Australian News 6/21

A memorable tradition of the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) awards is the cover versions of the songs nominated for the prestigious song of the year category.

This year’s ceremony, June 16 at the Sydney Hilton, was no different.

Roots singer/songwriter Pete Murray teamed with alt-folk trio The Audreys to play New Buffalo’s bouncy pop song "1234," a hit for Canadian performer Feist. New Buffalo in turn tackled Silverchair’s "Straight Lines," which won the category.

Cold Chisel guitarist Ian Moss did a bluesy rendition of rock band Thirsty Merc’s "Twenty Good Reasons," while Melbourne folk-Latin/hip-hop ensemble Custom Kings performed roots performer John Butler’s "Better Than."

Richard Clapton performed his hit "I Am An Island" to celebrate his 25th year as a published songwriter. Archie Roach and Shane Howard teamed for a poignant tribute to country music pioneer Smoky Dawson with a version of his "Driftin’ Down The Roper."

Music promoter Michael Coppel paid tribute to artist manager Roger Davies, who received the 2008 Ted Albert award for outstanding services to Australian music. Australian-born Davies’ roster includes P!nk and Tina Turner.


Stage And Screen Expands

Australian entertainment/sports travel logistics company Stage And Screen says that opening an office in Los Angeles last year provided the sales boost to set up new outlets.

Drawn by the growing budgets for India’s Bollywood film industry as it finds more international markets – and the sharp rise of investment in its entertainment and sports sectors – Stage And Screen opened Indian offices in Mumbai and Delhi.

Running the operations is travel veteran Mohit Khanna.

The company is set to open a Toronto office August 1, with New York earmarked for early 2009.


Def Lep, Cheap Trick Team Up

Andrew McManus Presents is teaming Def Leppard, on its first visit downunder since 1992, with Cheap Trick. The bands will do seven arena dates October 31 to November 11, with rising brash Aussie band The Galvatrons as the third act.

U.K. trip-hopper Tricky is booked for three club sideshows for Michael Coppel Presents July 30 to August 3 in between his appearance at the Splendour In The Grass festival in Byron Bay.

Another Splendour act, The Polyphonic Spree, which caused a storm when they first toured in 2005, will do three sideshows for Secret Service July 29-31.

Airbourne Takes Flight

Airbourne, which moved to the U.S. this year, completed a U.S. tour with Finger Eleven and is now eyeing Europe.

The band will play festivals there June-July, including Donnington Download Festival in England and Wacken Festival in Germany (where the band’s Running Wild album charted).

Airbourne will return to the U.S. for the Mayhem Festival before returning to the U.K., headlining 2,000-capacity clubs.


Fuse Fest Wins U.K. Gong

Adelaide’s Fuse Festival won a gong at the inaugural Music Glue Yearly Music Conference Awards (YMCAs), held as part of the Great Escape festival in the U.K.

It won for hospitality to its international delegates, whom it took on a winery tour of the McLaren Vale wine region.

Event manager Alistair Cranney accepted the award. It was Fuse’s second international recognition.

City Riots, one of the acts the festival showcased in March, was spotted by Great Escape booker Martin Elbourne and invited to play. The band was offered U.S. management as a result.


NSW Club Politician Spat

The Iguana nightclub on the New South Wales central coast was embroiled in a political scandal after an influential couple was asked to leave the venue.

The state’s education minister John Della Bosca and his politician wife Belinda Neal were dining there June 6 with six friends. The club displays a poster advising patrons that the dining room is cleared at a certain time to be turned into the dance floor.

When the Della Bosca party was asked to move outside, staff say that Neal swore at them and threatened club manager Steven Twitchin with the loss of his licence.

When the newspapers got wind of this, the couple denied it. Six staffers including Twitchin took out statutory declarations insisting their version was true.

Three days later, the story took a turn when Twitchin apologized and insinuated the swearing and the threats never occurred. The other staffers stood by their story.

On June 12, newspapers carried the story that Della Bosca had threatened Twitchin with legal action and had written the club manager’s apology for him.

A day later, police launched an investigation. Della Bosca was stood down until the outcome and Neal, who continually denied the incident, was ordered by the Prime Minister to take anger management counseling.

The Waterfront was rescued from administration in 2004 with debts of $4.85 million, and was keen to get a license from the government that would allow it to install lucrative poker machines.


Short Notes

After signing six new acts this year, booking agency Destroy All Lines has added three more. They are Gold Coast metal hardcore band A Secret Death, Brisbane punk-pop band A Year To Remember and Melbourne band The Broderick.

Virginia Lovett is taking over as GM of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, effective June 25.

Lindy Hume takes over as arts director of the Sydney Festival starting in 2010. She was head of the Perth International Arts Festival 2003-2007 where she was known for innovative programming.

Melbourne publicists have set up Teclo, a new marketing and publicity agency dedicated to music and the arts. Its website is

NSW folk singer Richard William Levitt, 71, was fined $500 for possessing marijuana, and told to return to court June 25 to face child pornography charges.