Thirty-two years on, as their legendary status has grown, most people are aware that Strange Tenants were the pre-eminent Australian ska and reggae band of the 1980s. Thousands of fans swarmed to their gigs up and down the east coast of Australia. Founded by the Ska brothers, Ian and Bruce Hearn, Strange Tenants played their first gig at the Lygon Street Festa in Melbourne on 7 November 1981. They became overnight sensations on the Melbourne inner-city live scene and received rave reviews upon the release of their self-titled debut mini-album, recorded only weeks after their first gig. Their record success on alternative radio stations gave the band a national profile and almost immediately they started touring nationally. In the two-tone tradition, but long before it became fashionable in Australia, Strange Tenants have always infused their music with social commentary, evidenced by their anti-war songs Soldier Boy, Cannon Fodder and Ground Point Zero, their anti-fascist anthem Two Steps Back and their classic song about poverty, Hard Times. After a long lay-off they recently began playing again, becoming a featured act at the 2013 Melbourne International Festival, and toward the end of 2013 released a new single, Who mines the riches? a tribute to the dignity of labour and a comment on the greed of mining tycoons. Byron Brewery on Saturday. Tickets: $20 pre-paid / $25 door / venue or via www.facebook.com/events/1514946485396257.
Throughout the years Ash Bell has found himself in many musical incarnations; whether playing punk rock drums or wielding a low-slung bass in metal bands, it was as a singer/guitarist that he felt most at home. Performing solo sets in pubs around Sydney saw Ash gain a reputation as the quintessential Australian balladeer.
In 2009, Ash Bell began collaborating with local bass player Matt Bone. This soon developed into Starboard Cannons. Upon the release of their debut album, Somebody’s Opus in 2012, Ash received national attention for his songwriting and unique vocal approach. He won the North Coast Entertainment Industry Award for Best Male Vocal. The album has been featured on more than 80 community radio stations across Australia, as well as the ABC and Triple J.
Ash possesses a unique Australian voice, both as a songwriter and performer. His stories are personal and he invites the listener into his private world. He is not bound by genre or style, but his influences run deep and inform his work. Audiences are captured by this passionate songwriter and are responding with great enthusiasm to his originality and warm stage presence.
See Ash at the No Depression Gig at the Gollan Hotel in Lismore tonight, Thursday March 13.
Tony Fallon has over 25 years’ experience playing music in pubs and clubs throughout Qld and NSW. In recent years he worked as lead guitarist and frontman for Fossil Rock. Currently Tony fronts his own rock covers trio, Skydaddy. When not busy with his band, Tony throws together a slick solo set of well-known covers from the 70s until now. Catch him at the Ocean Shores Tavern on Friday.
Suddenly Last Summer Safari
Summer is ending, signalling that Byron Bay’s Sunday Safari will once again wrap up their unparalleled tropical dance parties for the time being. Not without a bang, however… A reunion of the one and only Bang Gang DJs, in fact! In the ultimate collaboration of summer and dance music, every young person recognises the Bang Gang DJs for the huge role they’ve played in Australia’s music scene. This very special event will pay homage to late legend and former Bang Gang member, DJ Ajax. DJs Beni, Dangerous Dan, Gus da Hoodrat and Double Nolan will come together once again to pay respects to their brother, with an all-star supporting lineup of Wordlife, Osima, Cutsnake and Safari DJs. Sunday at the Beach Hotel.
Sexy pub rock sensations Shybaby are busier than backwood beavers this weekend as they perform a rare local double-header. Fresh from a summer break and armed with new drummer Karl ‘The Butcher’ Perske, the Byron-based fab four unleash their sassy, sweaty and downright seductive show this Friday at Mullum’s Middle Pub from 7.30pm and Saturday at The Lennox from 9.30pm.
Camels at the Pub
The Camel Tones return to the Billi Pub this Saturday with their brand of tha funkin’ dance blues from Al Green to Willie Dixon and beyond. So come on down to the backyard at the Billi with The Camel Tones, with very special guest guitarist and fab vocalist Guy Kachel, and the man himself on bass Mr Ric Crothal, on the drums the mighty Pete (Garter) Wilkins and also on guitar ’n’ vox Tim Longworth. From 7pm!
Byron’s favourite folk/roots artist Sue-Anne Stewart is back in Byron! After releasing her much-anticipated album Gypsy Blood, Sue-Anne has been enjoying airplay Australia-wide along with some pretty impressive supports. Her most recent was with Mat McHugh of The Beautiful Girls and Bobby Alu. Catch her on Saturday at the Treehouse.
Sharny at the Kat
Seasoned jazz diva Sharny Russell joins the resident trio Steve Russell, Thierry Fossemalle and Dave Sanders at Byron Bay’s new weekly jazz club – The Blue Kat on Wednesday. ABC Jazz recording artist and APRA Australian Song Writing Competition award winner Sharny Russell’s vocal and pianistic talents are well recognised throughout the Australian jazz music community including being dubbed one of Australia’s best scat singers. Also appearing will be highly acclaimed flugelhorn player John Hoffman join the trio for the night. Doors open at 7pm, 8pm start. $12 on the door. www.facebook.com/TheBlueKatByron
Uke and Friends
Come on down to Tumbulgum Tavern for Uke Night with Stukulele and friends this Thursday and sing and strum along to the new songbook – this month full of songs with no more than four chords. We will be getting in early for Paddys Day with a few Irish ditties and, as always, audience participation is heartily encouraged. Chargrill and pizza from 5pm, strumming 7–9pm. Entry $10 adults; kids under 15 FREE. Songbook available for download at www.ukenight.com.
After wowing Australian crowds last October, both with powerful solo performances and as bass player of NAHKO and Medicine for the People on their national tour with Xavier Rudd, USA’s singer/ songwriter/ author/ activist Dustin Thomas returns to Australia to launch his recent debut album, Mountain High, with an appearance at the Brewery this week. Thomas sings about everything from Fukushima to the ocean and beyond. ‘I’ve gone so many ways with songs; some spiritual, some prayerful, some reflective and political, some full of longing and heartache, some joyful, triumphant, ecstatic, and adoring.’ Combining meditations on social justice and contemporary spirituality with hymns both beautiful and striking, Thomas invites his audience to join him on a universal quest for truth – asking honest questions of love, loss, worship and war, through songs that channel joy, bravery and grace. Friday at The Byron Brewery.
Rainbow Pilots on course for the Beach
Dreamed up under the shade of Byron Bay’s pandanus trees, Pilots are the newest prospects to emerge from our Rainbow Region. Formed in late 2012 by good friends Kit Bray, Byron Carney and Harry Deacon, Pilots make the kind of ceremoniously uplifting indie surf rock that sounds like something for which you’ve inadvertently been searching but never dreamed that you could find.
Friday 9pm at Beach Hotel.
Underscoring Great Music
Balkan Klezmer Gypsy Jazz Swing and Belly Dance both original and traditional.
Syncopated rhythms and original dance vignettes. Guaranteed to get you up and dancing. Guaranteed to boost your bravado and perk your package, tempt your temptress with The Underscore Orkestra.
Sheoak Shack on Saturday at 7pm.
Hot off the success of their first studio album release in 20 years, This Is Not The End, and its Top 20 ARIA Album Chart debut, iconic Aussie rockers Baby Animals are thrilled to announce a new Australian tour Feed The Birds Part II.
Fronted by Suzie DeMarchi, Baby Animals strike a familiar pose with guitarist Dave Leslie returning for action, Dario Bortolin on bass and Mick Skelton on drums. The Feed The Birds tour is named after the infamous Baby Animals tradition of pouring red wine into the mouths of fans in the front row – from Suzie’s own! See the Babies on Saturday, Coolangatta Hotel.
Fi’s Dream Album
Li’l Fi didn’t get her Pozible campaign pledge target, but that’s not stopping her. She’s going to forge ahead with the album anyway.
If you made a pledge online and are still keen to support the glorious Li’l Fi – then email her at [email protected] and she’ll step you through the donation process.
SubStation are a four-piece heavy rock band from Lismore. Formed in 2011 out of a mutual love of rock and partying, they now bring rock and partying to their audiences with high energy and passionate rock shows. SubStation are currently recording their first album and playing as many shows as possible. See them at the Tatts Hotel Back Room in Lismore on Saturday supported by World War XXXIV and Spanx.
Starry starry Nite
Nitestar are Mister D, Star and The Roostar. As a three-piece unit Nitestar play relentless and tight from start to finish. With great sound guys out front to make sure it’s just right every time
If you enjoy live music served up like it should be, this is it.
Thursday Beach Hotel Byron, 9pm and Saturday Cherry St Bowlo, Ballina 7.30pm.
The showstoppers from Bleach* 2013 Violent Soho headlined last year’s rock’n’roll party and brought the house down. That’s why they totally deserve the honours again this year.
Their achievements in the past 12 months have been astonishing. Their album, Hungry Ghost, debuted at #6 on the ARIA charts and featured heavily on Triple J, and sold-out shows across the country have become the norm for this sought-after outfit. See the Soho with support Bad Dreems and The Sinking Teeth at the Currumbin SoundLounge from 7.30pm on Friday
Skilful lyrical imagery with Loren
Loren gives an incredibly personal record through his music with an honesty and depth that shines. He possesses a rare energy onstage that demands attention, and has the natural gift of being able to tell a story in a song with skilful lyrical imagery, while delicately balancing self-expression and audience connection. With an extraordinary but versatile and compelling voice, he absorbs inspiration from worldly destinations, life experiences from deep within himself and from some of the great songwriters and musicians that walked before him, channelling it into something original, captivating and dynamic.
Check him out this Sunday at the Sphinx Rock Cafe, Mt Burrell from 1pm.
Blonde Chocolate was formed in 2008 after years of performing with various other acts, realising that most cover bands had exactly the same repertoire.
The wanted to create a band that would be able to play the same old favourites everyone else played along with, an up-to-date range of modern popular music and jazz and swing.
This means they work endlessly at increasing and expanding their song list – with sophisticated dinner music through to fun, energetic party music.
See them at the South Tweed Sports Club on Saturday
Trio Lets Rip at the rails
The Soren Carlbergg Trio will be frothing and ripping at their favourite gig, The Rails, on Saturday. A bold, brash and blue approach to the music is the idea – a collection of original and blues covers gets a fair wolloping from the boys, worked over, ripped apart, rebuilt and delivered with gusto to the ever-appreciative Rails crowd. ‘Nothing under the sun is truly original,’ explains Carlbergg, ‘but we sure do our darndest to make it sound that way’. The fun begins at 7pm and reaches climatic fury about 10.
Dubbed as the northern rivers’ very own supergroup, The Feramones are composed of myriad internationally acclaimed musicians. Rick Fenn is lead guitarist with Alan Limbrick also on guitar. On keyboards is Alan Park, Cliff Richard’s musical director and pianist for more than two decades. Bass player is Greg Lyon. Lead vocalist Col Germano is best known as the singer/songwriter for 80s/90s hard-rock band Bourbon Street, and Rick Lloyd is one of this country’s most talented and highly regarded drummers. Their pure love for the music creates a festive atmosphere that inspires all walks of life to join the party on the dance floor. Ballina RSL on Friday.
Enjoy a Dusty, Sinatra and Janis tribute when Sharon Rowntree celebrates the music of the most popular divas of the 1960s. Sharon’s amazing interpretations of the most celebrated divas of the 20th century – Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black, Nancy Sinatra, Sandy Shaw, Janis Joplin, Lulu and Petula Clark – have enthralled audiences around the country. Tix $49.90pp, which includes a 2-course dinner and show. On sale at www.ballinarsl.com.au or at the Club on 6686 2544. Box Office transaction fees apply. Friday Ballina RSL at 8pm.
Manitoba Hal is a consummate bluesman, having toured the globe extensively with a ukulele. Despite his Canadian heritage he sounds like he grew up in the Deep South of the US and plays raw, swamp, delta, Cajun and zydeco-style blues. Hal developed the blues sound when he lived in Winnipeg Manitoba (where he also got his name). ‘Winnipeg, often referred to as the Chicago of the north, is situated in a delta between the Red and Assiniboine rivers. When I found that music inside me, I came alive and my soul started expressing itself in songs that flowed with that music. The blues is where my soul came into this world. Where it will end up I don’t know but I’m ready for the journey,’ says Manitoba Hal.
Direct from headlining the Melbourne Ukulele Festival, Uke Mullum presents Manitoba Hal: Workshop and Concert at the Court House Hotel, Mullumbimby, Sunday from 3.30pm. $25 on the door.
Sunnyboys back on the road
This is what Noel Mengel of the Courier Mail said about The Sunnyboys: ‘There are other Australian albums as great as Sunnyboys’ 1981 debut, Sunnyboys. There aren’t any that are better. Hearing it again 32 years later, it still feels like one of the best rock’n’roll debut albums ever, one of those collisions of bright-eyed youthful energy, lyrical intensity and razor-sharp rock’n’roll instincts that couldn’t have been scripted. Like singer and chief songwriter Jeremy Oxley’s assured, expressive guitar playing, something about this music hits you in the guts, the heart and the head. It says all you need to know about being young and alive, with all those doubts, joys, heartache and hopes. And it rocks!’
After re-forming for the 2012 concert at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, with the original lineup, the band went on to put on a show that had audiences in disbelief that these post-punk rockers could still pull out the gold.
These legends of the Australian music industry play at the Hotel Great Northern on Friday with The V-Rays. Tickets $55 + bf on sale from thenorthern.oztix.com.au, phone 6685 6454 or in person at all Oztix outlets.
After a long and seasoned career as a bassist and sideman to many, clocking up an impressive list of albums and international tours along the way, Bill Jacobi has more recently been settling into the north coast life style and embracing the roll of singer songwriter, solo performer and one-man band.
As a solo artist, Bill uses foot percussion, lap slide and open tuned guitars, and a combination of finger picking and bassline driven rhythm that snakes and rattles around songs both evocative and passionate.
See Bill tonight Thursday March 13 at the Nimbin Hotel 6pm, Friday at the Cudgen Leagues Club 7pm and Saturday at the Slipway Hotel, Ballina 7pm