Hugh Blemings's Blog

Hugh Blemings's Blog, A Diary and Miscellaneous ramblings

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    Thu, 13 Jul 2006

    Women In Docs

    On Monday night at Don's suggestion headed down to Artz Rib House with Monte for some good music and food. Ended up doing very well for both. Artz is a nice place, quite small but has a very welcoming feel - we ended up one table from the performers which was cool.

    Turned out my fellow countrymen (countrywomen ?) Women In Docs were playing as guests of Sarah Elizabeth Campbell which was rather a treat. Soon as Women In Docs started their first song I realised that I'd them play at the National Folk Festival in Canberra earlier in the year and been quite taken by their stuff then.

    Couple of songs in Roz asked if the audience was having difficulty with their accents, couldn't help but reply "Not at all". This led to a bit of fun back and forth (it's that kind of venue) - turns out they're from Brisbane where my brother in law lives, Chanel's parents live a couple of suburbs away in Canberra. Small world.

    After the show we chatted for quite a bit - Silas (Violin) was originally from Sydney, worked in IT when not touring and had recently migrated a couple of servers over to Linux from Windows :) Really nice people, they were in Austin as part of a couple of weeks touring around the US and Canada. Sounds like it's going well for them though they deserve to be more widely heard. Picked up a copy of their first album "Under a Different Sky" which I commend to you.

    All in all a really good evening and nice to have a chance to practice my Australian again :)

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    Sat, 24 Sep 2005

    The Taken - Pot Belly Bar

    Great evening last night - dinner with a subset of "The Taken" Fan Club Inc. before heading across the road to The Pot for the show. The Taken of course need no introduction and played a great set.

    Pics are here - all 1600 ISO and slow shutter speed so did some experimenting with converting to B&W to combat noise and blur a bit.

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    Tue, 23 Aug 2005

    Bye Bob

    Was saddened to learn of Bob Moogs passing yesterday. Don't really know what else to say that hasn't already been said in the many tributes that have flowed since his passing. Like my old Model D he'll be missed.

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    Tue, 10 May 2005


    Thursday night last week Dave and I went to see Jethro Tull at the Enmore in Sydney.

    The Enmore seats about 1,500-2,000 people and despite our seats being way toward the back, it was a pleasingly intimate gig. I've always quite liked Tull, the classic tracks (Aqualung, Locomotive Breath, Thick as a Brick etc.) as well as more recent material from Crest of a Knave (c. 1987) etc. Despite this hadn't seen them live at all prior to this, turned out to be quite a treat. The current lineup has been together for some ten years. Martin Barre (guitar) and Ian Anderson both of course being around since the earliest days of Tull, the "newcomers" Andrew Giddings (keyboards), Johnathon Noyce (bass) and Doane Perry (drums) completing the ensemble.

    Lineup changes notwithstanding they've certainly retained the classic Tull sound. The highlight for me was Budapest - astonishing both musically as well as for the imagery and eloquence of the lyrics on CD, even better live. Speaking of eloquence, Ian Andersons between song banter has to be the most interesting and just plain clever I've ever heard. A man of few words, but every one very carefully (and often amusingly) chosen.

    They've recently released a live DVD called Living with the Past which I picked up on the weekend. Have only had time to give a couple of tracks a spin but seems to be a nice mixture of live performance and interviews/behind the scenes. The latter again highlighted that not only can these guys play, they are funny buggers too :)

    A great evening, if you get the chance, a show well worth seeing. For my part, has once again piqued my interest in taking up the flute :)

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    Mon, 11 Apr 2005

    Vanessa Rodrigues

    A week or so back I got my copy of Vanessa Rodrigues' debut album, "Soul Project" but have only just now had a chance to give it another spin. Am very impressed. The whole thing just grooves, her keyboard playing chops on the B3 are something else and the originals she's penned are very strong. There are some mp3's linked off here which give but a small taste.

    By way of background, Vanessa is mkp's partner so a bunch of us met her when we caught up with Martin at OLS last year. mkp is perhaps best known in Linux circles for the work he's done on the kernel for XFS and Itanium. Something of a hidden side of him though is his own not inconsiderable talent at the B3, there's some of his impressive live work here. Guess theirs is one of the few households in the world where there'd be no arguments about whether another Leslie can be justified :)

    Go take a listen...

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    Tue, 15 Mar 2005

    Musical interlude

    Am off to see Tull in Sydney on 5th of May with Dave, missed them last tour rather to my annoyance so quite looking forward to this. May need to hunt down a few of their more recent albums, Crest Of A Knave (1987) being the most up to date I have.

    A very roundabout train of thought had me wondering what Queensryche were up to - my possibly rather cynical view is that nothing they've done since Empire (1990) is really up to much. Working title of next album is apparently Operation Mindcrime II, this being a followup to Operation Mindcrime (1988). The latter remains, in my view, one of their better works. I still remember rushing home and sitting there listening to it in its entirety for the first time in the group house I shared with Sir Billy and Mr Blackmore, aged 21 or so. Spine tingling stuff. Overall favourite remains Rage For Order (1986). If you have occassion to see this album, my advice is to look past the hairdos - it was the '80s remember...

    At a different end of the musical spectrum, pleased to read on the Jamiroquai mailing list that the new album "Dynamite" is due in May with a single a few weeks prior to that. Hopefully a tour will follow, will not make the mistake of missing the Australian shows again. I suspect this may be a bit of a make or break album for JK and the band as there have been a couple of personell changes. Will be interesting to see how the new lineup goes.

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    Thu, 02 Dec 2004

    Tommy Emmanuel

    Nice evening out last night with Lu, BCG and Mel to listen to one of Australia's better known guitarists, Tommy Emmanuel Turns out that Tommy had literally flown in from Prague that morning so this was his first show in Australia for a month or two and clearly quite an emotional experience for him. Playing was excellent, some of his jetlag affected jokes sligly less so :)

    Clive Carroll was Tommy's guest - very impressive player from the UK. They had CD for sale at the show so I picked one up which he kindly autographed, seemed quite bemused by all the attention. Finale of the show was he and Tommy playing a couple of tunes together. Most excellent!

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    Sat, 13 Nov 2004

    In car MP3 player

    As one might expect there are a huge number of radio stations servicing Austin, few of them even play half way decent stuff. When I picked up the rental car on Friday night I noted an MP3 logo on the front so burned a CD of a few favourite albums (all ones I own - not big on the idea of ripping off mp3s)

    Put a bit of a mixture on the CDR - Rush (Moving Pictures), Marillion (A singles collection), Bruce Hornsby (Hothouse), Jamiroquai (A Funk Odessy), Derek Sherinian (Dark Utopia), Cold Chisel (Radio Songs - A best of), Van Halen (Best Of, Volume 1) and Liquid Tension Experiment (Liquid Tension Experiment) Ended up listening to all of them at some point or other. Last saturday was particuarly memorable in that respect, for lack of anything else to do just drove around and enjoyed the warmth of the afternoon and observed that Cold Chisel sounds just perfect here as it does in Oz. Another trip saw me doing Bruce Hornsby on the way there and Van Halen on the way back. I made marginally better time on the return journey!

    Called in at the Guitar Center in Austin this weekend just to sneak a few minutes playing a keyboard :) Miss my piano

    While checking the links for this entry I noticed that both Bruce Hornsby and Derek Sherinian have new albums out. Good friend of mine in Austin put me on to a blues artist called Colin James so thats at least three more to add to the collection when I get home.

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    Mon, 01 Nov 2004

    Why didn't I do this years ago ?

    Chris delivered the Clav on Saturday arvo - I've probably played more in the last 48 hours than I had the last 48 days. Sounds great, action is very comfortable to play though I'm going to need to pace myself until I gain some more finger strength, particuarly in the left hand. I discovered aa few years ago that typing seems to actually be fairly beneficial in maintaining basic finger dexterity but nothing will beat a weighted piano action for building strength.

    It's nice to be able to just noodle when the mood takes and in so doing not be antisocial by dint of being downstairs. We think we'll talk to Lu's mum (a retired piano teacher!) about lessons for Rachael too.

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    Fri, 29 Oct 2004

    Visiting a friend and buying a piano while you're there

    For several years I've wondered if I'd actually play more if we had a simple piano upstairs. As it stands my keyboard rig is downstairs and requires at least three switches to be thrown to get any sound, plus I'm away from the rest of the family so it makes it somewhat anti-social. Rachael has also shown an interest in the piano which we'd like to encourage.

    Wanted to catch up with Chris before upcoming trip so dropped in to see him at the shop on the way in to work. As always a good yak and had quite a long play on a Yamaha CLP-120 while he attended to calls etc. The CLP-120 is a model or two up from the base in their Clavinova (aka Digital Piano) range, sounded very nice and the graded hammer action was comfortable to play.

    He's dropping one over tomorrow :)

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    Fri, 22 Oct 2004

    Pink Floyd - Momentary Lapse of Reason

    Fished this out to listen to on the way into work this morning, was reminded just how brilliant a guitarist/lyricist/singer Dave Gilmour is. Note to self: Learn from previous mistakes and do not miss the next Floyd tour.

    Inspired to see if the Delicate Sound of Thunder tour video was available yet or not. Seemingly not, only very dodgy Russian dubs from VHS. Speaking of which will have to chase up Bernard to see where my VHS copy is...

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