While the title of this blog states that it's content consists of bikes, beer and beats, it has been mostly devoid of the latter two ingredients of late, so I thought it was time to right the wrongs and give heed to said neglected 'B's. And in an act of redemption for those 'B's, this week I have been mostly neglecting the bike, taking the soft option of the car to work while the rain has come down and the wind has blown. Having said that, I did get out for a good ride last Sunday with Mike and Grant up at Belmont, another nice B. We managed to work out a good loop after our debut foray last week, riding all of Danzig and finding a better, more fun way down from the trig. But since then it's been all beer and a lot of beats. Here's a brief rundown of what I've been imbibing orally and aurally.
This one I got hold of while Andrea was over. Pretty bland for a 'premium' beer, but it did have a 6% kick which redeemed it after a couple of bottles. Probably won't buy again.
A mixed trio this one. Stella is still one of my favourite beers, not in the James Squire Pilsener or Little Creatures class, but with those two beauties as rare as rocking horse shit over here, it's my staple brew when there is nothing else to tempt me.
The Hoegaarden was a little treat I had before Xmas, a nice whitbier from a brewer who does some wicked real Belgian ales that are way too expensive and potent to drink on any sort of regular basis. But nice nonetheless.
Oranjeboom, well, the less said about it the better. Actually it's not that bad, after taking a week to get through the first six bottles I started to warm to it a bit, especially if I drank a Stella after it to flush out the citrusy taste. Won't spend my money on it again, although Richard seemed to like it at the Xmas day lunch, so I left the rest of them with him. Cheers, Richard!
Calsberg is another beer touted as one of the 'best in the world' that always underwelms me. Not that there's anything wrong with it, it is crisp and easy to drink, but it just doesn't have that extra pizzaz that could put it up there with the great brews. But hey, when you've been riding the best trails around, and you're kicking back on a secluded lake beach, life is still good.
Now this one impressed me a bit more. A nice pilsener from a top NZ brewer, though Macs Hop Rocker still has the edge on this nonetheless hoppy offering from Monteiths. And when it's been donated by a customer, it tastes even better.
Now for some beats...
Last night I went to the Opera House to see Swedish singer/songwriter Jose Gonzalez perform. (That's right, Swedish... Hey, there must be heaps of people in Mexico called Bjorn.) I'd won a ticket from RadioActive just before Xmas, and so off I trudged, not being able to convince anyone to go halves in a $60 ticket to come along. I'm pretty glad that I didn't pay sixty big ones though...
Not because he sucked, far from it, he was pretty damn impressive I must say. But after 45 minutes, when he announced that he'd be doing 'one more', I bet a few people felt a little short-changed. He did return to round out an hour, and most of his songs are fairly short so it seemed like you got more than you actually did. And the crowd didn't seem to mind a bit, lapping it up in awed silence as he showed his virtuoso guitar skills and unique voice. He was joined for the majority of the set by a female vocalist and a male percussionist/voclaist, giving extra depth to the vast, open soundscapes he laid down. A big sound from a small ensemble in a grandoise setting. And anyone who can pull off covers of Massive Attack and Kylie in one set is OK by me. Have a look and listen here.
But this is what's really been doing it for me recently. The legend, the enigma, the man... Nick Cave. He's just brought out a new album, but this one from 04 has been on high rotation in my earphones. A 2 CD set of the highest quality, the depth of his lyrics and the musicianship of the Bad Seeds is second to none. A artist truly deserving of such a title. People who don't really listen to him often say he's depressing, or dark, or dire, but if you really listen, get amonst the layers, disect the lyrics and absorb yourself in the music, it's one of the most uplifting experiences in any musical landscape. Check out his new video and stylin' moustache here.
*hint, let it load up first.