Seaplane are our Time Off Magazine‘s Live cover shoot this week.

Check them out in this week’s issue #1578.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read it online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

Mother Popcorn returns with the Funk Devil edition, live funk mixed with live art = killer combination!

Mother Popcorn @ alloneword photos here

Good friends, extraordinary music makers and Caiti with a voice that never ceases to give me goosebumps, they are Sietta and they’ve just dropped another track. This one’s a cover of The Weeknd’s “The Birds part 1” and personally it lays waste to the original 😉 It’s a slow burner 4am hazy room kind of deal, so find a couch to sink into and let this one simmer.

Listen to Sietta – The Birds pt 1 (The Weeknd cover) on Soundcloud.

They also just so happen to use one of the extra shots from the Time Off Magazine shoot we did a little while back as the cover art 😉

This week we have Awaken I Am in for the Time Off Magazine‘s Live cover shoot. They chat about laser tag and beer pong, my kinda guys!

Check them out in this week’s issue #1577.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read it once again online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

Reel Big Fish said it best when they sang “It’s so nice, I want to hear the same song twice” which is exactly what Papada and Aaron did when they had two weddings, a big traditional one overseas and a small casual affair at home for their local friends. None the less beautiful and tears were still shed even if it was the second time round. Photos were requested to be kept simple to go along with the day (and they already had a bunch from the -other- one!). Here are a few of our faves and we wish the best of prosperity to the happy couple (:

Temple of Heaven

What goes up, must come down, literally and figuratively. By now, we’d lost count of the number of flights we had caught and that first day in LA seemed like a lifetime ago. The concept of time and day had disappeared and jetlag had consumed us. I felt more like I should’ve be starting a Fightclub than hitting another country but sure enough we awoke after a restless flight in Beijing and zombied our way to the Airport express train.

Once you adjusted to the extra 10C degrees and double the humidity of Paris, the transfer is pretty straight forward to Dongzhimen station in downtown Beijing, Dong Cheng. I couldn’t believe our luck when we stumbled out of the station right into a waiting cab. But it wasn’t until we were at our hotel (after an unnecessarily long walk) that I had blindly handed over approx. $20-25AU to the cabbie instead of what should have been $5-10AU!

Travel tip: always be on your guard and suspect anyone and everyone are out to rip you off. Ok, its not that bad but keep your wits about you. (Honest) cabs are dirt cheap with a flagfall of only a few bucks for the first couple K’s then less than $1AU per km after that. All legit cabs have official markings and a sticker on the rear side window stating prices. If they try to pull a swift one on you just point to the sticker or ask for a receipt, if they try to haggle or give you excuses, just wave them off and move on. If they continue to hassle you, feel free to call them a “Zei” = thief and keep walking, they’ll get the point. This goes likewise for just about any store or market where haggling is used, if you don’t, you will be hit with the naïve tourist tax.

Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven is more than just the temple (Hall of Prayer), its nearly 3 square km’s of parkland and a good 15min walk from the street, even longer if you’re caught out after dark as there are very few lights and the spaghetti of paths are poorly lit. The plus side to visiting at dusk is seeing a number of kite flyers along the Imperial Walkway. Kites are lit with flashing lights and as more slack on the string is given, the operator adds flashing lights along the string. Definitely quite the spectacle with the typically older male “pilots” loving all the attention from on lookers.

Temple of Heaven grounds at night

Kite pilot

Sword training

There are also scores of classes at work for exercise, martial arts, tai chi, religious and even swing and latin dancing, all very interesting to watch.

For general viewing however as mentioned its very dimly lit for the most part and the temple area closes around 5pm, once night falls there’s very little to see so its best to go during the day.

Travel tip: check opening times as they vary through out the year. A fee is payable on entry to the park, you can also buy tickets to the temple and other buildings or buy them at the entrance to the respective areas.

Temple of Heaven

Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square

Travel tip: If you’re coming from the Temple of Heaven on metro line 5, you can either take the interchange at Chongwenmen to the southern end of Tiananmen Square or if you’ve seen a square before and want to avoid the every present protestors, change at Dongdan and get off at either Tiananmen East or West stops which drop you between the Square and the southern entrance to the Forbidden City.

Tiananmen Square

Forbidden City - Tiananmen Square entrance

Forbidden City - Tiananmen Square entrance

Walking up to street level you begin to get a feel of just how colossal everything is. Looking back towards the Square and up at (what you may think is) the gates and battlements of the Forbidden city, people are dwarfed to the size of ants with the sheer numbers of visitors compounding the effect. Even the stairs up to the streets look like they were taken from your city’s favourite sporting venue.

Thanks to the ever present “threat” from protestors there is a strong military and police presence which can be a little intimidating to say the least. Walking through the gates leads to a huge courtyard area full of hawkers, beggars, people trying to sell you tours and souvenirs and general shifty types. If your water rations are running low you will be able to top up here but just be prepare to haggle for that too.

Forbidden City southern entrance

After close to half an hour of walking you will get to the actual gates to the Forbidden City and when they called it a city they’re not kidding! 999 buildings await you inside, so a fair portion of your day will be taken up exploring it. If that’s not your thing or you want to escape the barrage of people, exit out of the courtyard area either west or east and follow the moat around the surrounding wall either north or south to one of the corner towers for a great photo opportunity.

Photo tip: in the afternoon, photograph from the western side so they sun lights the wall and tower. On the off chance the smog isn’t so bad and there is some colouring in the sky, you may be lucky enough to get some colouring in the sky and get a nice silhouette shot from the eastern side.

With a little time to spare (and after having already walked to the northern gate) we decided to continue walking the back streets to our hotel. If you really want to get an idea of the city, this is the best way to see it. Basically Beijing is growing so fast that the new buildings and construction are popping up all around the once slum-ish areas without enough time for the original inhabitants to leave so you will notice after 3-4 blocks from common business/shopping/tourist areas the quality of buildings and living conditions dramatically decreases to the point of families bathing in the streets and selling fresh produce from the ground you’re walking on. Definitely a real eye opener.

After a couple miss turns and dead ends we were back to the familiar Hutongs around Luogu Alley and grateful for the bed we had to sleep on.

Next up, we take on the Great Wall!

Forbidden City - outer wall (click for big)

Beijing 2011 part #2 – The Great Wall – Mutianyu
Beijing 2011 part #3 – Beijing Zoo
Beijing 2011 part #4 – Shopping

Beijing photo gallery here
Beijing Zoo photo gallery here

Even with the Bluesfest juggernaut rolling through our part of the world, the line up of Taking Back Sunday and New Found Glory were enough to sell out this night as well as prompt a second all ages show – perfectly planned on the driest day of the year, Good Friday.
For a band like TBS to have been around for more than a decade it seemed they were the reason a lot of the younger crowd were there as quite a few departed as NFG took to the stage, leaving plenty of standing room at the back for us oldies 😉

TBS’s set rather obviously lacked visual energy thanks to frontman, Adam Lazzara losing out to a tree (supposedly) leaving him in a cast and confined to a chair island. Compensation was in the form of awkward crowd banter and open mic night styled audience singling out, so it was with a bundle of anxious anticipation to see the roadies giving the stage a wide berth for NFG to go nuts on, and go nuts they did. Straight out of the gate it was a 1 2 3 combo of “Understatement”, “All down hill” and “Radiosurgery”, three big hits off three different albums. Gone were their matching basketball uniforms of Soundwave 2011 and Ian’s shirt (but that’s a given, does he even own one?) but their energy was as high as ever. Being the first stop of the tour always helps as well.

The next hour and a bit they powered through the crowd pleasers from each album with a welcome leaning towards there earlier “Sticks and Stones” but nothing from “Coming Home”, which was rather hit and miss in itself. Exclusions of obvious tracks like “Head on collision” hinted at what they were saving in store for the following night’s gig, well that and the “We’ll be playing different stuff tomorrow night” comment 😉 The encore was kicked off with a cover of Green Day’s “Basketcase”, not too far removed from the original but it was well received and could also mean they were saving the “Kiss me” cover for the kids show. They closed out with “My friends over you” or as I would call it “I’d still choose my NFG over Blues(fest)” …wow.. that was terrible… check out some photos instead then.

Taking Back Sunday

New Found Glory


The party breaks man Krafty Kuts paid a visit to Oh Hello to smash out a set worthy of a long weekend!

Krafty Kuts @ Oh Hello photos here

Annnnnddd we’re back! The winged monkeys have been busy in the Time Off dungeon and have revamped the online version of the mag, now you can go back to sneaking a peek at work without leaving your desk to get a copy 😉

This week we have Gung Ho in the hot seat for Time Off Magazine‘s Live cover shoot.

We also caught one of Australia’s song writing greats, Mick Thomas at the Beetle bar.

Check all this out in this week’s issue #1576.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read it once again online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

Our Time Off Magazine‘s Live cover shoot this week is the lads from Nine Sons of Dan, the chat about Iron Chef and their busy up and coming schedule.

Check them out in this week’s issue #1575.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read selected features @ The Music.

EDIT: The Time Off site has been updated and the magazine is now back online! Click the above image to view the mag online.