Archive for February, 2013

will grayson

Slowly but surely I am making my way through all of John Green’s young-adult novels, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson – co-written by  David Levithan – was number three. After falling absolutely head-over-heels in love with Looking For Alaska and enjoying all but the ending of Paper Towns, I went into Grayson with understandably high expectations. I can confidently say that it was fantastic.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, through alternate narration written by authors Green and Levithan, tells the stories of two teenage boys both named Will Grayson. They are polar opposites, for the most part, and are living their lives completely oblivious to each other’s existence, until one night in Chicago they cross paths. What follows is the funny and emotional tale of the now somewhat intertwined lives of the Will Graysons.

I was drawn in right from the beginning and found this book quite difficult to put down. It covered everything from teen love and lust, anger and pain, loss, homosexuality and friendship. While every issue discussed and experienced in the story is relevant and important to reality, it seemed like the authors were trying to cover as many issues as possible in one novel. It was a little overbearing at times despite the fact that for the most part the way the issues were written about didn’t come across particularly serious. To give an example, the story features gay boys and their relationship, one who has been comfortably gay forever and one who only comes out part-way through the story. The one who comes out during the story suffers from depression, but it doesn’t have anything to do with his sexuality or how he has been treated because of it. So instead of writing a common issue, where a teen gay might be depressed because of their confusion over their sexuality and not knowing how to deal with it, they’ve thrown in depression for the sake of having a kid in the story with depression. That may seem unnecessarily critical, but obviously mine is only one opinion.

The only other real criticism I had was that I felt that the story of Levithan’s Will Grayson’s (I call him Will2) father was more important than the amount of time and attention it was given. It felt brushed over and I think you would understand Will2’s personality more if the time had been taken to really explain what happened with his dad.

The alternating chapters helped hold my attention throughout the novel and also made it easier to read when some of the content got quite emotionally heavy because you were able to take a break between chapters about each Will. The story of Will2 in particular was very intense and would have been quite emotionally draining to read all at once. If I was to choose, I think Will2 would be my favourite of the two, although I did change my mind a few times during the story. Reading each Wills point of view became particularly interesting and entertaining after they met, because there were times when you were seeing the same event or situation from both perspectives.

As far as writing style goes, Green has this way of describing things that makes you really understand what his characters are experiencing, and his portrayal of his Will Grayson (who I call Will1) exemplified this skill. I had never read any of Levithan’s work previously, but he wrote Will2 brilliantly, matching Green’s first-rate descriptions and passages with some of his own. They worked well together, blending the two stories to create one very compelling novel.

My favourite parts of the story include the huge surprise I never saw coming in chapter 8; the coming out speech in chapter 12; Will1’s best friend Tiny’s monologue in chapter 16 and of course, Tiny’s musical at the very end of the novel.

If you’re a John Green fan, this is a must-read. For anyone else who enjoys some good quality young-adult fiction, you will love this too.

Song of the week time!

This week I share with you Time Bomb by All Time Low. I chose this as my song of the week mostly because Soundwave 2013 was far from my favourite Soundwave experience and All Time Low basically saved the day for me. But you can read all about that when I post about it in the next couple of days!

It took me quite a while to get into All Time Low, despite a couple of my friends regularly telling me that I would love them. I don’t know why I resisted, but eventually I had a listen and realised they were right. Are they generic pop-punk? Absolutely. But they are so damn good at it!

This song is from their 2011 album ‘Dirty Work’. Their fifth album, ‘Don’t Panic’, was released last year but I haven’t actually listened to it yet. Should probably get onto that!

Anyway, enjoy!!

Apologies for this being a day late. It was worth the wait though, I assure you.

This song of the week is, as promised, by another of my must-see Soundwave 2013 artists – Blink 182.

This song, Up All Night, is from Blink 182’s 2011 release Neighbourhoods. This was Blink’s first album since their self-titled record in 2003, and most notably, their first since reforming in 2009 after an indefinite hiatus was announced in early 2005.

You may know Blink 182 from previous hits Dammit, All the Small Things or I Miss You (among many others), but on this album you won’t really find anything remotely similar to these songs. They are still the same Blink 182 we know and love, but like all of us they have grown and matured over the years and so too has their music. 

Blink are venturing to Australian shores this month for the first time since 2004. I was fortunate enough to be at their Brisbane show of that tour at just 16-years-old. It was a fantastic show and I look forward to seeing what they have in store for us at Saturday’s festival. Unfortunately, drummer Travis Barker has not made the journey over for the Soundwave tour. After he was involved in a plane crash that nearly killed him in 2008, he has not been able to fly. Barker promised fans after the band announced that they would be playing Soundwave that he would do his absolute best to make it here to play, but the band released the following statement yesterday:

“The trip to Australia was planned during our European tour last summer. The band knew the chances of Travis overcoming his fear of flying, which was magnified after the horrible plane crash in 2008, would be a challenge, but we wanted to play for our fans in Australia nonetheless. The three of us tried all measures to get us all there in full form. Travis has been working to overcome his fear of flying. Since we now know we have to make the trip without Travis our friend Brooks Wackerman (Bad Religion, Tenacious D) has stepped in. We love our fans in Australia so canceling was not an option so we still plan to come and play some kick ass shows. Mark, Tom, and Travis.”

Travis followed this with a statement of his own shortly after:

I’m sorry to announce i won’t be joining Blink 182 on this Australian tour. I still haven’t gotten over the horrific events that took place the last time i flew when my plane crashed and 4 people were killed, two being my best friends. I gave the band my blessing to take another drummer if they still wanted to do the tour without me. I hope to come to Australia again some day perhaps by ship if need be. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a boat that worked with the schedule this time around. Once again I’m sorry to all the fans.

– Travis

As expected, there are many disappointed fans who had hoped to see the original line-up back in action, but at the end of the day, you can’t really blame the poor guy for not being able to get on a plane for 20 hours+ after his past experience.

Despite Barker’s absence, I cannot wait to see Blink 182 live for the second time!

 

In just over a week the 2013 Soundwave Festival tour kicks off in Brisbane. This year will be my fourth Soundwave and as always there are a huge number of fantastic bands from around the world making the trek down under to blow our minds. My songs of the week for the next two weeks – possibly three, depending on how much of a post-festival high I am on two days after Soundwave – will be from a couple of the bands I am most looking forward to seeing at the festival.

This week I present to you a song called Temper Temper by Welsh metal-core band Bullet For My Valentine from their brand new album of the same name.

Bullet first made an impact internationally in 2006 with the release of their debut album ‘The Poison’ which sold more than 1 million copies worldwide. Since then they have released three other studio albums – ‘Scream, Aim, Fire’ (2008), ‘Fever’ (2010) and of course ‘Temper Temper’ (2013) – and have played just about every rock festival in the world.

This year they will play Soundwave for the second time (the first was in 2011) and personally, I cannot wait!

Brisbane is my hometown and one of my favourite places in the world, but in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t very big. This makes finding a band you love enough to buy their merch and CDs, and go to as many of their shows as possible who also call Brisbane home, a pretty awesome thing to do. Two years ago; and two years into their career; I discovered such a band – pop-punk five-piece I Am Villain.

The first time I intended to see I Am Villain, I didn’t end up seeing them at all. A trip to Sydney happened to coincide with The Mission in Motion and Stealing O’Neal’s second ‘Good Times & Killer Rhymes’ tour, so of course we had to go to a show. The Villains were the only support band for the co-headliners and I figured that if they were hand-picked by two of my favourite bands for the spot, then they were probably worth checking out. Unfortunately for them, we ended up joining some of the other guys for dinner and missed their set altogether. Oops. After that I was determined to see what they were like, so it was only a month or so later that I saw them in Brisbane for the first time.

After that, I was at almost every show. Some were headlining gigs while others were support slots for bands like Man Overboard. Their EP was – and still is, for that matter – on high rotation in my car. I know that for the most part all pop-punk sounds the same –I even wrote a blog post about it! – but I still loved their sound and their energy and I was never disappointed by a performance. That is why I am so sad to write that last night I attended their last ever show.

I know that John Farnham has been playing his “last ever shows” for years now and the hilarity of that was not lost on the Villain boys who chose Farnham’s hit You’re the Voice as their intro song for the show. Unlike Mr Farnham, I am quite certain that in this case, the last ever really did mean EVER. Bands have been known to surprise us, but they’re usually the ones who were really famous and made a tonne of money that they’ve since blown through and are going ‘shit…we need to tour again!’ (It’s possible that they just love the music and want to come back to it, but the money thing is funnier.)

But anyway.

The set list was fairly predictable, but at a final show you would be disappointed if it wasn’t. Most of their EP was there, their single Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse (which was my song of the week this week!) was there and they also threw in a few songs off the album they never released (still very disappointed about that) as well as an incredibly unpolished but nevertheless entertaining cover of Four Year Strong’s hit Wasting Time that had a decent chunk of the crowd joining them onstage for an epic sing-a-long.

They closed with favourites Take it Now and of course their biggest hit, Frankly My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn which was probably the worst performance of that song I’ve seen, yet somehow it was also the best. The crowd was on the stage, the band was in the crowd and everyone was belting out the lyrics as though their lives depended on it, and I suppose in that moment, they kind of did. It was a fantastic end – since there did have to be an end – to I Am Villain’s career. They may not have been huge, but they sure as hell were loved. I’m glad I could be a part of it.

 

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I got a free shirt and I caught a guitar pick! Very exciting! 

 

(Apologies for the bad picture quality, I only had my iPhone)

 

 

This week I proudly introduce my favourite Brisbane pop-punkers – I Am Villain!

This song, Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse, pretty much sums up this band and the video is great.

It is with great disappointment that I announce they will be playing their last ever show this Friday night. I’ll recap their career with a brief review of the show on the weekend. In the mean time, check out this song as well as anything else you can find from their EP ‘One Night, One Victim’ because that is some seriously good pop-punk music – if you’re into that kind of thing!