Friday, February 20, 2009

Northern Walkway

Myself and my better half decided to celebrate our national holiday by tackling the Northern Walkway here in Wellington.

And wow what a walk. We got the train out to Johnsonville (thankfully it was the first day it was running after a month and a bit of upgrading), and began the 16km trek. I imagined that climbing Mt Kaukau at the start would be the most difficult part of the walk. However, it was relatively simple and by the time we got to the top we were able to soak up the 360 degree vistas of Wellington. The scenery is truly breathtaking, we not only got to see Wellington in all its glory from the highest point, we also got views of the South Island. (Unless you are a master walker I would suggest going the way we did, its basically a climb straight up from Khandallah if you go from that side.)

We naively thought that this would be the hardest part of the walk. We were wrong. We descended straight down Mt Kaukau into Khandallah and down into the Nagio Gorge. This lead onto what was most definately the hardest part, clmbing from the bottom of the Nagio Gorge up to the top of Wadestown and the Tinakori hill. It's fair to say that by the time we got to the top we were fairly spent. Having said that there are some beautiful houses in Wadestown. Dreams are for free, the houses certainly are not.

Once we got to the Tionakori hill we had a closer view of the city of Wellington, and the near full stadium, complete with a crowd sung rendition of Wonderwall (England must have been playing). From there it was straight down into Thorndon and back home. All in all a beautiful walk and if you have a spare half day I definitely recommend it. The town belt walks around the city is one of the reasons I love Wellington so much. The fact that you don't even have to walk 45 mins and be right in amongst nature makes living here truly worthwhile.

Hopefully the memories of the views will far outweigh the sore legs we had the next day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Get of the bandwagon, put down the anvil

Well I have been slack but very busy.

Anywho, a few weeks ago now I ventured to the Town Hall to see the Arctic Monkeys. Now of course the Arctic Monkey's have a hell of a lot of hype behind them. Their debut album was the fastest selling debut of all time. Not to mention some massive hype generated by that giant musical tabloid known as the NME.

Despite the hype they have managed to release two cracking albums, with the second, Favorite Worst Nightmare, managing to break the second album curse and actually be slightly better than their debut.

I was therefore pretty interested to see how they would shape up live. I had seen reviews saying they are known for blowing through a set without barely a word to the crowd, or indeed a breath. Lets just say I didn't leave disappointed. The gig was at the Wellington Town Hall, which is a beautiful venue and is usually really good for sound. That night however, the sound was slightly below par. I could have been where I was standing, but despite this I proceeded to have my mind (and ears) blown.

Having the balls to open with a B-side showed that they aren't afraid to mix things up. The setlist was as follows
  • 'Da Frame 2R'
  • 'This House Is A Circus'
  • 'Still Take You Home'
  • 'The View From The Afternoon'
  • 'Dancing Shoes'
  • 'Dangerous Animals'
  • 'From The Ritz To The Rubble'
  • 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor'
  • 'Pretty Visitors'
  • 'Brianstorm'
  • 'When The Sun Goes Down'
  • 'Leave Before The Lights Come On'
  • 'Go-Kart'
  • 'Crying Lightning'
  • 'Fluorescent Adolescent'
  • 'Do Me A Favour'
  • 'Red Right Hand'
  • 'If You Were There, Beware'
They played three new songs, 'Dangerous Animals', 'Pretty Visitors' and 'Go Kart', which will be on there new album they are working on with Josh Holme from Queens of the Stone Age. You could definately see the Holme touch on the songs, quite a bit darker than their previous material.

The Monkeys did not dissapoint. Their was some banter between songs, but mainly it was all about the music. They didn't do the old "save the famous single until last", they played I bet you look good on the dancefloor right in the middle of the set, leaving their encore to be A Nick cave cover (pulled off quite well) and the lesser known If you were there, Beware as the last song.

Some of the songs sounded slightly looser than I hoped, but it was their first gig for over a year, so I will forgive them. Overall a top gig, and I am definately looking forward to the new album.