Australian News 8/16

Justin Timberlake, Gigantour, Bluesfest, Elton John, Metro Melbourne, Jim Toner, Sonny Day, Gene Simmons, Tony Wilson, The Great Divide, Roc Tha Block, …


Timberlake, ‘Gigantour’ Returning

Frontier Touring Company is bringing Justin Timberlake back after three years. He is set for six arena dates October 23 to November 9.

Rumours are that producer buddy Timbaland will spin discs between sets.

After the success of the first visit downunder by "Gigantour," KMW Productions is bringing it back with Megadeth headlining.

Also on the bill are Static X, Devildriver and Italy’s Lacuna Coil. It makes five theatre and open-air stops November 10-18.


Bluesfest Moves

No sooner has July’s Splendour In The Grass permanently vacated the 10.5-hectare Belongil Fields for its own site, than the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival announced it was moving in for next year.

The festival, which was based at the site from 1993 to 1997, plans to be at its 300-acre home in Tyagarah in 2009 to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Bluesfest long felt it had outgrown its current home, the 4-hectare football grounds at Red Devil Park. But when its owner, the Byron Bay Rugby League Club, wanted to increase its fee, organisers decided to move.

The club is panicking. It needs $50,000 a year to operate, and Bluesfest’s departure will leave a huge financial gap.


Townsville Wins Elton Show

The cities of Launceston, Tasmania, and Townsville in North Queensland battled to get the sixth Australian show of Elton John’s "Rocket Man Solo Tour – A Knight Under The Stars," with Townsville eventually winning out.

Tasmania even flew its tourism executives to Melbourne to speak to promoter Michael Chugg, who was attending a football game.

The Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights group announced it would write to Elton to tell him of Tasmania’s enlightened policy toward same-sex couples.

Chugg, who grew up in Tasmania and is the patron of its annual music awards, set up petitions for both cities on his tour company’s Web site.

"It’s a big show, let’s see what people will do to get it," he said.

John will play Townsville’s 25,000-capacity Dairy Farmers Stadium December 4.

He also agreed to play a show in New Zealand – at New Plymouth’s 15,000-capacity TSB Bowl of Brooklands December 6.


Aussie Acts Hit The Road

Strong record sales of Australian acts are reflecting on the number of homegrown acts going on the road.

Irish-born troubadour Damien Leith, discovered through "Australian Idol," plays 11 theatre and arena shows November 12-23.

Beasts Of Bourbon, just back from a 30-date sellout European tour, are teaming with guitar band Magic Dirt for six club dates in late September.

Alice Springs-based singer/songwriter Mei Lai Swan emerges from the desert to play 15 clubs in major cities through September.

Sarah Blasko and Crowded House leader Neil Finn’s son Liam Finn are teaming up for 10 theatre dates October 9 to November 3.

Guitar trio Evermore, recently in Africa doing workshops with disadvantaged kids, is taking in 21 dates August 29 to September 30.


Metro License Rejected

The new owners of the Metro Melbourne had their liquor license application rejected by police because only one name was listed on the form.

That was Greg Young, a business consultant to Jerry Pilarinos. Police say Pilarinos should be on the application. He previously ran The Palace club and bought the Metro in June for $10 million. His brother Jerry pleaded guilty in 2000 for bribing drug squad officers. A new application form will be filed.

In other Melbourne club news, 170 patrons were evacuated at 2:30 one morning from the QBar when a disgruntled patron refused entry sprayed two bouncers with pepper spray.


Short Notes

New Zealand lost country music pioneer Jim Toner, 68, to a serious leg infection, and bluesman Sonny Day, 64, to emphysema and other respiratory complications.

Australia had its own reason for mourning the passing of Factory Records’ founder Tony Wilson. The father of Manchester music planned to bring a version of In The City to Perth next October.

KISS bassist Gene Simmons is rumoured to be in Australia for the filming in the jungles of a reality TV series called "I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here."

Powderfinger and Silverchair’s The Great Divide tour needs a new venue for the two Perth shows at Claremont Oval on September 22-23 – one of which is already sold out. It was expected that the local council would rubber-stamp its approval for the shows. But some councilors expressed concern of possible noise complaints.

Jim Keays, singer of ’60s band The Masters Apprentices, was diagnosed with myeloma, a form of cancer.

, singer of ’60s band The Masters Apprentices, was diagnosed with myeloma, a form of cancer.

Hip-hop extravaganza Roc Tha Block had to push back its dates when some of the U.S. artists were delayed by visa approvals. Original support acts MIMS and Juelz Santana were dropped out and replaced by Pitbull and Sisqo.