Australian News 7/21

Helpmann Noms

The Helpmann awards unveiled nominations for their 41 categories covering dance, opera, theatre, musicals and contemporary music. Organised by Live Performance Australia, the ceremony takes place July 28 at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre.

Nominations include Best Contemporary Music Festival: 19th Annual East Coast Blues and Roots Festival (Chugg Entertainment and Peter Noble Presents), Big Day Out Festival 2008 (Vivian Lees and Ken West), St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival (Chugg Entertainment & Rockin Roll Circus) and Womadelaide (Womadelaide Foundation).

Best Australian Contemporary Concert: multi-act female singer/songwriter assembly BROAD (Maiden Australia and QPAC), Crowded House (Frontier Touring Company), Kate Ceberano’s "Nine Lime Avenue" tour (Andrew McManus Presents), and the Whitlams with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (Sydney Symphony).

Best International Contemporary Concert: "Björk On the Steps Of the Sydney Opera House" (Sydney Festival), "Bon Jovi – The Lost Highway Tour" (Dainty Consolidated Entertainment), Justin Timberlake (The Frontier Touring Company) and Rufus Wainwright (Chugg Entertainment and Perth International Arts Festival).

Best Performance In An Australian Contemporary Concert: Tina Arena (Spiritworks Pty Ltd), David Campbell’s "The Swing Sessions 2" (The Harbour Agency), Kate Ceberano’s "Nine Lime Avenue" tour (Andrew McManus Presents) and Guy Sebastian’s "The Memphis Tour" (The Harbour Agency).


ARIA Hall of Fame

The tradition of one-off live collaborations at the ARIA Hall of Fame continued this year at the Melbourne Town Hall July 1.

Country queen Kasey Chambers duetted with Los Angeles-based soul man Max Merritt on his 1972 hit "Slippin’ Away," where she shyly told him that his was the first concert she attended, at age 10.

Rock band Dragon, whose bassist Todd Hunter thanked the 35 members who went through the ranks in 35 years, was joined by Cold Chisel guitarist Ian Moss and former Australian Crawl singer James Reyne for "April Sun In Cuba" and "Rain."

Young singer/songwriter Lior strummed acoustic guitar for Russell Morris on his ballad "Wings Of An Eagle" while members of current acts The Church, The Whitlams and Powderfinger accompanied Morris to recreate his six-minute psychedelic "The Real Thing," a chart-topper from 1969.

In other pairings, The Church’s Steve Kilbey fronted the surviving members of alt-rock band The Triffids, while the original members of ’60s folk-rock band The Seekers reunited to accompany London-based Rolf Harris on his iconic "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport."


Short Notes

Billy Joel is returning after a two-year break for Frontier Touring, with six arena dates November 23 to December 14. The final show is in Auckland, the piano man’s first show in New Zealand in 10 years.

Byron Bay-based music promoter Ku Promotions has changed hands. Suzie Mylecharane, who set up the company in 1986, has decided that after enduring broken bones at the age of 62, it was time to ease back. New owner Deisha Rose has a background in stage, dancing, music and event management.

Foreignity Touring and Warner Music Australia are bringing Flo Rida for two shows August 29-30, after his "Low" single topped the charts.The Bangles are booked for five theatre dates October 4-12 while Handsome Tours has Brooklyn’s Yeasayer at four club dates October 3-7.

Promoter Michael Chugg was named keynote speaker at the first Musexpo United Kingdom, held October 27-29 at Cumberland Hotel, London.Bill Cullen of One Louder Management (Paul Kelly, End of Fashion, Sarah Blasko) has signed rock band The Drones.

Being in home detention for tax fraud has not stopped Glenn Wheatley from launching his Stripe venture of 25 radio stations July 29. Stripe is played on the Optus 3G network.

Queensland’s Gympie Muster, the country music festival that draws 70,000 each August, has threatened to move to Byron Bay next year.

The Queensland government ordered it to pay $30,000 to cover emergency services. Event coordinator Brian Sansom says that would put a dent in the $100,000 it raises for local charity.