YOUNG FATHERS @ THE CORNER HOTEL 7/01/2016

Gracie Crowley | February, 06 2016

The Young Father’s gig was the first gig of 2015 for me. I had only recently become aware of the three man hip-hop group, due to their appearance on the Falls Festival line up. The trio who hail from Edinburgh, Scotland; where they became a more prominent presence on the hip-hop circa after winning the Mercy Prize for their debut album Dead, had returned to our shores with their latest album White Men are Black Men Too.

Now going in to see these guys, I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I’d listened to their discography on Spotify multiple times and had blasted their tunes on my daily runs; I’d also done some google-ing about the band members. But what I experienced that evening was a delightful surprise.

These three human beings bounded onto the stage and dived straight into the performance with such energy and volume that it was a shock to the senses. Every person I could see in the crowd, including myself, instantly started bopping along to the unique and energetic sound.

Voodoo In My Blood, Rain or Shine and I Heard were all undeniable hits; I cannot recall a song that didn’t have people at the very least swaying to the beat. Although a special boogie was definitely had when they played the stand out hits Shame and Get Up, with at least three people in earshot declaring ‘what a tune!’ as they danced their way closer to the front for both.

Overall I had a wonderful experience at the Corner, which also happens to be one of my favorite venues here in Melbourne, listening to the wonderfully talented trio that is Young Fathers. I actually could not fault the sound and the crowd was one of the most pleasant I’ve experienced at the Corner.

I’m glad that in the days preceding the gig I did my google-ing, because afterwards the some things clicked. Firstly, I did notice a rather political motive behind their lyrics. Their chatter before songs about being “accepting Australians” who “do not turn people in boats away from their shores” struck a huge chord with the crowd, who clapped and cheered in support. Another was their acknowledgement of the first Australians, our indigenous founders. This also struck a chord with the crowd, who clapped and cheered even louder at these references.

I discovered the members, Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole, and ‘G’ Hastings had come from somewhat varying backgrounds of disadvantage.

Alloysious was born in Liberia and moved to Edinburgh at a young age. Kayus, was born in Edinburgh to Nigerian parents and actually lived in Nigeria for a period of time before returning to Edinburgh. “G” was born in Edinburgh and grew up in the housing scheme of Drylaw (which for us Aussies who mightn’t be familiar, is similar to government housing.)

As one mere person in the crowd that evening, it was a humbling experience to watch all three members who are now world-touring artists, with a clearly growing fan base, perform with such energy, passion and talent. These guys even go without an encore as they truly do pour all of themselves into their set. The energy not once faltered and it was an experience I would definitely recommend to you all.

I did unfortunately miss the opening act for Young Fathers. Note to self – don’t get distracted at dinner beforehand. My sincere apologies for not being able to review Black Vanilla and Ecca Vandal who I’m sure were wonderful in their own right.

So to conclude, Young Fathers were Hip-Hop with a message. With a level of energy I haven’t felt from an artist for a while. I would without a doubt encourage you to add these guys to your playlist and delve into the beats that make Young Fathers a unique musical experience.

 

Top 5 recommended songs: 

  • Shame
  • I Heard
  • Get Up
  • Voodoo In My Blood
  • Rain or Shine

CLICK HERE FOR THE PLAYLIST

(This was supposed to be my first article for the wonderful Juliet Report, however David Bowie’s passing, the Hottest 100 and my 21st Birthday all seemed to capture my attention first, apologies and I hope you enjoyed!)

 

[Credits: Words by Gracie Crowley and Illustration by Juliet Sulejmani]

 

 

Being a snail is scary

 

 

Mel Howard | January, 22 2016

I have been haphazardly practicing yoga now coming onto six years and instead of blabbering on for pages about my limited understanding of it, I’ll say simply that every person will come into their own yogi flow and happiness. I also firmly believe it’s something you can never officially be ‘good’ at.

‘But I’m not flexible’ people say to me, ‘I can’t touch my toes’, neither could I when I started. Well, I kinda could, but it hurt. Achieving little things like toe touching is great, achieving the bigger poses like your first wheel or a solid dancer are even better. What I mean when I say you can never be ‘good’ at yoga is that achieving a pose is never the point; the point is being in the pose. Pushing it. Opening it. Squeezing it. Breathing your heart into it and perhaps floating away right above it. That happens only when you are present and your goal isn’t to look the best, it’s to push your best and that is why you’re never good at it, you’re just happy, or not concentrating.

This week I started at a studio in Byron because it had an incredible two months for two people for $200 deal. I hate that money becomes the deciding factor in so many things that I know are good for me but at the same time there are so many in Byron it did make it easier to pick one.

I’ve been four times so far and each class has had completely different standout moments like this one. Today’s was snail pose. To give you a visual, snail pose is a simple straight backed seated pose, legs engaged in front of you, hands helping you lift from the crown and then curling the head as close as you can to the knees. Snail pose (I imagine) because you curl like its shell. It looks familiar, I’ve done the old forward fold extension from the hips and heart over the legs, but as I curled my crown in toward my heart I felt the clench in my chest. My breathing quickened. My blood pumped harder. Immediately I started sweating. It astounds me how my own body can play me like this. Turn on a dread that apparently has been residing in my back until now, waiting for this moment to rear its unknown fear into my heart. Usually when this happens I pull out in shock, but this morning I sat still. Inhaled and exhaled and tried to work out what this fear was. Tears in my eyes. Panic in my mind telling me to quit. Breathe in and out, in and out. Slowly and calmly still hot and scared but there it is, I see it lighten in front of me, the unknown, the new. I push a little further, round a little harder on the exhale, it jolts back hard into my chest, inhale, I’ve never been here before, it’s new but I’m doing it, I’m here. I did it. All the things I said I would, I did it. Suddenly the pose is bigger than this class, it’s more than yoga. What’s living in my back is all the fear of starting something new.  Of letting go of the past, the good and the bad that comes with a home and leaving it. It’s the deserved acknowledgment of achieving what you said you would, because I’m only just realising now that I rarely do and it’s monumentally important.

‘Slowly inhale as you curl back out of it, lift your crown through the spine’ Geoff is calling me back to my body. The fear isn’t completely gone but it now means something entirely different. Because it’s known, I’ll expect it. I’ll look out for it, and from here on out snail pose will be a challenge that reminds me to acknowledge my achievements and my strength.

Ananta are celebrating their fifth birthday this year and if you’re in town, do yourself a favour and spend as much time as you can spare between here and the beach. I’ll be the panic stricken newbie in the corner smiling through it all. Please say hello, I’ll probably need a hug. Or a vino.

Click here for Ananta Yoga: Ananta 

 

[Credits: Words by Mel Howard and Illustration by Juliet Sulejmani]

Gracie’s Triple J Hottest 100 Votes

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Gracie Crowley | January, 19 2016

Each year myself and countless others undertake the rather emotionally draining journey that is, voting for the Tripe J Hottest 100, and that journey has come to an end with only a couple of days left to vote. I myself had a shortlist of exactly 73 songs to cut down to a seemingly impossible 10.
This year was a wonderful one in terms of musical exposure for some Aussie artists as well as a plethora of international newcomers.

My own Triple J top ten is as follows:

Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better
Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Paper Mache Dream Balloon
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love
Hockey Dad – Can’t Have Them
Marlon Williams – Dark Child
Modest Mouse – Lampshades On Fire
Young Fathers – Shame
Cousin Tonys Brand New Firebird – Queen of Hearts
Django Django – Shake and Tremble

All rather long winded and carefully worded jokes aside, picking 10 songs from my shortlist of 73 was hard. Cutting Meg Mac out to include Unknown Mortal Orchestra, to cutting Father John Misty for the beautiful Marlon Williams, and making the decision to pick King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard over my beloved Courtney Barnett were all nerve racking decisions. However, I feel confident in my votes because the others I have mentioned and the other 60 artists I simply don’t have the word count to touch on them all, they all however had substantial amounts of airtime on Triple J this year, and will clearly attain countless other votes.

So without further ado here’s my breakdown:

Tame Impala’s ‘Currents’ was always going to be a front runner since March when they released the first track off the new album ‘Cause I’m a Man’, however ’The Less I Know The Better’ tugs on my heartstrings too much to vote for anything else.

My no-so-guility guilty pleasure Kendrick Lamar’s entire album ‘To Kill a Butterfly’ was a game changer and it took every ounce of self restraint to not vote for every song off that album.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released their 10,000th album that was yet again a winner and picking one song honestly felt like choosing a favourite child.

The rather magical group that is Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s song ‘Multi-Love’ was a crowd favourite at Meredith Music Festival this year, and is one of the most enjoyable songs to have a boogie to in my opinion.

Both Hockey Dad and Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird are two bands I discovered this year and have fallen for, I cannot wait to see what they bring to the table in the future.

Marlon Williams’ haunting voice that sounds like Johnny Cash and Nick Cave collaborating and speaking through this smiling Kiwi’s body demands attention and merit for his incredible talent, and if you have the chance please go see this wonderful human live, you will thank me afterwards.

As for Django Django and Modest Mouse, well to be perfectly honest I thoroughly enjoy most things each band create and I simply couldn’t not include them (also Modest Mouse are playing some sideshows in Australia while they’re here for Byron Bay Bluesfest this year, so do yourself a favour and BUY A TICKET).

Lastly Young Fathers, who are an incredibly energised group from hailing from Edinburgh are hip-hop with a message that if you haven’t already, should keep your eyes and ears peeled for.

I wish you all a wonderful Hottest 100 Day next week, otherwise known as Australia Day. Don’t forget to tune in and enjoy some of your favourite ice-cold beverages and like me sit with your fingers and toes crossed that Hotline Bling doesn’t make the top 10.

Man I hate that song.

(and by hate I really mean, ‘have needed to consume at least one goon sack and be well and truly off my rocker to be able to enjoy’).

Listen to Gracie’s Top 10:

I’ve created a playlist on Youtube for you to listen to all the songs

CLICK HERE FOR THE PLAYLIST

Fail Better

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Mel Howard | January, 15 2016

The other day I was feeling kinda down. This is ridiculous because, in no particular order of importance and definitely not limited to;

–       I am healthy. Very healthy.

–       I am loved. Extraordinarily, by wonderful friends and family.

–      Four weeks ago I returned from a ten-week European adventure and subsequent east coast Christmas tour to visit aforementioned loving family.

–       For the past 14 days I have lived in paradise on Earth aka Byron Bay, with a wonderful couple who treat me like royalty.

–      This year is so full of potential for me to be the happiest I’ve ever been, that                 sometimes I think I might physically burst. It’s gross.

On this day though, all of these facts seemed unimportant and trivial because usually I expect things will be bad, or go bad, or never happen at all.

I called my friend Juliet.

You know those people who always pick you up? That’s her. She’s full of genuine interest and inspiration and positivity. As I quizzed her on the progress she’s made and her expectations for this incredible 100 challenge (note, she’d just read four pages of her current book on the escalator walking to her car), I felt my own insecurities disperse into enthusiasm for her excitement. Her happiness in achieving for enjoyment sake was completely contagious.

I remembered feeling this way a few weeks back. In a gorgeous wine and cheese bar in Verona with my best friend Jess. A little lubricated and embarrassingly inspired, we vowed to live by a Samuel Beckett quote I found somewhere, sometime and fell in love with like the sucker I am;

‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’

I’ve since tracked down the source of this quote down via millions of memes and as expected, its original in-text reference from his 1983 publication Worstward Ho sadly resulted in its losing a little of its initial magic. But out of context, as I knew it then, and because there was Jess and wine and brown cheese paper to write love letters to each other on, it became my mantra to believe that things won’t be bad, or go bad, or never happen at all.

Before calling Juliet, I had been forgetting the simplest part of my new mantra; try. Before I knew it, our conversation snowballed over phrases like “you should write too… about anything… new things, people you meet, places you go, books, films, gigs, cook with me!” and finally settled into a giant snowman with a placard reading “You can have a column!”

So, here I am. Armed with a new lease on life, a new home, routine, a brand new perspective and attitude to say ‘let’s give it a red hot go!’

This year I will try. Whole-heartedly and in view of people I hope and feel already are kind. With Juliet and everyone I now love and will love to come.

Fail Better. by m_girling for thejulietreport.

David Bowie

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Gracie Crowley | January, 12 2016

Just two days after his 69th birthday David Bowie passed away. In turn, our world lost an icon. A totally unique artist who was the first of his kind, with a burning urge to be “something more than human.”

It is an impossible task to try to communicate the meaning David Bowie holds within the hearts of his millions of fans. Yet for myself – David Bowie will always be the Goblin King, dancing around his magical kingdom. He will be those 6 hour long car rides home mending a broken heart. His voice has been the soundtrack to both best and worst times of my short life, and he will always be that record I can put on, and suddenly not feel so strange and alone in this scary world.

His time here on this Earth may have ended but his legacy remains eternal. I like to think Bowie has simply moved into another realm of magic, greeted by a Starman who’s been waiting in the sky for him all these years. But right now, it’s okay to shed some tears. ⚡️⚡️⚡️

[Credits: Words by Gracie Crowley and Illustration by me]