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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Snail mail faster than e-mail!?!

Yesterday morning I had a package in my postal box with a CD I ordered from cede.ch. The confirmation-e-mail telling me that they sent it arrived four hours later...
That's what I call fast delivery *g*

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Subway To Sally @ Palais X-tra, Zürich

After Subway to Sally's fantastic acoustic CD and tours I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Even though I wasn't too thrilled by 'Bastard' their newest Rock CD, I decided to give them a chance to present their case in a live concert.

Opening act were Coppelius. They were dressed like a chamber orchestra from the 19th century and that's also the music they played, or at least a modern version of it ;). Their gig was splendid and they even answered the audiences cry for "Da Capo" with an encore! I can highly recommend this band to anyone who likes Apocalyptica and/or Folk Rock ^^.

I won't go into too many details describing Subway to Sally's performance. You just have to go and see them for yourself ;). They do remain one of the best live bands around and even the songs I didn't connect to on the CD were splendid when performed live. In addition to songs from Bastard they also played old favourites such as 'Henkersbraut', 'Falscher Heiland', 'Kleid aus Rosen' and of course 'Julia und die Räuber'. Two hours later, when the show was over I was hoarse from screaming and singing along :). All in all a perfect evening!

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Franz Hohler at the Long Night of Short Stories

As part of the Long Night of Short Stories Franz Hohler had a reading in a bookshop in Zürich. Following the theme of this festival he read short stories and poems centered around food. In between Hohler inserted one-minute slots where he read advertisements for food by supermarkets and even those were funny :).
After the hilarious reading he offered to sign books, no matter from whom, so I got my copy of A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore signed by Franz Hohler *g*. The inscription he made was: "To sign another authors book is A Dirty Job!".

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Riedhburg XIV: Two Weddings and a Funeral

The families of Tannenbüren met last weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving. I was the patriarch of the Kellermeisters, the family famous for its wine-making skills. The feast, however, started with a tragedy Alois, the eldest member of the family, died seconds before he could tell us where he had hidden the Ikon of our parish, which we could treasure for the last year.

Fortunately it turned up the next day in the presence of curious people of the forest, and they traded the Ikon for other goods.

After Helga and Heini, two more members of our family arrived we could finally hold the funeral ceremony for our dear old Alois.

But the day was meant to be a happy one and in addition to Thanksgiving we could also celebrate the wedding of our own Gustaf Kellermeister and Zille Waidmann, strengthening the bonds between these two old families. The wedding ceremony was integrated into the Thanksgiving service giving us the chance to rejoice twice.

The second marriage on the other hand came quite surprising. Nils Roggensinger was wed to Heidi Weber. Nils was so pleased about this that the Webers first had to catch him. In the end he was tied up and brought in front of the priest to make the wedding legal. ^^

The evening continued with a fantastic banquet, where every wish was met and no one stayed hungry.

But to top it all, the heads of the four families as well as the priest were then to sit judge for the big cake competition. The negotiations were tough, but in the end the best and only real cake, the one from Hanni Kellermeister, deservedly won the competition.

Pictures of this great LARP can be found here!

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Schelmish & Des Königs Halunken @ Z7

After almost a year-long absence I returned to the Z7 for a concert.

Opening act for the evening were the one and only Swiss medieval rock band Des Königs Halunken. They did not only make excellent music but also entertain us with tales of their misfortunes and the evil deeds of their king. There were about the same number of people in the Z7 as were in the Werk21, where I saw them the last time. The difference, however, was the size of the place, the Z7 being several times larger, nevertheless they managed to infect the audience with their enthusiasm and the crowd danced and clapped enthusiastically. Then something quite rare happened, calls for an encore were voiced by the audience, and, which is even rarer, they were answered with an extremely funny performance of 'Ich habe ein Problem' where they called Luzi from Schelmish onto the stage and demonstrated the meaning of the lyrics on him.

Next up were Schelmish, the main act of the evening, with a brand-new program. So far Schelmish have been famous for their Medieval Folk music and that's how I got to know them, seeing them live at various medieval markets and festivals. But for this program they wanted to do something new and different. They tried their hands at Medieval Rock. But they went one step further than, for example Saltatio Mortis, and also introduced a DJ giving some of the newer songs Techno influences.
To be honest, this wasn't my cup of tea. I'm more a medieval purist and prefer true medieval folk. In some cases rock elements sound good, but I'm just no fan of techno and so I couldn't really dig this new facet of Schelmish. Nevertheless there were enough people who enjoyed themselves and so it was quite a successful evening for the band. In the future I'll still visit concerts by Schelmish, but I'll make sure that it is a medieval performance.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dreiraumkultur: Music, Art and Culture in Wohlen

A special event took place in Wohlen this weekend. Three local cultural places teamed up to present two days of Music, Art and Culture, offering concerts, art exhibitions and short movies.

Yesterday evening started with a concert by BBFrances in the Kulturbeiz. BBFrances is a Singer/Songwriter with her heart and soul. This devotion is apparent in her songs, which are sometimes sad and sometimes uplifting, but always true and honest, as well as in her manner, not put out by a missed chord or a forgotten text passage she elegantly improvises and moves on to the next part. The memorable gig ended with an improvised song about the Kulturbeiz and its customers :)

The next concert took place in the Atelier Art & Bar. The room where the concert was held was tiny and with about 50 people present quite full. But on to the gig: Arise a nuMetal band took the stage and quickly showed us what they're trade was. However, the small room took its tolls, it was extremely loud and the singer was for the most part lost in the hubbub and I couldn't understand a word he was singing. It even took me awhile to recognize the Slipknot cover they played as an encore. The highlight of this gig was the quieter songs where they included a didgeridoo.

The Atelier Art & Bar had three rooms in total and they were all adorned by art from Kathrin Giger. Her paintings were very intriguing, but had a very dark recurring theme, way too depressing to hang them up in my room.

The third concert took place in the third premise, the Plattform, which was about three times the size of the Atelier and already filled to the brim by the time we arrived. Which didn't stop more people from arriving during the concert of Just A Hype. It is impossible to describe Just a Hype's musical genre, because they play everything. The one underlying theme that I could make out was that their music was very danceable in an indie easy listening rock kind of way. The crowd at least was very pleased with them and probably asked for several encores. I, however, didn't experience them because I needed fresh air and didn't want to miss the start of the last gig of the night.

Last up were Labia in the Atelier Art & Bar. I knew from Arise, that it would be loud so I equipped myself with earplugs. Unfortunately not everyone had so much foresight and several people left early because of the sound level. But let's backtrack a bit and cover some basic ground. This gig was a special one for Labia in three ways: First it was probably the smallest location they ever played in, second it was the first gig of Mark, Labia's new bassist and third they had a new song in their repertoire.
Right from the start they proved that the change of bass was not a burden but a refreshment. Mark fit in very well, bringing new influences and nuances to well known songs, at least well known to me, this being my 31st gig :). One hit song followed another slowly building up to the new song, but we never got there, because suddenly the police arrived, reporting that a neighbor complained about the noise (it was well past midnight at that stage)... So we did not get to hear the new song, but having the gig ended by the police is something special as well, even if this was the third time that it happened in Labia's history.
What remains after the gig are two thoughts:
1. Mark is a very good addition to the band, even though he is more relaxed and reserved on stage than Armando was, it didn't stop the flow of energy reaching out from the band to the audience. I do have high expectations of the new songs that will now surely display some new influences, bringing them to another level.
2. What bothered me most was the fact that only about twenty people turned up for the last concert, admittedly it was very loud but I was expecting at least some of the guys who partied with Arise back. Where is the curiosity to get to know new bands? I'm always making it a point to see bands I don't know if I happen to be in the vicinity...

Nevertheless I enjoyed myself a lot, as can be seen in this picture (I'm the guy in the orange t-shirt *g*):

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Not even close by Fair Haven

I've waited a bit with this review for two reasons, first I was busy ;) and second I wanted to give them a second chance because right after listening to Full Time Joker I was still in a different sphere ;)
Fair Haven play more Modern sometimes even Alternative Rock, which I normally like a lot, but even though the album is solidly produced I couldn't connect and no song took me in completely. However, there are two songs which do stand out and which received 5 stars. 'Anything' the last track on the album, a ballad with a subtle but carrying tune and 'Kings of Empty Castles' which also opens quietly and melodious but then slowly intensifies to a powerful finale.
All in all I could glimpse potential within Fair Haven, so it would be worth checking and seeing what they are up to.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Full Time Joker - Fill the Void by Tempesta

Right after playing the first song "Full Time Joker" I was hooked. Opening with powerful cords it promises everything that a good hard rock song should have: a gripping tune, a refrain to headbang to and the power to keep it going for a long time. The second track "Stagedive" then came almost as a surprise the melodic opening stood somewhat in contrast to what I heard before, but the other elements soon make a reappearance, crafting another excellent song. And so it goes on throughout the album, no song is alike the one that came before making this an excellently balanced and in a way complete album.
Even though their style can be mainly attributed to traditional Hard Rock there are many other influences apparent under the surface ranging from Metal to Country and Blues. The later too styles got their platform in the last song "Bluesman" and even though I'm no longer a fan of Country music it is still pleasant to listen to.
Oh yeah, and did I mention the best thing? They're Swiss!

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Music Promotion

On my way to the Bahnhof Hardbrücke in Zürich today I was stopped by a guy with a box of CD's. He was from the label Membrane Records on his way to promote his bands. We got talking and I ended up with three new CD's for a bargain :). Look for upcoming reviews in this spot :).

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Stardust

The best Fantasy movie of the year! Even though the story differs in a couple of places from the original it still works and comes to a fantastic conclusion. I was astonished at how funny this movie was, it's an actual riot :). The kitschiness, however, didn't surprise me at all, but it's the magic of Neil Gaiman that it never seems over the top and always seems justified. Whether you have read Gaiman's story, go and see this movie, you'll enjoy it! :)
Rating: 10/10

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1408

I've been waiting for this movie for a long time, ever since I first heard of the project I was wondering whether they would succeed to translate the creepy feeling of the short story into a movie. For the most part of the first half they did manage to pull it off, I haven't been so tense in a movie for a while. However, after the halfway mark has been reached the suspense starts to ebb away and makes room for more or less shocking moments and revelations. Still I was surprised how funny 1408 turned out to be in some places, quite the opposite to the original story.
All in all it was an entertaining horror movie, a very good adaption of a King story and a fun evening.
Rating: 8/10

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