2002 releases 2005 releases 2008 releases artists concerts digital downloads guitar music

Jason Mraz, live at the Tivoli in Brisbane

It’s been a while, I know… but hey, as some would say, “Shit got real“, you know? And, unfortunately, blogging has had to take a second seat lately. Hopefully, this won’t be the case for too much longer… but for the next week, at least, things will continue to be pretty quiet around here.
That said, I had to make an exception and put up a quick post today to let you know that last night, I managed to catch a cracking set from Jason Mraz, live at the Tivoli in Brisbane.

Those of you who have read this blog for a while will recall that this is the 2nd time this year that I’ve seen Jason play at the Tiv… see my past post here: Mr A to the Z and Friends… at the Tivoli.
This show was slightly different, in that instead of just being Jason, Toca, Ian and Mike, this tour saw Jason Mraz bring his his entire band with him; including the three-piece horn section (the Grooveline Horns), which I was greatly excited about.

The night was opened by Melanie Horsnell. Now, I have to admit, I haven’t heard Melanie play before, but I was really impressed with her set. She has this really vulnerable, emotive voice, that sucks you right in.

Melanie Horsnell, live at the Tivoli

 (Side note: yes, that was taken with my now-legendary crappy phone camera. The good news is, I managed to get some better quality pics from my wonderful sister, so those following in this post are hers. Ignore the date and time-stamps on her pics though… those are incorrect on her camera)

Melanie played a great set, and was well-received by the crowd. Her new album, “Complicated Sweetheart”, will be available from September 6, and it just might be one that I check out. If you’re after folk blended with 60s pop, then you probably should too.

Listen: Melanie Horsnell – I Just Want Some Love

At around 9.30, Jason Mraz took the Tivoli stage, and the excitement was palpable… not least of which from my sister (hi Cara!), who hadn’t seen Jason perform live before.
There was definitely a party mood in the Tiv last night; so, in contrast to the last time I saw Jason play – which included many of his slower numbers – last night was almost solely made up of upbeat, party numbers… and the crowd responded in kind.

The Tivoli, packed to the rafters to see Jason Mraz perform live.

Jason Mraz, with the full band in tow, came out and opened the set with the prerequisite “Remedy“, and the crowd absolutely exploded. Combining “The Remedy” with a medley of “Wonderwall“, the crowd was jiving from the get-go. Quickly following on from that opening number, the band launched directly into “Make It Mine“, the opening track from Jason’s “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things” album – the album they were promoting on this tour –  and I’ve got to say… although I’ve been undecided about this song in the past, seeing it live absolutely put those concerns to bed for me… it was a killer tune, that really loosened up the crowd.

Following on from “Make It Mine“, Jason kept the energy high will the tune, “Live High; one of my favourite tracks off the new album, and one that I highlighted back in this past post: “Mr A – Z… yes I’m excited“. I’d highly suggest that you check that post out, if only for the killer La Blogotheque video of Jason performing “Live High” live.
After “Live High“, it was time for “Only Human“… and it was particularly during this track that it him me again (as it always does, when I watch Jason live)… the guy has one of the most powerful live voices that I’ve ever heard. It can be soft, tender, or hard-hitting… but whatever it is, it never loses that purity and clarity that Jason is so well known for.

Also – and anyone who was there last night, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here… because I did kind of “bliss out” on the music at points, and I might have this wrong here – but at one point, the Grooveline Horns came out into the crowd, under the cover of darkness, and I think it was during “Only Human”. Suddenly, the spotlights came on, and there were the three of them, spread out around the Tivoli, amongst the crowd… and I can’t tell you what a great moment it was. As with most Jason Mraz shows… it really made you feel a part of the action; as if this was a collaborative effort, where everyone was involved.

Grooveline Horns in the crowd

After “Only Human”, the rest of the band headed off the stage, and Jason and Toca did a stripped-down version of “A Beautiful Mess“… and it was simply beautiful. Melanie then was called back on stage, for Jason and her to perform”Lucky“… and she excelled herself as a makeshift Colbie Callait.

Jason and Melanie perform “Lucky”

Following on from that, things were picked right back up with “If It Kills Me“, which had all the couples in front of us swooning and swaying with much love… Jason would have been proud.

After that, the band performed a birthday jam for all of those celebrating birthdays that night. It might be 2 weeks early, but Happy Birthday Cara!
The crowd was again called on to participate, with orchestrated dancing during the “impossible-not-to-groove-to” tune, “The Dynamo of Volition”. Seeing everyone putting their hands up, and giving high-fives and high-tens in unison… it was a great moment, and one that you would be hard-pressed to find at many other gigs apart from a Mraz night. As Jason said:

“Don’t let your mind stop you from having fun.You know, you might have been at home, trying to figure out what to wear tonight. If you’re a girl, you might have tried on five pairs of shoes. And you come here, thinking you’re going to tear it up! But as soon as you walk in suddenly you think… be cool.
Don’t. Don’t let your mind tell you what to do. Just have fun, in the now. Don’t worry about what other people think. Besides, it’s dark, you don’t even know these other people. So I want to see those hands in the air!”

And everyone certainly responded… the place was, as one… heaving. And it was awesome.

The crowd at the Tivoli, waving theirhands in the air like they just didn’t care.

Following on from that, the band launched into the song which probably recieved the loudest roar of the night, “I’m Yours“.
Again, love was flowing in the Tiv last night, that was for sure. Mraz and Co. then segued directly into the Bob Marley classic, “Three Little Birds“, and then finally ended off the set with the cracking tune, “Butterfly“.

Except, of course, that wasn’t the end. If I was slightly disappointed by the lack of older material during the show, the obligatory encore more than compensated in that department.
Opening the encore with the opening track from the “Mr. A-Z” album, “Life is Wonderful“, this could perhaps have been my favourite performance of the night… which is strange, as it’s by far my favourite tune from Jason’s albums.
Following in the “older tunes” vein, the band then launched into “No Stopping Us“, from the “Waiting for My Rocket to Come” album.
And the song to close the entire night? What else? What could be more perfect than “Geek In The Pink“… nothing, that’s what.


And that sums up what the entire night was. Perfection.
Thanks again to Jason Mraz and his Superband for allowing us to be a part of it.

Listen: Jason Mraz – Geek In The Pink

<A href=””> Widgets</A>

2005 releases 2008 releases artists artists to watch for in 2009 digital downloads guitar music Under The Radar

High On Stress… Under The Radar.

Under The Radar is a column inspired by material sent in by the readers of Burgo’s Blog, alerting me to music that I may not have otherwise heard. If you’d like to let me know about some of your favourite tunes that I may not know about, then drop a line to the email address listed on the “About” page.


In the course of doing this gig (and by “doing” I mean “writing”, and by “gig” I mean “blog”), I come across a lot of new music, and a large percentage of that is via suggestions that come in from my readers… whether it’s an email, or a comment left here or there, the readers of this blog have turned me on to some great tunes.
As I’ve said before – in fact, in my last “Under the Radar” post – some of the suggestions are… well, ok. Some are good. Some are great. And some are special.
One of those special ones recently landed in my inbox, and inspired me to bring the “Under the Radar” category back out of the closet. A gold nugget of a band called “High On Stress”.



When I first heard “High On Stress”, a smile spread across my face within the first few seconds of the song starting. There’s this undeniable influence from The Replacements in their tunes, and a Paul Westerberg-like croon always reminds me of better days. Honestly, the songs I heard off their 2005 “Moonlight Girls” album sounded to me like it should have been placed on the “Can’t Hardly Wait” soundtrack, alongside Westerberg and Co. and Matthew Sweet… with a little of Uncle Tupelo thrown in for good measure. A more innocent time, for me at least; when anything was possible, and music was the frikkin’ saviour of the world.
In other words… it was extremely good times.

After spinning the disc a few times, I decided to ask lead vocalist/songwriter Nick Leet some questions, to find out more about the band. So, here you go…


Nick, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. So, first things first… I’ve been listening to “Moonlight Girls” on some pretty serious rotation for the last few days, and I’m absolutely loving it. Obviously, I’m hearing a pretty strong “Replacements” rock influence in your tunes, some Soul Asylum, and there’s also some newer tinges ala Whiskeytown in there. Do you think you could talk a little about the band’s influences, and what sort of role those influences played in the formation of the band?

Nick:  Thanks Matt.  I really appreciate that.  All of the bands you listed are influences.  We wear them on our sleeve I guess you could say.  We all are into a lot of different music but because of that I don’t think we sound like a cheap knockoff of anyone but more-so hopefully a buffet of goodness.

Burgo: Minneapolis – your current base – has always had a pretty strong music scene. Did that make it harder or easier to get your name out there?

Nick:  Minneapolis is a great place to be in a rock band.  There are so many cool bands here.  Many people that I know only buy local CDs because they feel like they get what they need from what they see around town.  I think in some aspects it makes it harder to get noticed because there ARE so many great bands but on the other hand everyone is so accepting and excited for new music that you can’t beat it.  I would highly recommend checking out MPLS bands like Romantica, the Hard Left, the Red Flags and Six Mile Grove.
(Ed’s note: Actually, check out my past post about Romantica here)

Burgo: Related to that, after listening to the scathing “Minot”, it’s pretty clear that you’re originally from North Dakota, right? How did you guys all meet up in Minneapolis?

Nick Indeed I am.  Ha.  Some things about it I have begun to appreciate but mostly it was pretty stifling to play music in that town unless you were playing punk rock or in a cover band.  Let’s just put it this way, I wouldn’t go back.  I met Mark through a “band wanted” sign I posted.  Jim was a co-worker and songwriter friend of mine and Chad is originally from Minot as well.


High on Stress are: Nick Leet, Mark Devaraj, Jim Soule & Chad Wheeling
(Image credit: Steve Cohen)


Burgo: One of the reasons I really enjoy listening to High On Stress is the way that you guys obviously value lyrics that make you think, that actually say something (in particular, the wry “Gold Star” gets me). Are there any authors/other sources that you draw inspiration from when it comes to getting the lyrics down?

Nick:  My favorite lyricist is Blake Schwartzenbach.  He was the singer and guitarist of Jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil.  He’s currently not making music which is very sad.  The dude could make simple words sound like a goldmine.  As far as sources, my inspirations stem back to whatever is going on with me.  Some advice I got awhile back is to “write what you know.”  If you do that people can relate to it and in the process I can get it out of my system as well.  Everyone wins…unless you think we suck.

Burgo: So most of what I’ve heard so far is based on your 2005 release, “Moonlight Girls“, but I’ve also heard the single entitled “Cop Light Parade“… the title track from your upcoming album, due out in September I believe? So let’s move on to that… first off, “Cop Light Parade” is a cracking tune, and it bodes well for the release. Care to tell us a bit more about the album? Has it been wrapped already, what should we expect?

Nick:  The album is in the can and will be released into the abyss on September 2nd.  We’ve worked really hard on this record and feel it’s a step forward from “Moonlight Girls.”  There are a few more guitar solos (without going on a wankfest) and some really great harmonies from bassist, Jim Soule.  If you liked “Moonlight Girls” you will probably like “Cop Light Parade” as well.

Burgo: “Cop Light Parade” seems to have some major Whiskeytown influences in it… that sweeping chorus, in particular, recalls hints of Whiskeytown’s “Crazy About You” for me. Did Adams et al. play a part in the formation of the record?

Nick I’m a fan of the music of Ryan Adams.  Sometimes his antics overshadow what he is trying to do which I think hampers him in a lot of ways.  His self promotional machine I think is detrimental to his career.  With that said, we like his songs but we really weren’t thinking “let’s write a Whiskeytown sounding song.”  We’ll take it though.  :)

Burgo: Finally, want to pimp any of your upcoming shows?

Nick September 5th at the Fine Line in Minneapolis we are having our CD release show for “Cop Light Parade.”  We’ve got a great line-up.  Romantica (Top 100 albums of 2007 – Paste Magazine), the Snaps (featuring members of the Flamin’ Ohs – Mn Rock Hall of Famers) and Slim Dunlap (former guitarist of the Replacements)

(Ed’s note: With a line up like that, you’d be pretty brain dead not to head across to the Fine Line on September 5th for High On Stress’s CD release. Check out their calender item for more info about the night, but whatever you do… get there)


I’ve included three “High On Stress” songs below. The first two are taken from their 2005 release,  “Moonlight Girls; the brilliant “You Have Conversations With Jesus“, and – perhaps my favourite – “Gold Star“. The third, and final tune, is the title track from their upcoming album, “Cop Light Parade“. If I wasn’t slightly disadvantaged by way of being based in Australia, I’d definitely try and check these guys out live… and you should too.

Listen. Love. Support.


Listen: High On Stress – You Have Conversations With Jesus
Listen: High On Stress – Gold Star
Listen: High On Stress – Cop Light Parade

2005 releases artists digital downloads guitar Live Music Friday live songs music

Live Music Friday – The National Black Sessions

Wow. That week went fast. I can’t believe it’s time for another Live Music Friday. Following on from our Alex & Angela Dezen/Damnwells post here, I thought that today we’d feature a show from The National.

The National Black Sessions

The National (image credit: David Greenwald)

Aah, those Frenchmen. I swear, whether it’s my favourite La Blogotheque videos or something else, they seem to get some truly great live music out of international groups. The Black Sessions are a perfect example of thisbroadcast on the French radio station France Inter, and recorded in front of a live audience, the sessions sometimes lack the intimacy that you get when listening to a rough tapers version of a show; but they make up for that in the clarity of the audio. You can learn more about The Black Sessions here, but you better have a firm grasp of French if you want to get anything out of it.

One of my favourite Black Session shows was that of The National, who appeared on the show in 2005, to promote their then upcoming album, Alligator. The National, at that time, were truly blowing up while still remaining somewhat under the radar; and it shows in this set. A blistering set, it features perhaps my favourite rendition of “Cherry Tree” (which featured on their 2004 album of the same name) ever… when you hear Matt Berninger repeating the mantra of “Loose lips sink ships” over and over again, in that manic tone? Man… it sends shivers down my spine.

As a side note, in 2007, The National did another show for the same station, entitled “The National White Sessions”, promoting their album “The Boxer“. But that’s a post for another day…

The National Black Sessions (live 2005)

1.) All The Wine
2.) Secret Meeting
3.) Driver Surprise Me
4.) Lit Up
5.) Cherry Tree
6.) Baby, We’ll Be Fine
7.) Geese
8.) City Middle
9.) Looking For Astronauts
10.) Mr November
11.) Daughters Of The Soho Riots
12.) Abel
13.) Wasp Nest

The National Black Sessions 2005 .zip file

Next time on Live Music Friday? Well, you’ll just have to tune in to find out… but at the moment, the two front-runners are Bob Schneider and Ryan Adams. If there are any preferences, drop a line below and let me know.

2003 releases 2005 releases 2007 Releases 2008 releases artists concerts digital downloads guitar live songs music

Jack Johnson and Friends… at the Brisbane Riverstage.

As mentioned yesterday, on Sunday I headed across to the Brisbane Riverstage, for an evening with Jack Johnson, Matt Costa, and Will Conner. And – despite my longtime love affair with Jack Johnson, and my (extremely) tenuous connection with him via my friend Farryl Purkiss (Farryl and Jack once composed a song together, a fact that all of us local musos took pride in repeating… every chance we got) – this was to be my first time actually seeing him perform live.

Well, ok, that’s not strictly true. I had seen him perform live once before, with Ben Harper on his “Both Sides of the Gun” tour of 2007. In fact, it was at the very same stage, the Brisbane Riverstage. Jack was invited on stage to join Ben for a song, and, while for the life of me I can’t remember which tune it was now, I’m fairly certain it was for their rendition of “High Tide or Low Tide”. However, this was to be my first time watching him perform his own set, at his own concert. And I was certainly not disappointed.

There’s a lot to get through from the night, so I’ll just jump right in…

Will Conner and David Rastovich

Local boy Will Conner definitely impressed…

“We don’t need more stuff,
Just need each other and that’s enough”

– Will Conner, “Stuff”

As the sun started setting over the Riverstage, the first act came onto stage: Will Conner and David Rastovich. While I’d heard “Rasta” before, this was my first time hearing Will Conner, and I was really impressed. A local boy – well, Byron Bay local, anyway – I was surprised that I hadn’t heard much about Will before. I mean, he’s also apparently toured with one of my absolute musical crushes, Tristan Prettyman, so it really was surprising.
Will’s tunes are pretty much what you would expect for an opening act for Jack. Laid-back, coastal tunes, which are extremely easy to groove to. Underneath, there’s a strong eco-conservation focus – in fact, this was true throughout the entire night – that was perfectly complemented by Will’s plaintive voice and Rasta’s awesome percussion. On that note, David Rastovich plays some of the best “cheek percussion” I’ve ever heard. Seriously.

Crowd at the Brisbane Riverstage, as the sun was setting

“Is it easy to change the world?
Where do we sign up, to help change the world?”

– Will Conner, “Herd”

Perhaps the highlight of the set, for me at least, was Will’s tune, “Home”, describing Byron Bay. It’s a song that simply gets in your head. With it’s refrain of “Home is where I started from/And home is where I wanna be when I get old”, and imagery that I could really relate to, I was sold on this talent. While the recorded version has a fairly tame harmonica solo, in the live version Will was blowing an absolutely mean harp. Here’s to hearing more of this from Will.

Dave Rastovich, Will Conner & Jack Johnson

Another high point of the set was when Jack Johnson was called up on stage to join both Will and David Rastovich for a medley of “Plastic Jesus” and “ Fall Line”. I was disappointed that they didn’t go into “Spring Wind”, as I was expecting, but it was still a great moment. The three seemed to have a real synergy up on stage, which was absolutely awesome to witness.

Below, the song, “Home”, by Will Conner. Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Will Conner – Home

Matt Costa

Matt Costa performed an incendiary set at the Riverstage

Next up on the bill was Matt Costa. Now, I’ve been a big fan of Matt Costa since the days I first heard his EP with “Astaire” on it, back in (I think) 2003, so I was pretty excited to see him perform live, as it was another first for me.
I think the one thing I was most surprised by was the absolute abandon with which Matt seems to play. From the first song, “Yellow Taxi”, with those opening lines of “Can you spare some conversation?” you could tell that the night with Matt was going to be interesting.
I don’t know what it was, but there seemed to be an underlying anger behind his performance on Sunday night. Sure, it was tempered in some songs – most notably in his performance of “Astaire”, which was as tender a rendition than I’ve ever heard – but the remainder seemed full with an energy that I didn’t expect from Matt.

“You gave me your word
Then you flew like a bird
Never looking back”

– Matt Costa, “Ballad of Miss Kate”

One song where this was most visible – and most welcome – was an absolutely incendiary version of “Ballad of Miss Kate”. Performed with more force than I’d heard before, the song was certainly a major highlight of the night for me, and I’ll remember it for a long time to come.

Following that was “Mr Pitiful”, which the crowd went absolutely crazy for. With Matt at the keyboard, jiving around as he pounded out the chords, he had thousands of people eating out of his hand, and clamouring for more. And rightly so. It’s a killer tune, and if the conversation around me was anything to go by, certainly gained Matt a lot of new supporters that night.
Next up? “Behind the Moon”. I can’t say much here. It was the one song (apart from “Astaire”) that I was really, truly praying he would play. He did. And it was everything I’d hoped for. Absolute bliss on my part. The problem was, it was so much bliss, I kind of blessed out after that, so the rest of the set passed in a blur for me.
I can say that, while I wasn’t previously a fan of “Cigarette Eyes”, I am now. “Lilacs” also was a cracking tune, and the closing song, “Emergency Call” went down extremely well, with more than a few people in the crowd yelling out “Doctor!” along with Matt… a perfect way to close a stellar set.

Matt Costa on the Brisbane Riverstage

I was torn on which song to include for Matt, but ended up deciding upon “Ballad of Miss Kate”, from his “Elasmosaurus” EP. Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Listen: Matt Costa – Ballad of Miss Kate

Traditional Blessing

Before Jack came on, there was a traditional blessing of the concert.

After Matt’s set, and before Jack came on, there was the traditional blessing of the concert by a representative of the original aboriginal owners. I’ve been to countless concerts at the Riverstage before, but it was the first time I had seen this take place, and I thought was a great sign of Jack’s respect towards the land’s traditional owners.
The speech went on for a while, and there were a few concert-goers that complained at first; but after a while and everyone settled down, it became a really great experience. People were celebrating the diversity of the land, but also paying tribute to the tradition; and it set a great atmosphere for Jack to enter…

Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson performed to a sell-out crowd at the Brisbane Riverstage.

After much – and I mean, much clamouring from the crowd… these guys were rabid – Jack Johnson came on to a roar of screams that were picked up by the stage microphones and broadcast around the arena. I almost felt like I was at some kind of boy-band concert… it was that kind of squeal. Responding with a casual grin and shrug, Jack and Co. launched right into a tune from the new “Sleep through the Static” album, “Hope”. I thought that the tune would be an interesting indicator of the night ahead; the reception to the new album in Australia so far has been fairly mixed. The supposed “older” crowd of fans seem to hanker for the Jack of old, while there is a whole new crowd of fans who have been attracted to the music.

There shouldn’t have been a question in my mind.

The crowd absolutely erupted. And you knew it was going to be a great night. There was a girl in front of me with “Your shadow walks faster than you” plastered all over her arms in permanent marker, and I honestly thought she was going to start hyperventilating when those first chords rang out.
As if reading my earlier thoughts, instead of continuing with another track from the new album, the band then went straight into “The Horizon has been defeated”, from the “On and On” album. And on this track, I managed to see what I had been hoping we would be privy to…

Zach’s chicken dance. And man, was he on fine chicken dance form that night.

Jack, Adam, Merlo and Zach on the Brisbane Riverstage

After a great performance of “Staple it Together”, the song “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” had the crowd screaming out the lyrics along with Jack, and it was a great feeling. In all of the live performances I’ve seen of Jack captured on video, he always seems to have the same reaction: an incredulous shake of the head, a little joyous laugh, and then picking it back up again. And it was great to be a part of that.

After that, it was back onto the new material: the single, “Sleep through the Static”, and then the song “Go On”, which Jack mentioned he had actually written on a previous plane trip to Australia… which of course the crowd responded to. “Go On” is a tune that I really like. The bass line, the melody, and obviously the lyrics… they all combine to create this really powerful, uplifting track about letting go, and it’s one that I’m sure will stand the test of time when it comes to Jack’s track record in the future.

After that it was back to the older stuff; “Taylor” which – as always – had the crowd surging and grooving; “Bubble Toes”, and then “Wasting Time”, which was one of the highlights of the night for me. There was a real conversation going on between the band and the crowd, and it really felt as if everyone knew it.

After that Jack invited Matt Costa and his guitarist, Mitchell Townsend back onto stage for “Let It Be Sung”, which appears on the “Brokedown Melody” soundtrack. Really, this should have been obvious, considering that Zach, Jack and Matt were all together, but for some reason it hadn’t occurred to me. Needless to say, it was awesome. A lot of people have told me that they’ve struggled to find this song, so I’ve included it below.

After a Jane’s addiction cover (sorry, I’m not sure of the song’s title… if anyone else was there and knows, then drop a comment below), the band moved into “What You Thought You Need”, which Jack coupled with a very funny story about translation problems. Suffice to say, if a French speaking friend hadn’t stepped in, this song about Jack travelling in a van through Europe with his wife might have included a line claiming that a well-known “transvestite forest” held all the answers that Jack and his wife needed. Personally, I thought that would have been pretty cool, but each to their own. Heh.

Banana pancakes. Man, Zach excelled himself on this, his own song, not only in the absolutely killer accordian playing, but also in the dancing. The guy has this incredible energy about him that you simply cannot help but like; as if he’s the best friend you just haven’t met yet. So thanks, Zach, for giving that to us.

Jack Johnson & Co.

After “Banana Pancakes”, it was back to a new tune, with “Same Girl”, and then another trip back to the previous album with “Breakdown”. “Breakdown” was another song, much like “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing”, where the crowd almost drowned out the band with it’s singing.
Following that, there was a barrage of songs played, without much chatting between songs. The songs that followed were, “Good People”, “Monsoon”, “Mudfootball” (can I get a “hell yeah!”?), and “Flake” (again, another hell yeah. No matter how many times I’ve heard that song over the years, I needed to hear it live. And it was awesome). The final song, at least for the band as a whole, was the current single being played in Australia, “If I had eyes”… and the fact it was currently receiving a lot of airplay showed.
As Adam, Merlo, Zach and Jack raised their hands in goodbye, there was a real feeling of accomplishment in the air; and it was as if it had been accomplished together. And that’s always a sign of a great concert.

Jackie J & Co closing the set

After the lights dimmed, and the obligatory “encore period” had elapsed, Jack came back on stage, solo, for an encore to close the show. With the backdrop changing to a “starry night”, Jack launched into a solo rendition of the first song off the new CD, “All at Once”. This song is easily my favourite off the new album. There’s just something that recalls the song, “It’s All Understood” to me. I mean, I have no idea why that is, and I can’t explain it at all, but it does. But I absolutely loved that song, so take it as a good thing.
After that was the bonus track off “Sleep Through The Static”, “Home”. I’m not a huge fan of this song, but my girlfriend is, and seeing as she was the one who managed to score us tickets, I was happy as a pig in mud with the choice.
Jack prefaced the next song by explaining that recently his son had asked him why everyone has a “mommy and daddy”. And Jack started to explain how a “mommy and daddy” have to create a child together. And when his kid, like all kids, pressed for more, Jack ended up spinning a long, nervous yarn about how we “multiply”.

“You’ve got to be careful when you’ve got good love,
‘Coz them angels will just keep on multiplying”

– Jack Johnson, “Angel”

And, as he said, really that’s what the song is about. Love and multiplication. The tenderness with which this song was performed had the crowd silent. And I mean silent. I’ve never heard that many thousands of breaths being held. But they were.

And then it was time to end. And what song did Jack end with? Another song for all the lovers out there, “Better Together”. It was a great song to cap off a great night, and a really positive feeling around the crowd.

Listen: Jack Johnson, Matt Costa and Zach Gill – Let it be Sung
Listen: Jack Johnson – All At Once

And that was it. So, for those keeping count out there, here’s the setlist:

  • Hope
  • Horizon has been defeated
  • Staple it together
  • Sitting, Waiting, Wishing
  • Sleep through the static
  • Go on
  • Taylor
  • Bubble Toes
  • Wasting Time
  • Let it be sung
  • Jane’s Addiction cover?
  • What you thought you need
  • Banana Pancakes
  • Same girl
  • Breakdown
  • Good people
  • Monsoon
  • Mudfootball
  • Flake
  • If I had eyes


  • All at once
  • Home
  • Angel
  • Better together

All in all, it was an amazing night.
Will Conner and David Rastovich definitely started it off on a great note (heh, no pun intended), and Matt Costa and band carried that through. And then Jack and Co themselves… well, I think that in terms of my reaction to the night, they were labouring under a huge amount of pressure. After all, the problem with being a fan of a musician for years, yet never managing to see them live, is that the expectations are raised higher and higher, for years on end. The one quibble that I suppose I might have with the night, is that it might have been too polished. When Jack and Co were up there, it was as if you were listening to the CD. Which is great, but at a live concert you’re also hoping to see a bit more adaptation… a bit more jamming, really. But again, that might be those damn lofty expectations again.

So, that said, did they meet those expectations? Hell no.

They passed them.

2005 releases artists covers digital downloads guitar music

Nina Gordon – Straight Outta Compton (Cover)

So, following on from yesterday’s post, there are two more quasi-hip-hop songs that I think you should hear. And the first of those is this one:

Nina Gordon – Straight Outta Compton (NWA cover)

Nina Gordon may still be most well known for her days with Veruca Salt, but since leaving the band in the 90s, she’s had a string of great releases.

One of my favourites was a stripped-down, acoustic version of “Straight Outta Compton“, originally by NWA. It’s weird. At first, it seems funny… hearing those lyrics, with that voice. But, as that wears off, it just becomes beautiful.

This song, and many others, are made freely available on Nina Gordon’s site, in her “Sights and Sounds” section. You really should check it out, and support artists who take this route.

Below; the mp3. Obviously, explicit lyrics follow. Please tell me you knew that, right?

Listen: Nina Gordon – Straight Outta Compton