Australian News Briefs 4/6

Check out the latest batch of news from downunder.


Flashing The V

V Festival’s foray into Australia was a success. Its first show, at Centennial Park in Sydney, drew 35,000 fans March 31.

Headliners the Pixies, on the band’s first visit to the continent, created quite a buzz. Fans arrived from all over to see them, while their handful of club dates downunder were packed.

The night the event was held, Sydneysiders were asked to turn off their lights for an hour in the name of climate change. Beck played two songs by candlelight.

Others on the bill included New York Dolls – also on their first trek to Australia, who did "Piece Of My Heart" as they were inspired by Janis Joplin – the Pet Shop Boys, Gnarls Barkley (who did Queen’s "We Are The Champions" in tennis gear), Jarvis Cocker, The Rapture, Groove Armada, and New Young Pony Club.

The show got negative publicity, however, when some ad agencies thought there was too much corporate sponsorship for the festival.

Also, 38 were charged with drug offenses. A man on the run from prison was also nabbed, as was an illegal immigrant.


Garrett Unveils Arts Policy At Fuse

Peter Garrett, former Midnight Oil singer turned Opposition shadow minister for the arts, unveiled his party’s arts policy during his keynote speech at the Fuse Festival in Adelaide.

He said he would introduce music programs into schools and have more artists in residence at colleges and develop entertainment precincts in each city, similar to the one in Brisbane, so live music venues aren’t hassled with noise complaints.

The other keynote speaker, Rhoda Roberts, director of the indigenous Dreamtime festival, outlined the poverty, desolation and racism indigenous musicians face. She told 350 delegates that treating indigenous musicians as "invisible" made them "despondent."

This year’s meet, under directors and act managers Alistair Cranney and Bec Bates, focused on the live scene.

Represented on the panels dispensing advice to young musicians and managers were act managers including Bill Cullen (Sarah Blasko, End Of Fashion), PJ Murton (Hilltop Hoods), Sue Arlidge (Fruit), Catherine Haridy (Eskimo Joe), Heath Bradby (Jebediah, Karnivool) and Marshall Cullen. Booking agents included Dylan Liddy of Premier Artists and Geoff Bell of Laing Entertainment Agency. Venue operators including Richard Moffat and David Messer of London’s Dingwalls club were also there, along with festival directors Michael Peterson of the Woodford Folk Festival and Peter Noble of the East Coast Blues & Roots Festival.

During Fuse’s export-ready showcase, Peter Noble gave one act a spot on his blues festival, while another act was offered the opening slot for a national tour by a high-profile band.


Hour Sellout For Silverchair

Silverchair’s first Australian tour in three years sold out in an hour, with new dates added for most cities.

The band launched its fifth studio album, Young Modern, at Carriageworks in Sydney to a packed crowd of 1,000.

In the star-studded crowd was singer and actress Natalie Imbruglia, who is married to Silverchair guitarist and singer Daniel Johns. Johns at one point played his guitar with his teeth – chipping one of them.


Management Changes

Chrissie Vincent Publicity is expanding into band management, taking over Melbourne band The Pictures.

R&B singer Guy Sebastian split from David Caplice Management and signed with Sean Anderson of 22Management. Sebastian "inherited" Caplice as part of his "Australian Idol" win.

Tim McGee took over management of Brisbane indie rock/dance five piece wind&brackets.


Splendour Proposal Debated

The Ocean Shores Community Association (OSCA) and residents met with five councilors to discuss a proposal to hold Splendour In The Grass in the region in Yelgun.

Among the concerns voiced was the effect a three-day festival drawing 22,500 people would have on local wildlife.

One environmentalist consultant explained that male koalas communicate with roars, and that amplified music would give them the impression that they were being invaded by rival males.


$96K For Heavy Metal Research

A heavy metal fan and student at New Zealand’s Waikato University received a $96,000 doctoral grant over three years from the government.

David Snell’s study, "The Everyday Life of Bogans: Identity and Community Among Heavy Metal Fans," will cover the various dances beloved by headbangers, as well as hair styles, piercings and tattoos. A bogan is a NZ version of trailer park trash.



Missy Higgins’ first tour in 18 months takes in 14 cities May 2-30 and unveils her new band.

Former Little River Band frontman Glenn Shorrock heads out with a three-piece for an acoustic run to coincide with the release of his unplugged set. The 20 shows run April 24 to June 2.

Michael Chugg Entertainment announced four East Coast dates in June for Florida band Underoath, and six club dates in May for the stars of Britain’s hit TV series "Dirty Sanchez."

John Butler was battling technical problems onstage during the 4th West Coast Roots & Blues Festival in Fremantle. But he brightened up when he heard that his new album Grand National debuted the official ARIA charts at No. 1 that day, which was also his birthday.

Pink, on tour through April, was added to perform at the MTV Australia Video Music Awards April 29 at Sydney’s Acer Arena.

Melbourne’s newest venue, The Toff In Town, opened April 3. Its performance scale holds up to 300, and showcases music, dance, comedy, and theatre. The club bar, featuring DJs, has a train carriage running down the centre, made up of booths that can be made as private as desired by closing doors and pulling down blinds.

Melbourne band Borne, an Internet success story, was added to the U.K.’s Hyde Park Calling bill (June 23-24), which features Aerosmith, Crowded House, Jet, Chris Cornell, and Peter Gabriel.

Justin Hemmes, owner of Sydney club The Establishment, got in touch with Michael Gudinski’s new Mushroom Interactive division to say they were not happy that their first interactive game, based around a nightclub, will be called The Establishment.