EVIL EMPIRE (RATM COVERS) w/ Words of Elizabeth, White Crows (Sampler Release) & Notice of Eviction @ YOUR LOCAL, October 2017

So I’ve been noticeably absent from the local music scene for most of the year in terms of gig attendance. I told one person “Yeah, I’m still alive.” in jest as he hadn’t seen me in a long time. This is mostly due my own mental health issues and simply life getting in the way. But tonight, I enjoyed myself for the first time in ages. I felt like people actually cared that I was there at The ‘Rish. I didn’t have to impress anyone at all. Even when I ate my chicken parma alone at the table, I wasn’t feeling depressed or socially isolated. I was embracing my solitude and acknowledging that it’s okay to be in my own company.

The venue was all decked out in appropriate Halloween decoration including fake stringy cobwebs, glow-in-the-dark skeletons, creepy masks and jack o’lantern banners. It got pretty crowded especially later in the evening with a few people dressing up in gowns and zombie face paint. I’m generally not a huge fan of tight, cramped spaces with people pushing past me but I kept reminding myself that “I’m gonna be okay”. Things are slowly turning around again for me and I generally miss coming out to shows regularly.

NOTICE OF EVICTION…The last time I saw this four-piece Progressive Alternative Metal band was back in June at the Cherry Bar in Melbourne. The boys put on another tight performance with plenty of epic guitar solos and passionate screams/cleans. It was really good to see a few people getting involved with moshing and singing along with the band. They played Four Walls as well as their latest single Crawl. https://noticeofeviction.bandcamp.com/…

WORDS OF ELIZABETH…Tonight was my first time checking out this Melbourne-based Alternative/Post-Hardcore band and they put on a really energetic performance. I really dug their use of backing vocals and genuine attitude in their lyrics. The band played a few songs from their EP “Autonomy” including Dead Words and Marionette. https://wordsofelizabeth.bandcamp.com/…

WHITE CROWS…So it’s been quite a while since I last saw this five-piece Melodic Hardcore/Punk-Rock band play. The recently had a lineup change with Jon Rhodes (ex-Love Alone) becoming the band’s frontman. Tonight was the official release of their new EP called Sampler and you could tell that the crowd responded very favourably to it. There was plenty of moshing, throw downs and mic grabs as the crowd got more and more rowdy. Jon was also kind enough to give me a shout-out during their set which I really appreciate. They played several tracks including Softlight and Misplaced. https://whitecrows1.bandcamp.com/al…

Also, check out this review I did last month for the band with Behind The Scene… https://www.behindthesceneofficial.com/…

EVIL EMPIRE (RATM COVERS)…Unfortunately I didn’t stick around for this Rage Against The Machine covers band but you can check out the original songs via the link below. https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/…

“How do I feel by the end of the day? (Are you sad because you’re on your own?). No I get by with a little help from my friends. Mm I get high with a little help from my friends. Mm gonna try with a little help from my friends. (Do you need anybody?). I need somebody to love. (Could it be anybody?). I want somebody to love.”                                                                                            The Beatles – With A Little Help From My Friends (1967)

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MIKEY’S PERSONAL BLOG 74, October 2017

“Laughter, song and dance create emotional and spiritual connection; they remind us of the one thing that truly matters when we are searching for comfort, celebration, inspiration or healing: We are not alone.” The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (p. 118)

On Tuesday morning, Mum and I joined along with the local walking group at Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East. Even at 9.30-10am, the temperature was already rising up to the mid-20’s and I could feel myself starting to sweat down my back. We went for an hour long walk around Casey Fields reserve and back again. I was feeling a bit socially disconnected and emotionally flat today, though getting some exercise and being out in nature did help a little.

I guess life can get pretty overwhelming for me sometimes and I can really only handle looking into the future in short-term bursts. My biggest concern is trying to find a sense of belonging with others. Financially, I’m only just getting by at the moment and writing out lists of expenses has really helped me. I have to break everything down into small, manageable components when it comes to bills and payments that are due. I just have to take one day at a time and believe that I will get through this.

On Tuesday night, I went down to YMCA Casey RACE for a Water Workout class and some hydrotherapy. This time I decided to be more prepared and brought along a drink bottle. I also decided to split my time up evenly between the steam room, spa and sauna. Of the three. the sauna is hands down the most mentally challenging for me. I’m still not used to the conditions of 70-100 degree dry heat, feeling my heart-rate elevating and trying to keep myself relaxed and hydrated. I know my limits and 10 minutes was more than enough for me tonight. But with more regular visits, I’m sure that my body will tolerate the heat easier. https://www.livestrong.com/article/…

Tonight’s Water Workout class with facilitated by an instructor named Susie and it was packed with about 18 people participating. We used a combination of noodles and underwater dumbbells in parts of the class. I found it difficult keeping my balance and co-ordination in check tonight but I was still doing my best and laughing along with the rest of the ladies. We did the usual exercises of jogging, donkey kicks, rock ‘n’ roll, side and back kicks, jumping, running on the spot and push-ups on the edge of the pool. https://www.livestrong.com/article/…

On Wednesday morning, I had my Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. It’s not secret that I wasn’t myself today at all. Even with that false veneer on my face, it wasn’t enough to mask how I was truly feeling inside. Though I did receive a couple of friendly greetings from the trainers, my self-esteem was just far too low for it to make a positive impact on me. But I made the effort to be here so that’s something.

WARM-UP…Today I started with my Y-T-I stretches on the bench before massaging into the shoulders, lats and collar bones with the rubber ball. The awkward tension between myself and Luke had returned and I wasn’t coping well with it at all. In fact, my mind was having a field day (Why haven’t I got anything exciting to talk to Luke about? Clearly he must think I’m boring. He barely cracks a smile whenever he’s training me).

DEVELOPMENT…Today I worked on doing 5 rounds of 12 reps, dumbbell presses at 30kg as well as 5 rounds of 8 single arm rows at 22.5kg. I was struggling heaps today and my fragile mental state certainly wasn’t helping matters. I was getting myself really upset and frustrated especially after the third round or so. The fatigue in my arms was just too much to handle and I kept dropping the weights. It was embarrassing. I was thinking “What’s wrong with me today? I feel like a failure.” But the positive was that I kept trying over and over again until I finished those reps.

WORKOUT…Today I did a 10 minute AMRAP of the following exercises: 200m run, 5 ring rows, 10 push ups and 15 squats. I was already shaking and fatigued from the dumbbell presses that I really didn’t know how long I was going to last with this workout. It was another tough mental battle for me but I basically did what I could. I don’t think Luke knows exactly how to handle me whenever I’m feeling depressed like I was today. And it’s not his fault at all. Just wasn’t my best session today. Hopefully the next one will be better.

On reflection, perhaps Luke was right in saying that my performance wasn’t as bad as my negative mental state was making out. I really did nail my ring rows and squats during the workout. I think that I am gradually improving overall with the push-ups. I just think that I need more practice and more confidence in doing them. Hence why Luke decided to set me some homework in doing 3 rounds of 10 push-ups. It’s the only way I’m going to get better at doing them and not have so much fear about failing reps. https://www.facebook.com/breakawayf…

On Thursday lunchtime, I went to an RPM class at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. There comes a point when I’m home by myself that I simply can’t cope and I physically need to get out of the house for the sake of my sanity. So I decided to do just that and gave myself some “me-time” at Casey Arc with half an hour of hydrotherapy and half an hour of RPM cycling. Considering how I’ve been feeling this week, I really need to look after myself better and implement self-care strategies back into my routine.

The RPM class was pretty small with only about 6-8 people but I wasn’t surprised being lunchtime. It was technically an express class…so five tracks instead of the usual seven or eight. But that’s also meant an increase in intensity. There were a couple of tracks that involved Interval Training (Chicane – Poppiholla) and some more easy ride/medium intensity tracks (Katy Perry – Teenage Dream). I could feel the burn in my knees, thighs and glutes pretty quickly today but I did what I could, averaging around 78-80 RPM. https://www.lesmills.com/workouts/f…

On Friday morning, I had my potentially last ever session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. Things started off on a high note. I walked into UFT PLAYgrounds with a positive attitude, feeling optimistic about today’s session and saying hi at the trainers as I got myself ready. But things quickly descended from there. I tried hard to explain to Luke what was on my mind but it felt like everything fell on deaf ears. He wasn’t understanding me at all and that’s not really his fault. Even I know how complicated and hard to figure out I am. I just set my expectations far too high and walked away feeling emotionally exhausted and misunderstood.

WARM-UP…So the start of my session actually went pretty well. I did various yoga stretches and holds for 2 minutes each including camel pose, cobra pose and scorpion pose. I reminded myself to breathe into the areas that were sore and embrace that discomfort. I decided to think about how ridiculous Kameron from the Real Housewives of Dallas looked in her bright pink vest and huge Louis Vuitton handbags which helped me to get through the pain.

DEVELOPMENT…Today I did 5 rounds of 12 front squats at 40kg. I was struggling a lot at the start as the bar kept slipping off my shoulders and put a lot of pressure on my wrists. And of course because I wasn’t doing it right, I started to get really hard on myself. Plus my mind was just overwhelmed by thoughts…mostly about what Luke thinks about me, whether I’m a good enough client, have I done anything wrong, does he even care about me. There’s been an obvious shift during the last couple of weeks and now I just can’t handle it anymore.

WORKOUT…Today’s workout involved a 100 calorie sprint on the assault bike. It was pretty tough but manageable. I wisely try to keep to a steady, consistent pace the whole time so that I didn’t burn out too quickly. As much as I was proud of this achievement, I still walked away from the session feeling empty and upset. I asked myself the most important question…”Is training with Luke doing my emotional well-being any good?” Nope!

So I basically decided then and there that I needed to take a break from him. It’s not his fault, it’s just not working for me anymore and I’m not enjoying it. Maybe I need to move on. Who knows? I’m not going to make any rash decisions right now. But I do know that continuing the way I am is not doing my mental health any good.

“So never look back, go where you’re going to. I waited a lifetime for you. So cut me some slack, I wanna see all of you. I never hold back from the truth.”              Liam Gallagher – I Get By (2017)

“There’s no time for looking back. Thanks for all your support. Slow down, all things must pass. Take your time, know the score. It’s not goodbye. So dry your eyes. Come rain or shine. I’ve all I need and more.” Liam Gallagher – I’ve All I Need (2017)

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So I’ve been training at UFT PLAYgrounds for about a year now and I thought now would be a good time to reflect on my achievements, challenges, struggles and highlights. I started my journey at the Fountain Gate facility mid last year with my former personal trainer Nick Bradbury. Last October, I took a break for personal reasons and came back in February this year with my current personal trainer Luke Davey.

In May, the two UFT facilities merged together and I’ve been training at the Berwick facility since then. The biggest challenges have definitely been dealing with my mental demons. My inner critic/anxiety/depression had a huge hold over me, making it very difficult to relax and feel comfortable in this new social-gym environment.

I had thoughts such as I’m not good enough. What’s wrong with me? Will I ever fit in here? Does anyone really like me? Do I even belong here at UFT? I’m not like the others. I spent weeks trying different ways of overcoming these thoughts including self-help books, meditation, deep breathing, counselling sessions, positive affirmations, helpful reminders, CBT-thought challenging.

For the most part, I’m coping a lot better than I was back in May. I bring along a fitness journal which I record all my training results in and also positive affirmations, goals and things to remember. It really helps to keep me grounded and stay focused on the reasons why I’m there at UFT. A lot of it is changing the relationship with myself. Having self-acceptance. Being kinder to myself. Being okay about making mistakes and accepting my flaws. It takes time.

I try my best to give 110% effort to every session, no matter what mood I’m in, how I’m feeling physically and mentally. I just do my best, push through the pain, the struggles and the barriers because I refuse to give up, no matter what.

– Started my new fitness journey with personal trainer Luke Davey(February)
– Participated in Sunday Funday event and ran 5kms around Lysterfield Lake (March)
– Completed the 1000 Steps challenge at the Kokoda Memorial Trail in Upper Ferntree Gully (March)
– Donated to/Attended the Rope Climbs to Everest event for Alive Crusade(April)
– Started a Strength Training program at Breakaway Fitness (April-Current)
– Attended a UFT social dinner gathering at Central Hotel Beaconsfield(May-June)
– Donated to/Participated in the Do It In A Dress event (October)
– Will be attending the UFT hijacks Bounce Inc. event this Saturday night (October)

– Participating in the Rope Climbs to Everest event as a rope climber
– Learning new movements and techniques including pull-ups, muscle ups, overhead cleans, snatches, higher box jumps, double unders, full push ups.
– Participating in more charity events/fundraisers for UFT.
– Losing more body fat and gaining more lean muscle

Thank you to all the coaches, PT’s and clients at UFT PLAYgrounds for being so friendly, respectful, encouraging and supportive towards me

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This former frontman of Oasis and later Beady Eye has been making music for just over 25 years which is a pretty remarkable achievement if you ask me. “As You Were” marks his first record as a solo artist and for the most part, it’s a cracker. Part of it is due to the presence of current pop producers including Greg Kurstin, Dan Grech-Marguerat and Andrew Wyatt. They have given Liam’s sound a much needed modern makeover whilst keeping his traditional approach to songwriting in tact.

The album plays to Liam’s strengths both as a vocalist and a musician, fusing elements of 60’s psychedelia, 70’s rock ‘n’ roll, 90’s indie rock and brit-pop. His musical influences include the usual suspects of John Lennon and The Rolling Stones but I feel like he’s also matured and broadened his horizons a little including classic rock bands The Doors, The Kinks, The Monkees and T-Rex.

The album opens with lead single “Wall of Glass” which features a brash harmonica solo, gospel choir and loud powerful drumming. “Greedy Soul” is equally as bold and upbeat, showing that Liam’s tough no-bullshit attitude is still very much in tact. “Bold” and “When I’m In Need” on the other hand give us a glimpse into Liam’s softer, more reflective side.

However, “For What It’s Worth” is perhaps Liam Gallagher’s best song to date, mainly because of how vulnerable and honest his vocals are. It comes across as a public apology to his brother Noel, declaring that…For what it’s worth, I’m sorry for the hurt. I’ll be the first to say, “I made my own mistakes”. He wants to create a truce and end the bitter sibling rivalry once and for all. Time will tell whether Liam keeps his word.

Elsewhere, there are more solid ballads including Paper Crown, I Get By and Come Back to Me as well as the laid-back, experimental track “Chinatown”, which is very left of field for the English rocker and yet still sounds lovely thanks to the soft strumming acoustic sections. The regular album closes on the track “I’ve All I Need” which is another personal track, focusing on Liam’s self-assurance and resilience as an artist.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/as-you-were/id1247914170

JB Hifi: https://www.jbhifi.com.au/…/as-you-were-deluxe-edit…/459473/

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MIKEY’S PERSONAL BLOG 73, October 2017

On Monday night, I attended my Body Balance class with Kaz at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. Over the weekend, I’ve been dealing with a number of personal issues which have accumulated to the point of feeling emotionally shutdown. I feel very conflicted in how I want to proceed. The fact that I’ve always been a highly sensitive person who overthinks, doesn’t have a thick skin, gets easily upset and can’t handle criticism from others has lead me to this state of low mood and depression. I feel lonely and confused as to what people think about me.

So tonight is all about releasing these negative thoughts and feelings that no longer serve me and getting back to looking after myself. I feel like I’ve improved heaps especially with the Pilates section. I try to follow on and do the best I can even with my hips and core muscles burning. It just takes a lot of practice and doing what you’re capable of. Never give up.

Tonight we did the following exercises from Release 77: Tai-Chi Warmup (Overhead circles, bow and arrow), Sun Salutations (Forward fold, downward facing dog, plank, crocodile, baby cobra, low lunge, open twist), Standing Strength (Chair pose, tree pose, Warrior 3), Pilates (Table top, Bridge pose with pulses and bicycle, Criss-cross crunches, Side plank elbow to knee), Hamstring Stretches (Wide-legged forward fold, Staff pose) and Relaxation (Japanese Garden guided meditation). http://w3.lesmills.com/israel/en/cl…

On Tuesday afternoon, I spent some time with my Mum. After picking up my anti-depressants from the GP, Mum and I went to Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre to do some shopping. I could feel myself hitting rock bottom emotionally as things began to spill out of me. I was that depressed and low that I felt physically numb and empty just sitting at the table at Theobroma Chocolate Lounge Cranbourne. You can only keep that fake “everything’s fine” facade on for so long. I’m 31 years old and I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.

So many things have been affecting me in a negative way like my lack of friends/social life, the relationship with my PT, not having the confidence or self-esteem to stand up for myself, being unable to find my dream career or work out my direction in life. I think that I’ve become way too comfortable living at home with my parents that the prospect of moving out seems overwhelming and unbearable.

On Tuesday night, I attended my Body Combat class with Cinamon Guerin at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. It was pretty obvious during tonight’s class that I was struggling to keep up more than usual and I also had to take slightly longer rest breaks from tracks. I honestly wasn’t surprised considering how mentally and emotionally overloaded I’ve been over the last few days so I really need to cut myself some slack. The fact that I was still participating, still working hard, still doing the best I can and still walking out dripping in sweat should be something to celebrate and be proud of.

I had a great chat with Cinamon after the class and really opened up to her about how I’ve been feeling. It really needed to unload everything that’s been weighing me down lately. I’m so glad that Cinamon has a sympathetic and non-judgemental ear and can understand what I’m going through. Some people don’t get mental illness no matter how hard you try to explain it to them and that’s something I just have to accept. https://www.lesmills.com/workouts/f…

On Wednesday, I had my Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. Today was a tremendously difficult day for me after weighing up everyone’s opinions and advice on whether I should stay or should I go? Joel Perryman provided a welcome distraction by doing a brief interview with me about why I started training for UFT PLAYgrounds. I was also reading a chapter on “The Power of Self-Acceptance” from Dr. Russ Harris’ book The Confidence Gap. Kind of appropriate for me right now.

I don’t think I was fully prepared for the difficult conversation that was about to unfold between Luke and myself. It was time to take off the “everything’s fine” mask and get real about what’s been on my mind. I was physically shaking and feeling nauseous just listening to what Luke had to say to me. It was tough hearing those harsh truths it because I can’t seem to handle criticism of any sort. I do take a lot of things to heart, misinterpret things people say to me and get myself upset unnecessarily. I’ve just always been a highly sensitive person and I have to accept that.

Whilst part of me wanted to storm out of there and never return, I decided to do the mature thing, sit with the negative emotions, process what Luke said to me and try to learn and grow from this experience. I’m tired of running away from my problems. At times like these, I think that it’s really important to remember all the positive qualities that Luke possesses (He only wants the best for me. He wants me to improve in all aspects of my physical and mental health. He is friendly, encouraging and motivating). I’m holding onto hope that things will get better.

WARM-UP…I started the session by doing several yoga pose holds including camel pose, lizard pose and cobra pose. This was mentally tough for me as I was still feel like shit about what happened over the last few days. But continuing to beat myself up and calling myself a terrible person is not a productive way of dealing with this. I made mistakes. I took things Luke said to me the wrong way. Does that make me a terrible person? No, I don’t think so.

DEVELOPMENT…Somehow I managed to redeem myself here and explode out of that depressed, miserable mindset that I put myself in. I put the cards on the table and continued to open up to Luke which really helped me feel better. Today I did 5 rounds of 8 reps front squats at 50kg. Instantly my mind protested “Oh shit! Not front squats again. Remember what happened last time?” But I told my brain to shush and pushed myself through it.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well I was doing those front squats today. Despite my left wrist hurting, I still managed to get my technique right: t-rex grip on the bar, elbows and chest lifted, bar sitting on the shoulders. My squat depth was generally pretty good though I did struggle at times and noticed my heels lifted up a bit. But overall I walked away feeling like I did a really good job today. I turned negatives into positives which is exactly what I was hoping for. Things can only go up from here as I continue to get stronger and better.

On Thursday night, I went and saw Blade Runner 2049 at Village Cinemas Fountain Gate. You’d think I’d be used to going to the movies by myself at my age (All by myself, don’t wanna be all by myself anymore…) but evidently I’m not. I did make a few attempts to round up a few friends to come along but they all pretty much failed. It’s always been a huge struggle for me. It’s both frustrating and depressing but the reality is that I can’t control people’s lives or how busy they are or whether they’ll come or not. All I can do is ask.

Still I decided to not dwell on it too much and just focus on enjoying the movie. I’ve been waiting 15 years for this sequel to come out so I’m not going to wait for someone to go with, I’m really not. I have to remind myself that there’s nothing wrong with doing activities by myself at all. It’s just an acceptance thing really. I brought my copy of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which is very appropriate considering that’s the source material for Blade Runner. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1856101…

On Friday morning, I had my second Strength Training session with Luke Davey at Breakaway Fitness in Berwick. I felt like I was in a better place today mentally and emotionally since I sorted things out with Luke on Wednesday. I was reading “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson to help facilitate a positive mindset and give myself some gentle reminds before I started my session.

This part in particularly spoke volumes for me…”On the contrary, when you’re in a bad mood, life looks unbearably serious and difficult. You have very little perspective. You take things personally and often misinterpret those around you, as you impute malignant motives into their actions.” (p. 81). Yeah I took things the wrong way with Luke last week and realise now that his critique is not personal, but used to improve my technique, performance and abilities. He’s only trying to help me, not put me down or treat me like shit.

WARM-UP…This morning I started my doing 5 minutes on the balance board and then three rounds of the following: 8 leg curls with the resistance band, 8 single arm kettle bell lifts and 8 “hey boys”. I was struggling a little getting my feet into the resistance band and almost getting myself tangled up in it but I decided to be patient and kind with myself instead of beating myself up like I usually do. I’m only human and overall, I did pretty well with these movements.

DEVELOPMENT…Today I did 5 rounds of 8 reps deadlifts at 77kg. As much as I kept trying to bury my frustration, it was continuing to pop up today as it took me many attempts to get my technique, form, movement and pace right. Plus the pain in my lower back and hips was annoying the hell out of me. There was the possibility of me breaking down over this but I told myself that “Take your time Michael. You can do this. I refuse to be defeated. I will not give up.” I took in all the advice and constructive criticism Luke was giving me and eventually I was getting it.

My biggest issue is keeping my shoulders pulled back and not hunching over the bar too much as well as touching the ground softly. But it’s certainly getting there. I may have been really breathless and fatigued by the end of my 5 sets but at least I got it done and gradually felt myself improve once I let go of that internal frustration. Like Luke said to me today, I just need to “relax” more. Easier said than done! Another big positive was my ability to get the plates on and off the bar. It’s getting better and I’m no longer being harsh with myself about how long it’s taking me. Progress is progress no matter how small.

WORKOUT…Today’s workout consisted of doing 3 rounds of the following: 200m row, 20 butterfly situps, 20 Russian twists and 10 hollow rocks. Even during my first round, I knew that the Russian twists were going to be my greatest challenge. I struggling to keep my balance, legs lifted and deal with the pain in my hips and lower back. But giving up never crossed my mind.

Every rep I got through with an achievement for me. That was my approach. Just get it done and I did. Luke recognised that my attitude towards this workout was much more positive compared to last week’s push-ups and I walked away feeling proud of that performance. Sure it was really difficult at times but I didn’t let it defeat me. That’s strength, resilience and determination right there.

On Friday afternoon, Mum and I visited the Dandenong Market. We bought some more flowers (yellow and dyed chrysanthemums), which are very cheap and better quality than the ones in the supermarket. We also bought some Christmas cards and fragrant soaps before having a bite to eat at the Cafe Marketto. The food here is always really good and decently priced. I ordered the Aussie Breakfast which consists of scrambled eggs on toast, mushrooms, spinach leaves and a rasher of bacon.

“Why am I like this? Trying to get my head stronger. My friends fucking hate me. My heart has grown cold and so lately. Everything I touch turns to stone and fades. And I feel a weight has lifted. And I feel the waves crash over me. Don’t lack or feel deflated. I found comfort in being free. Move forward keep your head up. You will find your home. Just don’t give into pain. Move forward there. And you will find your home. You’ll find your home. You’ll find your home.” Reside – Home (2017)

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BLADE RUNNER 2049 FILM REVIEW *Contains Spoilers*

Blade Runner 2049 is the long-awaited sequel to the original Ridley Scott classic released back in 1982. Considering the past history of the Blade Runner franchise from numerous script rewrites to production issues and huge delays in release, this could have been a total disaster. But thankfully the sequel wisely avoids the temptation of simply rehashing storylines from the original.

Director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) had some huge shoes to fill in delivering a worthy follow-up film and for the most part he succeeds. Taking place in Los Angeles 30 years after the events of the first film, the story focuses on Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a LAPD cop who like Deckard before him has to terminate or retire replicants (android versions of humans).

This film both builds upon the Blade Runner universe created in the original and makes plenty of references, nods and flashbacks to it. The dystonic cityscape of Los Angeles seems even more dark, hazy and over-populated due to the “Blackout period” that occurred in 2022. The only sources of light comes from the bright-neon strobes, flashing company logos and holographic models that populate the city below.

The first half of the film concentrates on Officer K’s case on hunting down the remaining Nexus-8 replicants and finding the identity of a mysterious child. He lives in a ragged apartment with his virtual girlfriend named Joi (Ana De Armas) who acts as both a lover, companion and assistant in keeping his sanity in check.

We learn that the now defunct Tyrell Corporation has been taken over an evil, god-like engineer named Neander Wallace (Jared Leto). He claims that the replicants he manufactures are safer and can obey humans’ commands. Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) is Wallace’s right-hand woman, an assassin and a Nexus-9 replicant.

We also get a deeper look into Officer K’s past and childhood. He soon discovers a few explosive revelations of his own involving a certain date carved on the bottom of a wooden horse ornament. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) doesn’t make an appearance until the last third of the film but it’s very much worth the wait.

Everything about this film is such a delight to behold. From the high-tech, dazzling visuals, intense action sequences, atmospheric soundtrack and great acting. At 163 minutes, the film does drag at times and could have done with some editing, particularly in the slower, more contemplative scenes.

I really appreciate all the references to the original film including artificial vs. real animals, the Voight-Kampff machine for testing replicants, flashbacks to Rachel and hints at Vangelis’ Love Theme. I do wish parts of the story were fleshed out a bit more especially since there’s been a 30 year gap between films but overall, I really enjoyed this sequel and I’m glad that it’s finally come out. 9/10

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​PARKWAY DRIVE (COVERS SET) w/ This Life I Live (EP Launch), Valhalla & He Who Seeks Vengeance @ BANG! October 2017

It really takes a lot for me to justify making the effort to attend BANG! events these days. There are multiple barriers to overcome. Paying $20 entry on a host list. The average turnouts and mixed vibes from the crowd. Knowing that I struggle to fit in socially especially in a nightclub environment. The long distance of travelling out to the city and back home again. Feeling exhausted and emotionally drained from the rest of the week.

But considering the lineup of bands was really decent tonight, I decided to come down and support them. Whilst my introverted nature and social awkwardness was ever-present, I still managed to make somewhat of an effort to socialise and I even bumped into a few old friends of mine that I hadn’t seen in a while. Besides that, I really don’t do BANG! anymore because I simply get bored easily there and it’s not a venue I feel like I belong at.

HE WHO SEEKS VENGEANCE…I’ve been meaning to see this Frankston-based Melodic Hardcore band for a while now but as usual, life gets in the way. I’ve been supporting the vocalist Scott Masson since he used to front Behold The Defiant a couple of years back. Their performance tonight was highly entertaining especially when they brought out some inflatable beach balls and tossed a few black tees into the crowd. It was a simple yet effective way of getting the crowd involved during the set and it worked wonderfully. Their tracks were really tight with some epic guitar riffs, heavy breakdowns and brutal vocals. Check out their music video for debut single “See You In Hell” here… https://www.facebook.com/hewhoseeks…

VALHALLA…Tonight was my first time checking out this Adelaide-based Post-Hardcore band. I thought they played a really solid set tonight though the crowd reaction was painfully disappointing. I actually felt bad for them considering they made the effort to drive down to Melbourne for this show. However, they should all be commended for handling the negative response well and not letting the lack of applauds discourage them. You can check out their singles “Outrage” and “The Promise” here… https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq…

THIS LIFE I LIVE…This was the band I mainly came out to see. I was super stoked to see this Melbourne-based Melodic Metalcore band finally drop their debut self-titled EP after two years together. They have worked tremendously hard to reach this point, pulling out a polished performance with lots of raw emotion and honesty. The boys played several tracks from that EP including Ronin, The Petty One and Plot 33 plus a cover from The Ghost Inside featuring Adam Pedersen (Atlantic) dropping some guesties. https://thislifeilive.bandcamp.com/…

PARKWAY DRIVE COVERS SET…Unfortunately, I didn’t stick around for the Parkway Drive covers set but you can check out the original tracks from the album “Horizons” here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/h…

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