soundtrack of the soul

1) Wake up.
2) Turn on stereo.
3) Shit happens...
4) Turn off stereo.
5) Go to sleep.

music is my world

i love what homesick does to me, i love the piano in epic, i love the drums in the perfect drug when the music comes back in after the pause, i love getting goosebumps from dies irae, i love the sheer power of du hast, i love the way the guitar comes in from the distance in where the streets have no name.............

i don't understand how anyone could not like music. i know such people exist, but i'd hope they're few and i honestly feel sorry for them - they're very very unlucky, and i wonder if they could ever see or hear any beauty at all. such things are wasted on some people.

music and life


who are the biggest bands in the world?

if you said The Cure, Portishead, Prodigy and NIN; your world is a lot like mine.

if you said U2, Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins or Tool; your world is similar to mine.

if you said Boyzone; your world is so far removed from mine i doubt you'll ever read this.

music makes the world go around. the deeper distinctions between social groups come not from clothes but from music. after all, if you wear a suit to work but listen to Skinny Puppy when you go home; people are going to think a bit before they call you corporate slave. if you dress "goth" then listen to Spice Girls... the game's up, matey. people aren't going to buy it. sure, maybe you really do have a gothic heart; but you're going to have your work cut out to prove it :)

so my world is described by the music i listen to. not defined though. i try to stay away from "defining" anything because that's restrictive, but description makes life easier. after all, it's easier to use goth as a point of reference when describing what i do. is there any point in saying "i wear black, listen to gothic/industrial/heavy electronic, go to MIDIAN/Darkadia/Ward 10b/Junkyard, watch movies like The Crow/Blade Runner/T2/12 Monkeys/Star Wars/Nadja etc......" when i could just say "i'm kinda goth/cyberpunk with some other things thrown in"? it's quicker. if someone's actually interested they're going to work it out for themselves anyway.

but having said all that, i think it's important to just go with the music you like... it's a backtrack on some of the things i've just said, i know, but there you go... life is full of paradox. case in point: me (surprise, surprise ;)). i listen to NIN, cure, Marilyn Manson, Ministry, Sisters of Mercy, Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, Snog, Soma, Dead Can Dance, Enigma, goa trance, U2, Live, Smashing Pumpkins, acid jazz, Tricky, Portishead, Garbage, Bjork, Harry Connick Jr. (when the mood is upon me), Supergroove, Mozart................. so, boys and girls, can we fit that lot into a category? not one that is going to quite work, and certainly not one that the other members of the grouping are going to allow (people are very closed in that respect - guilty, your honour - refer to my own comments about Spice Girls).

the interesting thing about it all is that i forget that a lot of the bands i and most of my friends consider "huge" are not really well known - in fact, some of them are quite obscure when you look at the big picture. examples of bands i've named and got blank looks about: Marilyn Manson (this was after "sweet dreams"), Pop Will Eat Itself, Snog, Soma, Dead Can Dance, even Sisters of Mercy draws a blank sometimes. try Klute, Pigface or Elecric Hellfire Club anywhere other than an industrial-oriented club and you'll probably never find anyone who knows them. people only know NIN because of "closer"; Prodigy because of "Voodoo People" and "Breathe"; Marilyn because of "Sweet Dreams" etc... despite their awesome track on the best selling Crow soundtrack, very few people know Machines of Loving Grace.

my point? i realised the other day that i think they're huge because in my world they are. as far as general society is concerned they're virtual unknowns. it works the other way, too... i look at mainstream top 10 listings and say "who the fuck are they?" to about half of them and usually "fuck i hate them to the other half". let's do an example - today's "What's On" listings:

Top 10 Singles

  1. Don't Speak - No Doubt (never heard of them)
  2. I've Finally Found Someone - Bryan Adams/Barbara Streisand (i know this one from the tv ads, and god i hate it. the scariest thing about seeing the clip for it is the suggestion that those two are going to marry and breed).
  3. Discoteque - U2 (know it, love it. but U2 are a case to themselves really, a lot like The Cure or NIN).
  4. Break My Stride - Unique II (wtf? somehow i doubt the accuracy of that band name, btw :)).
  5. Freak - Silverchair (the clip is cool because the guy from DEVO did it, but the music sounds like every other song they've ever written. plus.... "I'm a freak, I'm a freak"... as a friend of mine said, "He doesn't need to tell us twice!").
  6. Breathe - The Prodigy ('nuff said about whether i know it. this is like Closer or Sweet Dreams).
  7. Unbreak My Heart - Toni Braxton (i've heard of Braxton, but only because she advertised her albums on tv).
  8. I'm Outta Here - Shania Twain (never heard of her)
  9. To The Moon and Back - Savage Garden (band name rings a vague bell)
  10. Sexy Eyes - Whigfield (fuck this song is dreadful, i heard a little bit of it on rage one night after my girlfriend said "listen to this for a second - how fucking bad is this?!")

OK - 3 i've never heard of, 5 i've heard of somewhere or hate (or both), 2 i actually like.

Alternative Top 10

  1. Into My Arms - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (of course i've heard of NC, who hasn't?).
  2. Hoots Mon - Blister (who?)
  3. Smile - Pangaea (Pangaea don't do much for me).
  4. Beautiful People - Marilyn Manson ('nuff said)
  5. The Distance - Cake (this one's great)
  6. Fire Water Burn - Bloodhound Gang (? is that the one about the roof being on fire?)
  7. Don't Fear The Reaper - Muttonbirds (?)
  8. Naked Eye - Luscious Jackson (whatever. i know it)
  9. Eight Step Rail - The Superjesus (heard of the band)
  10. Tuesday - You Am I (You Am I do nothing for me)

OK - 3 i've never heard of, 5 i've heard of, 2 i actually like.

The only real point to this is that I've been amazed many times in recent weeks when someone hasn't known the bands I love - it really didn't occur to me that there are people out there who've never heard of NIN or Marilyn Manson, but there are lots of them. The only people at my college who seem to know them at all are the american exchange students (Marilyn Manson are apparently HUGE in the US). It came as a shock to me, seeing as I'd never considered myself to be particularly alternative (I mean deep down I really didn't think so). Apparently my musical taste is in a world of its own. That's ok though, I'm happy with that.



funny how the world changes. reading back over what i wrote so long ago, i realise how marilyn manson have become extremely well known - and in fact changed to the point where i haven't bothered even taping their new album.

but then, if i look at the top 10 i still don't know half the songs... and i hate most of them. so i guess some things stay the same :)

the concerts

a brief record of the many great shows i've seen over the years. a kind of audio diary. this is not every show, just the ones i really enjoyed and remember to this day. unfortunately i've already forgotten details of some of them... but that's life. i remember the music :)

depeche mode, devotional tour,
1994, festival hall, brisbane

my first gig. what a way to start! this was a truly awesome show; the band fired, the crowd was devoted, the huge video screen backed up the massive sound. i've been to many shows since then and few stack up to this one. many people i've talked to have said the same thing; so it wasn't just me thinking my first gig was great :)

custard and the melniks, afternoon gig,
c1995, babble on, brisbane

a light and happy gig on a brisbane afternoon. the venue was so tiny that when custard tried to do a big rock'n'roll hands-in-the-air pose, they whacked their knuckles on the ceiling. fucking hilarious. the moshpit proceeded to go crazy... this was back in the days when people actually moshed, as opposed to assaulted each other in front of a stage.

alternative nation, outdoor festival,
1995, brisbane

pop will eat itself

ahhhh, the poppies. can you fucking pogo? we sure did. mosh pit madness ensued, particularly for everything's cool and rsvp. in case you've never seen them play; the call and answer is accomplished using a megaphone into the microphone...

nine inch nails

downward spiral era show; fucking awesome. at that stage most people in the pit were actual fans, ie. people who knew more than just closer. by that stage of the day; the first mosh jump of each song threw a cloud of dust in the air, which looked pretty impressive.


also caught tool; but it was before i'd really got into them so i just sat back and chilled.

livid festival 1995

my first all-day outdoor. the heat that day was so brutal it's become legendary. over 40degC. i had to buy a pair of shorts to avoid heat exhaustion - it'd been cold when i left home, so i was wearing jeans! basically we survived by frequently dousing ourselves with water.


i was surprised how well these guys drew a crowd, since i'd thought their appeal wasn't so wide. what actually happened was a large number of people getting right into the spirit of the thing - a damn fine gig. i'll never forget watching the sax guy play a tenor and a baritone at the same time. i didn't think that was physically possible.

rollins band

one of the most intense moshpits i've ever been in. rollins led the charge, as you'd imagine. that gig's rendition of liar was particularly sweet. plus he verbally ripped a guy a new one for climbing up the tent scaffolding - "we don't give a fuck about you, but if you don't get down the people who own this tent will shut the gig down. so get your stupid fucking ass down." eheheheheh.

jello biafra

ok, not a band. but jello's extended spoken word presentation left a lasting impression. plus at least one punk guy crowdsurfed anyway. "Who here thinks they live in a democracy? ... Stay in your homes! Do not attempt to think!"


i got stuck holding everyone's bag during this gig; so in the end i scaled a porta-loo to get a decent view. it was a fantastic set, so many people on stage all going hell for leather - it was a real pity they'd been put on a minor stage. it was totally packed. i never got a chance to see these guys again, unfortunately.

feebles junky, panticlerevgator cd launch,
1996, crash'n'burn, brisbane

brisbane band feebles junky absolutely went off for this show. their mix of funky rock and acoustic madness rocked the crowd. after the show, i spent the rest of the night hanging out with the band; having a few drinks, playing pool and enjoying the vibe. it was the kind of night where everyone in the room sang along at full voice to supergroove's gotta know. to say it was memorable is an understatement. i have often mentioned this as one of the best nights out i've had in brisvegas. hell, one of the best nights out i've had... full stop!

red hot chilli peppers, one hot minute tour,
1996, brisbane entertainment centre

the chilli peppers do a good show... it's not a big production, just a high level of energy and intensity which is infectious. we got into the standing area; but in the end i skipped the moshpit. i'm still amazed at the guitar throw - it can't be easy to hurl an axe most of the way across the stage; nor can it be easy to catch the damn thing. the roady was amazingly casual about it though - stepped out of nowhere, scooped it out of the air and disappeared again.

Easy Cheese (gig), 1996.10.26
Festival Hall, Brisbane

custard, regurgitator, powerfinger

snog, 1997(?), the chelsea, brisbane

awesome show in a great venue (before it got turned into a strip joint. hrrmph). the crowd went off; i managed to be front row more or less centre. support act dogmachine had done the big angle-grinding act, paving the way for a full-on snog show. i particularly remember going mad when the shop remix kicked in. much fun.

Big Day Out, 1997
Gold Coast Parklands

The Prodigy, Severed Heads, Insurge

U2 Popmart gig ticket

U2, popmart tour, 1998, anz stadium, brisbane

do i need to elaborate? :) i've always wished i'd gone to see them when they came out for Zoo TV. unfortunately i became a fan after the tickets sold out - i borrowed a couple of tapes to see what the fuss was about; and i've been a fan ever since. the popmart show was impressive, although even the band thought tickets were a bit expensive - "Thanks for paying big bucks to come see popmart..." gigs just didn't cost $100 back in 98! it really was a great gig though; the massive video screen was used to its full potential and the spinning lemon mirrorball was just crazy :)

tycho brahe, bloodlust ball, 1997 and 1998, brisbane

these two were big for my tycho fandom... i'd seen tycho growing and improving leading up to the two gigs; when everything really seemed to come together. the crowd were really impressed and if memory serves 1997 was the first time the infamous tainted/who cover was played. ever seen a row of goths in frock coats doing the can-can? odd. but after the first show i met the band and asked if they had a website. a year later it still hadn't been done, so i started up the first unofficial tycho brahe fanboy page, which became the official unofficial tycho brahe fanboy page; which is now listed in their album liners...

Tycho Brahe, Pseudo Echo, Real Life, 1999.03.25
the buffalo club, brisbane

severed heads and pure bunk, 1999.12.11
@ industry nightclub, bonapartes, brisbane

Big Day Out 2000  ticket

big day out 2000, gold coast parklands

chemical brothers

holy crap can these guys rock. unbelievable. it was the last show of the day and i thought i had no energy left, but it turns out you can always find some if the music is good enough. they played the songs we knew and loved but mixed them up so they were a whole new feast of beats and magic.

peewee ferris

took control of the dance tent leading up to the chemical brothers. we danced so hard we thought we'd broken ourselves :)


an afternoon timeslot had this guy trying to keep people dancing despite the furnace heat in the dance tent. amazingly, he succeeded :) a very fun set; helped immensely by the good people of rave safe who came through frequently spraying cold water across the crowd.

resin dogs

my companions thought i was a bit odd wanting to catch the dogs but after the show at least one was a convert. between the energy of the band and the antics of the breakdancers, the crowd were more than a little entertained.

joe strummer and the mescaleros

oddly enough they played some clash stuff :) i ended up leaving the tent before they finished - it wasn't actually the clash and it was feeling strange to me. but hey, who am i kidding, i didn't leave until they'd played london calling and a few other favourites. so, i did get to see the late great Joe Strummer before he passed away.

nine inch nails

livid festival 2000, brisbane showgrounds
a.k.a. the cure concert

the cure

livid 2000 was all about the cure. frankly i don't remember much about the other bands, other than green day and "my name is fuckin DAN!" "ok everyone, this is Fucking Dan...". besides that, we couldn't get anywhere near the fucking boiler room most of the time.

but the reason we went to livid in the first place was the cure. nothing else really came into it. it's the only time i've ever seen them and since they don't seem to like australia i doubt i'll see them again. but all in all it was pretty damn good. huge guitar jams, massive versions of some of my favourite cure songs. it was a bit cute when they were about to launch into 10:15 on a saturday night and muttered something about checking the time. i think the whole crowd turned to look at the clock on the pavillion. it was.... 10:15. on a saturday night. well i guess i couldn't have resisted either. i really wish they'd finished with forest though.


we struggled into the boiler room for the last part of b(if)tek's set. very groovy; a fun vibe which got everyone dancing. i first heard the track bedrock at this gig, it remains one of my favourite tracks.

the bird

a friend tipped me off that the bird would be worth checking out; and i was definitely impressed. for a start, how many dance acts have live drummers? on top of that, they had a special guest from tabula rasa playing a variety of traditional indian percussion. it was a really fantastic sound; a good set and i hope to see the bird again in future.

Syncron NYE 2001  ticket

syncron nye 2000/2001, mt tamborine, queensland

just getting to this bloody rave was an adventure. it moved at the last possible minute; then they had to use a paddock for parking and bus everyone to the venue. we eventually got to the site and set up our tent in the dark. yeesh. but it was a nice way to see in the new year. the various stages were set up in the bush; with the lights hitting the trees and making a really fantastic space. at midnight a lantern parade slowly wound its way through the site; although where we were it took about 10 minutes for it to show up. a mate of mine spontaneously started drumming (hand drum), which somehow froze the moment into a sort of crossing over; an in-between which allowed me to feel the passing of one year to the next. and no, i wasn't drunk or on drugs :)

Big Day Out 2001  ticket

big day out 2001, gold coast parklands

carl cox

this guy really impressed me. just like the chemical brothers in 2000, it was the last act in the boiler and i thought my legs were made of lead. yet we danced hard and fast the whole set. he'd build the intensity into a huge peak, then hit you with a massive beat. awesome.


if you've seen them, you'll know why i had fun watching this one. explosions, flamethrowers and fireworks adding to the power of the music. fucking great. rammstein hit the stage to give you a show, and they don't hold back.

resin dogs

we got to the venue just as the dogs were starting. for some odd reason they were given a morning time; yet they still drew a huge crowd - this is really hard to do at BDO (in the morning). they didn't want to stop playing at the end of their set... it was quite funny really :) ultimately their set was a feast of uplifting beats, which set a great mood for the rest of the day.

the avalanches


Jamiroquai gig ticket

jamiroquai, 2002.11.21,
brisbane entertainment centre

this turned out to be the last show of the tour; so not surprisingly the band (not to mention jay kay) went absolutely nuts. i didn't know how energetic jay was during their shows! despite the venue there was a great feeling, a lot of very happy fans. they played lots of their earlier albums, including quite a few off travelling without moving... call me a happy boy :)

David Bowie gig ticket showing Row AB Seat 52 $172.65

david bowie, 2004.02.17,
brisbane entertainment centre

Fucking awesome. BTW, yes, row AB does mean the second row. From the front. Yes, I really did pay that much money and FUCK YES it was worth it... and I'm not even a huge Bowie fan :) Of course it helps to be able to so close you can pick up every nuance of gesture and expression; plus Bowie has a piercing gaze which makes everyone up front feel like they've made eye contact.

Some rockers disintegrate with age; others, like Bowie, just get better. Bowie worked the audience in a manner that can only be described as energetic and playful. He knows he can make the crowd do anything and he's not afraid of playing with that :) Plus the band were truly awesome - all amazing musicians in their own right; and they all got to shine in this gig. Bowie hadn't been here for 17 years.... what the hell set do you play? The answer was 2 hours and 15 minutes of old stuff, new stuff, instrumental, obscure tracks, massive hits and audience-involved songs.

A sparing but gorgeous stage set was perfectly chosen for the show - simple video screens, a pair of raised catwalks and some hanging white tree branches at the sides. The lighting played off it all really well. The sound was clear; no overdriven speakers here - just massive banks belting out perfectly mixed songs.

I'm surely biased by being so close to the stage; but even so this was an amazing gig. It was a great chance to see the benefit of experience; to watch a rock legend do his thing. The attention to detail was in evidence everywhere - from the way Bowie would work each song, down to his guitar picks being printed with the tour details on one side and "David" on the other (my guess is that each guitarist would have had their own picks done up with their own names as well).

Setlist from (I'm impressed they've got that posted already): 01 Rebel Rebel 02 New Killer Star 03 Reality 04 Fame 05 Cactus 06 All The Young Dudes 07 China Girl 08 A New Career In A New Town 09 The Loneliest Guy 10 The Man Who Sold The World 11 Hallo Spaceboy 12 Sunday 13 Under Pressure 14 Life On Mars? 15 Looking For Water 16 Be My Wife 17 Days 18 White Light, White Heat 19 Ashes To Ashes 20 I'm Afraid Of Americans 21 "Heroes" (Encore) 22 Always Crashing In The Same Car 23 Five Years 24 Suffragette City 25 Ziggy Stardust


...and if you think I'm going on a bit, I'll put you in touch with the fanatical fans I went with :)

the infamous Vortex wrist stamp

covenant, 2004.04.25,
the gaelic club (event by vortex),
surry hills, sydney

yes, we flew to sydney for this gig. when we heard that covenant were coming to australia, but not to brisbane, the decision was actually very easy. this wasn't something we were going to miss. so, tickets were bought, planes booked, relatives ready to put us up...

we saw covenant a few hours after arriving, on the first day of our trip. when covenant left the stage, the entire trip was already worth every cent. honestly. they really put in a great gig and their enthusiasm was nothing if not infectious. i am curious how they perform in suits without dying from heat exhaustion; but hey.

three encores. well, two encores and a final song - just when i thought they weren't going to play figurehead, they came back on and nearly killed us with a huge remix. aww yeah :)

i have to comment on the stamp though - when i finally got the stamp off my wrist, i discovered i'd stained my fingernails getting it off. apparently vortex mix their ink with superglue :)

velvet revolver, 2005.02.21
brisbane entertainment centre

vnv nation setlist

vnv nation, 2005.09.01
the arena, brisbane

awesome. fucking awesome. one of those nights where i just knew we were in for something special. i posted at length the next day. small gig, for a band that's played the biggest festivals. only a couple of hundred of us, but i swear they had more fun the crowd - and the crowd loved every second. these are the gigs we go out for, the great ones that fill you with a warm glow whenever you think of them. honestly, if i hadn't been quite so skint i would have flown us down to sydney and/or melbourne to see them again as they toured the east coast...

that 1 guy, 2005.12.03
the troubadour, brisbane

truly a magic moment, this gig. i know i said that about vnv nation too - somehow, we deserved two truly incredible gigs just a couple of months apart. again, i posted about it the next day; although not at such length. how can i describe this show? the guy created his own musical instrument (the "magic pipe"), but also plays a saw, trigger snare, kick pedals and his shoe. really. if you ever get the chance to see him, go!

that 1 guy, 2007.01.06
the vanguard, sydney

I rave over at it's not over til he says GOODNIGHTTA. Photos at: flickr - tag that1guy.

that 1 guy, 2007.04.?
the shamrock, brisbane

Blog post.

cure ticket

the cure, 2007.08.10
sydney entertainment centre

I rave over at cure fanboyism ensues.

Chemical Brothers ticket

the chemical brothers, 2008.03.07
sydney entertainment centre

Blog post; photos on flickr

vnv nation, 2008
the gaelic

tycho brahe & covenant, 2008
the gaelic

Photos: Tycho Brahe @ Electric Moon, 2008 - a set on Flickr

tycho brahe & the human league, 2009.03.31
the metro

alabama 3 ticket

alabama 3, 2009.04.13
the metro


a classical education

As i grow older i come across more and more classical pieces that i actually enjoy... i think this is a law of averages thing :) The good pieces are out there, it's just a matter of time until you hear them. Interestingly enough, it's often in a tv commercial. No matter. Once i got over this revelation, i discovered i have a bugger of a time remembering the names of all these pieces - too many 4th symphonies in D...

At any rate, here at least are the ones i CAN remember... classical *and* opera for the pedants out there... maybe you'd enjoy them too. They make a nice change from all the industrial :)

- becoming entranced -
- a beginner's guide to goa -

i knew i had to have it. it was about 3am when someone put Travelling on the cd player... i was sobering up, had enough of the heavy rock and industrial, and suddenly found myself enveloped in awsome waves of trance music. the next morning i had a good look at the CD, and resolved to buy it.

it took bloody ages to find it... i eventually got a copy at Maroochydore HMV, of all unlikely places. i now have quite a few trance cd's (for the pedants: yes i know i said goa but i'm just going to talk about trance generally) as well as a substantial number of mp3's. i would dearly love to spend a LOT of money on more CDs but that'll have to wait :-/ oh well. such is life.



These are some particular groups i like... personal taste, obviously. get a compilation first.