Australian News 11/29

Clubs Take Smoke Bans To Court

New South Wales’ peak clubs body, NSW Clubs, has gone to the Supreme Court to get a decision on an NSW Health interpretation of new laws regulating smoking in licensed clubs.

Bans on smoking inside venues went into effect July 1. Clubs had to set up smoking areas at the required level of 75 percent open-air.

But health authorities draw an imaginary line down from the roof of this smoking area, which means that often this is less than 25 percent unenclosed.

Clubs NSW estimates that clubs spent more than $422 million adhering to the new regulations.

But NSW Health inspectors have interpreted the laws differently. They issued warning letters to some clubs relating to covered sections of the smoking areas.

Clubs can be fined $5,500 for each person smoking in the wrong area, and some fear that their new smoking areas may be ruled obsolete.

Seagulls Club chief executive Wayne Kendrigan said, "They acknowledge that we comply with our interpretation but they are not sure if we are right. We believe we are."

Figures show gaming revenue in these venues were down since July 1, with September showing a 7 percent drop.

Music NSW estimates gaming revenue makes up 75 percent of overall revenue.

The Australian Hotels Association, which is not involved in the court case, estimates publicans in NSW spent $300 million to $400 million to provide outdoor smoking areas.


Timberlake Breaks Rod Laver Record

Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveShow tour set a new attendance record at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, drawing 16,100 fans to his November 18 show.

The previous record was set in April 1992 by Neil Diamond.

Timberlake also broke the venue capacity record at Acer Arena in Sydney.

"Justin has lifted the bar in Australia for future touring artists," said Michael Gudinski, head of the Frontier Touring Company.


Ticketek To Launch Reserve-A-Seat

Four months after taking over as CEO at ticketing agency Ticketek, Geoff Jones started to launch new initiatives for the company.

In December the company will introduce a service called Reserve-A-Seat. It allows a customer to hold 10 adjacent seats at a concert or sporting event for a limited period without paying for them.

The customer gives 20 e-mail addresses of colleagues or friends to Ticketek, and they have the option of deciding whether to buy the tickets.

This will vary from 24 hours to a week depending on demand. The service allows Ticketek to expand its database, which already has 8 million names on it.

Ticketek claims a 45 percent share of the Australian market.

According to the Australian Financial Review, the company’s revenue rose 18.5 percent to $58 million (US$51.6 million) during 2006-07, and its pretax profit rose 21.1 percent to $9.5 million (US$8.4 million).


Baby Animals Tour

The Baby Animals, who toured the U.S. with Van Halen in the mid-1990s, announced their first tour in 13 years.

They are booked for five club dates in January as well as a A Day On The Green winery show in NSW’s Hunter Valley with Jimmy Barnes, Diesel, Mahalia Barnes, Tim Rogers & Archie Roach.


Silverchair, Human Nature Back To U.S.

Silverchair is on its third tour of the United States in 2007, with many of the dates sold out.

Not only is the current single "Straight Lines" getting airplay on modern rock, AAA and HotAC radio formats, but alt-rock stations have started to spin "The Greatest View" from the band’s 2002 Diorama set.

That album flopped in America when released, as singer guitarist Daniel Johns’ arthritis prevented the band from touring.

R&B vocal group Human Nature, whose last three albums have been Motown tributes, will arrive in America January 1 for a lengthy residency at the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City.

Band member Toby Allen says they plan a tour of Australia starring Motown legends including Smokey Robinson, Mary Wilson of The Supremes and Martha Reeves of the Vandellas, who were guests on Human Nature’s third Motown album, Get Ready, released downunder November 17.


Wayne Goodwin Benefit Raises $10K

Former members of Midnight Oil came to the rescue of U.S. born multi-instrumentalist and composer Wayne Goodwin. He toured here with Emmylou Harris 23 years ago and decided to stay to play with local acts.

In June he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He recovered but faced mounting bills. So a benefit show was held at the Mona Vale Hotel in Sydney. One of the acts was Ebb Tide & The Shorebreakers, a surf band made up of the Midnight Oil’s Jim Moginie, Rob Hirst & Martin Rotsey.

Peter Garrett donated one of his harmonicas for the auction. Altogether, $10,000 (US$8,900) was raised.


Short Notes

Sydney got a new 18s-only club called Sonar, launched November 17, next to Luna Park.

In the meantime, one of the iconic live music venues, the Dee Why Hotel, where INXS, Midnight Oil and Cold Chisel cut their teeth, is set to be demolished. It will be part of a $100 million (US$89 million) redevelopment to build apartments.

Chart-topping Chicago band Plain White T’s will be here in Australia late summer, according to frontman Tom Higgenson. It’s part of a run of dates from January in the U.K., Europe, NZ and Japan.Bob Geldof was appointed honorary ambassador for the city of Brisbane, to help market its tourism and music abroad.

Dainty Consolidated Entertainment announced that Bon Jovi’s Melbourne show at the Myer Music Bowl on January 19 and Sydney Acer Arena on January 21 sold out in minutes. A second Sydney show was added for January 22 but no extra show was added for Melbourne.

Andrew McManus Presents has added shows in Sydney and Melbourne for the reunited Divinyls’ "Don’t Want To Do This" tour through December.