Blog Roddus

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Monday, December 31, 2018

Orchestra of Speres - Lyttelton Coffee Company - Lyttelton - 30 December 2018

Orchestra Of Spheres are one of my favourite New Zealand Bands and I feel deserve to be playing much bigger venues than the rather small Lyttelton Coffee Co venue they played this night. I have all four of their funky Afrocentric world music albums, with their latest, Mirror, just coming out recently and perhaps being their best to date. I arrived at the venue 30 minutes after doors open to a still nearly empty venue with Delaney and Bruce still sound checking their gear on the balcony out back of the venue where the bands are going to play. The idea is cool, with the harbour lights glistening in the background but the reality is there is little room out there and even though there are two big doors out to the balcony, the view from inside the venue is very restricted and the bands play on the deck with no stage so only those at the front get to see, which is pretty usual in these small venues. Still , the crowd is small enough that perhaps more than half are out on the deck. Although advertised to kick off at 9pm, I hear one of the guys say they will start at 9:30. Once Bruce and Delaney have finished their sound check, I actually get into a conversation with Delaney about his recent gigs in Wellington and his many up coming recording projects as well as a conversation with both Delaney and Bruce about Radio with Pictures, a TV music video program we all use to watch in our youth.
 This night Bruce and Delaney are going to preform together, this is an interesting prospect as they actually inhabit quite different musical spheres. Bruce Russell, of course, is one of the members of legendary NZ noise merchants The Dead C and I have seen him live a couple of times creating his improvised guitar driven drones. Delaney on the other hand usually playes down and dirty blues infused Americana folk surf in various permutations. Of course their set is a freewheeling improvised set Bruce setting up his feedback drenched drone which he then manipulate in various ways while Delaney strums along with is distorted guitar noodlings and an occasional distorted beat from his effects pedals. It kinda works better if you can just close your eyes and let the noise wash over you, which I find difficult to do when standing and surrounded by others. There were times where the two sets of sounds kinda blended into a throbbing crescendo, but other times it was just two guys doing different things and with no actual physical interplay between the two(they had their backs to each other and heads down in concentration) it was hard for me to know how much each was doing was in response to what the other was playing. Interesting set.
 My back has been particularly uncomfortable over the Christmas period and standing still in one place makes for an unpleasant situation, so I needed to sit for a while to ease things. Delaney did two longish solo numbers of his bluesy rockabilly which was pretty cool while I sat and listened inside.
  After the usual break while Orchestra Of Spheres set up, I positioned myself in the crowd on the balcony to await their set. The band came skipping through the audience jingling bells and other things, dressed in the strange costumes they like to wear and set them selves behind their instruments as they set into playing a song I recognized from one of their earlier records. The band are infectious, groovy and their music is great and I was tapping my feet throughout their hour or so set. I certainly recognized many of the songs, including their cool take of Sun Ra's Rocket No 9 and was surprised they did not do so many from the new album, although they did play one song I recognized off the new record, although I'm still getting familiar with all of it. They are a very danceable band although there was not much room for much more than wiggling on the deck but they played well and although I didn't think it was the kind of magic gig you rave about for months after, it still was an enjoyable night and worth the long drive to see them play.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Mt Grey - 11 November 2018

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary: Tramp No 164
Mt Grey 11th November 2018

As part of my "getting back into tramping program", I had scheduled Mt Grey a couple of weeks back, but the previously blogged Mt Oxford trip came up instead.
 I reprogrammed this trip and was delighted to get 5 friends to join myself and Ruby Dog on this lovely walk.
 The Mt Grey loop is not too hard a walk but enough to cause me some stiffness in the following days, but the forest is beautiful and the views from the summit of the Canterbury plains are stunning. There are not a lot of conservation land trips where dogs are allowed but the four main mounts along the edge of the Canterbury Plains from Mt Grey to Mt Oxford are all doggie friendly and Ruby loved every minute of the walk, and the group loved Ruby. I won't say much else, I have done this trip a few times before so just enjoy the photos.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Mt Oxford - Ashley Saddle - 27th October 2018

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary: Tramp No. 163
Mt Oxford/Ashley Saddle
27th October 2018

A real shock to the system, a full on tramping trip, after more than two years of inactivity due to health issues, laziness and spending all my spare money on records. The health issue was the relapse of the disc prolapse in my back a few years back which stopped me in my tracks from walking and tramping and caused me to develop a serious limp. Due to the damage to the nerve in my back, I have been quite restricted in my activities, although, managed to keep working all through this time. Recovery has been very slow and I many never recover back to my full mobility(I can walk fairly fast now, albeit with a limp, but I cannot run).
 Part of my various treatments to get me more mobile again is to actually get back out tramping in the hills. The only walk/tramp I had done since June 2016 was a walk with the wife to Ryde Falls over 12 months earlier. I was feeling confident that I could now actually try some real tramping and the plan was to attempt some of the local hills, of which I was pretty familiar, to gage how well I was able to cope. The weekend previous, now that spring was in full effect and daylight saving time had kicked in, the wife and I tackled Mt Richardson, a local hill that I had done a couple of times many years back and knew it was not too hard. That Trip went well and I was planning to try and get out in the local environs over the coming weeks. I had planned to tackle Mt Gray with a friend this weekend but one of my other friends mentioned there was an impromptu club tramp up Mt Oxford on the same day. I wasn't going to tackle Oxford so soon but it would be good to go on a club trip after soo long. As it was so close to home I took my own car just in cast I couldn't handle the pace of a club trip after 3 years.
 I met the group of 12 others at Coopers Creek just past 9am on a pleasant but not too warm day. I inquired to the leader as to the planned route and discovered that they planned to head up Oxford then loop back via Ashley Saddle and the ridge leading down to point  758 above the Scout Lodge. This was good as I had not actually taken this route before on the several other times I had climbed Mt Oxford.
 So we hit the trail by about 9:30am as I had a catchup with a club friend and was able to keep up with the pace of the group. The climb went well and I didn't fall too far behind, although I was last one to the top. Lunch was had in pleasant conditions with great views over the plains before we set off along the tops towards Oxford Hill. It was pretty easy going, mostly but the scrub and grass got higher and thicker as we started to drop towards Ashley Saddle. We stopped in the soft grass of Ashley Saddle for afternoon tea and to regroup as we had got quite strung out on the way down.
 After point 758 things started to get pretty overgrown but there was a track to follow so it wasn't too bad. The final stretch was along the four Wheel Drive Road, through a nice strand of mature pine trees before we hit the Scout lodge again and then back to the cars by about 4:30PM. After 16KM and about 1200m of uphill work I was pretty tired and sore but I handled it a lot better than I imagined and I haven't actually lost too much condition for so long out of the game. Still a long way off from being properly tramping fit again.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Don McGlashan - Rangiora Town Hall - 18 October 2018

Don McGlashan, 40 years of producing fabulous New Zealand music and still touring the country from end to end. The  Free Flight Tour is taking in a lot of smaller centers as well as a couple of the main cities up north. This time I got to see him at the Rangiora Town Hall, a much shorter drive than most of my concerts I attend.
 A seated concert in the old theater part of the town hall complex, the place was almost full, with most of the punters being of a similar age as the man in question himself, the wife and I were feeling quite young.
 Don had Anthonie Tonnon as his support act, a name that was familiar but his music was unknown to me. He preformed solo using an electronic keyboard to provide beats and other sounds as well as playing guitar and singing. His music was is a little hard for me to describe but although he was a reasonable singer, his music did not really connect with me or the wife for that matter, so we were both pleased when he finished. He did go down fairly well with plenty of others in the audience.
 Don strode onstage after the drinks break waved to the crowd and asked how we were doing before picking up his guitar and giving us a couple of his solo songs from his last couple of records, one I recognized, one I didn't but it set the tone for what was shaping up to be an excellent night. With just an acoustic guitar and some wonderful songs and his awesome voice, Don was magic right from the go as he, after bringing out a drummer to add a bit of weight to the songs, took us through a sample of his entire catalog, from the fantastic "Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both Of Us" from his early Blam Blam Blam days, a good number of Front Lawn songs, a Muttonbird song or two and even a new one that may have not yet been recorded. Anyhow, It was wall to wall excellence and I knew almost all the songs he played and many of them are classics. New Zealands best songwriter IMO. A fabulous night and an hour and a half of listening to him sing was just not enough.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Tool - Lateralus - USA 2001

The fantastic third full length, super heavy, super cool, super awesome, there are no faults with this record, except perhaps it being a bit too long. Been a while since I played it but it has just grown in stature over the years. Some of the riffs are just sublime to my ears and the production is bloody good. Always play at maximum volume and you will never be disappointed with this alternative sort of heavy metal, sort of a super heavy "Post Rock" perhaps. Awesome record, rating 5/5.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Builders - The Darkroom - Christchurch - 12th October 2018

Another Bill Direen and The Builders Gig, this being the third time I had seen Bill at the Darkroom. The Builders had many different lineups over the last 30+ years and this was the 1985 band that had recorded most of the Conch3 album, which contained perhaps their best known song, "Alligator".
 Arrived at the venue about 8:20pm on a very cold and wet evening and while at the bar ready to order a drink, I overheard the barman talking to another gentleman regarding The Axemen and the poster art they use to use for gig advertising, I mentioned that I had been perusing the Axemen's blog the previous evening looking at some of the aforementioned posters and the gentleman that the barman was talking to was in fact the drummer from The Axemen and also was the drummer for tonight's Builders gig. So we had a nice chat about The Axemen before I settled in to wait for the gig to start. As I was pretty early, the place was still quite empty and Bill was wandering round waiting for more to arrive before he started his solo set. He stopped and said hello to me and we chatted about the recent vinyl reissues the builders had released.
 Bill finally took the stage not too long after the scheduled start time and presented us with a lovely set of his songs, many seeming to be translations of old french poetry, or stories about old friends and one dedicated to Jane Walker, of Toy Love, who had passed away the previous day from cancer.. I did recognize one song of the recent Chrysanthemum Storm reissue.
  There was only a short break as the other two musicians got ready to join Bill on stage. The guitar, bass and drums were kept at fairly low volume for some quieter songs at the start of the set, but the sound stayed quieter than most bands that I see and it was cool to actually hear so much of what they were playing and just showed that you don't have to turn everything up to 11 like so many bands do.
 So they played quite a lot of the songs from the Conch3 album several that I did recognize this time and thoroughly enjoyed their set very much, they did rock out a bit and it was perhaps the best of the gigs I have seen Bill play. The saddest thing was Bill announced that he was retiring from playing Builders gigs and this was to be their last show in New Zealand and would wind it up in Australia soon. He would still be preforming the theatre music he does but no more Builders.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Spook The Horses - People Use To Live Here - Pelagic Records PEL 085-V - New Zealand 2017

The second vinyl release from yet another Wellington band, this latest record is actually their third. I have their "Rainmaker" LP from 2015, but I have not given it a lot of attention as the screamy vocals did put me off a bit. They have certainly toned things down a bit for this latest effort and their "Post Rock" has become a lot more atmospheric and the singing is now normal, making for a much more accessible record. There are plenty of lovely touches on these tracks with some wonderful airy guitar melodies weaving through the slowish music. Very good record. Rating 4/5.