A Bit Of Shawn Mendes With The Girls // Live

A Bit Of Shawn Mendes With The Girls // Live

Hello hello!

Hope you’re all well! It genuinely seems like time seems to be speeding past and the end of the year is hurtling towards us, which was highlighted by this particular concert rolling around, tickets for which we booked over a year ago!

Honestly, Shawn Mendes. What a man.

I used to listen to his music when he was fresh off Vine, and then it kind of fizzled out for me. However, the music he’s been releasing in the last two or three years has been right on my radar, so when he announced he was doing a tour that would feature a few shows in Melbourne, I was a little bit on the fence about if I should go.

However, when my sister and her best friend decided to go, it was brought up that they’d need someone to take them. My mum’s past experience with my friends and I at the first One Direction concert in 2013 was enough for her to shut down the idea straight away, but when my best friend Kate mentioned she was interested in going – it all just clicked perfectly into place, and a few days later, we had four tickets.

The concert arrived on one of the warmer days of Melbourne’s undecided October, which made for a great time catching the train together and walking to Rod Laver from Richmond station with the huge cluster of concert goers. Kate and I were probably amongst the oldest people we saw at the concert, aside from a few parents and groups of older adults.

We made two quick pitstops, one so my sister could buy herself a T-shirt from the merchandise stand, and another to grab some food, which we ate before heading inside.

Dan + Shay were the opening act, and I was pleasantly surprised. I never listened to them much before, despite how much I’ve been told to by numerous people, so hearing them for the first time in a live arena setting was a treat. The vocals were incredible, so many people knew the words to nearly every song and they were definitely one of the best opening acts I’ve seen thus far.

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When Shawn finally stepped on stage, I sweat to God, I had war flashbacks from the One Direction concerts I went to in high school. The shrieks were insane, and Kate and I spent a good half of the first song, laughing at my fifteen year old sister and her friend screaming and singing their heads off.

Lost In Japan is one of my favourite songs from his latest album, and it was arguably the best song to open with. It was so groovy, and I should have seen the foreshadowing for the rest of the show in that song along. Every little nuance of Shawn’s voice is super interesting to me, but there was also this added element of jazz and RnB that I never knew to expect, and the music arrangements probably would have impressed most music nerds.

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Highlights for me definitely included Stitches, which had my throat sore and aching from screaming along with the girls. It got to a point where we became that annoying group of girls who you sit in front of and can only hear them singing horribly for the entire show.

He moved to a little B Stage, where he performed a Whitney Houston cover, as well as a medley of songs from all of his albums, and one of my favourites, Ruin, which delivered my favourite guitar solo on the album. I had seen videos of him doing it live the night before, so I was eagerly anticipating it the entire night.

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I loved Where Were You In The Morning, as well as Particular Taste, where he decided to actually pop off with his falsetto. If you follow me on Instagram – @priya_francis you’re welcome – you’d have seen my Instagram story just obsessing over the control and range he had and how good everything sounded. He screamed and went into his higher register with such ease, it was a very rock-star moment, and everyone couldn’t help but lose it each time he did an unexpected note.

Mercy went off, and the final song, In My Blood was such a beautiful finish, with the giant rose that had been rising and falling throughout the show being covered in confetti from canons that heralded the end of the show.

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Look, I don’t know what I was expecting from that show, but he blew all my expectations out of the water. My sister and I literally sat for half an hour after the concert downstairs with our parents, showing them different clips of him singing, our favourite parts and songs. It was such an enjoyable concert, and I’m glad I went with the gals I did.

x

Priya

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Another Jon Bellion Post

Another Jon Bellion Post

Hello friends! Hope you’re all doing well, it’s your resident President of the the Jon Bellion fan club here, coming at you today with a brand new song, from the gift that keeps on giving, the man himself.

As if an album, a magnificent album too, Glory Sound Prep, wasn’t enough, Jon had to drop some ridiculously reasonably priced merchandise – I’m talking $70 total for a hoodie and t-shirt – with shipping to Australia included – he also then had to announce a tour. A tour I’ve been waiting for, for close to five years. And because that wasn’t enough, without any promotion or warning he dropped a surprise documentary about the make of GSP, and now? Now he’s gone and released another track.

It’s obviously been a wild couple of months for me, as you can tell.

Let’s just get into the song.

Crop Circles.

It’s honestly so good, and I’m not just saying that because I’m unprofessionally biased. Jon shared a few videos on Instagram and Twitter of him setting the song up, finding loops and percussion pockets, which by now, we know he’s somewhat a god at.

It follows the story of a relationship that just seems  to crumble, and the different stages of it coming to an end. There’s some wicked sampling and production in this song, but are we really surprised?

It’s another collab with his producers Mark and Volta who’ve contributed heavily to the creation of this sound that Jon’s seemed to have nailed down. I feel like this song has the potential to reach All Time Low success. I mean, I hope so.

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CROP CIRCLES MIDNIGHT

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The chorus is such a contrast to the verses, which have so much energy and punch to them. That’s not to say the chorus is any less impressive than the rest of the song. It’s a nice stretch of Jon’s beautiful vocals and I love the rhythm within it, especially towards the end of the song where it keeps vamping and vamping.

I’ve been so impressed and inspired by all the developments and growth that’s taken place with Jon and his music since the release of The Human Condition in 2016. Instead of remaining comfortable with the success he’s achieved and how well that record did, it’s like he used everything he gained from that to push the envelope even further.

I’m so excited for the tour man. Can’t wait.

 

x

Priya

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John Mayer // Live

John Mayer // Live

Hello friends and welcome to another post!

Today’s post is one I’m pretty excited to share and if you read my last Monthly Tunes which covered the month of March, you may have a small idea as to why that is!

March 27th marked the day I got to finally see John Mayer live.

I feel like John Mayer is one of those artists who’s just existed forever. He’s been making music and wow-ing audiences for that long, it seems like for me personally, there’s never been a time without him. Whether it’s old classics like Your Body Is A Wonderland and Waiting On The World To Change from when I was younger, to some of his blues-based stuff like Why Don’t You Come When I Call and Everyday I Have The Blues to his newest tunes like New Light and I Guess I Just Feel Like, he’s been making music that time and time again really just, gets me going.

So it’s fair to say I was pretty excited heading into the city on the Wednesday to meet up with my friend Daniel, who’s also the guitarist in our little duo we have going that I’ve mentioned here and there. We were both super keen for the concert and had been counting down the days ever since March arrived.

 

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Rod Laver Arena isn’t a massive arena in comparison to some of the other stadiums and performance grounds around Melbourne, but this definitely worked to our advantage. Even though we hadn’t forked out a ton of money to get onto the floor seats, we still had a pretty great view of the stage and subsequently, John. 

When the show started, it was a flurry of people screaming, grown men and hardcore John Mayer fan-boys finally surfacing and dropping their cool facades, and then there was Dan and I who when excited, tend to mix between laughing, screaming and hitting each other on the arm.

Watching John casually walk on stage made it all the more relaxed and insane and surreal, all at the same time.

As is evident from the setlist above, he played the bangers. He played the tastiest songs he possibly could, aside from some of his more bluesy songs I would have loved hearing, but I mean, we got to hear Gravity live, which not many other concerts got, so I can’t complain at all.

Hearing Love Is A Verb, Belief, and Born & Raised live, were also standouts for me, though I have to mention Isaiah Sharkey, who absolutely tore apart his guitar solo in Waiting On The World To Change. It was honestly one of the best moments of the concert and the entire arena simultaneously lost their mind, as did John who could only stare at him in awe the whole time.

 

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New Light brought the house down as expected, and John Mayer’s dad dancing complimented it perfectly. That said, the guy performs like he’s still 28. It was insane to watch. At one moment during the concert Dan leaned over and said to me, “At this point, it’s not even the question of if he’ll land the notes on the guitar, it’s just a given.” He went absolutely insane during Neon leaving us all just hanging on to every note he played, waiting for him to launch into the beloved intro, and when he finally did everyone went mad.

The people on either side of us probably got sick of the amount of times we just screamed at something crazy he did on the guitar, or when his backing singers solo’d and blew everyone away during the encore.

It was honestly insane. Such an amazing concert, John Mayer can put on a show.

x

Priya

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Ocean Alley

Ocean Alley

If you’re looking for the epitome of Northern Sydney, beach-based, ‘blue waves and too much sun’ type of music, you’re looking for Ocean Alley.

I personally discovered Ocean Alley as I discover many new tunes, sitting behind my desk at work with Triple J on the radio, shazaam-ing the shit out of every fourth song that comes across the airwaves. It was in this fashion that I heard one of their particularly popular songs, Confidence, a single from their album Chiaroscurowhich was released earlier this year.

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Coming off the success the album achieved, securing spots on the Triple J Hottest 100, ARIA Album Chart and ARIA Australian Artist Albums Chart, the boys headlined in the USA and America.

I couldn’t manage to make it to the Melbourne show of their Australian tour, but the overload of Snapchats and Snapchat Story’s I saw of the night were enough to make me insanely envious that I wasn’t seeing these boys live. To add some more salt to the wound, they performed a set at Splendour In The Grass, to rave reviews, another set I did not get to see.

If we really want to have a whinge, they’re also playing at Falls Festival, which I am attending. However, due to only managing to get a three day ticket, I’m gonna miss their set which falls on the first day of the festival.

We win some, we lose some.

They’re currently touring around the UK and Europe, and I’m pretty sure they’re set to support Tash Sultana on her North America tour in a couple months, which is insane.

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Their song Knees is picking up steam on the Triple J rotation, which is the reason I’m hearing it more and more and loving it a lil bit more every time I do. Not only do they have the cruise-y, slinky type of guitar sounds that are so central to the genre of music, but they have beautiful harmonies too. The entire production and arrangement of that particular song is the reason it’s probably one of my favourites from Ocean Alley overall.

The breakdown in the bridge is the perfect amount of energy and tension to get straight back into a chorus that requires you to sing along with it, whether you in the mosh pit at one of their shows or playing the song over a speaker at home or driving with some friends and listening to it in the car. It’s an easy sound to listen to.

If you’re into some Jimi Hendrix or Dire Straits, definitely give Ocean Alley a listen. I still love thinking back to my experience at BluesFest earlier this year in April, and I feel like they would be the perfect act to round up a lineup over there. Byron Bay, BluesFest, Ocean Alley, it seems like it fits perfectly.

Who knows. There’s always time to add some more acts to next year’s lineup…

x

Priya

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Ed Sheeran and The Weekend From Heaven…Pt.2

Ed Sheeran and The Weekend From Heaven…Pt.2

 

Hello friends! I hope you all enjoyed my latest post, a dedication to the absolute experience that was seeing Bruno Mars live in concert on the 10th. Let’s kick on to the sequel.

So on the 11th of March, literally two days ago, my best friends, Kate and Jess, and I met up on the train (someone count the hours I spend on the train between university and getting to concerts), and found ourselves at Etihad Stadium, a short walk from Southern Cross station, joined by a huge crowd of people, quite obviously preparing themselves for the concert like we were.

We were very aware of the fact that our chances of properly seeing the man in HD were slim. People had been lining up since the early hours of the morning, and by the time we were getting on the train and making our way in, the main door for the mosh had been open for two hours. One thing you have to know about Etihad is this. It’s frigging ginormous. It’s massive. The first time I saw Ed Sheeran, Jess and I managed to find ourselves basically front row of the mosh pit in Rod Laver Arena. Etihad Stadium is a whole other ball game, one that we weren’t willing to play to be quite honest. I had a friend who had been lining up since 2, and was still in the front/middle section of the first mosh pit. Yes you read that correctly, the first mosh pit. But on to that later.

Wait time was next to nothing seeing as the doors had already opened, but we had plenty of time to spare. We found our way to the shortest line, scanned our tickets, got our GA mosh pit wristbands and entered the stadium. After concluding that our stomachs would most definitely not withstand the rest of the night, we bought ourselves some food to eat and made our way out onto the mats. It was insane how big the General Access ground space was. It was so big in fact, that one of the light rigs was literally in the middle of the mosh pit, meaning they split it into two. Those who got there extra early, managed to squeeze themselves into the front mosh, while we were in the second mosh, a bit further back. That said, we were closer to the front of the second mosh pit, so we definitely didn’t have the worst view ever.

Bliss N Esso were the first opening acts, and to their credit, they were fantastic. Not everyone were fans of theirs, I had only heard a few of their songs but knew who they were, and I found myself singing along, joining in whenever I knew the lyrics and genuinely enjoying their set. By the time the second act made her way on stage, the crowd had at least tripled. Partly due to the fact that it was one of Australia’s most loved singers, Ed Sheeran’s musical crush upon his discovery of her during his first trip to Australia years ago, Missy Higgins. Her set was incredible and her songs were all beautiful. Definitely check her out if you haven’t heard of her. She’s been singing for years and years and years, her song Scar broke my 8 year old heart, and it did again when she closed with the song on Sunday night. The entire crowd was singing along and it really lifted the vibe of the entire stadium in preparation for Ed.

And a short twenty minutes later, he was on. I’ve only once, in my life, heard a roar like I did in that moment, and that was when I was in Etihad Stadium three years ago, with Jess and Kate again, seeing One Direction, in their prime. The roar was deafening and the huge crowd surged forward as expected. Still, all we saw was little, teeny, tiny Ed.

 

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I could quite honestly count on one hand the times I actually saw Ed Sheeran in the flesh, rather than on the giant screens but it didn’t matter at all. The sound he created time and time again, song after song, was so insane, and so admirable, I found myself not even looking at the stage sometimes.

Castle On The Hill was quite possibly the best opening song he could have chosen, and all the songs that followed after were even better. My favourites were definitely his medley from Feeling Good by Nina Simone, into I See Fire, his medley of Don’t and New ManBloodstream, Galway Girl, Nancy Mulligan (which caused both the girls to look at me knowingly as I screamed because it’s one of my favourites yet I didn’t expect it to be on the setlist at all), Sing and of course his encore which consisted of Shape Of You and You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, which went absolutely crazy. Bringing the old with the new to close the show was one of the best decisions he made, the crowd went absolutely mental, screaming and shouting whether they knew the lyrics or not.

 

 

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I spoke a lot about the atmosphere in my Bruno Mars post. I can’t compare the two concerts in any way because of how polar opposite they are, and how they appeal to two completely different sides of me as a person, but the atmosphere at Ed Sheeran, was one of the craziest’s I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. When thinking of the size of the crowd, take into consideration that this was a record breaking tour for Ed Sheeran, especially in Australia and New Zealand where he sold more than a million tickets. His four shows in Melbourne sold over 250,000 tickets.

A lot of the awe and just absolutely wonder I continuously found myself feeling, was mainly due to what was happening on stage, or what I could hear of it.

By now, it’s common knowledge that Ed Sheeran doesn’t perform with a band. He doesn’t have a backing track, or pre-recorded samples that he sets up for himself. Everything he does, every sound he made, was with his monster loop pedal and loop board, of which I’m forever envious of, his guitar, and his mouth. The percussion, the harmonies, the choirs you hear on his studio versions, the intricate guitar riffs and the booming bass. All him. Live, on stage, and once he clicks over onto a new track, the previous song is gone forever (a little part of my heart died when he said that).

Knowing that all the sounds and ambience that was filling this bloody huge arena, reaching out to over 60,000 people, was coming from this one man, is still even now, something I can’t wrap my head around. It blows my mind, and it gives me so much respect for him. The atmosphere in that stadium was irreplaceable and one that cannot be replicated.

After the show we were discussing how we all found ourselves, at one moment or another, standing completely still, in a total trance, just watching the screens, I See Fire is one of my absolute, if not, favourite song by Ed Sheeran, specifically because of how emotive it is in translating this really magical story, drawing from such a fantastical film, to create this sound that carries everything it holds and more. It gives me a roundhouse kick to the head of nostalgia from reading fantasy books, old Enid Blyton adventure novels and not questioning the lengths to which authors went to describe magic forests and fairies, old English country-sides and characters that you really can’t begin to imagine existing, and that song captures all of that for me. Perfectly. Take that whole chunk of words I just spewed, put it into a feeling, and that’s all I felt for the entire concert. It didn’t matter if I was screaming back the lyrics in a particularly up-beat song, belting out his slower tunes or dancing along to Shape Of You with my best friendsthat’s how I felt for the whole two hours that he was on stage.

 

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You Need Me, I Don’t Need You was the perfect note to end the night on. Not lyrics wise cos it’s very much an ‘eff you’ type of song, but just due to how much emotion and energy it evokes. He rapped all the verses perfectly, got the crowd so hyped up, got everyone involved, stepped away from the guitar after all the loops were set and looked so at home up on that huge stage. Singing that specific song, with the amount of people who were screaming along with him, felt like the perfect goodbye.

Another concert done, definitely up there with the best, 2018 is shaping up to be quite the year.

x

Priya

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Dear Jon

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Honestly, I’m sure you’ve heard of Jon Bellion. If you haven’t, I’m positive you’ve heard at least one of his songs. I nearly jumped out of my car seat when I heard All Time Low on the radio here in Australia.

Not only does he have a crazy voice to match incredible sound production and creativity, but his lyrics are so moving and different and powerful, and that’s one of the reasons why he’s honestly one of my favourite artists ever. I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to start writing this blog post.

 

 

I can’t remember exactly when I first heard Jon, but I know that it was a few years ago. The first song of his I ever heard was called Guillotine. To this day it’s in my Top Five songs ever, and I don’t foresee it moving from that place any time soon.

 

 

His lyrics are some of the best lyrics I’ve ever heard in my life. Listen to The Definition, his album released in 2014, straight through. It’s a trip. And then listen to The Human Condition which he released in 2016. That album has changed the entire way that I look at song writing AND song production.

Listening to Guillotine is an experience. To hear a voice that sweet and soft, with so many intricate layers in the vocals alone, combined with such hard-hitting beats and synths gives me goosebumps every time.

There’s bones in my closet, but you hang stuff anyway.

I remember audibly gasping when I first ever heard that line. In a song thats perfect for grooving along to and literally head banging, the lyrics are so perfect and soul-bearing it’s crazy.

Another song to listen to is Human. But listen to the acoustic version. It’s a little bit slower, lower even, but carries the lyrics so much better in my opinion. Just another list of my favourite lyrics:

  •  There’s someone gorgeous in my bed tonight, but I’m still petrified that I’ll die alone
  • I’m just so sick of being human
  • My mother calls I have no time to talk, but I can find the time to drink and smoke
  • But Lauren call me when you hear this song (forever wishing I was Lauren)
  • See I got GPS on my phone, and I can follow it to get home, if my location’s never unknown, tell me why I still feel lost

So basically the entire song. But it’s something about listening to literally only Jon and the piano paired up for this song that does something to the lyrics, that makes them ten times as powerful compared to the studio version.

Another asset that assists this obsession is his YouTube channel where Bellion posts behind the scenes clips, that show the step-by-step process of putting together the songs on his latest album, PLUS an insight into his thinking and ways of processing his thoughts into the music he releases. I’m pretty sure I watched all of them in one sitting.

DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR

 

Watching and listening to Jon literally pull together all the songs on his own and utilise the people around him to bring them to life is amazing.

And then on my birthday, on my birthday, Jon and Vice released a new song, called Obsession. @ me next time. Make it a bit more direct.

It’s pretty sweet. I’m desperately hoping it makes it’s rounds and somehow finds it’s way onto the radio here. If you think of the groove in Sexual by NEIKED, and then combine it with Jon’s sweet, sweet voice and real-shit lyrics, you have Obsession. Here you go.

 

 

One of my favourite songs from Jon is called Luxury. There is always so much going on in Bellion’s songs; it’s intentional. While sometimes other artists and musicians get caught up in the production process and add anything and everything in, the chaos that Jon creates has so much intent and cause behind it, it’s blinding. As a musician, its really inspiring.

Luxury is packed to the brim with amazing things. The main riff is a chorus of trumpets. Initially you assume he just pulled some trumpet players into the studio and recorded the line. Nah. He got one dude, to record every single note, each individual tone, pulled them all into a mixer, then played the line himself. The rhythm, the funk, the whole feel behind the trumpet line that drives this song is all Jon. I lost my mind watching The Making Of: Luxury. Lost my mind.

Add in the vocals. The lead vocals are so simple, but each phrase contains so many little intricacies, and whenever I sit and listen to one of Jon’s songs with the intent of understanding the lyrics and listening to what he’s saying, my mind is blown and it was no different with Luxury.

 

 

 

 

And then in the bridge, he brings in Audra Mae. Jon makes it clear that he has no cares for collaborating with big names for the sake of publicity. In remaining true to the authenticity all his music carries, Jon pulled Audra onto this track, solely for the quality of her voice and not for the weight of her name, and it’s like you can hear that in her voice. I can’t really get across how incredible listening to this and watching Audra sing while Jon listened at the same time was, so you just have to watch the behind the scenes video. Pls.

I’m desperate to see Jon live. His concerts look so hyped, and there has to be some sort of magic taking place when you get to hear those lyrics and those beats live. I’d pay hundreds of dollars to see Jon live. I’d go by myself if I had to. I know that won’t be the case because I have one of my best friends who can appreciate a great musician with me, but if it was necessary, I’d do it without blinking. No doubt.

Let me know what you think of Jon. Or if you’re already familiar with the genius, what’s your favourite song? Let me know! Hope you’re all well.

x

p.f