I didn’t really want to see Aladdin. I imagined I’d feel a little like I did when I saw Mary Poppins, disconnected from the experience and wishing I could see it through a child’s eyes. Longing for magic. However, I’m thrilled my husband wanted to see it to celebrate his birthday, because it turned out to be one of the best nights I’ve enjoyed at the theatre.
In the movie, we were left waiting until Aladdin rubbed the lamp to meet the scene-stealing Genie. In the musical version he’s our faithful guide, explaining what was to come and taking us to the magical land of Agrabah. It was a visual feast from the get go, with dancing ladies and muscly men with swords twirling about.
In the midst of it all was an Aladdin, who was soon on the run from the law. I remember marvelling at this scene as a kid, and was impressed with the way it came to life on the stage. Animation allows you to do so much that I worried we’d lose some of the sparkle in the real world, but the clever choreography sucked me right in.
Some things were changed to make the transition to the stage. Iago lost his feathers and became a short-statured man with the voice of Gilbert Gottfried. Abu the monkey was nowhere to be seen, with Aladdin instead relying on the support of his good-hearted “street rat” pals. Robin Williams was larger than life as the Genie in the film version, but Michael James Scott made the role his own. He was an absolute scream, with a killer voice to boot.
I was sceptical about whether Aladdin could whisk me up in its magic, but by the time our hero and Princess Jasmine boarded their magic carpet I was in raptures. While the movie impressed me, those flat images on a screen couldn’t hold a candle to the sight of our young couple taking flight with only the stars and moon to illuminate their path.
By the time the cast took their final bows I couldn’t believe I’d been in the theatre for a couple of hours. It flew by. What a fast-paced, funny, and truly magical experience. Aladdin isn’t just for kids. It’s for the kid that still exists inside us all.
In January this year, the world lost one of its brightest musical lights: David Bowie. In January 2017, one year on from his passing and 30 years after the release of one of his most revered albums Low, some of this nation’s best talents will pay tribute to that release and the others immediately following it.
With musical director Mick Harvey at the helm, Kylie Auldist, Dave Graney, Ron Peno, Kim Salmon, and Max Sharam will honour Bowie’s work with the “Bowie in Berlin” concert series. These artists will play songs from Low, Heroes, and Lodger, arguably some of Bowie’s finest and most thought-provoking releases.
Tickets are on sale now for the following shows.
6 January 2017 – Triffid, Brisbane
7 January 2017 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney
8 January 2017 – Hamer Hall, Melbourne
14 January 2017 – Regal Theatre, Perth
Image used with permission from DRW Entertainment
While I’ve carved out a great little life for myself as a freelance writer, I haven’t always had the support of people around me. Leaving the corporate world behind can be scary, but I can’t imagine going back to the world of bosses and office politics. So “Dream Catcher’s Life,” a song which the presser calls “an ode to those who chose to chase their goals regardless of what society might say,” really resonates with me.
It’s the brainchild of Melbourne band The Hiding, who’s enlisted the help of guest vocalist Stewart Winchester.
“The song came about after we returned from New York City,” explained Anthony Salce, the band’s lyricist and lead guitarist. “It’s really just about living your dreams, not settling for the mediocre, and hoping that you have that special someone to share it with, someone who wants to share the journey with you.”
The clip, featuring the talents of aerial artists Didj Wentworth and Phoebe Carlson, elevates this already special song. Industrial work has never looked so beautiful.
The Hiding will celebrate the single’s release with an exclusive set at The Grace Darling on December 10 as part of Pennyfest.
Aussie-born songstress Beth Brown is making a splash in her new home of Nashville. She’s just become the first Aussie female signed to the Gretsch Guitar USA family. Not bad for someone who’s only just released a debut single. Although that song, “Easy,” is one of the best I’ve heard.
Penned in collaboration with the sublimely talented Butterfly Boucher, “Easy” has an irresistible groove and lyrics we can all relate to.
“Easy” comes from Beth’s debut EP Dream Coat, which will drop in 2017. She’ll celebrate the release of both with an Aussie tour early next year.
6 January 2017 – Junk Bar, Brisbane
13 January 2017 – Treehouse on Belongil, Byron Bay
14 January 2017 – Dusty Attic, Lismore
19 January 2017 – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
2 February 2017 – Toff in Town, Melbourne
17 February 2017 – Lizotte’s, Newcastle
If you thought summer festivals were starting to feel a little same-same, then you’ll want to head to the Pleasure Garden next month. This is a game changer, with roving performers like a giant hairy snail, carnies performing stunts, and full-scale fantasy models from General Zodd adding to the fun.
Of course there’s also music, with top quality performers like The Cat Empire, Blue King Brown, Dub FX, and Tash Sultana all on the bill. And since it’s in Melbourne, you know the food is going to be amazing. The folks from 400 Gradi, Vegilicious, Dos Diablos, and Kombi Burger will all sell their wares on the day.
Unlike most music lovers in Australia, I wasn’t watching the ARIAs last night. I was playing trivia, expecting to catch up on all the action this morning. I managed to avoid learning of the winners until I watched the broadcast, but last night I did learn that a lot of people were fed up with the awards. Perhaps it’s just a symptom of getting older, but my Facebook feed was full of people bemoaning the new acts and insisting things were better in their day.
Watching the broadcast, I think it’s very easy for nostalgia to creep in. We were celebrating 30 years of music awards, and watching the montages of artists that came before I too felt that sense of longing for some of my favourite performers of the past.
But the thing is, that shouldn’t take away from embracing what’s great about the music industry today. I got really excited about Illy’s album this week. I was thrilled about Montaigne’s win because she’s created some of my favourite songs this year. What Flume does isn’t quite to my taste, but he’s clearly dominating right now. Diversity is what the industry has always been about. Hats off to him and his five pointy trophies.
I think the organisers of this year’s ARIAs did a wonderful job of celebrating the past and the present. Watching Jimmy Barnes sing with Jess Mauboy, seeing current acts like Bernard Fanning and Missy Higgins sing Crowded House songs before the act themselves performed, grinning ear to ear as The Veronicas bowed down to John Farnham, these are moments that symbolise not just the great music we’ve made as a country but that we continue to make.
It’s very easy to stay in our bubble and just listen to the music we’ve always loved. But the arts will only thrive if we take chances on something new.
Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird might just have the coolest name on the music scene at the moment. The Melbourne band’s also creating some amazing music. Exhibit A is the band’s latest single “Cool Parties,” lifted from the current EP Melbourne Bitter.
I love the film clip which captures the band doing its thing, without frills or unnecessary fuss.
“The song itself is about the sense of detachment that can sometimes wash over you whilst in social situations. The feeling that nothing occurring around you is quite authentic and the quiet desire for something more substantial,” frontman Lachlan Rose explained. “This performance was shot overlooking Edinburgh Gardens in North Fitzroy, the place where the vast majority of our socialising occurs … so there was perhaps something significant about shooting it there.”
As we look for the next big thing in music, I think we sometimes forget about the value of classic sounds. Nighthawk reminds us with its debut single “Surely Getting On.”
This is the kind of straight up honest rock music I remember hearing in pubs when I first started seeing bands. We shouldn’t be surprised though, because Nighthawk features members of Motor Ace, who were one of the biggest acts of the early 2000s.
“The fire that compelled me to make music in the first place was extinguished by the end of Motor Ace. I was young and took every kink in the road harder than I should have. I do have some regrets about not enjoying the great music we made and our success a little more,” explained founding member Patrick Robertson.
“Nighthawk comes from a very different place. It was a party before it was a band. There’s a simplicity about the music and the attitude. I haven’t felt as excited about a group of musicians and making music for a very long time. I think you can hear it.”
“Surely Getting On” is our first taste of Nighthawk’s upcoming album. After experiencing it, I’m hungry for more.
I consider myself open to most musical genres, but I haven’t really listened to a lot of rap since the 90s. I had fun with acts like Salt-N-Pepa and The Fugees, but then the genre evolved, as most do, and I felt left behind. It seemed rap was either about the struggle of people from the “wrong side of the tracks” or about the excess of those living it large. Neither type of rap resonated with me, so I found myself listening to the genre less and less. And then came Illy.
It’s hard to believe, considering how Illy seems to have burst onto the scene a relatively short time ago, but his newie Two Degrees is actually his fifth studio album. It’s a highly anticipated release considering the way Australia’s responded to singles like “Papercuts” and “Catch 22.” It’s the strength of those singles that have taken it to number one on debut. But it’s the strength of the other songs that’s going to get people talking and keep it on the charts for many weeks to come.
My favourite songs are the ones where Illy collaborates with other artists. I think he does some of his best work when he has someone to bounce off. The chemistry he has with the artists he’s handpicked here elevates these tracks. “Hazard to Myself,” a collaboration with Sir the Baptist, is so playful and irreverent. “Oh My,” with Jenna McDougall, feels like a summer anthem. “Extra Extra,” featuring Mike Waters, is pure feelgood joy.
While these songs make me smile, some of the album’s most poignant moments come when Illy’s working alone. “Truce” feels very personal, with powerful lyrics that pack a serious emotional punch. The closing track “Highway” is such a perfect way to finish the album. This song closes this chapter in the Illy story by looking forward to the future.
Illy is a rapper, but his music is so much more than that. He effortlessly fuses his rhymes with pop, dance, and electronic sounds to broaden its appeal and make it accessible to people like myself who don’t spend a lot of time listening to rap. If like me you’ve moved away from rap music, Two Degrees encourages you to dip your toe back in to the genre. You won’t be disappointed.
Image used with permission from Warner Music Australia
Lauren Katulka cannot remember a time when music was not a part of her life. Raised on an eclectic diet of Van Morrison, The Eagles, Cold Chisel, and Barbra Streisand, she remembers saving all her pocket money for weeks so she could buy cassettes featuring her favourite singers. At the tender age of 11 she saw her first live concert when Jimmy Barnes took his Soul Deep tour to Newcastle’s Civic Theatre. There was no looking back.
Today Lauren is a happily married freelance writer living on the New South Wales Central Coast. When she's not obsessing about the latest band, or some old favourite, she loves to roller-skate, experiment with new recipes, watch indie films, and cuddle her Devon Rex cat Gizmo. She's also a writer for Hipmunk, currently working on the #HipmunkCityLove project.