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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - February 24, 2017


Homegrown fusion outfit Urbanity launched their debut collaborative album Urban Soul to an appreciative audience at Melbourne jazz club Birds Basement last night. Urbanity is made up of  jazz guitar stalwart (and jazz club owner) Al Bare, keyboardist extraordinaire Phil Turcio, Gerry Pantazis (one of Australia’s finest stickmen) and the tastefully solid Peter Mollica. At the launch the band played nine of the ten groove-laden tracks from the new album before returning for a second set of material the musicians have worked on in the past. On display was a lesson in musician listening skills, as the 4 members fed off each other, trading licks and offering space for individual passages of brilliance.

philThe collaboration between Albare and Phil Turcio started 27 years ago when Albert Dadon – aka Albare – was looking for a new pianist for his band. At the time Phil had just turned 18. Since their first encounter, Phil’s and Albare’s paths keep on intersecting.

Phil explains that he and Albare hear music in the same way, “Everything I throw at Albare comes back as if I would have played it myself.” Albare likes to describe Phil as his musical soul mate.

If you missed last night’s show, you can catch the band again at Bird’s Basement on March 26, April 15 and 27.

Urbanity Facebook page

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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - February 20, 2017



Formerly a Melbourne based event, the Australian Independent Record Labels Association’s annual AIR Awards are moving to Adelaide. Through support from the South Australian Government’s newly established Live Music Events Fund, the annual AIR Awards and inaugural two-day music industry conference will be held in Adelaide for the next three years (2017-2019).

The new Live Music Events Fund provides $1.35m over three years to support new festivals and events. The Live Music Events Fund is administered by Events South Australia (via the South Australian Tourism Commission) and the Music Development Office (via Arts South Australia). 

Adelaide holds the designation of being a UNESCO City of Music, part of the Creative Cities Network, which has opened doors to further collaborations and celebrates music as a valuable and important part of our economy.

Adelaide will be a hive of activity in July with Umbrella: Winter City Sounds, the AIR Awards and Industry Conference, The Adelaide Winter Reds Festival and the Adelaide Beer and BBQ Festival. This will allow visitors the opportunity to enjoy vibrant Adelaide and experience many aspects of South Australia’s creative and tourism industries all at once.

 The 11th Annual AIR Awards ceremony (exclusive to AIR members and associated industry), will take place at the Queen’s Theatre on the 27th July 2017, featuring 13 award categories.

The Australian Independent recording sector represents over 36% of the entire domestic market and is historically a market leader in the development of new talent. The launch pad for some of Australia’s greatest success stories including Nick Cave, Sia, Paul Kelly, Vance Joy, Seth Sentry, John Butler, Safia, Sheppard, Rufus, Remi and Archie Roach, the AIR Awards have been responsible for highlighting exceptional artist talent such as Goyte, Chet Faker, Courtney Barnett, Violent Soho, Hilltop Hoods and Gurrumul all before receiving ARIA recognition.

For the first time AIR Award attendees will also be treated to a smorgasbord of after-party choice by music genre. AIR in partnership with six Adelaide city venues will host performances from some of Australia’s finest artists, whilst offering an opportunity for Music SA to engage Umbrella performers to showcase in front of interstate industry representatives.

 Combined with the new awards date and location, AIR will present a brand new music industry conference across July 27th and 28th. The two-day event will feature a selection of panels and workshops together with presentations from prominent industry leaders, successful Australian Independent musicians and businesses. Set to be an essential event in the Australian music industry’s calendar, it will offer strategic insights and recommendations to aspiring artists and industry in the audience as well as great networking opportunities for all attendees.

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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - February 16, 2017

Fresh from her sold out single launch at Villanova Music in Perth, WA folk artist, Helen Shanahan’s latest offering, ‘I Only Hide’ is an honest and personal song about her struggles with anxiety in social and performance arenas and her want to become a more outgoing person in these situations.  The gorgeous single was recorded in Nashville, and follows an organic, natural progression from her critically acclaimed EP ‘Finding Gold’, released in 2015.

The video clip is a perfect representation of what anxiety can feel like, with the video depicting Helen’s battle with her two selves, sitting in the darkness with a sense of being alone inside and the want to be happy and outside, enjoying the freedom self confidence can bring.

Helen has a full length album and national tour to follow in the coming months, with her next show at the Perth International Arts Festival on March 4.

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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - February 16, 2017


SYDNEY, Australia. Feb 17. 2017. 9:45am AEDT.
Legendary Australian rock band and agitators Midnight Oil today announced their first World Tour in over two decades. They also unveiled plans to release three archival box sets including a collection called “The Overflow Tank” which will contain more than 14 hours of previously unreleased and rare material.
“The Great Circle 2017” World Tour will see the group’s classic line-up literally circle around our overheating planet for 6 months, starting and ending with gigs in Sydney. Appropriately for a band forged in their hometown’s sweat-drenched beer barns, the tour will begin in mid-April with an intimate local pub gig (details to be announced closer to the date). Midnight Oil will then hone their live show with over 30 gigs around the world during the northern summer, playing iconic venues from Sao Paulo’s Espaço das Americas and the Wiltern in L.A. to London’s Hammersmith Apollo and The Olympia in Paris. They will share festival stages with artists like Arcade Fire, Sting and The Pixies and finally return to New Zealand after 20 years.

This long-awaited World Tour will climax with 18 special homecoming concerts through October and November, 2017. Given the band’s deep connections with central Australia the local leg will kick off in Alice Springs and Darwin before starting to circle their homeland with a show in the rainforest near Cairns. Over the following five weeks the tour will loop clockwise around the country in mainly outdoor venues including Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley, Victoria’s Hanging Rock and Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Brisbane’s River Stage and the Village Green beside Adelaide Oval before “The Great Circle” finally comes to a close right back where it all began; with a final show in Sydney on November 11 at that traditional home of Australian political activism, The Domain.
These will be Midnight Oil’s only shows in the last 15 years apart from two stadium benefit concerts (and their related small warmup gigs); “Waveaid” at the Sydney Cricket Ground (2005) and “Sound Relief” at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (2009). It will also be the group’s most extensive world tour since their classic late 80’s/early 90’s albums like “Diesel & Dust”, “Blue Sky Mining” and “Earth & Sun & Moon” sold over 10 million copies around the globe.

The diverse spread of Special Guests who have signed up to be part of this unique tour reflect the long shadow that Midnight Oil has cast across the musical landscape. They include significant Australian voices such as John Butler Trio, AB Original, Adalita, Apakatjah, Bad//Dreems, Birds Of Tokyo, David Bridie, Ash Grunwald, Irrunytju Band, Jack River, Jedediah, The Jezebels, The Living End, Abbe May, Something For Kate, Spiderbait, Dan Sultan, Urthboy, and Frank Yamma.

People who sign up to Midnight Oil’s mailing list at in the next few days will get first access to Australian tickets in a special presale on Thursday February 23rd alongside Frontier Touring members. Remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public on Monday February 27th.
All dates, venues, line-ups and ticket information are listed below (digital version here). Exact on sale times are deliberately being staggered from show to show to reduce website congestion so fans should pay very careful attention to all the details at Extensive anti-scalping measures are being taken around this tour so fans are formally advised to only buy tickets from the official ticket agencies listed on the band’s website to avoid possible fraud and needless overpayment via so called “reselling” sites.
“The Great Circle 2017” will be promoted in Australia by iconic locally owned rock promoter, Frontier Touring with the support of the band’s record company of nearly 40 years, Sony Music. The national Triple M Network and Foxtel’s MAX will proudly present all dates with some shows also having local presenting radio partners (see info below).  Both Triple M and MAX will unveil exclusive Midnight Oil programming over coming days.
In a unique press conference on Sydney Harbour today this most Australian of bands also announced the impending release of a remastered CD box set called “The Full Tank” featuring all of their existing albums and EP’s plus a mammoth new 4 CD/8 DVD trove called “The Overflow Tank” which will include over 14 hours of previously unreleased and rare material. Both of these box sets will be housed in replica miniature water tanks like the one featured onstage at so many ‘Oils’ gigs. The band also unveiled their first ever complete Vinyl collection which will feature 11 remastered LP’s and two 12” EP’s all cut at Abbey Rd Studios in London. For full boxset track listings and content information visit The Boxset Collection is available for pre-order now, out May 5 through Sony Music.

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of Australian culture knows the basics of Midnight Oil’s story. They are the incendiary post-punk band from Sydney’s northern beaches who shunned TV shows like Countdown, instead gigging endlessly and forging a fierce bond with their audience through jagged Ozrock classics like “Back On The Borderline”, “Bus To Bondi” and “Don’t Wanna Be The One”. They are the musical innovators who turned high tech anti-jingoistic polemic into hits like “Power & The Passion”, “U.S. Forces” and “When The Generals Talk”. They are the activists whose social justice campaigning includes “The Dead Heart”, “Redneck Wonderland”, “Beds Are Burning” and hijacking the 2000 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony with their “Sorry” suits. They are the committed humanists and environmentalists who brought us anthems like “Blue Sky Mine”, “Forgotten Years” and “Say Your Prayers” plus a string of protests from the Tasmanian wilderness and the Jabiluka Uranium mine near Kakadu to mid-town Manhattan where they unforgettably stopped traffic outside the Exxon building after the Alaskan oil spill.

Their music makes you feel. Their lyrics make you think. And the combined impact live onstage is nothing less than a call to action.
In a dangerously warming world of Hanson, Trump, Petry and Le Pen the voice of Midnight Oil clearly takes on renewed relevance; they have always been a band that both reflects and shapes “the temper of the times”. So while clarion calls like “it’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees” may have been intended for earlier eras they resonate more than ever in these days of ‘alternative facts’.
In keeping with the band’s longstanding commitments, their carbon footprint during “The Great Circle” World Tour will, of course, be fully offset and sustainability initiatives will be undertaken at all shows. Midnight Oil will also continue their collaborations with local and international environmental organisations including Greenpeace, supporting their campaigns on crucial issues like dangerous climate change and the imminent threats to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

At one level “The Great Circle 2017” simply reflects the geographic reality that the tour will loop around the world and then circle Australia. At another level the name clearly implies the planet itself but it has a further meaning too. Sailors, and airmen use “the great circle” to navigate the globe because on a sphere the shortest distance between two points is not usually a straight line. How appropriate for a group who has always been deeply engaged with the world around them but whose career path has never been linear.
Midnight Oil is more than just a rock ‘n’ roll band. In 2017 they will finally bring things back to where they all began. The circle remains unbroken.


Begins: Thu 23 Feb | Ends: Fri 24 Feb
(or ends earlier if pre-sale allocation exhausted)
Pre-sale times are staggered per show, visit the website for more details
Begins: Thu 23 Feb | Ends: Fri 24 Feb
(or ends earlier if pre-sale allocation exhausted)
Pre-sale times are staggered per show, visit the website for more details
Begins: Mon 27 Feb – see start times below
Mon 2 Oct | ANZAC Oval, Alice Springs, NT (18+*)
With Dan Sultan & Apakatjah | Ph: 132 849
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (12:30pm local time)

Wed 4 Oct | Darwin Amphitheatre, Darwin, NT (18+*)
With Dan Sultan & Irrunytju Band | Ph: 132 849
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (12:30pm local time)
Presented locally by Mix 104.9
Sat 7 Oct  | Kuranda Amphitheatre, Cairns, QLD (18+*)
With Urthboy | Ph: 132 849
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (12noon local time)
Presented locally by Triple M
Tue 10 Oct | Townsville Entertainment Centre, Townsville, QLD (All Ages)
With Urthboy | Ph: (07) 4771 400
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (12noon local time)
Presented locally by 4TO
Thu 12 Oct | Great Western Hotel, Rockhampton, QLD (18+*)
With Urthboy | Ph: 132 849
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (12noon local time)
Presented locally by Triple M
Sat 14 Oct | Big Pineapple Fields, Sunshine Coast, QLD (18+*)
With The Living End & Jebediah | Ph: 132 849
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (12noon local time)
Presented locally by 92.7 Mix FM
Sun 15 Oct | Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD (All Ages)
With The Jezabels | Ph: 136 100
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (1pm local time)
Presented locally by Triple M
Thu 19 Oct | Hockey Fields, Coffs Harbour (18+*)
With Jebediah & Jack River | Ph: 132 849
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (12noon AEDT)
Presented locally by Triple M
Sat 21 Oct | Hope Estate, Hunter Valley, NSW (18+*)
With Birds of Tokyo & Ash Grunwald | Ph: 132 849
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (12noon AEDT)
Presented locally by KOFM
Tue 24 Oct | AIS Arena, Canberra, ACT (All Ages)
With Something For Kate | Ph: 132 849
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (12noon AEDT)
Presented locally by MIX 106.3
Thu 26 Oct | The Village Green Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, SA (All Ages)
With Spiderbait & Bad//Dreems | Ph: 132 849
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (1.30pm local time)
Presented locally by Triple M
Sat 28 Oct | Perth Arena, Perth, WA (All Ages)
With Spiderbait | Ph: 132 849
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (12noon local time)
Presented locally by Triple M
Wed 1 Nov | Derwent Entertainmnent Centre, Hobart, TAS (All Ages)
With The Jezabels | Ph: 136 100
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (3pm AEDT)
Presented locally by Triple M
Fri 3 Nov | Gateway Lakes, Wodonga, VIC (18+*)
With The Living End | Ph: 136 100
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (3pm AEDT)
Presented locally by Triple M
Sat 4 Nov | Hanging Rock, Mt Macedon, VIC (18+*)
With John Butler Trio, Something for Kate, Frank Yamma & David Bridie | Ph: 136 100
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (2pm AEDT)
Presented locally by Triple M
Mon 6 Nov | Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, VIC (All Ages)
With The Jezabels & Adalita | Ph: 136 100
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (4pm AEDT)
Presented locally by Triple M
Wed 8 Nov | Win Entertainment Centre, Wollongong, NSW (All Ages)
With Abbe May | Ph: 136 100
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (2pm AEDT)
Presented locally by WAVE FM
Sat 11 Nov | The Domain, Sydney, NSW (18+*)
With John Butler Trio & A.B.Original | Ph: 132 849
On sale: Mon 27 Feb (11am AEDT)
Presented locally by Triple M
* U18s must be accompanied by parent/legal guardian

Full details at
Tue 25 Apr         Pepsi on Stage | Porto Alegre
Thu 27 Apr         Live | Curtiba
Sat 29 Apr         Espaço das Americas | São Paolo
Sun 30 Apr        Vivo Rio | Rio De Janeiro
Tue 2 May         NET Live | Brasilia
Sat 6 May         Center Stage | Atlanta, GA
Tue 9 May         The Filmore | Silver Spring, MD
Thu 11 May        House of Blues | Boston, MA
Sat 13 May        Webster Hall | New York City, NY
Tue 16 May        Keswick Theatre | Glenside, PA
Thu 18 May       The Vic | Chicago, IL
Sat 20 May        Danforth Theatre | Toronto, Canada
Tue 23 May        Paramount Theatre | Denver, CO
Thu 25 May       The Wiltern | Los Angeles, CA
Sat 27 May        Fox Theatre | Oakland, CA
Mon 29 May       Revolution Hall | Portland, OR
Wed 31 May       Moore Theatre | Seattle, WA
Fri 2 June          The Commodore | Vancouver, Canada
Wed 21 June      E-Werk | Cologne, Germany
Fri 23 June         Paradiso | Amsterdam, Holland
Sun 25 June       Huxleys Neue Welt | Berlin, Germany
Tue 27 June       Amager Bio | Copenhagen, Denmark
Thu 29 June       Rockafeller Music Hall | Oslo, Norway
Sat 1 July          Furuviksparken | Gävle, Sweden
Tue 4 July          Hammersmith Apollo | London, UK
Thu 6 July         Olympia | Paris, France
Fri 7 July           Festival de Beauregard | Hérouville-Saint-Claire, France
Sun 9 July         Les Deferlantes Festival | Argeles-sur-Mer, France
Wed 12 July       Volkshaus | Zurich, Switzerland
Fri 14 July         Musilac | Aix Les Bains, France
Sun 16 July       Les Vieilles Charrues | Carhaix, France
Tue 18 July        Batschkapp | Frankfurt, Germany
Fri 21 July         Colours of Ostrava | Ostrava, Czech Republic
Sat 9 Sep          Vector Arena | Auckland, NZ
Mon 11 Sep       Horncastle Arena | Christchurch, NZ

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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - February 13, 2017

Weekend Warriors has a brand spanking new website!

Weekend Warriors is the Australian Music Association initiative which allows lapsed musicians to get back to into playing music and for those who have never played in a band before, it gives you the opportunity to shine on stage for the very first time. We’ve just upgraded the national Weekend Warriors website so check it out now!

The Weekend Warriors (mature age) and Young Warriors Programs (12-19yrs) are all about having fun playing or singing in a band. The Programs provide the gear, the coaches and the CONCERT. You supply the talent and enthusiasm. Everything is provided including guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, amps, PA, etc.

The Program starts with a free, coached jam session. After the jam, if you want to go ahead with the rest of the program, a fee is involved. Coaches form the bands and contact everyone involved with times and dates of rehearsals. Your band will have four two-hour rehearsals (Young Warrior rehearsals are one-hour) with a professional coach, then perform in The Big Gig concert with other bands from your program. Each band plays for 25-30 minutes. Concerts are professionally produced and run. Band members are treated like stars and have a great time. You’ll have so much fun that you’ll want to do it again!

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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - February 12, 2017

Announced late last year but now fast approaching is the Australian tour by two time Grammy award winning band, Living Colour, who will be here in May. They were last here in 2014 as part of the Soundwave line-up, but also performed to packed out side-shows and rave reviews.

Spearheaded by guitarist Vernon Reid, Living Colour emerged onto the scene and made the people stop and take notice – their music became a creative fusion influenced by free jazz, funk, hard rock and heavy metal. By 1986, the band started to solidify, with Corey Glover joining on vocals, bassist Muzz Skillings and drummer Will Calhoun anchoring the rhythm section that helped hone their unique blend of music with broad-based appeal. Their debut album, Vivid eventually became a multi-platinum, Grammy winning success.

Living Colour’s instrumental prowess gave them a level of critical respect most other bands of that genre were not afforded. Politically driven in their lyrics and eclectic & experimental in their sound, the band built up quite the following in their original eleven year run, picking-up two consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Hard Rock Performance and three MTV Video Music Awards.

Time’s Up was a gold selling release that won them their other Grammy for Best Hard Rock Album of 1990. It was the last album made by the band’s original line-up, as Skillings was replaced by veteran bassist, Doug Wimbish when Living Colour returned in 1993, with the even more experimental release, Stain. By the middle of the ’90s, the band had gone on hiatus and they were re-energised in 2003. Since then, Living Colour have remained an active unit, releasing two albums of new material and receiving raves for their incendiary live performances.

Living Colour still stands as one of today’s finest hard rock, metal, funk, fusion bands – make sure you check them out.


Friday 12th May
170 Russell, Melbourne
Tickets available at: or

Saturday 13th May
Metro Theatre, Sydney
Tickets available at:

Sunday 14th May
The Triffid, Brisbane
Tickets available at:

Wednesday 17th May
The Gov, Adelaide
Tickets available at: |

Friday 19th May
Astor Theatre, Perth
Tickets available at:

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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - February 2, 2017

Yamaha Band Giveaway 3

In 2017 Yamaha Music Australia is choosing one school that needs a helping hand in getting a band program off the ground by providing them with a school-changing giveaway and launch concert with Guy Sebastian!
After the appointment of Dr Rob McWilliams as Yamaha’s ‘Education Outreach Clinician’ in 2016 the giveaway is the next step in their education advocacy program ‘Off to a Great Start’; a program that includes resources for music programs in schools such as training, recruitment videos, product guides and relationship building with instrument retailers. “Yamaha Music Australia is committed to increasing the quality of, and participation in music education, specifically in band and orchestral music programs” said Mat Taylor, Yamaha Band and Orchestral Product Manager.

The amazing $100,000 band giveaway includes:
• $90,000 worth of Yamaha instruments — that’s 42 brand new Yamaha student band instruments
• 3 days training from Dr Rob McWilliams — Australia’s leading band expert and Yamaha Education Outreach clinician
• A launch concert at the winning school with Guy Sebastian
• PLUS: Consolation prizes worth $10,000 in value shared between another 4 schools
Schools wishing to apply must complete the formal on-line application. They will also be asked to include letters from their Principal, relevant Teacher and Parent. For full details please visit
A ‘Top 5’ will be chosen from the applicants and assessed by a panel led by Dr Rob McWilliams from the Yamaha Education Outreach Program which includes an independent member of the music community. A school will be chosen by the panel to receive the Giveaway and a further 4 schools will be chosen to receive a consolation Giveaway.

Applications close 13th March 2017.

For full details and terms and conditions please visit

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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - January 21, 2017

The 5th annual She Rocks Awards was presented last night at the Pacific Ballroom of the Anaheim Hilton. The sold out NAMM event was a triumphant celebration of women in the music industry. Created by Laura B Whitmore, the event has grown from an early morning breakfast gathering five years ago (which Australian Musician attended) to become one of NAMM’s flagship events.

The night kicked off with a red carpet reception which featured many of the event’s guests including Garbage’s Shirley Manson, Esperanza Spalding and Lisa Loeb. Inside a rocking’ group of musicians was assembled as the house band, many of whom appear on the She Rocks Volume 1 compilation album, which was released on the day.

Honourees on the night included Shirley Manson, Esperanza Spalding and the great Ronnie Spector, who was thrilled to receive her Legend award. One of the great features of the She Rocks Awards is that it not only acknowledges women performers, but also those behind the scenes. An array of amazing music industry women were presented with awards last night too including Roland’s Rebecca Eaddey and Pearl Jam’s longtime sound mixing pioneer Karrie Keyes.

As you’d expect, the best was saved until last. The room was abuzz in anticipation of the final honouree, rock goddess Lita Ford. Clearly Lita was ecstatic at having received the accolade and was itching’ to rock out. Joined by many of the guitarists featured on the She Rocks album, Lita led the group of girls in a euphoric version of Kiss Me Deadly.

The She Rocks Awards, much like the women involved  goes from strength to strength each year. Congratulations to Laura on another grand event and her continued work with the Womens International Music Network. It’s the kind of event we might want to think about for Australia!

Follow this link to our Lita Ford She Rocks interview

Follow this link to our Nili Brosh She Rocks Interview







She Rocks founder Laura B Whitmore



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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - December 16, 2016


DV Mark is proud to announce that world renowned guitarist, Kiko Louriero of Megadeth, has joined the DV Mark family.

Loureiro needs no introduction. Even before being invited to join Megadeth last year, he was already renowned for his guitar work with Angra and enjoyed a high profile solo career that featured breakout releases like “No Gravity”, Fullblast” and “Sounds of Innocence”, where his exceptional technique, musicality and Brazilian roots were highlighted.

On trialling the DV Mark Multiamp, Kiko was floored by its tone, dynamic response, effects and 500w power stage. Kiko’s sonic versatility requires a platform that can deliver outstanding tone across not just one genre, but a wide range of musical landscapes, and it’s Kiko’s opinion that the Multiamp is truly unbeatable in this area.

DV Mark are honoured to welcome a great artist such as Kiko Loureiro to the DV Mark family.

DV Mark distributed in Australia by

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Posted in Blog    //    Post Date - December 11, 2016

Review by Garry Chapman. Photos by Jason Rosewarne. December 2016

Country music fans were treated to a double dose of star quality at Rod Laver Arena on two evenings this week when Nashville-based headline acts Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban brought the Oceania leg of Urban’s Ripcord World Tour to Melbourne.

Urban has been on the road with this tour for the past six months, playing over sixty shows in North America, with another ten scheduled for Australia and New Zealand. Underwood joined him for the shows Down Under. The tour winds up on December 17 in Brisbane.

The opening act was Melbourne indie rockers, Buchanan, led by hard working lead vocalist Josh Simons. The band led off with its current single, ‘The Beep Test’, as patrons continued to file into the arena. The short set was well received by the crowd and Simons and his band mates appeared to relish the opportunity to perform on the big stage.

Carrie Underwood’s career has gone from strength to strength since she achieved fame as the winner of American Idol back in 2005. Since then she has released five acclaimed studio albums, won seven Grammy Awards and received many other accolades. Billboard magazine has called her the ‘reigning queen of Country Music’.


As the band kicked off the opening number, ‘Good Girl’, and Underwood emerged into the lights on the elevated riser platform, the fans welcomed her with rapturous applause. Well known for her expansive vocal range, she didn’t disappoint. Underwood has a big, big voice, and appears to put everything she has into the impassioned delivery of every song.

carrie2Underwood treated the fans to fourteen of her best songs in her hour-long performance. She worked tirelessly throughout, regularly using the steps to move from the riser to the front of stage and back again, always captivating in the way she moved. The driving rhythms of the band and excellent stage lighting seemed to fuel Underwood’s energy as she sang and danced her way through current hits from her ‘Storyteller’ album, including ‘Smoke Break’, ‘Church Bells’ and ‘Dirty Laundry’, plus crowd favourites from her earlier releases.

‘Jesus, Take the Wheel’ was an emotional highlight of Underwood’s set. Her first single from her debut album, it tells the story of a woman who loses control of her car on an icy road and implores her saviour to take the wheel. The car stops safely, sparing the lives of the driver and her sleeping child. If music has the capacity to move people, few songs could tug at the heartstrings more than this one did, and Underwood’s powerful vocals must have shivers down the spines of many in the audience.

The mood was mellowed when Underwood sat down to pay tribute to Dolly Parton before she performed a cover version of Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’. Around the arena, the fans sang along. The pace soon picked up and the driving beat returned as the band joined in on ‘Flat on the Floor’. The set finished soon after with ‘Something in the Water’. Underwood left the stage to prolonged applause. The fans were loving it, and eager for their hero, Keith Urban, to take the stage.


Urban may have been born in New Zealand and may now reside in Nashville, but there’s no doubt that Australian fans regard him as a home grown talent, one of our finest musical exports, and their cheers almost lifted the roof off Rod Laver Arena as he strode to the front of the stage. Urban wore a grin from ear to ear and the smile never left his face for the next two hours. It was like he had come home to visit family and he was delighted to be there.

Urban’s four-piece band launched straight into ‘Gone Tomorrow (Here Today)’, the opening song on his latest album, ‘Ripcord’. Urban played the ganjo, one of his favourite instruments, essentially a banjo with the neck of a guitar. He moved constantly, rarely standing still, often dancing or swaying or expressively thrusting an arm skyward as he sang.

Already, the crowd was engaged. People in the seats were mouthing every word as Urban sang. The patrons in the moshpit were dancing and singing. The house was well and truly rocking. A massive cheer greeted the end of the opening number.

“On your feet, Melbourne!” Urban urged the audience. They were only too happy to oblige. The tone for the night had been set before the second song began. Young and old rose to their feet as Urban’s guitar tech made the first of many visits to the stage with a new instrument. It became a regular sight throughout the show. ‘Long Hot Summer’ was followed by the slower ‘Break on Me’ with Urban now on acoustic guitar. Many of the dancers around the arena took their seats once more, but before long they were up on their feet dancing again as the three driving guitars of Urban, Nathan Barlowe and Danny Rader brought ‘Where the Blacktop Ends’ to a dynamic finish.

Urban looked every inch the guitar hero. He wore a black Johnny Cash t-shirt. From front and centre of the stage, his fast fingers and nimble footwork held the rapt attention of every fan in the audience. His guitar artistry, flawless vocals and charismatic showmanship was captivating. He knelt down and touched the many hands reaching out to him from the front of the moshpit.


Urban never fails to acknowledge his fans. Reports of his shows include interludes where he invites audience members on to the stage for a few minutes of fun and light-hearted banter. It often begins with Urban reading out some of the messages on handmade signs that people hold up. On Friday night, he brought two sisters from Geelong on to the stage for a selfie. When one of them mentioned that their Dad was babysitting her kids so she could come to the show, he asked her to ring him and pass the phone over. To the delight of the cheering audience, Urban proceeded to chat to the rather surprised guy on the other end of the call, asking him how the babysitting was going.

The band was soon back working hard on ‘Somewhere in My Car’ and ‘Worry ‘Bout Nothing’ before Urban brought the mood back down with the mellow ‘Blue Ain’t Your Colour’. Dancers sat down and some couples swayed slowly from side to side. Urban’s sublime vocals were as good as they sounded all night as an atmospheric carpet of blue spots of light swirled back and forth across the seated patrons.

Urban was the consummate entertainer in ‘You Gonna Fly’, working the front of the stage, every eye watching his every move. The band came in tight behind him again.

The band was solid all night, never missing a beat. Nathan Barlowe was on guitar, vocals and a sampling instrument he designed named The Phantom. It consisted of a box containing four iPads and a mixing desk. Danny Rader played guitar and vocals. The rhythm section consisted of Seth Rausch on drums and Jerry Flowers, a bandmate from Urban’s days with The Ranch, on bass and vocals.


‘Days Go By’ opened with a ghostly spotlight on Urban, Barlowe and Rader singing a few a capella lines. ‘Sweet Thing’ followed. Then ‘Cop Car’, dedicated by Urban to ‘anyone who ever fell in love in the back of a cop car’. His playing was exceptional throughout all the instrument changes. Undoubtedly there would have been numerous guitarists in the crowd who came along primarily to watch a master craftsman at work and marvel at how easy he made it look.

‘Sun Don’t Let Me Down’ was introduced with an explanation of the meaning behind the song. It was recorded in collaboration with Nile Rodgers and Pitbull. Pitbull’s vocal track was played as the song began, and soon the audience was in full voice singing along with the chorus. A highlight was the three guitarists coming together in the centre of the stage, bringing cries of delight and whistles from the fans.

More joy for the fans came when Carrie Underwood reappeared on stage to reprise ‘The Fighter’, the duet she recorded with Urban on the ‘Ripcord’ album. The intensity of their shared voices providing one of the high points of the entire evening. The chemistry between Underwood and Urban continued with a cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ hit ‘Stop Dragging My Heart Around’. Petty’s wailing guitar paid homage to Petty’s original playing and Underwood’s dancing with long tassles swirling was eerily reminiscent of Nicks.

Urban eyeballed the audience at the far end of the arena. “It’s time we came down there to say Hi!” he announced. He left the stage and made his way through the crowd to a second, smaller stage at the back of the floor section, behind the mixing desk. He took his time, high fiving patrons as he walked. The fans clapped and hailed him all the way. Facing the seats at the back of the auditorium, he asked “Who’s got the good seats now?” They responded with rapturous cheers.


Accompanied by drums and bass, Urban launched into ‘You Look Good in My Shirt’ from the small stage. He picked up a drumstick for a spot of improvisation on the drums, guitar neck and microphone. The crowd loved it. The song concluded and Urban said “This guitar’s getting super heavy.” He lifted it from his shoulders, picked up a gold sharpie and signed it. Then he leaned over and handed it to a young lady in the audience. The smile on her face said it all. It was a moment she’ll never forget. You can bet that’s going ‘straight to the pool room’.

During ‘Somebody Like You’, Urban and his bandmates headed back to the big stage. Everyone was on their feet, clapping and dancing, and Urban kept singing as he walked, once more high fiving as many people as he possibly could along the way. Once back at the front of the arena, he asked everyone to jump. Thousands jumped in unison with him. This led into ‘Little Bit of Everything’. ‘John Cougar, John Deere and John 3:16’ followed. The song became a medley as Urban moved easily into John Cougar Mellencamp’s ‘Jack and Diane’ and then Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ as the band switched to a reggae beat and the stage lights turned to yellow, red and green. A few lines from The Police’s ‘So Lonely’ brought the medley to an end.

‘Wasted Time’, another single from Ripcord, brought the set to an end. Urban was still moving about the stage, animated, engaging the crowd. The fans in the moshpit were dancing and singing, and almost everyone else in the arena was also on their feet. Showers of confetti rained down as Urban and the band waved and left the stage to long and loud applause.

Urban returned alone with his acoustic guitar for the encore. He stood atop the riser, illuminated in the spotlight, and dedicated the song, ‘Memories of Us’ to his wife Nicole. It is a beautiful, emotional love song and he sang every heartfelt word as though he really meant it. All around the stadium, a sea of lights, courtesy of mobile phones held aloft, swayed gently in time with his strumming. ‘Stupid Boy’ on solo acoustic guitar retained the mood set by the previous song. For the final number, the band returned to the stage. ‘Raise ‘Em Up’ from the ‘Fuse’ album, with its message of positivity, was the perfect finish to an evening of pure entertainment and quality musicianship where the spirits of every person in the arena had been raised high from the first number to the last.

Urban stepped up to the microphone and thanked everyone for coming along. He left the stage to thunderous applause. He had certainly given his fans what they came for on this occasion. As the house lights came on and the aisles filled with queues of people leaving the stadium, Urban strolled back onto the stage. He knelt down to the people in the moshpit and began shaking hands and signing autographs, making sure this would be a night to remember. There is no doubt that when he tours again, most of them will be first in line to buy tickets. Keith Urban is a world class entertainer, a guitar wizard, a top notch songwriter and a genuine Aussie superstar.


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