“So, like, is Tasmania really a place?”
– A girl in a bar upon finding out I was Australian.
Normally I would’ve written one or two other posts since the last one, but I’ve just been so busy! The heading should really say “What a Week and a Bit”, but I wanted to use a Faith No More reference. Trust me, it makes sense.
Saturday, July 31, 2015
The Saturday before last was a regular day of shopping and exploring, but I had already planned to go to a pub to watch the Ronda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia fight at UFC 190 that night. The event started at 10:00pm and the undercard fights were a little dull, except for two. To make it a bit more exciting, Anna would choose which fighter she thought would win and whoever had the most winners at the of the night had to do the dishes on Sunday. She won, 4-3.
Now, I love Rhonda Rousey, I’ve watched her fight a few times and she is simply frightening, but this fight was going to be something else, just from the build up, alone. For those who have been living in a cave, from Huffington Post:
After traveling the world during her Olympic judo career, she was eager to fight in front of Brazil’s famously intense fans. And after the trash-talking Correia infuriated her with a flippant comment apparently referencing Rousey’s father’s suicide, Rousey decided to beat Correia in the most painful, humiliating way possible, which meant fighting in Correia’s home.
“I think everything up until the suicide comment could have been understandable from a marketing point of view,” Rousey said. “But when she said that is when it really crossed the line and became truly personal for me.”
So Rousey (11-0) spent several weeks plotting the best way to embarrass Correia (9-0), perhaps toying with the bulky Brazilian on the feet before dropping her with a judo throw and dispatching her with a signature armbar. After winning her previous three title defenses in a combined 96 seconds, Rousey wanted something longer and more painful to befall Correia.
Like Babe Ruth pointing his bat at the fence, Rousey is confident she could call her shot.
The only problem is that Rousey’s mother disapproves.
“She chewed me out,” Rousey said. “She wants me to end it as quick as possible still. I promised her that I’m going to be fine. I’m not going to take any damage.”
So Rousey hasn’t decided exactly what she’ll do when the cage door closes, but there aren’t many people left who doubt she can do whatever she wants. Rousey is an overwhelming favorite against Correia, whose best chance seems to be one big punch and a prayer.
This is what lead me to doing the dishes. I had been talking about this fight for weeks and how amazing Rousey is so Anna chose her. The result? Watch for yourself:
All done in 34 seconds, her last four fights have gone a total of two minutes. I love watching this woman and I might have had to do the dishes on Sunday, but it was worth it!
Sunday was a pretty low-key day, we had Anna’s cousins over for dinner, then we kicked back and watched Sharknado 3. Monday was one of Anna’s friend’s birthday, so we went to a flamenco bar for tapas and drinks. A good night was had by all.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
One of my favourite films as a teenager/young adult was Mallrats. In fact, a lot of people who knew me back then would agree that my personality at the time, and probably still now was like a combination of the two main characters, Brodie Bruce and T.S. Quint. So when my best mate, Owen Howard, messaged me from Australia (How the hell did I miss it when it was half an hour away?!?) to tell me that director Kevin Smith was appearing at a special, 20th anniversary free outdoor screening in Brooklyn, I knew I had to go.
The program was as follows:
- Gates open at 5:00pm
- DJ Steve Reynolds until 8:00pm
- Q&A with Kevin Smith at 8:00pm
- Mallrats screening at 8:30pm
When we arrived at the venue it was slightly after 5:00pm and the line was, in all possible interpretations of the phrase, around the block.
After waiting for about an hour in a line that moved as fast as molasses pours out of a jar, we finally made it to the gate, where we were asked for ID in case we wanted to drink. That always does wonders for the ego. I love using my Singapore PR card as ID because of the expression on the security guards collective faces when they read the part that tells them I’m Caucasian. On this occasion, the guy commented that I could “just be a really tall albino Aborigine.” Well played, sir.
Upon entrance, there was something in the air that would be a constant, present the entire evening: The smell of weed. It smelt like every stoner in New York had congregated on one city block to watch a movie. The entire area was full of high, happy people.
The lines for food and beer were insane, we’d been drinking for a few days straight and we’re not as young as we used to be, so Anna went and bought a pizza and some water from a shop around the corner. By the time she returned Kevin Smith was about to come up and do his thing. He spoke for about half an hour, mainly about Ben Affleck, answered some questions from another guy called Kevin Smith and then announced that there would be a Mallrats sequel with the entire original cast. This came as a bit of a disappointment to me because, besides a few rare cases, ie. viThe Godfather Part II, Battle For The Planet of the Apes and Hot Shots: Part Deux, I hate sequels, remakes and “reimagings”. Why not just leave good enough alone, nine times out of ten they’re terrible or pointless. Or both.
Soon enough it was time for the film to start and I completely forgot how much I love Mallrats, but I’m not getting my hopes up about the sequel.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
The day that I had been waiting for had finally arrived; Refused and Faith No More at Madison Square Garden and this time I had real tickets, although getting them had been somewhat of a hassle, due to a double-booking at Madison Square Garden. We bought our tickets months ago and by sheer chance I happened to check my email a few weeks ago, something I almost never do, and saw that the show had been cancelled and rescheduled for the Theater at MSG, but I had eight hours to re-book my tickets. Lucky.
As I mentioned in a previous post, there are two artists who I will buy anything they record and will see them play live under any circumstances; Ween and Mike Patton. I had seen Faith No More twice before, in Melbourne in 1995 and 1997, but this time I had another reason to be excited: They were being supported by a band I’ve always loved, but never thought I’d get to see, Refused. For those who don’t know Refused, let Wikipedia give you the lowdown:
Refused is a Swedish hardcore punk band originating from Umeå and formed in 1991. Refused is composed of vocalist Dennis Lyxzén, guitarist Kristofer Steen, drummer David Sandström, and bassist Magnus Flagge. Guitarist Jon Brännström was a member from 1994, through reunions, until he was fired in late-2014. Their lyrics are often of a non-conformist and politically far-left nature.
Refused broke up in late 1998. Some believe this happened as a result of a depletion of creative energy and band members wanting different things. There was also conflict between Dennis and the rest of the band. Band members stated that their first shows after the release of Shape of Punk to Come were emotionally devastating and that their final tour was an awful experience. The band eventually cancelled the tour and announced their breakup through a strongly-worded press release. Their last performance of their United States tour was played in Harrisonburg, Virginia but was shut down by police.
They reformed in 2012 for the Coachella Festival and also some gigs in Australia, which my friends went to, but obviously I couldn’t. They have just released a new album, Freedom, and tonight I would get to see them supporting one of my all-time heroes and they didn’t disappoint.
I’m not usually one to hold my phone up at concerts, but I wanted to remember this one. If you don’t like loud music, don’t bitch and whine to me, just don’t click the link. Here’s Refused with Rather be Dead and New Noise:
Refused’s set was about 45 minutes, consisting of:
Setlist + Album
- Elektra (Freedom)
- The Shape of Punk to Come (The Shape of Punk to Come)
- Rather Be Dead (Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent)
- Dawkins Christ (Freedom)
- The Deadly Rhythm (The Shape of Punk to Come)
- 366 (Freedom)
- Servants of Death (Freedom)
- Thought is Blood (Freedom)
- New Noise (The Shape of Punk to Come)
- Tannhäuser/Derivè (The Shape of Punk to Come)
Next came Faith No More, another band that had come back from a prolonged absence.
Faith No More is an American rock band from San Francisco, California, formed in 1981. The band was originally named Faith No Man. Bassist Billy Gould, keyboardist Roddy Bottum and drummer Mike Bordin are the longest remaining members of the band, having been involved with Faith No More since its inception. The band underwent several lineup changes early in their career, along with some major changes later on. The current lineup of Faith No More consists of Gould, Bottum, Bordin, guitarist Jon Hudson, and vocalist Mike Patton.
After releasing six albums, Faith No More officially announced their breakup on April 20, 1998. They have since reunited, embarking on The Second Coming Tour from 2009-2012.
On September 2, 2014, Gould announced that Faith No More had been working on their seventh studio album Sol Invictus, released in May 2015.
Sol Invictus wasn’t a bad album, but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as some of their earlier stuff, with my favourite album of theirs being Angel Dust, so I was hoping they wouldn’t just play new songs. I wasn’t disappointed with the setlist:
Setlist + Album
- Intro/Midnight Cowboy (Angel Dust)
- The Real Thing (The Real Thing)
- Be Aggressive (Angel Dust)
- Everything’s Ruined (Angel Dust)
- Evidence (King For a Day… Fool For a Lifetime)
- Epic (The Real Thing)
- Black Friday (Sol Invictus)
- Caffeine (Angel Dust)
- Midlife Crisis + “Lowdown” – Boz Scaggs (Angel Dust)
- The Gentle Art of Making Enemies (King For a Day… Fool For a Lifetime)
- Easy (Angel Dust)
- Separation Anxiety (Sol Invictus)
- Matador (Sol Invictus)
- Ashes to Ashes (Album of the Year)
- Superhero (Sol Invictus)
- Motherf___er (Sol Invictus)
- R.V. (Angel Dust)
- Just a Man (King For a Day… Fool For a Lifetime)
Sure, they looked like a bunch of middle-aged yoga instructors having a sleep-over but they were tight, Faith No More definitely still have it. I even managed to get a signed poster from the gig, of which there were only 160 available. It now takes pride of place above my TV.
It was a great night, Faith No More were as brilliant as one would expect, but Refused were just incredible and stole the show. I would even go as far as to say that their set was possibly the best live show I’ve ever seen.
Friday, August 7, Saturday, August 8, & Sunday, August 9, 2015
The family of my best friend, Owen Howard, always make me feel like part of the gang, so when his parents and two of his sisters, Ursula and Tabitha, came to New York we had to catch up. Friday night was a shabu shabu dinner with the family followed by bar-hopping with Tab and Urs.
Anna had planned to have a housewarming party on Saturday night to coincide with Singapore’s 50th birthday, so she cooked and ordered in traditional Singaporean dishes and invited colleagues, relatives and friends. It was another great night and a lot of booze was imbibed.
For Sunday night, Tabby, Urs and myself planned to travel to Brooklyn to the Habana Outpost to watch an outdoor projected screening of Purple Rain. We had a blast, but Anna had partied a little too hard the previous night and wasn’t up to it. Tab hadn’t seen Purple Rain before and was somewhat disturbed.
Anyway, Tabby flew back to London yesterday, Ursula is returning to Melbourne tomorrow, so tonight Anna and myself are catching a baseball game with Urs and her parents, so I better get going soon…