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April, 2018

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REVIEW: NOTHING COMPARES 2 PRINCE – MELBOURNE

Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - April 30, 2018

CarbieWarbie Photography © 2018

Hamer Hall April 29, 2018.
Review by Greg Phillips. Photos by Carbie Warbie and John Conlan

On April 21, 2016 the world lost Prince, one of the greatest artists in contemporary music. Known for recording and storing more music than he released, the discussion began as to how his legacy would be preserved, what material should be released from his vaults and what events in his honour should be approved. A little over a week ago a concert took place at the Target Center in Minnesota featuring former Prince band members in front of footage of the great man on 3 large screens. Reviews of the concert were mixed, with many fans praising the musicians but not convinced about the dignity of the video component. Australian fans haven’t been absent from Prince commemoration either with the New Power Generation recently touring the country to rave reviews for Bluesfest and side shows nationally.

All of that however, was nothing compared to the majesty, grace and pure joy of the The Nothing Compares 2 Prince shows which premiered at the Sydney Opera House last week and finished up at Hamer Hall in Melbourne last night. Despite featuring Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson and key musicians from various eras of Prince’s career, this was not an officially sanctioned project by the Paisley Park estate but it should be. This was a well rehearsed, meticulously planned tribute which relied totally on the music to deliver the kind of show Prince fans would want and Prince himself would be proud of.

Shelby J by CarbieWarbie Photography © 2018

With the Hamer Hall stage bathed in purple, a short audio presentation of soundbytes, loops and licks from Prince’s career segued into a countdown before the band kicked into the iconic intro to 1999, one of Prince’s biggest hits. Morphing straight into 1979’s I Want To Be Your Lover then without a spoken word, following up with a funked up Controversy, the band had already flicked the switch into party mode. With the incredibly powerful voices of Liv Warfield and Shelby J front and centre and Musical Director, St Paul Peterson adding a male vocal perspective, the combination was both soulful and stirring.

Before the tour, some of the musicians on stage, who had been drawn from different periods of Prince’s history had not even met before let alone play music together. Yet they gelled and fell into a groove like they’d been together forever. St Paul’s bass and Queen Cora’s (Coleman) beats locked in tight and when St Paul stepped up for spotlight duties, the amazing Nik West took over to hold down the low end with class.

While the night was very much a celebration, it wasn’t without it’s moments of heartfelt reflection too. The love and emotion in the room was tangible as Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson strolled onto stage to sing The Ladder, from Around the World in a Day, a song she told us that she co-wrote with Prince and their father.

The dream setlist highlighted just how much of a hit factory Prince was. From Raspberry Beret and Alphabet St to When Doves Cry and Cream, the celebrated tunes kept coming. Ironically, Prince would never have played this many hits together in one night, so it was indeed a privilege to experience such a rich lesson in pop music history. Then there were the famous songs Prince wrote but gave to other artists. Liv Warfield’s rendition of Manic Monday was enchanting as was the killer version of Stand Back, a song that Stevie Nicks took to the upper regions of the charts.

Following the break, Tori Ruffin (guitarist with Fishbone for 11 years) led a slower tempo, grinding version of Let’s Go Crazy, a reminder that Prince was never a stickler for the rules in regard to song arrangements. Shelby J gave us an energetic version of Musicology, a song she often plays in her own sets before the funk-o-meter headed into the red-zone with a spectacular mash-up of Kiss and Sexy Mutha steered by bass vixen Nik West. It was also a chance for the NPG horns to shine with Adrian Crutchfield (sax) BK Jackson (sax) and Lynn Grissett (trumpet), letting loose with some scorching and elastic brass licks. Prince’s childhood friend JellyBean Johnson added an extra element of cool and was as effortlessly funky on guitar as he was tight on the stage’s second drum kit.

Nik West by John Conlan.  CarbieWarbie Photography © 2018

St Paul was proud to announce and then perform a sublime version of The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, a song which was produced by his brother Ricky Peterson, who was delivering the most expressive of organ sounds tonight. Liv Warfield’s version of Love Thy Will Be Done, backed only by piano was spine tingling as was Cassandra O’Neal’s solo spot on Sometimes It Snows in April. It reminded us all that Prince could melt our hearts with a ballad as easily as he could rock our socks off with his funk. There had been an aura of jubilation all night but with Warfield’s outstanding rendition of Little Red Corvette, one of the most dramatic and catchy pop songs of all time, the ante was upped even more.

Next up St Paul strode to the microphone and told the story of how he received a cassette from Prince with songs to learn for the The Family, the band he was part of as a teenager. The song was Nothing Compares 2 U, a track Sinead O’Connor had a global hit with. Apart from Prince, St Paul was the first person to get to sing that song. Seredipitously, the original Prince recording had only just been released by Prince’s estate this month. It was with a great deal of emotion that St Paul and Shelby J delivered a show-stopping version of Prince’s classic song.

Equally due to the amazing breadth of Prince’s material and the immaculate delivery of the music by the assembled band, the energy level of this show never faltered. From that highly emotional ballad, the musicians seamlessly kicked up a gear, as Shelby led them into one of the most feel-good, pop-rock songs you’ll ever hear, I Would Die For You. An infectious, tight and funky Baby I’m A Star followed and ended the set, leaving the crowd to erupt into thunderous cheers and applause.

Of course there was always going to be an encore and it was always going be that song. Tori Ruffin walked back onto stage in darkness to a stool in a spotlight and played one of the most recognisable chords in pop, the Bbsuss2 opening to Purple Rain. Tyka Nelson returned and told everyone that this “all started in a garage and look how far it’s come”, as she began to sing the lyrics… “I never meant to cause you any sorrow. I never meant to cause you any pain.” Overcome with emotion, she called on St Paul to help out. A sea of phones lit up the room and the audience needed no encouragement to sing along to the chorus and wailing outro.

These Nothing Compares 2 Prince shows not only highlighted what an amazing artist the world has lost but also confirmed what a staggering catalogue of songs he has left behind, as well as a legacy of energy and love that lives on though these amazing musicians and of course Prince fans worldwide.

See more of Carbie Warbie’s Nothing Compares 2 Prince photos here

 

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UKIYO – PRODUCER

Posted in Artist Profiles, Artists    //    Post Date - April 26, 2018

Trailblazing 21 year old multi-instrumentalist and producer, Ukiyo returns with his transcendent new single Go, featuring breathtaking vocals from Chymes, out now. Ukiyo, otherwise known as Timothy Arnott, has also dropped an exquisite video (see it below) to accompany the track; a meditative amalgamation of vision capturing the beauty of…

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DEF LEPPARD ANNOUNCE “HYSTERIA” ALBUM TOUR + SCORPIONS

Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - April 26, 2018


Rock icons, DEF LEPPARD, have extended their 70-plus US and UK tour to run riot Down Under, finally playing their landmark, longest recording in full – 1987’s seminal Hysteria LIVE!


German rock legends, special guests SCORPIONS join the tour for the first-ever multi-city tour of Australia in the band’s 50-plus-years history.
 
Four years in the making, Hysteria is the groundbreaking, 12-track album that saw Def Leppard overcome the adversity of drummer Rick Allen’s car crash injury and conquer the world. An enduring legacy dripping with rock anthems such as “Animal”, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Hysteria”, “Armageddon It”, “Love Bites”, “Woman” and “Rocket”.

2018 also marks the 35th anniversary of Hysteria’s predecessor Pyromania, home to “Photograph”.

Igniting this epic piece of rock music history, Def Leppard will perform Hysteria in full alongside other songs from their 100-million-plus selling catalogue, kicking off with one show at Perth Arena on November 2 before heading to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney – their first national tour since playing Melbourne and Sydney only in late 2015.

Rick “Sav” Savage says, “I’m delighted that we can bring the whole Hysteria album to Australia and New Zealand later this year. From ‘Women’ to ‘Love and Affection’ plus many other faves thrown in for good measure. We can’t wait!”

SCORPIONS will join the tour as very special guests. The rock heavyweights played their debut Australian show at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre in October 2016 as part of their 50th Anniversary World Tour. Arguably Germany’s most successful rock band with massive hits “Wind of Change” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, these November performances will be the band’s first-ever national tour.

Tickets for all shows go on sale at 1pm (local time) on Friday, May 4.

Go behind the scenes on a backstage tour, get access to some of the best seats in the house or meet Def Leppard with a VIP Experience.

Telstra Thanks is bringing an exciting 48-hour pre-sale just for Telstra customers from 10am Tuesday, May 1 until 10am Thursday, May 3. For more information on how to purchase, visit: telstra.com/music.

For complete tour, ticket and VIP Experience information, visit: livenation.com.au

PERTH ARENA
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 2

ADELAIDE ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 4

BRISBANE ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 6

ROD LAVER ARENA, MELBOURNE
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 8

ICC SYDNEY THEATRE, SYDNEY
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 10

SPARK ARENA, AUCKLAND
MONDAY NOVEMBER 12

defleppard.com

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DAVE HOLE: ‘GOIN’ BACK DOWN’ INTERVIEW

Posted in Artists, Interviews    //    Post Date - April 26, 2018

Metallica’s Kirk Hammett once said, “His slide playing kills me,” about Australian blues guitar legend Dave Hole’s fretboard mastery. UK guitar icon Gary Moore sought out Hole to join him on not one but two European tours, featuring 2 famous gigs at London’s Royal Albert Hall. In the early 90s,…

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JAALA: THE ‘JOONYA SPIRIT’ INTERVIEW

Posted in Artists, Interviews    //    Post Date - April 23, 2018

Singer, songwriter Cosima Jaala has just released ‘Joonya Spirit’, the second album under the band moniker of JAALA.  Australian Musician’s Greg Phillips phoned Cosima for a chat about it. It doesn’t take long into a conversation with singer, songwriter Cosima Jaala to realise that she doesn’t take life too seriously….

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TIM RIES: JAZZ STONES ON SAXOPHONES

Posted in Artists, Interviews    //    Post Date - April 22, 2018

Multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer, educator and sax guy for The Rolling Stones, TIM RIES is currently in Melbourne for some dates before jetting off to join The Stones again in the UK. On Tuesday night April 24, he’ll be playing a soul review with local band The Putbacks at the…

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MUSIC CITIES CONVENTION, MELBOURNE

Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - April 20, 2018

The results of a survey released last week showed that Melbourne’s music scene is so healthy that many declared the southern city the world’s music capital! It’s befitting that this week Melbourne hosted the Music Cities Convention, a talk-fest, think-tank which explores how music enhances economic development, creates jobs and drives tourism, and helps to build leading global cities. Yesterday, around 300 attendees ranging from town planners and academics to musicians and arts industry personnel convened at Melbourne’s Arts Centre for the first day of a two day event, to hear over 40 speakers from all corners of the globe discuss what makes a great music city.
Australian Musician’s Greg Phillips went along to see what the convention was all about.

When talking about factors that helped make modern-day Melbourne’s music scene so great, you can’t go past the SLAM (Save Live Australia’s Music) rally which took place in 2010 as an example of the level of passion Melbournians hold for their music. As a protest against the effects of liquor licensing laws on live venues, around 20,000 people took to the CBD in protest. Aware of the groundswell of public disapproval of the laws, the state government backed down on the morning of the protest but the triumphant march went head anyway. It was apt that the first speaker at the Music Cities Convention was Bakehouse Studios’ Helen Marcou, who along with her husband Quincy McLean was at the coalface of the SLAM movement. One of major things which Helen learned from the SLAM experience was that “if you’re going to pick a fight with the government, you’d better have an evidence based solution”.

Quite an academic discussion followed, looking at the impact of cultural policy on music city policies. To the average punter the topic may seem a little dull but the discussion, featuring representatives from Jamaica, Canada and Australia was fascinating. Will Straw of the University of Montreal pointed out that typically white guys in funky clubs are used to portray the vibrancy of a music city and that perhaps this is a little old hat. He suggested that a rich music scene is based on many cultural, economic and social aspects and should not be defined just by a hip white male rock band in a cool club.

In accepting an invitation to cover this event, I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d be experiencing. I certainly didn’t expect to find myself involved in a hands-on, round table discussion on how to start a music policy for a mid-sized city from scratch and how to convince government that our policy was needed. As you’ll see from the photo of our butcher-paper notes, the key factors our group honed in on were the social economic and cultural benefits of music and thinking back to Helen’s presentation, the need to supply evidence based information to back up our claims. Our table, made up mainly of university researchers and moderated by Bree Trevena, an urban strategist and planning manager, demonstrated to me just how much discussion and planning goes into getting things done on a government level.

It wouldn’t be a music conference without music and we were very fortunate to be entertained by key note speaker Archie Roach, who spoke of his love for Melbourne and melted our hearts with a couple of his legendary tunes, ’Took The Children Away’ and ‘Charcoal Lane’. Standing ovations greeted and farewelled the iconic indigenous artist.

Melbourne has always enjoyed a healthy music scene and we sometimes take that for granted. To put things into perspective, Farai Monro described some of the incredible hurdles he has to overcome in presenting music festivals in his hometown of Harare, Zimbabwe, once described as having the world’s worst economy. At one point, the economy was so glum, it resulted in the need to print trillion dollar notes… and even more unbelievably leading to million dollar beers!

Gary Zheng then provided incredible contrast as, via an interpreter, he outlined plans by the Chinese city of Chengdu to build a ‘fun district’, an area covering 3 massive city blocks that would become a dream location for international music fans and musicians. Zheng also stated that the Chinese music industry is worth 325 billion RMB!

To follow and then into day 2 were presentations from representatives of Fort Collins in Colorado, Bogota in Colombia, Orlando in Florida, Amsterdam in The Netherlands, Beijing, China, Fukuoka, Japan and much more.

Next time you’re heading out to enjoy some music in Melbourne, take a minute to be thankful for the amazing choice available in terms of talent and venues and also know that there’s a lot of hard work going on in the background to keep Melbourne’s music scene as robust into the future.

Music Cities Convention was presented by Sound Diplomacy, Creative Victoria and Music Victoria.
www.musiccitiesconvention.com

Helen Marcou (SLAM/Bakehouse Studios)

Gary Zheng, Chengdu

Farai Monro

Kim-Marie Spence (Jamaica), Dr Andrea Baker (Monash Uni), Bree Trevena (Arup Australia)

Martin Foley (Vic state government)

Shain Shapiro (CEO, Sound Diplomacy)

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JELLYBEAN JOHNSON: NOTHING COMPARES 2 PRINCE TOUR INTERVIEW

Posted in Artists, Interviews    //    Post Date - April 19, 2018

American drummer, guitarist, songwriter, producer and musician Jellybean Johnson is part of the fabric of the Minnesota music scene. Jellybean was a high school friend of Prince and became a key player in the band The Time, working with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The band was featured prominently…

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BRUCE MATHISKE: INTERVIEW

Posted in Artists, Interviews    //    Post Date - April 19, 2018

Australian guitar virtuoso Bruce Mathiske has released a new solo guitar album, Six String Anthology and he’s hitting the road for an east coast tour. AM’s Greg Phillips chats to Bruce ahead of the tour Acclaimed guitar virtuoso and composer Bruce Mathiske is taking a break from his tour rehearsals…

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THE RUBENS GET REGIONAL

Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - April 17, 2018

Last week, Ivy League Records and Hottest 100 winners The Rubens announced the third studio album – LO LA RU (out June 29) – a bold and confident record that effortlessly picks up from where their Hottest 100 topping single ‘Hoops’ left off.

To coincide with the announcement, the group are incredibly excited to release the powerful new single ‘Never Ever’ featuring Sarah Aarons – a relatable and heart wrenching tale with Sam Margin and Sarah’s voices acting as yin and yang, so different, but so perfectly matched and harmonious within the track.

To celebrate, the band announce today a 15 date nationwide regional tour in support of ‘Never Ever’, hitting fans like never before.

As an act that have never done things by halves, the tour will see them venture across our great land from Gladstone to Gold Coast and Dunsborough to Frankston.

FRI 18 MAY | TERRIGAL – The Beery (Already announced)
THU 24 MAY | GLADSTONE – Harvey Road Tavern
FRI 25 MAY | AIRLIE BEACH – Magnums Hotel
SAT 26 MAY | TOWNSVILLE – Dalrymple Hotel
SUN 27 MAY | CAIRNS – Edge Hill Tavern
THU 31 MAY | GOLD COAST – Surfers Beergarden
FRI 1 JUNE | TOOWOOMBA – Highfields Tavern
SAT 2 JUNE | IPSWICH – Racehorse Hotel
SUN 3 JUNE | REDLAND BAY – Redland Bay Hotel
THU 7 JUNE | DUNSBOROUGH – Dunsborough Tavern
FRI 8 JUNE | ROCKINGHAM – Leisure Inn
SAT 9 JUNE | GERALDTON – Wintersun Hotel
THU 14 JUNE | MULGRAVE – Village Green
FRI 15 JUNE | FRANKSTON – Pier Bandroom
SAT 16 JUNE | DARWIN | Hidden Valley Raceway (Already announced)

2018 has already been a huge year for the group. After last year’s October release of the exuberant party jam ‘Million Man’, the first taste of LO LA RU, the band played to local audiences at the likes of The Sydney Opera House and The Forum before embarking on a global tour – one that saw the band sell out shows in Vancouver, Toronto, New York & London. Indeed, the band are back and eager to build on the excitement of their world class performance.

TICKETS ON SALE THIS FRIDAY 20 APRIL VIA OZTIX

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