Saturday, 15 December 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - Goosebumps and Tears

PJ Harvey, live at the Regent Theatre, 2012.

Goosebumps and Tears
2012: The Year of Live Music
by Jo Michelmore

I’m going to admit something here. My name is Jo and I have an addiction, which no, is not the sex addiction Matt likes to think I have in his alternate universe. My addiction is a little more involved than that and it started a long, long time ago. My addiction has plagued and rewarded me almost my whole life. I can’t imagine existing without it and in fact, I don’t want to. I love it.

There’s nothing like the feeling of an incredible note, a guitar riff being played the right way, a bass line pounding through your chest, a drumbeat so catchy it’s impossible not to dance. For me, there’s almost no feeling better than seeing a musician play in front of you, telling stories about their songs, yelling at you, throwing something at you, demanding you dance, demanding you listen, performing with their peers. It’s all about the lights and the clothes and the volume and it’s about swaying uncontrollably, dancing in the dark and singing as loudly as you can. It’s about laughing and bouncing and moving and crying and it’s all about the goose bumps. It’s about sharing these things with thousands of people, hundreds of people, a couple of people, sharing these moments with your closest friends and knowing that years from now you’ll remember those moments with a smile. I’ve been so lucky to have so many of those this year. Amongst a bunch, I saw Crystal Castles, Kira Puru and the Bruise, Texas Tea, Lanie Lane, Gin Wigmore, Aqua….the list goes on. If I mentioned them all we’d be here forever (almost) so instead, let’s just look at a few.


One of the most glittery nights of the year, The Vengaboys provided hilarious memories of much drunken behaviour, dancing and something I’d never seen before – their back catalogue is so small they sang one song twice. If it hadn’t been for them, the most hilarious gig of the year might have been given to Marilyn Manson, who spent most of his Soundwave set declaring his love of narcotics and desperately looking for an audience member to share them with. No thanks Marilyn. Lots of laughing and bouncing at those.

Gig Review - Vengaboys (11/01/2012)
Text Review - Soundwave 2012 

The image of Kaiser Chiefs Ricky Wilson throwing his microphone over the lighting rig at the Hi-Fi and demanding everyone listen while singing to a swaying mic was so very rock it made me genuinely happy. Seeing that talented little guy Prince and singing Purple Rain over and over, laughing with Katie while watching a shower of confetti and glitter was the best but it was Holly Throsby who reminded me of the need to pay close attention to those artists who may not make it to the very top of the charts, but whose songs and sounds are just as important. There was some dancing and some swaying at all of those gigs.

Gig Review - Kaiser Chiefs (08/05/2012)
Gig Review - Prince (18/05/2012)
Gig Review - Holly Throsby (29/03/2012)

Seeing Kimbra (again) was incredible, the clothes, the confetti, the voice; she never fails to impress, but the best part of that gig was being able to share the very front row with Matt who hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing her before that night (and managing to get two set lists from my newest friend, the security guard was kind of fun too). That gig was a whole lot of dancing and some of those awesome memories shared with friends.

Gig Review - Kimbra (15/05/2012)


Florence and the Machine on the same night as Clairy Browne and the Bangin Rackettes gave me one of my most fun nights of the year, Jack White (oh Jack, oh sigh) was an opportunity to swoon, Santigold was an opportunity to dance, Bic Runga was an opportunity to escape, Lana Del Rey was an opportunity to mock, The Black Keys disco ball was an opportunity to “wow!” and Band Of Skulls gave me an opportunity to rock (and saved me from the Splendour downpour!)

Gig Review - Florence + The Machine (26/05/2012)
Gig Review - Clairy Browne and The Bangin' Rackettes (26/05/2012)
Text Review - Splendour In The Grass 2012

But let’s get to the important part, the goose bumps, the life altering moments; they’re what I’m about. I made the journey to Melbourne with two amazing friends to tick someone off our communal must see bucket list, PJ Harvey. She was truly beautiful; I’ll never forget the image of her, resplendent in black, the sound of her band chanting “these are the words” ringing across the Regent Theatre, the hairs standing up on the back of my neck. Bucket list ticked? Yes. Goosebumps induced? Yes. Those same friends also came to see Radiohead and as they’d never seen them before, I was honoured to share that gig with them, it was such a joy to see the look of amazement on both their faces song after song. For me, one of my fave Radiohead songs ‘Street Spirit’ performed live? Incredible goose bumps. Here’s the beauty of music, in a much smaller venue, Emma Louise singing the words “please let me cry in his arms just once more, for 1000 Sundowns” gave me the same incredible goose bumps and brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know if Matt noticed my tears as we looked at each other speechless, afterward, but I think he might have had some of his own. Goosebumps AND tears? Phenomenal.

Gig Review - PJ Harvey (15/01/2012)
Gig Review - Radiohead (09/11/2012)
Gig Review - Emma Louise (12/07/2012)


This brings me to a gig that changed my life this year. Walking into The Tivoli in January to see The Dresden Dolls I had no idea how much that one night was going to influence my entire year in music. I witnessed two incredibly talented musicians who clearly love their jobs; they were fun, they were intense, they were emotional and they were amazing. ‘Boston’ was one of the highlights of any song I’ve ever seen performed, those words of Amanda’s; “there is nothing in the world that we can count on, even that we will wake up is an assumption” will stay with me for a long, long time. I remember walking out and trying to discuss the evening but not being able to put the thoughts into words and those thoughts turned into a year of listening to everything that is Amanda Palmer, a pledge to her kickstarter campaign and a new love to get me through so many days. Goosebumps that night turned into smiles and tears and sing alongs and bouncing and dancing and thoughts and goose bumps, all year through.

Gig Review - The Dresden Dolls (05/01/2012)

At the start of the year, I saw Dan Mangan play at the Black Bear Lodge. That night I experienced what I think is one of my favourite live music moments, ever. I don’t think I will ever forget him and his band, their very last song, walking through the crowd, standing on the bar at the back of the room and playing without amplification, pounding his hand on the roof for percussion while the entire room sang backing vocals. It was smiles and it was goose bumps, it was tears and it was the best. That night, he explained my addiction well. To have a happy life, he hoped to have experienced as many goose bump inducing moments as possible. It’s a thought I really like. It’s a thought I try to live by and one of my favourite ways to get those goose bumps is with music. So here it is. My name is Jo and I have an addiction. I have an addiction to live music. I can’t imagine existing without it and in fact, I don’t want to. I love it.

Gig Review - Dan Mangan (26/02/2012)

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