Australian News 1/1

Emmanuel, Mika Axe Visits

Nashville-based Australian guitar virtuoso Emmanuel canceled his late December tour after his punishing schedule acerbated a heart condition.

The tour was to start on Christmas Eve with an appearance at the nationally televised "Carols By Candelight" and end a month later with a homecoming run at the Tamworth country music festival.

The 52-year-old has managed to keep his heart problem under control with medication, but now admits he’s too exhausted.

Emmanuel performed 288 concerts around the world in 2007 and is in the middle of filming a new DVD, an instructional video and a two-CD set.

"I’m taking some time to get my body and soul to where I’m at my best again," Emmanuel said.

U.K. act Mika withdrew from V Festival Australia, saying he was running late in recording his second album.

V Festival will add more acts to its bill in early January. Acts already announced include Smashing Pumpkins, Duran Duran, Queens of the Stone Age, Jesus & Mary Chain and AIR.


Jewish Leaders Split On ‘Nazi’ Band

Leaders of the Jewish community are divided over the upcoming tour of Croatian rock band Thompson, which has been accused of holding Nazi sympathies.

Manny Waks, executive director of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, met with the Immigration Minister to request that the band be refused entry visas.

Anton Block, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, said the band had a right to perform in Australia providing it does not break any laws.


Raves Get Bad Rap

Dance parties are in the spotlight after two drug-fuelled incidents in Victoria.

Three revelers were carted off to hospital at the December 13 Daft Punk concert at the Myer Music Bowl before 15,000 fans. Thirty fans needed on-site treatment.

Promoter Michael Coppel Presents and the Metropolitan Ambulance Service traded barbs in the press. MCP denied claims by the MAS that requests to have a proper ambulance on site were rejected.

MCP’s Michael Coppel said there were 15 St. Johns ambulance officers, a doctor and a nurse on site.

A few days earlier, three were taken to hospital and put on life support at the Ultraworld Festival attended by 5,000 at the regional town of Ballarat’s Krystal Castle, organised by Harware Corp and Killrockstar Entertainment.

It looks as though dance parties will be banned from the venue, according to sources in the local council.

The town’s doctors are pushing for a ban, saying that someone will die there one day. But drug education group VIVAIDS blamed over-zealous police it claimed scared ravers into swallowing all their drugs rather than risk arrest.


New Web Site For Tamworth

The Tamworth country music festival launched Web site, offering what director Steve Bartlett called a one-stop guide to events, maps, accommodation and transport.

More than 50,000 are expected January 18-27 to witness 800 artists at more than 2,200 shows, concerts and other events at about 80 venues.

Country singers Gina Jeffreys and Adam Brand will also post a daily report on the site.


Perth Stadium To Go Ahead

The stalemate between the Western Australian state government and the WA Football Commission over Perth’s 60,000-capacity, $850 million concert and sports stadium has been broken.

The government wanted it built at either Kitchener Park in Subiaco or East Perth, but the WAFC has said it preferred the refurbishment of Subiaco Oval.

A day-long meeting produced an agreement that saw the WAFC relinquish its lease on Subiaco Oval, while the government would recompense it for any losses in revenue incurred because of the move.


Walsh Moves To Star City

Xavier Walsh, chief of Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast, is moving to Sydney to head up the $300 million refurbishment program of Star City Casino.

When at Jupiters, he oversaw a $53 million revamp of the 21-year-old complex. In his new role as the executive director of strategy and commercial development, Walsh will play an integral role in the growth and development of Tabcorp’s casinos division.

This includes Star City, Conrad Jupiters, Conrad Treasury Brisbane and Jupiters Townsville.


Short Notes

Sydney police started a voluntary trial in inner-city Sydney nightclubs in which 1 a.m. lockouts and plastic cups will be introduced on weekends.

Under the trial, all glasses will be removed from patrons at 1 a.m. The move came after a series of drunken fights in clubs where brawlers have been slashed by glasses.

The wettest December on record has lead to the Peats Ridge Festival being canceled. Organisers said that ground conditions made it unsafe for patrons. The bill included De La Soul, Sarah Blasko and Neville Staples Specials.

Wikked Bliss Entertainment locked in W.A.S.P. for four theatre shows April 8-15.

Chugg Entertainment added three arena shows for John Fogerty in addition to his appearances at four blues festivals March 16-27.

Australia was one of the biggest markets per capita for Canada’s Tea Party, so it’s not surprising that the band’s leader, Jeff Martin, continues to return, with five club and festival shows downunder.

Michael Coppel Presents added two extra arena dates for Matchbox Twenty’s visit in April. Civil Society added two club shows for the debut visit in January by Brooklyn’s The National.

Jack Johnson remains a big drawcard downunder. His first show, at the outdoor Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, sold out to 13,000 in two days. The Brisbane show at the Riverstage also sold out quickly, reported Michael Coppel Presents.

Tickets to Arcade Fire’s first Australian headline shows in Sydney and Melbourne in January sold out in hours, leading to quickly added second dates.