Gig Snaps: The Rubens

Aloha pals!

So after a very long a drawn out process with Kmart (and a good year’s worth of procrastination beforehand on my part) I FINALLY got my roll of film developed from The Rubens’ last Cairns gig (October 2015). It was my first time seeing them live, and to be honest, I didn’t really know any of their songs aside from Hoops – but in just a few short hours at Tanks my love affair began.

 I’m not going to attempt to verbalise how swoony they are to see live, or how utterly charismatic the lead singer Sam is (oh baby), so I will summarise it all into the following: 

Do yourself a favour a go see them live. You’re welcome. 

Unfortunately, I think the film got damaged at some point because only a few photos actually developed, and the ones that did aren’t the most spectacular quality *insert a bunch of the laughing/crying emojis here* but I still love them nonetheless. I don’t know how I managed to do some double exposures, but it is now my new favourite photographic effect and I’m definitely going to learn how to do them properly for future shots.


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An Ode To Amity

Right now it’s August 12th 2016 – just an ordinary Friday for some, but for others, it’s the big release day for “This Could Be Heartbreak”, The Amity Affliction’s 5th full length album. And boy, was it worth the wait.

As per tradition, I woke up this morning and listened to the album from front to back (unfortunately on digital, because my darn pre-orderered vinyl didn’t arrive on time! But that’s another story), not caring that I would get to work with mere minutes to spare. I didn’t leave the house until I had heard all 13 songs in full, and made sure that I was able to read the lyrics as I heard them. If that’s not something you usually do with a new album then DO IT IMMEDIATELY. It unlocks a whole new level to each song, and you definitely feel like you’re in the songwriter’s head that little bit more; which for Amity can be a dangerous thing, as many of the themes are not your average dinner table topics (think depression, anxiety, suicide and alcoholism) but they described in such a hauntingly beautiful manner that you almost forget what heavy experiences actually aspired the lyrics.

Anyway, I’m totally and utterly shit at anything to do with music or gig reviews – I’ll be the first to admit that. It’s definitely not one of my strong points; albeit one that I am really passionate about. Sometimes I just find myself struggling to get the adjectives out that can genuinely describe how certain songs made me feel, so I end up mentally scrunching up a piece of paper and adding it to the pile next to the bin.

I won’t go too much into an album review, but I will note some of my faves so far. Aside from I Bring The Weather With Me and This Could Be Heartbreak (because do they really count as album faves if they were pre-released singles? Probably, but I like to divert from the curve), I am really loving OMGIMY (pretty sure that’s going to become a female favourite. Nothing like a man writing/singing ‘oh my god I’m missing you’ to make your heart melt into a big, fat mushy puddle), Some Friends, Note To Self, Nightmare and Wishbone. So basically half the album, which is definitely cheating, but can ya blame me? It’s a solid mix, and I’m really loving it.

So far, there’s been a lot of mixed reviews about the album, with a lot of people whinging that they’ve strayed from their ‘Youngbloods’ sound (an album they released 6 YEARS AGO in 2010) and then others completely loving how they’ve taken their classic Amity sound and injected some fresh concepts into the album. I don’t want to delve into it too much, because I’m planning to do another post regarding the evolution of bands and their sound, but I will say this: to any fans out there still wanting the same genre from 6 years ago: GROW UP. Amity have, and they’ve not only evolved as a band and had various member changes since 2010, but they’re also all 6 years older and have had a lot more life experiences that have clearly reflected how their music has adjusted and grown. It’s the same with every band who’s been together for such a period of time. Although to be perfectly honest, I can still pick their songs out from just a couple of seconds. Maybe I’ve been listening for too long, or maybe their music hasn’t changed that darn much. Either way, I’m sure there will still be some people who read this and think “just your typical fan girl defending a band she likes” when really it’s just “girl with a brain who is commenting on a topic of conversation”. 

But what I really wanted to write about when I ‘planned’ this post was how Amity’s music essentially saved my life. I won’t go into too much detail, because it’s kind of a long and messy topic but let’s just say that I don’t know what type of gal I’d be without their influence. So many people hear hardcore or metal music and just assume that it’s horrible noise yelling about silly things, but if you’ve taken 30 seconds to read through the lyrics to one of those songs, then you’d know that is so far from the truth. I remember when I first got into the heavier scene – being recommended The Getaway Plan’s ‘Where The City Meets The Sea’. I don’t know anyone who’s heard that song that doesn’t fall in love with it. From there, my friend sent me a link for Amity’s ‘Fruity Lexia’ and I remember watching the film clip over and over and over and OVER, and from there I was hooked.

Last night I started thinking about what was happening during my life when each album was released, starting with Youngbloods in 2010. Now, this is probably going to be boring as hell and irrelevant for a lot of you, but I think it’s nice to document these things and reflect every now and then. So here it is, a brief history of my life with Amity.

2010: Youngbloods


Man, this was a low point. I was in Year 10 at school and lots of things were going wrong for me. I guess I was trying to figure out who I was as a person, and what I wanted my life to be like. I was a 15 year old girl living in a small, isolated town, and all the friends I had held so dearly seemed to be distancing themselves from me because of how trapped I was feeling. Weipa was suffocating me, and Youngbloods was my life vest. I had it on repeat constantly; listening to it every lunch time and every class I was able to, as well as to and from school and every waking moment in between. It became the soundtrack to my life, and songs like I Hate Hartley and Anchors were the anthems that resinated with my poor, confused soul. I remember deciding to get some of the lyrics tattooed on me as soon as I was 18, and possibly earlier if I was able. I had never experienced music that spoke to me on such a personal level, and even now listening to the record brings up all sorts of mixed feelings, but always: gratitude.

2012: Chasing Ghosts 


Fast forward 2 years and SO much had happened. I had lived out of home for 6 months – in another town no less, which meant that I had to completely start over again; friends, school, house, the lot. It was exactly what I needed because I was able to completely reinvent myself, and I moved back home feeling stronger and rejuvenated. I was in a much more positive mental state, and was finally beginning to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I remember all of the hype surrounding Chasing Ghosts, and all of the drama the cover photo caused when it was finally revealed. I also remember feverishly checking the countdown clock Amity had set up on their website and ordering at least 2 separate pre-order bundles because I needed that skate deck and couldn’t decide on the shirts. When the album was finally released, I was in love. Again, I listened to it during every available moment at school and home, even choosing to use some of their lyrics for my final art project. Bondi St BluesFlowerbomb and Pabst Blue Ribon On Ice were the tracks of the hour, and despite forgetting about it for quite a while (idiot move, Vivienne) I rekindled my love for it last year and remembered what a solid record it is.

2014: Let The Ocean Take Me


Again, so much had changed. I was approaching the end of my adventure living in Brisbane, and was getting ready to quit my university course to pursue another one. I was lucky enough to attend a meet and greet at JB Hifi in the city, right before I left lovely old Brisbane. I lined up in Queen St for HOURS, and when I finally got to meet the band I had nothing monumental to say other than “I love your music” and was idiotic enough to get my CD signed for my dumbass boyfriend. ANYWAY, after all of the hype for it, I don’t even remember ever listening to it front to back until a year or so after it was released. I guess you could say things were rough at the time, and our shitty relationship kind of ruined that album for me for a while, because it always reminded me of our fighting and yeah… Now, I really like it. Faves were Don’t Lean On Me, Forest Fire, F.M.L. and Never Alone, and although I didn’t have the same connection to LTOTM as I do with the other albums, I still love it because, well, Amity.

2016: This Could Be Heartbreak


After a giant year of travel, partying and re-self-discovery last year, my love for music and Amity in particular returned and is stronger than ever. I finally feel healed enough to be able to listen to any given song and not have any negative feelings attached to it, which is a pretty nice feeling. So when Amity finally released Shine On last year, I was ecstatic as hell. It instantly became my favourite song by them. Everything about it was just perfect, and it made me even more excited for the expected release of their new album this year. I have definitely followed the album lead up closely this year, and was lucky enough to snag tickets to one of their Brisbane shows next weekend. I was pretty darn excited when I heard on Triple J that they would be doing a 2-part video releasing the first two singles off the album, and man was it a heartbreaker. The first time I watched the clip for This Could Be Heartbreak I got a little teary. “He didn’t want to go, he wanted to live in the end” I whimpered to James, trying to pretend that the video didn’t make me turn into a giant baby. But geez Amity, you know how to punch a gal in the feels. I’ve already mentioned what my favourite songs are so far, and it will be nice to look back on this time of my life and just have positive things to reflect on, including just how flipping much I love this album.


So thanks boys, in the unlikely event that you’ll ever read this, for producing some of the best music I’ve heard, and being that trusty anchor when I needed you most. 


Till next time,

Viv  x


Excuses 2.0 + A Mini Gig Review

Holy crap! I just read through my last blog post and realised that I posted that nearly 2 MONTHS AGO. Where on earth has the time gone?

Oh I know – towards moving, working, starting uni with a 5 subject semester, going on adventures, reuniting with old friends and planning my Groovin/Byron/Bali trips for later in the year. Up until very recently I was also deprived of full time internet (not even by choice – Telstra hadn’t given me my start up password and just FORGOT to mention it) and trying to get into a somewhat regular schedule that just completely went out the door this week. Haha, and I’m only just starting Week 3 of my 12 week semester. It’s gonna be a long and busy ride, my friends.

One of the positives from all of the chaos is that I have been journalling nearly every night, which has also come at the price of not posting on my blog. I feel just a teeny bit guilty but at the same time I can’t really write ALL of my insignificant life details on here (and some are just way too embarrassing for the internet to see). (Side note: I think my neighbours are having a brawl. They are having a ‘street’ party and the music has suddenly cut out and the yelling has escalated. But there’s no way in hell I’m going for a look haha).

Anyway, so I spoke to an old school friend recently (yes Tayla I am talking about you!) who said that she actually reads my blog and LIKES it haha so I’m feeling inspired to attempt to pick it up again. I’m currently procrastinating my studies, so I figured now was as good as ever to warm up my writing skills.

And speaking of writing – I actually wrote an entire story draft today, in UNDER AN HOUR. From start to finish. It’s very basic, and rough, with no dialogue, but holy crap I am proud of myself. I was actually falling asleep at the table when the idea came to me. And for once I thought, no Vivienne, wake your damn ass up and write this shit down! Don’t forget another idea AGAIN. So that is exactly what I did. What started out as a couple of images in my head is now a 4 page word document that even has a dodgy ending. I will probably change the conclusion because it’s not very uplifting (I’m a sucker for a happy ending) but hey, maybe branching out into not-so-perfect story endings will be good for me! Maybe actually finishing one of my stories will be good for me! Ha ha. That will be the day.

I’ve come so close twice now, with novels that I worked on for easily two years each, but something has always gotten in the way of me finishing them. Life, mostly. Work, school, boys, blah blah excuses blah. I really need to go on a two week long retreat somewhere and just WRITE. That would be so glorious. Maybe I’ll plan another Byron trip for next year and do it. Or hide away in a cabin in the Snowy Mountains. Wearing jumpers for 2 weeks straight would totally be OK with me!

I guess one thing that I’m really glad about is my mindset this year. After that failed 2-and-a-half year relationship, I am feeling much more like myself again, except for the part where I can’t decide on a career. I’m still running around in circles trying to decide between teaching, interior design and music journalism. All are equally fantastic and rewarding in different ways, and I kind of want to do all 3. I am genuinely considering finishing this teaching degree then heading straight to Melbourne to jump into a journalism one. Because who has time for sleep, right?

My passion for music is so majorly back that it isn’t even a joke anymore. I’ve got a lot of people who laugh and joke about how invested with festivals and gigs I am, but why the hell wouldn’t I be? There is seriously no cooler feeling than getting lost in a crowd of strangers, dancing ridiculously, singing loudly and your face shaped into one, big genuine grin.

That’s exactly how I felt at the John Butler Trio gig I went to up in Kuranda recently. I was meant to go with my parents and aunty and uncle, but they all pulled out last minute because of the dodgy weather. But me, being the total adventure junkie that I am, braved the horrible range at night (with rain, clouds AND fog) and even managed to find a decent park. It was the first time that I actually went to a gig intentionally solo (I did Soundwave last year by myself as well, but at least I saw 2 shows with my Uncle before we parted ways) and at first I was super awkward and didn’t know where to stand, but just before JBT started playing I was like “fuck this shit, I’m totally getting as close to the stage as possible.” I didn’t even have to push through, like a lot of dickheads around me did. I just went with the natural flow of the crowd and eventually wound up in the front row (but then retreated back a step, because there isn’t much room to dance on the barrier). It was a glorious night, and dancing in the rain was something I’ve never done before but now something I can’t wait to experience again. Having the show at the Kuranda Amphitheatre was so magical, and the weather and all of the gumboot clad guests only made it that much cooler also.

The band was obviously, mind-blowing. You could google any review on the John Butler Trio and I bet you it would all be words of praise. Those boys have such a huge amount of talent, and yet they are so humble and generous and still manage to find stand up for the things and current issues that are important to them.

If you couldn’t tell, I am frigging glad I went. I took a bunch of wonky, swaying videos (you can’t sacrifice an opportunity to groove, even if your friends and family do want footage) and now I have the memories for life (in my brain and on my iPhone). Writing this kinda stuff down is brilliant because when I’m old and boring and live in, *gasp* an estate (please don’t ever let me do that!) I will at least have all the badass adventures of my youth to look back on and think, “yeap, this girl definitely lived”.

Till next time (if you’re still reading this),