Month: March 2014

The Cat Empire free in Fed Squre

Late notice for this one, but Melbourne’s much-loved band The Cat Empire will play a free gig tonight in Federation Square to mark their 1000th show. The Cat Empire originally grew out of a Melbourne jazz group called Jazz Cat, splintering off into a three-piece outfit in 1999 before adding three more band members in 2001. Their music is notoriously difficult to pigeonhole, with strong jazz, Latin, reggae, hip-hop, funk and gypsy influences creating a rich and seriously infectious sound. It’s almost impossible to stand still at a Cat Empire concert. Despite 1.5 million albums sold world-wide and fans around the globe, The Cat Empire have remained strongly tied to Melbourne, something that’s felt by audiences every time they gig in their hometown. It’s no surprise they’ve decided to give back with this free concert for their original fan base. I first saw these guys play over ten years ago, before the release of their first album. Their performance energy and incredible instrumental skills impressed me then, and they’ve only gotten better since then. Here …

Hien Vuong 1: pho extraordinaire

Ladies and gentlemen, The Melbourne Local has a new favourite pho shop. It’s in Footscray, of course, as most of Melbourne’s best phos are. Tucked down a road off Barkly Street, Hien Vuong 1 is aesthetically modest (none of those shiny black counter-tops here) and gastronomically magnificent. The pho’s broth is fragrant and deliciously spiced, and it just gets better once you’ve added condiments and fresh herbs to your liking. As in most pho places in Footscray, soups here come in three sizes (remember, small = large, large = mammoth-sized) and are dirt cheap at around $8–$10. The staff are very attentive, particularly the friendly owner of the restaurant who has a smile for every customer. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.   Hien Vuong 1 Address: 37 Leeds St, Footscray Tel: 9687 1470 Open: Monday–Sunday for lunch and dinner     Read more reviews at  

The Saturday Paper

Last Saturday, a brand spankin’ new paper hit Melbourne’s newsstands. The Saturday Paper, produced by Black Inc owner Morry Schwartz (of The Quarterly Essay and The Monthly fame), promises to dedicate itself to quality narrative journalism and offer ‘the biggest names and best writing in news, culture, and analysis, with a particular focus on Australia’. Its editor is Erik Jensen, a 25-year-old former Fairfax journalist who apparently shares Schwartz’s passion for print media. When I walked into my local newsagent on the weekend to buy a copy of the first edition, they had all sold out. For the paper’s sake, I hope my disappointment was repeated many times over. In this gloomy age of crumbling newspapers, it would be lovely to see this new project fly. A full yearly subscription to The Saturday Paper — which includes print edition home delivery, iPad and iPhone apps, and full online access — will cost you $99; a six-month subscription is $69.95. For a taste of the sort of content on offer, you can read three articles for free per week at The Saturday Paper‘s website. …