Monday, November 29, 2010

Travel Stories: Dear Jack Benefit Show, Nov 18 2010

I'm back from my So Cal week long adventure. It was over in a flash but it was filled with moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life. One of those moments happened on the evening of the 18th of November in Los Angeles California.

By now you all know the main reason for my quick trip to the USA - the Dear Jack benefit concert. This was to be the first time I'd get to see Something Corporate live after listening to their music for over 6 years.

The day before I flew to the USA I posted on twitter the following message:

"Tomorrow I'm getting on a plane from Melbourne Australia to attend the first Annual @dearjackhq Benefit Concert. I'm excited. V excited!"

I received a few back and forth tweets/direct messages from the @dearjackhq (Official Dear Jack Foundation twitter) asking me if I'd be contactable while I was in the USA - turns out they wanted to make sure I met Andrew McMahon (lead singer from Jack's Mannequin & Something Corporate) at the show.

I spent the day of the show in LA on a city tour then shopping at Sephora before eagerly arriving at the El Ray Theatre on Wilshire Blvd at about 7.15pm.

I always find walking into an unfamiliar venue to be both exciting and daunting – you don’t know where you’re going but there a chance you’ll walk into your new favourite venue. The El Ray Theatre was just that – chandeliers and a plush red curtain covering the stage.


I managed to meet up with Steve from the Dear Jack Foundation (after confusion and a cryptic txt message) and organised to meet him after the show was finished so we could meet up with Andrew.

My heart was already in a flutter as Matt Nathanson took the stage. Under normal circumstances I would have really loved his set as he was engaging, funny and his music was quite charming – or maybe I’m remembering it wrong, I don't think so though. I can remember smiling and laughing and singing along to an acoustic rendition of “Highway to Hell”.

The curtains closed again and the crowd thickened. It got a little squishier but was much more tolerable than the squish factor at gigs at home. Excited nervous energy was the flavour of the day as we waited impatiently for those curtains to pull back again. When they did we were greeted with the glorious sounds of Jack’s Mannequin.




The setlist went a little like this:
  • The Mixed Tape
  • Spinning
  • Lullaby
  • The Resolution
  • I’m Ready
  • Bruised
  • Holiday From Real
  • Swim
  • Dark Blue
  • MFEO/You Can Breathe
I spent a lot of the time turning to Skye saying “this is my favourite song” because that’s how I feel about most Jack’s Mannequin songs. I think I sang along with a massive grin on my face throughout the set as they went from one song to the next. My heart almost broke in two when the opening chords of “Lullaby” began and again when “MFEO/You Can Breathe” began.

When the curtains closed again it felt like no time had passed. It was about time for the main event – Something Corporate.



I wasn’t really properly prepared for them to open with "Hurricane" but as the curtains opened and the music started my whole world froze. I couldn’t move, I could barely breathe – all I could do was watch and sing. Every note, every beat I felt and lived. It didn’t take long for my brain to snap back into gear and for my heart to slow down a bit. I sang and danced and smiled and almost cried (but I didn’t) as song after song was belted out onstage and through the speakers.

The band looked at home onstage – so happy to be there together after all these years. It was enjoyable to watch and their happiness would have been infectious to anyone not already in a state of overwhelming happiness (like I was).

I think the greatest moment of the evening came about when the band walked off stage before the encore. Usually the crowd will chant either the band’s name or “encore” but this night it was different – they chanted for “Konstantine”. Thankfully Andrew returned to the stage solo and began before the rest of the band joined him to play the song properly. I’ll be honest my eyes teared up and there were parts of the song that I could not sing or I was going to cry – this was by far one of the most amazing gig moments of my life. There is something about that song that drags me in every time and to finally be seeing it live was something I never expected to experience.

Something Corporate disappeared and the rest of Jack’s Mannequin joined Andrew onstage to close the night with "La La Lie" – halfway through the song Something Corporate returned and the two bands shared instruments, microphones and the stage to finish the song in a big fun sing along. The show finished with smiles and happiness which was absolutely perfect.

Setlist went like this:
  • Hurricane
  • I Want to Save You
  • Me and the Moon
  • Watch the Sky
  • Fall
  • Cavanaugh Park
  • Space
  • The Astronaut
  • Punk Rock Princess
  • I Woke Up in a Car
  • Konstantine
  • Jack’s Mannequin - La La Lie ft. Something Corporate
We met up with Steve after the show and he took us upstairs to the “VIP” area where Andrew was hanging out with friends and family. Steve grabbed him and we ended up chatting to him about our holiday and what we had planned for the rest of our trip. He thanked us for making the trip and mentioned how much he loves Australia and how they’re talking about possibly doing an acoustic tour soon (to which I said “please don’t tell me things like that if it’s not going to happen – that’s not fair”).


I’ve been seriously struggling with my words for this blog post. It was such an amazing night of music that I don’t think the words that I have written do it any justice. I usually pride myself on the fact that I can just write about things quickly and without much fuss, but this time I think it meant too much and it’s still so fresh – I can’t find the proper words just yet.

I flew thousands of miles from Melbourne Australia to Los Angeles California to be at this show and it was worth every moment of those 14+ hours on a plane there and 14+ hours on a plane home to be at. I feel so lucky to have been a part of the night and to have finally seen Something Corporate live.

I want to thank Steve from the Dear Jack Foundation for being such an awesome person and looking after me and Skye and for making sure we met Andrew after the show. It was a little piece of unexpected kindness that meant the world to me. You’re the best Steve – I know you must have been super busy on the night and to take the time out to organise that for us was amazing!

Also thanks to Andrew for taking the time to stop hanging out with his family and friends and for having a chat and for being so lovely to us after the show. It’s always a pleasure to see your band(s) live and I’ll continue to travel great distances if I have to to see you again. To quote Eddie from Empire Records – your “music is the glue of the world. It’s what holds it all together.” If you do manage to make it to Australia for the possible acoustic tour you were talking about – I’ll be at every show.

It was the absolute perfect first day in LA - the very next morning we were up early to catch a bus across to Anaheim for 2 days in Disneyland. I'll share pictures (I have tons) and stories next.

Glitter Sparks & Happyness
x x x

P.S I know my pics are not the best from this show - you try taking photos when your hands won't stop shaking from excitement.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Travel Stories: California Dreamin'

Hollywood Starz

Yep that’s right, I’m off to the USA tomorrow night for my 4th trip to that beautiful country.

This time around I’m not travelling with my sister. I’m joined on this adventure by Skye. Skye & I became friends from when she worked at my store. She now works in a different branch at a different location but we’ve remained friends via the usual networks. It’s always exciting to travel with someone new – especially someone who has never travelled to a destination that you love dearly.

This trip all came about from the fact that Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate are playing a Dear Jack benefit concert in LA together on Thursday night and I though I’d like to attend. I posted about the show a little while ago and stated that I’d managed to get tickets but it looked like I’d be going by myself because my usual “go to” travel partners were all busy or didn’t have the cash.

I received a text from Skye the following day asking if I had anyone to go with and we spoke about it and I told her what I was thinking of doing and she asked if she could come. I was stoked! She managed to convince her husband that it wouldn’t cost too much since it was only a week so it was settled – she was coming along to the USA with me!

The best part about organising a trip with a fellow travel agent is that there’s no “umm”-ing and “ahh”-ing. They know how much things cost and know how to get the best out of accommodation and flight deals. We managed to get a great deal with V Australia on the flights and a super cheap internal flight from LAX to Las Vegas and all the accommodation was sorted almost straight away. I think I was the one who spent the most time looking at different hotels and finding out different options and prices for our first hotel – Skye was easy, anything I suggested was met with “that sounds great”.

So what are out plans?

 Hollywood Night Time

We’re headed to LA for 2 nights and we’re staying at the Magic Castle Hotel – I’ve read some amazing reviews of this place so I’ll share my thoughts when I get home. Since we arrive into LAX at about 4pm on Wednesday we don’t have too much time that day so we’ll probably just have the usual after flight showers and head out for some dinner before mega sleep time. We’re booked in to do a 4 hour city tour (so Skye can see the “sights”) the following day before shopping (hopefully I’ll get to go to the Tarina Tarantino boutique) around LA for a while and then going to the Dear Jack Benefit show that night.

Disneyland - Magical Partners

Friday morning we’re on an early bus to Anaheim for 2 nights where we’ll run around Disneyland like little kids in a candy store. We’ve booked to see Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt1 on Saturday morning in Downtown Disney (I couldn’t help it – I’m going crazy thinking I’m not getting to see it on opening day but that's what happens when travelling).

Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino

After that we’re off to Las Vegas for 2 nights of sequins, sparkles, shopping, neon lights and a fly over of the Grand Canyon.

I’ve done Vegas before – YEARS ago on my first America adventure with a bunch of Summer Camp friends so it’ll be nice to get to go back out there with a new perspective.

I’m very excited – we’re jamming so much into 7 days but it’ll all be worth it. It’s our whirlwind Californian & Vegas Adventure. I’ll post pictures and stories when I’m home. I’m taking the Fujifilm Instax Mini and my SLR and am going to try and spend some time taking some special snaps and playing around a bit more with my new lens. I’m only taking one lens so we’ll see how we go.

I’m sure I’m going to need a holiday from my holiday when I return. I’m just happy that I get to say that I’m getting to see Something Corporate in 2 days time after about 7 years of listening to them (plus the fact that Jack’s Mannequin is included in the same evening makes it super special).

Until next week my lovelies...

Glitter Sparks & Happyness
x x x

** Click on all images to see originals - none of the photos in this post are mine. Credit goes to those they belong to, click to see more from each person **

Monday, November 08, 2010 The Vasco Era

Last Monday night I made the trek out to the East Brunswick Club to photograph The Vasco Era for . It's been a while since I ventured out to that side of the city but as always The Vasco Era put on a great show - so it was well worth it. Those boys make it too easy.

Vasco Era10

Vasco Era3

It's been a little while between photography gigs and after Monday night I've realised I've missed it. Hopefully there'll be more on the horizon - I know I'm headed to a bunch of shows over New Years and summer time is like heaven for gigs to me. If I don't have my "proper" camera I'll be sure to share some "point & shoot" photos for sure!

As always click on the images to be taken to the full gallery over at

Glitter Sparks & Happyness
x x x

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Wedding Outfit


Yesterday was my Uncles wedding. I took photos. This is what I wore. This is my newly dyed blue hair. This is my new necklace.


My eBay dress didn't arrive in time so on Friday night I had to go emergency shopping and found this dress at Kmart for $19.00. I also found 2 x new cardigans and silver sparkly glitter nail polish. A very successful shopping evening - luckily. 

I'll be back tomorrow with new pictures that I took for

Glitter Sparks & Happyness
x x x

Friday, November 05, 2010

Fujifulm Instax Mini love

Instax camera

This week I recieved a parcel from Taiwan. It was my Fujifilm Instax Mini that I purchased off eBay!

I took it for it's first test run (with instant film there really is no such thing as a test run) on Wednesday night for my nieces birthday party.

Instax pics

Instax pix
* I promise my puppy isn't snarling in this pic - I caught him in a yawn *

I can safely say that I am in LOVE with this camera! It's a bit chunky and my brother thought it was some kind of toy for the girls, but it feels so nice to have to actually pay attention to the photo I'm taking because there are no re-do's - you have to capture that moment perfectly with one shot.

I ordered 50 shots of film with my original purchase so that'll be plenty enough to take with me on my next journey (more on that journey soon). I cannot wait to create more Instax memories. I'm really making an effort not to go out and use up all the film in one go - I want these to be special photos - I'm sure I'll share the outcomes when I have more.

Ahhh Fujifilm Instax Mini - I've wanted you for AGES and you were worth the wait!

Glitter Sparks & Happyness
x x x