With the Australian Federal Election looming, Stephen Taberner, has hit the campaign trail with some advice for voters. Considering how hard it can be to sing outdoors, I think these "flash mob" choral performances are pretty good. Check out the original Spooky Men's Chorale version below, or on their album Tooled Up.
Well, if I wasn't convinced before I certainly am now...
Crowded House are back. They farewelled the world in 1996, and now they have reformed with a new line up : Neil Finn, Nick Seymour, Mark Hart and Matt Sherrod.
Last night Crowded House performed to a packed Supreme Court Gardens in Perth. The concert was a mixture of classic pieces, along with some of the songs from their new album "Time On Earth". The band gave a solid performance and encouraged the audience to sing along with favourites like "Fall At Your Feet", "Don't Dream It's Over", "Weather With You", "Four Seasons In One Day", and "Better Be Home Soon". Of course, these were the songs that got the biggest reaction, but folks were also singing along with the new songs too.
Many of the songs from "Time On Earth" deal with loss, and are no doubt at least partly inspired by the sad passing of drummer Paul Hester who took his own life in 2005 after a battle with depression. Songs like "Nobody Wants To", "You're The One to Make Me Cry", "People Are Like Suns", and "Silent House" reflect on the transience of life. While not popular themes in pop music these are things which eventually we will all experience. It's great to see someone prepared to tackle them head on. On the night Neil said in his introduction to "Nobody Wants To":
"We want to sing about everything. There are no no-go zones with Crowded House. We'll sing about anything or anyone or anytime, anyhow"
That's one of the things I love about Neil Finn as a songwriter. He's not afraid to write about whatever is on his mind, no matter what that is. People respect that, because it comes across as honesty and openness. There's a little touch of insanity there too ("Hey don't look now but there goes God with his sexy pants and his sausage dog"...WTF?) but that adds to the general level of mayhem - there's nothing worse than predictability. There are definitely niches in rock that have become very manufactured and formulaic. Crowded House provides a refreshing alternative to this trend.
The evening was peppered with moments of musical mischief. Mark gave a brief rendition of "Oh Susannah" on the harmonica before cranking up "There Goes God". Also fun was a lead break on the melodica in "Don't Dream It's Over". Neil introduced "When You Come" with the line "This song is not about sex, or maybe..." which of course just confirmed what I had always suspected. At one point, Nick Seymour chased onto the stage a small pack of greyhounds in red racing jackets. This was a great absurdist moment, but also a set-up for the line "Nick Seymour, Best in Breed". A highlight for me was the juxtaposition of two of my favourite songs: "Distant Sun" and "People Are Like Suns". During the final number "Pineapple Head" a "half naked man" climbed onto the stage only to be escorted away by security guards. Ever the showman, Neil worked it into the chorus so seamlessly that I was left wondering if the whole thing had been staged.
(Download 1Mb) Half Naked Man On The Stage (Download 2Mb) Half Naked Man On The Stage (extended with entire chorus)
Recorded in glorious 8Khz mono on my cell phone.
Here is the set list from the night. I for one enjoyed not just the songs but the energy and humour.
Great work guys! I hope to see you back some time soon.
You've been to podcamp. You've watched the videos, but you just can't get enough? Want to take it home on your 'pod?
Here are the audio tracks from my Perth Podcamp 2007 videos. Each file is encoded as MP3, 22Khz, 64Kbps. There are often comments and questions from people in the room, so I've made them stereo to help you localise the speaker.
Click on the "+" widget to listen on-line, or use the Download link to save the MP3 files (right-click and "Save Link As..").
My impressions of the day are a little coloured a little by the fact that my attention was split between the sessions, the video camera, and playing dad to Mr5 and Mr9. Podcamp was a bit like Barcamp, with a little less focus on detail and a little more on "big pictures". At times there were up to 4 sessions happening at once, which means that you're bound to miss much of what's going on. Hopefully, the videos here will help fill in some of the gaps. Given the number of contributors it might have been better to spread the sessions over two days. I liked the informal feel, though many of the presentations were pre-prepared which is not strictly "unconference" style. Most of them managed to include the audience in the discussion which is great.
Here are my videos from the day. I've put them on Viddler because it supports long videos and has some nifty tagging and commenting features. Feel free to be social : if you see something fun or interesting just click on the green "+" button and add a comment. That way, if people don't have time to watch the whole thing at least we can check out the highlights. If you see the word "PROGRESSIVE" in the bottom left, click on it to switch to STREAMING mode. You can skip to any point in the movie by clicking in the seek bar, or on a comment point.
Podcasting in/as Education with Tama Leaver and Sue Waters: Exploring the role of podcasting in education, not just the 'record and spread existing content' but also how we can engage students by getting them podcasting, too! Sue likes to walk around, so she's not always on camera.
Perth's first Webjam is just over and I'm already looking forward to the next one. Last night, 15 presenters and an audience of around 100 gathered at the Velvet Lounge, Mt Lawley for a fast-paced evening of geek fun.
Webjam gives each presenter 3 minutes to strut their stuff. The audience votes on their favourite presentations via SMS, and there are prizes awarded at the end of the night for the winners. Meanwhile, everyone enjoys the camaraderie, the drinks, and the chance to network. Webjam is hosted by Lachlan Hardy, ably supported by Lisa Herrod and Tim Lucas, all from Sydney.
First prize on the night went to Richard and Simon from Scouta for a dazzling visualisation of Scouta's social network. Second prize went to Nick Cowie's blistering "sledgefest" on web-sites that don't work on mobile web browsers. Third prize went to Gary Barber's "Web 3.0" redesign of his own web site.
Unfortunately, the lighting is not good, and I didn't have the opportunity to pan the camera so the display on the screen is often "washed out" with the extreme contrast. However, it does capture the spirit of the presentations and some of the vibe of the night. Apologies to those presenters who I've omitted. Some of the presentations were not very clear on video, especially those with bright backgrounds on the slides.