Throw Your Arms Around Me…Ramble

I’ve been thinking about happier times to get through difficult challenges of the moment. Maxims are not really a comfort, but the only way out is through does resonate in my mind. Then I picked up a photo album from back in the day with some of my first adventures in Sydney. Along with photographs, there is, of course, the music that my friends and I loved and created memories listening to, singing and buying *yes people actually buy music!

Here’s an Australian classic from the band Hunters and Collectors, covered by Neil Finn. The performance was taped at SXSW in Austin back in the day. I know because it was done for a website I used to work at called GetMusic.com, which is now, oddly enough a brand revived out of Australia by Universal. We did merge with Rollingstone.com for a while, which is denoted on the notes of the posting. Good times. Without further ado….I share this unforgettable song.

 

As a bonus, for all my fellow dog lovers, on the eve of my Elle’s fourth birthday tomorrow, the wonderful “Lester”, Neil wrote about a family dog.

I hope you enjoy these precious gems as much as I do.

This House is Crowded with Favorites…Ramble

I Feel Possessed

Last week I posted excitedly about my love for Crowded House’s new album ‘Intriguer‘- at that time I didn’t have a ticket and my two ‘sources’ who had said they might be able to come through but couldn’t in the end….but posting about it led to an amazing opportunity not only to see the show but to hang with a new friend.

It’s always like going home when I goto a Crowded House show. I was so excited it was Nicole’s, (who had the extra ticket), first time seeing Crowded House live. The Bowery Ballroom was ‘crowded but …with love’ and wasn’t overly sold though it was sold out. It was comfortable and as we have aged with the band, it wasn’t the normal smelly boy rock show, but an excellent gathering of those who, like the band are “wild but calm.”

Neil’s voice was in fine form as they kicked off the show with “I Feel Possessed.” The two and a half! hour set list was nearly perfection. It would have lasted longer only a ridiculous and non-functional MTA curfew got the band to stop at 11:30. I know I normally don’t like to list set lists but here are a few of the many songs that were played last night:

Hole In The River, Don’t Dream It’s Over

Kill Eye; Mansion in the Slums (I have been singing this randomly for the last week); and When You Come.

Whispers and Moans; It’s Only Natural; Four Seasons in One Day– during the encore Neil switched up the lyrics to ‘Chocolate Cake’– “I saw Lindsay Lohan walk out of a 7-11. She was stocking up for the 3 months she’s going to prison, now the excess of fat on her American– waiiiit she’s not fat and that’s where the song falls apart.” Of course, they kept going.

Liam on the left 'English Trees'

It was only 3 songs in when we were all in our first sing-a-long of the night. The night was made even more special with the addition of two Finns- first Liam on “Nobody Wants To” and “English Trees” from Time on Earth, then later the lovely Mrs. Sharon Finn joined for “Isolation” and “Either Side of the World.” It was lovely, dreamy and totally a wonderful treat for fans especially when Neil gave his missus a short kiss following the two songs. Very sweet! Thank you Sharon for inspiring so many wonderous songs that have become the fabric of our Crowded House lives. I am wondering if we will ever see Elroy Finn join his dad on stage.

Sharon at the back during 'Isolation'

We were also treated to favorites “Distant Sun” and “Private Universe.” All in all a totally magical evening. It seemed they would have played “Amsterdam” but you may still hear it.

Sadly the guy with the USB sticks only arrived to America yesterday so last night’s show was recorded but not available for purchase. I’ll have to get it off the website when it goes on sale because that was an incredible show during which we learned in the banter that Neil was recently referred to as looking more like ‘a head waiter’ than a rock star. Neil said he was glad he was the head waiter…

We also learned that Nick found Sweden to be a very satisfying place to move his bowels. No, I’m not kidding, I wish I was but it was all in good fun just like those mustaches that have grown both on Neil and now on Nick. Mark’s days as a clean-shaven man may quickly give way to peer pressure.

Musically and lyrically this band continue to be interesting, inventive and passionate.

I’m so Intrigued by this Crowded House…Ramble

My pal Saffy, Nick Seymour & Moi

I’ve been a really, truly, lucky longtime fan of Crowded House.

When I first was introduced to Crowded House as a young girl, I didn’t really like ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over.’ I found it depressing and sad and summing up the world as ick. Don’t tell a moody pre-teen that! Then I saw the video for ‘Something So Strong’ and it did…carry me away. After that I was hooked!

All I have to do is put on their first self-titled album and I’m home in Australia with fresh promise. I’d met them outside the Beacon Theatre during the Woodface tour and saw them at Roseland Ballroom when this new singer, Sheryl Crow opened for them (and shared a producer legendary Mitchell Froom. She and Neil also traded backing vocals on each other’s albums. Get your music geek on people!)

It bummed me out when they decided to break up especially since they had their free farewell concert at the Sydney Opera House. I’d only been back in the US a few months and my friends in Oz all went and said it was incredible. It was a very happy day when they decided to release a 10 year anniversary CD and DVD of it. I listen to the CDS & watch the DVD (thanks to EMI friend Jesse! The artwork was so amazing on a special edition I didn’t even realize that Neil had signed it until Jesse pointed it out!)

When Crowded House burst back on the scene after Paul’s unfortunate death, I was tentative. I wanted to love them as I always had so I got tickets to see them at The Glass House, close to Palm Springs. There were about 500 people and it was amazing the love that was there for them.

Liam Finn opened up and then joined from time to time on stage. Well, I have to say the banter I so dearly loved wasn’t flowing as much. The new music, as oft-times happens when a band has had a significant gap, in this case a decade, was not quite as amazing so I returned once again to the recorded live shows I have and made due with that instead.

I have to give EMI for reconnecting me with some other Crowdies amongst the music industry at a private concert at The Hotel Cafe in LA. There were less than 50 people. Seriously, that moment was the reason I signed up for the music industry. Neil was a mere arm’s throw. (I was even closer to Tim Finn when he played Largo. I told you I was lucky in my heyday!)

By the time they played The Greek Theater they were really coming together and the vibe was back. Hurrah!

It was with much anticipation I listened to the entire Intriguer album off of some very special person’s iPod. (I’m still lucky once in a while!) I was salvating for a copy but had to wait until my deluxe edition arrived yesterday from Amazon. (Yes, I will always pay for Crowded House. I love them!)

There is salvation once more. The music is there. The vibe is replenished. The soothing classic Crowded House sounds have come together in a way that if you skipped the last album, you need to come back for this one.

In their own lyrics “you will love this one as if we have made something magical.” Why yes you have!

Instant favorites aside from the single ‘Saturday Sun’:
Amsterdam
Either Side of the World
Isolation *****
Twice If You’re Lucky (I should be so lucky, lucky…. I heart Kylie too)

I try to limit those instant favorites because I love the whole album. It’s just magic! Hurrah.

BTW the Deluxe version includes a DVD which I had to have because at this point Crowded House kicks off their US tour next week and sadly I am still ticketless at this point. I am hoping someone will come through on that end but I know if they don’t I may have to go see them in exotic Dirty Jers.

P.S.
I just checked Crowded House has a great deal combo pack for the digital download and the physical deluxe for under 13 bucks.

Liam Finn is a Lovely Bit of Musical Yum Ramble

Hailing from the south seas, Liam’s musical heritage is undeniable. His father, Neil Finn has been honored as one of the greatest songwriters of all time after penning such Split Endz hits as “I Got You“; “Message To My Girl“; and “History Never Repeats” as well as being the front man for Crowded House. That alone would be enough to give Liam musical rights, but don’t forget Uncle Tim Finn, a founding member of Split Endz (he brought in Neil) as well as a successful solo artist, sometimes member of Crowded House (on the acclaimed ‘Woodface’ album) as well as the other half of The Finn Brothers.

I first saw Liam live back in the day on drums for Neil Finn & Friends tour in LA almost ten years ago. Seeing Liam open & later play with Crowded House at The Glass House in 2007 promoting his first solo record I’ll Be Lightening as a solo artist was quite impressive. Since then Liam has continued to tour both playing with Crowded House on stage as well as opening for Eddie Vedder (twice!), aka that guy from Pearl Jam- an honor for any musician.

Liam has toured all over the world, blending his unique talents as a guitarist, harmonica player and drummer into an incredible one man show. It’s a site to be seen. Happily Liam has put together a new ep with music, Eliza-Jane Barnes (daughter of Aussie rocker Jimmy Barnes, yeah this is big time great musical heritage) out in September but you can listen now. (Sorry to make you go elsewhere but I’m slow today from lack of sleep!)

P.S.
Just going to throw this in as one of my favorite all-time songs that was penned by Mark Seymour (brother of Nick Seymour of Crowded House) from the band Hunters and Collectors. I first heard this song performed live by Eddie Vedder (yeah that guy again!) in Australia before a Pearl Jam concert opener back in 1991! Just to show you more intertwining of the musical connections here. Being summer, and that it’s one of my favorite all time songs (click on Neil’s name above to hear his acoustic version) in which I’m not alone, I say “Throw Your Arms Around Me!”