Before I start on all the gorgeous things that were waiting for me in Sydney, let’s relive my favourite show with The God No!s – August 30 at the strangely neon and cosy Hawaii Bar on Dovercourt Road in Toronto.
These songs are necessarily amazing but I’ll be listening to them forever, because they’ll always take me back to particular times and places and highs and lows.
What songs remind you of places that you’ve travelled?
This was in my headphones when I was bouncing around the harbour in San Diego, at the very start of a solo Californian adventure.
This, alternating with economics lectures from Audible, was what I heard while navigating the streets and subway system of Mexico City.
Climbing hills on a hot day in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, wishing I didn’t wear stockings.
The aftermath of a fling
in with San Francisco. Walking around hungover and sad in Portland.
The waterfront in Seattle – blue skies, tall buildings, sleepless nights, facing the long road ahead of me.
Have a guess!
Stressed and wandering in my first weeks in Toronto.
Learning French in a little room on Bloor St.
Thinking of my home and life (and community radio station) in Sydney. Also, I am convinced that this is as perfect as a pop song can ever be. Every note, every strum, every distant lyric, all falls right into place.
Berlin after 3 years, and Nachtdigital – dancing on a Sunday morning.
And finally, the song that will always remind me of my colourful and wonderful summer in Toronto:
Last Friday The God No!s played a proper live show at Amsterdam Bicycle Club here in Toronto. Here’s a short clip of us covering I Shot The Sheriff.
I had the opportunity to attend the exclusive Nachtdigital festival in Olganitz, Saxony, from August 1 to 3.
It’s all electronic, held in the German countryside in the summer and I say “exclusive” because only 3000 tickets are ever released and the event is consistently sold out straight away.
Olganitz is a village not far from Leipzig and it made for a very lovely drive south from Berlin.
Most people camp but there are bungalows available too, in the “Bunga Bungalowdorf”.
My party was camping. We brought enough food and beer for a small army and divided our time between our little tent town and the main stage areas, which, owing to the petite size of the whole operation, was only a three-minute walk away.
The stages (one main stage, one inside a big tent and a smaller one by the water) are set by the lake, and the weather was hot and perfect for swimming and splashing around. It was a really beautiful place to have a music festival.
The music was minimal in general – the heavier stuff in the small hours of night and the more ambient at sunrise and during the daylight. Being Europe, music starts in the evening and goes right through until 11am, although a thunderstorm did make everyone stop for an hour or so on the second night.
Around the grounds there were little hideaway places to party, like this miniature mirror booth.
And at night the place was lit up by flashes of colour.
I had no expectations for Nachtdigital but I had heard many positive things which all turned out to be true. The overall pace and buzz was warm and relaxed – everybody was in a good mood. There was something really exciting about beats echoing out through the fields at night, before it was time to see the early European sunrise.
And no reason to stop dancing, except to soak up the rays.
Music: The festival’s specialty is exposing lesser-known and underground DJs from around Europe. My highlights were Siriusmo, Robag Wruhme & Roman Flügel, Heatsick (who I have now seen on three different continents), the Doumen Records showcase and the very unique ROD, who unleashed his terrifying bass right after the thunderstorm.
Crowd: Smiley and relaxed. I didn’t see any “antisocial” behaviour at all. The majority of people were young and beautiful and seemed to mostly come from Germany and The Netherlands.
Food and drink: Guests can bring their own booze into the campsite but not the main stage area. The food for sale was actually pretty tasty, with lots of vegetarian options. Drinks were also not through the roof. But if you plan well, you can survive the whole three days without spending any cash at all.
Grounds: A lovely and unique location, in the fields near a small lake surrounded by woods. Toilets were nothing special (portaloos) and the “shower” was just a cold hose with some curtains around it. Luckily, the weather was really warm!
Nachtdigital has quite a following, and I can see why. I’m still listening to this kind of thing, reminiscing.
As absolutely anyone would know by my incessant bragging, I’m learning the drums and was lucky enough to get asked to play with a band. We’re called The Go No!s.
This was the Open Mic night at Pauper’s Pub on Bloor St, last Thursday night.
And no, you can’t see me in the video but believe me, I was looking terrified because this was my first live performance ever. Well, not quite. I used to perform piano at every school assembly, but that was way less cool.
People in Toronto should like our Facebook page.
P.S. Playing drums is much harder, but even more fun than it looks!
I’ve just returned from seeing St. Vincent out in the open, for free, at Yonge and Dundas Square right in the city. It’s part of the extravaganza that is North by Northeast (NXNE). She was preceded by Swans.
The array of artists is bewildering. It seems like the entire music world has converged on Toronto – and nobody’s complaining!
I love St. Vincent’s music more and more. It’s taut and sexy and sophisticated, but made full-blooded with licks of electric guitar. She did an impressive solo on stage, and peppered the set with mysterious monologues about childhood games. What a stunner.
A radio documentary I made about the BrainWaves choir in Newcastle, which is a collaboration between Bernadette Matthias and the stroke team at Hunter New England Health. Sound and production supervision by Belinda Lopez. Broadcast on March on 16 on All The Best, which is produced at FBi and distributed on the Community Radio Network.
This was a major project for me and I was pretty humbled to meet Bernadette, Belinda and Bryan and hear their stories of tragedy and subsequent healing through music. It was a great experience to put this piece together and I’m pleased that people have enjoyed listening to it, and learning something about what can be achieved when people work together to find new ways to get through the dark times in life.