V Festival

While not as popular as its bigger cousin Big Day Out, V Festival always manages to sign on the big names, this year being no exception. While the day didn’t start out spectacularly (it seems one of the promoters forgot to pass the door list I was on over to Ticketek), the show itself went off with nary a hitch.

The day started with the winner of the Garage2V competition, Villains of Wilhelm. They proved themselves quite the entertainers, the lead singer winning over the small crowd quickly with his forays off the stage and down to the audience. Their music rocked, I shall certainly be keeping an eye out for them in the future.

Unfortunately, the next couple of acts weren’t so great. Tame Impala spent more time guitar soloing than singing. This is okay if you’re John Butler or Slash, but it doesn’t work so well on a crowd that doesn’t know your music. Duffy was small. And squeaky. She reminded me of the character Annabeth Schott, from The West Wing. She did have one cute gimmick, her backing singers were identical twins.

Fortunately, we had Louis XIV to move onto. They rocked the main stage with great success, the crowd were certainly into it.

Next up, Elbow. Unfortunately, I only managed to see half of their set, but what I saw convinced me that I need to see them again.

Elbow were interrupted to see The Temper Trap. If you’re after an up and coming Australian band to keep an eye on, these 4 guys from Melbourne are it. Their previous single Sweet Disposition got a fair bit of airplay on alternative stations last year (and sent the crowd off), and their new single Science of Fear is sounding good, too.

As it turns out, Vanilla Ice was quite popular. I had the good fortune to not see him, but not for lack of trying on the part of the rest of the crowd. He was on immediately after The Temper Trap, a lot of people wanted to see him, and it seems the Wisdom of Crowds doesn’t extend to the Laws of Physics. Two solid bodies cannot pass through each other, no matter how hard they push in opposite directions. Luckily, I did manage to escape, though I’m not sure which is worse: that people still like Vanilla Ice, or that they might like him ironically.

I don’t know what sort of unholy fire it is that keeps Madness rocking, but rock they did. One of the driving forces between Ska’s second wave, they still have what it takes today. A combination of talented musicians (who doesn’t love a rockin’ brass section?) and brilliant stage showmanship easily made Madness the non-headline performance of the day.

Speaking of, we come to the first of the two headlines I got to see, Kaiser Chiefs. There’s no doubt that we were watching Kaiser Chiefs. Definitely Kaiser Chiefs. Frontman, Ricky Wilson, took the opportunity to remind us at just about every possible moment. And to buy their new album. Did you know they have a new album out? Everyone should buy their new album, even if they already have it. Lame banter aside, they put on a brilliant performance, with Ricky stretching the boundaries of stage to include climbing nearby scaffolding in order to serenade himself on the big screen, and climbing on top of trucks parked beside the stage.

For the final act, there was no way anyone could surpass The Killers. You may be able to take the band out of Vegas, but there’s no way to take Vegas out of the band. Thank you to everyone who participated in Earth Hour last week, you successfully negated the power usage of The Killer’s light show. They were definitely a class above the rest of the acts, with an impressive light and pyrotechnic show. Sadly, their popularity meant I had to miss out on Snow Patrol in order to get a good spot, whom I’m reliably told were also very good.

Bonus: “Shakycam” video of The Killers performing Read My Mind.

Interestingly, V Festival didn’t sell out, making it about the only major festival in the country that doesn’t. It has some stiff competition from Big Day Out, I suspect that people just don’t see it as great value for money. To compare, BDO cost $130, V cost $140. BDO went from 11am-11pm, V went from 1pm-10pm. BDO has 6 stages, V has 4. While I still found it to be great value, it just isn’t able to compete with Big Day Out at this point in time. But, I’m all for more festivals, so I’m happy to encourage them to keep bringing out big name bands.

More V Festival pics available here.

Links

Villains of Wilhelm
Tame Impala
Duffy
Louis XIV
Elbow
The Temper Trap
Madness
Kaiser Chiefs
The Killers

JOIN and comma precedence

Here’s a little something that might trip you up occasionally. Have a look at this test scenario:

USE test;
DROP TABLE IF EXISTS a;
DROP TABLE IF EXISTS b;
DROP TABLE IF EXISTS c;

CREATE TABLE a ( a INT );
CREATE TABLE b ( b INT );
CREATE TABLE c ( c INT );

SELECT a.a FROM a LEFT JOIN c ON c.c = a.a; -- Q1
SELECT a.a FROM a, b LEFT JOIN c ON c.c = a.a; -- Q2

Q1 and Q2 will produce the same result, right? Wrong! As of MySQL 5.0.12, per the SQL standard, JOIN has had higher precedence than comma ‘,’.

So, you get the following:

mysql> SELECT a.a FROM a LEFT JOIN c ON c.c = a.a;
Empty set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT a.a FROM a, b LEFT JOIN c ON c.c = a.a;
ERROR 1054 (42S22): Unknown column 'a.a' in 'on clause'

This is because, in earlier versions, MySQL interpreted it as ( ( a, b ) LEFT JOIN c ). Now, it interprets this syntax as ( a, ( b LEFT JOIN c ) ). If you run into this problem, the fix is easy. You simply need to add brackets around the table list:

mysql> SELECT a.a FROM (a, b) LEFT JOIN c ON c.c = a.a;
Empty set (0.00 sec)

You can read more about this in the MySQL Documentation, from the section starting with “Previously, the comma”.

Tools of a Support Engineer

So, you’ve emailed MySQL Support, they’re working on the problem you’re having. How are they working? What tools do they use? Well, here’s my list:

  • IRC – All MySQL Support Engineers work on IRC, it’s our main communication medium. While you’re only getting emails from one Engineer, it’s quite likely they’re consulting with several others at the same time. Many pairs of eyes catch all of the details.
  • MySQL Docs, Changelogs, Knowledge Base, Google, etc – There’s a lot of information out there, far too much for any one person to keep in their head at once. So, we have extensive documentation that everyone can access, plus the Knowledge Base available to customers. Also, given that MySQL is a very open project, we have plenty of community members who write about their experiences.
  • MySQL Sandbox (Link) – If you’re having a problem with a specific version of MySQL, we need to be able to reproduce it. Sandbox is by far the easiest way to create, modify and maintain test environments.
  • Virtual Machines – Similarly, if you’re having a problem with a specific OS, we can usually reproduce it in a VM. I prefer VirtualBox for this, though there are many options.
  • gdb – Crashes often mean core files, and gdb makes them easy to debug. Remember that if you do want to do your own debugging in gdb, you will need a copy of the mysqld binary that generated the core file.
  • Test Servers – We also have a big ol’ pile of servers we use for testing various setups, if it is required.

And that’s about it. Personally, I like to keep my environment simple but flexible.

Gig Of The Year: Pillowtalk

I know, it’s pretty early on in the year to be making that claim. But, I think it’s justified.

First of all, the performers:

  • Tim Freedman, of The Whitlams
  • Pinky Beecroft, formerly of Machine Gun Fellatio, now of Pinky Beecroft and the White Russians
  • Dave McCormack, formerly of Custard, now of Dave McCormack and the Polaroids
  • Perry Keyes
  • Supported by Bernie Hayes


The gig was set at The Basement in Circular Quay on Saturday the 21st of March, 2009. Eventually called Pillowtalk, it was originally going to be called 40-something, Sexy (a reference to The Whitlams’ No Aphrodisiac), until Bernie turned 50.

Tim, Pinky and Dave are amongst my favourite performers, so this was certainly a show I had high expectations for. Best of all, it didn’t disappoint. All of the performers shared the stage fluidly, taking part in each others’ songs, or leaving the stage temporarily to let the others take up the limelight.

First up, Bernie Hayes. I hadn’t heard his music before, and I have to say, I’m a new convert.

The main act proceeded in two parts: set one being songs about when love is new and exciting, including The Whitlams’ Fall For You, The White Russians’ Someone For Everyone and Custard’s Anatomically Correct. Not your conventional love songs, certainly, but I’m sure the sentiment is there… somewhere.

The second set was all about when love goes horribly wrong, perhaps best characterised by The Whitlams’ Last of the Teenage Lovers and Beauty in Me, The White Russians’ My Ex-Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and his classic from MGF days, Unsent Letter. The set finished with Dave’s particular bitter A.V.O.: “Why are you wasting all my precious time?”.

For an encore, Tim and Pinky sang their respective parts of No Aphrodisiac for the first time ever. (Well, second time if you count the show from the previous night.)

Of course, no show involving Dave McCormack would be complete without his particular brand of crazy. From his frequent forays into the audience (both when he was singing, and when he got bored of sitting on stage doing nothing), through to his efforts after the encore to hijack the band and make them play whatever song came to his mind.

All up, a brilliant show consisting of some of Australia’s best live performers. They’re threatening to do it again next year, so for those that missed out, you just might get lucky.

Fed Square Microbreweries Showcase

Yesterday, I went to the Microbreweries Showcase, held at Federation Square. With 17 breweries showing their product, there were plenty to try from. Here are my notes from the variety I tasted:

Brewery Brew Notes
Arctic Fox Brewery Ice Cap Lager Light flavour, with a slightly fruity aftertaste. Drinkable, but not particularly exciting.
Bridge Road Brewers Dark Ale A solid porter. Nice smoky flavour.
Buckley’s Beers Pilz Lager Very sweet. Easy to drink.
Original Ale Sweet, light flavour.
Coldstream Brewery Cider Boring. Really unimpressive. Tasted like watered down apple juice.
Grand Ridge Brewery Natural Blonde A sweet wheat beer, with a hinte of orange. An excellent summer beer.
Holgate Brewhouse White Ale A clove flavour, reminded me of spiced wine.
Big Red Pilsner Brilliant, rich red colour. Boring flavour.
Temptress Dark Ale A rich porter, made with vanilla beans and Dutch cocoa. Could work even as a dessert beer.
Matilda Bay Brewing Co Sebastian Reserve Dunkelweizen Sweet and dark, with a hint of apple. Tasty.
Mildura Brewery Mallee Bull Brilliant colour, uninspiring flavour.
Mountain Goat Brewery Fancy Pants Amber Ale Similar to their Hightail Ale, but not quite as strong a flavour. Slighty sweet, slightly spiced. Smelled of celery, for some unknown reason.
Prickly Moses – Otway Estate Summer Ale Bleh. Reminds me of Carlton Draught.
Red Duck Brewery Pale Ale Light flavour. Nice summer beer.
Honey Porter Light porter flavour, strong honey flavour. Nice, but similar to Beez Neez, I couldn’t drink much of it.
Southern Bay Brewing Co Effen Premier Lager A fairly standard lager. Good to drink, but nothing exciting.
Sweetwater Brewing Company Golden Bitter Tastes like it should have flavour, but has been watered down instead.
Temple Brewing Company Saison Good flavour, reminded me of Hoegaarden. A hint of cloves.
The 3 Ravens Brewing Co Dark Smoke Beer An excellent stout. Traditional, tasty.
2 Brothers Brewery Growler An American brown ale. Nice, but nothing special. Kind of a light porter.
Three Troupers Pilsner Light colour and flavour, like a Pilsner should be. Small bite in the aftertaste to keep things interesting.

All up, a good variety from some of Australia’s microbreweries. Particularly worth mentioning is Holgate’s Temptress Dark Ale, which is probably the best chocolate beer I’ve had. Buckley’s Beers also gets a second mention, for making my two favourite beers for the night, though the Original Ale just beats the Pilz Lager.