Delta Goodrem is celebrating the festive season with a very special Christmas concert at the Sydney Opera House on December 6.phlphotos176385-Delta-Goodrem1957

“I’m thrilled to be able to perform at the Sydney Opera House and to my incredible fans during a time of celebration and togetherness,” she said in a statement.

Delta will perform a selection of her greatest hits and, of course, plenty of Christmas carols. Make sure your favourite Christmas song makes the set list by putting your vote in on Delta’s website.

Tickets start from $75. They go on sale through the Opera House website at 9 am tomorrow morning.

Image source: Newscom

Congratulations to Ben Lee and Ione Skye! They couple are celebrating the birth of their daughter, Goldie Priya Lee. She was born on Thursday September 24 at the very civilised time of 8 am.

Ben said he is “over the moon” at the arrival of his baby girl. He’s already bringing her up right, with a steady diet of Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs! It’s very important to educate the young! You can see a photo of the pair at Ben’s blog.

Goldie is the first child for Ben, who married Ione in a traditional Indian ceremony last December. She is also mum to an eight-year-old daughter, Kate, from her previous relationship with designer David Netto.

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Image source: Newscom

On Saturday my husband and I headed into the city to catch The Script at Newtown’s Enmore Theatre. With reigning Australian Idol champ Wes Carr on supporting duties and a lovely intimate venue, this was one gig we were really looking forward to.
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From the first moment the night didn’t disappoint. Clearly solid touring duties since winning the Idol crown haven’t taken their toll on Wes. He was every bit as energetic as I remembered, and he could sustain it for much longer than we saw on the Idol stage. This guy is a firecracker who knows how to rock. The set drew from his original material rather than his Idol covers, and it was all the richer for it. The Way The World Looks has spawned enough singles to keep the crowds happy, a good thing when you’re playing for a largely teenage audience.

They loved Wes, but they went nuts for The Script. I’m not sure I’ve seen anything like this since I followed Human Nature in the late ‘90s. There’s that same boy band hysteria surrounding them, even though their songs have more cred than a Backstreet Boys smash. The Script might be unashamedly pop, but the heart which underpins their songs separates them from the rest. Their debut album is one of those discs I’ve played to death this year.

Experiencing the songs in the live arena took them to the next level. The band had so much energy, and the crowd really responded to that. Or perhaps it was Danny O’Donoghue and his sexy black T-shirt whipping them into a frenzy. Either way, there was a lot of love in the room.

One of the great things about seeing a band promoting their debut album is that you know all the songs. It encourages the kind of sing-alongs we enjoyed in “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved.” I’ve never been a fan of “I’m Yours,” believing it to be a bit of romantic fluff, but stripping it back in the live arena with a lone acoustic guitar brought out its true beauty.

The Script closed the night with a cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” Danny sang it out, jumping around and waving an Irish flag with the word Sydney scribbled on it. The band thanked us so much for coming out and assured us that we were the best crowd of the tour. They probably say that every night, but it felt genuine. Clearly we left an impression on The Script, but it may not be as big as the one they left on us.

Image source: own photos

The KISS Army will be out in force when the band’s original lead guitarist, Ace Frehley, visits Australia for his first ever solo tour next month.

Ace will take his smoking guitar and vocals down the East Coast to support his new album Anomaly. The disc is set to become his most successful solo venture to date thanks to the big single “Outer Space.” The disc has been 10 years in the making, after Ace joined Kiss for a reunion tour, but he assures is its worth the wait.

“I don’t know why it’s taken so long,” Ace confessed. “I had to put the record on the back burner when I reunited with KISS. But I knew it would be important, so I kept listening to my old records to try to capture what the fans like.”

Tickets for the shows are on sale now through Red Ant Touring and Ticketek.

19 October 2009 – Palace, Melbourne
20 October 2009 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney
21 October 2009 – The Tivoli, Brisbane

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2006 Australian Idol winner Damien Leith is back with his brand new album, Remember June, a CD already has the industry buzzing. I caught up with Damien today to chat about the album which he calls “a labour of love,” his new novel, and why he’s itching to get on the road.

I heard you say that creating Remember June is the proudest you’ve been since winning Idol. What is it about this album that’s really excited you?DamienNewPic
I think really the biggest thing about this album is that right from the onset, I had a concept that I wanted to work off, and everything I did towards making the album, towards writing it, stuck entirely to that concept all the way through. So the whole album hasn’t been swayed either way by thinking “I might need this sort of song” or “I might need that sort of song.” It’s just an album which I personally really wanted to make. Thanks to Sony I got to do that. It’s kind of a labour of love in a way, this album.

Your new single “To Get To You” has a bit of a pop-rock feel, which is something we haven’t really heard from you before. Is that indicative of the other songs we’ll hear on Remember June?
It is. You know, the album’s got a story from start to end. It’s got an intro and it’s got an outro. And to have a story, it’s definitely allowed us to have more up-tempo stuff on the album. But at the same time, I’ve still got some slower songs. But I think overall the sound of the album is big; it’s a big epic or anthemy sort of sound throughout the entire album. So even if it’s a slow song, it’s a big slow song.

So it [“To Get You To”] gives you a taste of the album, but there are some really intimate songs on there which I think are even stronger. They’re probably the stronger songs.

It was produced by Stuart Crichton, who’s worked with the Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue, and so many other big names. What was he like to work with?
He was fantastic. There’s a couple of co-writes with him as well. We did the song “Forgive, Forget” with him and a mate of his, Blair [McKichan] from the UK. He’s not only an amazing producer but he’s an incredible writer as well.

We’ve become really good friends as a result of it as well. We’ve continued to write more and more songs together. He’s just a genius. I can’t get over how quickly he works. He makes a decision and he goes for it. There’s no second-guessing. He just goes for it. I was in awe of the way he works.

It’s been three years since you won Australian Idol. How do you feel about that experience looking back?
To be perfectly honest, for one thing it seems like a long, long time away. The last few years have been so busy with so many different things going on that it seems like a long, long time ago. But I have to say I have no regrets about my time on Idol. Without it I wouldn’t be talking to you today. I would never have broken through.

I think at that stage I was at a turning point in my life where I had to decide: family commitments and work and all the rest, or am I going to give this one more shot. I’d been chasing it for years and years and years, it had been all the usual stuff of demos and gigging here, there, and everywhere for years and years.

It’s not 100% profit-driving, and it does have a negativity associated with it as well, but overall I’m grateful for having been involved.
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80s night is always my favourite night of Australian Idol. These are the songs I grew up with, unashamedly daggy, flamboyant, and fun. But before we could get into the good stuff, we had to say goodbye to one our Idol hopefuls. Kim Cooper, Sabrina Batshon, and Nathan Brake found themselves in the bottom three. It was understandable I suppose, but hard to hear that one of my faves would be leaving the comp. Sadly that person was Sabrina. I guess her big personality was just a little much for some. It’s a shame; I was really hoping to see her bust out something amazing this week.
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I was very concerned when I heard Nathan Brake was taking on Bon Jovi’s rock anthem “Livin’ on a Prayer.” It’s one of my favourites, and I doubted whether Nathan had the grit to really deliver it. He really didn’t. He hit all the right notes, but it just didn’t feel believable to me. There is so much 80s stuff that would have suited him a lot better.
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Scott Newnham took on “Let’s Groove.” I couldn’t fault the vocals, but the delivery was a little bland for me. His “dance moves” were also really awkward. Honestly I wanted Gary Pinto to take the microphone from him and finish the song.
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Hayley Warner busted out a little Bruce Springsteen with “Dancing in the Dark.” I really enjoyed this. It wasn’t deep or meaningful, but neither was the 80s. It was incredibly fun, and exactly what she needed to do. It felt like this was the first time someone actually “got” the decade.
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Toby Moulton went for a little Foreigner with “I Want to Know What Love Is.” I’ve always said that more Idols need to sing power ballads, but not like this. This was completely devoid of the passion that you need in a power ballad. Did he even listen to the lyrics? They go something along the lines of “In my life there’s been heartache and pain, I don’t know if I can face it again.” I heard none of that desperation. This was more Mariah than Foreigner, and it was much poorer for it.
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Aussie ex-pats the Howling Bells are returning home for a series of shows around the country in December.

The former Sydneysiders, who now call Britain home, will play to support the release of their latest album Radio Wars.

Tickets to all shows are on sale now from the venues.

3 December 2009 – Barwon Club, Geelong
4 December 2009 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
11 December 2009 – The Zoo, Brisbane
12 December 2009 – Neverland, Gold Coast
13 December 2009 – Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay
17 December 2009 – ANU Union Bar, Canberra
18 December 2009 – Gaelic Club, Sydney
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Image source: The Harbour Agency

Andre Rieu fans who can’t get to his show at Sydney’s Acer Arena on October 16 don’t have to miss out. The concert will be broadcast live in cinemas across the country.

Thanks to CinemaLive, the event will screen in New South Wales regional centres, including Wagga Wagga, Tamworth, Broken Hill, Orange, Bowral, and Griffith. It will also go to all other states and territories around the country. Around 50 cinemas are planning to screen the show.

I’m not a fan of Mr Rieu, but I do find the concept intriguing. I’d love to see more bands making their concerts accessible to folks in regional areas, and those who can’t afford those big ticket prices.
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Image source: Newscom

The Cardinals had so much fun recording Holy Smoke with Gin Wigmore, they’re travelling to Australia to tour with her.

Neal Casal, Jon Graboff and Brad Pemberton will join Gin for shows in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane this December.gin_l9o9386_final

“I’m really looking forward to seeing and playing with Gin again. We had such a good time when we worked on the record… and it’s high time for round two,” Jon Groboff said.

“Gin Wigmore’s new album Holy Smoke completely rips balls, and us Cardinal types are beyond stoked that we got to play on it,” said Neal Casal. We’re also out of our minds with joy that we get come to Australia and New Zealand to be in her band and play some rock n’ roll for the fine folks there.”

You can catch Gin Wigmore and the Cardinals at the following venues.

1 December 2009 – East Brunswick Club, Melbourne
2 December 2009 – The Zoo, Brisbane
4 December 2009 – Gaelic, Sydney

Image used with permission from The White Agency

Sydney’s TownHallSteps are a band on the brink of making a real impression. Their self-titled debut album shows a band with a lot of promise, who are still trying to figure themselves out.townhallstepsalbum

On popping the disc into my CD, I thought I was in for a chill-out dance CD. The opener, imaginatively titled “Intro” is atmospheric and electronic. It’s an accomplished, but if its job is to introduce the band it doesn’t do a very good job.

What follows is a disc which seems to have a bit of an identity crisis. On one hand there are singalong punk-pop anthems popularised by the likes of Good Charlotte, Fall Out Boy, and Panic at the Disco. TownHallSteps don’t bring anything new to songs like “Still Alive,” “Disco,” and the first single, “Anywhere But Here.” Although having said that, the tracks are solid, equal to anything the more seasoned bands like them have produced. They may be a little formulaic, but they’re a lot of fun.

It’s when Town Hall Steps walks to a different beat that things get really interesting. “Holding On,” “The Direction,” and the orchestral “Trouble Little Girl” show much more depth. They’re anchored in heart and passion, and that makes them some of the strongest tracks on this album. I’m also in love with the band’s sweet rock anti-love song “Jessie.” It may not be as dramatic as the other songs I’ve mentioned, but again it shows the band’s individuality.

TownHallSteps shows great potential with their debut album. They’ve intrigued me. I look forward to hearing what comes next.

Image source: TownHallSteps website