2017...the year that was...and yes I have Sinatra's ''It Was a Very Good Year'' going through my head. Actually, it had its ups and downs but I'll focus only on theultra good, in no particular chronology.
My musical year started with a performance with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra as my backing band at The Tivoli. in Brisbane. We played my most recent album “Lost Cities” in its entirety, as well as a selection of material I did for the “Last Cab to Darwin” soundtrack, plus earlier solo and Laughing Clowns tunes. “Ghost Gum” and “Collapse Board” were real high points for me.
Richard Davis conducted and made the transition from the garage to the concert hall for me not only possible but an enjoyable experience. Robert Davidson did the orchestral arrangements and brought the songs to life in a context I'd often dreamed about doing but hadn't actually heard.
Richard Wenn put the whole thing together. It would not have happened without him. His enthusiasm for bypassing the “greatest hits” approach and general tenacity made it work. Thank you, Richard.
We did the show again in Cairns a little while later, this time with a slightly trimmed-back orchestra (even flat-stacking them, there are only so many orchestral musicians that fit into the back of my ute.)
This was also great and quite different due to the smaller orchestra. The whole thing has been a great learning curve for me. Thanks, one and all.
The next thing I went on to do was what was announced as my last ‘’Solo and By Request'' tour, this time taking in all those out of the way and rural places I don't get to that often. The idea for these shows started in 2013.
Original UK punk act the Buzzcocks kick-off their 40th Birthday celebrations this March with a tour of Australia and New Zealand. The stars of Dig it Up! 2013 return for the Golden Plains Festival plus headline shows across most capitols. Guests include HITS and Ausmuteants.
Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto formed Buzzcocks in Bolton in February 1976. The band, completed by the addition of Steve Diggle and John Maher, opened for the Sex Pistols in Manchester on July 20th, a follow up to the now (in)famous Lesser Free Trade Hall gig which Devoto and Shelley had organised the month before.
In 2012, a reformed Sunnyboys delivered arguably the most emotional comeback of any Australian band in living memory. More on that soon. Three years later, they’ve given us the most unlikely of resurrected albums, with a stunning re-issue of their second record, “Individuals”.
Originally released in May 1982 when the band was poised to take the Australian charts by the throat, it sold respectably but ultimately foundered under the weight of massive expectations and a curiously subdued mix.
The discovery of a previously lost rough mix among the estate of their late producer and manager (as well as legendary guitarist), Lobby Loyde, cast a new light on a largely overlooked record. The new version sounds as lively and dynamic as the band’s “Sunnyboys” debut from 1980.
It’s time to kiss and make up. When “Individuals” was released back in 1982, as a follow-up to the Sunnyboys’ barnstorming eponymous debut, it was justifiably unloved by many.
The songs were…good…but slower. Its lead-off single, the curious “This Is Real”, was stilted and a million miles removed from the infectious “Happy Man” and “Alone With You”. The biggest drawback, however, was the record’s lifeless production which reduced the sound of the Sunnyboys to an empty husk. It lacked warmth and sounded distant.
It’s been a long time between shows but Sunnyboys are re-emerging for a three-state Australian winter tour.
When they last toured in 2020 Sunnyboys chose the salubrious surrounds of Taronga Zoo, Melbourne’s Forum and the like; this time though, the band will get down and sweaty playing intimate venues more akin to their breakout year of 1981.
Melbourne pop-rockers Even will join the fun in Sydney and Melbourne while former Screaming TribesmanMick Medew will bring his band The Mesmerisers to Brisbane and Byron Bay. All shows are on-sale tomorrow May 6 at feelpresents.com
Sunnyboys JULY 1 – Factory Theatre Sydney + Even 9 – The Corner, Melbourne + Even + Little Murders 15 – Great Northern, Byron Bay + Mick Medew & The Mesmerisers| 16 – Princess Theatre, Brisbane, + Mick Medew & The Mesmerisers Tix here
Ten years on from their glorious live return following a 21-year hiatus, Sunnyboys have announced a final summer tour and the last ever live shows. No animosity, no musical differences, just the satisfaction of a job well done and knowing that it’s time.
The Last Dance Tour will run in conjunction with the release of “Sunnyboys ’81-’84” a double vinyl band curated best-of featuring all the hits, the equally-as-good B-sides, fan faves, rarities and live material - many appearing on vinyl for the first time - and all drawn from their years as Mushroom Records recording artists.
“Sunnyboys ’81-’84” will be released in a limited edition of blue vinyl and is released on November 11.
Tickets for the tour go on sale tomorrow. Dates after the See More link.
"Let There Be Rock!" brings together three long-standing heavyweights of the Australian underground rock scene: The Celibate Rifles, Hard-Ons - Official and The New Christs in celebration of the life of Andrew Gillies.
"Gillsey", as he was more affectionately known, was a fixture at shows by all three of these iconic Sydney acts for over 30 years - the first decade as a resident of Sydney and the remaining two in the Northern NSW town of Uki. Even the tyranny of distance would pose no problem to Andrew’s enthusiasm and drive to see, and support, his musical heroes.
In addition to being a major fan of all these acts, young Andy also served as stage tech for the Hard-Ons touring Australia, Europe and the USA from the late '80s through the early '90s, a role he also commandeered for Ratcat, Ed Kuepper, Died Pretty and others.
A slipped disc while working as carpenter reduced his participation in such activity reduced him to more domestic tasks, though, he still continued to tour Europe with his beloved Hard-Ons working as their merchandise seller right up until 2017.
By the time you read this, Ed Kuepper and his new favourite band The Aints will be ensconced in Phil Punch’s Sydney studio, recording their new album.
“The Church of Simultaneous Existence” was previewed on the recent runs of Aints shows across Australia, and will consist mostly of old songs intended for a fourth album by the early (definitive) version of the Kuepper-Bailey Saints.
The Aints lineup is Peter Oxley (bass), Paul Larsen (drums) and Alister Spence (keys) with Kuepper on vocals and guitar, backed by a three-piece horn section. The photo at right of Peter Oxley in the studio yesteday is courtesy of Feelpresents.
Last Friday night at Sydney's Marrickville Bowling Club, The Aints played a bracket of the album songs in their entirety. They backed up that blistering show with an appearance the following night at the Gumball festival in the Hunter Valley..
Did we say recording “a new album” (singular)? The Aints are also recording a new Ed Kuepper album - with strings.
It’s the same “electric trio” configuration that appeared with Ed and the Nonsemble Strings at Leftys Old Time Musical Hall in Brisbane in December 2017.
No release dates have been announced for either album but mixing sessions have been scheduled, so watch this space.
Ten years after their last album, to say Adelaide's The Mark Of Cain still conveys a wrecking ball punch is like saying China has a lot of people. TMOC occupies the space where hardcore, punk and metal collide and makes unique with a lyrical heaviness that makes listening to Black Sabbath a Sunday walk in the park. This is a band that projects more menace in the space of nine songs than most manage over as many albums.
It is literally the hottest ticket in town - Sunnyboys at Sydney's Factory Theatre - and nearly as desirable everywhere else. After selling out their two shows at the inner-west venue in just four days, Sunnyboys are pleased to announce a third and final Sydney show.
The new date is Sunday, February 11 at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville with support (again) from the Celibate Rifles. The gig runs over the schoolnight-friendly times of 6-9.30pm.
The sold-out shows are the fastest-selling Sydney Sunnyboys shows since the band’s reunion in 2012. Elsewhere, the iconic band - born in the ‘80s but with all-time appeal - set a first-day sales record at Sunshine Coast venue The Shed @ Aussie World, selling a third of all tickets.
It's the band’s first performance on the Coast since their reformation and just their third appearance in the region ever, their last visit being in 1983 at the Noosa Hop, an all day festival featuring Skyhooks, Midnight Oil, The Church and others.
Four years into their re-birth, Australian pop-rock champions the Sunnyboys are unleashing a live album on CD. “Best Seat In The House” was recorded at Enmore Theatre in March 2015 and will be released on February 27 through Feel Presents and Inertia.
You can read our live review here but rest assured that the band was in blistering form, playing with as much energy and vitality as they did in their first life more than 30 years ago.
Tracks include live favourites “Tunnel Of Love”, “I’m Shakin’” and “The Seeker” plus the hits “Happy Man”, “Show Me Some Discipline”, “You Need A Friend” and “Alone With You”.
A heads-up that the Sunnyboys' February 2018 Australian tour is selling like wildfire with one Sydney gig (February 10) at Marrickville's Factory Theatre sold out in 36 hours, and tickets for a just-added extra date (February 9) now 85 percent gone.
Is it a surprise? No.
The fact is that the second all-oringal member incarnation of the Sunnyboys has now lasted longer than the band did in its first life.
The time around, without the pressure of recording schedules and the demand for chart hits and with a mutual love and respect for the music they made, Sunnyboys can just do what they do best; play live.
Joining the fun will be Sydney surf-punksThe Celibate Rifles, who have carved out their own indelible history in the Australian music scene over a 35+ year period. The Rifles will join Sunnyboys for their first show on the Sunshine Coast since 1982; the Sunnyboys' first Brisbane performance since 2015, and most other dates.
Melbourne fun-punksPainters & Dockers, will join the rejuvenated Sunnyboys for a massive Melbourne Zoo performance.
SUNNYBOYS SUMMER 2018
special guests: The Celibate Rifles and Painters & Dockers.
Australia's iconic Sunnyboys love a party and they're inviting their fans to one on October 8 with a one-off gig in hometown Sydney.
Wednesday, October 8 at The Factory Theatre is where you'll need to be. It is a limited capacity event and tickets will sell fast.
To ensure your best chance to secure a ticket all you need do is sign up to the mailing list for promoters Feel Presents. The link is here. You'll receive an email on Friday, August 15 with the final ticketing details.
They really are unstoppable and they shouldn’t be. Not at this stage of the game. Their goals might be modest - to have a good time reprising their own past, in the hope that you will too - but that doesn’t underplay how good the reincarnated Sunnyboys are on “Best Seat In The House”.
It’s officially their second live album but really their third (1993’s rough and ready “Shakin’” on Phantom seems to have been disowned) and it perfectly captures the band in all their pop-rock glory, playing the final gig on a mostly sold-out Australian run in March 2015.