About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

18 December 2014

Movie: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The final instalment of The Hobbit, starts with the spectacular sequence of Smaug burning down Laketown and his ultimate demise at the hand of the Bard. Unfortunately, this is also probably the only real highlight of the movie - a franchise that has strayed often too far from the story, and extended the plot line for no real reason. 

The entire movie is about a battle - but much of it feels forced and over the top for no reason. As an example, it feels strange that suddenly the emergence of the 13 dwarves would immediately turn around the fortunes of the Dwarven and Eleven sides against the thousands of Orcs - a battle that was clearly being lost. 

All in all, while being entertaining from an action movie perspective - the series has not risen to the heights of Lord of the Rings. It's sad - I think the Tolkien universe has a lot to offer - but not in this way.

15 December 2014

The Foo Fighters

In one of my classes in high school, I sat next to a guy who was Nirvana devotee - his pencil case was devoted to Kurt Cobain, he doodled Nirvana logos all the time, and etched Nirvana on desks. This was still a few years after Nirvana disbanded, but I was introduced to Nirvana and related bands such as Foo Fighters through him. Although I really got into Nirvana, I only occasionally listen to Foo Fighters; thus when the concerts were announced, I didn't rush to get tickets.

I did however read about their amazing concerts, and given that Kaiser Chiefs were also on the bill; I sourced some tickets via gumtree (at cost - so no scalpers prices required). The concert itself was sold out of standing and golden circle - but quite a lot of the stadium seating remained open.

I am glad I went - this was one of the best, if not the best, concert I have attended. It did not have pyrotechnic effects, or amazing lighting effects. It was just a long and energetic performance with amazing crowd rapport from Dave Grohl.

I have avoided parking at the FNB Stadium previously - but the park and ride options this time around were not ideal. The parking itself was easy to access, and well controlled; getting out however was a nightmare with very little co-ordination and control of traffic flow. Once inside the stadium, the food and merchandise stands were equally badly managed with long queues, so much so, that we ended up missing most of BLK JKS.

The last performance of Kaiser Chiefs I attended also involved Jared Leto's 30 Second to Mars, and featured Jared Leto climbing up scaffolding "to see the crowd better". Clearly front man Ricky Wilson (who also donned the Kaizer Chiefs jersey with his name on the back) learnt something - the performance was amazingly athletic; with him running across the stage, and climbing scaffolding a few times. I haven't heard much of the new album; but the performance was a combination of some of the great hits together with the new album and it was great to hear them live again.

After a couple of songs from the Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl commented that they are not "a 1 hour 30 minute band, not a 1 hour 45 minute band ... not a 2 hour 30 minute band" but rather, they will play until they can't play no more. This is not a new claim by headline acts - but for once the band delivered. For close to 3 hours, with no breaks in between, the Foo Fighters went through their repertoire - songs from every album, a song from Queen, and even a song with Dave Grohl drumming (cover of a Cheap Trick song).

The performance was a perfect example in how the live performances can be so different (and in my mind better) than the recorded albums. From additional chorus renditions, to leading the crowd through singing choruses, to long musical interludes within the song - it was an amazing concert performance.