Monday, 29 July 2013

A game called life: Bitches Weekend - Frank Ocean prelude.

Side bar:  Actual Frank Ocean Concert rant here.  Below is a memoir of the whole Melbourne trip ;)


You may have read in my last blog (oh-so long ago, now) that my friends and I missed out on nabbing tickets to Frank Ocean's first Melbourne sideshow for the Friday 26th of July.

I. Was. Devastated.

I spent several days walking around, slightly lost, reconsidering the meaning of life - It was bad.

So, when a random whim beckoned me to check an email account, that I never usually check; only to find an email giving the heads-up of a SECOND show, going on sale 5 minutes from reading the notice - Shit got cray. Such was the first incident of "Can you believe it?"

I immediately contacted my girlfriends to confirm whether they were still keen and free to hit up the Ocean gig.  I was met with the most efficient and unanimous "HELL YES" and a 45 minute sea of digital squeals and groupie half-jokes. Not even exaggerating.

I swiftly jumped onto the Ticketmaster website and secured the first 5 seats I could get. Fcuk they sold fast.  They weren't primo seats, but who cared?!  Soon enough, these babies were in my supremely elated hands.

The 5 of us decided to make a weekend of it, flying down to Melbourne from Brisbane on the Thursday morning and returning on the Saturday evening.  We flew Tiger airways, scoring tickets for $85 per person, each way.  Though there were fears of Tiger living up to their notorious reputation and us subsequently missing the reason we were flying down in the first place; the flight proceeded without a hitch.  If anything, there was just a 10 minute delay in taking off, which was made up for while we were in the air - The second incident of "Can you believe it?" (CYBI)

When we landed in Melbourne, we braced ourselves for the unforgiving, cold and windy wait in the taxi rank for a maxi taxi to take us to our apartment.  To our disbelief, we were met by a maxi as soon as we left the airport and headed onwards as if it were pre-planned - Incident #3 of CYBI.

We stayed in the Nolan suites of the Grand Mercure Serviced apartments in Docklands.

Despite the construction and somewhat ghost town-esque atmosphere going down in the area during the day, I would absolutely recommend hitting up these apartments if you are also in town for a Festival Hall gig or for Cavalia.  Here are some of the reasons why:

- 2 min walk to Harbourtown Outlet Shopping (if you're into that sort of thing. Me, not so much);

- Free tram into the CBD or just a $10 cab fare, for those travelling to/fro in the 4am-ish hours of the day;

- Random fireworks on a Friday evening, no joke - Incident #4 of CYBI

And most importantly, a 10 minute walk to Festival Hall.

So, a few too many bottles of some wine (that we could pronounce), several random and super posey getting ready photos and only 45 minutes of getting-ready time; these bitches and I were on our way to Monsieur Frank Ocean!

Refer here for actual Frank Ocean Concert ramble, while I continue on my Bitches Weekend talk. 

The following day, still reeling in awe from being in the same room as one of my dearest musical idols, my girls and I hit the streets of Melbourne.  Following our noses and eyes far bigger than our stomachs, we wandered down laneways upon laneways, searching for our next meals.

One of our breakfasts (yes, one of them), was had at The Grain Store.  This quaint, almost missable cafe, tucked away in Flinders Lane amongst a few construction sites; evokes a a somewhat French provincial/German family home.

At first glance, the menu may seem to be overly elaborate and descriptive; But the pomposity is soon overlooked, once you start finding all the things you crave combined in one dish.  Take for example the following meal.

Pictured below is a Portobello mushroom and raclette potato rosti, on a bed of baby spinach, topped with poached eggs and a hazelnut hollandaise.  I know right, what genius conceived the marriage of such deliciousness?

And my gosh, that hazelnut hollandaise was possibly the most delicious hollandaise I have ever consumed.  Thumbs up to this one.

One of the other dishes with somewhat shared amongst us included a plate of orange cured salmon and a fried poached egg (a level of breakfast craziness far too eggsellent to bother making at home... yeah, I went there), on a bed of mixed leaves with a dash of truffle creme fraiche, smoked eggplant and homemade crostini.  To be honest, I would have been happy to have just had a plate of several fried poached eggs and that hazelnut hollandaise sauce.  The rest of that meal was pretty forgettable.

The third dish our group ordered was the gluten free organic amaranth porridge with a myriad of random hippy things, none of which contributed to making thing particular item at all tasty.  Once again, I refer back to my preference of the poached eggs and sauce dish.  I'd clearly make an awesome chef.

Now, I'm not going to go into so much detail about the rest of our food adventures because, for 1) That blog could go on for days; and 2) I'm not that kind of blogger.  Instead I shall simply leave a bunch of random pics, for you to salivate over/scroll past =)

 Macarons are to Melbourne as Cupcakes are to New York. Fact.

Hopetoun Teahouse. Standard.

Pulled pork tacos. Decent.

Mexican Corn. Sub par.

Fruit tart. Not mine.

Possible THE most amazing macaron I have EVER experienced.  Being a cupcake person myself, I don't quite understand the macaron obsession.  I've rarely even had one that has made me take a second glance.  However this one.  My gosh.  I think I raved about this one macaron for at least 30 minutes after it was gone.  I all but grieved for it's loss, when we left the borough at which it was found.


Other things I love about the beautiful city of Melbourne is the awesome street art splashed across laneway walls

and finally one of the last incidents of "Can you believe it?!"... This random lady who sat next to me on the tram...

Future me?...

All in all, Melbourne was as Melbourne always is to me - a whimsical and refreshing break from reality.  Every time I visit, I wish it could be for just that little bit longer. 

Until next time, Melbs...


Events: Frank Ocean - Melbourne Sideshow // The performance that wasn't cancelled

"This unrequited love, to me is nothing but a one-man cult and cyanide in my Styrofoam cup... I can never make him love me..."


Chrisopher (Breaux) Francis Ocean.  A lyrical genius with wisdom and experience far beyond his years.  Words cannot express my adoration for this man and his music.  It truly was a massive contribution to the music scene the day he decided to branch out and rep his own lyrics rather than simply ghost writing for so many others.

Originally coming to Australian shores to headline the Splendour in the Grass festival in Byron Bay, New South Wales; Ocean was also signed to do two sideshows in Melbourne and one in Sydney.

After he cancelled his whole Aussie tour, following his first (which was technically the second one planned) and last show; words cannot express my elation at being one of the lucky 3000 or so who got to see him perform live.

The doors to Festival Hall opened over an hour late, with the opening act scrapped and Ocean not appearing for another 45 minutes.  Swimming amongst a sea of hipsters, with giant frames and kitch backpacks a plenty; we sat in sheer suspense, trying to guess the song he would open with.

The lights suddenly went from being blinding, to dimmed; to flashing beams of pulsing strobe, tangled with a slowly rising cloud of smoke.  Then, seemingly out of no where, Frank Ocean appeared and stood, in a modest hunch in front of the crowd.

From there, everything was a blur of lights, smoke, screaming fans (chiefly my four friends and I) and what can only be described as the most awe-inspiring performance coming from a voice box soon to be torn to shreds.

During his performance Ocean did pause a fair bit between song lines, seemingly getting wrapped in the atmosphere and in his lyrics.  One would have just assumed, he was welcoming audience participation, as we sung throughout the breaks.  Little did we know he must have been in such agony and that those pauses were simply him trying to catch his breath.

On the topic of singing along with Frank Ocean, I was very surprised to see so few of the thousands in attendance, singing along at all.  In fact, to say that a majority of them knew even 3 of his songs in entirety may be an exaggeration.  While my friends and I were literally dancing and singing/screaming like little school girls at a 90s boy band concert, the crowd filled with angsty young adults merely stood and stared, barely swaying.  The audacity, I say.

Nonetheless, there was nothing that could take away the magic of this night, from me.  Ocean played all of my favourites including but not limited to Novacane, Lost, Pyramids, Super Rich Kids, Pilot Jones and Sweet life. My night would have been complete with the performance of Swim Good - though this may have been in the run-sheet before he had to literally run off stage.

Here he is performing Forest Gump.  Click here for the video.

Note how towards the end of this clip, he turns to clear his throat.  Such were most of the pauses throughout his performance.  And once again, none of this really raised any alarm bells until reading the news articles the following day.

From memory, it was in his performance of Thinking Bout You that he stopped singing altogether and had to request the band to start the song over, in a lower key.  Aside from this hiccup, throughout the entire night, he didn't shy away from giving every note of every song all of the effort and beautiful loving they were due.

Bad Religion was the last song of the evening.  The heart and soul being poured into this song was palpable.  It was either that, or by this point the physical pain of his throat was starting to get the better of him.  At the end of an absolutely amazing rendition of one of my top 5 songs, Frank Ocean spoke a few very soft words, to the gist of "I wish I could say more but thank you, Melbourne," before swiftly existing stage left.  After which, the lights of Festival Hall were abruptly flicked on and the guards promptly began ushering fans away.

I went from dancing on the benches like a mad fan, to sitting down, arms crossed and bewildered, in a state of protest.  I just could not understand what happened and how it all ended so suddenly.

After a long while and a few dozen glares from security, we finally submitted and followed the hordes of fans out of the venue.

The following day, we found out about Ocean's torn vocal chords and cancelled shows and could not believe our luck.  I earnestly send out all of my positive and healing vibes to Frank Ocean and deeply wish him a speedy recovery.  The airwaves will be that much less beautiful in his absence.

Reading the handful of articles and listening to interviews re. Splendour and the other cancelled sideshows, I was quite annoyed at the angle to which the situation was spun.  But I had to remind myself that these reviews were from fans and the like, far less fortunate than me.

As such, I dedicate this post to those of you who either missed out on the Frank Ocean sideshow or Splendour tickets or had the misfortune of him cancelling on you.

He was truly one of the best things that has happened to me this year.


Scarlette Fox rating:
- 5 out of 5 bowls of green, no lucky charms.