Showing posts with label AntiPods. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AntiPods. Show all posts

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Take me to the clouds above...

The timing of my trip to Brighton for a hen do was deliberately planned to coincide with The Great Escape, Brighton's annual musical festival which proudly claims to be "Europe's Leading Festival for New Music" and who am I to disagree? I was introduced to many new bands I enjoyed and have since listened to again. My personal highlights were Warpaint (ok, so they were new to me), Matthew and the Atlas, Ben Howard and Cloud Control.

So how chuffed was I when I found out that Cloud Control were included in the set list for Bushstock. To be precise they will be playing from 8:30 in Ginglik. Hailing from the Blue Mountains, near(ish) Sydney, Australia they are a youthful band of three blokes and one bird. It is hard to pin point their music exactly because as with their performance, each song you listen too sounds a bit different from the last. Some are slow, some are fast, some are folky and light, some have real weight and rocky layers to them. However all their songs were in varying ways worth listening to.

Presentation wise they keep it simple; the fellas were dressed in jeans and"normal" T-shirts (and were free of a haircut that was mastered in Shoreditch) whilst the girl looked effortlessly stunning in a vintage-esque shirt top and tight jeans. Far too many bands detract (intentionally or unintentionally) from their music and live performances by what they wear these days. That said, Cloud Control tick the most important "how to make it as a band" box by having a lead singer who's very easy on the eye in a quirky extra on Home and Away kind of way.

With reference to fellow countrymen there is something a bit Temper Trap-like about them with strong, memorable rift like vocals, but their music isn't as subtle or flowingly crafted. The influence on their music is different too; a bit "native", and like Vampire Weekend they build on this with male-female harmonies that are reminiscent of, dare I say it, Magic Numbers. But they maintain a raw edge which is very effective when they perform live. Bizarrely as I post this, they are warming up for a gig over the road at Bush Hall tonight.

These songs are my favourites and also, I hope, give you a good overview of how different each song is; something for everyone? Maybe, maybe not. I'll certainly be in Ginglik for their performance at Bushstock. See you there?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

I've got Jasmine on my mind...

I have to be honest and say that I struggled to find a fitting post title for this review and Lord only knows what awful song this comes from (the other lyrics make for an entertaining read), but it is a lyric nonetheless and it does happen to suit the following review of the Thai restaurant, Jasmine, on Goldhawk Road.

Having only recently been convinced of the charms of Esarn Kheaw I was in no rush to try out Jasmine, however, Thai food is Mo's favourite and we'd promised ourselves a night of good food locally after both doing the Reading Half Marathon. We were going to head further afield to Notting Hill or somewhere exotic like that but as it happened my pesky knee injury and a subsequently diagnosed bout of tendinitis in my ankle dictated a much more local restaurant needed to be picked. Jasmine is approximately only 62 hobbles from my front door so it served that purpose well.

It also served us well by being an excellent restaurant; delicious food, prompt service, reasonably priced and a lively atmosphere. Hmm yes, a lively atmosphere. I would really like to see the Census results for Shepherd's Bush to determine quite how many Antipodeans are living here as just when I think they're moving on elsewhere I'm sharply reminded that the Bush is still their Mecca. There was a table of six next to us the night we enjoyed Jasmine for the first time. It pains me to say it because not all Aussies and Kiwis, and I'm pretty sure this group was a mix, are the same. Really they're not, I'm more "Aussie" than Australian NewMan. But strewth mate, they were noisy. And drunk. And noisy. And drunk. And a little offensive at times. Luckily for us they were halfway to Walkabout by the time our starter plates were cleared so Mo and I didn't have to spend too long fighting to hear each other while rolling our eyes and nodding in their direction.

So for starters we shared Thai spring rolls and Thai fishcakes. I'll admit that the fishcakes were a little processed as they certainly were in appearance too, but they were more than edible and actually it was a surprisingly nice texture. The spring rolls were classically good; no surprises, no complaints.

Despite feeling quite up for the kick of a red or Massaman curry after the green curry at Esarn Kheaw left me smacking my lips for cooling air, I decided to play it safe. In fact I played it about as safe as you possibly can in a Thai restaurant and I ordered the yellow curry. My reasoning for this about turn was twofold; Mo had already set her heart on the Thai green curry with prawns and I'd never actually tried a Thai yellow curry before.

Taste and texture wise it is certainly not dissimilar from a Indian curry as it contains chunks of onion and potato, but Thai yellow curry has more coconut and is much lighter having not been made with ghee.

It was a good flavour and a thoroughly yummy meal with coconut rice, but I have to admit I was craving the aubergine of the Thai green curry which Mo had ordered and fortunately let me share. Though it looks a bit oily and not very green in the picture below, I have to say it was very flavoursome and tasted surprisingly fresh. The prawns were excellent (and I'm not a prawn fan unless it's covered in batter).

A special mention must be made about the sticky coconut rice; we ordered an extra portion to share/fight over.

Uncomfortably stuffed we avoided desert, instead polishing off our Chenin Blanc and putting the world to rights, then to wrongs, then to rights again. The Jasmine staff let us do this quite happily as they continued to serve more happy customers, many collecting take away orders. Our bill, which included a bottle of wine and service, came to just under £50.00.

I have now tried three Thai restaurants in Shepherd's Bush (Rice Thai, Esarn Kheaw and Jasmine) and I feel I need to establish in my own mind which is the best as my next Bush Tucker Trial. I will call it a Thai-Tie? Or maybe a Thai-Tee-Off? Hmm I'll come back to you...

As for the rest of that evening, tempted as we were to join our Antipodean friends stuck to the floor of the Walkabout, Mo and I went for a night cap* in Defectors Weld, the pub I love to hate or hate to love (or both), where we were chatted up by two painter-decorators from Northolt. We then found ourselves accidentally gate-crashing a young man's 21st birthday party which was being held there. One of the party-goers was a Law-undergraduate who called me patronising for advising him against touching my knee when he spoke to me. It was a suitably random and comical night for both me and Shepherd's Bush.

* By night cap I mean 2 gin & tonics and a white wine each of course.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Sweet Kiwi(s)

I have just learnt that on Thursday night there will be a fund raising gig at our own Bush Hall for the Christchurch Earthquake Relief fund. Organised by a group of Kiwis based in London, they have pulled together (at an impressive speed and rate of organisation) the evening which will feature a number of different acts, none of which I have heard of sadly. This article explains that the organisers have used their connections and experience in all the right industries (advertising, events, music) to get the event happening and they couldn't have picked a better location or venue. I am sure that though Shepherd's Bush is as far away from New Zealand as you could possibly be, most Kiwis in London have thought of little else but home since last Tuesday.

With so many other NZ-ers residing in and around Shepherd's Bush my sadness at the news of the earthquake was certainly heightened. If you want to go along on Thursday you can buy tickets for £10.00 here, and all proceeds go to the NZ Earthquake Relief. I have no doubt it will be an amazing night.

On a personal side note the recent coverage of this tragedy also reminded me of the other countries that are still rebuilding after a natural disaster, many with less resources so as well as making a donation to the NZ Relief fund I also gave much thought and some money to Haiti.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Do you come from a land down under?

Happy Australia Day!! Shepherd's Bush is well established as a home from home for Australians and so I wish all Aussies celebrating Australia Day the very best day (and night, as I'm sure we will all witness in your magical form of fancy dress).

Also I wanted to bring to everyone's attention that there is a fundraising event at the Shepherd's Bush Walkabout on Saturday 29th January in aid of the floods that have devastated Queensland and other parts of the country, so go along to celebrate and support if you can and of course if you don't mind your clothes (and integrity) being drenched in VB.

And finally I wanted to say a special Happy Australia Day and dedicate this video clip to NewMan; my most favourite Australian, after Kylie.

WARNING - this clip contains a fairly offensive gobby Australian woman (man, I love her) from one of Australia's finest exports Underbelly.