Soundwave Vs. Stereosonic

Posted by Bars And Nightclubs on 21/8/15.

Cue the drum roll and loud gasps here, as I’m about to do the unthinkable and compare two of the most opposite music festivals in Australia. You may ask how I came to this predicament? Well, I was just thinking about the fact that the lineup for Soundwave is going to be revealed soon, and how excited I am to find out which bands will be rocking the stages next year. Coincidentally, while I was reminiscing over the past three years I’ve been to Soundwave, my friend happened to mention that she was excited to go to Stereosonic at the end of this year.

I’m not much of a Stereosonic fan myself, but I couldn’t help but conceptualise over how different both music festivals are; they are pretty much the exact opposite in everything they stand for. My curiosity became more apparent as I began to ask people what they thought of each festival and what features stood out to them the most.

Okay, so I’ve decided to start with Stereosonic, since most people I know have attended the festival. From what I hear, it is jam packed with DJs working their decks and pumping a range of commercial music, trance, dubstep and hardstyle tunes, depending on which stage you check out. DJs generally comprise of local and well-known international acts, such as Armin Van Burin, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Avicii, Timmy Trumpet, Will Sparks and so on, although the number of international acts has dwindled since they’ve began investing more time into their own solo concerts in order to make money.

The minute you get to Stereosonic, you are overwhelmed with all the fluro banners and cops surrounding the place, just in case somebody gets a little too hyped up in their euphoric state and attempts something crazy. Stereosonic also generally attracts young adults, mostly 18 year olds who are fresh in the clubbing scene, although there are some older people as well. You’ll see all sorts of cultures there, and most people will be raving and breaking it down with some killer dance moves. Of course, limited clothing is a must; the girls are usually clad in short shorts and crop tops, or even bikinis since the latter is still too covered up for their tastes.

Women also wear daisies in their hair, and the men wear singlets that barely cover their nipples. Let’s not forget the trademark fake tans and ‘shredding’ craze – you cannot hope to really get into the spirit of Stereosonic if you haven’t done at least a thousand sit-ups and crunches beforehand so that those abs can grate cheese. Expect to hear a lot of ‘omg bro’; it is a catchphrase that most people use when they get really pumped up about the music and then drink themselves into a stupor.

I personally feel as though Stereosonic is more about the image; most people invest a lot of time and effort to get that iconic Stereo rocker look, and the music, alcohol and drugs loosen everybody up so that they can enjoy themselves. However, when you look at Soundwave, its nature varies – it is comprised of rock, punk and various metal genres, and most bands generally encourage their listeners to actively interpret and unravel the meanings embedded in their music.

Of course, a lot of people also drink up at Soundwave and there is a lot of headbanging, moshpit circles, pushing and shoving involved – after all, the intensity of the music revs the crowd up and depending on the genre (particularly the heavier ones, hard rock/heavy metal etc), people become more aggravated and rougher as a result. Crowd surfing is generally banned – but that usually doesn’t stop this determined bunch, who will do anything to get the attention of their favourite bands and prove just how passionate they are about them.

However, most regular Soundwave rockers (including me) know that most people really do have each other’s backs in the moshpit – and the adrenaline is so empowering, as people really connect to the band they’re seeing live. The band usually reciprocates their gratitude to their fans by putting all their energy and effort into their sets. Nothing in the world can compare to the sound of authentic instruments as they powerfully shape both the nature of the song being played and the emotions felt by both the band and their fans.

Soundwave is an all-ages event, which means that it also has a larger age demographic than Stereosonic; teenagers, young adults and middle aged people are all encouraged to rock it out hardcore. It’s also very multicultural, and the ‘Soundwave look’ is extremely distinct; people adorn themselves with band tees, skinny black jeans or shorts, chucks or hardcore lace up shoes/boots, and let’s not forget the heavy eyeliner, dark shades of lipstick, excessive tattoos and piercings galore.

The crowd here wants to make a statement: they don’t give a fuck about what you think and they will not conform to mainstream society. They are of the alternative breed, and tend to come across as outlandish, extreme and eccentric to the mainstream breed, and they love it. If you can put your prejudices aside and just be yourself, you will definitely enjoy this scene with other like-minded individuals. Most Soundwavers will invite you in with their banter about their favourite bands, and as long as you’re open-minded, most of them will embrace your enthusiastic spirit.

Both Stereosonic and Soundwave are two different environments, and as much as I’m a biased Soundwave lover, I think it’s worthy to give both festivals a shot. As long as you can loosen up and have fun with good company and a few drinks, you will love the hyped up atmosphere and exciting vibes that emanate from both festivals.

Is Madonna Too Old?

Posted by Aphra Magazine on 24/4/15.

The hype surrounding Madonna and how most people assume that she’s too old to still be performing onstage and creating new music is hard not to notice. To many people, she is still the Queen of Pop, considering that at the height of her fame in the 1980’s, but others disapprove of her actions in continuing her music career today; she’s apparently reached an age now where she should be retired and enjoying her free leisure time at home instead. Why is she still wearing provocative outfits when she’s in her mid 50’s? Why is she flaunting herself when her time in the limelight apparently ended in the 1990’s? How does she even try to compete with the likes of younger artists such as Rihanna, Taylor Swift or Beyonce?

The answer lies in negatively skewed assumptions. I never thought that age could influence talent when we are told so often that ‘age doesn’t define a person’. However, that seems to melt away when people scorn Madonna for belting out her new hits onstage. Seems a bit hypocritical. She is a legitimate pop culture icon and the inspiration of fashion designers everywhere; Jean Paul Gaultier has featured her in many of his designs (anybody remember the conical bra?), as she constantly struts on a tightrope through her ability to challenge the boundaries and influence social change. She wore his outfits with a bolstering confidence and the assertion that she owned the stage, and many people do idolise her up to this day.

But why Madonna? What about Mariah Carey? She may be younger than Madonna, but she is still older than some of the most popular music artists in today’s generation, and she is mighty talented. There’s Kylie Minogue, who has always been a pop icon too – her newest album, ‘Kiss Me Once’, was generally embraced by listeners. Also, swaying in a different direction of music, Jon Bon Jovi is well-regarded for his hearty attributions to the rock genre, and despite the obvious difference in genre and style between him and Madonna, his age doesn’t seem to affect most of his audiences’ perspective of him as much.

So this brings about another question: does this age stigma of music artists vary according to genre? Is the concept of pop music only for young and emerging artists? Or does this stigma revolve around gender rather than genre? These questions tend to raise multi-faceted answers, since they tend to be subjective in nature depending on each person’s perspective.

Pop music itself is constantly evolving, and I believe that Madonna has revolutionised its development through her unconventional fashion statements and bold music career. She constantly eludes people’s attempts to label her with a single identity, as she creatively re-constructs herself on a constant basis and proves to us all that her identity is multi-faceted and complex. She has a rich source of knowledge regarding pop trends (considering her many years of experience as a performer), and constantly aims to expand the horizons and re-invent concrete definitions of social trends.

Madonna’s impact on the music industry is outstanding, and even if you don’t like her music; you have to admire her flamboyance. She is bold, sexy and radical; after all, she is the epitome of feminism, and has inspired other women to take a stance in their beliefs. She has openly supported gay rights paving the way for the legalisation of gay marriage in various contexts. She has raised awareness for debilitating diseases such as AIDS and HIV, and she has used her iconic status to make positive changes in the world. She doesn’t think her age should restrict her progress, so why should anybody else?

Ambrosia Parsley – Weeping Cherry

Posted by Aphra Magazine on 23/4/15.

Ambrosia Parsley’s debut solo album, Weeping Cherry, showcases her mesmerising voice and beautiful lyricism. After 15 years and half a million records sold, the former Shivaree member left the band in 2007 to dedicate her time to being a mother. However, after working independently on her own creative project for an extended period of time, a tumultuous set of personal circumstances led her to finally complete Weeping Cherry. An album that is emotionally gripping, it is laced with love and loss, light and darkness as she weaves a complex web of meaning that reaches out to the hearts of her listeners.

The title track, ‘Weeping Cherry’, is embedded with a hidden darkness as she hints at a relationship that cannot be rectified, a love that cannot be rekindled. Her soft and delicate voice entrances, contrasting against the emotional turmoil that exists within her lyrics. ‘Rubble’ is also one of the album’s more prominent songs, and the first song that was written on Weeping Cherry. It ruminates over a similar theme and feel to ‘Weeping Cherry’; the lyrics convey the idea that she is possibly scared of having her indiscretions discovered, which will ultimately tear her heart into rubble. One of Ambrosia’s lyrics in ‘Rubble’, ‘There’ll be no heart to rest your head upon,’ implies that she is struggling with her personal views on love and loss. This track also lulls its listeners into feeling a sense of tranquility, as Ambrosia’s vocals are smooth amongst a combination of quiet and noisy sounds. This is once again juxtaposed with her angst and emotional turmoil.

According to Ambrosia, most of the songs on Weeping Cherry revolve around her conversations to lost loved ones; she has endured the deaths of relatives, friends and bandmates in the small timespan of a year. This is evident in ‘Skin and Bones’, which starts off with the scraping sound of guitars followed by a sassy piano melody and her seductive vocals. Ambrosia appears to be challenging the concept of death itself, giving it almost humanlike qualities, as she requests it to free her loved one of his shackled condition.

‘Make Me Laugh’ is another intriguing song on the album, as its haunting exterior and bittersweet lyrics are once again combined with Ambrosia’s lovely voice. This song is another example of how Ambrosia’s music is laced with heartache. Yet, what comes from her inability to hold onto her loved ones is a growing wisdom and strength.

Weeping Cherry will draw you in with its mystical lyrics, beautiful vocals and heartfelt music. Ambrosia employs her past experiences as a means to move forward. She quotes, ‘I may also be superstitious about certain fatalistic tendencies. I think they allow me to walk away from things, to recognise them for what they are, and at some point forge on’. Ambrosia’s acknowledgement of loss in Weeping Cherry provides her with the strength and wisdom to pave her way forward and start a new chapter in her life, and that is an important life lesson that she is teaching her listeners to abide by as well.

Supergraph 2015

Posted by Milk Bar Mag on 5/2/15.

Are you looking to be inspired by striking pieces of art? Is your imagination yearning to discover a whole new exciting world? Then look no further than Supergraph: Australia’s awe-inspiring graphic art fair that will enrich your imagination with its unique and thought-provoking works of art.

Supergraph defines ‘funky’ with its innovative designs, prints and illustrations. These pieces of artwork incorporate bright and unusual colours, eccentric depictions of people, animals and objects, along with witty catchphrases that accentuate the purpose behind their creations. Supergraph showcases the brilliant works of both new and emerging artists, providing a colourful variety that draws all sorts of different people; from the conservative to the more radical minded bunch.

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Prepare yourself to be awed by artists such as Tobias Guttman (creator of the ‘Analogue portrait machine’), Kara Baldwin (presenting ‘A Load of Pollocks’), Peter Cromer and Laura Blythman (Collaborators of ‘Enemies Yay!’), Sarah Beetson (her illustrations have been featured in collaborations with Jean Paul Gaultier and Stella McCartney) and of course, Supergraph’s creative director Mikala Tai, who will be expanding the horizons of graphic art by presenting some of Supergraph’s most unique and talented artists.

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The unconventional essence that emanates from some of these artists does challenge the norms, and the meanings behind their work are usually multi-faceted and intriguing; they will tempt you to unravel their hidden messages. Each portrait tells a story and reflects the artist’s own intentions for creating that piece; it portrays their perspective and unique imprint of expression. Their creations will definitely enlighten your perspective of graphic design and its influence on our evolving society.

I haven’t even revealed the best part yet: these artworks cater to all budgets, and they start from just thirty dollars! That’s right; this three day festival of fun will get your creative juices flowing and allow you to reap its rewards afterwards.

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Behind the scenes, Supergraph emphasises on the important value of teamwork through workshops and artist directed masterclasses, which are fast-paced and exciting since people can interact over their love for graphic art. Experts such as Sarah Beetson and Kiyita Palatsas provide you with techniques to channel your inner artist so that voila! You have your very own masterpiece that you can take home and treasure for years to come!

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Supergraph also spices things up through family events and an opening night party; this is held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, from the 13th until the 15th of February 2015. There are activities such as ‘Superplates’, ‘The Drawing Olympics’, ‘So You Think You Can Draw’, ‘Craft Singles’ (and more) that provide you with the chance to work your magic! A little friendly competition is always fun, and even kids can show us all what they’re made of through masterclasses such as ‘Put A Bird On It’ and ‘Home Is Where The Art Is’. So be sure not to miss all the excitement: Supergraph is definitely worthwhile to check out, and you’ll be able to enjoy it with like-minded people who appreciate the value of graphic art.

Supergraph
Royal Exhibition Building, 8 Nicholson Street, Carlton
Friday February 13 – Sunday February 15th
supergraph.com.au

Melbourne’s North Vs. Melbourne’s South

Posted by Milk Bar Mag on 12/12/14.

The inevitable battle between Melbourne’s Northern and Southern counterparts rages, as I contemplate how intriguing it is that there are such contrasting differences between both areas, despite the fact that they both reside in Melbourne. Melbourne’s diversity is truly captivating; it encompasses all sorts of cultures, which as a result project different social patterns that become acquainted with its various demographic counterparts. I decided to investigate these differences and challenge some of the stereotypes that have fueled the distinctions between the two areas (and hopefully make some sense of this never-ending war!).

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Melbourne’s North is commonly viewed to radiate a rough yet hip sort of vibe, and it is judged negatively due to its high crime rate statistics in comparison to the South, which does induce higher insurance rates and cheaper housing prices in its suburbs further away from the city (such as Broadmeadows). However, we can’t forget that the North is the icon for Melbourne’s grunge central. For instance, Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street radiates edginess with its variety of funky shops that have indie/punk inspired clothing (which the majority of people there adopt that individualistic look), along with eccentric art exhibitions and the alternative nightlife scene. Sydney Road is another representative symbol of the Northern suburbs; it essentially symbolises Melbourne’s strong grasp on multiculturalism, particularly that of a Middle-Eastern feel with its array of restaurants, cafes and shisha lounges. However, the North also has more conservative and family-orientated suburbs such as Essendon, and there are also upper-class suburbs such as Ivanhoe with its mix of exquisite and historical mansions and homes.

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When you veer into the South, you will notice that the vibe changes significantly; suburbs such as Toorak and St Kilda spell classy with their luxurious mansions and apartments, and if you’re craving to go for a swim at the beach, the South offers you that and more. While you are generally further away from the city than a Northerner (unless you live in the Toorak area), you’re well prepared to make the most of summer with a variety of beautiful beaches at St Kilda, Seaford, Elwood, Brighton and many other suburbs. There are also wonderful beachside cafes and restaurants to dine at, such as Beachcombers in St Kilda and Doyles Bridge Hotel at Mordialloc. The nightlife is quite fast-paced and generally considered more ‘mainstream’ than the unconventional Northerners, particularly the nightclubs and bars in St Kilda and Chapel Street.

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The South is also very multicultural, with Asians and Europeans being the most prominent races in these areas. Also, most Southerners are also stereotyped as ‘snobby’ in comparison to the ‘rough’ Northerners, and are apparently more self-obsessed about their pristine image, status and sleek new cars, as opposed to the Northerners who don’t boast as much about their bohemian lifestyles.

However, these generalisations can be contended in consideration to the whole demographic of the South; South-Eastern suburbs such as Cheltenham and Moorabbin are more modest suburbs, and other suburbs such as Frankston, Dandenong and Cranbourne have always been lower in the socio-economic ladder, which challenges the credibility of these assumptions; just as the North has its upper, middle and lower-class suburbs, so does the South. For instance, suburbs such as Broadmeadows and Frankston both have unstable reputations, since they’re considered to be heightened danger zones for crime; yet, these stereotypes could vary according to the locals who live there versus the people who have heard about these places. Also, the amount of media publicity that has highlighted both of these areas, in comparison to other suburbs, is quite prominent.

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In conclusion, it is difficult to attach stereotypes to the North and South since they’re so diverse in terms of their contexts, cultures and social patterns. Both areas have their advantages and disadvantages, and Melbourne is a multicultural entity in itself; you will meet different types of people everywhere you go, regardless of where they live or where they’re from. While the rivalry is certainly captivating, I say it’s time we all put our differences aside and learn to live as a united entity — after all, we all share Melbourne as our home.

 

Chapel Street Vs. Lygon Street

Posted by Milk Bar Mag on 12/11/14.

We all know that feeling of indecision when it comes to deciding what place to visit next. There are so many wonderful places to visit in Melbourne, and we are faced with the difficult decision of deciding between this or that; however, the good news is that both Chapel Street and Lygon Street offer a wide variety of options for you to make the most of your day/night out.

If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city, Chapel Street is your best option. It is local to most suburbs since it extends through the South Yarra, Prahran and Windsor suburbs, and it is quite a large strip of buzzing cafes, restaurants and shops. It offers a truly multicultural experience; you can head to Chapelli’s restaurant for a more classy Italian scene, immerse yourself in Viva Brazil’s delicious variety of Brazilian food or enjoy a funky American diner experience at Soda Rock; it prides itself on using recipes derived directly from American diners in the 1950s and 1960s. You can stroll down Chapel Street and check out the clothing and other knick-knacks at the Chapel Street Bazaar in Prahran, or explore the many designer boutiques and shops at the South Yarra side of Chapel Street.

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Chapel Street’s nightlife consists of bars, pubs and nightclubs with plenty of people of different ages and backgrounds. Places such as Blue Bar 330 and Lucky Coq offer an edgy and chilled atmosphere where you can enjoy a few drinks, Electric Ladyland oozes style with its red leather lounges and exquisite cocktail menu, and Temperance Hotel offers a more upbeat environment with party tunes to get your groove on.

If you’re craving an authentic Italian experience, Lygon Street is the place to be. It is located within the Carlton, Carlton North, Princes Hill and Brunswick East suburbs. Unlike Chapel Street, Lygon Street is much more cultured with its strong emphasis on Italian cuisine within its many restaurants and cafes. The majority of its crowd is European, and it also radiates more of a family-orientated atmosphere than Chapel Street does.

For instance, Cafe Cavallino provides a sensory Italian experience with their restaurant theme and employee uniforms. They provide an abundant amount of pizza and pasta choices that will glamour your tastebuds and take you for a trip to the heart of Southern Italy. There is the traditional Toto’s Pizza, which is proud to be Australia’s first pizzeria to grace the pizza hall of fame, and then to add the cherry on top of a great meal, Brunetti’s cafe can satisfy any sweet tooth with their large variety of Italian cakes, biscuits and sweets.

You can have a wander through Lygon Street’s shops, food stores and bars, and it even has its very own annual Carlton Italian festival event annually; Italo-Australians can celebrate their nationalities and also invite the rest of Melbourne to enjoy the ‘Italian way’. Expect mouthwatering Italian dinners and desserts, along with wonderful performances from live bands, DJs, dancers and comedians.

Overall, both Chapel Street and Lygon Street are wonderful places to visit, particularly if you’re looking for a nice restaurant or cafe to dine at. Chapel Street’s nightlife is more fast-paced than Lygon Street’s, and it tends to draw a younger demographic crowd due to its party atmosphere. However, Lygon Street provides a unique cultural experience that will enlighten your perspective upon Italian cuisine and traditions. It is honestly up to you whichever you choose — either way, you are guaranteed to have a fantastic night!