas has been out to tour his third full-length album Little Hell

I've been lucky enough to see City & Colour a handful of times now, and each time Dallas has delivered the collection of heartfelt songs we have all come to know and expect of this acoustic-folk luminary. But last week's show was something different entirely... Dallas was no longer the lone ranger, but instead stood prominently towards the left hand side of the stage and conveyed himself as equal to his four bandmates. This gave the entire show a sort of zealous energy, analogous to his recent departure from mainly acoustic beginnings to the fuller sounding tracks of the latest release. 

I should stop here and be completely honest with you guys... I did not receive the release of Little Hell with wide open arms last year. As a long time City & Colour fan, I was no stranger to those acoustic classics. For years they had become the soundtrack to my life. Certain tracks were applied to certain situations, and lyrics were interpreted to invoke way too much emotion in a way that most prepubescent teens so frequently do. And I think it was the raw, stripped back acoustic that facilitated this. So when City & Colour embarked on the bold new sound that is Little Hell, I was quick to give it a second place status.  

Now having heard Dallas's voice flow effortlessly over those warm guitars, simple keys and subtle percussion live, my opinion has completely changed. I stood in absolute awe from the moment they opened with We Found Each Other In The Dark, and my jaw remained gravitated towards the floor for the remainder of the evening. 

While Dallas is a quiet man, crowd interactions were aplenty. He proved he can still charm an audience with his did bit stories. He recruited us for backup vocals during What Makes A Man, and encouraged us to dance to Fragile Bird. For Body In A Box, Dallas did something no other artist has ever done and asked us to put away the phones and cameras, and just experience the show for what is was, to which we all respectfully obliged. 

The set was highlighted by a breathtaking performance of my favourite track The Girl. For that six minute period, I was whisked away to a world of wonder. While I sang along and sort of slow danced on the outside, I was pondering life's greatest questions on the inside. I was deep in thought for the first half, wondering about the lady the song was written for. What was she like? What happened in her life? Where is she now? Then the song song kicked over into its more upbeat second-half and I was  consumed with happiness, remembering how my very beautiful friends shared their first dance as a married couple to this song only two weekends ago. I've said that only my teenage self did this when listening to City & Colour songs, but in all reality, Dallas's voice just beams with so much honesty and heart-felt emotion that it's almost impossible to stand there and not be guided through some sort of self-evaluation. I'm sure I'm not alone in this... 

A two-track encore featuring crowd favourite Comin' Home saw the audience hang on every last chord as the evening drew to a close. Where I'd usually be a complete chatter-box on the way home, this time round I was so stumped on finding the right words to express what I'd just seen and heard. Each and every song were both lyrically and atmospherically alluring, and delivered in a way my now adult self could appreciate fully. 


Just a quick note on the photos... This was my very first attempt at indoor concert photography guys! I ended up taking over 120 photos (up until Dallas asked us to put the cameras away) and decided to salvage and show just these seven. While most were hindered by the drunk Peter Brady swaying to and fro in front of me, others were just plain awful (& blurry). But, in saying that I think I've managed to stay true to the mantra that editing the selection is more important than shooting it and come up with some goods! These haven't been altered with any editing software either. The colours you see are the colours I saw!! No rose-tinted Sierra or Nashville effects up in here. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gone to 'Where The Wild Things Are'

I woke up this morning and habitually checked my Twitter feed, only to be told by a very busy trend that Maurice Sendak had passed today at the age of 83. I was saddened, but I instantly remembered his many achievements and smiled. Both within the literary sphere and for me personally... 

Maurice Sendak is arguably the most important children's book author/artist of our time, and his famous story 'Where the Wild Things Are' can be recognised by many. Yes, we all loved how Max got up to mischief in his wolf suit, and created a wonderful world within his imagination. But there was something much more deeper at play here. With this tiny self-written, self-illustrated book came a genre-breaking tale set to change the nature of children's stories forever. There were fairytales... and then there were Sendak's hauntingly beautiful tales, dancing in the darkness of the human psyche. He was a fearlessly honest writer, who didn't intend to write stories for children but spoke to them in a way not many others could. And although he was widely criticised for this, Sendak always faced his difficulties with the utmost courage. He taught children to face it through his books. 

For me personally, 'Where the Wild Things Are' was always a go-to book. It was a comforter. I could confide in Max when the world was against me (who knows, maybe I got in trouble for something stupid), run away, rumble with some monsters, let loose with my emotions and be prepared to come back and face those troubles level headed. Max was there, and he could assure me that everything would be better this time round. Hell, I should probably revert back to this way of dealing with things!!? 

As the library leader of my primary school, Sendak's works were always displayed in the priority spots... and when it came time for the annual school performance, I played that tiny yellow flower in our stage rendition of the story with so much pride (nerdy book girls have no dance skills). It's so hard to put into words what his work meant to me. This is a sad day for library leaders. For children. 

Ever since I heard his interview with Terry Gross last year I realised just how much this man was in tune with himself and everything around him. He spoke so eloquently on life and love lost. And when prompted to face his own mortality, said "I have nothing but praise now, for my life. I'm not unhappy. I cry a lot, because I miss people. I cry a lot because they die, and I can't stop them. They leave me. And I love them more...And it's what I dread, more than anything, is the isolation.... Oh God, there are such beautiful things in the world, which I will have to leave when I die. But I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready". It was poignant then, but even more so now. I know that when Maurice Sendak gets back home, his supper will still be waiting and it will be hot. Just the way he likes it. 

And he sailed off through night and day
and in and out of weeks
and almost over a year
to where the wild things are.
R.I.P Maurice Sendak, literary legend.

For those who'd like to hear the story again...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Mr & The Mrs

Photo c/o Tink Simplicity (because we weren't there and who takes a camera to a housewarming!!?) Read on...
It's already Tuesday and I am still on some sort of love high from the completely surreal events of last weekend! If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen that at approximately 8pm on Saturday night, my dearest friend Tegan of Tink Simplicity announced that her and her then fiancĂ© Nathan had got married earlier that day!!! Who knows how long these birds have been keeping their plans a secret? But holy moley did it surprise us all. One minute we were just sitting in their backyard 'Housewarming', sipping ciders and catching up, and the next minute there was a giant projector on the wall, showing scenes of the two saying their vows and exchanging rings. I squealed when I saw the date and timestamp on the video, only to turn around and see them in the window behind me exchanging rings for real. They tied the knot in the most literal sense of the word, bequeathing upon each other special handmade rings of twine.  I'll tell you honestly, in that moment my heart turned into a puddle on the floor. Well, not really. But it did leak out of my right eye!

After I congratulated the happy couple, it began to sink in that this was now a wedding... I kicked myself for not bringing my DSLR along and felt embarrassed by my choice of incredibly casual clothing and messy bun, both showing a distinct lack of effort. But then I realised, if Tegan and Nathan really wanted the giant hype of a big fat fancy wedding, they would have had one!? What they wanted was simple and beautiful. And without all those fancy trimmings and such, the love these two have for one another was able to really shine through in such a raw way. 

They did keep with tradition and shared a very heartwarming first dance, to which all friends and family gladly joined in. I wish I had even iPhone photos of this magical evening, but I decided to pick up Tegan's camera and got a little snap happy with it instead. At the same time though, this was the kind of night that not even a photo could capture the feeling of. I will never need a photo or a video to remember it by, and I bet I can safely say the same for anyone that was there.

I've had the pleasure of calling these two my greatest friends since meeting them at the very young age of fifteen and their strength and love, both individually and as a couple, has been an inspiration ever since. They deserved every single ounce of the happiness they had back then, and now as the Mr & the Mrs. I don't even have to wish them luck for a long and prosperous or beautiful life, because they've already got all of that and more... 

Tegan has said that if you'd like to read her love story it will be up on her blog very soon. In the meantime, you can follow her all the way to New Zealand for a last minute honeymoon by checking out her Facebook page here
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