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Music picks: Online gig by Hong Kong singer Judas Law; new works by Taiwanese singer Ma Nien-hsien, K-pop group Twice, Life News & Top Stories

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Judas Law Online Performance

Hong Kong singer-busker Judas Law will be holding an in-person concert on June 27 at Ocean Park’s Applause Pavilion.

In preparation for the show, she did an online performance on June 13, which lasted more than 1½ hours.

Accompanied by musician Janet Yung on keyboards, Law sang covers of Cantonese numbers such as Leslie Cheung’s A Man Of Intention and Sammi Cheng’s We Grew This Way.

Info: Watch the concert on Facebook.


Pop


PHOTO: NIEN-HSIEN MA STUDIO

Mama Jeans And Daddy Shoes
Ma Nien-hsien
4 stars

The former frontman of the defunct Taiwanese musical group Sticky Rice is known for his funky style and off-the-wall humour, which shine through in his latest album Mama Jeans And Daddy Shoes.

Ma’s versatility is on full display – from the casual vibes of Mr Afternoon to the cabaret-style swag of Mr And Mrs Hello to the retro mix of strings and guitar rhythms in No More Monday Blues.

1989 Afternoons bursts with 1980s nostalgia, with references to American boy band New Kids On The Block, large shoulder pads and high-waisted jeans.


Pop


PHOTO: JYP ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY

Taste Of Love
Twice
4 stars

South Korean girl group Twice, known for their cute and cheery personas, have taken a more adult approach in their 10th mini album Taste Of Love.

Scandal is the most interesting track, exploring a type of love that is dangerous and alluring at the same time. The sultry Conversation, filled with catchy hooks and riffs, also explores a more mature form of attraction.

Get high, but not drunk, on lead single Alcohol-Free, which is closer to the style that the nine-member group is known for. It blends hip-hop and bossa nova into a sweet cocktail about the magical feeling of falling in love.



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LeVar Burton: ‘Jeopardy!’ host gig began ‘scary,’ ended fun – New York Daily News

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Labor-For-Hire Company Struggling to Find Gig Workers Despite Hiking Wages

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  • Laborjack said it can’t find enough gig workers to meet soaring demand for its services.
  • The Colorado-based company boosted staff wages but said there’s huge competition for labor.
  • Clients are so desperate for labor that they’re no longer price-sensitive, its founders added.

A labor-for-hire company in Fort Collins, Colorado, says it’s missing out on huge chunks of revenue because it can’t find enough workers to take more jobs on.

Blake Craig and Josh Moser, founders of Laborjack, told Insider that more people had been applying to work at the company during 2021, but that it still wasn’t enough to meet the massive growth in demand for its services.

“Good help is hard to find,” Craig said. “And it’s even harder right now.”

Read more: These 9 food tech startups are capitalizing on the labor crunch with tools that help franchisees hire or automate the restaurant workforce

Laborjack staff doing landscaping work

Laborjack’s staff are mainly college students who do gig jobs in landscaping, moving, and general staffing.

Laborjack


Laborjack hires out labor to help with moving, landscaping, and general staffing — often to individuals who need extra help with projects.

“But right now, the bulk of our business is focused on helping other businesses that can’t get the staffing that they need,” Craig said. This includes delivery, brewing, and construction companies.

Around 80% of its workers are college students or recent graduates. But some of them have full-time jobs and use their gig work at Laborjack to supplement their income. During the pandemic, they’ve been working more hours at their main jobs and don’t need the side income anymore, Craig said.

In June, just over 200 workers completed a shift on Laborjack’s platform – but nearly a fifth of these only did one job.

This US is currently in the midst of a huge labor shortage that’s causing some businesses to cut operating hours, slash production, and raise prices. Joblist CEO Kevin Harrington told Insider that it’s primarily driven by people in entry-level, hourly-paid, and customer-facing jobs.

“Hiring had never been an issue for us until about February of this year,” Laborjack’s Craig said. “There’s a lot of other people going after the same talent that we are – not only new workers but also our existing workforce.”

“There are a lot of people fishing in a small pond,” he added.

The demand for Laborjack’s services roughly tripled over the past year, while the number of job applicants has increased by just a quarter, Craig said.

“We’re still struggling to keep up with the demand that’s coming in for the service we offer,” Moser said. 

This is despite Laborjack rolling out its biggest set of worker perks yet. This includes increasingly average payouts, made up of wages and on-job bonuses, to just over $26 an hour. The company is dishing out $75 hiring and referral bonuses if a new hire completes five jobs, too.

Businesses are ‘on the verge of desperation’

Laborjack has made its services more expensive to cover the higher wages. Moser said its clients had changed their pricing tolerance “drastically” over the past three months and were no longer price-sensitive.

“They just need to get people in the doors because otherwise their business will collapse,” Moser said. “They’re on the verge of desperation.”

Moser said that, for example, the event and trade show industry had rebounded massively with the reopening of the US economy. “They’re chomping at the bit for any amount of workers we can get them.”

Laborjack founders Blake Craig, Josh Moser

Laborjack’s founders say the tight labor market is holding them back.

Laborjack


Laborjack’s June revenue is up around 90% year-over-year, but “we could be growing more if there was more labor on the market,” Moser said. Laborjack is turning down jobs worth up to $2,500 each day and is struggling to balance its B2B and consumer sides, which are “both in full swing,” Moser said.

“Our margin has decreased despite the fact that we’re increasing prices, just because we’re trying to pay out all these bonuses,” Craig added.

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Van Oord wins Baltic Eagle foundations and array cable gig – reNews

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Iberdrola has awarded Van Oord a contract for the transportation and installation of monopile foundations and array cables at the 476MW Baltic Eagle offshore wind farm off Germany.

The deals were first revealed in the subscriber-only newsletter reNEWS.

Van Oord will deploy its 8000-tonne heavy lift installation vessel Svanen to install the 50 foundations.

Offshore works for the Baltic Eagle project will start in 2023.

Van Oord’s cable laying vessel Nexus and trencher Dig-It will be deployed for the array cable laying.

Iberdrola country manager for Germany Iris Stempfle said: “Iberdrola is one of the leading developers contributing to the energy transition by investing in offshore wind projects around the globe – in Germany, our Baltic Hub will have an installed capacity of 826MW by the end of 2024.

“Tapping into the expertise of Van Oord yet again makes us confident that Baltic Eagle offshore wind farm will be delivered as planned.”

Van Oord Offshore Wind managing director Arnoud Kuis said: “We are very pleased to be working with Iberdrola again, this time on the Baltic Eagle project in the German Baltic Sea.

“Combining the installation of foundations and the supply and laying of cables will ensure efficient project execution.”

Baltic Eagle is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of 2024.

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