29 October, 2013

The Harbour City: A Weekend of Shenanigans

A couple of weekends ago The Man and I headed down to Sydney for a long long weekend. The main event was to see the Monster Jam, but as I had never been to Sydney before (I know right!?) I also wanted to get in some sightseeing and catch up with some people we knew down there. We flew down on the Friday morning, hoping the poor people affected by the bushfires were seeing some relief and that our plane in fact would be able to land and not be overcome by smoke. We arrived surprised to see that there was in fact no smoke to be seen. More hoping for the bushfire people.
 
We touched down and after a chaotic and rather heart stopping shuttle bus ride to our hotel, we dumped our bags and jumped on a train out to Circular Quay. The afternoon was warm and sunny and the Harbour truly was a sight. We went for a little walk around the Opera House and tried to get some photos on the steps (that thing is actually best photographed from a distance - too big!) then settled in for some windy beers by the harbourside overlooking the Bridge and Opera house. It was brilliant, so lovely and I felt like a total tourist in my home country. It was strange, but we both remarked on a number of occasions that weekend that for some reason we felt like we could have been in another country.
 
I was willing to give Sydney a go but wasn't sure how much I was going to like it as I had heard some bad experiences with record rainfall and not so nice people. But we had THE BEST weekend with gorgeous weather every day and met some very lovely people. I actually LOVED Sydney and would definitely go back! Anyway, Friday evening we hurried back to the hotel and got ready for dinner at Porteno. A restaurant I had heard much about and had been dying to try for quite some time, you know how much I like my food. Well the restaurant absolutely didn't disappoint!! The food was AMAZING, the atmosphere was great and they were playing THE BEST music!
 
We could have stayed there all night...but after meeting a lady on our way to the restaurant and saving her from a man she thought might be following her, her and her date for the evening ended up buying us a bottle of wine at the end of our meal. We went upstairs to finish it at Gardel's and said we would wait from them to join us. We'd just finished the bottled and decided it was best to head home (we had to be up early the next day to get to the zoo) when the couple appeared and somehow we ended up with more drinks. And more. Until the staff were kicking us out of the bar for closing time. Not to be perturbed, the couple convinced us to join them at a nearby venue which turned out to be a bit of a divey bar but that happened to be playing some great old school rock and hair metal (a not so secret love of mine). Safe to say it was rather late (or should I say early?) when we got home. 
We didn't make it to the zoo that day but we did visit the famous Harry's Café de Wheels for a tiger-style pie which both helped and hindered the hangover before continuing on to Circular Quay. After a few touch and go minutes where I was convinced I was going to throw up, The Man decided a ferry ride would be a good idea. Convinced my stomach couldn't handle the motion of water travel, we hesitantly bordered a ferry and went straight for the top outside deck...in case of emergency. Surprisingly the fresh air did me the world of good and I actually felt better. I love the Harbour, we spent a fair bit of time on and around it over the weekend and honestly I could spend all day moseying around it. My poor sunburnt scalp may have something to say about that though.
 
We headed back to our room for a little lay down before making the journey out to ANZ Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park out at Homebush for the Monster Jam. A couple of slightly chewy beers at the pub outside and it was time to go in and find our seats, but not before finding out the stadium didn't sell full strength beer and that a mid was $8! HIGHWAY ROBBERY! Our hangovers and bank accounts thanked us for choosing to go alcohol-free for the remainder of the night. The Monster Jam was fun as usual, although not a scratch on the action of the World Finals in Vegas earlier this year. The Sydney track was much tighter unfortunately and saw many of the trucks having difficulty getting any real momentum and crashing out early, with little fanfare thanks to said lack of momentum. Still it was a fun night and the addition of some motocross during a break was a nice change of pace.
 
Thankfully, an early night that night allowed us to rearrange our sightseeing schedule to get up early Sunday morning and get out to Bondi to check it out. As I'm not really much of beach-lover, we didn't plant to spend a lot of time there but rather enjoy the views and a coffee or the like so the early morning visit actually worked quite well, with conditions not TOO busy and the day not yet too hot. We grabbed a coffee from a swanky cafe nearby and grabbed some lovely shots from about the Surf Club then headed down to the beach itself. I had the bright idea of walking across the sand to the main beachfront. Man, that Bondi sand is LUSH and VERY hard to walk on. By the first ramp, my calves were screaming and we headed back up to the concrete, then sat on the steps in front of the bars looking out over the beach. Very nice indeed.
 
Then it was time to hightail it back to Darling Harbour to Margaritaville where we were catching up with some new friends. We had a delicious, leisurely boozy lunch with one of the loveliest couples ever and who will soon be hopefully visiting us up here in Queensland. These two look to be travelling to a few of the same places as us next year and especially to a big event that we all look forward to partying at together (more on that soon). We actually met online (I know, sounds weird right) and Sydney was our first time meeting them but we all got on like a house on fire. After lunch we pottered around Darling Harbour for a bit then caught the ferry back to Circular Quay for some arvo beers, fish and chips for dinner and some more beers as we enjoyed the Harbour by night. Very pretty!
 
Monday we were up early to FINALLY make it to Taronga Zoo and I couldn't wait! Y'all know how much I love animals and I had heard such great things about Taronga. I was really excited about seeing the animals and I'm pleased to say that the zoo didn't disappoint (unlike another world famous zoo that we only travelled thousands of kilometres to see and hated. Ahem.) My hands down favourite of the day were the giraffes, they were so beautiful and I'd never seen one in real life before! I waved and chatted to them for a little while, telling them how much I wished I could touch them and they came right up to the fence and posed for some lovely photos for us. The zoo was beautiful and I'm pleased to say that all the habitats were quite spacious, well looked after and the animals generally seemed happy. All very important aspects of a zoo in my book.
 
 
Sadly it was time to head back to Circular Quay for a last couple of beers on the Harbour then catch the train to the airport for our flight home. It was a full on weekend with SO MUCH walking and running around but I had SUCH  good time and would actually love to go back again. Perhaps see a bit more outside the city and visit The Rocks. Oooh and do a harbour dinner cruise. And see Newtown and Enmore and do a bit of shopping. It was lots to cram into one weekend but it was such a brilliant weekend! Thank you Sydney for being so kind to us!

Have you been to Sydney? Did you love it?

15 October, 2013

The ReChords LIVE at Lefty's Old Time Music Hall

You might have seen me sharing this event on my Facebook page a little earlier last week and if you missed this gig, well boy did you miss a great show! First of all, Lefty's is an awesome venue that looks like something out of a good ole honky tonk. The kind of place where you expect a saloon girl to jump up on your table at any moment. They have the most exquisite chandeliers, plenty of taxidermy adorning the walls and bras hanging from the antlers of moose heads (need I say more?) Well, it is the old Velvet Cigar (strip joint). The stage is almost like playing in the round and although it's a little small for its popularity, when there's a really great band rocking the joint the cramped in feeling just adds to the atmosphere.
 
So when The ReChords announced they'd finally be returning to Brisbane for their national EP launch I couldn't have been more excited that they were going to be playing, and at this venue! Off the back of the success of their debut album 'On The Wagon' the boys have been busy touring Europe yet again and now they're making the rounds back home in Australia. The last time I saw these guys was at last year's GreazeFest and thanks to an extended set from headliners The Planet Rockers, they only got to play about 3 songs so I've been itching for The ReChords to return to Brisbane and on Saturday night I finally got to scratch that itch.



Supporting The ReChords were The Sugar Shakers, a local Brissie band that continue to gain momentum and don't look like letting up anytime soon. A four piece that packs a punch, the sweet and sexy sounds of the 40s and 50s are delivered by stage siren Emma Louise, guitarist Rupert, bassist Toby and drummer Billy. However much to my delight, The Sugar Shakers wanted some back up singers for one of their new tracks 'Hoochie Coochie' and asked The Boobettes to provide some call backs. Unfortunately Elisse couldn't make it so I asked Mz Vicki to be an honorary Boobette for the night. It was LOTS of fun although I look like a bit of a dork up on stage. Mz Vicki on the other hand is all class! Here's a video of the performance, excuse the peanut gallery in the background. HAH!


After The Sugar Shakers played two ripper sets, it was time for The ReChords to take to the stage. They also played two sets and whipped the place into a frenzy. I was absolute front and centre singing along to all the songs. I just can't help myself when it comes to these guys, I absolutely love love LOVE them! I had SUCH a fun night and it was great to see them playing all their old favourites along with the new tracks off their latest EP 'It Won't Be Long' including the title track, 'Big White Moon', 'Annie Leave' and their popular new single 'Don't Know Much'. Unfortunately I was having way too much of a good time to remember to take any pictures while The ReChords were playing (duh!) but they were AWESOME and I can't wait for them to come back again soon. Rumour has it, it won't be long...



As a side note, I totally meant to take an outfit photo that night as my dress is a newie and totally awesome but alas I ran out of time/forgot/had too much fun. But I'm headed off to Sydney this weekend and will be taking it with me so fingers crossed I get a shot of it then.

Trust me, you'll love it. It's custom made and fits like a glove...and CHERRIES!

08 October, 2013

Tattoo Tuesday: Head Shrinker

I was trawling through some tiki hangouts a few weeks ago when I came across this picture of these awesome shrunken heads. Created by Kreature Kid also known as Adam Dougherty (who you may know as Micheline Pitt’s boyfriend), these were part of his display at Tiki Oasis. He’s a really talented artist and sculptor who’s talent has seen him work for some pretty big names including Moebius Models and Walt Disney Imagineering. His display at TO looked AMAZING and when I saw these three I fell in love, especially with that saucy lady in the middle!
 
So what’s a girl to do? Call up her local tattoo artist of course! She’s the perfect filler for the space on the inside of my left arm and I knew that Mark (Suicide) from Voodoo Tattoo would do a kick ass job. So after work on Friday I headed down the high way to the shop and within an hour Mark had smashed out utter perfection! Now, I may be biased, but I think she looks killer! Mark is a wizard with shading and having done a lot of my earlier tattoo work, I’m kicking myself and wondering why it took me so long to come back to this master. It’s safe to say I have plenty more work planned for him.
 

Isn’t she fantastic? I just can’t get over how brilliant the shading is and to see her in real life, the detail and clean lines are extremely impressive. I’m very very happy with this one!

What do you think? Ain’t she purdy?

01 October, 2013

Jungle Boogie

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated a friend's birthday at a newly opened bar in West End. Even more exciting was the fact that it's a tiki bar! Say aloha to Jungle on Vulture St in West End and discover an intimate tropical paradise of rum and good times.



I've talked before about the history of tiki culture and how it ties into kustom kulture and, as with many aspects of the 'retro' lifestyle, there seems to be a real resurgence within mainstream popular culture. Although this can annoy me on occasion when fashion, music, décor, etc is bastardised by 'pop culture' it can also have its benefits as more and more fashion and venues that fit with our passions become more available. This is definitely the case with Jungle, as the only bastards you'll find here are the suffering kind.
 
Aside from the large carved tikis out the front, blink and you'll miss it. When I said it was intimate it is, because it's rather small. This results in a strangely pleasant crammed in feeling that means your sure to meet new people and maybe make some friends. However, if you plan on settling in for the night I suggest you arrive early-ish in order to score a table. Afterall, this is one of very few bars left anywhere who offer table service ONLY. That's right, no lining up at the bar elbowing your way through to order. They come to you, take your money or bring you an EFTPOS machine and return with your change and/or a delightful drink. Now that's service. Although, beware the EFTPOS machine...after a few cocktails it's tempting to just keep going and going...and going and.......
 
As you'd expect with a place like this, it really is all about the drinks and although they are a little on the expensive side (I could be tainted from the cheaper prices in America) they are certainly delicious and made with skill. I should also point out that they're quite potent, but that's the idea right? The Man and I stuck to Hurricanes all night because they were delicious, value for money and also came out flaming - what's not to love? Although I was also lucky enough to try some Zombie and a sip of the Chief's Daughter, served in a coconut shell cup which were also both very nice. I definitely want to go back and try some more, such as the impressive looking pina colada served in a hollowed out pineapple.
 
The bar also offers Jamaican Red Stripe beer and their own specially brewed alcoholic ginger beer which has some real bite to it and is great for refreshing the palate between tiki concoctions. The place gets really busy which can make cocktails and table service a little, shall we say, ambitious. Service was friendly, pleasant and prompt however there were a couple of times where we were left waiting a while for the Hurricane bowls to become available. In saying that, both times those who were waiting were given complimentary alcoholic ginger beer while they waited which I was quite impressed with.
 
The décor is slightly more basic than some of the tiki bars I have been to but in saying that, it's quite authentic, has a good vibe and the carved tiki stools are very cool and surprisingly comfortable. In terms of music, there's no surf tunes which was a bit of a surprise but the music they did play was surprisingly obscure. Old 50s and 60s songs that I constantly found myself saying 'oh my gosh, this song! I haven't heard it in AGES!' and there was even a rather raucous singalong at one point which was quite fun. Too many cocktails? Never!
 
 
Overall I was actually quite impressed with the place and the whole overall vibe and staff. It would be great if they added a bar snacks menu and perhaps extended the premises so there was a little more room but other than that, it's a top night out. Oh, except for the fact that there's only one pokey little toilet out the back. In saying that, the shark jaws toilet seat is a bit of a laugh.

Not in Brisbane and looking for a tiki bar of your own to check out? Try these:

MELBOURNE

The Luwow

SYDNEY

Margaritaville

FREMANTLE

Tiki Beat Bar