Australian News 3/15

The Butler Does It

Just after finishing off its sold-out Union of Soul tour of Australia, the John Butler Trio will head back to the United States and Europe.

The fiery blues act will play Coachella, New Orleans Jazz Festival (main stage) and Lollapalooza before winging over to Portugal’s Alive festival, Belgium’s Rock Werchter Festival, Switzerland’s Gurten Festival and Corsica’s International Festival Of Guitar as well as France’s Belfort Festival and Rock Dans Tout Ces Etats.

On its Union of Soul tour, the band played to 50,000 people over 14 concerts. It broke the record in the city of Ballarat in Victoria for largest number of concertgoers ever, playing to 6,000. The Grand National album has been certified three times platinum.


Flippa Gets 13 Years

Todd Sean Flippa, who once ran Brisbane nightclubs Scores and Rockafellas, was sentenced to 13 and one half years for his role in a methamphetamine syndicate.

The 45-year-old has already served three years. He and several other men were arrested after a raid at a country property in 2004. Flippa claimed not to play an important role in the syndicate; Justice Ann Lyons disagreed.


Rapture Operators Fined

The three operators of Adelaide nightclub Rapture were fined $2,000 each in the Licensing Court for two instances of overcrowding in July 2006.

Police said that when they attended the North Terrace club on July 16 at about 1:30 a.m., they counted 537 people when there should have been only 400.

They returned on July 23 and found the same problem. The club closed last year. Its operating company, AAA Star Entertainment, is currently under administration.


Short Notes

Aussie acts are gearing up for major tours over the next few months. Electo-pop hit makers Rogue Traders announced their biggest-ever Australian tour for April/May, with an initial 21 dates.

Gold Coast teen act Operator Please will head back for nine all-ages shows April 2-12. They will return to Europe via New Zealand and Japan. The act has been confirmed for a number of U.K. summer festivals including The Great Escape.

Premier Artists have teamed up Kasey Chambers, her husband Shane Nicholson and father Bill Chambers for 27 acoustic shows May 7 to July 27.

Electronic duo Pnau, who cracked the mainstream charts with their new album (which Elton John called the best Australian record in 10 years), are doing 14 shows April 3-24 for IMC.

Frontier Touring’s Michael Gudinski and Premier Artists booking agency head Frank Stivala are set to open their new as-yet-named music venue on Melbourne’s Toorak Road in a few months. They gave media a sneak preview of the 1,500-capacity venue, which has an ascending view and an awesome ambience.

MTV Australia Awards announced its first two acts to perform and present: actress Juliette Lewis’s Juliette & The Licks and Grammy-winning rapper Eve.

The awards are held April 26 in Sydney. During their stay, Juliette & The Licks will play three club shows in three cities for KMW Productions.Mark Kirk, guitarist and songwriter with Sydney country band Tall Timbre, died at his home on March 3 of a heart attack.Charlene "Charlie" Ackerly exited tour promoter KMW Productions.Children of Bodom announced six Australian and New Zealand dates for June 20-30.

Among 10 Australians taken hostage by a bomber who jumped into their tour bus in Shanghai, China, was 21-year-old NSW country music singer Taryn Trautsch. The bomber threatened to detonate explosives strapped around his waist, and was later shot by police. Trautsch was with travel agents checking out Chinese cities before the Beijing Olympics.Eskimo Joe did two shows at the West Coast and East Coast bluesfests, in Fremantle and Byron Bay over Easter, before taking a hiatus from live shows. Lee Kernaghan will headline a star-studded tribute to country music pioneer Smoky Dawson on March 19. He will play a previously scheduled show in southern NSW and then make a three-hour dash to the show in Sydney.

Among the recipients of $17 million worth of grants from the New South Wales government were the Indent program to teach young people how to put on all-ages concerts ($250,000), the Arts Law Centre to provide free legal advice to impoverished musicians ($120,000), the Jazzgroove Association ($30,000), the Bellingen Jazz Festival ($11,000), the Camden Haven Music Festival ($9,000), Jazz Workshops for Young Women ($3,000) and the Country Music Association of Australia’s College of Country Music tutors’ fees ($5,000).