Australian News 4/25

Summit Climbs On Ideas

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Australia 2020 Summit, held in the nation’s capital city Canberra April 19-20 to come up with ideas for the future, drew 1,000 delegates.

Among them were 100 from the arts and music sector. Their ideas included a 125 percent tax deduction to encourage corporate support for the arts; 1 percent of the budgets from all government departments to be allocated to the arts; and a loan arrangement with aspiring musicians to be paid back if they become commercially successful.


New Laws For Queensland Clubs

The Queensland government introduced sweeping changes to liquor licensing laws in a bid to address alcohol-related violence and problem gambling.

Half of the state’s clubs and one-third of its pubs will not be allowed to open at 10 a.m., effective January 2009. Licensed venues trading after midnight will have to apply for "elevated risk permits," ranging from $7,500 to $10,000 each year.

The $30 million expected to be raised from this will be used to police the new regulations and fund "an awareness campaign on responsible drinking and gaming," premier Anna Bligh said.

The government will also "name and shame those venues that are not doing the right thing." Poker machines will not be allowed to operate before 10 a.m. – a move that will cost the government $16 million in gaming taxes.

Warnings from club owners that they would pass extra costs to customers were dismissed by Bligh: "These [costs] would work out to $50 a night – and very often, this would be how much a round of drinks would cost in some clubs."


Murray, Angels Back On Road

Singer/songwriter Peter Murray announced his first Australian tour in two years. He and his band will do 22 theatre and clubs shows August 5 to September 12 behind his latest album Summer At Eureka, out May 17 through SonyBMG.

Veteran hard rock band The Angels have kissed and made up. For the last two years, there have been frosty exchanges and lawsuits over the use of the name.

Singer Doc Neeson formed Doc Neeson’s Angels, while the other members put together The Angels Band. But with the 30th anniversary of the release of its classic Face To Face album, the members announced a 16-date club run June 27 to August 2 as the album will be re-released along with other albums and DVDs.


‘Shout’ Becomes A Movie

JDN Productions is experimenting with bringing musicals and theatrical productions to cinemas.

Its rationale is that fans would have the convenience of attending theatres in their local hoods for a fraction of the cost of a live theatre ticket.

The first is the hit musical "Shout! The Story Of Johnny O’Keefe," about Australia’s first rock ’n’ roll star, which just finished seasons in Melbourne and Sydney.


Hot Shows

Experimental punk band The Time Of The Assassins kicked off its first American tour April 25 in Highland Park, Calif. Sixteen shows later, the band will wind up in New York in June. The group will then head to Europe and the U.K.

Australian by birth and Chinese by heritage, Jane Germain returns to China for her fifth "Middle Kingdom Tour" in May. Germain combines folk, blues, country and swing using a mixture of country rock and traditional Chinese instruments.

Pop band The Go Set is in the midst of a club and festival run through Europe, where it signed a three-album deal with the Coretex label.

Joe Satriani, Glenn Hughes, Gilby Clarke, Uli Jon Roth, Tom Donahue and Alex Skolnick Trio were confirmed for New Zealand’s first international guitar festival. It will be held in Taranaki province and put together by Venture Taranaki. G-TARanaki runs July 14-19 and includes concerts, workshops, forums, jam sessions and school visits.


Short Notes

Matchbox Twenty is endearing themselves to Australian audiences on their current tour for Michael Coppel Presents with renditions of Australian songs.

They did Crowded House’s "Better Be Home Soon" in Melbourne, INXS’s "Need You Tonight" in Adelaide and a guitar/ukulele rendition of AC/DC’s "You Shook Me All Night Long" in Perth.

New draft planning laws for New South Wales would make it easier for small bars to feature live entertainment, cutting down on council red tape.

New Zealand singer/songwriter, poet and gay activist Mahinarangi Tocker died at 52 from an apparent asthma attack.

Heavy metal band Red Shore’s bass player, Jamie Hope, was charged with negligent driving over a December 19 incident. The band’s tour van, driven by Hope, hit a tree, killing singer Damien Morris and roadie Andy Milner.

Nightclubs continue to battle with drunken assaults outside their premises. The Stamford Grand and Oaks Plaza Pier Hotel in Adelaide introduced a 2 a.m. early lockout while a dozen clubs in Cairns, in Queensland, signed an agreement to cut back on promotions that encourage patrons to drink alcohol quickly.