28 February 2009

Beer Report : Coopers

Australia does not have a good beer reputation. Brands such as Fosters, 4X, Toohey and VB cause nausea in beer drinkers the world over, and joy to lagerlouts and other miscreants.
One standout exception to those is the Coopers brewery, and I've reviewed Coopers Sparkling Ale previously, as part of the Michael Jackson tasting. Today brings the Cooper Extra Strong Vintage Ale, a 375ml 7.5% ale. Nose is caramel, honey and marmite/malt. Palate is quite thick, not very hoppy, tangy, meaty, malt with an overtone of unexpected sweetness. Finish is again meat and malt, but a bit more hops bitterness. Overall, it's a poor man's Thomas Hardy Ale.

Worth drinking? Well kinda, 7/10 from me. But not worth spending time hunting it out. I'm not complaining, and intend enjoying the other bottle I have.


Hard Day so far

Really crappy day here, heavy rain and chilly. So...

I woke up, I went back to sleep.
I put the coffee on, cut some rockmelon, water melon and nectarine. Went back to bed. Wrote some stuff. Sent stuff to the people it was for.
Listed some CDs on trademe, listened to music.
Poached some eggs, put them on lightly toasted sourdough with basil pesto and tomato (very yummy). more coffee. Watched Daily Show, now Steel Mill (been crap for first 5 vids, but now some Mesuggah 'Bleed' which is superb).

Not sure what I'm going to do tonight, been invited to a friends for movies, there's also a beer fest in town (if anyone out there really wants to go, give me a yell), or I could watch movies here.

To give myself time to decide, I think a nice beer while watching Unforgiven would be a good plan.


25 February 2009

Releasing the Inner Bogun

Over the past month I've seen Leonard Cohen, Ryan Adams and Iron Maiden. It was Maiden who brought out the fan-boy in me, I'm thrilled to have seen the other two (Cohen was superb), but Maiden and I have been friends since we, as 3rd formers, were listening to the devil's music from Live After Death, and being wowed by the evil art !
headed up to Auckland after getting soaked in Wellington, to find a torrential downpour up there too. As I was a bit bored, and wanted to browse shops, I walked to my hotel in Epsom (ish) area. I was rather wet.
No matter, shower and feet up to relax, then head to the pub to meet Nick. We found a pub in Ellerslie, a chain joint, but very very good beer - Cock and Bull. Even some beer from a pull handle, so we drank. It got to a point where we needed food, which was also good.
Headed to the gig, getting a bit damp on the way. Caught the second half of some NZ band, who weren't bad, and the other support act Lauren Harris (Steve's daughter). Um there's some potential there, but generally yawn.
Maiden hit the stage to much happiness from the audience. opening with Aces High, and proceeding to play an absolute blinder of a gig. Stunning set list, I'd have been happy hearing Hallowed by thy name or Rime of the Ancient Mariner, we got both. We also got Fear of the Dark, which was the album that got me back into the boys. FotD was the newest song they played, with most (?all) of Live After Death making an appearance - including Phantom of the Opera.
Maiden are an awesome live band. They realise metal is, largely, theater, and by god is Bruce a fantastic frontman. I've been luck enough to see some of the supposed best frontmen/singers, and Bruce really did blow them out of the water. His voice, or air-raid siren, is in stunning form. There are set changes, explosions, clothing changes, audience engagement, it's truely an experience. And the Maiden philosophy of well if one lead is good, two is better, so goddamn, we'll have three, works it's ass off live. So for a bunch of guys who have been doing this for 30 years, the energy and work rate was incredible - certainly puts a lot of younger bands to shame. And so much fun!!

Audience: well I felt out of place not wearing an IM t-shirt (I don't even own one). The audience was pretty good natured, not as relaxed as an extreme metal gig (yeah go figure!), but certainly really into it - so no talking during the songs (or not much), which is such a nice change.

I'm sure I could have written a more constructive review, but really this gig was fantastic. Setlist perfect, vibe great, performance and stage show stunning, certainly makes for one of the best gigs I've been to. A sentiment echoed by others who went.

Yay Maiden! Up the Irons. Some pictures from stuff.co.nz here.

I'm a fan boy and proud. All I'm annoyed about it not going to see them in Christchurch as well... Nick and I had toyed with the idea of doing the double-header :D

This post brought to you by Epic's new beer : Mayhem. Think of a steroid version of Epic Ale (yeah that's how fucked up this beer is - superb!).
me x

24 February 2009

pisht post

Whisky tasting! this time, Ardbeg. Wasn't overly impressed, but review to follow. Sometime.

had a good time and am seriously thinking about dramfest in chch this weekend. mmmm.

i could see J and T, which is alphabetically close to G n T. And Kilkommon are turning up with their three year old - the new spirit was sublime.... rumours of the PC7 showing up are also tempting me. Especially as my PC6 has had a delicious accident. Although as I'm the first born, accident is a misnomer.
Did I just use misnomer while rather pissed? cool. I soooo rock. Im managing to hold back from getting another whisky, but only just. We had 7 (4 cask, 3 weak), but there was an open seat opp me and Nick, so I ended up with 9 (6 and 3). I'm not blaming anyone. As I did get in there before the others thought of it. Huzzah. Action-bruce. 

Love and I'll sleep well, very soon now, B.

22 February 2009

Words that should not go together

Folk and metal.
Including a hurdy-gurdy, Uilleann Pipes, Bodran and Bagpipes. From the, and I'm quoting their website here, fast growing pagan-metal scene.
to give you an idea how wrong this is...

A more positive review, concerning Iron Maiden, will follow...

17 February 2009

Slightly relaxed post

Right it's been awhile since I blogged about feck all, so with a glass of pinotage I approach the empty page with booze fuelled enthusiasm. I also have the Blackfield DVD on, which I like a lot. It's Steve Wilson exploring the shorter song format with Aviv Geffen (from the pseudo country - hahah there's the first wind-up, more to come!).
I've even had Jews try to explain the point of Israel and get confused halfway through. A simple pour quoi tends to bugger things a bit.

With that introduction, let's stick with music. I'm not a big fan of Led Zeppelin. Overblown, boring, over-hyped, and lacking creativity. I don't mind some of the blues stuff and some of the later things, but all in all, given me Deep Purple any day - a band seriously overlooked in the rawwwkkk stakes.
This view seems to raise concerns with many rock fans, apparently it's impossible to like rock music and not love LZ 4 - for those rest of you, that's the album with the dude carrying sticks and has 'that' song. The one about the lady who seems to have fuck all idea whats going on, and hasn't hired a gardener to chop her hedgerow. Although I believe Elton John volunteered to clean up the garden...unless its a refernece to the lady being particuarly hirsute. Now there's a word that needs to be used more. Apparently hirsute refers to women specifically, I didn't know that. So everytime some twat uses the word referring to a guy, rip them! DO IT !

It occurred to me the other day that everyone rips pop music lyrics, witness Ed Byrne's brilliant savagery of Alanis' feckin spoon song. So it's passe now, but when he first did, my god were we laughing. Only topped by Eddie Izzard's surreal exploration of digging cats. I should really track that down one day.

But apparently LZ are, as we all know, ROCK GODS and their lyrics are, although stupid, above reproach. Well my half empty bottle of pinotage says, bugger that buddy!
Randomly choosing a song, I've ended up with:

The Battle Of Evermore
Queen of Light took her bow, And then she turned to go,
The Prince of Peace embraced the gloom, And walked the night alone.
>>The Queen left, leaving the Prince alone (shades of Freud?)

Oh, dance in the dark of night, Sing to the morning light.
The dark Lord rides in force tonight, And time will tell us all.
>>You're drunk, dance stupidly at night. Sober in the morning will make you moan/LZ apparently liked LOTR, and the last sentence makes no sense.

Oh, throw down your plow and hoe, Rest not to lock your homes.
Side by side we wait the might of the darkest of them all.
>>Quick run away, so we can steal your stuff. You'll probably die.

I hear the horses' thunder down in the valley blow,
I'm waiting for the angels of Avalon, waiting for the eastern glow.
>>Look to the East for I will come (actually it was West wasn't it? LOTR geeks?) otherwise, nibble some magic mushrooms or blow.

The apples of the valley hold, The seeds of happiness,
The ground is rich from tender care, Repay, do not forget, no, no.
Dance in the dark of night, sing to the morning light.
>>Find ye some cider. Get drunk, dance at night, I've already told you that.

The apples turn to brown and black, The tyrant's face is red.
>>The tyrant, or bourgoisie, is upset his profit crop has gone off as you buggered off to eat mushrooms

Oh the war is common cry, Pick up you swords and fly.
The sky is filled with good and bad that mortals never know.
>>There's crap in the air. You're too thick to understand.

Oh, well, the night is long the beads of time pass slow,
Tired eyes on the sunrise, waiting for the eastern glow.
>>Where TF is that feckin army, Gandalf lied. Stupid hat wearing twat.

The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath,
The drums will shake the castle wall, the ring wraiths ride in black, Ride on.
>>Oh dear god, it is a LOTR reference. Damn you LZ ! Go feck a hobbit.

Sing as you raise your bow, shoot straighter than before.
No comfort has the fire at night that lights the face so cold.
>>We're all fucked, so if you sing the opposition can work out where we are. Cunning eh?!

Oh dance in the dark of night, Sing to the morning light.
The magic runes are writ in gold to bring the balance back. Bring it back.
>>Drink some more. Find some writing in the bottle.

At last the sun is shining, The clouds of blue roll by,
With flames from the dragon of darkness, the sunlight blinds his eyes.
>>And so it comes to pass we all die from the dragon. Lay of the hard drugs kids.

Love, me.

15 February 2009

Ahhh Steel Mill

Was an Iron Maiden special !!

And yes I am getting a bit excited about the concert next week :D

Had a quiet-ish weekend, had some quality time with my other woman, whisky - she's *very* accomodating...heh heh. Also had Fuller's 1845 (or wotever it is), I know this loses respect from Neil, but I'm prepared to cope with that. Afterall, it'll take him 30 hours to actually get here and complain in person...

Have made scones and coffee today, and that's largely it. Go me.


10 February 2009

Best of NZ and the US

Work is hell at the moment. There's far too much crap going down preventing me from actually doing what should be. But I can cope with that. Eventually. Should be interesting to see how things fall, I'm safe where I am, but I do hope some people ain't.

So it's the little things I look forward to. Coming home after a nice long walk, listening to good music, nice cold shower (it's horribly muggy at the moment). Then dinner; paua on green tea noodles with soy/lemon sauce with kiwifruit, washed down by nice tap water, and Puhoi Berry yoghurt for dessert. This was a very nice dinner.
I even have some for lunch, I had forgotten I've got a lunch with my boss and an HR friend. Oh well, should be a nice lunch.

Currently watching the last episode of The wire S4. Believe the hype. As everyone else has said, this show is perfect. In depth, long stories, great acting and brilliant script.

Last week S2H and went to see Ryan Adams and the Cardinals at the State Opera House. Which sucks as a venue (see Wilco review last year). But the crowd were into it and over all it was a relaxed chilled gig. The Cardinals are very very tight band, and RA almost fades into the background. Whcih certainly helps for atmosphere. Great set list playing some of my favourites. RA was an amusing wee lad and the interplay between him the band, and the audience certainly helped the gig. I enjoyed this a lot. And I'm really pleased to have seen him live, he is a very talented lad.


6 February 2009

Music to keep an eye out for

Ramblin' Jack Elliott has a new album out soon, produced by the legendary Joe Henry. I've raved about Joe's production, and his albums 'Civilians' and the slightly better 'Tiny Voices' to pretty anyone who would listen - and his music choice was the sole redeeming feature of Knocked Up. Anyway the prospect of those two working together is rather exciting - and all for the superb Anti label (home to Joe Henry, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Neko Case, Jolie Holland etc...). The first track, which this blog is being written to, can be heard here.


Beer Report : Fri

This particular blog is being written while watching Oz and James Drink to Britain Ep5, a beer odyssey.

A week or so ago I drank a beer from Oud Beersel, and generally liked it. Here's another:
I'm sipping very sour kriek lambic. The standard kriek lambics (Lindemans, Timmermans, Boon) seem sweeter, certainly less bottle conditioned than this one (fair amount of sediment). The cherry taste is weak but lingers in the top-back of the mouth, not unpleasantly. The nose is typical lambic, but with a pronounced wet hay smell. You could almost describe it as a summer straw with sheep crap :D
Having said that, I enjoyed this beer. It is refreshing, the sour lambic taste works wonders on a hot day, and it is somehow more authentic than other krieks. Well worth trying.

Christmas beer? Well yeah it's a silly idea down here, but it makes sense in Europe. So another Belgian beer: Affligem Christmas, or Christmas Ale for the rest of us. It's strong (9%), syrupy, dark and tastes like Christmas pudding. Nah really it does, theres cherries, sultanas, golden syrup, that wonderful mouth feeling with pudding, all it's missing is custard (not that I'd recommend that). It was quite 'vigorous' when opened, but poured nicely - Adrian was driving so didn't have much. And I didn't realise it was 9% (figured around 6-6.5%). Anyway, definitely recommend it as a winter drink - not quite so good in the middle of summer !

Slumdog Millionaire : yeah the hype is right, it is very very good. Sure it's predictable, but it's well written, well directed, I'd say well acted - except most of them ain't actors - and definitely worth seeing.

Love, B

2 February 2009

The Wrestler

Darren Aronofsky is one of the more interesting directors, the big-uns being Pi; Requiem for a Dream; The Fountain and now The Wrestler.
The movie stars Mickey Rourke as an old wrestler whose hayday was long past, 20 years past. Our intrepid band of viewers, S2H, Dusty Rhodes, Eddie the (billy) Goat, Grizzly Adams and me (SmackDaddy was poorly) enjoyed this (AFAIK). It's far more linear (S2H) than other Aronofsky movies, but the character development is wonderful. Rourke is in pretty much every scene, and carries the movie beautifully. His is an engaging character exploring loves, a lost (ish) daughter, other wrestlers - working the small time circuits, and his legacy. The critics have loved this, leading to Rourke getting the nod for Best Actor at the Oscars and Tomei for Actress in a supporting role. Both thoroughly deserved. Rourke has been cleaning up at a number of award ceremonies, and you can see why.

Very recommended, sure it's a bit graphic in places, but it's also very engaging.


1 February 2009

Crap bands

I've been going to a few concerts at the Bot Gardens. Generally they've been good, tonight's wasn't. That was unfortunate as I was looking forward to this one - show tunes (Gershwin, Cole Porter etc. not ALWebber crap). The band were tight and had a good vibe, the male vocalist was hitting 80% of his notes and was ok, but the female vocalist. OMG. Flatter than a pre-pubescent. Even if the band had changed down a couple of notes, she still would have been crap. She was, literally, that bad. My friends and I ended up leaving after an hour as it was painful to listen to.

So having wandered up Northland hill twice today, I'm now lying in bed listening to Schubert's 8th trying to relax. I meandered down and back to Mark Hollis' s/t album, which went someway in making me happy after the debacle of the concert. Oh well I guess it was free, and we laughed, a bit. Well until we realised it wasn't deliberate...

Love, B

Weekend, and artists lucky to be signed in the 80s

I've had a nice relaxed weekend, there will be a beer report soon - a tipple shared with Adrian. Wandered downtown on Sat morning to buy clothes, and am in a quandry over some jeans (tight-ish ones are cool, less cool ones are looser...which to get). Then came home pickled some beetroot, cooked some rhubarb, made some plum muffins. Ate lots of watermelon. Huzzah!

So after doing a few things I needed to today (Sunday) I've watched some more Wire (s4), and now Talk Talk videos.

Which brings me to subject #2: Mark Hollis. Now there's a strange looking fella (check out those ears!) there is no way his brand of pop would have been signed in the 90s or 00s. Especially with those looks!
And yet the level of influence Talk Talk have had on other major acts... I think TT are a brilliant band, and like a few major talents, they improved dramatically through their career. Early TT are like a talented Duran Duran, synth pop with stunning hooks - which still don't sound dated. Later era TT demonstrates a prodigious talent pushing pop boundaries, and not really caring - which, as you'd expect, kinda led to their downfall (and the influential court case). Mark's solo album is one of the truely perfect late night whisky/cigar albums, the other that springs to mind is George Michael's "Older" - if we discount jazz/blues classics. So like Gabriel, Michael, and (albeit not solo) The Beatles, Hollis managed to turn into something really interesting, even if it did kill his sales. The only downside is the lack of anything new since the solo album, as Hollis retired from music. There's a quick summary of TT/Hollis career from the Guardian here.

that's all. at some point I keep meaning to comment on the Hollis solo album, and GM 'Older'. But eh who knows when that'll be.