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Posted in Blog, Melbourne guitar Show News, Special Features    //    Post Date - August 3, 2018

The Melbourne Guitar Show kicks off tomorrow morning at 1oam. Today the exhibitors were setting up and we offer you this pictorial preview of an amazing array of hear. Melbourne Guitar Show August 4 &5 Caulfield Racecourse

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Posted in Blog, Special Features    //    Post Date - July 29, 2018
Story by Greg Phillips. Opal Ocean pic from 2017 Melbourne Guitar Show by Jason Rosewarne.

Ahead of the 4th annual Melbourne Guitar Show, we thought it was timely to address a misconception, fueled last year by some sections of the media who were predicting the end of the global guitar industry. It was based mainly on an article in The Washington Post. The article, titled ‘Why my guitar gently weeps: The slow, secret death of the six-string electric. And why you should care’, based most of its argument on two factors; the downfall of the Gibson guitar brand at the time, plus the lack of guitar music in the mainstream music charts.

Sure, the Gibson brand found themselves in financial trouble, which required a company restructure, that’s no secret. However, the company’s plight had more to do with its diversification into non-guitar related sectors and unsuccessful innovations rather than any decline in interest in the guitar itself. As far as the dearth of guitar music on the radio goes, does anyone remember the synth-laden, prog-rock of the 70s, which eventually gave way to guitar orientated punk rock? Again, in the 80s, synth pop gave way to grunge guitar rock. Music is cyclical. Today electronic music is popular, but music fans move on and historically, in due course they will seek out other forms of music and why shouldn’t that be guitar-related?

Sterling Ball, CEO of Ernie Ball Music Man is one of those to suggest that contemporary music is just going through one of its regular cycles, in which electronic music gear currently has a higher profile than fretted instruments.
“Any time there is three chord music, guitar will be back,” Sterling told us at Winter NAMM in January. “What happens is … it’s a curve and when music gets too complicated, someone comes along with some way of playing three chords that hits you right in the chest or the head.”

In the video below with Sterling Ball, Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse also tells us that the guitar is not going away anytime soon.

Traditionally there was always a lineage of guitar heroes, where one era would pass the baton onto another. From Clapton, Beck, and Page to Van Halen, Satriani and Vai to Dimebag, Zakk Wylde and Kerry King. There was always a rock god on the horizon but modern-day guitar music is not so much about slick licks and solos but more about textures and layers. You may be hearing guitar generated music without even knowing it’s guitar. Innovative pedals, multi effects units and loop units are turning guitars into orchestras, which musicians are using to conjure symphonies from the comfort of their own homes. It’s not the popularity of the guitar which is changing, it’s the manner in which it is being used which is different.

Anyone can speculate what is going to happen in the world of music but if you look at the facts, you’ll see that guitar sales are actually on the way up in the US. Leading global industry research company IBISWorld has recently released a significant report which showed that the electric and acoustic guitar manufacturing industry has enjoyed sustained growth over the last 5 years. The report showed that the guitar industry had posted a growth rate of 1.4% from 2012 to 2017, with the trend predicted to continue at least until 2022. According to NAMM (the USA’s National Association of Music Merchants), sales of guitars have grown by 28 percent over the last 10 years.

At a Fender guitars dealer event in Sydney this year, the company’s Senior Vice President of Product, Justin Norvell further backed up those claims of guitar industry growth, suggesting that during a 3 month period from November to December 2017, there had been a 14.7% industry growth in North American sell-through of electric guitars and that Japan had just enjoyed an annual growth in guitar sales of 21 percent.

Australian Musician’s Greg Phillips chats with Fender’s Justin Norvell in this video at the Australian Fender dealer event.

Also adding to the growth of the guitar market is the increase in female players, with around fifty percent of guitars now being purchased by women. The new guitar heroes are artists and bands such as St Vincent, Haim, Courtney Barnett, Warpaint, Japanese Breakfast, Gabriela Quintero, Orianthi, Samantha Fish, Kaki King, Nita Strauss, Courtney Cox, Gretchen Menn and so many more.

Additionally, acoustic guitar sales have been rising steadily each year for the last five years and are now at record levels, buoyed by the popularity of singer songwriters like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift.

The Australian Music Association in its annual market reports, reveals that in 2017 a decade-long decline in the electric guitar was arrested. This Spring in Australia features four different guitar focused events with festivals in Sydney and Adelaide in August and now a Melbourne Festival in September. This augers well for the guitar and its popularity in Australia. If you ever had any doubts about the popularity of the guitar in modern music, pop on down to the Melbourne Guitar Show, August 4&5 Caulfield Racecourse and join the other 5,000 plus guitar devotees who will revel in the 4th annual celebration of fretted instruments.

Melbourne Guitar Show ticket information HERE

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Posted in Blog, Special Features    //    Post Date - February 28, 2018

Yamaha Music Australia
has announced it’s second annual Great Start Grant – a nationwide initiative that will see one school awarded a $50,000 music grant, plus an exclusive performance from Dami Im, Australia’s X-Factor winner and most successful Eurovision entrant.

With the potential to help foster creativity and build social connections, Yamaha is searching for Australian schools in need of a helping hand to get their Music Performance Program off the ground. All they have to do is explain why they deserve it the most! last year Apollo bay College was the recipient of concert band instruments, a prize which has made a significant difference to that school’s music program and the kids who play in it. This year, the prize has a broader prize base in regard to the type of instruments offered.

The $50,000 Great Start Grant includes:
• $45,000 worth of Yamaha instruments — equivalent to 42 brand new Yamaha instruments/equipment
• 1 day of training from Peter Wardrobe —Yamaha’s Education Specialist
• A launch concert at the winning school from Dami Im
• PLUS: Consolation prizes worth $2,000 in value shared between another two schools

We asked Australia’s leading band expert and Yamaha’s Education Outreach Clinician Dr Rob McWilliams a few key questions about the Great Start Grant

What could the $50,000 grant do for the music department of a school?
The grant will enable a school who has all the other necessary elements to make best use of this giveaway (fully supportive administration, committed teaching staff, student interest, appropriate physical plant (classroom space, etc.), and all that is missing is the available funding to get the equipment.  This is where Yamaha steps in and completes the picture with the grant!

What comments are you hearing from students, parents and teachers at Apollo Bay P-12 College, which has already benefitted from this program?
The Yamaha Giveaway that Apollo Bay P-12 received was slightly different in that it was a grant of concert band instruments (this year’s grant is geared to a more “commercial” music type of program).  However, the impact is very similar in that it has given many students in the Apollo Bay area a special opportunity to learn an instrument and participate in a school concert band.  The whole school and broader community has been excited and grateful for what this grant has brought to them.

Apollo Bay P-12 trumpets

What are the benefits of being involved in a large school band?
The benefits of involvement in learning musical instruments are wide-ranging and significant.  More and more research points to the unique benefits of instrument learning as they relate to brain development.  It turns out the brain is uniquely active in many different places when we undertake this activity.  Playing an instrument also engages our emotional selves in a significant way – music is often considered the “language of emotions” and this is such an important part of growing up and understanding the human condition.  Furthermore, involvement teaches and develops many very important “life skills” such as empathy with others, teamwork, problem-solving, creativity, and so on.

Also many studies on academic achievement show that students who have been involved in music achieve, on average, at a higher level.  A primary school in England that was considered a “failing” school in 2010 on just about every objective measure (achievement, attendance, academic standards, etc.) responded by adding music into their overall curriculum wherever they could, as well as giving every child music lessons, etc.  The result was a complete turnaround such that that school now *exceeds* national averages on all of the objective measures!

What advice would you give to someone who would like to play music but is not sure about what instrument they should choose?
I would advise speaking to an “expert” in the field of music instrument teaching & learning (e.g. a music teacher) as well as doing some actual exploration or “trying out” on some possibilities.  Students can be more or less suited to particular instruments based on their personalities, musical aptitudes, physical attributes, etc.  What we do know is that there is a suitable instrument for everybody!

What advice would you give to a child who has started to learn an instrument but is struggling and believe they’re not making progress in their music playing journey?
Hang in there!  It is part of the learning process to experience learning “plateaus” at various times when you just don’t seem to be making progress, etc..  These are usually followed by more rapid improvement “spurts” so you just have to keep at it.  The benefits are well worth it!

How important is it to begin learning with a quality instrument?
This is really important as a poor quality instrument will hamper progress and also tend to suffer breakdown, lack of durability, etc.  If you invest in a good quality instrument at the start and take appropriate care of it, it is not unusual to get close to the price you paid if you do need to sell, upgrade, etc.  This means it’s a “no brainer” to make a wise choice of an appropriate, decent quality instrument throughout your instrument learning journey.  Once again, seek expert advice and be *very* wary of instruments sold online (unless you can verify that they are appropriate quality/condition) or in stores where their main business is non-music items – e.g. groceries, etc.

There are many reasons why someone would join a school music program … the social aspect, learning for fun, learning with a career in music as the goal … What realistic goals should students set themselves to begin with?
Just set out to do your best, enjoy yourself, and learn at your optimum pace.  The most important key to practice is *regularity* – a little bit often is always better than larger chunks too spread out.  Most people who learn instruments will not make a living as performing musicians, but they can have a lifelong participation and enjoyment of it and get all the same benefits as anyone else.

What’s the main criteria for the school which will be chosen for the major prize? What factors do you take into consideration?
Applications that demonstrate that the other key components (supportive administration, excellent teaching staff, physical plant, student interest, etc.) will be considered more favourably.  Submissions will be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of experts, including outside of Yamaha, to choose the winning school.  There are also two “consolation” prizes for the next closest candidates.

Victorian schools wishing to apply must complete the online application by March 16th. For full details please visit

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Posted in Blog, Special Features    //    Post Date - May 25, 2016


Richard Berkman CA is Managing Director of Big Music in Crows Nest. Richard offers some great tax saving tips for musicians.

Tax time is stressful for those working in the music industry. Most of us have multiple income sources including teaching, performing and other full-time or part-time work. Gathering tax information is complicated but ignoring it means you miss opportunities to save big bucks. Here are some top tips to save at tax time*:

Tip #1:  $20,000 instant asset write-off for small business
The biggest opportunity is the current instant tax write-off for small business assets costing up to $20,000.  If you have an ABN and report your income from musical activities for tax – as opposed to music as a hobby – you may be able to purchase gear worth up to $20,000 (each item) before 30 June and get an immediate tax deduction for it this year.

If you’re a performing artist, that could include any gear you need to perform – instruments, amps, effects, PA, lighting and back line.

If you’re a music teacher, maybe it’s time to upgrade your computer or instruments you use to teach.

Remember that what you can legitimately claim depends on what you do and from where you earn income – something to discuss with a tax agent. Which brings us to Tip #2.

Tip #2:  Get a good Tax Agent
An experienced Tax Agent who really understands musicians will help you claim entitlements. A good one will more than cover their cost with the extra tax refund they secure. And their fee is also tax deductible!

Your tax agent will guide you through work-related expenses you can claim – which for a Performing Musician might include:

  • Car expenses
  • Travel expenses
  • Mobile phone bills
  • Clothing/Uniforms
  • Agent fees
  • Insurance
  • Accessories – strings, sticks, books etc
  • Equipment maintenance – set ups, repairs, restrings, etc
  • Home Office – internet, computers and printers, rent, phone bills, electricity
  • Professional library (sheet music, references, dictionaries)
  • Seminars, conferences and Training Courses
  • Technical or Professional Publications
  • Theatre and film tickets
  • Tools and equipment


Tip #3: Don’t procrastinate. Do it now!
A little planning and action before 30 June, then lodging your tax return in July could mean a big fat tax refund a few weeks later. Then you can buy more cool gear. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

*Advice contained in this article is intended for general information purposes and may not apply in all circumstances. Please seek independent advice from a tax professional for your specific situation.

About the author: Richard Berkman CA is Managing Director of Big Music in Crows Nest, Australia’s leading independent musical instrument retail store and music school.

For more info visit and





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Posted in Blog, Special Features    //    Post Date - April 19, 2016

Australian Musician’s Greg Phillips was honoured to chat with Marcus Ryle, President and Founder of Line 6, also one of the developers of the ADAT in his early days. In this 2 part interview, Marcus discusses his early days, Line 6 products and the future.

Line 6 distributed in Australia by Yamaha Music

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Posted in Blog, Special Features    //    Post Date - April 7, 2016


Brian Wilson
The Palais Theatre, St Kilda
Sunday April 3rd 2016

Review by Michael Witheford. Photos by Mary Boukouvalas –

Brian Wilson sits on a couch by himself for two to three hours prior to each concert. Before that he’s forced to face the ordeal of saying hi to thirty or forty people who have paid more than 200 dollars to sit in on the band’s sound-check, and get an autograph and photo with Brian.


Our reviewer Michael with Brian

In the photo we were lucky enough to have taken with the greatest songwriter of the 20th century, after all that, while Brian was on his couch, fifteen minutes before show time, the Beach Boy is smiling … smiling a bit too much. It’s a pained horizontal rictus that he has to yank into place over and over again, night after night, every time an over-excited punter hugs him and mugs for their partner, who fumbles around with their camera for too long before … FLASH… next. FLASH … next.

Who can blame Brian for sitting on the couch in reflection for HOURS after that? The crew and band roll to and fro and take no notice of him. He’s invisible, meditating – and what wouldn’t we give to know what he’s thinking about? Is he hearing new songs? Are there five part harmonies bothering him again? That head enclosing a massive musical tumour where we, the regular humans, the non-genius masses, have dull thudding mediocre brains.

The show began with the religiosity of ‘Our Prayer’, an acapella song which finally saw the light, in its proper place, when the Wilson band, in 2004, recorded the abandoned Smile album from 1967. Just ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’, but in a harmonic density that boggles the mind. And then, bang, ‘Heroes and Villains’. This was a song Wilson was genuinely fearful of listening to in the ‘70s and ‘80s because it was recorded as he suffered his first major psychotic breakdown, and anything from that time freaked the fuck out of him. Nowadays Brian sings the song comfortably, peacefully. And what a song. Wilson had reached the ripe old age of 24 when he lost his mind trying to finish Smile. He was never the same.

But that’s nothing. He was 19 when he wrote his first song ‘Surfer Girl’. And what a gem it remains. “I have watched you on the shore. Standing by the ocean’s roar. Do you love me? Do you Surfer Girl?” The song is in 6/8, or waltz time if you like. Unfashionable at the time. Uncommon. Unusual. Already Brian Wilson was revealing that he was somehow touched by something in the universe that the rest of us couldn’t access.

‘Dance Dance Dance’ is Wilson in prime pop mode, writing for the kids of 1964. And yet of the ten piece band, six are singing different harmonic parts on a rockin’ little tune that the words ‘deceptively complex’ barely cover.

Pic by Mary Boukouvalas

Al Jardine Pic by Mary Boukouvalas

Founding member of the Beach Boys, and the most important member of the band after Wilson, Al Jardine is resplendent in trademark white suit and white Fender Strat. Jardine has stuck by Wilson through every crisis of his life, while other members of the band and entourage and record companies and management have bailed. He is a great, great singer and warm stage presence. And now his son Matt (twice the size of his dad) is handling the falsettos formerly the speciality, if not trademark of Brian.

He does this with particular sensitivity on the intensely gorgeous ‘Don’t Worry Baby’, Wilson’s rough homage to his hero Phil Spector. Brian never believed it, but he raced beyond Spector’s reach as did his Little Deuce Coupe past a Thunderbird, like it was “standing still” in about 1964, the year he wrote this song.

Much has been said, all of it unkind, about Wilson’s own singing these days, but tonight he sounds strong, confident and there are still echoes of the voice which stunned the world in the sixties. In several songs Brian sings the verse before Matt Jardine takes over for the high parts. It’s not a perfect arrangement but in the most part these segues are, if not seamless, never distracting.

Wilson has perfect pitch. That is to say that if drummer Mike D’Amico counts a song in and Brian begins to sing at the moment the band begins to play, he hits that note perfectly, out of the blue.

People born of this earth aren’t able to do that. For all the criticism of his straining a little for high notes he also never EVER sings flat or sharp. The main earache for an audience at a gig is a vocalist who is out of tune. Brian Wilson doesn’t sing out of tune. Ever.

This is why, even now, the Beach Boys’ songs sound so spectral and unearthly. With every member of the new band able to sing more beautifully than the lead singer of most bands you could name, the harmonies are as close to a spiritual experience as an atheist is ever likely to get.

Pic by Mary Boukouvalas

Pic by Mary Boukouvalas

When ’band secretary’ Darian Sahanaja handles the lead vocals on the … well, groovy is probably the best word to describe ‘Darlin’’, every member of the audience is thinking the same thing; “My God, listen to THAT guy!”

Darian was the musical overseer for the recent Love and Mercy biopic, and that’s some job to tackle. Handling real musicians, dressed up to ‘act’ while actually playing live to ensure the authenticity of the moments when Wilson would shout “Stop ! Stop! Wait. Carol, could you come in half a beat earlier in the last bar before the second chorus,” is daunting surely even to a guy with his phenomenal skills. “Ok ‘God Only Knows’ Take 24.”

You can tell that the movie has made an impact. This is a different crowd to that of any other Brian Wilson tour. Probably forty percent more attendees are under 35 than at the first Pet Sounds or Smile concerts in 2002 and 2005.

“Have you seen my movie!?” Brian shouts out at one stage, obviously proud and delighted with what turned out to be an excellent film.

The heat is turned up with the arrival onstage of Blondie Chaplin. A member of The Rolling Stones for 12 years in the 90s and 2000s, rumour has it that Blondie was politely told he’d no longer be needed because he was too dangerous an influence on Keith Richards. And you can almost believe it. He looks like Keef cross-stitched with Lou Reed – in other words, just a leeedle bit scary. He’s absurdly relaxed like Richards and arrives to play on the songs he co-wrote and played on when he was recruited by the Beach Boys for the Holland LP in 1973.

But first he’s handed vocal duties for the genuinely funky ‘Wild Honey’, a Brian song from the 1967 album of the same name. It’s the perfect set up for Chaplin to turn his Les Paul up to 11, and let rip with some soloing which blows your hair back like a sudden gust of wind.

Strutting the very lip of the stage, and suddenly ducking to his knees (soooo Keith) he casually tears strips of the Palais’s antique wallpaper, wandering around with his guitar on radio mic, a la Angus Young, and visiting each member of the band to duck down next to them before continuing his patrol. When he leans forward so close to the front rows that all of them could take his picture, no-one does, for fear that he might not dig that so much.

Chaplin then sings the sublime ‘Sail On Sailor’, written by Brian’s late ‘60s lyricist Van Dyke Parks, and Wilson himself during an especially grim period of his life (with added touches by producer Jack Reiley). A lazy rocker, its bizarre middle-part key changes explode into a soaring chorus. It’s an unforgettable Beach Boys classic, sung on the record and also tonight by Chaplin, his gravelly soulful voice perfectly suiting the bluesy shuffle of the basic backbeat.

There is then a particularly odd choice of song. One I would rate as amongst the band’s worst, ‘Honkin Down The Highway’ from the, let’s say troublesome, Beach Boys Love You LP. It’s a really, really bad song, and what in the wide wide world of sports it’s doing in the set list is anybody’s guess. In fact talk outside at half time was as much about the band choosing the track, when they have several hundred better ones, as much as how brilliant every other moment was.

Now for Pet Sounds from go to woe.


Pic by Mary Boukouvalas

It’s the record that has been voted the best pop LP of all time by half the rock magazines in the world. Just try and process that before they begin. And begin they do with a delightful series of false starts culled from the original recording sessions. The current band wait in the darkness as we hear Brian’s voice from 1966 stopping his session players (chiefly the legendary LA Wrecking Crew) three or four times after three of four bars and having them start again. My god it must have been hard work, but these guys and ladies were getting paid serious money, so long repetitive stints sitting with their instruments wasn’t such a bad thing.

Finally the false starts end and the real one begins and with its jaunty opening ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice?’ kicks off Pet Sounds with a joyful spring. Things turn fairly reflective and self-questioning straight away though with ‘You Still Believe In Me’, Wilson astonished that his true love sticks to him like Araldite when he believes he’s treated her so badly. The drawn out falsetto on the line “I wanna cry”, which drops on the one last syllable through a whole scale is deeply moving.

‘That’s Not Me’ is more upbeat, our hero not interested in anything but being happily in love. “I could try to be big in the eyes of the world. What matters to me is what I could be to just one girl”

The most gentle song on Pet Sounds is ‘Don’t Talk, Put Your Head On My Shoulder’. As light as filigree, with the vocal melody carrying the song more than any other Beach Boys track, the instruments take a backseat to the double-tracked voices. Just some subtle strings and keyboard washes, with an elegiac string accompaniment and echoes of flute.

‘I’m Waiting For The Day’ shifts between thumping drum, timpani and deep layered vocal and verse sections, to tender choruses, highlighting Wilson’s dramatic application of dynamics within each track.

The instrumental ‘Let’s Go Away For A While’ gives Brian the chance to have a pause. At this time he looks exactly like he did on the couch. Detached from the world around him, including the music, but that would be a very lazy assumption. He’s listening very carefully and you can rest assured that if heard a bum note his head would shoot around like a rocket to see who was responsible.

The song is a sumptuous feast of instrumental variety, with the melody at various points being carried by xylophone, then the addition of swelling strings and horns, before a delicate electric guitar interlude. An acoustic guitar and timpanis provide a rhythmic push. It’s like a Hawaiian holiday in your head.

‘Sloop John B’ is the anomaly on Pet Sounds, but is a much beloved cover from the 1920s which was all Beach Boysed up by the band to create a joyful and satisfying singalong. Al Jardine shines here. He has a wonderful voice, and it’s a privilege to see him right here singing his signature song.

What can be said about ‘God Only Knows’? Described by Paul McCartney as the most beautiful song ever written (“I listen to Pet Sounds and I cry”). Brian handles the first verses with aplomb, with Matt Jardine subtly being passed the baton for the high and falsetto parts. Then there’s the bridge where the band get very busy with their harmonies blending the ’ha ah’s and the ‘barm ba barm ba barm’s with the ‘do do doo do do do doo’s’. Crossing and intertwining in a perfect blend. The overlapping “God only knows what I’d be without you” refrains in the outro are lifted even breathlessly higher by the top layer of falsetto. It’s a fucking great song and the standing ovation at the end said as much.

Originally titled ‘Hang On To Your Ego’ before the unspeakable Mike Love whined his arse off about the ’weird’ title, ‘I Know There’s An Answer’ is the least captivating song on Pet Sounds. That is not to say it’s mediocre, but it’s certainly not anyone’s pick as the record’s high point. Compared to the divinity of most of the other songs, it’s just a solid Beach Boys number.

‘Here Today’ sounds a little more like a song from Brian’s best writing in 1964. So it’s brilliant but less experimental than most of the album.

The gob-smacking modernism returns immediately though with ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’. Again Wilson feels like an outsider yearning for love and affection, sensing that the world is spinning too fast, and that spiritual understanding and depth in relationships are being sheared away by the sheer pace of the post-war newly capitalistic America. “I’ve been looking for a place to fit in where I can speak my mind.” The heartbreaking cry of “Sometimes I feel very sad” is so deeply mined from the soul it’s almost unbearable. Just before the last chorus there’s a fade of all the instruments, and in comes a theremin ‘lead break’ which must have blown the 1966 listener into next week. What is THAT?

‘Pet Sounds’ is the second instrumental on the album. Written with a James Bond theme in mind there’s a lot of twang and echo on Nicky Walusko’s guitar as he carries the main melody, accompanied by powerful horns.

The last song on the record is ‘Caroline No’ the most poignant track of them all. Lost love is the great human tragedy and it’s summed up here in the one line “Where did your long hair go? Where is the girl I used to know?” When Matt Jardine sings “Oh Caroline you break my heart I wanna go and cry. It’s so sad to watch a sweet thing die”, you honestly feel that life is worth clinging onto for moments of transcendental beauty like this, so make the most of them. I just closed my eyes and thought, “Here it comes…the greatest moment in musical history. And I’m here looking at the man who created it.”

At 74 years of age, after a decade and a half where his survival seemed unlikely, he’s hanging out in St Kilda. Just think about how special that is.

And that was Pet Sounds. Breathtaking, extraordinary, a masterpiece.

Pic by Mary Boukouvalas

Pic by Mary Boukouvalas

The band return for the “Get up off of your seats” encore, which includes a profoundly satisfying recital of perhaps the greatest pop single ever, “Good Vibrations”, then the stuff that you think was kinda dopey, until you realize how complex the harmonies are; ‘Fun Fun Fun’, ‘Barbara Ann’, ‘Surfing USA’.

Predictably the show closes with Brian’s 1988 song ‘Love and Mercy’, now presumed to be a new track due to the movie of the same name. It’s a sweet, sad, gentle, sensitive, plaintive tune. It’s Brian Wilson summing himself up in two and a half minutes “Why is there so much pain and cruelty? Why are people homeless? Why can’t there be more love?”

There’s so much love from the audience as the last note fades that the roof nearly comes off the Palais. It was a brilliant performance by every member of the band, who all have to work incredibly hard all the time to reproduce Wilson’s studio masterpieces. A night to remember.

After the Brain Wilson show at the Byron Bay Blues Festival, the belligerent Sydney Morning Herald journalist Bernard Zuel savaged the band and Brian for their performance in difficult conditions. A ten piece band with the eleventh being Wilson, had to battle a swirling wind and bad onstage sounds, and that was enough for Zuel to decide that Brian should give it up. He said the band had lost their mojo. It was a spiteful piece of writing and only encouraged the band to deliver a cracking show the next night at the Opera House.

Brian Wilson should give up when he feels like it. Whoever expected after his 2014 Beach Boys 50th anniversary tour that we would see him again? This guy is playing for his fans in his seventies. It’s a miracle and who would bet that he might not be quite done with his visits to Melbourne just yet?

Thanks to Michael for the review. See more of Mary’s photos at


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