Australian News Briefs 3/29

Check out the latest batch of news from downunder.


U.S. Break For Catherine Britt

Emerging Aussie country singer/songwriter Catherine Britt has a boost in her career in America. She’s been announced to join a 25-city arena tour with Brooks & Dunn and Alan Jackson.

It starts in May and will put her in front of 500,000 people.

Britt is signed to RCA in America, and about to record an album with producer Brett Beavers. Britt is also one of the faces of a new Garnier marketing campaign in the U.S.


East Coast Bluesfest Sells Out

The 18th East Coast Blues and Roots festival, to be held in picturesque Byron Bay over the five-day Easter weekend, sold out its total of 80,000 tickets.

Its sister festival, The West Coast Blues ‘n’ Roots Festival, held in Fremantle, Western Australia, also sold out.

Founder and co-promoter Peter Noble said this year’s bill is "the best we’ve ever had."

It includes Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals, John Mayer, Missy Higgins, Wolfmother, Bonnie Raitt, Bo Diddley, Taj Mahal, Tony Joe White, The Roots, Lee Scratch Perry, Kasey Chambers, John Butler Trio, and New Zealand’s Fat Freddy’s Drop.


SXSW Report

Talent managers Rae Harvey, Gregg Donovan, Daniel Caneva, Patrick O’Rourke, Scott Adam, and Liz O’Rourke did the most business at South By Southwest in Austin.

Their respective bands Children Collide, Airbourne, Josh Pyke, Dallas Crane, The Gear, Panda Band, and Expatriate fielded the most offers from labels and agents.

The Australian Music Collective’s Aussie BBQ showcase was packed. It drew record company presidents, European media, lawyers, agents, digital heads and even movie actor Elijah Wood. NBC and CBS national news covered the event.

The AMC’s Tour + 61 showcases in Los Angeles, New York and London were also well received. A documentary is being made of these.

In other news, Beasts Of Bourbon played with a roadie because the band’s drummer had visa hassles, the bassist fell over and Tex Perkins gashed his head on a microphone.

During a Dallas Crane set, some lads up front booed when they said they were going to do a ballad. "We want righteous rock and roll!" bawled one, so the band cranked up a version of Led Zep’s "Whole Lotta Love."

Promoters Viv Lees of Big Day Out, Peter Noble of the East Coast Blues & Roots Festival and AJ Maddah of KMW were also in attendance looking for new acts to tour downunder.


NT Introducing Tests For Bouncers

The Northern Territory government will introduce new laws on July 1 that will subject security guards to random drug and alcohol tests.

New police powers allow them to turn up at a nightclub to get breath tests, and three days notice to be given a urine sample to test for drugs.

The laws bring NT in line with the rest of the country.


Australia Welcomes Urban

Keith Urban charmed Australia during a weeklong promo visit to set up his May tour for Chugg Entertainment.

A morning appearance at Sydney’s Martin Place for the cameras of Seven Network’s "Sunrise" drew 1,000 fans. Some camped overnight. One came from Adelaide, and got her cowboy boots signed.

A week later, Urban’s Love Pain And The Whole Crazy Thing album jumped to No. 24 from No. 42 on the official ARIA charts.

Subiaco Oval Decision Delayed

The West Australian government’s taskforce on Perth’s new 70,000-capacity stadium has delayed the presentation of its report to mid-April.

It has four sites in mind, including renovating the existing 43,000-seat Subiaco Oval, and establishing new venues at Kitchener Park, the East Perth power station, and the site of the old Burswood theatre.

In recent weeks, two new proposals have been put up by two businessmen. One is for the stadium to be built on state-owned 40 hectares of bush at Shenton Park, which is on the railway line. The other is for the 24 hectare Irwin Barracks army base at Karrakatta.

Meantime, the new $10 million sports and entertainment stadium in Mackay, in Queensland might move to the southern part of the city. The current site, at Paget, has water, transport and sewage problems.


Dame Kiri Wins

New Zealand opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa came out on top following a lawsuit from promoter Leading Edge Events seeking damages from her after she canceled performances with John Farnham in 2005.

She apparently pulled out after watching a Farnham DVD in which the Australian pop star’s fans throw underwear at him onstage.

The NSW Supreme Court justice Patricia Bergin found that Te Kanawa might have discussed the idea of doing some shows, but had not signed a contract. Bergin said the real reason for Te Kanawa pulling out of the shows had to do with Farnham failing to attend a planning meeting with the classical singer, leaving her "extremely resentful."

Leading Edge Events wanted $2 million in compensation – $600,000 plus 25 percent of the shows’ potential profits. Leading Edge was awarded $128,063 for costs incurred for the shows.

An editorial in a New Zealand newspaper said that even though Te Kanawa won the court case, she needed to "lighten up."

MTV Honours Poverty Concert Organisers

Hugh Evans and Daniel Adams from the Oaktree Foundation, who organised a "Make Poverty History" concert last year in Melbourne, will be awarded for their efforts.

The show, at the Myer Music Bowl, made international headlines when members of U2 and Pearl Jam unexpectedly arrived to perform Neil Young’s "Rockin’ In The Free World."

The show also included Aussie acts Jet, Hilltop Hoods, Sarah Blasko, John Butler Trio, Eskimo Joe, Evermore, Paul Kelly, and Lior. It drew 45,000 people to the Bowl, and broadcast globally to 25 million.

Evans and Adams will be presented with the Free Your Mind at the MTV Australia Video Music Awards in April.

Mike Patton = Peeping Tom

Australia has been long supportive of Mike Patton’s various bands – Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantômas and Tomahawk.

But when he returns to Australia and New Zealand for five dates June 16-24, it will be with his current band Peeping Tom.

The dates are through Frontier Touring Company, which is also bringing Toronto’s Billy Talent for three club stops April 24-28.


The fourth live music Jack Awards, to be held May 15, will move this year to the Big Top in Luna Park in Sydney. The awards are sponsored by Jack Daniel’s. This year, a limited amount of the public can join the event. Nominees for the 12 categories were voted for by a panel of 60 judges from all sectors of the music industry.

Perth-based Lowrider Services (management) and Gyroscope announced they were going their separate ways. Matt Anthony of Lowrider Services described the move as amicable.

Silverchair is to finalise its overseas deal soon. The band will spend much of the year abroad touring after their Young Modern album is released globally in July.

The Fray is negotiating to return later this year.

Maximo Park is set to return for five club dates through Handsome Tours August 14 to 19.

The anti-smoking lobby put the pressure on Michael Coppel Presents to pull all the promotional posters for Beyonce’s Australian visit in April as it showed her brandishing a cigarette. MCP didn’t mind: the tour was a sell out and they were going to drop the posters anyway.

The team-up last year of premier songwriters Shane Howard and Neil Murray as 2SongMen was such a success that they will go out again for 13 dates March 31 to May 11. A live album is being prepped, and a new studio CD mooted.

Britain’s Mika promos here for Universal Music Australia May 31 to June 3, while Josh Groban is here for Warner Music Australia for a week beginning April 29. He will showcase at the Sydney Opera House.

U.K. musician James Morrison will perform at TV’s annual awards The Logies. Rumours were Kelly Clarkson will also be added to the bill.

The Pixies’ two club dates – at the Palace in Melbourne March 28 and Sydney Big Top Luna Park March 30 – sold out in five minutes, reported Michael Coppel Presents.

Frontier Touring reports that The Used sold out their Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney tickets in hours, with Brisbane’s tickets disappearing within 10 minutes.

Frontier will not add any more dates this time, as The Used are locked in for promo commitments elsewhere for their May 19 due album "Lies For The Liars" through Warner Music. But the band might return later this year.

New Zealand country music singer Kim Johnson died March 15 after a battle with cancer of the pancreas, liver and lungs. He was 58.