Australian News 5/17

More Lockouts In Store

More state governments are adopting the idea of early lockouts in licensed venues as a way of tackling drunken violence in entertainment strips.

Queensland has instated such a policy, preventing new patrons from entering clubs two hours before closing time to address complaints of rowdy young males club-hopping or brawling over hard-to-get cabs

The West Australian government indicated it supports a 12-month trial.

Of 88 licensed premises within Perth’s 1-sqaure-kilometer entertainment precinct of Northbridge, 24 operate until 2 a.m., with 15 staying open until 3 a.m. and 17 until 6 a.m. The Australian Hotels Association dismissed the move as "ridiculous" and out of step with what clubs and tourists expect.

Meanwhile, Melbourne nightclub owners, DJs, event promoters, security companies and music fans teamed to protest against plans to introduce a lockout in that city.

They say it will ruin Melbourne’s vibrant nightlife. Calling themselves "Melbourne Locked Out," they’re holding a rally on the steps of Parliament May 30.


Rieuwarding Rieu

Dutch "king of waltz" violinist Andre Rieu is the biggest act downunder.

He has sold 1 million CDs and DVDs in the last 12 months, and his DVDs occupied six spots in the DVD Top 10 chart.

Huge crowds turned out during a visit to spruik his Waltzing Matilda album, which went platinum in 10 days, and his tour in late 2008.

Promoters expected 1,000 for his Brisbane appearance, but 3,500 arrived.

Some came from as far as New Zealand. Rieu signed autographs for two hours.


Blige, Bocelli On Their Way

Michael Chugg Entertainment is bringing Mary J. Blige for her first visit downunder. She is set for four arena dates June 10-14 in Australia as well as two New Zealand dates June 16-17.

New Melbourne-based company Serendipity Touring launches itself with five arena shows for multi-platinum tenor Andrea Bocelli August 20-30. It will be his third visit to Australia and his first to New Zealand.

Two Swedish metal bands will make their bow, with Scorpion Entertainment bringing Opeth for five theatre dates September 2-7 and Meshuggah doing six club/theatre shows October 10-16 through Blue Murder and E.G.O. Present.

Select Music and Various Artists Presents have French indie popsters The Teenagers for three club stops June 12-14.

Three singer/songwriters making their first visits are Kentucky native Dawn Landes for two shows July 9-10, Laura Marling for two dates August 5-6 and Ontario-hailed Basia Bulat for three club dates June 11-13.

New York vocal group Naturally 7 will open for Michael Buble’s June trek for Dainty Consolidated Entertainment.


Aussies On Global Whirl

A London showcase by young rock band The Galvatrons is one they won’t forget.

After the band’s set, a member of The Police’s team signed them to open for the British superstars’ London’s Hyde Park show in June before a crowd of 50,000.

Garage country swamp band The Double Agents is currently on its second European visit.

Brisbane bluesman 8 Ball Aitken completed his third tour of Fiji. He will play Singapore, the U.K., Poland, and Finland before ending in Japan for his fourth visit, including a set at the Rokko Sun Music Festival.

The Remains are currently on a three-month tour through North America, while Witch Hats is booked for 16 U.S. shows July 10 to August 30 behind the Stateside release of the band’s Cellulite Soul on Red Records.

The tour starts off in San Francisco and takes in cities including Los Angeles, Sacramento, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, Cleveland and Detroit. The final show is the Fuck Yeah Fest in Los Angeles.

Folk duo Hussy Hicks made its first foray into China with a 12-day, three-city visit in early May.

Nik Phillips, the first Australian act to have his records released in China through a major label, will return there for his third visit, this time also playing colleges, May 16-26.

City Riots was in the U.K. for the Great Escape festival, from which the band will head to North America to play North By Northwest in Toronto and Summerfest in Milwaukee. Also on the books are club shows in Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles.


Short Notes

Creative Festival Entertainment, which promotes Big Day Out, was fined $5,500 (US$5,180) for breaching noise regulations at the Melbourne show in January. The noise went over during sets by Bjork and Rage Against The Machine. The promoters got 25 complaints during the event at Flemington Racecourse. The EPA got four.

Aussie rock band Jet parted ways with Sydney-based Winterman and Goldstein Management after six years, and signed with veteran U.S. manager of Allen Kovac, who runs 10th Street Entertainment.

The Australian Government’s export body Austrade is organising a music trade mission to Shanghai and an Australian music festival in Japan.

Despite losing $1 million (US$941,000) in its first year last year, the Adelaide International Guitar Festival will return November 29 to December 7. The full program will be launched August 20.Madonna’s next world tour is apparently skipping Australia again. But fans can expect German producer Malente in August, Johannes Heil here in September and Mr C to bring his Superfreq club the month after.

More than a year after damage from a hailstorm, the Australian National University’s Llewellyn Hall reopened after a $12 million refurbishment. The acoustics were changed, with concrete walls replaced by honey-coloured timber panels. The ceilings now have suspended timber acoustic louvers and the seating plan has been changed to give the theatre a warm and inviting feel.

Byron Bay’s music community protested Coorabell Hall’s decision to turn off amplified bands following noise protests from a new resident. The Move, whose Friday night gig was canceled, turned up to play anyway. Musicians camped on a makeshift bed inside the hall, and 80 held a drum circle outside the venue and staged a sit-in until police were called.

Booking agency Premier Artists has signed dance act Dirty Laundry. Paprika Balkanicus – virtuoso musicians from Romania, Serbia and Slovenia playing gypsy-style music – will make its first downunder trip with eight national dates May 31 to June 14, through the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Sydney model-turned-singer Kate Costello met James Blunt on his tour and slipped him a demo tape. He reportedly had dinner with her after his Melbourne show at the Rod Laver Arena and introduced her music to his local record label, Warner Music.