Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

So two weeks ago (June 2014) I took a much needed break, and went on a 8 day holiday to other parts of this marvellous country, those parts were Melbourne, Victoria and Tasmania. Initially I was just going to Tasmania for a friends birthday.

It was my first real holiday, since i’d never taken one before, though saying that I guess you could argue the 7 days I spent in Melbourne two years ago for The Living End’s Retrospective Tour was indeed a holiday. Looking back at it, I guess it was!

So I set off on Monday June 2nd at a reasonable hour, it was only my third time flying, to a lot of people who have barely flown before some would probably still find it quite nerve racking and uncomfortable, me? I don’t care, I just want that seat belt sign to turn off so I can put in my headphones and drown out the cabin noise, that is always there and maybe read a book. The flight from my starting point Gold Coast Airport (Coolangatta Airport if you’re a real local) would take about 2 and a half hours from take off to landing at Tullamarine Airport in Victoria. It was a pretty average flight, but probably the best of all my flights with Jetstar, especially since the person I was seated next to didn’t show up so I scored a window seat fuck yeah, best seat in my opinion!

First day in Melbourne was pretty relaxed, Christine & Daniel surprised me at the airport which was awesome of them, since I was not expecting to see them until that evening or the next day maybe. We ended up going out for lunch, catching up since it had been a good 18 months since we last saw each other, so we spent the afternoon chilling before going and locating the hotel I was staying in over on Spencer Street across from Southern Cross Station. So after lunch and catching up we wandered off to find my hotel and check in, check in was successful and a breeze and we head up to my room which was on the 2nd floor and Christine has to point out the foyer of the part of the hotel I was staying in looked like a prison.. It really did just look, thanks for pointing that out Chrissie. That night I just relaxed in the hotel room watching the free Foxtel, which consisted of 6 channels 3 were alright, the rest were typical Foxtel garbage. I also splurged and had Grill’d for dinner, which sucked. Which is a shame since last time I had it in Melbourne it rocked.. I guess not all of their stores carry the same standards, oh well!

Melbourne day two! I decided I wanted to check out this factory outlet mall that was down the road since I needed a decent pair of shoes since I came to Melbourne with only steel cap work boots, which in my defence were my only pair of cold weather shoes I owned… So I ended up finding a a Converse store which sucked in choice and price, so bugger them I thought I ended up at another store called ‘Roadhouse’ which is apparently up here too, so that’s cool. They had Vans on sale for a bargain price and they had what I was after in my stupidly large foot size, which was just amazing. See how bitchin’ they are?! After lunch I was meeting up with a mate of mine Jack, who I missed out on meeting up with last time I was in Melbourne, so I was determined to catch up with him this time around! So we met somewhere in the city, where exactly I forget, but we decided we’d go up Eureka tower which is the only touristy thing I did my entire time in Melbourne, it was pretty awesome, it gave a nice 360 degree view of the city and out to Port Phillip Bay. It was pretty awesome, and I got a total of ONE picture, I am such a tourist.. After Eureka tower we went and met up with another mate of mine Jesse, who ditched us all up here to move to Melbourne almost 3 years ago, which is cool I can understand Melbourne is pretty rad, I must say. It was good catching up with him and Jack since it made the day go relatively quick and some good laughs were had and drooling over musical instruments i’ll never be able to afford happened too. After catching up was done and I had to bid farewell to Jesse & Jack, I headed back to the hotel since I was off out catching up with MORE friends that night for booze & food. I was meeting said friends in Fed Square at the Beer Deluxe? Yeah I think that’s the name of the place, so I didn’t feel like walking to Fed Square which would take 20 mins to half an hour, I decided I would utilise Melbourne’s awesome tram system! So I asked some nice locals where to go and which Tram to catch to get to Federation Square, I got on the right line at first, but the tram I was on was going to Docklands, whoops, so I hop off after only passing one stop, and dart across the road where a very helpful girl was sitting and instructed me that any tram on this line was what I wanted I was ever so grateful. So I was only like half an hour late in the end to catching up with my mates! So I arrived and finally found everyone, they were down stairs.. Which I totally knew (totally didn’t), we chatted whilst waiting for Joel, who was using the excuse he was in a meeting, turns out a meeting means drinking at work, best meeting ever in my opinion! After a few drinks we decided food was needed, so we all eventually decided on Chinatown, and I was told dumplings are the go, I went with it cause dumplings are awesome. We made our way to Chinatown to a dodgy looking back alley to an even more dodgy looking dumpling house, which served awesome food, cheap too so even better! After a few plates of dumplings, a beer and catching up it was time to disband and head off since it was 10pm. So we made our way back to Flinders St Station where we parted ways, well sort of Joel decided he would catch the train from Spencer Street across from where I was staying so we took an interesting route through the back streets of the Melbourne CBD, I couldn’t believe how quiet Melbourne was of a night, unlike Brisbane and Surfer Paradise which are usually pretty busy on any given night!

Wednesday my third and final full day in Melbourne! So my final day I was determined to try and find a nice birthday present for Helen and get a few things for myself. I knew what I was after but everytime I came across a shop that I thought was nice and had what I wanted they didn’t or they were so expensive it was a deterrent :/ being unsuccessful in the present department I set out in search of a JB Hi-Fi to buy the new EP ‘The Pants Collective’ by The Living End drummer Andy Strachan, which is totally awesome and worth way more than the 10 dollars I paid! So that mission was successful at least, but I felt like apologising to the girl at JB whom I had to ask for help locating it since she looked pissed I dare ask for help. But she was really nice after she realised I was being genuine in asking for help since I couldn’t find the damn thing, since it was put in the ‘Popular’ section. I wandered around the city some more exploring and getting to know Melbourne a bit more, it’s a great city with a lot of friendly people and cool little places to eat at or shop at. On my wanders I ended up at Minatuar, a shop dedicated to everything geeky, well comic, video game, tv show and some music related merchandise, pretty awesome store but nothing of interest this time for me since they had no Sons of Anarchy gear 😦 unlike last time I was there! But they did have a Dexter graphic novel series where it appears Dexter Morgan has travelled down under and is still at his serial killer ways after Miami, which leads me to believe we could see a reboot of the Dexter franchise in the future, maybe that’s what Showtime meant when they said they were ending Dexter on a note where it could come back later on. That night I was meeting up with Christine & Daniel for dinner at the Hofbruahaus which I have heard a lot about from them, and seen lots about it too, mostly being their 1 litre steins of beer, which are really nice… To accompany the delicious beer there was an epic sized chicken schnitzel which honestly is possibly the best damn schnitzel I have had! I am going back there next time I am in Melbourne for sure, and for what it is, it’s moderately priced. After dinner we decided that we should eventually head off, so made our way back to the car (once Christine could remember what level she parked on haha) and made our way back to my hotel and discussed the plans for the next day since I was flying out the following day!

Thursday, my last few hours in Melbourne I spent mostly walking around looking at things again or watching the trains at the station, cause trains are cool, and if you don’t like trains then you’re lame! After a while I headed off to the Crown where I was meeting up with Christine for lunch and then eventually head to the airport, it was nice to just spend sometime and chat about things, sadly Daniel wasn’t there since he had this adult thing called work, but you get that. So after a while we decided we should head to the airport since it was about 2 hours to my flight out, so we left and it took us a while to get there due to Melbourne traffic which was rude I tell you, rude! So we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare (hour 15 or so!) this time I remembered NOT to wear my steel caps since I didn’t want to take them off at security, cause that’s just annoying really, and as per usual I got the “terrorist test” as Dave calls it (explosives testing) which got me chatting to the bloke as to what they’re specifically testing for, turns out it’s just explosives and firearms not drugs, which is fair enough I guess considering you could cause a bit of a problem on a flight with a gun or some kind of explosive. But the part that got me was they aren’t too interested in illegal drugs, like if they see them they’re meant to inform the AFP which is understandable, but they could let them pass through if they so wished. The bloke said to me “You could have a kilo of cocaine and I could just let that go” I replied with “Mate if I had a kilo of coke i’d be taking a private jet.” to which he thought was hilarious and a true statement, he was a cool dude I liked him since he had a sense of humour unlike other airport security i’ve come across before haha. Flight was quick total of about 40 minutes which is awesome but also didn’t allow for much iPod time 😦 Landed in Launceston a head of time (I think) to receive a text from Helen saying she couldn’t make to the airport and her mate Jason was gonna pick me just look for the bloke in hi-vis, I thought a bloke in hi-vis I don’t know he must be trusting simply due to the hi-vis, ha! Even at night Tasmania looked really nice, much nicer than where I live (unless I go out west past Toowoomba, I really like it out there!) after we got to Helen’s and met new people it was time to do a bit of shopping for food and the all essential booze! This is also the part where I found out Tasmania have abolished the plastic shopping bag, and good for them I say! Also it means everyone seems to have a million of those green coles eco bags that they charge 1 dollar a piece for here up home, down there? 15 cents, I could’ve made an empire from selling coles eco bags up here at even triple the buy price?! After we got back to Helen’s it was basically chill out and wait for Ben & Dave to arrive. I must say I felt instantly at home down there, and didn’t feel out of place which I guess made it a little hard to leave the following Monday since I was gonna miss the great company!

Around rolled Friday, the day of Helen’s birthday, which meant fun, hell yeah! We decided to visit a local national park (I guess that’s what you call it?) called Cataract Gorge, lovely place even if we didn’t go that far cause Dave & I were like “Eh that’s enough for us” and Dave managed to slip over on a surface that wasn’t overly slippery. But it was beautiful out there, lovely cold looking water too I must say 😛 After that it was the all important shopping trip for food for the weekend and alcohol, which didn’t really survive the night despite there being 7 bottles between a few of us for the ‘pre-drinks’ prior to going out for dinner heh. We went out to dinner that night with about another 20 of Helen’s friends all of whom were really nice friendly people which was awesome.

So it’s August 27th 2017… A good 3 years & 2 months after this trip I took to Tasmania. I wrote this blog the following week after I got back from that amazing week I had down there. Anyway, I never finished writing this, but enjoy what I wrote. I hope to go back sometime in the near future, Tasmania is a beautiful state, with amazing food, alcohol & breath taking scenery.

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My second time attending the Australian one day festival titled ‘Soundwave’ again I was setting off with my mate Mike. Unlike last year it was just Mike & I this time, no one else! Though I am hoping next year or the year following a dear friend of mine from England might be joining us for Soundwave! The traffic was non existent on the M1 northbound, couldn’t say the same for southbound, sucked to be anyone going south, ha!

So we got to Brisbane found the best parking EVER (5 dollars for 24 hours, BARGAIN!) and it was only a short walk from the showgrounds. We set off to the RNA Showgrounds in anticipation of not missing out on the first bands we want to see Anthrax for me and Dragonforce for Mike. So I made my way to Stage 1A where I planned to be all day, at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be in the pit or not, I soon decided that it wasn’t worth NOT being in the pit especially since it wasn’t that full yet and I had plenty of barrier access!

Anthrax!
ANTHRAX!

My first band for the day and a band I have been wanting to see live for years now! Their set was pretty short only 45 minutes, which meant they only had time for about 5 or 7 songs 😦 and most of the material came from Among The Living, I was hoping more from Spreading The Disease and Worship Music (their latest album) they also threw in their cover of AC/DC’s T.N.T which was a really awesome cover, just a shame the crowd wasn’t that enthusiastic. My only issue with Anthrax’s set was Joey’s microphone was pretty damn quiet compared to everyone else, also fill in guitarist Jon Donais from Shadows Fall lead was almost unheard in the mix, which was a disappointment. Jon Dette (former Slayer drummer) was filling in for Charlie Benante who sadly had to sit out due to personal reasons, but he stepped up and did an amazing job.

Anthrax’s set as follows (from memory)
Caught in a Mosh
Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t
Antisocial
Indians
Hymn 1 (played over PA)
In the End
T.N.T.
I Am the Law

It was a pretty good set, but I wasn’t that familiar/a fan of most songs they played. I wanted to hear more from the new album and some from Spreading The Disease.

Stone Sour!
STONE SOUR!

I’ve been a fan of this band since they reformed back in 2002/2003 and have wanted to see them live ever since, and yesterday was my chance I wasn’t going to let that slip through my fingers! I was in the same spot where I was for Anthrax, right on the barrier stage right (left of the stage if you’re looking at it) or Josh Rands side if you’ve been to a Stone Sour show before. I was pumped to see them, probably more excited for them than I was Metallica. The set opened with Gone Sovereign and into Absolute Zero the two opening tracks off their new album House of Gold & Bones Part 1. So much energy from Corey, he also sounded PHENOMENAL! Everytime I see him his voice has gotten better, I thought he couldn’t top it with Slipknot last year with his vocals, but I was wrong! His voice is like a fine wine gets better with age.

The band went onto play Mission Statement followed by two new songs, then the obligatory playing of Through Glass which actually brought a tear to my eye and reminded me of those amazing friends I have met thanks to Stone Sour, it was beautiful. It was at that point where Josh attempted to throw a pick to me and the girl next to me, but landed short next to the security guard who wasn’t exactly helpful (he redeemed himself later that night though by giving me a Metallica beach ball) he threw the picks deeper into the crowd. Oh well!

The band closed on their highly energetic song 30-30/150 which in a sense means a lot to me, since I had printed on the back of my year 12 jersey in high school. Over all it was an amazing set, I just wish they had a 90 minute set or something. Given the band A Perfect Circle were dead boring and did not fit being on Soundwave. As usual Corey was great with the crowd, he’s a real character live. He’s fun and knows how to interact with a crowd. This picture here is possibly my favourite that I took all day, and it just so happens to be of Corey Taylor throwing water at me.

Corey Taylor

It’s just an awesome action shot of Corey, one that I am quite proud of.

The setlist for their 45 minute set was as follows, some stuff maybe out of order though.

Gone Sovereign
Absolute Zero
Mission Statement
A Rumor of Skin
RU486
Through Glass
Reborn
Say You’ll Haunt Me
30/30-150

Slayer
SLAYER!

It was time for the band I was rather sceptical to see after the weeks events with drummer Dave Lombardo. So I wasn’t going to go to their stage and lose my awesome Metallica spot. I was genuinely excited to see Slayer, but I had been feeling it less and less as the day progressed. Not that Jon Dette who replaced Dave isn’t a bad drummer, he’s actually quite great was just the fact it was Tom & Kerry being the only 2 original members in Slayer at the moment which was a real let down, since Kerry is dead on stage and Tom, whilst he is awesome it’s obvious he’s been feeling it less and less these days. Where as Jeff & Dave always came off as the life of the band and with them both not present it sucks. Though Gary Holt (Exodus) and Jon Dette (former Slayer) were great live.

Slayer opened with Disciple, fucking killer. Jon’s double kicks were powerful, so much so it actually hurt. They played all their hits, which was cool. The crowd seemed to love them. I seemed to ruin a blokes day who was handing out the wrist bands telling him that Dave wasn’t present, sorry dude!

The thing I was sorely unimpressed with Slayer was Toms vocals were soft and Gary’s leads were not mixed into both channels making it look like his guitar was turned right down. We finally heard him on the left side of the arena during their 3 encore songs. But other than that all you could hear was Kerry King which was pretty boring, might I say..

Slayers set was something a bit like this, there’s either something missing or it’s out of order.

Disciple
Die by the Sword
War Ensemble
Chemical Warfare
Altar of Sacrifice
Jesus Saves
Mandatory Suicide
Seasons in the Abyss
Dead Skin Mask
Angel of Death
South of Heaven
Raining Blood

Then it was a painstakingly long wait for Metallica had to put up with some band I had never heard of “A Perfect Circle” who were dead boring and had no idea how to interact with the crowd or themselves. The singer also looked like he was coked out of his mind. Linkin Park then came on afterwards, they’re okay, but i’m not a huge fan of them they have a few alright songs.

METALLICA!

It was now time for the biggest band in the world, that’s right the band 50,000 odd people came to see, Metallica. The band opened with Hit The Lights which sent the crowd INSANE, myself included. They then went into Master of Puppets, possibly their best song ever written. They ran through a few older songs from Justice & Puppets before playing something a little newer Fuel, when James sung the line “Gimme Fuel, Gimme Fire, Gimme That Which I desire” the entire back of the stage lit up in flames from the pyro. You could feel the heat 30 odd metres away at the barrier, it was something. Cyanide followed Fuel, it was also the only song off Death Magnetic they played which sucked cause I like a few other songs off that and the EP as well. During Cyanide the camera guy who was positioned front of the stage went down along the barrier 3 or 4 times during the song, broad coast everyone who came into view up on the massive screen at the back of the stage, of course I got a bit of screen time which ended up being texted by a bunch of mates who were also there saying they saw me. There’s also a blurry as fuck picture circulating facebook!

After Cyanide it was some older tunes then intermission, which was followed by a short videoclip and then the gun fire started.. Yep, it was the intro to One. The whole stage was lit up with all sorts pyrotechnics from small charges, all the way upto fireworks lighting up the sky, it was spectacular. As the smoke cleared James entered and started playing the opening riff to One. The band powered through another 4 songs before ending on Enter Sandman which ended in James on the stage floor with the cameraman zooming into his guitar pick which had a special design for the Australian tour, which consisted of an Australian flag one side with Metallica 2013 and the other side a map of Australia with Australia in the Metallica font with a Kangaroo with a skull and horns.

After that the band left the stage, only to have AC/DC’s ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top’ play over the PA whilst the band went to prepare for their encore of three songs. Their encore consisted of Creeping Death, Battery & Seek & Destroy. The final song of the night Seek & Destroy was energetic as all hell, during the set the Metallica crew threw Metallica branded beach balls into the crowd and more descended from the top of the stage! It was truly a great way to end the night. After the show was over, that wasn’t it, the band came back out with plastic cups full of guitar picks for us! And Lars have out a dozen or so drum sticks. It was really awesome to see a band of their stature put so much effort into giving back to their fans.

Metallica’s set as taken from Metallica.com was as follows.

Hit the Lights
Master of Puppets
The Shortest Straw
Harvester of Sorrow
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Fuel
Cyanide
Sad but True
Fade to Black
…And Justice for All
One
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Blackened
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman

Encore:
Creeping Death
Battery
Seek & Destroy

After that we made the timely walk back to the car to head home. It was great cause all we had to do was get in the car and drive out. No waiting around for an hour to pay for parking, downside no talking to cute girls, but we all have to make sacrifices. So we hit the highway and went south first stopping at Yatala for food, but it was too packed with people from Soundwave so we thought fuck that! and decided on Coomera about 10-15 minutes down the road. Which was a smart move there was next to no one there at all! We got some “food” and then went on our merry way at this point it was 1am and we were both buggered, it was a long day and we just wanted sleep. I got home around 1:45am and promptly passed out after texting a friend to let her know I was home safe.

And what I scored from Metallica/my ticket/time table/wrist band for the day.

Stuff!