So this last week and a half, I have been to New Zealand to visit my dear friends Kerry and Susan (and their two adorable ratbags Oli and Rudy), hung out on beautiful beaches and among fields of cows at their place in Matakana, seen High on Fire twice with some of my favourite people, and as of today celebrated my tenth wedding anniversary with Shaun. As if that's not enough, next week I shall be seeing Swans play over two consecutive nights, and Shaun has an interview for a job that won't involve working permanent graveyard shift. My already excellent life just keeps getting better.
This is an old volcano, the first place our good host took us when we arrived in Auckland. Apparently Kerry rolled down the side of this thing when he was drunk once, passed out at the bottom and then woke up incredibly sunburned with Asian tourists taking photos of him. I miss Kerry's drunk stories.
Nobody seems to have uploaded any videos from the incredible headlining show High on Fire played in Melbourne, but I found some old footage of them playing Hung Drawn and Quartered from the album Surrounded By Thieves, which along with Speedwolf from the same album was one of the highlights of both shows. I have waited so many years to see this band, and they did not disappoint at all. Des Kensel makes drumming like an absolute demon look like a cake-walk, and Matt Pike is just a magnificent, sweaty beast of a man whose gargantuan riffs and gravelly bourbon-infused vocals are unmistakably unique. Also, I'm pretty sure his gut is at least twice as big now as it was in this video.
This photo taken at Snells Beach near Matakana pretty much sums up how I'm feeling right now.