Australian News Briefs 3/14

Check out the latest news from downunder.


Aussies Make Mark

Australian acts continue to make their mark on global markets.

Fiery roots act John Butler Trio is on a four-week promo trip through North America and Europe. The act’s new album, Grand National, is confirmed for release in the U.S., New Zealand and France on March 27, with Japan, U.K. and the rest of Europe to follow.

Fifteen-year-old blues singer Gabriella Cilmi is relocating to the United Kingdom end of March. She was signed by Universal for Europe, and co-managed by the Sugababes’ management. Cilmi was signed locally to Mushroom/Warner by A&R president Michael Parisi at age 13.

One-time Laughing Clowns Ed Kuepper and Jeffrey Wegener will return to England in April for the All Tomorrows Parties Festival. The Dirty Three are curating this year’s lineup, which includes Grinderman – the new project for Nick Cave and the Dirty Three’s Warren Ellis – as well as Cat Power, Low, The Scientists, Alan Vega, and The Only Ones.

Panda Band did shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Boston and New York to promote their album on Filter U.S. Recordings.

Melodic power metal band Black Majesty’s July-August European tour continues to add dates. The latest is the Metal Universe Black Sun Festival in Slovakia on July 21.

Brisbane band Dr. Octopus played March 18 at Pattaya Festival in Bangkok to celebrate the Thai king’s 80th anniversary. The act was the included on the bill, after MTV Asia heard their music on MySpace.


Vector Arena Set To Launch

The long-awaited 12,000-capacity Vector Arena in Auckland finally has a launch date: April 19.

The venue will celebrate with a gala event featuring performances by rock bands, indigenous Maori performers, an 88-piece symphony orchestra, Chinese dragons and Scottish bagpipes.

New Zealand previously lacked an indoor arena with more than a 10,000 capacity, and large international shows were usually played outdoors.

Red Hot Chili Peppers are set to play there April 21-22.

The arena took three years and $98 million to build, said Kevin Jacobsen, chairman of QPAM Ltd., which will operate the Vector.

Venue CEO is Bruce Mactaggart. Costs were split between QPAM and the Auckland council. Jacobsen said a 12-month construction delay saw superstar acts such as Pearl Jam and Elton John bypass Auckland.

"New Zealand has been waiting for a venue of this size for ages," Jacobsen said. "As a state of the art venue, I’d match it against anything else in the world of the same size."


Sergeant To Run Suncorp Stadium

Paul Sergeant is new GM of Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Hailing from the U.K., Sergeant has 25 years of experience in sports and events management (he’s overseen 3,000 events) and was given an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to business.

For the past three and a half years, he was CEO of the 74,500-seat Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

He has also been on the executive board of Wembley Stadium and Arena in London.


The Used, Stefani Confirmed

The Used will return for three club dates for Frontier Touring May 25-27. The band’s first appearance downunder was in 2005 for a one-off show in Sydney.

The 2,000 tix for the UNSW Roundhouse in Sydney sold out in five minutes. Frontier was forced to move the show to the Hordern Pavilion, where all 5500 tix disappeared in less than an hour.

Gwen Stefani is doing five arena dates for Michael Chugg Entertainment July 28 to August 7.

Chugg is also behind Southern California post-hardcore quintet Saosin’s first headline tour, with six all-ages dates May 12 to 18. The act won fans on last year’s Taste of Chaos trek.

U.K. band The Magic Numbers, here through April, will also do a club date in Melbourne for Chugg.

Crooner Patrizio Buanne is proving to be a drawcard for Dainty Consolidated Entertainment. Extra dates in May were added for Sydney and Melbourne an hour after tickets went on sale.

Brazilian superstar Monte does two shows only in , on Monday, 21 May and Tuesday, 22 May at the Sydney Opera House.


Augie March Scores AMP Win

Melbourne art-rock band Augie March won the $25,000 cash prize after the band’s album "Moo You Bloody Choir" was judged winner of the Australian Music Prize (AMP) for being the most creative Australian album of 2006.

The band’s drummer Dave Williams told Pollstar that although the album "widened our audience by 10 times," it was a "frustrating" record to make, first when the band became dissatisfied with initial mixes, and then when Sony BMG made a scheduling decision to delay its release by six months.

Goyte’s Like Drawing Blood earned the acoustic electronica act $15,000 courtesy of Red Bull. MySpace members voted hip-hop group Hilltop Hoods’ The Hard Road their fave CD.


Chisel Tribute Show

Top Australian acts are tapped for a Cold Chisel tribute show in Sydney, and possibly Melbourne, in August.

This follows the release in Australia of "Standing On The Outside," of cover versions of their songs by acts including The Living End, Paul Kelly, You Am I, The Waifs, Thirsty Merc, Pete Murray, and Sarah Blasko.

Cold Chisel, fronted by Jimmy Barnes, is considered one of the greatest live acts to emerge from these shores. The band sold more than 1.5 million albums domestically.


Short Notes

Promoter Mark Wilkinson of MW Entertainment confirmed that the Vince Neil tour has been canceled "due to unforeseen circumstances." Tickets are being refunded.

36 Crazyfists’ May visit was nixed a week after it was announced, although tickets had not gone on sale.

Three major Aussie acts confirmed U.S. deals: Augie March has inked with Jive/Zomba, which sees their AMP-winning Moo, You Bloody Choir issued Stateside mid-year.

Eskimo Joe confirmed their U.S. label is Ryko. Rogue Traders, which is signed to Sony BMG in Australia and the U.K., is with Universal Music in the United States.

Crowded House chose Matt Sherrod as replacement drummer for the late Paul Hester. Sherrod, who plays with Beck, will feature on their upcoming album Time On Earth, as will British guitarist Johnny Marr.

Secret Service and Village Sounds’ annual Splendour in The Grass festival is moved from July to the August 4-5 weekend.

John Mellencamp told journalists he plans to promo here in May.

Police charged a barmaid in a Melbourne nightclub with serving a shot of cleaning liquid to a patron.

Aspiring Sydney musician Damian McDonald’s first book "Luck In The Greater West," about drug-fuelled crime in Sydney’s west, won him the $10,000 ABC Fiction Award.

After the big success of Aussie promoter Kevin Jacobsen’s "Dirty Dancing" in London, other Aussie musical productions "Priscilla Queen Of The Desert" and "Dusty The Musical" are to announce U.K. runs.

Just weeks after announcing a $20,000 music fellowship under the name of the late Go-Betweens co-leader Grant McLennan to allow young songwriters to live abroad, the Queensland government offered a scholarship to an aspiring musician in memory of Billy Thorpe.

Hard rockers 28 Days say their farewells with 42 shows.

New Zealand performer Aly Cook has signed a management deal with John and Sue Stevens of Imagine Me & You Corporation.

NZ band Steriogram’s guitarist Brad Carter went into partnership with E-commerce company Conduit in a Web site called Txttunes. It allows NZ musicians to set up their tracks for download and get a 20 percent to 50 percent commission, and text fans when playing their neighbourhood.

Blues guitarist and singer Fiona Boyes, who recently relocated with her partner and manager Steve Clarke to Charlotte, North Carolina, finds her album Lucky 13 is up for contemporary blues album of the year at the Blues Music Awards. They will be announced May 10 in Memphis. Boyes was announced 2007 Maton Artist of the Year at the Port Fairy Festival mid-March.