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

The Soundhouse Music Alliance is a not for profit organisation (with DGR tax deductible status) which has grown over a 30 year period. Its aim has always been to encourage community members to become creators of music rather than passive consumers.

Many key partnerships with schools and cultural organisations, state education authorities and specific provider groups have been forged over this period to broaden the range of programs supported through Soundhouse Music Alliance.

A very significant long term program developed by the Soundhouse Music Alliance has been the Special Access Kit Project using the Banana Keyboard. This was first invented in 1992 to assist those with disabilities to be able to access meaningful music making. The cornerstone was the design of the Banana Keyboard as shown below.

The curved design went through several development stages, but was designed to be able to sit across a wheelchair.  The large scale of the keys meant that those without fine motor control are able to produce coordinated musical sounds, and other sounds chosen to suit the activity being undertaken.

The keyboard shown in the picture also allowed switches to be connected to further enhance accessibility.  For example, a student without hand movement could have a switch fitted to the headrest of a wheelchair, and thus participate in a music group by triggering the sound of a bass drum, or the bark of a dog at the appropriate time in a sound story.

Over 100 of these units have been placed in institutions for use by music therapists, and over the years many of these have been rendered unworkable because of software issues. Soundhouse has been funding a program to locate and offer software upgrades to make these valuable instruments usable again. The response has been overwhelming and we are working to get this program to fruition.

Over 80 of these kits were place in facilities such as special schools, arts facilities & hospitals, across Australia, and a dozen in international locations. Programs using this kit at Arts Centre Melbourne won the Arts portfolio leadership award in Victoria in 2011.
In order to update software, and make the units wireless, we launched the Special Access Kit Upgrade project to identify and provide these upgrades to a group of facilities keen to be involved. We have shortlisted 12 facilities in the initial group.

Here is your invitation to be involved!
To upgrade Banana Keyboards, each kit will cost $960 – and this will make a huge difference to the engagement in music making for countless kids.

 We are seeking donations from the public and companies to support this project, and would like to provide 3 levels of donations to support our target of :

What your donation will provide
$960 – A complete upgrade of software and hardware for one school or facility
$480 – Half a kit upgrade including either the complete wireless midi system or the batteries and charging system
$120- Provide the Radio Module to allow transmission and receiving of signals from the keyboard to make it Bluetooth compatible (as an example)

Alternately, you may wish to specify another tax deductible amount you would like to donate in support of this worthy project.

You can donate here

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

Australia’s cult-classic hip-hop/crossover act, Butterfingers, have announced an extensive national tour set to kick off this March. It will see th em hitting  up all capitals and rural hotspots around the country with Sydney MC (and Big Village label chief) Rapaport in tow.

Known for their tongue-in-cheek humour and irreverent hits like ‘FIGJAM’ and  ‘Yo Mama’, the   band are also releasing their second single since coming off their ten-year hibernation from recording with their latest left of centre earworm, ‘Bullet To The Head’. It is the 2ndsingle to be lifted from a forthcoming album due for release later this year.

Drummer Damien Green is still recovering from a broken elbow sustained during a terrible skateboarding accident two days before their NYE extravaganza show in Darwin. The band will have replacement drummer Tony McCall, aka T-Bone, since he’s managed to reserve some free time between cracking skulls in the MMA ring and melting faces from behind the skins with Wolfmother, Resin Dogs, Jamiroquai and a list of ten million other bands too lengthy to mention.

“There are spots on this tour that we haven’t played f or 7-10 years  and considering how pumping our recent shows have been, and the kind of response we are getting from the new single, we’re just chomping at the bit to get out there and tear it up!” – “Evil” Eddie (vocals)

Bullet To the Head Tour
Thursday 29th March 2018
Club 54 – Launceston, TAS

Friday 30th March 2018
Republic Bar – North Hobart, TAS

Saturday 31st March 2018
Ed Castle – Adelaide, SA

Sunday 1st April 2018
The Gasometer Hotel – Collingwood, VIC

Thursday 5th April 2018
The Basement – Belconnen, ACT

Friday 6th April, 2018
Gearin Hotel – Katoomba, NSW

Saturday 7th April, 2018
Factory Floor – Marrickville, NSW

Friday 13th April, 2018
Spotted Cow – Toowoomba, QLD

Saturday 14th April 2018
The Brightside – Fortitude Valley, QLD

Thursday 19th April 2018
Settlers Tavern – Margaret River, WA

Friday 20th April 2018
The Sewing Room – Perth, WA

Saturday 21st April 2018
Prince Of Wales Hotel – Bunbury, WA

Friday 27th April 2018
Gum Ball Fest – Balcones, NSW

Friday 4th May 2018
Hotel Brunswick – Brunswick Heads, NSW

Saturday 5th May 2018
Miami Tavern – Miami, QLD

Saturday 26th May 26 2018
Big Pineapple Fest – Nambour Sunshine Coast, QLD

Butterfingers website:  http://www.butterfingers


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

In 2017 David Bowie fans were treated to some very special shows when past members of Bowie’s band gathered to perform the music of the rock legend. Now fans of Prince have the opportunity to experience a similar, extraordinary celebration when the Nothing Compares 2 Prince show comes to Melbourne…

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ROCK THE BOAT 2018 – Cruise with your classic rock faves

Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - March 18, 2018

Rock The Boat once again hits the high seas in 2018 (21st-28th October 2018), with an incredible local and international line-up. With a theme focused on embracing the finest rock music from the 1970s and 1980s, the eighth annual cruise features headliners Foreigner, best known for their #1 international hit I Want To Know What Love Is. The line-up is rounded out with iconic rock acts such as The Romantics, Ross Wilson, Russell Morris, Shannon Noll, Eurogliders and Chocolate Starfish. Showcasing some of the best vocals, musicians Mark Gable, Jason Singh, Reece Mastin and Dale Ryder will join 2018’s line-up as supergroup The Voices. A total of 40 incredible artists will be part of the seven-night event.

Travelling onboard the luxurious Radiance Of The Seas, music-goers will also get to experience the sights of Isle Of Pines and Noumea in New Caledonia, departing from Sydney this October. There are a massive seven venues on Rock The Boat with artists performing day and night, so there is always a musical extravangza happening for rock fans. Rock The Boat is part of the respected Choose Your Cruise brand, and is one of the flagship cruises that have been a stalwart on their cruising program. Caitlin Manov from Choose Your Cruise says one of the things that sets Rock The Boat apart is the fact that audiences can experience their favourite bands in a plethora of different atmospheres – from an arena style event to intimate showcases.

“Depending on what you want out of your day, there is a different experience waiting for you in each venue,” she says. “From the authentic English atmosphere in the intimate setting of the Quill and Compass, to the relaxing sounds poolside at the pool deck, a comfortable and elegant cabaret theatre overlooking the wake of water the ship leaves in its path in the Colony Club, you will find different artists performing day and night to keep you captivated throughout the whole cruise. The beautiful Aurora Theatre spans three levels, which provides a great seat for anyone in the venue to enjoy the incredible shows our headliners provide. Incredible acoustics and lighting gives our passengers the full experience of an arena show in a smaller setting in comparison to some of the venues you would see these artists back home. You can get up front and personal with them at the front of the stage which is always encouraged and gives passengers special memories they won’t soon forget.”

Since its inception, Rock The Boat has been bringing some of the biggest names in rock n roll to audiences. For organisers, it is a big job from planning to fruition. Caitlin says the utmost importance is ensuring the theme of the cruise fits together organically for audiences to enjoy. “The planning process for any of our cruises takes approximately 16 months from the initial stages to sailing,” she says. “Booking the artists to perform before we release the cruise is one of the most exciting parts, as we carefully sit down and make a wish list of acts depending on the general theme of the cruise we are putting together. 2018’s cruise has a focus on rock acts from the 70s and 80s so it was without question we would love to have Foreigner on board. Luckily the artists we were hoping to have on the cruise were available and it fell into place nicely. This will be the first time all of these artists have performed on the same bill, let alone on board a cruise so we are very excited for what magic will happen on board in October.”
The cruise sees a lot of return guests, making Rock The Boat their annual holiday experience. Likewise, there are a host of artists who come back year after year and plan their touring around the cruise. For Caitlin and her team, return visits mean they have got the chemistry right. “It is an honour to have passengers and artists alike come on board year after year,” she says. “It truly is like catching up for a family reunion every year when you get on board in Sydney and run into friends you haven’t seen all year but know you will be spending a week together on board the ship. The sense of camaraderie and artistic energy on board is incomparable to anywhere else on land. Punters and artists leave their worries at the pier in Sydney and are all engaged for a week of music and great food in a luxury setting, how could you not want to come back.”

The cruise isn’t just about experiencing great live music – there are also a host of onboard passenger experiences to enjoy. From the Mr Belly Flop competition, to The Ship’s Biggest Conga Line and Air Guitar Wars, there is something to delight all ages. Other events include Lip-Sync Battle and Island & Nautical Back to the 80s dress-up theme parties. Plus, the chance to meet your favourite artist at intimate artist signing sessions.

The week of music is certainly going to be first class if the 2018 line-up is anything to go by. Foreigner barely need an introduction to rock loving audiences. With an extensive back catalogue the features the likes of Cold As Ice, Hot Blooded and Waiting For A Girl Like You, they have been delighting music fans for four decades. Its founder Mick Jones was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame for his stylistic songwriting and indelible guitar hooks. When the band reformed after a hiatus in 2002, they re-cemented themselves in the local scene, taking the band’s music to a new generation of fans. With lead singer Kelly Hansen reputed as one of rock’s greatest showmen, time spent in the company of Foreigner is always unforgettable.

Detroit’s The Romantics help round out the stellar line-up in 2018. From the release of their debut LP in 1980, their hits include What I Like About You, When I Look In Your Eyes and their acclaimed cover of The Kinks hit She’s Got Everything. Fast forward four decades, and they are still revered for creating some of the most influential and beloved rock songs of all time. When it comes to Australian artists joining Rock The Boat, it doesn’t get much bigger than the likes of ‘The Real Thing’ Russell Morris and ‘Mr Eagle Rock’ himself Ross Wilson. They return for their second and third performances repectively and are back by popular demand.

Just some of the other artists who join the 40-plus live acts include Stylus, Kevin Borich, Phil Emmanuel, Tim Gaze Band, The Lisa Edwards Band, Harrisongs (A Tribute To George) and Machine Head (Deep Purple Experience) to name a few. Bringing together the proverbial who’s who of rock music in Australia, Rock The Boat is shaping up to be the event of a lifetime for holiday-makers looking for a rock music festival at sea.

Tickets for the 2018 Rock Your Boat music festival at sea [21st-28th October 2018] are on sale now, departing from Sydney. Pricing starts at $2,615 per person, twin share (interior stateroom).

For more information, contact your local Cruiseco agent or visit or call 1300 247 371.


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Posted in Accessories, Gear    //    Post Date - March 16, 2018

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash is a “Purple” man. Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page has been playing “Pinks” for years. The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards always goes for the “Green.” We’re talking about the iconic and exhilaratingly colorful packaging of Ernie Ball’s Slinky guitar strings – each vibrantly designed pack representing a different string recipe/gauge. For more than…

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Posted in Gear, Pedals    //    Post Date - March 16, 2018

Innovative Music Australia is extremely proud to welcome the legendary Morley and EBTECH brands to their catalogue. Morley create some of the world’s most highly regarded wah and volume effects for guitar, including the seminal Bad Horsie Steve Vai signature models, George Lynch Dragon Wah and many more. Alongside their sister brand…

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Posted in Artist Profiles, Artists    //    Post Date - March 16, 2018

Melbourne indie rockers, Shiva And The Hazards have just released their dreamy new single East India Empress, a mesmerising modern throwback track out March 16. The group have also dropped a spellbinding clip to accompany the song, painstakingly pieced together from vintage Bollywood footage. East India Empress is the first…

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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - March 16, 2018

Port Fairy Folk Festival Folkin’ Rocked

Report and photos by Rob Walker

The beautiful town of Port Fairy once again hosted an estimated 25,000 people of all ages and persuasions on the Labour Day weekend and presented a wide variety of talented performers too. It is going beyond what the purist would regard as a folk festival but the line up did present something for everyone, while still focusing on elements of its roots.

My festival started with Shane Howard’s Exile concert which focused on the theme of forced emigration of the Irish in the 19th century and also featured Troy Cassar Daley and Andy Irvine. Aside from leaving one shocked once more at the brutality of British occupation, the concert left an imprint of the spirit of a race which profoundly influenced Australia’s culture and politics. And the playing by the traditional backline was sublime. Lighter moments came with the Topp Twins giving Barnaby Joyce and unsuspecting others a hard time, and everyone else a yodelling lesson. The Cartridge Family … full of laughs. Soaring vocals from Sarah Carroll, Suzanna Espie, and bassist Rusty Berther. Riffmeister Nicky Del Ray excelled on guitar. Stories of jiltedness from All Our Exes Live in Texas (can’t imagine who’d leave any of those ladies) and the Hillbilly Goats, made it good fun to be on the job.

Lots of electric guitar on show too at this year’s event – Melbourne Guitar Show favourite, Shannon Bourne shone in Skronkadoodledoo featuring Chris and Fenn Wilson, a show, so in your face, it made the festival deck chair obsolete. Julz Parker made her Stratocaster sing in her band Hussy Hicks, my personal best on ground at Port Fairy. Her other half (with respect to the rhythm section) Leesa Gentz completed an outstanding duo.

Maton Guitars continued its long association with the Festival and presented guitars to Chris While and Julie Matthews, as 2018 PFFF Artists of the Year and to 2018 Emerging Artists, Josef and Jan Prasil who are Amistat.

An interesting session with famed human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, focused on the role of folk music in the protest movement over the past couple of generations. He spoke of the way it was suppressed in the gag martyring of Pete Seeger and others, to its ultimate triumph as a voice in protest movements for human rights and against abused authority that has changed major events and the world in general. Other silk was on display too with Archie Roach, Tex, Don & Charlie, The Black Sorrows and Breabrach from the UK were a talk of the town.

Nick Charles again headed an outstanding line up at the annual Guitarists Concert, with Harry Manx, Julz Parker, Jeff Lang, Jimmy Hocking and John Hudson. The Women Out Loud concert hosted by Sarah Carroll stirred the emotions with stories and songs from Chris While & Julie Matthews, Faith Ristic, Gina Williams, Josienne Clarke, Pauline Scanlon, Rebecca Barnard, Sophie Koh and YolanDa Brown which went from reaching for the tissues to driving everyone to their feet, chanting the reggae classic ‘Is This Love?’, with a message that it’s all you need to ask.

The tribute to Irish folk punk band The Pogues, marking Shane MacGowan’s 60th birthday was a highlight and must have been great fun for the performers who included The Teskey Brothers, Hussy Hicks, Steve Polz and many more.

The PFFF respects up and comers too and provides plenty of opportunities. Young singers like Stella Donnelly and Claire Anne Taylor were given an opportunity to shine.
Check out our video interviews with Stella and Claire

The list goes on and on. Spoken word, story-telling, songwriting workshops with festival artists and local instrument craft was on display too.
The wonderful thing about Port Fairy is that you can see so much good music and arts outside of the festival arena … in churches, halls, pubs and open spaces around the town, it is a great vibe.

This festival is a serious community undertaking, which, as mentioned in our recent interview with director, Caroline Moore, contributes not only to the music industry in a major way, but also to the local community. It is largely staffed by an army of volunteers and the community benefits because of this hard work.

Sorry we couldn’t get around to see everyone, but such is the size and depth of the program.
We’ll be back, again…



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Posted in Artists, Interviews    //    Post Date - March 15, 2018

Branching away from his classical piano and violin training in 1997, Luke Plumb began teaching himself the mandolin and swiftly became one of Australia’s most sought after session musicians. His albums Isfahan and Senan’s Haggart were comprised of bold music from right across Europe and demonstrated his keen awareness of…

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Posted in Artists, Interviews    //    Post Date - March 14, 2018

Claire Anne Taylor grew up in Tasmania’s ancient Tarkine rainforest. Taylor’s music reflects the wild, rich and creative world she was immersed in as a child. With vivid storytelling, hypnotic melodies and raw, soul-tinged vocals, Taylor captures both the beautiful and dark elements of the human experience. Her stage presence…

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